Philip Sandifer’s Guided by the Beauty of Their Weapons: An Analysis of Theodore Beale and his Supporters

Philip Sandifer’s Guided by the Beauty of Their Weapons: An Analysis of Theodore Beale and his Supporters

Rabid Puppies logo-smallAuthor Philip Sandifer (The Last War in Albion, TARDIS Eruditorum) has a fascinating take on the ongoing 2015 Hugo controversy, pointing out that debating with the Sad Puppies is a waste of time — not because they don’t have a point, but because they are largely irrelevant. Theo Beale’s Rabid Puppies slate largely dictated the outcome, and it’s Beale ‘s agenda that will shape the outcome in future years.

Relatively unreported — and indeed misreported in most coverage of this, is the fact that the Sad Puppies largely failed… In the only category in which both Beale and Torgersen proposed full slates, Best Short Story, Beale’s nominees made it.

Sandifer’s thesis is that the Sad Puppies, and the groundswell of fans who’ve gathered to support it, are the popular face of a much more tightly controlled effort by Theo Beale.

As we’ve seen, it’s not really Torgersen who is most important here; it’s Theodore Beale…. The Rabid Puppies were the slate that actually dominated the Hugos nominations, but the Sad Puppies give every appearance of having been actively constructed to allow them to… Regardless of Torgersen’s intentions, the practical result is that he’s providing the politely moderate front for a movement that is in practice dominated by Theodore Beale…

Torgersen makes much of empowering fans, saying that the slate “is a recommendation. Not an absolute,” and stressing that “YOU get to have a say in who is acknowledged.” Beale, on the other hand, discourages his readers from exercising any personal preference, saying of his recommendations that “I encourage those who value my opinion on matters related to science fiction and fantasy to nominate them precisely as they are.”

Read the complete article here.

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For the record, I voted the Sad Puppies. Also for the record, I regret doing so.

With Beale’s emphasis on military strategy, I can’t help but recognize some similarities here to his own strategical thinking.

He’s a fan of “Fourth Generation Warfare” and in a fashion he’s acting out that theory right here. He’s working to destabilize the predominant culture by means of blurring the lines between combatant and non-combatant – appeals to democracy both through his own means (populist rhetoric like “we’re taking back the Hugo’s) and by using the Sad Puppies own rhetoric (again, populist but with a “moderate” tone). If we were to apply it to certain real world situations, we’re dealing with Sad Puppies as “Moderate Syrian Rebels” while Beale are the radicals. I’ll leave out comment on the real world situation, but its clear that is the radicals who are really in charge in regards to the puppy situation.

Further blurring of the lines are being made by Beale’s own use of the predominant culture against itself, or attempts to any way. He seeks to continuously point out that inclusiveness includes him, pointing out hyprocrisy if anyone acts otherwise. Clearly, for a vocal minority/majority, this is seen as the tissue-paper thinking it is (though admittedly, I think claims of inclusivity as a virtue are questionable – I regret voting according to the slate and my politics/anthropology/metaphysics aren’t Beale’s, but they aren’t liberal by any means). Still, there is a quieter active majority that fall for his reasoning and choose to side with him – all according to the predominant culture’s “rules”.

It’s hard to identify just how far this blurring is going because its occurring mostly in the anonymous ether of the internet. We get senses of it in combox wars, but I can tell you that a bunch of quiet polities are involving themselves. Tiptoes into some of the Catholic Blogosphere (by no means in agreement with Vox) will find that a number of people came out in support of the Slate for ideologically religious reasons (I number among them). GamerGate is of course involved. Probably some aspects of Mens Rights Activism. Neoreactionaries may also be involved (as Sandifer points out). I’m sure there are others I don’t know of.

There are a lot of “quiet” voices that made up this voting bloc. And Beale’s throwing up sand by saying these groups have been left out, have been denied the inclusivity the Hugo’s and Fandom in general so prides itself on. Whether right or wrong, the rhetoric blurs the lines.

I’m not quite sure what can be done at this point. Attempts for greater mass appeal might work (this is the democratic-American superiority coming, freedom necessarily being and bringing about a good if everyone gets involved and VOTES!), but then again, it may play right into Beale’s hands. He’s not looking to pick up those ideologically opposed to him. He’s picking up the huddled masses. He’s a dark counter point to Lazarus’ vision of the Statue of Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Sandifer’s final points which try to point to some light may be the best one can do here. Ignore him. The more we talk about him, good or bad, the more power he gains. More will search him out for “curiosity” and more will join him who are on the fence (there are more than we care to admit – the existence of the bloc vote proves that). Purging him from the SFWA was perhaps the worst of decisions. In a world where we don’t burn our heresiarchs, we must keep them close and smother them with benign neglect. Shunning them with cries of unclean just gives them power to say “Yes, and I will lead all you other unclean to victory.”

But, just to make things even more complex, our media frenzy can’t leave him alone. He can stir up a hornet’s nest with a post or a tweet. We try to then attack him, hornet coming out to defend, but then he’s able to call up legions in response. Denouncing him legitimates him. Blurring the lines, blurring the lines, blurring the lines.

I regret having voted for the Puppies, mostly because I regret being associated with Beale. He’s a master of manipulation and is playing us all like fiddles.


I used to enjoy coming to this website.

