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Black Gate Nominated for a Hugo Award in a Terrible Ballot

Sunday, April 5th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Goblin Emperor-smallThe nominees for the 2015 Hugo Awards have been announced by Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention, and let’s be blunt: it’s a terrible ballot.

Here’s a brief recap: over the last few years a number of writers (primarily conservative Americans) have become increasingly convinced that the growing number of women and non-white authors winning Hugo Awards is somehow evidence that the awards have been ‘hijacked’ by a minority group of voters and social justice warriors (SJWs). Their concerns are succinctly summarized at the right-wing new site Breitbart.com.

To make a point about how the awards are influenced by what they perceive as a small group of liberal elites, a handful of authors created a slate of nominees heavily dominated by conservative writers, and asked their followers to support those slates in their entirety. The primary slates were Brad Torgersen’s Sad Puppies 3 and Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies list.

Under cover of this semi-political movement, which added roughly 200 additional nominating ballots to last year’s total (and nearly 800 to the 2013 total), at least one of the organizers heavily seeded his slate with his own works. Vox Day’s Rapid Puppies ballot included no less than ten nominees for his Castalia House publishing company, and listed himself for both Best Editor (Short Form) and Best Editor (Long Form).

The results? As tabulated by Mike Glyer over at File 770, a total of 61 final ballot nominees from Sad Puppies 3 and Rabid Puppies made the final list of nominees. Only 24 nominees did not come from either list.

In short, the Hugo ballot this year was essentially dictated by two individuals who asked their followers to vote for their suggested candidates, regardless of what they actually thought was deserving.

In related news, Black Gate, which was not included in the Sad Puppies slate but was part of Rabid Puppies, received its first Hugo nomination this year. We were not informed of our inclusion, and only found about it after we were contacted by the Sasquan awards committee last week. Black Gate blogger Matthew David Surridge, who found himself in a similar situation when he received a nomination as a result of being listed on both slates, discussed the reasons he declined the nomination here yesterday, in his lengthy article A Detailed Explanation.

Since the Black Gate nomination was for the entire site (which is run by a group of nearly 40 volunteers, many of whom are thrilled by the nomination), we did not decline. That’s a choice that will doubtless expose us to some (perhaps deserved) criticism. I’ll have more to say about all this later.

For now, I’ll just say that I think that an organized campaign to bring new fans into the voting process, while simultaneously urging them NOT to read broadly and make up their own minds, is a Spectacularly Bad Idea. Among other things, it badly damages the Puppies’ cause.

The stated goal of the Puppies slates is to make a very public point, and that point has now been made in a spectacular fashion. Yet there is already excited chatter about Sad Puppies 4, which hopes to have even more success next year.

The only way this will be interpreted is as an attempt to seize complete control of the Hugo ballot (which is already 71% owned by the Puppies), and silence all other voices. Whatever point the Puppies are attempting to make has already been lost. The authors they wished to celebrate by placing them on ballot will be badly hurt in the coming backlash (which is already beginning).

There will be a response, and it won’t be pretty. Last year, I don’t believe a single one of the Sad Puppies who made the Hugo nominating ballot placed above “No Award.” My guess is that virtually the entire awards slate will be rejected out of hand by Hugo voters, who do not take kindly to being dictated to.

The nominees for the 2015 Hugo Awards are:

Best Novel

Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit)
The Dark Between the Stars, Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books)
The Goblin Emperor, by Sarah Monette (writing as Katherine Addison) (Tor Books)
Lines of Departure, Marko Kloos (47North)
Skin Game, Jim Butcher (Roc Books)

Best Novella

Big Boys Don’t Cry, Tom Kratman (Castalia House)
“Flow,” Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Tor.com, 11-2014)
One Bright Star to Guide Them, John C. Wright (Castalia House)
“Pale Realms of Shade,” John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
“The Plural of Helen of Troy,” John C. Wright (City Beyond Time: Tales of the Fall of Metachronopolis, Castalia House)

Best Novelette

“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium,” Gray Rinehart (Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, 05-2014)
“Championship B’tok,” Edward M. Lerner (Analog, 09-2014)
“The Journeyman: In the Stone House,” Michael F. Flynn (Analog, 06-2014)
“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale,” Rajnar Vajra (Analog, 07/08-2014)
“Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus,” John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)

Best Short Story

“Goodnight Stars,” Annie Bellet (The End is Now (Apocalypse Triptych Book 2), Broad Reach Publishing)
“On A Spiritual Plain,” Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2, 11-2014)
“The Parliament of Beasts and Birds,” John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
“Totaled,” Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, 07-2014)
“Turncoat,” Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)

Best Related Work

“The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF,” Ken Burnside (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)
Letters from Gardner, Lou Antonelli (The Merry Blacksmith Press)
Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth, John C. Wright (Castalia House)
“Why Science is Never Settled,” Tedd Roberts (Baen.com)
Wisdom from My Internet, Michael Z. Williamson (Patriarchy Press)

Best Graphic Story

Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt, (Marvel Comics)
Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery, written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch (Image Comics)
Saga Volume 3, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics))
Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick, written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate, Carter Reid (The Zombie Nation)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, concept and story by Ed Brubaker, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Entertainment, Perception, Sony Pictures Imageworks)
Edge of Tomorrow, screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions)
Guardians of the Galaxy, written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company)
Interstellar, screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, directed by Christopher Nolan (Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Lynda Obst Productions, Syncopy)
The Lego Movie, written by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, story by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, LEGO System A/S, Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures, Warner Bros. Animation (as Warner Animation Group))

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Doctor Who: “Listen”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (BBC Television)
The Flash: “Pilot”, teleplay by Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, story by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, directed by David Nutter (The CW) (Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television)
Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper”, written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss, directed by Alex Graves ((HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)
Grimm: “Once We Were Gods”, written by Alan DiFiore, directed by Steven DePaul (NBC) (GK Productions, Hazy Mills Productions, Universal TV)
Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”, ” written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America)

Best Editor, Short Form

Jennifer Brozek
Vox Day
Mike Resnick
Edmund R. Schubert
Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Best Editor, Long Form

Vox Day
Sheila Gilbert
Jim Minz
Anne Sowards
Toni Weisskopf

Best Professional Artist

Julie Dillon
Jon Eno
Nick Greenwood
Alan Pollack
Carter Reid

Best Semiprozine

Abyss & Apex, Wendy Delmater editor and publisher
Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine, Andromeda Spaceways Publishing Association Incorporated, 2014 editors David Kernot and Sue Bursztynski
Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews
Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant
Strange Horizons, Niall Harrison, editor-in-chief

Best Fanzine

Black Gate, edited by John O’Neill
Elitist Book Reviews, edited by Steven Diamond
Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Colin Harris, Alissa McKersie, and Helen J. Montgomery
The Revenge of Hump Day, edited by Tim Bolgeo
Tangent SF Online, edited by Dave Truesdale

Best Fancast

Adventures in SF Publishing, Brent Bower (Executive Producer), Kristi Charish, Timothy C. Ward & Moses Siregar III (Co-Hosts, Interviewers and Producers)
Dungeon Crawlers Radio, Daniel Swenson (Producer/Host), Travis Alexander & Scott Tomlin (Hosts), Dale Newton (Host/Tech), Damien Swenson (Audio/Video Tech)
Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
The Sci Phi Show, Jason Rennie
Tea and Jeopardy, Emma Newman and Peter Newman

Best Fan Writer

Dave Freer
Amanda S. Green
Jeffro Johnson
Laura J. Mixon
Cedar Sanderson

Best Fan Artist

Ninni Aalto
Brad W. Foster
Elizabeth Leggett
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Wesley Chu
Jason Cordova
Kary English
Rolf Nelson
Eric S. Raymond

The Hugos are named after Hugo Gernsback, the founding editor of Amazing Stories, and this year will be awarded  at the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention, Sasquan, in Spokane, Washington, on August 22, 2015.

Read up on last year’s winners here, and the 2014 nominees here.

127 Comments »

  1. Where was the kvetching about slates when scalzi was tossing them up, or when tor did it, or daw, etc?

    Why no concern about the dedicated effort of a sizable chunk of worldcon intelligentsia to silence those whose opinion differs from yours?

    I guess Worldcom is a place where tolerance, diversity, inclusion, only counts for those that agree with a singular worldview…

    Comment by TW - April 5, 2015 12:51 pm

  2. Congratudolences. What an awkward situation. I wonder whether this nomination is more of a thank-you or an eff-you from the Puppies — surely Theo must have known what kind of position this would put you in. Having repudiated him publicly many times, you keep trying to put him behind you, but here he is trying to drag your reputation back into his arsenal.

    For what it’s worth, I’m proud to be a Black Gate blogger, and always have been. If BG wins a Hugo, it will be because the community at large sees the quality of what we do here and chooses to recognize it despite the nomination process.

    This is a problem, but it’s a good problem to have. You get a nice big megaphone with which to explain exactly how you differ from your nominators. Maybe you’ll be heard by some of the people who’ve been laboring under inaccurate assumptions.

    Comment by Sarah Avery - April 5, 2015 12:56 pm

  3. > Where was the kvetching about slates when scalzi was tossing them up, or when tor did it, or daw, etc?

    Hi TW,

    I have no idea. I usually have no real beef with them. I had no real issue with Sad Puppies last year, either… as I said in my article on the 2014 Hugo nominations last year:

    -> There are additional surprises… Some folks are laying the credit (or blame) for that
    -> on an organized campaign of bloc voting by nominee Larry Correia, which successfully placed
    -> as many as seven nominees on the ballot… but really, every year someone gets accused of bloc
    -> voting and it’s tough to blame someone for having enthusiastic fans.

    However, no one has ever successfully gamed 71% of the ballot before. If Scalzi had successfully campaigned to get a dozen nominations for himself and his publishing company on the ballot, I can assure you, I’d have harsh words for him here, too.

    > I guess Worldcom is a place where tolerance, diversity, inclusion, only counts for those that agree with a singular worldview…

    Um, what?

    Are you really trying to argue that when two individuals (Brad Torgersen and Vox Day) dictate over 71% of Hugo ballot, it’s a step towards ‘diversity??’

    Comment by John ONeill - April 5, 2015 1:16 pm

  4. > I wonder whether this nomination is more of a thank-you or an eff-you from the Puppies —
    > surely Theo must have known what kind of position this would put you in.

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the support. But truthfully, I don’t attribute any particular malice to Theo in this (at least, not towards Black Gate, or any of the folks he included on his ballot). Theo is extremely widely read, and I believe he read every one of the works on his Rabid Puppes ballot, and it’s very likely he considers them all worthy of the award.

    He’s also been very kind towards Black Gate (and me personally), and has worked tirelessly for many years to promote the site. In creating his slate, I think Theo is genuinely trying to promote works he thinks are deserving.

    But he’s also a smart guy, and he should have been aware that this would backfire. And, if my guess is correct, it will backfire spectacularly, hurting his career (and John C. Wright’s) particularly, especially in the long run.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 5, 2015 1:24 pm

  5. I was on a panel on teaching with Wright last year. He impressed me tremendously as an insightful person with a great capacity for kindness. That came as a surprise, because I’d read some of his blog posts. For all that I disagree with many things Wright has said online, the man I met in person was someone I would have given a chance to win me over as a storyteller. It would be unfortunate if the backlash against the ballot hit him in ways he didn’t go looking for.

    Back when Theo put on his best face here at BG, I genuinely enjoyed reading some of his columns, disagreements notwithstanding. The self-aware-curmudgeon persona he cultivated seemed to be a real addition to the site’s diversity. It was sad to watch things go sour. I wish he had turned out to be who he seemed.

    Comment by Sarah Avery - April 5, 2015 2:43 pm

  6. So this is about two guys nominating which writers other people should nominate for nomination?

    Comment by Martin Kallies - April 5, 2015 3:27 pm

  7. […] In case you haven’t heard about the Hugo fiasco of 2015, Black Gate (who deserve to be on the ballot, IMHO) does a great job of explaining some of the controversy and why they accepted the nomination here. […]

    Pingback by The Ugly Hugo Ballot of 2015 – Author Suzanne Church - April 5, 2015 3:32 pm

  8. Politics is a necessary part of life, but life is more than politics and it’s sad when disagreements over doctrine poison every aspect of existence. Just because the Hugo is vaguely shaped like a club doesn’t mean that it should be used to beat people over the head with.

    In my ignorance I’m far removed from the disputes that John and Matthew have detailed – and happy to stay that way. I’m old fashioned enough to think that the purpose of an award is to let those who do the hard labor of creation know that their work has reached and moved people. If an award isn’t an instrument of encouragement then it isn’t worth anything.

    I love Black Gate and I think that a Hugo nomination (whatever the positions of Puppies, Anti-Puppies, Curs, Kittens, Mensheviks, Rotarians, etc.) is pretty dran cool, simply because the quality of the work that appears here merits it. The excellence of Black Gate has always been apparent to me, as I’m sure it is to everyone who visits here, but it is only since I’ve started making my own small contribution to the site that I’ve gotten an inkling of the enormous amount of day-in and day-out hard work that goes into keeping this place running.

    I know that I certainly appreciate it (and should have said so before now), and as far as I’m concerned the acknowledgement bestowed by a nomination is richly deserved. So – congratulations!

    Comment by Thomas Parker - April 5, 2015 3:39 pm

  9. I am a little confused over the nomination process. Is it possible for an individual or small group of friends/associates to influence everyone else? I mean, doesn’t the majority still have to vote as a majority to get something nominated?

    Comment by Matthew Wuertz - April 5, 2015 3:52 pm

  10. I also don’t understand why it is a problem to be nominated because you don’t like one person who voted for you.
    So 71% of all nominations are on those two lists? Couldn’t it simply be that those guys actually made lists that reflect what people like? Couldn’t people vote for Black Gate without voting for everything else on the lists too?

    Comment by Martin Kallies - April 5, 2015 3:56 pm

  11. I am a reader. It is an addiction. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Westerns, Dectective Novels. My favorite, the one I “go home” to is hard sci-fi. I see this as the latest incarnation of the long debate between lovers of science and lovers of fantasy. The debate should never cease. I want to pull the nominations list every year to add to my readung list. I have an addiction and it must be fed. I want…the two sides here, met on the battlefield, to get down off their high horses and agree they neither want to destroy the world and see if a way can be found that all the champions on all sides get to go to the tournament. Would that be asking too much? I found this site because it was nominated. I’ll visit them all and be a richer person for having done so. No matter who wins the award, I, as a reader, win.

    Comment by GypsyPhyr - April 5, 2015 4:04 pm

  12. > I know that I certainly appreciate it (and should have said so before now), and as far as I’m concerned the
    > acknowledgement bestowed by a nomination is richly deserved. So – congratulations!

    Thank you, Thomas. It is nice to be nominated, although the circumstance obviously put a damper on things.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 5, 2015 4:07 pm

  13. Martin, I guess that’s what I would like to think, that no matter who says, “Vote for X,” the overall majority of people must agree. I could be wrong, I guess.

    But wow. Hugo nomination for Black Gate!

    Comment by Matthew Wuertz - April 5, 2015 4:13 pm

  14. > I am a little confused over the nomination process. Is it possible for an individual or small group of
    > friends/associates to influence everyone else? I mean, doesn’t the majority still have to vote as a majority
    > to get something nominated?

    Hi Matthew,

    No, a ‘majority’ as such (in the sense that a single work gets over 50% of the ballot) is very, very rare on the nominating process.

    I’m not an expert on Hugo balloting, but maybe an example will help. In 2013, there were 1,343 valid Hugo nomination ballots for LoneStarCon 3. Let’s assume 1,200 included votes for BEST NOVEL.

    I think it’s fair to assume that votes were received for 100+ novels (likely more). Meaning, very roughly, on average every novel got around a dozen votes.

    Of course, every novel didn’t get 12 votes. I don’t know how the voting broke down, but we can assume the stats took shape something like this:

    150 votes – Novel #1
    120 votes – Novel #2
    100 votes – Novel #3
    80 votes – Novel #4
    70 votes – Novel #5

    And on down the list. In my example, the top five novels received 520 out of the 1,200 votes, which seems rather high, but let’s disregard that for now.

    These top five novels would all make the final Hugo Award ballot. This becomes the ballot that is circulated to the voting members of LoneStarCon 3. The top vote getter at the convention is then awarded the Hugo.

    So… let’s imagine that you were able to assemble 200 voters to all submit a single, identical slate of votes (the MATTHEW SLATE). That means you submitted five novels, and they all got around 200 nominations.

    That means the five novels you submitted on the MATTHEW SLATE would automatically become the top nominees, and your choices would displace all 1,200 other votes.

    That is exactly what has happened on the 2015 Hugo ballot, in every one of the short fiction categories. While the Puppies didn’t lock up all the other categories, they did manage to put a majority of their candidates in most of them.

    Does that make it more clear?

    Comment by John ONeill - April 5, 2015 4:27 pm

  15. I guess the guest of honor for this year’s convention is V.I. Lenin…

    Comment by Thomas Parker - April 5, 2015 4:37 pm

  16. > I also don’t understand why it is a problem to be nominated because you don’t like one person who voted for you.
    > So 71% of all nominations are on those two lists? Couldn’t it simply be that those guys actually made
    > lists that reflect what people like? Couldn’t people vote for Black Gate without voting for everything else on the lists too?

