Matthew David Surridge on The Great Hugo Wars of 2015

Matthew David Surridge on The Great Hugo Wars of 2015

Rabid Puppies logo-smallOver at culture site Splice Today BG blogger Matthew David Surridge, who declined a Hugo nomination last year for Best Fan Writer, looks back at his involvement in Puppygate.

It was difficult to keep up with everything that was happening; when a controversy strikes the literary world, writers are affected, meaning much will be written. And I was out of it. Appreciative reaction to my post continued to come in at Black Gate, but as what Martin called “Puppygate” sprawled on, I was watching from the sidelines. I saw calls for boycotts of publishers, I saw counter-calls to buy books from the same publishers, I saw reports that the number of people buying memberships to Worldcon had hit record numbers. I saw satires and arguments. I saw proposals to change the Hugo voting rules to limit the impact of future slates. I kept track of as much as I could, partly because it was fascinating to watch, and partly because I never knew if my name would come up. Mostly, it didn’t, which suited me fine. If for no other reason than that the culture-war overtones that Breitbart had highlighted in the Puppies became increasingly front and center…

In the end the Hugo voters opted for “No Award” over the Puppy nominees in almost every category. The Best Novel Award went to Cixin Liu’s The Three Body Problem, which made it onto the ballot when Marko Kloos, whose book Lines of Departure was on Beale’s slate, declined the nomination after learning about the Rabid Puppy actions. Beale, ironically, ended up urging his Puppies to vote for The Three Body Problem; the Rabid vote seems to have given it the margin of victory. Meanwhile, Best Fan Writer was won by the lone non-Puppy, Laura J. Mixon. Later, the final nomination data confirmed a rumour I’d heard that Mixon had gotten the nomination when I declined it.

See Matthew’s complete comments here.

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Wild Ape

I have a lot to say on this but I realize it would be nothing but wasted time and breath. I’ll summarize.

1. I was a fan of Surridge and I was excited to vote for him. It never occurred to me successfully nominating him would endanger his credibility in the field or cause him pain. I voted from my heart and I was delighted that he got the nomination. It was the first time I had ever voted for a Hugo and I did so after I read Correia’s blog. A Sad Puppy was someone who was deserving but who never had a shot in hell of getting a Hugo because the deck was stacked against him. I passed over several people to vote for him probably based on an article he wrote that stood out.

2. When he opted out it legitimized the anti-Puppies anger and brought greater pressure to bear on others who didn’t do “the right thing” by backing out. His silence during this time period was noted by me. People think of the Sad Puppies as one organized group who get marching orders from the top. They were really just a mob of fans who were angry about the whole Hugo process and the industry in general. Yadda-yadda whatever.

3. I don’t think Mr. Surridge and others appreciate how much I have pressed my friends and others to READ his column. I wanted them to see for themselves why he was the best and deserving. I could care less that he is Canadian. I could care less that he is a lefty. I don’t give a wit who or what he sleeps with. I still don’t.

4. This fight drove a wedge between fans. It drove a wedge between fans and writers. Sad Puppies came out on the losing end. That is that. It is history. Surridge chose to be on the side that lied, distorted, and encouraged this. I’ve heard no comments from him as to where the establishment and the left erred. His silence speaks for him and it was noted.

5. I am no longer a fan of Surridge. I skip his posts. This is the only one I’ve read of his since June and it is likely to be the last. I’m not saying forever, but in the immediate and far future I will most likely NEVER read his posts again. After all, I am an embarassment to him. I give you my word that I will never vote for him nor will I tweet, blog, post, encourage others to read or point out his writing to anyone.

6. Best of luck to you Matt. You won’t miss me. I won’t miss you. Thank you for the posts that I did read.

Thomas Parker

I just had the strongest urge to watch Groundhog Day.

Matthew David Surridge

Hi, Ape. Hope you’re doing well.

You’re actually one of the people I’ve thought of most throughout the whole Puppy affair. I did take to heart the points you made in the comments to my Hugo post. I did, and do, appreciate your support. I absolutely realise that you meant no ill-will toward me. And I realise you thought you were doing what had to be done. In the end, I couldn’t agree with that analysis, based on what I read on Torgersen’s blog.

The thing is, I wasn’t asked about being involved. I wasn’t asked if I wanted to be part of a movement. By the time the Sasquan people notified me about the nomination, Torgersen had coined the term CHORF and was going on about TruFans. He knew this was going to be inflammatory. So, basically, I was getting dragged into somebody else’s fight when I didn’t agree with the reasons he was fighting. (Which was why I wrote out that long post, explaining my thinking.)