Wild Ape

Theo is the guy they are worried about burning down the Hugos? I agree with tomasdiaz. I think what I regret most is spending $40 on the Hugos. I think I’ll vote with my pocketbook. I’m a wrongfan.

Wild Ape

Thanks John, honestly, that means a lot to me. I do not feel like a wrongfan here at Black Gate. You, Sarah, smitty59, and my brain hasn’t received a full dose of coffee yet because I’m forgetting others, you guys have been reaching out too.



Don’t really agree. Beale is not picking up “huddled masses”. He’s picking up trolls, channers, gamergaters and mens right activists. Thats just about the opposite of huddled masses.

If they are quiet, it is propably because they aren’t part of the SF-scene. They come from outside, only here for the spectacle and for sticking it to the “SJW:s”.

Removing Beale from the SFWA was a nobrainer. He used their own twitter account to attack other authors and send out racist messages towards them. Of course there had to be consequences.


Day and the other arsonists have no say over the future of the Hugos. That will be decided by the kinds of people who created the awards and nurtured them over six decades — the politically diverse and largely friendly and enthusiastic audience of SF/F pros and fans who unite in our love for the genre.

Jeff Stehman

Meh. I read Sandifer’s post yesterday. I thought he had a few good points–especially his focus on RPs over SPs–but overall I wasn’t impressed. He falls into the same hostile us/them trap the SPs do. Couldn’t help but wonder what he would have thought of Bellet’s story had she not withdrawn from the ballot.

James McGlothlin

I’m with CMR–when will the Hugos be over this year?

I’m sure all of the brouhaha will re-ignite next year, but I personally need a break from it right now.

Jeff Stehman

John, I wouldn’t expect him to. But if he’s trying to convince me of anything, being hostile to those he sees as the opposition isn’t going to do it. As far as I’m concerned, he can us/them the RPs all he wants, but he painted with a broader brush than that.


Note that for years I’ve been saying there’s too much P.C. and even suggesting it would bring a back-lash.


Wild Ape

I’d like to point out some things that I thought were bad. First, I think that Sandifer roasted the hell out of Vox Day and did a great job of that. He explained how fascism works in the fiction and he did such a good job that it shook me up at first. Last night I bet a lot of Sad Puppies did not have much to wake up for. Then it hit me at what a brilliant Saul Alinsky writing Sandifer did here.

The first thing is that he only hammered with great detail on Beale and went on about fascism and Beale’s elitist fascist views. I have no argument there. Where I think he did a great injustice is that he then glossed over the Sad Puppies and spoke of them only as the moderates and mouthpieces of the Sad-Rabid Puppy alliance as a whole. In doing this he did a brilliant Saul Alinsky hit piece.

Saul Alinsky shows exactly how to bring people down: “Pick the target (The SP/RP), freeze it (Beale), personalize it, and polarize it (he did) . Cut off the support network (SPs, Torgerson, and Correia) and isolate the target from sympathy (use Beale to smear the rest). Go after people (note–he hit just the leaders) and not institutions (glossed over the SPs); people hurt faster than institutions.”

The fallout is that every blog I’ve seen that criticizes the Sad Puppies do it with the beat down of Vox. That is the trick and it worked marvelously.

He later uses terms that his public is aware of, ie dominionist fascism, neoreactionarism, ubermenchism, as his article is an article for his own audience. Trolling for God? Which brings us to Saul Alinsky’s rule: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself. Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.” These are buzzwords that create fear in his audience which I agree are frightening right wing extremist stuff but his examples are strawmen and comical in my own life experiences. He mentions that Correia and Torgerson are both Mormon and I didn’t think at first that this fact had anything to do with any of his points. He relies on the fear, not the specifics or facts that some Christian extremist like Wright or the above mentioned are dominionists. Fear is enough to frenzy his audience. Have you ever seen a bunch of Christian church and town leaders from different denominations squabble about how they are going to open with a prayer? I have. Believe me, dominionism can’t be done. And if you do believe that the Mormons could actually unite a bunch of raving mad Christians do you think the Catholics will have a say in all this or just join their ranks? But the man brought up dominionism and sailed over Islam, Buddism, and a host of other religions–he did so wisely I might add. And the neoreactionism–does anyone think that an elitist is going to listen to a bunch of inferiors once they take control? Did he really need all that to sway his audience? Fear of Christians is what put out.

When he ridiculed the fiction he talked about each and every writer on Vox’s list and dismissed a lot of it because it had the stabbed-in-the-back outrage and the lone hero that rises above the masses stuff. Hey, that could be Robert E. Howard! Shakespeare (et tu Brutus?), and GRRM too (please don’t kill Tyrion).

It was also good to make some recommendations too which he slips in at the end in a Saul Alinsky way: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” He laid out his picks. I have no squabble about them. I plan to vote for Orphan Black myself because I came up with that conclusion earlier on my own.

What left me feeling angry is that he said many things that I agreed with. 1. The SP need to make a better case that there is a cabal to the public. We know it is there but we need to get the message out better. 2. Vox Day screwed me and I agree that he used the Sad Puppies like pawns. 3. No Award does have merit because if the field was reversed I would put the hammer down on who I felt did not play by the rules. 4. He is spot on about Vox Day.