    Hi Martin,

    Great question. I was going to address that in another post, but here is as good a place as any.

    This isn’t a matter of me “not liking” Vox Day or any member of the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies group. Vox is a Christian libertarian and I’m a liberal Canadian, but we get along okay despite all the people who think we should hate each other. I’ve never met Brad, but he seems like an articulate guy who speaks up for what he believes in, and I applaud that.

    And maybe the Sad Puppies did happen to get make lists “that reflect what people like.” Considering how narrow their selection is, I think that’s pretty unlikely, but I’ll happily admit it’s completely possible.

    No, my beef here is something completely different.

    The Hugo Awards have existed for 62 years, and have endured a lot of drama over the decades, but in general they’ve had an enormously positive effect on the industry. They’ve helped launch a lot of careers, and sell of a lot of books — which helps the entire field. In particular, the awards — and especially the short fiction awards — have helped many struggling writers get noticed, and give them a much-needed boost when they desperately needed it. Just ask Kameron Hurley, who won the Hugo last year, how much difference her first Hugo Awards made to her sales (hint: a LOT.)

    So, the Hugos. A good thing. A great thing. Best we don’t wreck them.

    Now, the creators of the SP slate set out to do something they described as a major accomplishment: mobilize a group of individuals to claim their entire ballot as their own.

    However, this isn’t a major accomplishment. As I demonstrated in my comment to Matthew above, it can be done by as few as 200-300 people. There are literally dozens of individuals (and companies) inside the industry who could mobilize that many people with relative ease (and a few, like George R.R. Martin, Stephen King, and Joss Whedon, who could easily mobilize thousands.)

    But it has never been done before, because it’s been completely apparent to everyone that such an effort would damage the integrity of the Hugo awards. Worse, it would negate an entire year of Hugo Awards.

    But John!, you say. Sure it’s been done before! Look at what Tor and DAW have done. Or that rascal John Scalzi!

    Except, John Scalzi never did anything like this. He posted the entire Hugo ballot on his blog some time ago, and invited readers to make a case for their favorites. But he never advocated for a single writer, or slate of writers, as a block vote.

    But John!, you say. The Puppies haven’t negated anything. They’ve just put the candidates they believe in on the ballot. They’ll win this year, they’ll sell lots of books, the industry will benefit, and all will be well.

    No, it won’t. Because it’s highly likely that all three short fiction categories will go to “No Award” this year. That’s exactly how the Sad Puppy ballot was treated last year, and it’s a virtual certainly that it will happen again this year. Already the backlash is louder and more aggrieved than it was last year.

    The Sad Puppies should have known this. Maybe they did know it, and they don’t care. Maybe they just want to wreck the awards. If that’s their plan, they’re doing a pretty good job.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 5, 2015 5:05 pm

  17. John,

    Okay. I think I see what you’re saying. So this is always a possibility then – that someone or some group with influence could say, “Vote for these 5,” which would lock things up, so long as a sizable group agreed (or felt pressured) to go with them.

    Is there a solution for something like this? Maybe that each person can only nominate one item per category? Although, I guess people could still organize around that by telling certain people to vote for certain things: Person A and B, you vote for X; person C and D, you vote for Y, etc.

    Or maybe this is just a reality of any award – no matter how large or small the pool of people who make the nominations, they could group themselves together for any purpose they choose.

    I fear the likely response is to say, well, to prevent this in 2016, we (some other group) will band together with our list of nominations. If it comes to that, then is there even a public vote at all (or maybe we’re already there)? How would a writer who isn’t picked by any “group” able to garner enough votes for a nomination?

    Comment by Matthew Wuertz - April 5, 2015 5:06 pm

  18. The legitimizing premise behind the SP and RP slates is the belief (which I share, full disclosure) that the SJW, identity politics, collectivist, hard left economics, aggressively LGBT crowd (apologies for any over-generalizing, but I am going for a broad point) represents perhaps a majority among the editorial class, but a minority of SF readers. Thus grounded, the slates represent, arguably, an attmpt to validate the will of SF readers generally. I see interesting parallels between this situation and opposition to the leftist orthodox clerisy that is modern academia among the class of people actually funding academia, i.e., capitalists large and small.

    Comment by Joe McDermott - April 5, 2015 6:15 pm

  19. > Is there a solution for something like this? Maybe that each person can only nominate one item per category?

    There are already solutions being discussed. The most likely is to eliminate the “supporting” membership for Worldcon, which allows folks to vote for the Hugos for just $40.

    This may mitigate the problem, because it will reduce the number of offenders (a full attending membership costs about $200.) But it will also reduce the pool of eligible voters for the awards, which no one really wants.

    > I fear the likely response is to say, well, to prevent this in 2016, we (some other group) will band together with our list of nominations.

    Matthew, that’s exactly what most concerns a lot of people — that the days of open voting for Hugos will come to an end, and be replaced with slates representing two (or more) conflicting political agendas.

    That’s exactly where the current thinking on this has already led. The Book Smugglers have nicely summarized the problem of voting blocs here:

    http://thebooksmugglers.com/2015/04/smugglers-stash-news-the-post-hugo-nomination-debacle-edition.html

    And Django Wexler puts it more concisely (using US politics as an example) here:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/31gmib/good_summary_of_hugo_drama_the_hugo_awards_were/cq1qzi8

    Comment by John ONeill - April 5, 2015 6:41 pm

  20. If you vote “No Award” just to spite the SP slate, and you punish a deserving, talented writer (or writers, like BlackGate) what have you accomplished?
    Is it possible that the SP slate was composed precisely to capture those writers they felt were talented, regardless of age, gender, nationality, race, etc? And if their members read all their nominees AND all the others and vote for their slate anyway, that they actually find the slate nominees more talented?
    I think a LOT of this fiasco comes from a lack of imagination, as in:
    “I don’t like Wright so he is a hack author. I don’t like something KJ Anderson wrote ten years back, so he’s a hack. Obviously, my taste in SF is supreme, so anyone who nominates a writer who isn’t [of color, female, transgendered, Martian native, etc.] is unworthy of consideration or being allowed to vote in the Hugos. Only those writers I approve of should be included.”
    OK, fine; prove it. Sign up a few thousand NEW fans (keep the old ones, of course, but this is to expand the pie, not argue over slicing) and get them to vote lockstep for YOUR slate, then the writers you approve of will win and you can thumb your nose at the SP crew.
    Maybe expanding the pie (readership of SF and therefore sales) is what the SP bunch was really trying to do. Maybe they WEREN’T being dogmatic or ideological, just nominating what they saw were the best writers. Maybe this controversy will grow SF for a new generation, whether they be of color, ethnic, gendered or even just plain white. Can we hope for a win-win here? Or is there only win-or-lose?

    Comment by jamesthewanderer - April 5, 2015 6:56 pm

  21. I’d like to be blunt here,

    “Christian Libertarian” is about as danged oxymoronic as you could hope to get.

    I believe the “father” of Libertarianism, in word or deed (vote), has opposed: The Civil Rights Act, The Holocaust Memorial Fund, and Government Ethics departments.

    I don’t believe its too much of an “ergo” to say that these folks would not know Christ if he walked right up and kissed them on the “other” cheek.

    The saddest irony of an organized group of “Libertarian Christians” derailing an SF award is that to some extent, the reason a good number of folk read SF/Fantasy in the first place is to ESCAPE the reality that twisted twits like this exist in the “real world.”

    How sad…

    Comment by AWAbooks - April 5, 2015 7:33 pm

  22. > If you vote “No Award” just to spite the SP slate, and you punish a deserving, talented writer (or writers, like BlackGate) what have you accomplished?

    James, that is a really excellent question.

    I’m not a member of Sasquan, and so have no plans to vote (for “No Award,” or anything else), and my concerns about the likely outcome are extrapolation from what happened last year, not any kind of value judgment on the current slate.

    But let me attempt to give you an answer anyway, since you troubled yourself to ask me the question.

    First, if that’s going to be your stance, I think you should be ready for the obvious counter-question:

    “If you vote the Sad Puppies slate just to spite SJWs, and you punish those deserving, talented writers (like Liu Cixin, author of The Three-Body Problem, who was widely expected to get a Hugo nod but was locked out by the Sad Puppies) what have you accomplished?”

    The reason I ask that isn’t just to be snarky. It’s to make the obvious point that those folks who voted the Sad Puppies slate claim they did it partly to spite an adversary (a perceived bloc of SJWs), but also in a real attempt to accomplish something.

    So, yes, the Sad Puppies bloc paid a cost for what they did — they kept fiction from writers with whom they had no beef off the Hugo ballot. They’re aware of that cost. But because they felt strongly enough about their convictions, they were willing to pay it to make their point.

    The same is precisely true of those voters who are now loudly crying for a “No Award” sweep at this year’s Hugo Awards. Yes, there may very well be (and probably is) good, deserving work still on the ballot. But those who are calling for “No Award” also feel very strongly in that, if they allow the Sad Puppies to triumph this year, they will lay claim to the awards in the same way every year (and given the excited activity around Sad Puppies 4 already, they’re probably right.)

    These people have very strong convictions, too. And they’re willing to burn the entire ballot — sacrificing deserving work — in the service of those convictions. Just as the Sad Puppies did.

    So, do you see where this is leading? Do you see why I feel the entire effort is grossly misguided? Both sides feel that not to act will lead to gross injustice, and the result is a steadily escalating war that leaves the Hugo Awards a smoking crater.

    My beef with the Sad Puppies organizers has nothing to do with political leanings. My problem is that THESE ARE SMART GUYS. They saw a perceived problem with the Hugo Awards (lack of recognition for popular, adventure-oriented, conservative writing)… and the action they’ve taken may have done irreparable damage not only to the the Hugo awards, but also to their own cause. They are now being attacked from all sides, and very few people are willing to listen to them now, no matter how much evidence they have.

    After the results of the first Sad Puppies ballot — No Award beat every one of them — I think the results of this one should have been entirely predictable.

    Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps several members of the SP slate will carry home Hugos this September. But based on the volume of bile and anger I see welling up in just the last 24 hours, I strongly doubt it.

    > Maybe they WEREN’T being dogmatic or ideological, just nominating what they saw were the best writers.
    > Maybe this controversy will grow SF for a new generation, whether they be of color, ethnic, gendered
    > or even just plain white. Can we hope for a win-win here? Or is there only win-or-lose?

    I absolutely think there was a win-win approach here. But this wasn’t it.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 5, 2015 7:33 pm

  23. The complaint seems to be that voting for a slate / in a bloc is unfair, and that each author should be judged individually for their work.

    For the last five years, how many Hugo noms went to POC / gendered / minorities vs. SWM or unknown? Were the SP crew mistaken, that talented SWM authors were NOT passed over simply because they were SWM? I really don’t know, and ask the honest question.

    I don’t look to see if the author has any particular characteristic, be it male / female, color or proclivity; I would find it offensive to choose books for awards based on anything beyond talent (which is, admittedly, subjective); but then,

    “They are now being attacked from all sides, and very few people are willing to listen to them now, no matter how much evidence they have.”

    Does this validate their concern, that so many people (how many?) are attacking them for pointing out a perceived injustice? And does the venom I see online create even more motivation for them to continue?

    I will read whoever’s SF entertains me, no matter what their background / foreground / backyard or sideyard. I don’t really care if it’s good; the only author I really reject without reading him is Ron Hubbard, because of the other stuff he started. But that’s just me, and if the fanverse wants to give him a Hugo, that’s OK. For someone to ignore a talent (other than Hubbard, say!) because SP nominated them is cutting off one’s nose to spite their face. And if this year’s Hugo awards are “tainted” because of the SP crew, aren’t all the others tainted as well? Someone had to vote for them, for reasons good or ill, and if you choose to bestow “taint” due to ideology, then the awards your favorite authors won are tainted just as badly.

    I don’t know where this ends, but then I don’t choose authors to read by ideology. I feel sorry for those who do.

    Comment by jamesthewanderer - April 5, 2015 8:08 pm

  24. “For the last five years, how many Hugo noms went to POC / gendered / minorities vs. SWM or unknown? Were the SP crew mistaken, that talented SWM authors were NOT passed over simply because they were SWM? I really don’t know, and ask the honest question.”

    I really don’t know either, oh wandering one, but somehow your “question” doesn’t sound very “honest” to me. For without significant evidence — proof — that there was bias against SWM authors to BEGIN with, then their entire raison d’etre is mired in oxymoronicdom, yes? If they have not shown you this proof, and it would need to be ROBUST and SIGNIFICANT,then do they need any benefit of doubt?

    “It’s the QUESTION that drives us, Neo. It’s the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did.”

    -Trinity, from The Matrix

    Comment by AWAbooks - April 5, 2015 8:35 pm

  25. You question my honesty? How does one convey sincerity across a million kilometers of copper wire?

    I asked because I do not know – perhaps they have this proof, and already posted it somewhere I haven’t read. Do you think I have read the entire internet, or even the SP website (assuming it exists)?

    I’ve already said I don’t judge authors based on ethnicity, gender or whatnot; nor do I judge your sincerity based on a comment. If I say the existence of such proof would not change YOUR attitude, am I being unreasonable? You have already attacked my honesty without evidence, shall I attack yours without any?

    If you aren’t willing to extend simple civility to both sides of this fiasco, we might as well give up now. Start by considering that when someone asks a question, they do not know; if you do, chime in and provide the answer. Try not to criticize someone’s integrity before you even meet them.

    Comment by jamesthewanderer - April 5, 2015 8:51 pm

  26. This I such a shame. I’ll certainly not be voting for the obvious hijack items, but will vote for BLACK GATE because it GOOD and not political, but subject-based.

    I’ll also not buy or support the people or publishers who have engineered this debacle. Like others, I vote with my wallet as well as my intellect.

    Comment by R.K. Robinson - April 5, 2015 8:54 pm

  27. As for the Rabid Hyenias, maybe they could go work on the Ted Cruz campaign.

    Comment by R.K. Robinson - April 5, 2015 8:57 pm

  28. Sorry Wanderer,

    But your “need” to preface your question with the “honest” label smells a lot like an oxymoronic “news” station prefacing their their spew with “fair, and balanced.”

    Just calling it like I see it… Hey, at least I’m being “honest” :-)

    Comment by AWAbooks - April 5, 2015 8:59 pm

  29. I put the word “honest” in because I could see someone taking it hypothetically, or rhetorically.
    Then again, maybe I’m just tired and touchy.
    Be honest all you like, then misunderstanding is unlikely – although not impossible (see previous thread!).
    May you have a good night, and better morning.

    Comment by jamesthewanderer - April 5, 2015 9:13 pm

  30. First of all, congratulations or apologies to John and the entire Black Gate crew, as you prefer.

    I recommended a Hugo nomination for Black Gate and for Matthew David Surridge for one very simple reason; they are both among the best in their category in the field. No more, no less. And both deserved Hugos years ago.

    I’m not a dictator. I’m not a cult leader. If the folks on the other side are so clueless that they still don’t realize how popular my blog is, how am I to blame for that? John is correct, I read everything I recommended, and while I would have definitely put The Three-Body Problem on the RP list if I’d read it sooner, how is it my fault that Tor never sent the individual with one of the biggest blogs in SF/F so much as a press release, let alone a review copy? If they had, I not only would have recommended The Three-Body Problem, it would have been first on my Hugo voting list.

    As for long term harm to the Hugos, that’s really up to the other side. They have a choice. They can accept that we played by the rules, do what we’ve always done and choose the least of the evils while grumbling about it, or they can double-down and No Award everything. Of course, we can do that too, this year or any year in the future. Bitter pill or smoking ruin? Up to them. Either way, it’s an epic exploit and you’d probably be shocked if you knew some of the well-known people who are applauding it.

    Regarding our careers, the old rules no longer apply. The Gatekeepers are broken, they just don’t know it yet. But our opinions don’t matter, time will tell.

    On a personal note, while I am admittedly the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil, I nevertheless think very highly of both Black Gate and John, and I wish you all very well. I’m sorry that my high regard may cause you some difficulty among your friends, but I simply admire excellence in all its forms.

    And excellence is something for which you should never apologize, for any reason.

    Comment by Theo - April 5, 2015 9:56 pm

  31. > The complaint seems to be that voting for a slate / in a bloc is unfair, and that each author should be judged individually for their work.

    James,

    That’s pretty close, but not exactly. Not to be nitpicky, but my complaint actually has nothing to do with fairness. I’m not jumping up and down and whining that the slate is unfair to everybody else. I’m jumping up and down and saying, YOU IDIOTS SHOULD HAVE KNOWN WHAT THE RESULTS OF THIS WOULD BE.

    But maybe I’ll be completely wrong, and we’ll have a (relatively) drama-free award ceremony, and there won’t be wrenching changes to the Hugos, and everyone will just shake their heads good-naturedly and say, “Man, those Sad Puppies. They really got us this year. I really learned something. Good on them. Can’t wait to see what they do next year.”

    But I really doubt it.

    > For the last five years, how many Hugo noms went to POC / gendered / minorities vs. SWM or unknown?

    I’m going to take you at your word that this is an honest question.

    I don’t know the answer, because I don’t measure such things (and have no real interest in measuring them, beyond a genuine interest in hearing more from people and communities — like the transgendered, say — who I think have been underrepresented.)