I mean, I think you’re right that the Sad Puppies are a mob of outraged fans. I’m not outraged, and I’m not sure how much of a fan I am, you know? I was silent after saying my piece in the blog post because I didn’t have anything more to say. Well, that post was long enough, maybe it’s not surprising I had nothing to add. The new piece is basically me having thought through my experience with a bit of distance and trying to figure out what the hell happened.

I have to say this: from a sheer practical perspective, I never grasped what the Puppy campaigns were supposed to accomplish. What I mean by that: the Hugos are awarded by a particular electorate voting according to a particular system. If you don’t like the way that works out, it seems to me there are three options. One, change the system. Two, change the electorate, bringing in new people. Three, change the minds of the current electorate, to convince them that what they’re overlooking ought to be given a better chance.

I haven’t heard anything about the Puppies trying option one. Rules changes are in progress, but with an aim of minimising Puppy influence. I think we can all agree that option three was a non-starter — the Puppies weren’t really trying to change people’s minds. I never saw a lot of critical defences of Puppy stories beyond “They’re fun!” Which is something that’s highly variable. Different people find different things fun. The Worldcon crowd on the whole doesn’t like what Puppies do, and vice versa. Nobody that I saw on the Puppy side was making an argument to change minds. (I may well have missed something. Let me know, if so!)

Option two is where the Puppies seem to have had some effect, changing the electorate, adding new voters. But there wasn’t much talk about it early on in the campaign, or at least I didn’t see it. Clearly the whole affair has had the effect of publicising the Hugos, but it’s not clear that this has brought in more Puppy-aligned fans than it has non-Puppies. And I don’t imagine the Puppies were thinking at the start that the campaigns were solely for the sake of publicity. So what was it going to accomplish?

Just to finish with a few quick responses to your numbered points:

1. I don’t know how the whole thing affected my credibility in the field. I would guess that some people were impressed and some upset. But I don’t have enough of a sense of numbers to guess which is more important.

2. As far as legitimising anger … I don’t know, I only said what seemed to make sense to me. I have no idea what effect my declining the nomination had on other people. I haven’t seen any of the other nominees mention it one way or the other. As I mentioned, me being silent was mostly a function of having nothing more to say. And: I generally thought discussion was better off taking place within SF, rather than have somebody at best on the fringes (me) trying to stick his oar in.

3. Again, I want to thank you for having spoken up for me.

4. I really didn’t want to be on anybody’s side. That was sort of my point. Lies … see, this is where me not knowing the field kicks in. I don’t know whether anybody in the whole fracas lied — or whether they said things they honestly believed to be true despite evidence to the contrary. Said things, particularly about other people, that they *wanted* to be true. Which is about what I’d expect, given the nature of the Puppy campaign. Again: this was something that was always going to piss people off. I dunno. Where do you think the “establishment” erred? Or, where most egregiously?

5. Well, I’m sorry to hear this. Ape, I assure you, you’re not an embarrassment to me. You have different beliefs than I do, about science fiction and about other things, and that’s fine.

6. I do appreciate you reading what you did, and I’ll miss your comments. I did what seemed right to me, and you have to do what seems right to you.

Wild Ape

@John—Black Gate is a lot bigger than just Matt first off. I don’t accept the term repudiation. Keep in mind that he is a fan writer. That is very precarious and a hard fought fan base. Matt is still TALENTED. What grew his fan base is consistent and long term excellence. He was placed in a no win situation where he was forced to choose sides. This came at a time when fandom was in an uproar. Association with the Sad Puppies is what drew the ire of many in the Hugo fandom. Matt, at that moment, made his choice just as many had to. Keep in mind that his embarassment of having wrongfans and what he felt was the right thing for him to do propelled him into many that what he did was noble and for the narrative. Matt is not just an anti-Puppy hero for that decision, he is a Puppy SLAYER. That has great credibility in many circles. It was the least I could do to show him “scorn”. It will legitimize him in the eyes of many that he purged his own fan support. How is that a bad thing for him? He didn’t ask to have wrongfans. He didn’t solicit Sad Puppy support. Matt doesn’t get paid to my knowledge for his writing. He still does this because this is his passion and he will continue to grow an audience because the man is a talented writer. This time at least he won’t be embarassed by who supports him and I have no doubt that he will wend his way back into Hugo graces. Like I said, he won’t miss me.

Further, several times I posted something on his writings here. Never once, that I remember did he post a reply. Fans don’t really make a difference to him, or, he may not give a wit what I have to say. I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. I did a lot of footwork for him and I did vote for him. Fans have to learn that just because they like a writer doesn’t equate to the writer reciprocating. Matt may also be shy and therefore not post replies.