What is disappointing and I think an injustice is that Sandifer did not present a plan or vision about the Hugos. It seemed to be that he was stating a case (albeit to his audience) that they should stand up against Vox Day and his supporters. What happens then? What happens now that Vox Day (and this wasn’t a hard thing to prove that he is a dirtbag) when fandom on the left starts the beat down on the right and the Sad Puppies? There are already people in their ranks that have used character assassination to ruin Torgerson and Correia. Remember Alinsky’s rule: you take down the leaders to take down the institutions. Do you think they won’t club the Sad Puppies like baby seals with Vox Day? Is this going to be a good thing for fandom or do the ends justify the means. Remember, Sandifer makes a very utilitarian case of what is for the greater good, and he might think that it is okay to demolish half of fandom for that greater good by smearing the Sad Puppies, but he is pounding the fans who are trying to reach out and trying to pitch for their own writers. In the comments he brutalized Torgerson and deleted the comments. Is this how you want fandom to be?

I think a lot on the left are going to drive a lot of people to Vox Day. I think they are going to ruin the Hugo’s credibility when they do it. The last time this was done at the Hugo they went after one writer–L. Ron Hubbard. This time they are going after half of fandom and they have just the guilt by association club to do it.

I wish this had been written by a conservative and by someone who would try to heal the community and not douse it with gasoline. It is already on fire.


I do not know this”Vox Day” person. And I do not care what he thinks, feels, believes, or any of what was brought out in Sandifer’s article. When it is about the Hugos, and the genre, I do care about the integrity.

His article was well written through as well orgainized and he brought everything he seems to know about the subject in as proofs of his alligations. I am certain he earned what ever degree in english he holds. But he very much exemplifies what I feel is going off track with Hugos.

All the stories he likes he can only tell me about the makeup of the characters, their gender and ethnicity and why this is fresh and original and he was surprised by it. Good. But what does have to do with the story? Why would I want to read it? Why would I pay to read it? Okay. I read the poem. It is a poem and I would give it a good grade in sophmore English. But it is not a great science fiction/fantasy short story.

So I wonder what someone who reads, but not, by his own admission, much in this genre knows about what is going on in this genre. He knows what his tastes are, and he knows what good litrature is. But I have always felt that the Hugos were not about good taste, good litrature, good politics, good personality, or to encourage young writers or reward brave new ones. It is about the greatest science fiction/fantasy story told that year. That’s just me, I know. Just my feelings. There is no bar on the edge of the galaxy where great writers and readers meet to choose these awards. And I know if there was one, Mr Sandifer would not choose to be there. But I would.

I have not read the Sad Puppy slate, and didn’t nominate. But after reading pieces like this, I will be voting. I hope there is some great stuff I can vote for, because I know there was some great stuff written.

Wild Ape

@GypsyPhyr—I have to agree. Sandifer used Rachel Swirsky’s dinosaur piece to mock Wright’s work by showing a cherry picked combat scene with Swirsky’s prose. Swirsky has MASTERFUL prose. I don’t think anyone would argue that her prose isn’t stellar. By Sandifer’s comparison method how would Asimov, Sheri Tepper, Scalzi, or anyone stack up to that? Where people think Swirsky fell short is that her piece is thin on the SF/F. Another fiction piece had great dialogue but ONE trope that could be considered science fiction and it was not central to the story.

There were a lot of people who complained that the selections last year were soft. Sad Puppies did something about that. We actually got off our duff and voted. And pardon us for not consulting professor Sandifer who could have pointed out for us dimwitted Puppies what is and what is not literature. His input on why Correia, Torgerson, and all are dominionists drivel and we could have all in blind unity grabbed our pitchforks and torches and burned these heretics who led us astray. After all, he read a couple of books and has a PhD and he is sooooo much smarter than we are. And only someone of his pedigree and education could possibly understand why Sad Puppies suck at nearly everything they attempt to do.

Sandifer bashes Vox Day about being the voice of God who is called him to take down the Hugos in snorty derision. I thought that funny as hell too and made for a good roasting. It is fun to see Vox Day roast a little isn’t it?

Sandifer doesn’t sound much more enlightened than Vox Day. I hear the elitism come from him too. I loved the way he picked apart Vox Day’s thinking. At the end his case was well done but he could have done many things. In tearing down Torgerson he tore down a lot of writers. I find it disappointing and telling that he opted not to be the voice of reason. He simply spun the crowd up into a greater frenzy to march off and kill Voxenstein, Correia, Torgerson, the writers of the Puppy lists and the Sad Puppies. GRRM’s voice of reason was drowned out by the shouts of anger. GRRM is trying to reach out and salvage ALL of fandom, for the betterment of the Hugo. Sandifer is out to expel Correia, Torgerson, and the Sad Puppies along with Vox Day. Purging conservative thought from the Hugos ranks is not good for all of fandom. Smearing character with this guilt by association is wrong.

I read an article on Dierdra Saoirse Moen’s blog

It talks bout the evils of Scientology and how Sad Puppy writers are linked to them because they were winners of the Writers of the Future and this is a Scientology funded work. It is fallacious drivel. What is scary is that Ryan Harvey was a winner and he wrote for Black Gate. You see how this guilt by association might just wind up in Black Gate’s lap? Theodore Beale once wrote for Black Gate too! Oh my! It is a good thing Sandifer has the left stirred up and not thinking like GRRM–this is a time for Twitter lynch mobs and not the time of listening to reason.


“Ultimately, it will be those folks who shepherd the Hugo awards year after year who will sort out the process.”

One thing that hasn’t been talked about much during this controversy is that voting for the Hugos is homeworky and kinda boring.