    But here’s the really interesting part of your question:

    > Were the SP crew mistaken, that talented SWM authors were NOT passed over simply because they
    > were SWM? I really don’t know, and ask the honest question.

    The answer to this is yes — many observers think the Sad Puppies are mistaken. I think most people (including me) would be very surprised to hear that ANY writer on the Hugo ballot was passed over, at any point, simply because they were a single white male. This is generally disregarded as a right wing paranoid fantasy.

    Now, maybe this is naive. Maybe there really IS a secret SJW cabal that has it in for white men, and maneuvers behind the scenes to keep them off the ballot. When many women and non-white writers won last year, I know there was a lot of crowing about it in some circles. (Which I think it perfectly understandable — let’s face it, us white males pretty much had a lock on the awards for decades.)

    Anyway, my point is that, even if you’re not crazy, and I’m completely wrong, and there IS a bloc operating in secret to screw white guys… this was still a terrible, terrible way to fix it. It was, in effect, declaring war on the Hugos, because white men didn’t get enough awards.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 5, 2015 10:38 pm

  32. > I found this site because it was nominated. I’ll visit them all and be a richer person for
    > having done so. No matter who wins the award, I, as a reader, win.

    Hi Gypsy,

    Welcome to Black Gate! Good to have you here.

    And I like your attitude. If the Hugo nominations can help you find new writers (and websites) you enjoy, then they’re doing exactly what they were intended to do.

    But there are others who are more deeply vested in the process than you and I, and they clearly feel that 71% of the slate has been hijacked. I can’t blame them for feeling that way.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 5, 2015 10:45 pm

  33. > I really don’t know either, oh wandering one, but somehow your “question” doesn’t sound very “honest”
    > to me. For without significant evidence — proof — that there was bias against SWM authors to BEGIN
    > with, then their entire raison d’etre is mired in oxymoronicdom, yes?

    Anthony,

    I appreciate your passion. But there’s no call for questioning James’ honesty.

    You stepped over a line here. I’m going to assume you meant well, but please –knock it off.

    James and I are on the opposite sides of the debate, but he’s being entirely gentlemanly about it. I’d like you to show him the same courtesy.

    I have absolutely no problem with people disagreeing with, or challenging my opinions, on this blog. But I won’t tolerate rudeness — on either side.

    Thank you.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 5, 2015 10:52 pm

  34. > This I such a shame. I’ll certainly not be voting for the obvious hijack items, but will vote for
    > BLACK GATE because it GOOD and not political, but subject-based.

    R.K,

    I appreciate that.

    However, I think there’s been entirely too much of people lobbying for awards already. I hope you can forgive me if I don’t use this space (or any other) to cheer on people to vote for Black Gate.

    As I already mentioned, I am not attending the convention. And if I were attending, I would vote for “No Award.”

    Comment by John ONeill - April 5, 2015 11:00 pm

  35. > First of all, congratulations or apologies to John and the entire Black Gate crew, as you prefer.

    Theo,

    No need to apologize to us. Black Gate certainly hasn’t been harmed in any way by the attention. In fact, we’re approaching record traffic for the day, and Matthew’s article is already one of the most read posts in our history. :’)

    > I recommended a Hugo nomination for Black Gate and for Matthew David Surridge for one very
    > simple reason; they are both among the best in their category in the field. No more, no less.

    Thank you for saying that — and I never doubted it.

    > As for long term harm to the Hugos, that’s really up to the other side. They have a choice.
    > They can accept that we played by the rules, do what we’ve always done and choose the least
    > of the evils while grumbling about it, or they can double-down and No Award everything.
    > Of course, we can do that too, this year or any year in the future. Bitter pill or smoking
    > ruin? Up to them.

    Well, this is where we have a pretty big difference of opinion.

    First off, you keep referring to the “other side,” as if there’s some counterpart, liberal-voting SJW bloc out there keeping white males off the Hugo ballot.

    There isn’t one. You have completely imagined it. You have created an entire, possibly Hugo-destroying campaign to spite an enemy that doesn’t even exist.

    Second, you imply that this “other side” now has a choice: to accept what you’ve done, or lay waste to the entire 2015 Hugo ballot with a “No Award” slate.

    Again, your assumption is based on a major misconception. There is no “other side.” There is only you, raging against a sea change in Hugo readership that you can only rationally explain by imagining some sinister secret cabal unjustly keeping deserving white males off that ballot.

    The other side doesn’t exist. There are only some 10,000+ Worldcon attendees, all of whom must now make their own decision, to vote as they see just and fair.

    You’re welcome to draw your own conclusions. Me, I look at how the Sad Puppy slate was treated last year, and I draw a pretty obvious conclusion… Hugo voters, all on their own and without any SJW slate to guide them, will vote “No Award” across the board.

    I won’t be attending. But if I were, I would vote “No Award” — including for Best Fanzine, the slot Black Gate is in. I would do the same regardless of who made this dubious “accomplishment.”

    I think what you’ve done sets a dangerous precedent that could spell the end of the awards if it’s not quashed immediately, and I feel strongly enough about that that I would be willing to burn a Hugo Award for Black Gate to send that message.

    > Either way, it’s an epic exploit…

    Well, there we’re in perfect agreement again. Whatever else you can call it, it certainly WAS epic. Congratulations for that, I guess.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 5, 2015 11:19 pm

  36. I’m currently reading Black Lamb and Grey falcon, Rebecca West’s chronicle of a 1937 trip she took through Yugoslavia – 1150 pages of grudges held for a thousand years and and politics as bloodsport – literally. Today I closed the book and thought I would drop by BG for a little relaxation…and you know the rest. Ain’t life grand?

    Comment by Thomas Parker - April 5, 2015 11:48 pm

  37. Well, Thomas… at least we’re still entertaining. :)

    Comment by John ONeill - April 5, 2015 11:49 pm

  38. > The legitimizing premise behind the SP and RP slates is the belief (which I share, full
    > disclosure) that the SJW, identity politics, collectivist, hard left economics,
    > aggressively LGBT crowd (apologies for any over-generalizing, but I am going for a broad point)
    > represents perhaps a majority among the editorial class, but a minority of SF readers. Thus
    > grounded, the slates represent, arguably, an attmpt to validate the will of SF readers generally.

    Joe,

    First off, apologies for almost missing your post… it looks like this is the first time you’ve commented here, so WordPress held up your comment until I could approve it, and you almost got overlooked in the crush.

    Second, that is a remarkably cogent and reasonable summary. By most measures I’m a SJW, identity politics, collectivist, hard left economics, aggressively LGBT guy, and I totally get that it looks like we’re over-represented in editorial positions. (I haven’t taken a poll, but you may even be right.)

    Looking at it from that point of view, there are aspects of the entire SP/RP campaign that certainly seem noble enough. Lord knows, I have no complaint about anyone banding together to promote what they love — that’s what Black Gate is all about, really.

    But even if you manage to win me over (and you’re a ways from that still), my central argument still holds.

    This was a bad idea, because I think Hugo voters will reject it out of hand.

    Hugo voters as a group have proven more than once that they don’t really give a whit about politics… or anything, really. Hugo voters are a fiercely independent bunch, and they just want to be able to vote for their favorite books. Take that away from them, and they will not look kindly on you.

    I don’t think there’s any way the SP slate can prevent themselves from being painted as the party that is limiting choice on the ballot this year, not expanding it. They attempted that in a small way last year, and Hugo voters overwhelmingly punished them for it.

    The transgression this year is considerably larger in scale, and I think it’s reasonable to expect that the response will be correspondingly larger. I think Hugo voters will react strongly to the SP ballot, and that response will be overwhelmingly negative.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 6, 2015 12:16 am

  39. John, for what it’s worth, after the actual Awards are given out, the con does publish a breakdown of nomination amounts, down to the last candidate to be named on at least 5% of the nominating ballots. 2013’s is at http://www.lonestarcon3.org/hugo-awards/statistics.pdf
    on page 19 we see the Best Novel breakdown (the report also includes all the various Australian ballot runs to determine all the places in each category, thus the first 18 pages). It was:

    Best Novel (1113 ballots)
    193 Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi (17.34%)
    138 Blackout by Mira Grant (12.40%)
    135 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (12.13%)
    133 Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold (11.95%)
    118 Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (10.60%)
    ————————————————————————————————–
    101 Monster Hunter Legion by Larry Correia (9.07%)
    91 The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin (8.18%)
    90 Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey (8.09%)
    74 Existence by David Brin (6.65%)
    69 Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal (6.20%)
    68 The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan (6.11%)
    62 The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks (5.57%)
    61 Railsea by China Mieville (5.48%)
    58 Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (5.21%)
    56 Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear (5.03%)
    55 Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines (4.94%)

    As it happened, yes, 200 bloc nominations would’ve knocked everything that made it off the ballot. It basically took being named on 10% of the nominations to make it on the ballot, and a 12.5% bloc vote would’ve taken 4 of the 5 places. Only 16 books were named on even 5% of the nominating ballots; there’s a very long tail there.

    Comment by tyg - April 6, 2015 12:41 am

  40. […] Except, whoops, no we won’t, because this year the Hugo ballot was commandeered by a bunch of nitwits. […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » Future Treasures: The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Second Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois - April 6, 2015 1:24 am

  41. Wow…sorry the late reply…

    >>Um, what?
    Are you really trying to argue that when two individuals (Brad Torgersen and Vox Day) dictate over 71% of Hugo ballot, it’s a step towards ‘diversity??’<<

    Compared to the last few years, or decades, yes. Look at the previous two decades of hugo ballots, one year or two, or three or four, doesnt come near righting the scales.

    For a generation or more "fandom" as described by the SF&F intellegentsia has neither been welcoming, nor tolerant, of political dissent.

    Discounting the Sad Puppies, when was the last time a out and proud "right winger" was nominated for or won a novel Hugo? Looking at the list if you go back 10 years, "proud lefties" abound (Leckie, Scalzi Bacigaulupi, Mieville, Gaiman, Chabon…)?

    The last time I see "righties" of equal "outness" winning is in the 80s…

    IMNSHO Sad puppies, etal, is a bashlash against Worldcon, and the "normal" hugo voters sliding evermore leftward over the years, heck I remember the worldcon I went to in the 90s hearing the sly whispers about right wing authors, lately though those whispers are spoken openly, if not yelled from the heights. Yet anyone that questions the status quo has been at best ignored or attacked outright.

    PLus, when you have the yearly fanfaildom BS, and it is directed at those that disagree and the community at large is too afraid to confront (or worse agrees with) the internet bullies, sooner or later they are going to find someone that isnt 1- part of the community (as the worldcon wants it to be, or rather someone who being "shunned" by the clique in power has no meaning) or 2- strong enough in their own right that will hit back. For good or ill, Larry Correia seems to have been that person.

    In other words, someone sowed the wind, and everyone is stuck in the whirlwind.

    Comment by TW - April 6, 2015 1:48 am

  42. […]  -Editor John O’Neill’s official statement on the topic. […]

    Pingback by Sad Puppy Hugo Drama- We hear from some of the nominees | Mountain Was Here - April 6, 2015 2:20 am

  43. First off, you keep referring to the “other side,” as if there’s some counterpart, liberal-voting SJW bloc out there keeping white males off the Hugo ballot. There isn’t one. You have completely imagined it. You have created an entire, possibly Hugo-destroying campaign to spite an enemy that doesn’t even exist.

    With all due respect, John, you’re partly wrong. There is a counterpart liberal-voting SJW bloc out there. We know who they are, we know how big their bloc is, and we know what writers and editors they have been pushing over the years, and we even know what writers they have been trying to suppress. (Not me, just to be clear.) We even have some of the emails they have sent among each other. That being said, they don’t do it to keep white males off the ballot, they do it to advance their own careers and those of their chosen darlings of the year.

    Second, you imply that this “other side” now has a choice: to accept what you’ve done, or lay waste to the entire 2015 Hugo ballot with a “No Award” slate. Again, your assumption is based on a major misconception. There is no “other side.” There is only you, raging against a sea change in Hugo readership that you can only rationally explain by imagining some sinister secret cabal unjustly keeping deserving white males off that ballot.

    Again, you are simply wrong. It’s not an accident that “Zoe’s Tale” was up for Best Novel in 2009, keeping Iain M. Banks off the ballot. It’s not an accident that in 2008, John Scalzi got 41 votes in Best Novel and 43 votes in Best Fan Writer, keeping JK Rowling off the ballot in the former. It’s not an anti-white male campaign, it IS a white male campaign. Given that SP/RP is led by a Hispanic, a white man married to a black woman, and a Native American, the “white male” theme is not really a fair characterization.

    There is a second, smaller, and more recent campaign among a small group of left-wing women, but that is newer and less influential.

    For these people, the Hugo has never been about anything but self-promotion. Black Gate would NEVER have come anywhere close to getting a Hugo nomination because you are neither in the clique nor sufficiently connected with anyone in the clique. If you want to know who is, start looking at Making Light. That’s where it all starts. And that’s why they are so outraged. They know the jig is up and we have taken the Hugo out of their greasy little claws.

    “The Hugos don’t belong to the set of all people who read the genre; they belong to the worldcon, and the people who attend and/or support it. The set of all people who read SF can start their own award.”
    – Teresa Nielsen Hayden, March 29, 2015, 03:43 PM

    It’s their award, you see. Now go away. And that message doesn’t just apply to Sad Puppies, it applies to everyone at Black Gate and even authors at Tor who aren’t in their little circle. It’s kind of funny, because if you look at the right people in the Hugo statistics over time, you can see how many people are actually in on it, and how many others are sort of following along but aren’t really in the know. It’s a core of about 30-40 people who vote as a bloc. There was a similar group in SFWA back when they listed the nominations monthly, albeit much smaller, you could easily see how the same 6 people would immediately recommend all the same works all at the same time.

    Now, we don’t have access to the individual Hugo voting records, but if we did, you would definitely see confirmation that this bloc vote supports a core set of candidates in much greater lockstep than SP/RP did. They have 3-vote variances across categories, we have 186-vote variances this year and 115-vote variances for the successful categories alone.

    The reason they escaped notice for so long is that no one was looking for it. We could have easily done the same and surreptitiously taken a few nominations and perhaps the occasional Award, but we prefer to operate out in the open. In any event, we have broken no rules. And if the other side wants to go No Award, then we can certainly do the same.

    Speaking only for myself, I’m mostly curious to see what people choose. And if they choose to blow their own brains out and destroy the Hugos rather than permit a group that has played fairly and by the rules to claim a few rockets here and there, the Awards deserve to die. There is no planet on which you can reasonably claim that recent winners can compete with this year’s nominees.

    Can anyone here honestly tell me, with a straight face, that REDSHIRTS is a more deserving Best Novel than SKIN GAME would be? Or that Pornokitsch and A Dribble of Ink are better SF blogs than Black Gate? Or that any of last year’s Fan Writer nominees are comparable to either Jeffro Johnson or Matthew David Surridge? If you can’t, then that should give you at least a glimmer of understanding why so many people have enthusiastically embraced Sad Puppies and why we are wholly unrepentant.

    Without Sad Puppies, meritorious works and writers would NEVER have been recognized no matter what. If you want to say it’s my fault that Jim Butcher and John C. Wright and Toni Weisskopf and Black Gate are belatedly being recognized after years of overlooked in favor of their inferiors, that is a crime with which I can quite comfortably live.

    Comment by Theo - April 6, 2015 6:06 am

  44. By the way, this quote may shed a bit more light on the historical situation. From a definite non-SP/RP:

    “You might be surprised how long small block voting has been going on in Hugo nominations. In fact, I was having a conversation with a former Hugo administrator about it last night.

    “The thing is, it’s usually only in a category or two, and usually either not enough to add a single nominated work, or just enough to add a single nominated work.”
    Deirdre says: April 5, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Comment by Theo - April 6, 2015 6:23 am

  45. Hi John,
    As an avid reader of fantasy and SF in my youth, who has returned to the genres in my dotage, I can safely say that an author being a winner of the HUGO award does not affect my choice of reading matter. I can say the same about Gold Dagger, Man Booker, Pulitzer, Nobel prizes etc. etc. I have never been to a convention and have never voted for a book award. In that respect, I suppose I can closely identify with Matthew Surridge. Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies all have passed me by. What I do recognise in all of this is the self-importance with which Sad, Rabid and Bad to know are proclaiming themselves. Over here, we are in the midst of an election campaign which focuses on immigration, border control, welfare corruption and any amount of leftist conspiracy. This is backed by statistics, (when it is not being backed by lies and damned lies), which are often skewed to suit whichever party is spouting them. Self-importance, self-aggrandisement is everywhere.

    I think you have taken a very balanced view of this whole sorry affair and I can understand fully why you feel the Black Gate nomination to be a poisoned chalice. From now on, if I purchase a book which says it is a Hugo award winner or nominee, I will be thinking twice as to whether it actually deserved it or was part of a wider political campaign. Puppies may say that you deserve the nomination on merit but how can we be sure that it is not just a smoke screen? By putting you on the list, they are showing diversity of a sort. Skewing a list in this way does nobody any favours and only goes to show that Puppies are fools. Skewing a list and stating that “we have only played by the rules” is disingenuous. The list is still biased and unrepresentative.