If anything, I learned that a Sad Puppy is a detriment. I have discovered numerous new writers who write the fiction I like. Now if I were to extol them or even vote for them there are many partisans who would ruin them simply because the have wrongfans. See what I mean? Scorning him publically is the least I could do to erase the taint of my fandom. It promotes his proper and approved audience. Perhaps I :::wink::: read his posts anyway.

I think John, you were under the same pressures as Matt. It was probably exciting to be nominated and yet horrifying that the group that promoted you came from the Rabid Puppies. You did what you had to and the stakes for the collective at Black Gate were at risk. You did what you had to do to keep the ship sailing. I have no doubt that you walked a tightrope.

No, it has not been forgotten that you said many disparaging things. I’m sure that most were from the heart. Puppies threatened to negate YEARS of hard work from many for your staff which work–for free.

At the risk of being banned from your site (not that it would be permanent as I could easily get a new handle and IP address) I will say this—sometimes you are wrong John. You and Black Gate have been very kind to me for the most part. I try to abide by your rules and respect them because I respect you guys. You make mistakes just like every other human on the planet. Sometimes you put up with me. I get it.

What you and Matt should think about is why do people come to your site and you already know the answer. People come here because you have a cadre of talent that bring people what they want. Perhaps this Sad Puppy mess will die down and be forgotten. Perhaps then I might be more vocal about what you are missing out there that Black Gate hasn’t discovered. Till then, there is still a storm over fandom. I think the main reason why I come here, aside from the good articles, is that during this mess you kept the door open to all of fandom, even the despised Puppies. This was the only place that I am aware of that allowed a contrary opinion. That was a risk that I don’t forget.

Several bloggers here have replied to me, treated me well (Kunsten, Goth Chick, Sarah Avery, Fletcher, Bob Byrne, MHarold Page, the list is too big to name them all), and they don’t act as though I am something they should scrape off their shoes. I know that I sometimes say cringe worthy comments. The fans that you have here are pretty cool too for the most part. I like Smitty, Tyr, and others who are regulars here (again, too many to name). This is a great place. I truly don’t mean to be a troll and I do try to curb that. I try to be a good guest believe it or not. Believe it or not I have gone to lengths to avoid posting. As time goes on I will probably forego posting entirely.

Sometimes when I gaze through these posts I feel bad that no one comments on them. Sean Mac is one that is hard to pass up and not post. Here is a guy who is in the toughest badlands and makes the coolest photos and not many fans post on his page. It just doesn’t seem right. Sometimes I post in places just to let them know that someone reads and appreciates what they do–for me and others–for free.

That’s why.

Matthew David Surridge

(Ape, if you don’t mind me adding to the foregoing epic — I just want to assure you that my not responding to your comments is in no way personal. There are a lot of comments on my posts, and a lot of posts here at Black Gate, that I’d like to respond to; but I simply don’t have enough energy. For a few years I’ve been fighting some kind of malady that leaves me with *no* energy most of the time. So when I do have the energy to do stuff I have to ration that energy more carefully than I’d like. Which may be why I go on at length when I do comment. I promise you I have no sense of ‘wrongfans’ or embarrassment.)

Wild Ape

Eesh—just as I hit send Matt flies of a barage…

“You’re actually one of the people I’ve thought of most throughout the whole Puppy affair.”

I believe you.

“I wasn’t asked if I wanted to be part of a movement. By the time the Sasquan people notified me about the nomination, Torgersen had coined the term CHORF and was going on about TruFans.”

I don’t like Torgersen much, never did. Still, what was done to him was wrong if not criminal. I do think CHORF is funny as hell and very accurate in describing many of the rabid left. It is hard to see things clearly in the fog of war and this whole fiasco was very foggy and gnarly. I have no clue what I would have done in your shoes.

“I never grasped what the Puppy campaigns were supposed to accomplish.”

I know, I’m not trying to be flippant, but I could tell. Did you try to figure it out? Would you be interested in finding out? Missing and not understanding this was something that really upset me then and now. We have been ignored and marginalized for a long time. Matt, this is a moment that you lost that you should have grabbed and taken. Fandom is divided. You had a moment beyond rejecting the nomination that you could have taken in attempt to be a healer. It happens. You are human and you have a life beyond this whole mess. I get it. Don’t sweat it.

“I never saw a lot of critical defences of Puppy stories beyond “They’re fun!” Which is something that’s highly variable.”

I’d say that this was a moment that the Sad Puppies did not capitalize upon. I agree. Our defense of our picks were laughably weak and unconvincing. I think this had a lot to do that the Sad Puppies didn’t slate vote but overlapped what they liked with the Sad Puppy list. It is also why the Rabids were much more effective. I appreciate that you see that taste is different.