Reading enough stuff to make an educated judgment on the best work of the year is tough. (It’s easier to stick to what you know you will like and never venture beyond that.) Figuring out whether the things you liked the most from the previous year qualified for the ballot is a pain. And don’t get me started on word counts.

Over time, the appeal of sticking it to social justice warriors will fade. The Puppies who are involved in this so they can make keyboard war on enemies will be lured into newer fights against fresher enemies. Vox Day and Larry Correia aren’t the only angry right-wingers who know how to make an us-against-them populist appeal. A lot of the Puppies’ troops will be railing against some new enemy when the Hugos roll around in a future year and greet them with a big “meh.”

At some point the Hugos will again be the province of the people willing to put in the work to make informed individual non-strategic choices. And those people will be a lot more like George R. R. Martin than Correia.

Those of us who love the Hugos aren’t going to abandon them.

Wild Ape

@rcade–“homework and boring”—lol–yep, I agree. I recommend spacing out the graphic novels. They are quick and fun.

My guess is that this frenzy wears people out. I think the Puppies will have a LIST–and not a SLATE next year and there will be a rival list/slate out there too. Next year a different leader than Correia and Torgerson will steer the Puppies.

I like GRRMs work before but I didn’t know much about him. He has gained quite a bit of respect by reaching out to the Sad Puppies and Correia at a time when everyone wanted to put him down as if he were Old Yeller. Also, it seems that GRRM is interested in healing wounds and that stands big in my eye. He is good for fandom.

Jay Maynard

Sandifer’s piece is a blatant hit job on the Puppies because Vox Day. His factual analysis of the actual nominations is fatally flawed because he depends on facts that ate not publicly known – and so all he’s doing is guessing. We cannot and will not know the actual nomination ballot patterns until the numbers are released, after Worldcon.

I’m wondering more and more if there’s a place for conservatives in fandom. I’m typing this at Penguicon, and the con I’ve grown to love has gotten all politically correct on me…

Sarah Avery


Since coming to understand that Vox Day doesn’t speak for the Sad Puppies, I have tried to be very careful to distinguish between the two conservative camps when talking about my own points of agreement and disagreement.

Not everybody who shares my general political and aesthetic outlook is making that effort about the current controversy, and that’s a problem that will take some time to shift. It will probably never get completely resolved, and that’s a shame. Undoubtedly there are people who are still hitting you with the Vox Day cudgel, and I’m sad to hear that some of that is happening to you at the one convention where you still felt at home.

I guess I’d just ask that here, where there are multiple people trying to understand your concerns and share their own in a spirit of earnest, shared problem-solving, you not take our objections to Vox Day as attacks on you.

Not every person who posts on Black Gate is making that distinction, and you’ll probably still have occasion to point that out. I get that.

But there are going to be times when it’s germane to the discussion that Vox Day’s views are, to me, odious, and that I find his conduct to be not in good faith. I’m not going to self-censor criticism of the Rabid Puppies when they say and do things that I think merit criticism.

Jay Maynard

“So I guess when I hear you say, “Stop hitting me with the Vox Day cudgel,” I want to ask, “Why do you keep standing up and taking fire for him?””

Because no matter how much I distance myself from him, people are asuming that it’s all about Vox Day. It’s not. That fire is scattershot and inaccurate, and I’m going to take some of it, regardless, unless it’s a hell of a lot more precisely aimed.

“it’s generally being accepted that the Sad Puppies slate largely failed, and the Rabid Puppies succeeded”

You cannot validly make that assumption without seeing the data! Yes, you (and Sandifer) theorized that, but until the theory is validated by the real data, all you’re doing is assuming and proceeding from that terminally shaky foundation to destroy any possibility of compromise.

There’s a problem here that needs solving…but everyone’s hiding behind Vox Day instead of honestly trying to solve the underlying problem. We’ll be buried under an avalanche of No Awards because Vox Day is eeeeevil.

If you do bury us under that, you will destroy any possibility of compromise and healing.

Wild Ape

Jay, I think the people who want to heal all parties are at Black Gate. I don’t think the Hugo bluebloods are interested at all, in fact, they’ve made it clear that they would prefer us to be gone. Those that show up for the vote will win every year. That is why they fear Vox more than the Sad Puppies. If you note, Sandifer had no traction with his Sad Puppy arguments. He built his case by flaming Vox and then smearing Torgerson’s picks. He did so at the expense of several writers. The only one he did not rip were the ones that stepped down from nomination.

What makes GRRM brave in my book is that his first reaction was to reach out to the Sad Puppies and to heal fandom. He may not have done it in the way we wanted but he did try to mend fences. Sandifer didn’t even acknowledge us. His was a hit piece and he couldn’t give a rip about mending fences. GRRM came down into “enemy” territory to talk to the Big Kaiju himself. That took guts and risk. GRRM went against the tide to say that there had been behind the scenes dealings—think about that admission—again brave because he went against the narrative. GRRM is about ALL of fandom, not just his buddies.

Sandifer on the other hand was not about all of fandom. He was about his blueblood friends and spoke only to the fandom that bears his brand. He is gutless in my book. And yes, I thought about that word and I stand by it. He is gutless and cowardly. I rank him down there with Vox Day. He’s just another elitist with his own left brand of fascism. All he did was tarnish half of fandom and the writers that the Sad Puppies supported. He also aided Vox Day. All he said brought more hardline support to the Rabid Puppies and diminish the Sad Puppies who are just trying to promote their fandom. He never once considered if the Sad Puppies had any grievance. I think the most haunting thing that Vox Day has said on his blog is, “Does any one doubt why you can not reason with these people?”