    I spend a great deal of time defending my own political position – white male, socialist, pro feminism, anti-racist, pro LGBT, heterosexual, atheist, pro disability rights, anti-religious prejudice etc. etc. I have spent a great deal of time watching jobs go to white men, watching my wife being passed over because she is female, Irish and disabled. I have watched a government create unemployment on the grounds of solving the national debt. You want conspiracies; I can give them to you wholesale. They are all over the place, these right wing people out to get me. Except I don’t bleat on about it, because, actually, I am not important enough for these right wing people to have an organized conspiracy against me. The Puppies may feel that they have been excluded but are doing so on the flimsiest of evidence. Perish the thought that their work has not previously been nominated because it was not that good. If there is a group of people out there who are actually conspiring against the Puppies, can you give me contact details? I would like to sign up!

    Neil

    Comment by NeilH - April 6, 2015 8:20 am

  46. Who was it who said that the internecine battles fought by academics and other bureaucrats are so vicious because “so little is at stake”?

    Comment by Thomas Parker - April 6, 2015 8:41 am

  47. […] By noreply@blogger.com (Vox) First, I was pleased to see that Black Gate accepted their well-deserved and long-overdue Hugo nomination. John O’Neill, who is one of the finest and most fair individuals on either side of the ideological aisle, explained why: […]

    Pingback by On bloc voting | Neoreactive - April 6, 2015 9:00 am

  48. I came to this site through the article that Matthew wrote. I look forward to reading more!

    Theo, I’m curious as to your methodology and data for calculating variance. One of the primary concerns I have with slates is that they seems to encourage people to copy someone else’s slate rather than assembling their own according to what they’ve read in a given year.

    Are the variance numbers you give: Is this simply the absolute number of votes that each work has received? Is there evidence to suggest whether or not these individual votes are correlated with each other?

    One of the primary characteristics of the Hugo nominating process seems to be a very long tail, where people spread their individual ballots over a wide selection of work. I would be curious to see whether the AP/RP ballots have an equally long tail.

    Comment by learnedfoote - April 6, 2015 9:11 am

  49. @Theo–I’m in agreement with you.

    I’m just a reader but I’m sick of the arts and croissant crowd—“dictating” to the rest of us rubes what is and what is not worthy of an award. Sad Puppies played the same game that was played on them but they were better organized and prepped than the social injustice bunch this time around. They POWNED the Hugos. 71% is a LANDSLIDE. In football terms Sad Puppies got 54 on the board and SJW got a lucky 3 to prevent a SHUT OUT.

    What I find predictable and nauseating is that the revenge is already on the way. They won’t just disagree with you Theo–they are going to ruin you. They are going to take away the awards because that is how they roll. They would rather ruin a reward and punish those who dared not to bend a knee. That is their idea of “justice”. Total and complete subjugation. They already want to change the rules so that they can go back to DICTATING terms.

    Comment by Wild Ape - April 6, 2015 9:32 am

  50. What I find predictable and nauseating is that the revenge is already on the way. They won’t just disagree with you Theo–they are going to ruin you.

    No, they’re not. They’ve been trying to do that since 2005. I am in a considerably better position than I was then. And now I’m coming for them. That’s why they are so hysterical. They are afraid. They know this is just the start.

    They are going to take away the awards because that is how they roll. They would rather ruin a reward and punish those who dared not to bend a knee.

    Look up Xanatos Gambit.

    Comment by Theo - April 6, 2015 9:41 am

  51. There are three quotes I finally realized Theo reminds me of;

    “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

    “I have in my hand a list of 55 Communists in the State Department” (which, for those unaware of the source of this, never get actually stated or shown)

    “Have you no shame Senator? Have you no shame?” (again, for those unfamiliar with the source, rhetorical then and now)

    Comment by tyg - April 6, 2015 10:15 am

  52. > As it happened, yes, 200 bloc nominations would’ve knocked everything that made it off the ballot.
    > It basically took being named on 10% of the nominations to make it on the ballot, and a 12.5% bloc
    > vote would’ve taken 4 of the 5 places.

    tyg,

    Thanks for the insightful stats! I had seen them before at some point, which is why I was able to throw together a rough approximation, but couldn’t recall where when I was drafting my comment above.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 6, 2015 10:19 am

  53. It is worth keeping in mind that as recently as 2008, 200 bloc nominations would have represented 41.4 percent of the vote.

    Like it or not, this is the broadest, most broadly representational Hugo ballot in Hugo history.

    Comment by Theo - April 6, 2015 10:37 am

  54. > Compared to the last few years, or decades, yes. Look at the previous two decades of hugo
    > ballots, one year or two, or three or four, doesnt come near righting the scales…
    > Discounting the Sad Puppies, when was the last time a out and proud “right winger” was nominated
    > for or won a novel Hugo? Looking at the list if you go back 10 years, “proud lefties” abound
    > (Leckie, Scalzi Bacigaulupi, Mieville, Gaiman, Chabon…)?
    > The last time I see “righties” of equal “outness” winning is in the 80s…

    TW,

    Nicely put. And for the record, I think pretty much everything you said above is correct. As a fan of right-wing authors and books that celebrate a right-wing viewpoint, you have a legitimate beef here. Looking over the Hugos, you find your point of view is not represented the way it used to be, and you’re not wrong about that.

    But I believe your logic is still crucially flawed, and that flaw is apparent right here:

    > Look at the previous two decades of hugo ballots, one year or two, or three or four,
    > doesnt come near righting the scales.

    What I hear from you (and other proud right-wing readers) is that all you’re trying to do is “right the scales” to get an appropriate share of awards for your constituency. Nothing wrong with that… until we try to agree exactly what that “share” should be.

    Should it be what it used to be, back in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s? Unfortunately, no, because the rich share of awards (and sales, and acclaim, and etc.) that came to your constituency at that time came because so may other constituencies didn’t have a voice. If you were black, gay, female, transgendered, foreign, radical, etc. etc. etc, it was really, really hard to get published in the 50s and 60s.

    Today, that’s no longer true. Today, there’s a much richer diversity of viewpoints, because the market will bear it — in fact, the market demands it.

    That diversity has come at the price of silencing a lot of the voices you care about. I get that. And while that’s happening, all around us gays, Cubans, trangendered Latinos, Intersex poets (what the hell is “Intersex”??), and constituencies we’ve never heard of are suddenly crying out that they want to “balance the scales” too, and grab their chunk of awards.

    Good for them. That’s exactly what should be happening.

    In the meantime, that share of the market you and I are most interested in keeps shrinking every day. We need to accept that. Things are never going to go back to the way they were in the 80s, when readers could blindly pick up a book and know without question that the protagonist was going to be a straight white male. Those days are over, and they ain’t coming back.

    [By the way, here’s a great video that explained to me what “Intersex” is: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/31/intersex-identity_n_6977528.html ]

    Comment by John ONeill - April 6, 2015 11:26 am

  55. Hey John!
    I appreciate civility too, and thank you for being civil. Hopefully I will be able to maintain the standard going forward!

    “Now, maybe this is naive. Maybe there really IS a secret SJW cabal that has it in for white men, and maneuvers behind the scenes to keep them off the ballot. When many women and non-white writers won last year, I know there was a lot of crowing about it in some circles. (Which I think it perfectly understandable — let’s face it, us white males pretty much had a lock on the awards for decades.)”

    I don’t have a problem and don’t really care what an author’s bio is, since race, gender and so forth don’t encourage or prevent TALENT: you have it and develop it or you don’t, and I read for entertainment. But the Hugo voting process (with less than 250 votes ensuring a lock on nomination and limiting the choices thereby) was ripe for exploitation in the past, and appears to have been exploited in the past, just from the small numbers involved.
    It doesn’t take a large conspiracy when the overall vote is small; even if the only real “conspiring” is limited to, say, fifty people informally agreeing that Author X is more worthy than Author Y, just because X is a member of the group and Y is not. If nothing else, hopefully this chaos has ensured that wider numbers of fans take the time to read all the nominees and vote their preferences.

    “Anyway, my point is that, even if you’re not crazy, and I’m completely wrong, and there IS a bloc operating in secret to screw white guys… this was still a terrible, terrible way to fix it. It was, in effect, declaring war on the Hugos, because white men didn’t get enough awards.”

    Partisan bickering aside, it was OK to discriminate against SWM informally but wrong to point it out (last year’s ballot) and even worse to organize and do something about it? Did SP / RP declare war, or mount a defense? Should they have just continued to shut up, sit down and let this informal “conspiracy” continue?

    I don’t like the way this turned out, but I think I like the previous regime LESS. Let’s say that the previous regime’s emphasis on “diversity and inclusion” (for everyone not SWM) kept only a few SWM authors off the Hugo nominations, and thereby deprived them of publicity and sales. IF those authors were better than the ones nominated, I have been deprived of enjoying their works (assuming I didn’t find out about them elsewhere, and that’s a real possiblility; we are blessed with two small independent bookstores in this major city, and I can’t get to one of them at all, the other occasionally, and the big-box bookstores don’t carry that much from no-name authors). Why should some small group get to decide what I should read? And I found out about THIS site through the chaos shining a light on it; what else is being hidden by exclusion?

    Anyway, I appreciate your position; and I’ll probably wind this down, to save pagespace for better proponents of both sides. Cheers!

    Comment by jamesthewanderer - April 6, 2015 11:37 am

  56. @tyg—-PUH-leeze! Maybe you’ll have to vote for the Hugo before you get to read who was on the list for the Hugo next time.

    I think if there is any McCarthism going on it is with the group against the Sad Puppies. There are already people backing out because they don’t be on someones questionable loyalty list. The SJW sound more like a HUAC than anything I’m reading. And if anyone is blacklisting it isn’t the Sad Puppies. I’m not reading anything remotely related to SJW using public shaming to silence a critic. That is the definition of McCarthyism—so maybe you should reread your history.

    This is the ONLY site that I’ve seen that has had a tame response. Corriea predicted that the establishment would create havoc and he was spot on. I’m reading other sites and the word unhinged comes to mind.

    By the way, Larry Correia turned down the nomination. That Sad Puppy list also contained a true diversity of authors at least from a political perspective. I’d say that he and Sad Puppies have proven by the list that they were serious about being tolerant whereas it looks to me like a mob and McCarthyism on the other side. Who is being intolerant here and who isn’t? Who is telling whom to exclude, what to believe, and what to do? It ain’t the Sad Puppies.

    71% is a bonifide ass whuppin’ for the establishment.

    Comment by Wild Ape - April 6, 2015 11:47 am

  57. > With all due respect, John, you’re partly wrong. There is a counterpart liberal-voting SJW bloc out there. We
    > know who they are, we know how big their bloc is, and we know what writers and editors they have been pushing over
    > the years, and we even know what writers they have been trying to suppress. (Not me, just to be clear.)

    Theo,

    Okay, you believe in a counterpart liberal-voting SJW bloc, and that all you’re doing is trying to add some balance to what looks like a rigged system. I accept that.

    What you’re doing is still a dumb idea.

    First, it’s not me you have to convince. I’ve known you for a long time, I’ve read and admire your fiction, I’ve benefited greatly from your early efforts to promote Black Gate… and I still think you’re indulging in a paranoid right-wing fantasy here.

    But forget about me. You have to convince 10,000+ Hugo voters, and those guys and gals are fiercely independent thinkers who profoundly care about the award, and deeply resent people openly tinkering with it.

    You think you have evidence of a SJW bloc that’s been gaming the awards for years. Hell, maybe you DO have evidence of a SJW bloc that’s been gaming the awards for years. You can’t prove it, and it doesn’t matter even if you could.

    Right now Theo, you’re on trial. The judge and jury are the Hugo voters, a very intelligent and widely read group of science fiction readers. The crime you’re accused of is vote tampering.

    Your defense is, “Someone else did it first.”

    That’s not a defense. Even if it’s true, it’s not a defense.

    The Hugo voters are going to punish you for this, the same way they punished the Sad Puppy slate with a 100% “No Award” lockout last year. And they should, because you’re guilty.

    When they do, you’ll take this as evidence that “the other side” has wronged readers again, and double down with a fresh slate next year. And we’ll go through this dance all over again next year, there’ll be another year of “No Awards”… and another group of deserving writers will be denied Hugo awards.

    This is madness.

    > Without Sad Puppies, meritorious works and writers would NEVER have been recognized no matter what. If you want to
    > say it’s my fault that Jim Butcher and John C. Wright and Toni Weisskopf and Black Gate are belatedly being recognized
    > after years of overlooked in favor of their inferiors, that is a crime with which I can quite comfortably live.

    Well, it’s very true that you got all those folks (including Black Gate) on the ballot. That’s an accomplishment that no one can take away from you.

    I run a website that thrives on publicity, so I’m not suffering in this in any way.

    Who is suffering? The individual or individuals who deserved to be on the ballot, but were displaced when Black Gate was gamed into the slot.

    They’re faceless, and we don’t know who they are, so it’s easy to forget about them. But I don’t.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 6, 2015 11:58 am

  58. > By the way, this quote may shed a bit more light on the historical situation.
    > From a definite non-SP/RP:
    > “You might be surprised how long small block voting has been going on in Hugo
    > nominations. In fact, I was having a conversation with a former Hugo administrator about it last night.

    Theo,

    Oh, I don’t argue that bloc voting has been going on for a while.

    My argument is that Hugo voters don’t like it. And they tend to squash it when they find out about it.

    You seem to think that Hugo voters will just shrug and say, “A ballot’s a ballot. Let’s just vote on this one.” Forgive me, but I think that’s terribly naive.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 6, 2015 12:11 pm

  59. > As an avid reader of fantasy and SF in my youth, who has returned to the genres in my dotage, I can safely say that an
    > author being a winner of the HUGO award does not affect my choice of reading matter.

    Neil,

    Thanks for the comment. I don’t think you’re alone in that — a lot of SF readers, I note, are proud of their independence in their reading choices. It may even be part of what draws us to SF and fantasy.

    > From now on, if I purchase a book which says it is a Hugo award winner or nominee, I will be thinking twice as to
    > whether it actually deserved it or was part of a wider political campaign.

    And it’s for EXACTLY that reason that Hugo voters, as a rule, squash blocs when they discover them.

    Are there still voting blocs our there? Of course. But they’re small, and most people (me included) don’t believe they’re all that effectual.

    But the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies bloc has been more effective than any bloc in history in getting works on the ballot. The Hugo voters have shown very little tolerance for bloc voting when they find it, because they’re very concerned about reactions like yours (and they should be.)

    I’ve said this many times already, but it’s worth saying again here. There’s only one logical course left to Hugo voters, and that’s to do what they usually do: squash bloc voting whenever they find it. I expect all three of the short fiction Hugo will overwhelmingly go to “No Award” this year.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 6, 2015 12:19 pm

  60. Who is suffering? The individual or individuals who deserved to be on the ballot, but were displaced when Black Gate was gamed into the slot.

    They’re faceless, and we don’t know who they are, so it’s easy to forget about them. But I don’t.

    This is a reasonable point and presents a testable prediction, as the Hugo committee will release a list of all the nominated works and their votes. You and Theo should put your money where your mouths are, agree a stake and odds and bet.

    Comment by sconzey - April 6, 2015 12:19 pm

  61. > Who was it who said that the internecine battles fought by academics and other bureaucrats are
    > so vicious because “so little is at stake”?

    Thomas,

    Well, you might not think that so little was at stake if you were a young author trying to make it as a full-time writer and unable to get above a poverty wage… and your first shot at a Hugo in 2015 was taken away from you by a right-wing collective trying to foil an enemy you’re not even sure exists.

    If that happened to you, or to someone you knew, you might be pretty damned pissed.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 6, 2015 12:22 pm

  62. > What I find predictable and nauseating is that the revenge is already on the way. They won’t just disagree with you
    > Theo–they are going to ruin you. They are going to take away the awards because that is how they roll. They would rather
    > ruin a reward and punish those who dared not to bend a knee. That is their idea of “justice”. Total and complete
    > subjugation. They already want to change the rules so that they can go back to DICTATING terms.

    Ape,

    Who is this “they” you keep talking about?

    Is is the liberal-voting SJW bloc Theo talks about? Because I thought they were a relatively small number of folks who plotted in secret.

    Is it the actual Hugo voters, who decide who gets the awards? They’re the only ones with the power to do what you’re talking about. If that’s the case, then the enemy you’re describing here, the one who’s used to dictating terms, is really just public opinion, right?

    So isn’t what you’re saying that you can’t stand public opinion giving the Hugo to the works it finds most deserving, and you’re glad someone’s finally done something about it?

    Comment by John ONeill - April 6, 2015 12:30 pm

  63. It was also said in the original post:

    “Last year, I don’t believe a single one of the Sad Puppies who made the Hugo nominating ballot placed above “No Award.””

    I’m not sure this is true. Skimming through the full gory details from LonCon, it looks like the only SP2 book to be ranked below No Award was Vox Day’s Opera Vita Aeterna.

    Someone tell me if I’m mistaken.

    Comment by sconzey - April 6, 2015 12:32 pm

  64. You can’t prove it, and it doesn’t matter even if you could.

    Don’t count on that. And yes, it certainly will matter if I can. Right now, the primary critical line is that nothing of the sort existed. That line is false, and will further show many of our critics – not you – to AGAIN be liars.