Option 1,2, and 3 I agree with you for the most part. I don’t see what people are bitching about this year. The Sad Puppies have adjusted to everything that was said was bad. They have a long list–and yet this has been a hit list for Hugo establishment partisans. It underscores just how nasty and mean spirited they are. They want to purge fandom.

1. I believe you.
2. “As I mentioned, me being silent was mostly a function of having nothing more to say.” Well…..your human. I think it was a mistake. I also understand that you had a lot more at stake than just an award. You had a reputation to consider.
3. Your welcome. I had some growing to do as a fan. I learned that being a fan can also hurt the people you support. I am more cautious when I lend support.
4.”I really didn’t want to be on anybody’s side.” That is very sane. Writers and celebrities have no control over who their fans are and the less you say is probably better. I’m sorry you had to walk that tightrope.
5.”I don’t know whether anybody in the whole fracas lied — or whether they said things they honestly believed to be true despite evidence to the contrary.”

(face palm)

“Where do you think the “establishment” erred? Or, where most egregiously?”

When there was character assassination perpetrated by many in the media calling Torgersen and Correia racists, wife beaters, Nazis, and such—that would have been a good start. I heard nary a peep. There was never an inquiry nor public shaming of such actions—ever. That is just for starters.

This isn’t a mass hallucination. I think all of what the Sad Puppies said was proven. Take for instance this last couple of weeks Control Alt Revolt was rejected based on its messaging by Harper. It was self published and is now a best seller. The bias exists. What I learned is that it doesn’t matter that the bias exists now because there are avenues open to a writer that were not there before. A publishing house may continue to produce narrative approved books but they no longer control the market. The Sad Puppies may be right but it doesn’t matter. Instead they should spend their time, and they are, discovering the small presses and the independents that are producing what they want.

6.”I did what seemed right to me, and you have to do what seems right to you.”

Thank you for spending your time responding. I have no doubts that you will win another Hugo nomination someday. You are very talented. Even so :::wink:::I will never read your posts again. You are not Sad Puppy worthy.

Wild Ape

“Ape, if you don’t mind me adding to the foregoing epic — I just want to assure you that my not responding to your comments is in no way personal. There are a lot of comments on my posts, and a lot of posts here at Black Gate, that I’d like to respond to; but I simply don’t have enough energy.”

No worries. Besides, I’m one of those guys that is equivalent to the “don’t-make-eye-contact-with-them” kinda posters. Just keep doing what you do—write cool stuff.

GreenGestalt

I think the issue was good in that it got things debated. For the short term, don’t worry John, the puppies lost – they got mocked by more numerous (easier to mock on the net than to write something) SJW’s and the big companies just circled the wagons to protect their slurry-train – er gravy train…

Long term it does argue the need to use changing technology and demographics to open up the field.

Regardless of whether it was a P.C. Sluge excreter (my opinion) or not the model was overwhelmingly until recently writers by the thousands trying like mad to get something to impress the current needs of jaded editors. Anyone ‘self-publishing’ faced being blocked from catalogs/bookstores unless they spent far more than even a bestseller could make.

And my opinions come from experience. I’ve said it here a lot – the sudden shift from late 70s onwards – the “New Wave” being mutated into today’s market. Liking what I like but not having any ‘new’ material I liked, just the classics re-printed by the same publishers that print P.C. stuff and deconstructions of them. Of when I was writing getting tons of “Not what we were looking for” to “Content made me vomit” on stories that were certainly better than the stuff out there.

And what I am for is not so much a return to the ‘bad old days’ standard, but an opening of the market. Oh, yes, a call for boycott of big publishers for a while – certainly TOR – for ruining the “Howie” alone.

We need open markets where writers sell their stuff to the public directly.

Suggestion:

1. Writer’s website, doesn’t have to be tops
2. Open indie marketplace, Hulu, Drivethrough, at least.
3. Preview of the works for a few pages/first chapter at least – that way you can tell if he writes good/you like the story
4. Bonus – work with an artist to make a cover and hopefully a few interior illustrations – if you are so sure your story is worth someone else’s $ then get some work for it. Deviant Art for ex, or Pixiv perhaps… Ask an artist, get some estimates, pay them (and pay them first, not wait for sales!) to make some good stuff unless you are very good yourself.