Jay, these guys on the left think that things will never change. They’ve had the Hugos for years and they can’t bust higher than 1,800 votes? That alone proves just how irrelevant they are. Worldcon numbers are shrinking at a time when other cons are expanding. That too shows just how poorly they have managed things. The only new blood seems to be the Puppies. I don’t think it is a good thing but Sandifer has no idea what his flamefest with Vox will probably cost him. He will turn Sad Puppies into Rabid Puppies and both camps are bringing in new people. I have several friends, some are liberals who have never voted for the Hugos. They ain’t happy with the status quo. They think the Hugos are a joke. It did not take me much to catch their attention and stir them into Sad Puppy action. So take heart. There might be a few surprises coming.

Jay Maynard

I’ve gained quite a bit of respect for GRRM out of this. He, not Teresa Nielsen-Hayden, has acted in the spirit of true fandom.

There’s hope, if GRRM and the folks here are truly indicative of fandom and how it responds to this issue. If Sandifer and TNH are, then we are all screwed, conservatives and SJWs alike.


“All he said brought more hardline support to the Rabid Puppies and diminish the Sad Puppies who are just trying to promote their fandom.”

You’re peddling a myth here. The Sad Puppies are not just trying to promote what they like. They’re attacking other groups in fandom, and that has been true since Larry Correia first began the campaign a few months after losing the Campbell Award vote at the 2011 Reno Worldcon.

Correia has been constantly engaging in name-calling against other SF/F fans — calling them “social justice warriors,” SMOFS and a new term he and Brad Torgersen have been trying to popularize: CHORF.

Torgersen announced his Sad Puppies slate effort by claiming the Hugos had been awarded for “affirmative action,” an attack on minority creators who have been winning in recent years.

Correia flat out admitted that when he put a Vox Day story on the Sad Puppies 2 slate, it was an intentional effort to make other fans angry.

You are portraying a highly toxic and negative campaign as if it was just a friendly effort to bring in new fans, and I can’t help but think it’s an example of willful blindness.

“Worldcon numbers are shrinking at a time when other cons are expanding.”

This is false. The 2014 London Worldcon had the second highest attended ever.

Wild Ape

@rcade—I’d say calling someone a CHORF is milder by far than calling them a white supremacist wife beating homophobe don’t you? A lot of that is poking fun at the bluebloods (TNH types)and such. God forbid the Sad Puppies have a sense of humor. We tried being nice before anyway and it got us no where. SJWs are much different than people who desire to see diversity and egalitarian principles applied. Sad Puppies don’t give a hoot about what gender, creed, or beliefs you have, we aren’t into identity politics. “Men should not be judged by their character and not the color of their skin” is closer to the heart of what Sad Puppies want. SJWs want to enforce their own brand of fascism. SJWs are twins of Vox Day in that regard.

Correia is a warrior and he talks like one. Many of his fans are veterans and they like listening to a fearless lion. I can imagine why people fear him. Many of us come from a rough and tumble world and I think the TNH types of the world find that off putting.

You can call it willful blindness if you want but your mental gymnastics that leap over obvious bias and leftist bigotry and their perpetual outrage at conservatives is mind boggling. Do you really expect Torgerson and Correia to be nice after all the waves of slander cast at them?

Londoncon 3 rated what 3.5K? Worldcon tanked after 1984 and they haven’t been able to get it up past 4K since. Compare that to Gencon which had 186,000 people with 54,000 new attendees. Compare it with Comic con which in the same time span has grown from 5K to 130K. This has been done over a span of years when comic publication has tanked but they still bring in numbers more and more each year. Hugos numbers are meager at best. Sorry, your numbers just don’t add up. Would you care to compare other cons in Europe? East Europe had over 22,000 last year and it is in its SECOND year.

Hugos are more interested in keeping their numbers small that is why it is easy to manipulate numbers. I’d love to see 22K fans vote for the Hugos. It would eradicate all the shenanigans of slate voting and drive a steak in the heart of the corruption. How can anyone argue that more people involved would not be better for fandom?

Okay, so you don’t like recommended slates or lists or whatever. You like campaigning to be subtle–fine. I don’t think we expected to win like we did but we did and that is that. Vote no award. Don’t shame those that perpetuate slander and character assassination because you happen to dislike those people anyway. Pat yourself on the back about how tolerant you are and how intolerant we are not. Continue to pedal fear because, darn it, those Sad Puppies deserve it! It is all good for fandom right?

I just don’t like the Hugo that has been built. I think we could do a lot better than that. I do think that the majority can turn down the left wing/right wing rhetoric put aside for the sake of the genre. ALL fans must be welcome at the table–not just the ones that the left like. And if the likes of Vox Day win the field and take control I’d be fighting against his brand of hatred too.

As silly as Yoda may have sounded he nailed a simple philosophy, “Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; and hate leads to suffering”. Who is generating the fear? I hear that the Puppies are taking over the Hugos! I hear that they are all white supremacists, homophobes, and wife beaters! And the fear mongers have sure spun up the anger. Meanwhile you got Vox Day doing the same thing.