    Right now Theo, you’re on trial. The judge and jury are the Hugo voters, a very intelligent and widely read group of science fiction readers. The crime you’re accused of is vote tampering.

    Your defense is, “Someone else did it first.”

    I respectfully disagree. And I’m glad you’re not my defense lawyer. My defense is “Not guilty”.

    There was no vote tampering whatsoever. I didn’t so much as buy a supporting membership for my wife. Not a single rule was bent, much less broken. And there are numerous people who are most certainly not sympathetic, who have already testified that everything we did was legal and above board.

    The Hugo voters are going to punish you for this, the same way they punished the Sad Puppy slate with a 100% “No Award” lockout last year.

    They may, or they may not. The anti-SP vote was between 600 and 1000 last year. It’s entirely possible that those voters are dumb enough to double-down in light of the consequences, but then, perhaps these “a very intelligent” voters are smart enough to have learned their lesson.

    When they do, you’ll take this as evidence that “the other side” has wronged readers again, and double down with a fresh slate next year. And we’ll go through this dance all over again next year, there’ll be another year of “No Awards”… and another group of deserving writers will be denied Hugo awards. This is madness.

    No, it’s MADness. Mutually Assured Destruction. And anyone with a knowledge of Game Theory will tell you that you do not want to get into a MAD situation with someone who has nothing to lose.

    No one on that slate was ever going to win a Hugo Award. Not me, not Black Gate, not Jim Butcher, not John C. Wright, not any of dozens of talented, successful writers who have been seeing the awards to markedly inferior works.

    Do you want to discuss who kept whom off the ballot? By all means, let’s do that! We kept mediocrities like Scalzi and McGuire from adding to their copious nomination totals this year. They kept Banks and Pratchett and Rowling off the ballot!

    The Hugo voting community should thank us for restoring a modicum of credibility to the awards and preventing the same small clique from continuing to award themselves. But if it chooses instead to react angrily and petulantly by voting No Award, we can certainly follow their lead in the future.

    We played by the rules. We did exactly as we were told we should do. And we’re not terribly inclined to be very impressed by complaints that we did so too effectively. I don’t often agree with the man, but I will cite him here.

    Let’s say it again: change the Hugos by nominating, voting and participating, or (much more slowly and far less reliably) actively making your case to the people who are nominating, voting and participating. As a pro tip, explicitly or implicitly disparaging their intelligence, taste or standing to make choices when you try to do that is unlikely to persuade them to decide anything other than that you’re probably an asshole.
    – John Scalzi, April 5, 2013

    Now, I know you’re not an asshole, John. But I also know that I am not guilty of anything except playing effectively by the rules. Every member of Worldcon who happened to support RP or SP had as much right to vote as they did as every voter who didn’t.

    It isn’t Sad Puppies who threaten the Hugos, it is those who are unable to accept that they were beaten fairly, legitimately, and soundly. It is a very bad idea to say, “hey, it’s a fair game open to everyone, but if you’re smart enough to play by the rules and win, we’ll punish you, then change them!”

    Comment by Theo - April 6, 2015 12:32 pm

  65. I’ve said this many times already, but it’s worth saying again here. There’s only one logical course left to Hugo voters, and that’s to do what they usually do: squash bloc voting whenever they find it. I expect all three of the short fiction Hugo will overwhelmingly go to “No Award” this year.

    John, what part of Mutually Assured Destruction do you not understand? That is the most ILLOGICAL course of action. What you are advocating will lead to the end of the Hugos altogether.

    The problem with that logic is this: we are not a bloc that can be squashed. That’s what they thought last year and they were wrong. I suggest the concept of “don’t reinforce failure” is one you should seriously consider.

    It hasn’t even been two days. People will require some time to adjust to the new reality. At the very least, give it some time to think things through before reacting.

    Comment by Theo - April 6, 2015 12:43 pm

  66. > But the Hugo voting process (with less than 250 votes ensuring a lock on nomination and limiting the choices
    > thereby) was ripe for exploitation in the past, and appears to have been exploited in the past, just from the small numbers involved.

    James,

    Understood. I recognize that at least part of the SP/RP effort has been an attempt to rectify perceived bloc votes from a SJW cabal. I don’t believe it exists, but let’s set that aside for now.

    Perception is the real battle here. First, and most important, it’s crucial for the Hugo Awards to be perceived as more-or-less free of tampering. Sure, accusations of bloc voting are thrown around every few years, but as long as the broad public perception of the Hugos isn’t tarnished, the integrity of the Hugos in the public eye survives.

    What are the consequences if it is? I think Neil put it best above:

    > From now on, if I purchase a book which says it is a Hugo award winner or nominee, I will be thinking twice as to
    > whether it actually deserved it or was part of a wider political campaign.

    That’s exactly what Hugo voters at large CANNOT ALLOW TO HAPPEN. Yes, there’s always accusations simmering below the surface, and maybe some of them have merit from time to time. But all of that is tolerated as long as the public face of the awards isn’t tarnished.

    What Theo and the SP/RP slate have done is very publicly tamper with the awards. They’ve done it in a forthright and above-board fashion.

    But that doesn’t matter to Hugo voters, because if it is allowed to stand, the public face of the awards will be badly tarnished. I don’t believe Hugo voters will stand for this.

    The disconnect I see from Theo and the Sad Puppies is that they expect everyone to see the same things they do. They expect everyone to see a liberal-voting SJW bloc that’s clearly been tampering with the awards for years. In that light, they don’t see why there should be any repercussions when they do the same thing, openly and honestly.

    Here’s what I see: the vast majority of Hugo voters don’t see a counterpart SJW bloc to Theo. Or if they do, they generally think it’s ineffectual and harmless, and not publicly damaging the integrity of the awards. The SP/RP slate threatens to publicly damage the integrity of the Hugos on a scale never seen before, and Hugo voters will move quickly and efficiently — just as they did with a much smaller perceived threat last year — to lock the slate out of any awards.

    They will see this as entirely necessary to protect the integrity of the awards — and they are correct to think so.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 6, 2015 1:19 pm

  67. Sometime reader and near-first-time poster. I can’t speak for anyone else supporting the Sad Puppies, but I can certainly explain my support, and it’s not political, or mostly not.

    I’ve been reading SFF for over 40 years and was active in the industry and con-scene in the late 80s and early- to mid-90s. The friends I had in the business since then have been gradually pushed out.

    To say that there isn’t an “other side” is naive. There most certainly is and it’s a small number of pros (editors and authors) and fans who are heavily invested in “fen” culture. I stopped going to cons because of the insular, in-group nature of the “fandom” found there was unwelcoming. As the 2000s got going, I found my reading of SFF dwindling primarily because I couldn’t find much that I really wanted to read and I grew tired of buying new books and especially new authors based on reviews only to find many of them disappointing at best and unreadable at worst. I still kept up with the field, but largely only on the recommendation of friends whose taste was similar and who were still willing to be guinea pigs.

    It’s only been in the last several years, with the rise of indie publishing, that I’m really back reading SFF, nearly daily. My participation this year in Sad Puppies (and I read all the works I nominated) was specifically tied to last years Hugos, especially short form.

    That the Dinosaur story won a Nebula was bad, but it was also nominated for a Hugo. I don’t care about the author’s identity, orientation, or politics. The story simply wasn’t SFF by any stretch of the imagination. It was nominally clever in form, and appears to tick the right on the liberal/left check list, but it wasn’t SFF. The story that won “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” at least had the barest fig-leave of a science-fictional idea, but one that was never explored, never explained, and had the barest minimal impact on the story. If one were to remove that fig leaf, you’d be left with a fairly pedestrian coming-out story, one in which the central conflict is pretty weak. And these were the “Best” short stories of the year and loudly championed?

    The “Lady Astronaut” novellete was at least more firmly grounded in SF with a retro vibe (never really explored, just kind of laying there), but here, too, if you remove the SFF-ness, it’s a story that wouldn’t really be harmed by not being SFF. Indeed, to my mind it probably would have had more impact as a story if it weren’t SFF, as the central conflict (leave a dying spouse for a last opportunity to achieve a higher calling) would have been the main focus.

    Combined with the savaging of authors nominated on the SP slate last year, and you have an award and a field that has been highjacked for ideological purposed.

    Just the reaction to John C. Wright’s nominations (for some very good and even excellent stories) just because he’s perceived as a “bad” man has only cemented in my mind that there is not only an “other side,” but that they are willing to burn down the Hugos in a fit of pique by automatically choosing No Award over anything related to SP regardless of merit, which goes against all their exhortation last year (vote for works on the merit of the work). I’m confident that the “No Award” strategy is going to backfire, and those who champion that path will be the one who have torched the Hugos.

    Me? I just want to find really good SFF. If SJW-types want to write with a message in mind, fine. All I ask is that they write good SFF stories first with message second. I don’t really care about the message: if they write good stories, I’d even vote for them. Alas, they don’t…

    And I fail to see how following all the rules for nominating works for a Hugo being followed is “publicly tampering” with the awards. Mainly because it’s not.

    Comment by LostSailor - April 6, 2015 1:28 pm

  68. > John, what part of Mutually Assured Destruction do you not understand? That is the most ILLOGICAL course of action.
    > What you are advocating will lead to the end of the Hugos altogether.

    Theo,

    OK, I think we’re finally getting somewhere. At least now you and I see the same endgame in all this.

    I’ve explained my logic in my response to James above, but here’s the core of it again: yes, there are routinely accusations of bloc voting in the Hugos, but none of those accusations have seriously damaged the public reputation of the Hugos. The SP/RP slate, because of its scale and because it was done in an open and forthright manner, has the potential to damage the reputation of the Hugos on a scale not seen before.

    I believe there’s a disconnect here, and you don’t see that threat, because you already see evidence of major damage to the Hugos as a result of previous tampering.

    My belief is that Hugo voters will react to the SP/RP slate as an unprecedented, large scale threat to the integrity of the Hugos, and react decisively to squash it.

    You see that as the first step in a MAD-like escalation that could destroy the Hugos.

    On that last part, I think we’re in complete agreement.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 6, 2015 1:31 pm

  69. My belief is that Hugo voters will react to the SP/RP slate as an unprecedented, large scale threat to the integrity of the Hugos, and react decisively to squash it. You see that as the first step in a MAD-like escalation that could destroy the Hugos.

    I see it as something more like the 5th step, but yes. What you have to understand is that SP/RP is not monolithic. We range from arsonists to moderates who genuinely believe hand-holding and singing a filk version of kumbaya is possible.

    I’m inclined towards the arsonist side, but I am not the most extreme. So, we’re not even remotely afraid of the Hugo voters No Awarding everything, nor will it surprise us any more than the attempt to put the SP’s 6 of 5 last year.

    I’ll walk you through it. There are four legal possibilities.

    1. They try to No Award but we bring in sufficient numbers to render the attempt impotent.
    2. They try to No Award and we join them.
    3. They try to No Award and are successful.
    4. They stand down and vote each work on the perceived merits.

    The consequences:

    1. Their influence is broken.
    2. Smoking hole.
    3. Some categories go awardless. Smoking hole next year.
    4. They and the Hugos remain intact. Maybe they’ll win, maybe we will, or maybe we’ll end up agreeing on some excellent candidates of mutual appeal.

    We can cheerfully live with all of those consequences. The question for the Hugo voters is which option they prefer. We’ve asked the question, it’s up to them to tell us the answer.

    There is a fifth option, of course. Sasquan can violate the Worldcon constitution and simply give out the awards to whomever it pleases. But I don’t think they are that short-sighted or foolish.

    Comment by Theo - April 6, 2015 2:12 pm

  70. “And I fail to see how following all the rules for nominating works for a Hugo being followed is ‘publicly tampering’ with the awards.”

    LostSailor: As a Hugo voter for several years, I regard the slates as tampering because they filled the ballot with the choices of only two people: Brad Torgersen and Vox Day (Theo). As a nominator I picked works I liked and have been confident in my belief that the bulk of nominating and voting is done by other people doing the same. But the pool of people eligible to vote for Hugos is small (850 people nominated a best novella last year), so it doesn’t take much for a small group voting as a bloc to determine all of the nominees.

    I’m what the Puppies crowd claims to want as a Hugo voter. I pick the works I like and don’t vote my political preferences or any other considerations.

    But none of my nominees made the ballot, and for as long as there are slates, it is unlikely that any nominee I select as an individual will ever make the ballot.

    So my choice is to either reward Torgersen and Day for their hostile takeover of the Hugos or use No Award to discourage the use of slates in the future.

    It’s quite obvious that John O’Neill is right and Hugo voters will use No Award to reject this.

    That’s a pity for the worthy nominees promoted by a slate, like Black Gate, but letting two people dictate the Hugo ballot is something I can’t abide.

    Comment by rcade - April 6, 2015 3:18 pm

  71. > 4. They stand down and vote each work
    > …
    > 4. They and the Hugos remain intact. Maybe they’ll win, maybe we will, or maybe we’ll end up agreeing on some excellent
    > candidates of mutual appeal.

    Wait a minute… so this is your strategy? You think you can negotiate a peaceful resolution with the other side, they will back down and accept your slate, and the Hugos will proceed with this as the natural order of things from now on?

    Theo, with all due respect, that’s a complete fantasy. You’re not negotiating with anyone. Because THERE IS NO OTHER SIDE.

    This isn’t a debate. It’s a vote. And the only thing that matters is public perception… and right now, you are losing that battle rather badly.

    Before this started, you were already the most hated man in science fiction. Now, you want to try to use this epic hack of the Hugo ballot, and the threat of mutually assured destruction of the awards, to negotiate a peaceful settlement where you get a fair share of the candidates you want on the ballot.

    Who are you going to negotiate with? The SJW bloc? Patrick Nielsen Hayden and a secret cabal of left-wing publishers? The World Science Fiction Society, who administers the Hugo?

    While you’re waiting for them to contact you, there are 200 blogs around the country demonizing you and itemizing your new crimes against science fiction. And unlike you, they’re talking directly to a specific audience: Worldcon attendees, and the fans who influence them. Because they’re the ones will will decide the outcome.

    Now, you want those people to negotiate a surrender with you, and agree on terms for future Hugos. But they can’t do that. They only have to power to do one thing: vote for the Hugos.

    So do you really, truly think that the electorate here — most of whom already regard you as the most hated man in SF — are going to hand you a win, under any circumstances? What do they get for that? Relief from your threat of mutually assured destruction?

    Mutually assured destruction only works when you have another side to negotiate with. All you have are 10,000+ individual Worldcon attendees who have already shown you what they think when you try to muscle work onto the ballot.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 6, 2015 3:47 pm

  72. @rcade: “As a Hugo voter for several years, I regard the slates as tampering because they filled the ballot with the choices of only two people: Brad Torgersen and Vox Day (Theo).”

    I beg to differ. The SP “slate” were some recommendations based on input from largely Brad’s blog readers. He quite specifically urged people who had paid for a WorldCon membership to read the choices and vote for what they liked. Which is what I did. So, their “slate” wasn’t the choices of only two people, my nominations were the choice of only one person: me. I happened to agree with a large swath of those suggestions, but not all.

    “It’s quite obvious that John O’Neill is right and Hugo voters will use No Award to reject this.”

    They are, of course, free to vote as they will. But bear in mind that this has almost overnight become a organized strategic response, not a spontaneous reaction. How is that not organized “bloc” voting? It’s not really. And it is likely to backfire, because if that’s a legitimate organized strategy, others can use it as well. It will be a sad ceremony where no Hugos are awarded at all. That’s the “smoking hole” scenario.

    @John: I can’t and don’t speak for him (as if…), but I don’t think Vox is suggesting negotiating a “peaceful solution.” No such negotiation is possible. Not because there is “no other side” (the rapidly coordinated “no award” response is evidence there is an “other side”) but because the other side would rather burn the house down than open the door. Can’t “negotiate” with that.

    And 10,000+ WorldCon attendees are beside the point. How many of those attendees will actually vote? LonCon had 3,587 valid ballots for the Hugos and only Novel had the most ballots at 3,137. I doubt 2/3ds of the WorldCon membership has even heard of Vox.

    Comment by LostSailor - April 6, 2015 5:12 pm

  73. Before this started, you were already the most hated man in science fiction. Now, you want to try to use this epic hack of the Hugo ballot, and the threat of mutually assured destruction of the awards, to negotiate a peaceful settlement where you get a fair share of the candidates you want on the ballot.

    John, what makes you think my personal preference is Option Four? What makes you assume I even necessarily have a preference? I was simply spelling out the obvious scenarios.

    So do you really, truly think that the electorate here — most of whom already regard you as the most hated man in SF — are going to hand you a win, under any circumstances?

    Again, John, how do you know what I consider to be a win? Is this not the home of adventure fiction? What is good in life, to be given a piece of plastic or to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women?

    They chose to be enemies. Not me. They could have simply left me alone, but they chose otherwise.

    Comment by Theo - April 6, 2015 5:53 pm

  74. “you might not think that so little was at stake if you were a young author trying to make it as a full-time writer and unable to get above a poverty wage… and your first shot at a Hugo in 2015 was taken away from you by a right-wing collective trying to foil an enemy you’re not even sure exists.”