Although of course I love old school stuff (Worriors of Torrggg – “Woman! Why you scream!? OG will give you Many Babies!” – hehe just kidding, maybe) the market needs not respond by only doing this. Rather individual writers -don’t quit yer day job mind- should work out their stuff and sell it directly. Not for the money but because that is part of your soul. There will be a niche for “old school feel” but also plenty of “New Wave” or whatever P.C. sludge also – IF it finds a market for the voice. Doesn’t have to be a ‘bestseller’ to “Win” but rather a balance of interest and interested.a

[…] Black Gate put up a link to the post as well, which led to an exchange of comments between Surridge and his former admirer, Wild Ape. […]

Tiberius

Feels like I have just laboured through a thin volume by Tolstoy. But I am glad I did, this post and comments certainly helped me understand what this whole issue was about – I think. Before I was just too lazy or disinterested to bother trying to figure it out.

What GreenGestalt noted is interesting. If genre fiction is to be considered as cutting edge and thought provoking, one needs to have access to all aspects, not just what may be safe. It’s easy to see why the big publishers go the safe route as the risk of being lambasted via social media and the resultant hype, boycott etc will directly affect their sales.

It takes me back to Black Gates Leather Doll story and the comment storm it created, John probably agonised over whether to publish or not and eventually (in my grateful opinion) story quality won over being safe.

So yes, we need publishers or a market for the less conventional, the non PC etc, but it will be a hard path for anyone up to that challenge. It is so easy to accuse people of anything online these days and before you know it a twitter storm has erupted and escalated far out of proportion.

In closing, what does CHORF mean?

Sarah Avery

One thing I like about Matthew’s piece on Splice Today is that a reader who knows nothing about SF/F and nothing about last year’s controversy would be able to follow the story without getting lost. Last year, when NPR ran some pieces on the Hugos, my family asked me to explain what was going on, and my efforts at clarity were not nearly as successful as Matthew’s.

One thing I like about how things went last year at BG is that we kept dialog going across lines of disagreement. Sometimes it was hard, and it wasn’t always pretty, but we did it. In some cases, we have persuaded each other to reconsider an issue here or there, or pointed out evidence that not all of us had seen before. Here, at least, it wouldn’t be accurate to say nobody’s ever going to change anybody’s mind. And if we didn’t all manage to hear each other out every single time, there was generally a sense that someone in the virtual room would try to hear you out.

Our levels of polarization and inflammatory rhetoric were above zero, but still way lower than almost anywhere else. All of us can be proud of that.

Here’s where we could have done better: What polarization and inflammatory rhetoric we did have drove away some of the women who used to blog, read, and comment at BG. I don’t know about every case, but at least in some, it was not because their sensibilities were offended, but rather because of a spillover effect from Gamergate. Remember, we were getting a lot of new visitors all at once. I’m confident that none of our regulars who sided with the Puppies factions would doxx or threaten anyone, but when we were getting hundreds of newcomers a day with some posts, I myself sometimes wondered if even my most diplomatic comments might get me doxxed or threatened by some wandering Gamergater. And sometimes there was hostile language about women that made me wonder, as folks on the right wondered for different reasons, whether it was worth sticking with the discussion. Much more often than not when we talked about the Hugo controversy here, I was the only woman in the room.

Here’s my crazy hope: That we can build on the things that we did well last year, and the trust that some of us developed, to the point where both Puppies and women feel a hope of being heard out by people who disagree with them, and have reason to trust that at least none of the regulars will trash them intentionally. (Stick with me for a couple more sentences, guys.) Of course every demographic has its share of jerks — the reviewer who blogged under the pseudonym Requires Hate proved that it’s perfectly possible for a woman to be a jerk of the very highest magnitude. But I think the women who used to be among our regulars until they left us last spring were people we’d all want to welcome back. I miss them. Probably some of you miss at least some of them, too.

VD

First, I should point out the reason that I recommended both Black Gate and Matthew David Surridge for Hugo Awards is because a) they were worthy of winning the award, and b) they would never, ever have been nominated by the very small group of 40-50 Tor-affiliated SJWs who have dominated the nominations, and through them the awards, for the last 20 years.

Second, all Matthew’s actions accomplished was to ensure the award went to a vastly inferior “fan” writer, the professional writer and wife of the then-SFWA president, whose “fan writing” consisted of a single hit piece on one of the lunatics of the field. That, more than anything, is why his decision to renounce his nomination was a mistake. That one is on you, Matthew.

What Rabid Puppies did was to rescue the category from the pro writers in the Tor Books cabal who were intentionally using it as a springboard to win the Best Novel award. John Scalzi and Kameron Hurley did this successfully, Jim Hines did it unsuccessfully. Notice how they abruptly disappeared from the category once they win their “Fan Writer” awards. It is simply laughable to claim that any of the fan writers nominated before the Puppy campaigns can legitimately compare with the fan writers we have been recommending, both at Black Gate and Castalia House. The same is true of the Best Related Work category.