I can tell you that on my part and in my own circles I am pointing out those that lead by fear and foul play. I don’t plan on going away. I don’t plan to be silent. I can tell you that I spent a lot of my life in the military where I wasn’t allowed to exercise my free speech. What good is free speech if you don’t get to use it or you have to beg permission from those who want to squash yours? I plan to use it. A lot. And I’m very stubborn and hard headed. I’m willing and I have put my life on the line for free speech. If that is toxic and negative campaigning then so be it. My poison is freedom. My negativity is egalitarian principals. If the Sad Puppies morph into something dreadful I’ll quit them but they don’t seem to be doing that.

Jay Maynard

“And if the likes of Vox Day win the field and take control I’d be fighting against his brand of hatred too.”

I shouldn’t have to say this, but I do: I’m right with Wild Ape on this one.

Which is why I’m so adamant about not jumping to the conclusion that Vox Day has already taken over. In many ways, he’s just as bad as the SJWs, and it’s that kind of thing I read SF to get away from.

Wild Ape

Mad Puppies, Bad Puppies, I do not like those Sad Puppies!

Is there anything that could make amends?
Some are nice and they want to be friends
Like you they speak with conviction
They love fantasy and good science fiction.

I do not like the Sad Puppies
They have Vox Day
I do not care what they say anyway
They do not fit the narrative
From this I will not give.
They are allies of Vox Day
With mean hearts that are not gay

The Sad Puppies are different don’t you see?
They vote for their writers with glee.

I care not, they made a slate
And with that they sealed their fate
They do not fit the narrative
From this I will not give
The Sad Puppies are like Vox Day
They both suck so go away.

How is all fandom and the Hugos to mend?
They hold out paws to shake can’t you just bend?

Correia is a strange big feller,
He needs to be put down like a rabid Old Yeller
Correia does not fit the narrative,
From this I will not give
He is just like Vox Day
And for this he must pay

But GRRM is with Correia trying to save Hugo fandom!

I have a PhD and a mind you can’t fathom,
Puppies are just idiots with brain neurons firing at random
GRRM had better not speak with supporters of Vox Day
Or his reputation I will also fillet
I have an army who will march when I bray
If GRRM does not comply with the narrative
Grampa will be tossed out, I will not give

Correia and Torgerson aren’t Rabid Puppies don’t you see?

I know that they are racist, bigoted, homophobes times three
They beat their wives 126 liberal journalists all agree
They do not fit the narrative
From this I will not give
Treat all who traffic with Vox Day with scorn
If you do not then you have been warned
You will comply with the narrative
From this I will not give!

Won’t the Hugos suffer credibility damage?

Its reputation is fine because liberal minds will manage
We don’t like it when Sad Puppy have sufferage
So shut up and I’ll tell you our grand elite visage
We’ll mold the Hugos into our own image
We are all smarter and wiser you see
Not like those Sad Puppies with their Crocodile Dundee
The Hugo’s credibility is what WE make it to be
They do not fit the narrative
From this I will not give.

Won’t that hoist you up on your own petard?

Don’t think just vote No Award.
They are all evil like Vox Day
They are just Sad Puppies who cares what they say?
For the Sad Puppies shed not a tear!
Get out of my face and go spread some fear!


“We tried being nice before anyway and it got us no where.”

Since you admit you’re no longer being nice, that means it isn’t true to claim that the Sad Puppies are “just trying to promote their fandom.” You have a group you want to hate, so you’re going to hate them — SJWs/CHORFS/SMOFS, blah blah blah. Don’t expect the rest of us to treat what you’re doing as a positive when it’s a mean-spirited attack campaign.

“Correia is a warrior and he talks like one. Many of his fans are veterans and they like listening to a fearless lion. I can imagine why people fear him. Many of us come from a rough and tumble world and I think the TNH types of the world find that off putting.”

I find the tongue bath you’re giving him far more off-putting.

He’s a keyboard warrior. Nobody fears him because he’s trying to turn SF/F fandom into a tedious culture war. He’s making himself look like a buffoon with those antics.

Jay Maynard

“Nobody fears him because he’s trying to turn SF/F fandom into a tedious culture war.”

It already was one. He’s just fighting back.


Prove it, Jay. Post actual evidence that SF/F fandom, and the Hugos in particular, were a political battle. Quotes and links.

Wild Ape

@rcade—tongue bath—now that was funny!

::::sniffle:::: it must be so hard to be called a CHORF? ::::wheeze::: how do they bare up to that? I mean, being called a racist, white supremacist, homophobe is pale in comparison. I’ll tell the Puppies to “suck it up Buttercup” because their humor crossed the line.

@rcade—you may think that I’m not being nice and I’m sorry you feel that way.

There you go, that wasn’t hard to find rcade. I even took it from a liberal newspaper that talks about politics in the Hugos going back to its inception.

Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” was even called a fascist work during his time.

It took me all of two seconds to find that link and quote and just a bit to read through it. It isn’t hard if you are looking for it.

Scalzi in public says some of the nicest things. On his forum he is just as rough on those that stand against him. Sandifer, Scalizi, and Gerrold all pounded Torgerson and then deleted his posts. Sandifer called Correia and Wright loonies and I think those posts are still up. Correia lets those that dislike him post along with the rest of his crowd.

rcade–I find GRRM inspiring. He is one of the few liberals I’ve seen that have looked past his personal politics and tried to gather all fandom–even Puppies. Most of the others I’ve viewed have can’t inspire anyone past their own echo chamber. Remember Amy Pascal from the Sony email hack? She was nice as pie in public but when they exposed her emails she said some of the most racist things far worse than anything I’ve read. Not all, but a lot of liberals in my view are very two faced. They make rules for others but exempt themselves. One rule they demand is for people to be tolerant.