    I’m sure that’s so, John, and I wasn’t trying to minimize the injustice of the situation or say that those being screwed shouldn’t be indignant – just expressing my utter amazement at the fiendish ingenuity, bloodcurdling brinksmanship, and Machiavellian strategies being used to manipulate a genre award that most people don’t even know exists.

    Comment by Thomas Parker - April 6, 2015 5:56 pm

  75. “It will be a sad ceremony where no Hugos are awarded at all.”

    It’s already a sad situation. If you weren’t on the slates selected by Brad Torgersen and Vox Day, the work you did in 2014 wasn’t going to get a Hugo nomination — with only a handful of exceptions. And since Vox Day used his slate to promote himself, his publishing house and his authors, the ballot is full of shameless self-dealing.

    Next year a new buddy of Larry Correia/Torgersen/Day will be choosing a new slate, they’ve already announced, and there undoubtedly be counter-slates. So there’s even less chance an individual Hugo voter like me will have any say in the nominations that make the ballot.

    “I happened to agree with a large swath of those suggestions, but not all.”

    So you’re a victim of bloc voting too. The nominations you made that deviated from the party line had almost no chance.

    The bloc voting strategy even screws over works that were suggested to Torgersen but didn’t make his slate’s top five in a category. It greatly reduced their chance of a nomination even if other non-slate voters also liked it.

    Comment by rcade - April 6, 2015 6:37 pm

  76. > John, what makes you think my personal preference is Option Four? What makes you assume I even necessarily have a preference?
    > Again, John, how do you know what I consider to be a win? Is this not the home of adventure fiction? What is good in
    > life, to be given a piece of plastic or to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women?

    Well, Theo, then I confess that you’ve left me bewildered.

    I’ve tried hard — genuinely tried — to understand what it is you’re trying to accomplish, and what I’m left with is your desire to crush your enemies.

    My guess is that the majority of the Hugo electorate will make less of an effort to understand you. Maybe they’ll come to the same conclusion that your ultimate goal is destruction. Or maybe they just won’t understand you at all.

    That doesn’t help your cause when those voters have to decide to support your ballot, or vote for “No Award.”

    Because the case for voting “No Award” is crystal clear. And set against an agenda of simple destruction, it looks pretty good.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 6, 2015 6:52 pm

  77. I’ve tried hard — genuinely tried — to understand what it is you’re trying to accomplish, and what I’m left with is your desire to crush your enemies.

    John, the problem you’re having is that there is no one thing Sad Puppies is trying to accomplish. It’s like asking what #GamerGate wants. We are literally Legion.

    What I want is not what Brad wants which is not what Larry wants. As for me, I’m mostly curious. I find it truly remarkable that a group of supposedly intelligent people can so consistently choose the most obviously self-destructive course of action. It’s definitely a “for want of a nail” situation.

    I’m not angry. I’m not spiteful. A little contemptuous, sure, but that’s just a character flaw. Mostly, I’m bemused. Do you think any game company would commit shrieking ritual suicide in outrage because someone quite legally exploited a flaw in the game? Maybe it’s just a fundamental culture clash or angst in the face of a rapidly changing publishing industry. I don’t know.

    What I do know is that there are an awful lot of people who think all the histrionics are not only hysterical, but borderline insane.

    Comment by Theo - April 6, 2015 7:18 pm

  78. Wow, 77 comments so far. I saw Mary Robinette Kowal tweet about this a few days ago, and I *knew* I could come here for a broader explanation that Twitter allows. 😉

    You know how I feel: I pretty much agree with you John (and John Scalzi). I’d say more, but probably would end up insulting some people (cough, Vox Day, cough). Let’s just say, any award that has Vox nominated in any category, I will pretty much write off entirely for that year—completely useless as far as my tastes go.

    Comment by Allen Snyder - April 6, 2015 7:44 pm

  79. And oh yeah, anyone who uses SJW in a derogatory manner: I put no stock in their opinions (or intelligence) whatsoever.

    Comment by Allen Snyder - April 6, 2015 7:46 pm

  80. Given the great changes in those who write, edit, publish, and read SF over the last thirty years or so, and how very broad the genre is now, is it still even possible to have a single award legitimately claim to acknowledge the best of the genre? I think it probably is, but for those who can’t live with the way things are now, why don’t they just “secede” instead of laying waste to everything around them? If the Hugos are so corrupt and compromised, why not simply start an alternate award that honors the kind of work they value most? Or is that too rational?

    Comment by Thomas Parker - April 6, 2015 8:03 pm

  81. >>>> From now on, if I purchase a book which says it is a Hugo award winner or nominee, I will be thinking twice as to
    > whether it actually deserved it or was part of a wider political campaign.
    That’s exactly what Hugo voters at large CANNOT ALLOW TO HAPPEN. <<<

    The problem though is that is already happening.

    And has been for 10-15 years.

    Comment by TW - April 6, 2015 8:04 pm

  82. Scorched Earth tactics.

    I wonder if this SP group realizes the damage they’re doing to the writers on the nominee list.

    And to the genre itself.

    Comment by CatAstronaut - April 6, 2015 8:15 pm

  83. Given the great changes in those who write, edit, publish, and read SF over the last thirty years or so, and how very broad the genre is now, is it still even possible to have a single award legitimately claim to acknowledge the best of the genre? I think it probably is, but for those who can’t live with the way things are now, why don’t they just “secede” instead of laying waste to everything around them? If the Hugos are so corrupt and compromised, why not simply start an alternate award that honors the kind of work they value most? Or is that too rational?

    Thomas, I think your question is a good one. The non-identity-politics objection I’ve most often heard to trends in the Hugo awards is that it started as a science fiction award, but it is often given to works of fantasy. If we set aside for a moment the issues of identity politics and right/left politics in the above thread, one of the objections we’re left with is this: fans of science fiction want to see more science fiction nominated for the best-known award in the genre, and it’s even more frustrating when some of the nominated and award-winning works that are nominally science fiction have only minor, non-essential elements of science fiction in them.

    That seems like a solvable problem. It even seems like a problem that people who disagree about all the other issues swirling around this controversy might (someday, not this year) be able to reach agreement about. While people are talking about reforming the Hugo anyway (for better or worse), why not float the idea of making the Hugo explicitly a science fiction award, to the exclusion of fantasy?

    Fantasists qualify for the World Fantasy Award. I suppose it’s possible that works of science fiction might have been nominated for Howies, but I’ve never heard of it happening. Others may have different views, but even as a fantasy writer who would then be excluded from eligibility, I would find it reasonable if an award conferred by the World Science Fiction Convention could only be give to works of actual science fiction.

    Of course science fiction and fantasy are still sibling genres, and of course many authors and readers participate in both genres. The Nebula is one award that still covers both. No doubt there are currently others that are more fan/reader-centered in their selection processes, and there’s no reason some other award couldn’t be founded.

    The Hugo, like all the other awards in the field(s) of science fiction and fantasy, has been around for less than a century. It was instituted by human beings within living memory (in 1953, I think?). If it dies off and is replaced by some other award or awards, that would be unfortunate, but not the end of the world. Classic authors of the genres before 1953 — Mary Shelley, Sara Coleridge, Margaret Cavendish, and plenty of others — blazed trails for us all, entirely without Hugo eligibility, let alone Hugo awards.

    Comment by Sarah Avery - April 6, 2015 9:06 pm

  84. @Thomas Parker—I agree that it is impossible and perhaps to narrow to legitimately determine the years best. I think it would be better if the Hugos grew in number or added a category. John makes a good point that minorities were excluded from the award in the past but that wrong cannot be righted in the manner that SJW does it. I think they put politics before merit and water down the standard in some cases. I’d rather see a new category that looks at those that were overlooked in the past. Wouldn’t it be cool to see Charles Saunders finally get his due?

    @CatAstronaut—I respectfully reject your thinking on this. The Scorched Earth tactics are not being employed by SP, they are being orchestrated by the left establishment. I didn’t purposefully do anything with my vote but to vote for who I read and liked. I let my friends onto the voting and they voted too. How exactly are they hurting the genre? I have a lot of liberal buddies and we don’t talk politics much because people look at it like religion. But we swap books or recommend them and we talk about them and they cover politics that we may or may not agree with at the time. It is funny how science fiction and fantasy are able to do what politics cannot. Anyway some writers are popular across political lines. I did nothing but vote for some of those writers who happened to be on the Sad Puppy list that I liked. Promoting sci-fi and good reading is beneficial to everyone. Shutting down a voice because you don’t like their politics is wrong and does a lot more to hurt the genre.

    What exactly is ruined in the genre if a Sad Puppy candidate got an award? John says that those who were displaced by the vote are out an award which could mean a lot to them. Well, isn’t this the same thing that happened to other conservative writers? Talk about cherry picked outrage! I suppose it is okay to beat down the conservative just like they used to beat down the homosexual, or the communist, or the handicapped once were. When you need for people to stop discriminating–you use discrimination? Really? Is that what the philosophy of science fiction and Hugo winners of the past reflected? I’ve been told that the dark side of human nature perpetuates the abuse by teaching the abused how to do it. I’ve been told by many Hugo awardees through their fiction that I should be mindful of abusing people–even those that I find repugnant. Evidently, that philosophy is wrong. We should abuse the oppressed until their morale improves and until they vocally like our point of view—tell them it is just public opinion.

    Instead of taking the high road which would be to congratulate the winners and then show up in 2016 with a more organized list and group and vote—the left would rather burn it to the ground than have the conservatives “taint the integrity of the Hugo”. What a laugh. Does Social Justice stand for Justice or JUST-US? Where are the Warriors who stand for the freedom they supposedly crow about? @Allen Snyder–it looks to me that you support tolerance by being intolerant. You are sure to win over my side to your “rational” intolerance. I have no idea how one would use SJW in a derogatory manner. The difference is that I recognize their right to speak their mind and have no problem with them being at the table. They do have a problem with me though. They aren’t happy with silencing my opinion–they want to exterminate and criminalize it. They are the ones who want to marginalize and minimize people based on their beliefs.

    Comment by Wild Ape - April 6, 2015 9:22 pm

  85. If there is an other side, they must have a really lame outreach committee. I would seem to be the obvious sort of person for their recruitment — feminist, biologically female, an advocate of justice for all and equal protection under the law. I’m not sure what boundaries folks on the right put on their concept of a social justice warrior — anyone who prefers justice over injustice and says so out loud, perhaps? — but probably there are some conservatives who define the term in a way that might include me.

    So why isn’t my email inbox full of invitations to the conspiracy? Surely my forty bucks would get just as weighty a vote among supporting members of WorldCon as anybody else’s forty bucks.

    For that matter, I’m actually a member of a professional association whose mission is to promote science fiction, fantasy, and horror by women. Some of the folks who incline toward the SP/RP slate have probably heard of Broad Universe. I know John C. Wright has, because the first time I met him, he and his wife L. Jagi Lamplighter came to a Broad Universe group reading at the Library of Congress. He came in support, not in protest. (And now that I’ve had occasion to dig up that old memory, I recall he was very gracious to my mom and godmother, the only folks to join us at the post-reading lunch who were neither writers nor librarians — another reason to hope Wright comes through this mess without too much damage.)

    In any case, you would think that any conspiracy to shut straight white men out of the genres’ major awards would have some kind of presence within Broad Universe. I’ve been on its members-only listserv for years, and not only has there been no such chatter before nomination deadlines, there’s still not any chatter about the nominations going on there right now, even with the controversy boiling over everywhere else.

    I’ve been networking for a decade, in many settings, with writers whose left-leaning views are harmonious with my own. I would guesstimate that more than half of them are women. We help each other out when we can, share our connections when we can. I’ve never heard through my grapevine about any kind of concerted effort to get anyone onto or keep anyone off of a ballot.

    Why didn’t I get invited to the clandestine committee meetings? Where’s my secret decoder ring?

    It’s possible that I’m just too small a fish to be noticed by some sinister underground sisterhood. It’s also possible that John’s right, and there is no such group. As small a fish as I am, my bet is on the latter.

    Comment by Sarah Avery - April 6, 2015 10:09 pm

  86. You’re not fooling anyone, Sarah. Your statements are the obviously deliberate misdirections of a highly-placed SJW Generalissima. Kafka knew:

    “But I am not guilty,” said K. “It’s a mistake. Besides, how can a man be guilty? We’re all men.” “True,” said the priest, “but that’s how the guilty talk.”

    Comment by Thomas Parker - April 6, 2015 10:31 pm

  87. I would ask why wasn’t Black Gate nominated before? I have been a fan for the past three years. I found a link on one of my right wing blogs :). I really enjoy the review of some of the old books. (Just finished The Ship that Sailed the Time Stream.)

    I saw Black Gate on the list today and joined WorldCon so I could vote for BG and some of the others. I’ve been reading the debate over the past few months and I think the Sad Puppies project is great. It is getting SF fans involved. I’ve been reading SF and Fantasy for 40 years and never voted on a Hugo or posted to a blog. This is my first post.

    I have two problems with current gatekeepers- 1. I am not a true SF fan because because I am SWM who is also a conservative. 2. They judge a book by the author’s race/gender/politics first and writing ability second.

    I have seen many blogs saying they will only read books by women or person’s of color. I have never read a book based on the author’s race/gender/politics. I read books based on the writer’s ability. I have read and enjoyed Delany and Atwood but completely disagree with their politics. On the other hand, The SJWs want to burn Orson Scott Card and his books for his views.

    The Sad Puppies list has women and minorities listed. The difference is that I feel they judged by writing ability and not race/gender/politics.

    Comment by Bromius - April 6, 2015 10:50 pm

  88. You’re conjuring the ghost of Kafka? Thomas, if I wake in the morning to find that I have turned into a gigantic insect, I will know where the responsibility lies. :)

    Comment by Sarah Avery - April 6, 2015 11:49 pm

  89. The old days are passing. The Indie Revolution is busy destroying the former gate keepers. I give a big shout out to that. Blue SF is alive and well again. Just like Black Gate helped restore old time sword and sorcery to the table. John, you deserve a Hugo for that.

    It looks like SP and RP are the hammers that are breaking the SJWs death grip on the Hugos. Thank you, Theo and Company.

    Comment by Pa Kur - April 7, 2015 12:10 am

  90. > What is good in life, to be given a piece of plastic or to crush your enemies,
    > see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women?

    Wow. That’s er…. well, it’s clear at least, I guess.

    I’m a 30+ year science fiction reader. I’ve been to WorldCons, but I’ve never voted for the Hugo Awards before, because I’ve never considered myself knowledgeable enough to vote fairly. I don’t have time to read all the nominees, so I’ve felt it would be unfair of me to vote. But I consider the Hugo Awards “mine”, just like they are every fans’, and unfortunately, after reading this comment thread, I now feel I have enough information to vote fairly this year.

    I registered here to say that, John, in my case you are correct. The Hugos are not supposed to be about crushing one’s enemies. Mutually Assured Destruction is an affront to civilization. And I also don’t like bullies. No Award it is then. :-(

    Comment by shiawase - April 7, 2015 12:23 am

  91. “My guess is that virtually the entire awards slate will be rejected out of hand by Hugo voters, who do not take kindly to being dictated to.”

    I’m curious, How does voting differ from nominating? Why do you think it will turn out differently?

    Comment by Nick Gardner - April 7, 2015 12:29 am

  92. John, you have accepted the nomination. Is the taint of a SP/RP nomination so odious that you think that an overt campaign to No Award is justified, regardless of the quality of the nominated content? If you don’t, instead of talking up its inevitability, or blaming Theo, why not simply condemn the campaign and the group promoting just that? And it is a group (whether acknowledged or not), since they all nearly literally talk and act in lockstep.

    As far as goals, I don’t know what Theo’s are, but neither do you, yet you keep writing with absolute certainty about them (and those of other parties).

    Comment by Shimshon - April 7, 2015 4:42 am

  93. Wow–I’m looking on Twitter at Larry Correia’s page. The left has gone to war. You should read the knee jerk response articles excoriating the Sad Puppies and then their retractions when they actually READ the recommendations and understand who is on the list. It is hard to separate what is legit criticism from what is venom aimed at people who have dissenting opinions.

    @Sarah Avery—you probably didn’t make the loyalty cut to get the decoder ring, you sound far too reasonable. You should read what they are saying on Twitter and on blogs right now, they don’t sound like the open minded types and I think that is where you went foul. Here is a tip: When asked if a man is in the middle of the forest and no one is there to hear him speak–was what he said wrong? The answer is yes.

    Seriously, what I am seeing on the internet is so ugly and hateful. I would be hanging my head in shame. These people are not thinking–they are reacting—and reasoned discourse is a waste of time. John, you may call this “public opinion” but I don’t think it is. I think it is a minority suddenly realizing that they no longer have sway over what they thought was their’s and they are angry. They are angry because they are filled with fear which is being dangled in front of them like a carrot to the whim of these race baiters. They want them reacting to that fear and not thinking.

    Go ahead, vote No Award, pull the trigger on an author who was on the Sad Puppy list. Pull the trigger on the fans that voted for their favorite author. Don’t think about it though. Just let the fear live and breath until we are at an “enlightened” plane of tolerance. Never again let a right winger DARE to put a name on a list. That is for properly trained masters of literature to decide to the masses what is and what is not worthy of a Hugo and who is and who is not superior and inferior.