Third, the Hugo controversies are only going to become more intense going forward. Last year, we were quiet and allowed all of the various slanders that appeared in the media to go largely uncommented. Instead, we began doing our research, and while we are not neo-Nazis or any of the various things we are accused of being, we have learned that SF fandom is genuinely full of pedophiles, child abusers, child molesters, sexual deviants, and people who are more than willing to publicly defend and even celebrate child molesters… and it has been for fifty years.

This year it’s our turn to take our case to the media, and we’re going to hit back harder than any of you ever imagined. This isn’t over. It has barely even begun. And every time the SJWs in SF try to double-down, as they did with the media and with rules changes like EPH, we’re going to take advantage of those actions and make use of them.

So think twice before you decide to take their side. Because you’re going to find yourself associated with things far darker and more depraved than anything you ever accused the Puppies of being or doing. If you are determined to fight award recommendations in order to defend child molesters, then there is something seriously wrong with you.

[…] detailed manner that led me to nominate him in the first place. There is also a discussion of it at Black Gate.Having received no email, I figured […]

Martin Christopher

It’s been almost a year now and I haven’t heard anything about this years award nominations yet. Wonder what we’re going to see happen.

snowcrash

Though I didn’t like her last book, I would find it fascinating to live in a world where Kameron Hurley was nominated, much less successful won, a Best Novel Hugo.

However, I suspect I wouldn’t like the world where Cheryl Morgan, Dave Langford and frickin’ SF Grandmaster Frederik Pohl did not legitimately compare to the rabid candidates of 2015.

@Matthew – I don’t think I ever realised how stressful the Kerpupple was to you, who had to live it intimately. I think you not only conducted yourself with grace in an incrediby tough situation, but that you went above and beyond.

VD

“Kameron Hurley was nominated, much less successful won, a Best Novel Hugo.”

Good point. Her attempt to parley Best Fan Writer + Best Related Work into Best Novel were, in part, blocked by us. I was confusing The Goblin Emperor which made the shortlist with 256 nominations, with The Mirror Empire, which only got 112.

Note that she won Best Related Work for a single blog post, which was both a joke and an embarrassment to SF.

robmatic

“Good point. Her attempt to parley Best Fan Writer + Best Related Work into Best Novel were, in part, blocked by us. ”

So, basically, what’s left is your obsession with John Scalzi. There’s a surprise.

Could you at least try and get over your jealousy that he has a much more successful career in SFF?

Mark

VD: “Note that she won Best Related Work for a single blog post, which was both a joke and an embarrassment to SF”

Is that why your BRW slate also includes an entry of only a single blog post?

@Matthew, your blog post gave me plenty of food for thought, and I hope it is widely read.

TW

“I thought the article’s ideological slant made it misleading, and pitched a piece to Splice Today that would fact-check the Breitbart story.”

I hope you also considered fact checking some of the other articles in the guardian, or salon, or wherever…

” I never grasped what the Puppy campaigns were supposed to accomplish.”

I think you came close to answering this in the following paragraphs…To me it is always trying to get more, and a more diverse group of people into fandom.

Though I think to Larry Correia the whole thing was a bet between him and a couple of his writer buddies…That he could make the worldcon trufen lose their collective minds.

Needless to say he won that bet in 2014. 😉

peer

I agree with the 3 option. I like also add: I see one main mistakes with the sad puppy campaign: It is the notion of “having to choose sides”. Thats something I wouldnt want, and Im just a fan. I wouldnt even know what side Im suppose to be on. As an Non-American I dont attend World Con, my favorite SF (ish) Novel last elective year was Jeff vandermeers Annhiliation – Is that more puppish oder more ant-puppish? I wouldnt know. And seriously: I dont want to start resreaching, so I can pick the right side. I dont see the reason, I have to. Im a fan and I dont see why I have to rub shoulders with anyone, I dont know. I do realize its more difficult for those involved, but rest assured: If I ever become a famous writer (which is highly unlikely, but why not thorugh in a handful of hubris) and may or not be nominated a Hugo, I will still refuse to pick sides. I live on a the other side of the Atlantic, I can be snobbish 🙂

(I also think its a dissiverce to the own cause iof you make a slate to nominate yourself, but thats just me)

Bonnie McDaniel

“Her attempt to parley Best Fan Writer + Best Related Work into Best Novel”

Precisely how would she do that, besides writing an excellent book? She didn’t write in those 112 nominations all by herself.