And rcade—please tell me so that I understand. A CHORF stands for “Cliquish, Holier-than-thou, Obnoxious, Reactionary, Fanatics” maybe you can prove that some of your left wing elite are not. Better yet, tell me how getting slandered on several highly publicized papers is somehow less devastating than being called a CHORF. I will be glad to hear the error of my ways.

Wild Ape

@rcade—I know you are still angry about what Larry Correia said to you and I’m sure you want to get him back. This is what you do.

You might call him a big kaiju. He might even respect you for being brave like that even if it was on Twitter. But if you want to insult him and see him go mental all you have to do—and please for your safety do not attempt this in person because you can insult his dog, his wife, call him a racist, a wife beater, etc. But if you make fun of his gun—-I guarantee it is worse than making fun of his penis. Tell him that his Glock has a safety and then stand back. He will go Fifty Shades of Coo-coo I promise. He might even cry.

Jay Maynard

rcade: Victory laps after the 2014 Hugos:

Diversity Wins At The 2014 Hugo Awards on Fangirl’s blog

5 reasons to pay attention to the Hugo Awards—and one big reason not to at The Daily Dot, which went on to say “The two main controversies of this year’s Hugos were both political” (Vox Day and Jonathan Ross).

2014: The year when science fiction and fantasy woke up to diversity at The Guardian

Three examples. Not sure how many I can put in a post before triggering filters/moderation.


Jay: Your links are from after Correia started his effort. You’re using responses to Sad Puppies 2 to justify him starting his us-vs-them political campaign in the first place.

I take it you’re a time travel fan?


“Robert Heinlein’s ‘Starship Troopers’ was even called a fascist work during his time.”

That must have been awful. He should have begun a multi-year campaign to win Hugos for himself, his friends and an attention seeker who doesn’t like black people.

Wild Ape

@rcade–do I really have to explain to you how inflammatory a personal attack being called a fascist would have been received in the 1950s?

As it turned out being labeled a fascist might have stirred up a lot of his fanbase and he went on to win the most Hugos for novels in history.

You sound like a lot of “enlightened” people who see racism whenever they see a white guy. Larry Correia is hardly a racist. In Monster Hunter series one of the fan favorites and Correia’s is an African American. The character is inspiring and uplifting. Surely you don’t refer to Torgerson who can hardly fit that description–unless of course you read the Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, the Guardian, or any other left wing publication all of whom smeared him as such. You sound very McCarthyist to me.

After looking over last years Hugo winners can you explain how all the awards but for one Asian were all white? Why aren’t you questioning the credentials of the people running and voting the Hugos as hating black people? Sad Puppies don’t care a wit what race, color, gender, or creed you or their writers belong to.

And yeah, I think the Sad Puppies are willing to fight for a seat at the table to promote good writing. Common human decency and history is on our side. What I see from a distance is that the anger aimed at the Sad Puppies is not sticking. The only thing I think those on the left find objectionable is that Sad and Rabid Puppy nominees won so decisively. The left wing voters felt pushed out and a little bullied. I have empathy for them because I’ve been on that end. It is easy for the left to excoriate Vox Day and blur the lines between Sad and Rabid Puppies. It is also easy to pressure writers into a sense of guilt at being nominated by a group that people hate and fall in line. I see many moderate and thinking liberals abandoning these tactics and listening. These are the people who want to make the Hugos meaningful and credible. They are rejecting the politics and putting that behind and standing up for tolerance and reason. I’m a firm believer that most people are rational and when presented with facts will try to do the right thing. I know that this year the Hugos might be a bonfire but I think this will be a blip in the long run. The left wing establishment is just going to have to put up with Sad Puppies at the same fandom table. The establishment will have kittens if GRRM gets involved next year. Sad Puppies might just go mainstream then. If so, Sandifer’s bunch will be forgotten and GRRM is going to be the next Heinlein and champion of fandom.

Sandifer will be famous for nothing of note. I do hope that he learns from Vox Day and gets Dr. Who a Hugo award. Dr. Who is in my view as big to sci-fi as Star Wars and Star Trek. As a series it has lasted nearly half a century. If the Sad and Rabid Puppies can get their nominees on a slate then I’m certain Dr. Who fans could do the same.

Sandifer’s only note so far has been to blather enough psychobabble that he can make the leap that “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love” and “Water That Falls On You From Nowhere” are not just SF/F hits but the high water mark of SF/F. I have to hand it to him. Not even Evil Knievel could make that leap.

Sandifer typifies why the Hugos are so repelling to many fans. It shows me just how far the award has fallen and why if his like stay in control the Hugo will be as credible as a T-Ball trophy. He cannot unite. He cannot inspire. He can only foment hatred and smear. There is little difference between him and Vox Day.


“You sound like a lot of ‘enlightened’ people who see racism whenever they see a white guy. … You sound very McCarthyist to me.”

These insults have no connection to anything I wrote. I’ve never called Correia or Torgersen a racist.