    Comment by Wild Ape - April 7, 2015 8:28 am

  94. Here is some of that reasoned discourse from those “very intelligent Hugo voters”. This comment was from an angry supporter of Jeff Vandenmeer yesterday.

    “I am working my local police department in Massachusetts to shut Vox Day down. His wife is even worse, trying to seduce me and sickly obsessed with sleeping with me, inviting me to “3somes” with her and Vox. Sick stuff.”

    Crazy stuff, right? But then there is this:

    “It’s really, really obvious that VD is not acquainted with actual women. I don’t just mean sexual relations. I mean he’s had little or no social interaction of any sort. It’s pretty clear that VD fears and dislikes women.”

    The second quote is Teresa Nielsen Hayden of Tor. From March 7, 2005. Before I’d ever even heard of the woman.

    So, keep that in mind if you think I give even a quantum of a damn about all the tears and outrage. If you’re going to side with those malicious freakshows, then you’re going to go down with them.

    And if you want to take the Hugos down too, that’s on you.

    Comment by Theo - April 7, 2015 9:14 am

  95. More people vote than nominate. There were 1,595 people making nominations for best novel in 2014 and 3,587 voted.

    “I have two problems with current gatekeepers- 1. I am not a true SF fan because because I am SWM who is also a conservative. 2. They judge a book by the author’s race/gender/politics first and writing ability second.”

    There are no gatekeepers. This is a groundless accusation put forward by the proponents of bloc voting, but when pressed they admit they have no proof the Hugos have ever been unfairly manipulated.

    Comment by rcade - April 7, 2015 10:35 am

  96. > Sometime reader and near-first-time poster. I can’t speak for anyone else supporting the Sad Puppies, but I can
    > certainly explain my support, and it’s not political, or mostly not.

    Lost,

    Welcome to the blog! And thanks for the great comment, I found it very helpful.

    > To say that there isn’t an “other side” is naive. There most certainly is and it’s a small number of pros (editors and
    > authors) and fans who are heavily invested in “fen” culture. I stopped going to cons because of the insular, in-group
    > nature of the “fandom” found there was unwelcoming.

    Whoa – I certainly didn’t say that fans weren’t insular and sometimes unwelcoming, or that there weren’t active, organized groups, some of them with a political agenda. That’s a whole different argument.

    My claim that there’s “no other side” is that there’s no evidence I can see of a secret SJW cabal who are actively working to keep right-wing and adventure-oriented SF off the Hugo ballot. I’ve heard that several times, and it seems nuts to me.

    I’ve heard lots of rational, perfectly understandable explanations for why fans banded together to vote to SP/RP this year — to get some long-deserved recognition for writers who’ve been unjustly overlooked, to signal strong dissatisfaction with recent winners, etc. etc. All makes sense.

    But this claim that there’s this “counterpart liberal-voting SJW bloc” that secretly votes the same ballot every year and has been controlling the outcome of the Hugo in defiance of popular will for years… that just makes you sound paranoid.

    > As the 2000s got going, I found my reading of SFF dwindling primarily because I couldn’t find much that I
    > really wanted to read and I grew tired of buying new books and especially new authors based on reviews only to find
    > many of them disappointing at best and unreadable at worst.

    OK, this is also really helpful ti understand your viewpoint. But I’m mystified as to why it’s included in the paragraph as evidence to “another side.” Do you think that the “other side” has somehow hijacked all of SF publishing and is somehow controlling the entire market?

    Here’s what I believe: I believe in the market. When publishers shift away from adventure-oriented or right-wing work, it’s because it is no longer selling. It’s because it’s no longer what the market wants.

    And here’s what I hear when you say the above:

    “I’m an older reader who is no longer in tune with what modern readers are reading, buying, and enjoying. I don’t understand why the market has moved away from what I like, but I don’t accept the simple explanation that people think differently than me. I think it’s more logical to believe in a secret force of liberal elites who are controlling Tor, DAW, Ace, Roc, Orbit, Solaris, Pyr,, St Martins, Dell, Baen, Bantam Spectra, NAL, Pocket Books, Night Shade, Del Rey, Prime, Simon & Schuster, and every other major publisher, and deliberately not selling popular books so they won’t make money.”

    I’m sorry to say this, but that sounds kinda crazy. And I just don’t buy it.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 7, 2015 10:42 am

  97. > As a Hugo voter for several years, I regard the slates as tampering because they filled the ballot with the choices of only
    > two people: Brad Torgersen and Vox Day (Theo)… letting two people dictate the Hugo ballot is something I can’t abide.

    rcade,

    Yes, precisely.

    I think that the majority of Hugo voters won’t look past this, and that’s why I think the likely outcome is a strong “No Award” slate. Not because the electorate is necessarily opposed to much of what the SP/RP slate is trying to accomplish, but because they’ll likely consider the reason irrelevant, and vote on principle.

    My understanding is that Brad T. solicited input on the SP slate, and put a lot of work into creating a slate that he felt reflected public opinion among the SP voters. That’s the kind of thing that should make a difference – but I don’t see it being discussed. The knee-jerk reaction is to reject the entire slate on principle, and I understand why.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 7, 2015 10:50 am

  98. […] couple of days ago, John O’Neil, editor of Black Gate magazine (a publication I highly respect) announced the Hugo Awards final ballot, along with some commentary […]

    Pingback by Amazing Stories | Editor of Black Gate Would Vote No Award - Amazing Stories - April 7, 2015 11:01 am

  99. > No such negotiation is possible. Not because there is “no other side”… but because the other side would rather burn
    > the house down than open the door. Can’t “negotiate” with that.

    Lost,

    This is another great example of where you and I see the exact same thing, and interpret it in completely different ways.

    We both see the upswell in public opinion towards a comprehensive “No Award” response to the SP/RP slate.

    You see an inflexible other side, who would rather burn the Hugos than accept any input from a large group of individuals who are passionately advocating overlooked work.

    I see an electorate of principled voters who are poorly educated on what the Puppies are trying to accomplish, who see only two individuals trying to tamper with the Hugo awards, and understandably react to negate the outcome of that tampering. They may be vaguely aware that there is a semi-political agenda behind the effort, but they’re not really interested in the motives. They see the Hugos under attack, and react accordingly.

    This is why I was trying so hard to puzzle out Theo’s ultimate objectives above. I don’t think I succeeded, but the closest I got was “destruction.”

    I think this is the same message the Hugo electorate is getting — those who bother to investigate, and report back to the others. “Why is this happening?” people are asking.

    “We’re not sure,” the investigators say. “But one of the principle people involved is making noises about destroying the Hugos.”

    This is really not helping your cause.

    Believe it or not, by asking all these questions, and making a safe space here at Black Gate for genuinely interested folks to ask you questions, I am trying to help your cause. I really am. And what I’m getting instead is a lot of talk about leaving the Hugos “a smoking hole.”

    I don’t this this is a sound strategy. The Puppies have a major public image problem at the moment, and you have thousands to voters to win over in the next 4-5 months if you want to have any hope of success.

    So saying simply “the other side would rather burn the house down than open the door. Can’t “negotiate” with that,” and refusing to talk to “the other side” pretty much guarantees that the Hugos are going to end up a smoking hole.

    You’re going to have to talk to people — and explain yourself just as you did right here, in a completely reasonable way — if you expect the outcome of the Hugo vote to be anything other than a smoking hole. Because blaming the other side for not understanding you is foolhardy, if you have no interest at all in bothering to make yourself understood.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 7, 2015 11:06 am

  100. > why not simply start an alternate award that honors the kind of work they value most? Or is that too rational?

    Thomas,

    Well, first off, there’s no guarantee that the exact same thing wouldn’t happen to that award if it become successful (i.e. if would start being awarded to writers and works they don’t find deserving.) Probably best to try and fix this one first. :)

    Second, there have been many, many attempts to launch major SF awards, of all kinds (the Gandalf, Balrod, Tiptree, Jupiter, Andre Norton, Rhysling, Locus, First Fandom, Theodore Sturgeon, Philip K. Dick, Ditmar, Damon Knight, Bradbury, etc.) After many decades, not one of them has come close to the honor and prestige of the Hugos.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 7, 2015 11:20 am

  101. > Scorched Earth tactics.
    >
    > I wonder if this SP group realizes the damage they’re doing to the writers on the nominee list.

    Cat,

    I thought something similar as well… that the nominees on the list could be subjected to a potential backlash.

    But Black Gate is on that list (we’re on the Rabid Puppies ballot, courtesy of Theo), and so far there’s been no ill effects.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 7, 2015 11:23 am

  102. > What exactly is ruined in the genre if a Sad Puppy candidate got an award?

    Ape,

    I believe the thinking is that, if this slate is successful in winning a Hugo for one of its candidates, it will signal the end of open voting. The only way to win a Hugo will be to partner with others to create a slate of 200+ votes, as a demonstrable path to success.

    > John says that those who were displaced by the vote are out an award which could mean a lot to them.
    > Well, isn’t this the same thing that happened to other conservative writers?

    Some people believe that, and some don’t. There are always losers who think they were unfairly denied a win. I don’t happen to believe that conservative writers have been unfairly denied Hugo slots, for example… I think the Hugo electorate has changed a great deal over the past 30 years, and conservative writers, who were used to getting the lion’s share of awards a generation ago, are locked out now by changing demographics.

    There are other theories, obviously, and perhaps they’re right. But they’re not proven. What is proven is that conservative writers have now laid claim to the entire short fiction slate, to rectify a perceived injustice that many people (myself included) don’t believe exists.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 7, 2015 11:31 am

  103. > I would ask why wasn’t Black Gate nominated before?

    Bromius,

    Thanks for the words of support!

    And to answer your question… there are several reasons. First, there are plenty of deserving candidates, and they got more awards than we did. :)

    Second, and perhaps just as important, Black Gate was nominated this year for Best Fanzine. I don’t tend to think of Black Gate as a fanzine. For over 10 years we were what was described as a “semiprozine” – we paid pro rates for fiction and non-fiction, and sold thousands of copies of a print version of the magazine.

    In 2011 we switched to an online publication, and for about 18 months we published fiction online. That stopped in 2013 when we realized our non-fiction was getting about 10X the amount of readers as our fiction.

    So in 2013, we became a non-paying online market for news, reviews, and articles… in effect, a fanzine. And in 2015, we received our first Hugo nomination for our new category.

    > I saw Black Gate on the list today and joined WorldCon so I could vote for BG and some of the others. I’ve been reading
    > the debate over the past few months and I think the Sad Puppies project is great. It is getting SF fans involved. I’ve
    > been reading SF and Fantasy for 40 years and never voted on a Hugo or posted to a blog. This is my first post.

    Welcome!

    > I have read and enjoyed Delany and Atwood but completely disagree with their politics. On the other hand, The SJWs
    > want to burn Orson Scott Card and his books for his views.

    I think you’re painting with a pretty broad brush, there. I know a lot of people I’d describe as Social Justice Warriors, and they read VERY widely, and are very open to all kinds of viewpoints… just like a lot of folks I know on the right.

    When you start using broad judgments like that, it says more about you than it does about your opponents.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 7, 2015 11:42 am

  104. “and you have thousands to voters to win over”

    Not going to happen. And I dont think that was ever valid option, or the intention.

    That is the hardest part of the Sad Puppies, is that there never was a real hope of changing the insular clique of worldcon from the inside, that chance disappeared decades ago. They have to bring is new blood, a lot of new blood. People that see the Hugos as some inconsequential trinket that book nerds argue over.

    I predict that huge swathes of the normal hugo voters will “slate vote” “no award” (as has been recommended by a couple of TOR editors) without an consideration of the work nominated.

    Unless the sad puppies bring in more than the couple hundred voters they brought in last year most of the people on the slates will be below “no award”…which will prove the Sad Puppies original point.

    Theo/Vox is right, the Sad Puppies (et al) win both ways, If they “lose” they can point to the bigotry, dishonesty, and childishness of the hugo voters (just look around the interwebtubes over the last couple of days) to prove the point that the Hugos are meaningless lefty awards. Heck, if worldcon does something really silly like changing the rules, well then the puppies really win.

    And of course, if they win outright by bringing in enough new blood that has a different worldview that what now constitutes the worldcon populace, they win…especially if they can keep it up for a couple of years.

    Comment by TW - April 7, 2015 11:47 am

  105. > I registered here to say that, John, in my case you are correct. The Hugos are not supposed to be about crushing one’s
    > enemies. Mutually Assured Destruction is an affront to civilization. And I also don’t like bullies. No Award it is then. :-(

    shiawase,

    Thanks for the comment. And based on the (very, very active) commentary I’m seeing on dozens of blogs and social media outlets, your opinion seems in the resounding majority.

    What disturbs me is that, instead of reaching out to folks like you to try and articulate their thinking, the Sad Puppies are saying:

    – the other side would rather burn the house down than open the door. Can’t “negotiate” with that.
    – if you want to take the Hugos down too, that’s on you.
    – These people are not thinking–they are reacting—and reasoned discourse is a waste of time.
    – SP and RP are the hammers that are breaking the SJWs death grip on the Hugos.
    – what part of Mutually Assured Destruction do you not understand?

    And that’s just here at Black Gate, where the discussion is a lot friendlier than most places!

    The only hope the Puppies have is to win over folks just like you. To understand why you reacted the way you did, and explain why their actions are logical instead of purely destructive. Instead, they seem to be congratulating themselves, circling the wagons, and waiting for the bomb to go off.

    I’ve tried hard explain the thinking that you and I share, and honestly I’m not convinced that even a single Puppy has understood what I’m trying to say.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 7, 2015 11:56 am

  106. […] Black Gate explains why they didn’t decline their nomination. […]

    Pingback by Hugo roundup | Simon McNeil - April 7, 2015 12:00 pm

  107. > I’m curious, How does voting differ from nominating? Why do you think it will turn out differently?

    Nick,

    Great question!

    The biggest difference is numbers. A lot more people vote for the awards than submit nominating ballots.

    Last year, at Loncon 3 in London, there were 1,923 nominating ballots, and nearly twice that many total voters for the actual Hugos (3,587).

    Only members of the 2015 Worldcon can vote on the final ballot.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 7, 2015 12:04 pm

  108. There are no gatekeepers. This is a groundless accusation put forward by the proponents of bloc voting, but when pressed they admit they have no proof the Hugos have ever been unfairly manipulated.

    Who is this person you have pressed and admitted that? I have specifically stated the exact opposite. We know who is involved, we know how many bloc votes they have and we know when they stood down to let a competing bloc vote win.

    Former Hugo admins have ADMITTED they know about past bloc votes. Just to give one example, there was a Tor bloc vote in the Long Form editor category from 2007 to 2011. A Pyr editor put together a rival bloc vote of about 50 additional votes in addition to his usual support and topped the nominations for three straight years, but kept losing until the two Tor editors both declined their nominations to let him win an award. After that, his nomination vote promptly went back to the usual 40 or so votes.

    The following year, the Tor bloc voters arranged for Patrick Rothfuss’s editor at DAW, who had never received a single nomination vote in 30 years, to get their bloc votes, then win the award. (Both Scalzi’s and Rothfuss’s novels received the same 48 bloc votes that year.) Two years later, she was back to getting no nominating votes again while PNH of Tor won the award again.

    Go through the nominating statistics. It’s very easy to see what was happening. And please don’t insult your own intelligence by claiming it was mere coincidence.

    Comment by Theo - April 7, 2015 12:07 pm

  109. > John, you have accepted the nomination. Is the taint of a SP/RP nomination so odious that you think that an overt
    > campaign to No Award is justified, regardless of the quality of the nominated content?

    Hi Shimshon,

    Sorry if I haven’t explained myself clearly on this. Let me try again.

    I don’t think the taint of the SP/RP slate is “odious.” I’m not in conflict with the group’s politics, or its objectives, or impugning the quality of its ballot.

    I just think grabbing 71% of the Hugo ballot by using a voting bloc is a Spectacularly Bad Idea.

    Here’s why: because the Hugo electorate (those Worldcon attendees who vote for the Hugos) have shown themselves to be fiercely independent. They don’t care about politics, or gender… they just want to see their favorite books on the ballot.

    The Puppies have prevented this. With all kinds of great reasons. But the electorate is reacting exactly as any logical person would expect it to — banding together, trying to understand what happened, and quickly perceiving this as a threat to the integrity of the Hugos. They will react accordingly, by quashing the slate to deny it success.

    This could have unfolded differently if the Puppies had launched an informational campaign — loudly explaining the many excellent reasons they had. That would have taken time and a great deal of patience, including putting up with a lot of rude questions from people who didn’t understand what was happening, and predictably reacted in a very knee-jerk manner.

    That’s not what’s happening. The people who should be on a charm offensive are instead celebrating the success of their epic hack, and apparently saying “reasoned discourse is a waste of time.” (See Wild Ape’s comment above.)

    Reasoned discourse is never a waste of time. It’s exactly what’s necessary to get over the goal line. The puppies are ten yards from a touchdown, and now they’re walking away from victory because they have no apparent interest in it.

    That’s my beef with the entire endeavor. It seems to have sprung from a very understandable attempt to rectify an imbalance. And it has ended with a ticking bomb that will damage the Hugos because, when it comes down to the wire, the participants involved are more motivated by hatred of the other side than love of the genre.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 7, 2015 12:25 pm

  110. Just to be clear, I have very good reason to believe the Tor editors were not involved in the example cited themselves. But I also have substantial reason to believe that the Pyr editor did provide the bloc vote observed.