Sarah Avery

Second, all Matthew’s actions accomplished was to ensure the award went to a vastly inferior “fan” writer, the professional writer and wife of the then-SFWA president, whose “fan writing” consisted of a single hit piece on one of the lunatics of the field.

This objection perplexes me. Usually when I’ve seen people in the Puppy factions mention, or respond to mention of, Benjanun Sriduangkaew/Requires Hate, it has been to protest that “SJWs” only called out their own trolls when those trolls turned on left-leaning writers and bloggers. The common Puppy objection I’ve seen in comment threads here at BG is that she trolled against rightward-leaning people for years before anyone on the left noticed or cared. This position on Sriduankaew usually appears in formulations like Your silence when she attacked US did not go unnoticed, or Where was your outrage when she said _______ about ______________? And if the sites where she was spewing her bile against rightward-leaning people had been widely read by leftward-leaning people, that would have been a completely reasonable objection. Her behavior toward everyone has been appalling, and well worth calling out, from start to finish.

But for those of us who had never heard of Benjanun Sriduangkaew until Laura Mixon’s report came out — who weren’t reading any of the sites where Requires Hate was conducting herself hatefully — we could hardly have called her out before we knew she existed.

I’m most surprised to see the original Rabid Puppy call Mixon’s report a “hit piece” in the context of all those calls from various other Puppies for the people they disagree with to clean house and repudiate our bad actors. When it looks like nobody’s doing that, or not enough people are doing it, we get slammed for hypocrisy, but when one of us does do it and receives a very public form of recognition for her efforts, she gets slammed for character assassination. Reasonable people can disagree about whether Mixon’s piece rose to the level of Hugo-worthiness, but I don’t see how it can be characterized as a hit piece when the most damning things in it were the compiled threatening and defamatory things Benjanun Sriduangkaew herself had said. Sriduangkaew had the option of not saying those things in the first place. After she’d spent years trolling in public, she was hardly in a position to complain that somebody noticed out loud.

And then VD promises a wave of hit pieces, character assassination, and guilt-by-association PR campaigns such as we’ve never seen before.

I’m searching for a thread of consistency here. Still searching, still searching…

NOLAbert

I feel a bit awkward commenting to this blog post because I haven’t identified with any side in this fight. I’m a recent returnee to SF/F over the last few years and have only been reading Black Gate for maybe a year. But, I’m commenting because I feel the culture war in SF/F is relevant. Why? Because it affects what is published and it affects revisionist views of past work.

From reading the commentary here on Black Gate, I think I would probably align my tastes in SF/F fiction with Wild Ape and GreenGestalt. Although what got me back to reading fantasy in particular was Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. And I really enjoyed Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire Series. The stories that I’ve really enjoyed lately (and I thank Black Gate for making me aware of them) are the ones in Swords of Steel (I can’t wait for volume 2!).

As I’ve mentioned before here, I work as a university professor. My field is cognitive psychology, although I also have a foot in social psychology. In 2015, Behavioral and Brain Sciences published a controversial article by Duarte et al. in which the authors argue that social psychology is being harmed by its lack of diversity in thought. The authors claim, with supporting evidence, that social psychology (and by extension many other areas of psychology including personality, political psychology, and the psychology of gender) is politically homogeneous (i.e., liberal) and that this lack of diversity in viewpoints is harming psychological science. The authors (none of whom identify as conservative) argue that the field would benefit with a greater diversity in thought (in particular, greater numbers of non-liberals). I mention this here because I wonder if SF/F as a creative endeavor would reflect the same ideological homogeneity (George R.R. Martin speculated as much on his blog during the puppygate controversy) and would also benefit from a greater diversity in viewpoints.

I know I’ve read at least a couple of interviews with authors in SF/F magazines who made political statements that went unchallenged by the interviewer. In particular, I’m referring to the interviews with Katherine Hurley and Aliette de Bodard in Grimdark magazine. (as an aside, Wild Ape has strongly recommended Grimdark Magazine here on Black Gate. I have purchased every issue to date and I’m more reticent in my praise of the zine. While there has been at least one good story in every issue, there have been a few where, for me, only one story was interesting in the issue). Regarding the interviews, Katherine Hurley opined about her belief that gender is much more than a dichotomy and Aliette de Bodard said she would like to see the “rape scene” retired from fantasy. Neither were challenged on those statements. If I were the interviewer of Hurley I would have asked her for evidence why she believes gender is non-binary. And if there are some exceptions, then isn’t it “mostly binary.” If the conversation strayed to social norms, I would acknowledge those but ask about biological differences, etc. For Aliette de Bodard, I would have asked why rape scenes are the ones that need to be retired. Why not murder scenes? Is rape in fiction really that more objectionable than murder? Can you imagine Fantasy writing without murder and killing?