For a person who likes to talk about the Hugos, you don’t know much about them. They are obviously just an excuse for you to rant at enemies real and imagined, just like your fearless lion Correia. There’s no point in debating your hatred of the awards, because it’s not grounded in reality. You’ll get bored and move on to something else, while those of us who have been committed to the Hugos and Worldcon for a long time will keep doing what we’ve been doing.

(You know so little about the Hugos that you declare a hope Doctor Who wins one. It has already won six of them, in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012.)

Sandifer’s essay was entertaining. I don’t agree with all of his conclusions but he has Vox Day and John C. Wright pegged. You must have found it threatening to declare that Sandifer will never amount to anything. Given his bio and the number of books he has written, he already has amounted to something. Have you?

Wild Ape

“You must have found it threatening to declare that Sandifer will never amount to anything.”

I did say that he would be famous for nothing of note. I did not mean his career, I meant that he will not be remembered as a healer or a leader or a champion of the Hugos. Dr. Who was understatement—you know humor? You can sit there and say “no take backs, you said it” like a petulant child if you want but that is not what I meant.

“Given his bio and the number of books he has written, he already has amounted to something. Have you?”

Yes, Sandifer is an accomplished writer and certainly anyone who holds a PhD did a lot of study to get there. Who can argue that he can’t make analysis? He diced up Vox Day. He just isn’t leadership material is all. He went through several writers like a wrecking ball for the “crime” of being nominated by the wrong fans. That isn’t leadership. He did nothing to inspire anyone to do anything other than to foment hate.

Wild Ape

I know that my wit isn’t witty and when I try to make a hard point I come off as a troll. I am just frustrated is all. I haven’t convinced anyone of anything that they probably wouldn’t have figured out on their own. What frustrates me most is that people can be smeared as racists in a day when that charge can be very dangerous.

“These insults have no connection to anything I wrote. I’ve never called Correia or Torgersen a racist”

“That must have been awful. He should have begun a multi-year campaign to win Hugos for himself, his friends and an attention seeker who doesn’t like black people.”

I hope you see where I got confused. Only Correia has been around for three years with the Sad Puppies. Brad Torgerson is leading the Sad Puppies this year. Since the subject has been Sad Puppies in my posts then I expected you to be talking about Sad Puppies. Who among them hate black people?

“There’s no point in debating your hatred of the awards, because it’s not grounded in reality.”

I pulled the numbers from a few sources. It wasn’t hard to google it and find out if the source was credible or not. I think my criticism of the Hugo is interpreted as hating the Hugo. How is it the comic industry is neary dried out and yet the Comiccons are exploding with people? The same goes for gaming cons and others. Why is Worldcon stagnate? Londoncon might set record attendance but those numbers and anemic at best. Are the fans repelled? If so, what fans would be repelled?

Criticising how the Hugo is voted upon does not equate to hating the Hugo. Pointing out that $40 might price out most fans isn’t with mean intent. Suggesting that keeping the Hugos small would help those who wish to control the Hugos is not hate speech. Sad Puppies think that the Hugos can be easily controlled and have been. Rabid Puppies proved it. They had what, three hundred people?

“He already has amounted to something. Have you?”

That was meant to be an insult but it fell short because I would have to believe that I haven’t amounted to anything in order to be insulted. But since you asked, I recently convinced a group of friends to vote with their hearts for writers that they think were a cut above the rest. Some of these tightwads didn’t want to cough up $40 for this so I had to use my limited powers of persuasion to get them to commit to this cause. We got at least three nominated to the highest prized award for science fiction and fantasy. We did not do this alone but as a group of pals and we all rallied behind Correia and the Sad Puppies.

John, I hope that was civil. I might have to take a hiatus from posting for a while anyway. I don’t think I’m winning over the hearts and minds. I’m not leaving Black Gate but I think the Wild Ape handle that I use makes it too easy to slip into goofiness or mean spirited barbs. Perhaps if I had a name handle I might be more careful. Thank you for your patience.

Jay Maynard

Wild Ape, I doubt the hearts and minds of those who think the Hugos’ recent direction is just fine can be won over.

I’m happy to have gotten a respectful hearing from most folks here, but in the end I doubt we will actually be able to change anyone’s mind. The attitudes are too entrenched.

And if the folks here aren’t really subject to being convinced, is anyone? Is it possible to heal the Hugos?

Jay Maynard

“I think if we can get even a fraction of the folks (on both sides) who are currently screaming at the top of their lungs to the same place, then we’ve made some real progress.”

Perhaps. OTOH, the con I love was eaten up with political correctness this year, and I hope it’s not emblematic of next year that the’ve already announced the author GoH: Ann Leckie. if it is, I’m going to feel a whole lot less welcome.

The good news is that the concom and board of directors is willing to talk about it with me, so I’m hopeful.

As for the Hugos: I just don’t know if they can be saved. As long as the folks who are happy with how they went the past few years are seizing solely on how horrible a person Vox Day is, there’s not a chance. Those voices are drowning out the more reasonable ones.

And an avalanche of No Awards will only reinforce the perception that we’re in a scorched-earth war.

Jay Maynard

“Naah. An avalanche of “No Awards” will just say that this slate voting was a terrible idea, not that this conversation isn’t worth having.”

That’s what you think it will say. That’s not how it will be interpreted.

Obviously, we think the conversation is worth having. What I don’t know is how many folks – on either side – agree with us.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x