    Comment by Theo - April 7, 2015 12:36 pm

  111. John, thanks for the clarification. I understanding your reasoning but disagree with your justification. As far as I know, the “Hugo electorate” has not really spoken. By all accounts, there are several thousand participants in the next round. At most a few hundred extremely cliquish and peevish individuals are extremely pissed at being outmaneuvered in what they considered their fiefdom, and they have spoken. They clearly don’t speak for you. Do you think they speak for everyone else?

    I don’t think the dust has settled yet on where the entire electorate stands.

    Comment by Shimshon - April 7, 2015 12:41 pm

  112. “That’s the kind of thing that should make a difference — but I don’t see it being discussed.”

    I have discussed that directly with Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen on Correia’s blog. I was told Torgersen heard from “dozens” of fans, his friends and pros while assembling his slate.

    As a Hugo voter, I can’t accept a process in which “dozens” of people in Torgersen’s self-selected community made recommendations when their bloc voting strategy obliterated the normal process in which a much greater number of voters made individual nominations of works, as we have done for decades.

    The fact Torgersen took comments from “dozens” does not make it OK that he hijacked the nomination process away from everyone else. The nominations that I and hundreds of others submitted in good faith had almost no chance of making the ballot.

    In a comment to me on his blog, Correia admitted he has no proof that even a single novel/novella/novelette category was stuffed with a secret bloc’s nominees in the past 10 years. None. Yet in the name of fighting that non-existent problem, his pals have completely taken over the Hugos.

    I hope the Correia and his pals will let us know when their anti-elitism campaign is over so someone other than them can make nominations again.

    Ironically, I am posting this as someone who had been reading BlackGate (primarily for James Maliszewski’s excellent RPG posts), so I would’ve loved to cast a Hugo vote for this site. But your ambivalence in getting Hugo votes is paired with mine in casting one because of the bloc voting manipulation.

    Comment by rcade - April 7, 2015 12:44 pm

  113. John, for these loudmouths, reasoned discourse is truly indeed a waste of time. How do you reason with those who can’t utter anything but ad hominens directed your way in reaction to every statement you offer?

    Their minds are literally made up.

    This very post and comment stream (among many all over the interwebz) are the “reasoned discourse” you mention. You tell me, how many readers are here vs participants? How many will be voting in the next round?

    They’re reading all right, and making their own conclusions.

    Comment by Shimshon - April 7, 2015 12:48 pm

  114. John, you say the sad puppies dont understand what you are trying to say, when it is pretty clear you dont understand what they are saying either.

    As to whether puppies should have launched an informational campaign…This is not a new thing, there is a reason this is “sad puppies 3”. People tried to be “reasonable”. They got shouted down, called liars, and many other worse names.

    Putting on a charm offensive? With people who supported the attack on Elizabeth Moon? People that supported someone like Requires Hate (until she aimed her vitriol at the wrong target)… Yeah, like that would have had a snow balls chance.

    Worldcon membership has pretty regularly over the past decade or more shown that it is not open to dissent. That it is a closed shop. Corriea went to worldcon, tried to make nice, got the door slammed in his face. Torgerson did the same, with the same results.

    The ones that have denied reasoned discourse has not been the sad puppies, it has been the precious worldcon itself. IF it had been more open, if it hadnt have been close minded to someone that dared to think differently, the sad puppies would never have happened.

    Comment by TW - April 7, 2015 12:48 pm

  115. Here off a SP link. I am very pleased at the general quality of writing here, and sorry to see that you guys are dealing with blowback instead of congratulations. (Congrats, btw.)

    I myself question the thought that “of course” the “Hugo voters” will vote “no award” against SP nominees – and I also question the idea that forcing all slates underground benefits anyone.

    Most interesting, though, is the suggestion that somehow “SFF’s most prestigious award” would have to be limited to the physical attendees of one very small conference. It seems at complete odds to the goals of increasing the voices of the poorest and most marginal voices in fandom.

    Of course, I completely understand the tribal impulses that would drive such a move – we are humans, not robots or Vulcans.

    But it still seems very much a pity that such should come to pass. In this, as in all things, time will tell.

    Comment by keranih - April 7, 2015 4:29 pm

  116. […] Matthew declined his nomination. Since Black Gate‘s nomination was for the entire site, a fan-based effort that involves over 40 participants, I decided not to decline on behalf of those individuals. But (no surprise) I had plenty to say about it, in my article “Black Gate Nominated for a Hugo Award in a Terrible Ballot.” […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » Sad Puppies and Super Puppies: The 2015 Hugo Train Wreck - April 7, 2015 4:38 pm

  117. “I believe the thinking is that, if this slate is successful in winning a Hugo for one of its candidates, it will signal the end of open voting. The only way to win a Hugo will be to partner with others to create a slate of 200+ votes, as a demonstrable path to success”

    And this is bad? Let me ask y’all this: Did you read any of the nominations when you voted No Award? Even the editor at Tor said that this year’s nomination was just like any other year. So if you read it and it was not worthy to you then you made an educated vote. If you didn’t then what contribution did you really make with your vote? The editor from Tor even said that he has “positioned” himself for a nomination. Sometimes he got an award, sometimes he didn’t.

    Y’all read books and stories and some of you vote for those you deem worthy. Last year at this time I was fuming because the ones that I hoped would win lost and only a few made the final cut. Boo-hoo, who hasn’t gone through this? Since then I have tweeted the books I’ve read, posted on Good Reads, and talk to my sci-fi and fantasy buddies about the books I’ve read. Correia, like it or not, was a hit among us. What have you done for that writer that you like so much? If you talked about him or her and you got others to sample what they write–then you took a step in helping that writer. That is a good deed in my book. Anyone can get people to come to the poll and nominate someone for a Hugo and every year some poor author will get passed by because his or her platform wasn’t motivated to stand up for them.

    @rcade–” There are no gatekeepers. This is a groundless accusation put forward by the proponents of bloc voting, but when pressed they admit they have no proof the Hugos have ever been unfairly manipulated”

    No, that is how the game has been played from the inception of the Hugo from what I’m reading. Respectfully sir or ma’am, you need to do more homework. I think the people at Tor have a smart marketing plan and their mission is not to have people read their books for the good of humanity. They are a business in the business that sells books and a Hugo makes a difference to many of the public. That isn’t evil or wrong, it is just good business practice and all the publishing houses do what they can to market their product. Tor has an amazing track record for getting Hugo awards and they are well connected with the people who deliver the vote.

    Maybe you and I should get a cabal going to support James Maliszewski and his RPG stuff next year. I agree with you that his high quality. Bring your role playing buddies here to let them see for themselves what Black Gate has.

    Also as the fur flies I’ve seen many people calling for reason. They are the ones I will support in the future. At the same time Correia has been savaged by Saul Alinsky tactics. If you don’t know what that is then you should look at some forums and see how it is done. They publically shame and accuse and go on the attack. Correia has had people say the most vile and vicious lies about him. It was so bad that people called his wife and were concerned about living with the monstrous man. Is that how Hugos should be? Not everyone in my group like Correia but these public attacks are not random or public upswell. This is a coordinated attack to silence, marginalize, destroy by character assassination–AND IT IS WRONG.

    @John—you are probably right that the SP should be out trying to charm the public. At least here there is reasoned discourse. Some people have said that you have had ad hominems and insults hurled at you. This is the public that listens first and to that I commend you sir because you have set the tone to construct such an environment. However, a difference of opinion does not equate to a personal attack nor is it an ad hominem. I have nothing but respect for you. I think you have a keen eye for talent and good reading and I have purchased many books that I would never have known about due to your work–which you have done for free. I used to think an editor’s main job was to be a grammar Nazi and I cringe at my lack of education. After reading your blogs I now look at an editor like a leader who is also an artist. Coordinating egos, talent, and business is not an easy job and it should have been obvious to me earlier. That package has to appeal and be voiced and it carries a very precious cargo that holds the future of many aspiring writers. An editor is their voice and interface to the public. I hope I haven’t offended you–at least not permanently. I don’t hold a difference of opinion as a personal attack and I trust that you are wise enough to know the same.

    You are dead wrong however about Black Gate’s vote being at the expense of other choices. This fanzine is a magnet of excellence. There is a guy who posted not long ago in his world travels with pictures of the last glimpses we have seen of a temple that was destroyed by ISIS. Goth Chick, Oz, and a bunch of others are all here. Here, gay, straight, male, female, Vulcan, Feringi or whatever has a voice. That didn’t happen by accident. I also think that this fanzine will be the leading edge soon and although its purpose has broadened it will be still have a megaphone for sword and sorcery. That can only lead to good things.

    “I hope the Correia and his pals will let us know when their anti-elitism campaign is over so someone other than them can make nominations again.”

    Win, lose, or No Award, I have bad news for you. “The Man” never goes away. I suppose I am a member of this group that “likes to stick it to the elites” although I did so unintentionally. You should vote for those that—for a pittance—gave you good stories to read. You should promote the good writers, editors, and artists that support your genre. Voting was a lot of fun. You should try it. Instead of getting upset that the SP now has a voice at the table you should. And if you want to stand against the unjustice then find the Sherman Alexie of science fiction and let us know about it.

    What I am asking, is that you be the voice of reason (and I’m preaching to the choir) vice these nut jobs that want to exclude and make character assassinations and lies against the people whom they deem wrong under the guise of their justice and tolerance.

    Comment by Wild Ape - April 7, 2015 9:15 pm

  118. http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/04/06/a-letter-to-the-smofs-moderates-and-fence-sitters-from-the-author-who-started-sad-puppies/

    Those are Larry Correia’s own words. Very inspiring to me.

    http://www.ew.com/article/2015/04/06/hugo-award-nominations-sad-puppies?hootPostID=221657cca998c926458486c3f53fbe17

    That is from Entertainment Weekly and their reversal of what they reported.

    It seems those at EW went to the Fire! Ready! Aim! academy of journalism.

    Comment by Wild Ape - April 7, 2015 11:21 pm

  119. […] am especially grieved to make this decision in cases like Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Black Gate, and Annie Bellet. It grieves me because Jen Brozek, a person I know and respect, is on the short […]

    Pingback by katster's closet » My Mind is My Own - April 8, 2015 12:57 am

  120. […] Black Gate Nominated for a Hugo Award in a Terrible Ballot […]

    Pingback by Hugo Slates Inspire Altered States | File 770 - April 8, 2015 5:43 am

  121. All,

    This has been a great discussion, and I appreciate all the terrific input.

    But at 120 comments, this post is now getting a little unwieldy. Accordingly, I’ve drafted a summary of the discussion so far and and posted it here:

    http://www.blackgate.com/2015/04/07/sad-puppies-and-super-puppies-the-2015-hugo-train-wreck/

    You’re welcome to continue to comment here, or at the new post, but be aware that a least a few folks have taken the conversation to another room. :)

    Comment by John ONeill - April 8, 2015 10:50 am

  122. @John ONeill
    1
    “My claim that there’s “no other side” is that there’s no evidence I can see of a secret SJW cabal who are actively working to keep right-wing and adventure-oriented SF off the Hugo ballot. I’ve heard that several times, and it seems nuts to me. ”

    This is not a claim I’ve ever made. My claim is that the gatekeepers are a small group of pros, both authors and editors, as well as an influential in-crowd of connected fans have steered awards like the Hugo and Nebula toward work that meets their political/social preferences. I’ve seen it happening. If you want to see the “other side” in action, just read TNH’s Making Light. It reads like Social Justice League headquarters, where SP supporters are called thugs, criminals, and Reavers routinely. They clearly see the Hugo as “their” award, TNH has said so several times, and their not going to countenance outsiders. Patrick even make a quaint allusion to SP supporters as child-rapers. That’s not paranoia, it’s fact.

    “Do you think that the “other side” has somehow hijacked all of SF publishing and is somehow controlling the entire market?”

    Not the entire market, no. But the awards, yes. Baen seems to be doing quite well, but doesn’t seem to be entirely welcomed at award time. Probably because winning a Hugo or Nebula actually has minimal impact on an author’s sales; perhaps a little more for newer authors, but not for authors with an established audience.

    ” I believe in the market. When publishers shift away from adventure-oriented or right-wing work, it’s because it is no longer selling. It’s because it’s no longer what the market wants.”

    Who ever said that adventure-oriented or even military SF doesn’t sell? Not me. Again, Baen seems to do fairly well with it. And I expect that Castalia House will see great growth in that area as it really starts rolling. I’m talking about the lock on awards, which is being pried open.

    “I don’t understand why the market has moved away from what I like, but I don’t accept the simple explanation that people think differently than me. I think it’s more logical to believe in a secret force of liberal elites who are controlling…every other major publisher, and deliberately not selling popular books so they won’t make money….that sounds kinda crazy.”

    I agree, it would sound crazy if it were true. Thankfully it’s not. As I noted above, in the last 5 years, I’ve found quite a bit more SF available and more comes every day. This is not about sales, it’s about awards, specifically the Hugo.

    Though I do find your “You’re just an old, out-of-touch geezer whom the world has passed by” rather amusing. Kind of ridiculous, but amusing.

    Comment by LostSailor - April 8, 2015 4:54 pm

  123. @John ONeill

    2

    “We both see the upswell in public opinion towards a comprehensive “No Award” response to the SP/RP slate. You see an inflexible other side, who would rather burn the Hugos than accept any input from a large group of individuals who are passionately advocating overlooked work….only two individuals trying to tamper with the Hugo awards”

    Indeed, the “other side” and the “no award” strategy is an inflexible stance that will burn the Hugos to the ground. Note that this is Sad Puppies 3. If there were any opportunity to “negotiate” it should have come earlier. But instead, the “other side” gleefully celebrated defeating SP2 nominations. Now, SP is back even stronger, and the reaction is nearly apoplectic. Rather than encourage actually judging the work on it’s merit, the No Award strategy, if successful, will be responsible for potentially awarding no Hugos at all this year.

    What does that say? It say, “you’re not welcome here and we’ll destroy the awards rather than recognize you and your fans let alone accept them.”

    The myth that Hugo nominations have some mystical aura of specialness because each fan individually nominates in isolation and that is somehow sacrosanct. It’s not. But it does allow a small number of insiders to manipulate nominations with little effort. Theo has already explicated the manipulation of the Best Editor Hugos.

    And “two guys”? If it were only two guys, they would still be twiddling their thumbs with no results. No, it’s much more than two guys. The “other side” would like to paint all who support SP as “outsiders” who are just marching in lockstep to two puppet masters. I find that highly insulting, but any alternative narrative, that there are many like-minded fans who oppose the gatekeepers and tastemakers, doesn’t really work for them.

    ““Why is this happening?” people are asking.”

    The purpose and reasoning has been made crystal clear by Brad and Larry. But insiders and seemingly well-meaning folk like you can’t seem to accept that. There must be some “hidden” agenda that you need to scry. There’s not.

    “This is really not helping your cause….The Puppies have a major public image problem.”

    Not really, at least not to any fair-minded fan who hasn’t already made up their mind and who’s willing to at least listen. Frankly I doubt any SP supporter could care less what the SJW hoards think. They’re unpersuadable anyway, so why bother.

    “You’re going to have to talk to people — and explain yourself just as you did right here, in a completely reasonable way — if you expect the outcome of the Hugo vote to be anything other than a smoking hole. ”

    Believe me I have. Many have. Only to be banned from forums, have reasonable arguments deleted, get called “thug,” “criminal,” and “Reaver.” I have a great interest in having SP being understood (others have given up, and I don’t blame them), but when reasonable discussion is met with monolithic opprobrium and hate, who else should I blame but the other side? Even your dismissive suggestion above that I’m just an “out-of-touch old dude” is evidence of that.

    If the Hugos are left a smoking hole, don’t blame me or SP, look to your response because the No Award strategy will be responsible. All I or SP did was nominate works we thought were worthy of consideration; if you refuse to consider them and dismiss them out of hand with No Award in a fit of pique, you’ll have to take responsibility for that.

    Comment by LostSailor - April 8, 2015 4:56 pm

  124. […] A good place to start is right here at Black Gate with John O’Niell’s post about his mixed feelings about Black Gate getting nominated, plus a followup post, and Matthew David Surridge’s explanation about why he’s stepping […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » Eastercon 66: Fun and Friction in Science Fiction - April 8, 2015 7:49 pm

  125. […] all the drama and controversy over this year’s Hugo Awards, we have neglected to inform you of the other […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » 2014 James Tiptree, Jr. Award Winners Announced - April 11, 2015 10:27 am

  126. […] my previous  post, Sad Puppies and Super Puppies: The 2015 Hugo Train Wreck, (and in our original announcement), I have serious concerns about the legitimacy of the 2015 Hugo ballot, as it was largely dictated […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » Black Gate Withdraws From Hugo Consideration - April 19, 2015 5:09 pm

  127. […] Queens, Volume 1 was nominated for a 2015 Hugo — and all on its own, too, without having to rely on a slate or anything. (I wonder if […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » Future Treasures: Rat Queens Volume 2 by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch - April 21, 2015 2:34 pm


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