VD

“So, basically, what’s left is your obsession with John Scalzi. There’s a surprise. Could you at least try and get over your jealousy that he has a much more successful career in SFF?”

I’m neither obsessed with nor jealous of John Scalzi. I’m a better writer than he is and I’ve sold far more games than he has sold books. He and PNH started attacking me back in 2005 and have never once backed off or apologized for their actions in 11 years. My minions have compiled a list of over 100 unprintable quotes from Mr. Scalzi alone. Those who aren’t prepared for a war of attrition shouldn’t start one.

“It is the notion of “having to choose sides”. Thats something I wouldnt want, and Im just a fan.”

Once SJWs get involved, you always have to choose sides. That’s how they work. If you don’t submit to them, you are the enemy. Look around. It’s not as if SF is the only place they are running amok.

“I don’t see how it can be characterized as a hit piece when the most damning things in it were the compiled threatening and defamatory things Benjanun Sriduangkaew herself had said.”

So, you agree that John Scalzi is a rapist? You seriously can’t figure out how stringing together a series of accurate quotes can be a hit piece? And that’s not the point anyhow. Is there a single person here at Black Gate who genuinely believes Laura Mixon is a better fan writer than Matthew David Surridge or John O’Neill or half the contributors here?

“And then VD promises a wave of hit pieces, character assassination, and guilt-by-association PR campaigns such as we’ve never seen before. I’m searching for a thread of consistency here.”

Hey, the media is already contacting me due to last year’s SF-SJW campaign against the Puppies. I’m simply giving them a much more interesting, much more damning narrative with which to run. And you know that SF fandom is collectively FAR more guilty of pedophilia, child molesting, and sexual abuse of children than the Puppies were of Neo-Nazism, homophobia, racism, or sexism.

It’s too late to whine about it. The SJWs at Making Light whipped up the media storm. I’m just taking advantage of it, just like I’ll use EPH and every other new tactic they unveil against them.

But please, go ahead, protest and complain and hurl accusations. Complain all you like. Cry all you like. Call us racist again. Call us sexist again.

Maybe THIS time we will care….

VD

“Is that why your BRW slate also includes an entry of only a single blog post?”

Yes. The fact that I think the “rules” are ridiculous doesn’t mean I am incapable of playing by them. The precedent has been set.

VD

“Precisely how would she do that, besides writing an excellent book? She didn’t write in those 112 nominations all by herself.”

However indeed? After all, I didn’t write in those 387 nominations for Skin Game all by myself.

Wild Ape

@Tiberius—CHORF–Cliquish, Holier-than-thou, Obnoxious, Reactionary, Fanatics. Basically the term was an inside joke about who were the enemies of the Sad Puppies. When the Puppy-kickers were vomiting out their hatred and calling us Nazis, racists, and wife beaters and such Torgersen devised this as a joke to laugh at them and turned it back on our enemies. The term captures all of the sanctimonious crap spewed at us right back at them. Anti-Puppies would call you a neo-Nazi or a racist and then get twisted out of shape when you called or referred to them as CHORFs. Even GRRM was in fits about this and demanded that we stop name calling because it hurt his people’s feelings. Seriously! Get a grip! What I see now is that this has more to do with shutting down free speech on the right. The Puppies are not playing the game where our enemies get to fire off volleys of hate speech any more.

“One thing I like about Matthew’s piece on Splice Today is that a reader who knows nothing about SF/F and nothing about last year’s controversy would be able to follow the story without getting lost.”

He did a fair job of covering it. The only thing that was essential that he missed was that he never stated who and what the Puppy movements were. To an outsider one would think that the Sad Puppies sprang out of no where for no reason other than to ruin the Hugo because we are mean racist, wife beating Nazis. Why would a bunch of “Nazis” think that his work was Hugo worthy?

@Matt—Here is the lesson that all writers should take especially if they want to KEEP their audience without entangling themselves in a mess. It would have been better to opt out without comment and thank your fans. That way you don’t ALIENATE them nor do you SUPPORT those that force you into a narrative. What you did was to take sides and you chose the wrong side. Those whom you supported were enemies of free speech and freedom.

@ GreenGestalt and Tiberius “So yes, we need publishers or a market for the less conventional, the non PC etc, but it will be a hard path for anyone up to that challenge.”

We already do. Amazon revolutionized the publishing world with the Kindle and now eReaders are soaking up 20% of all book sales. Publishing companies are taking a beating and they failed in their pricing war against Amazon. The eReader market has opened up more writers and space for “niche markets” than ever before. Publishers won’t print it because they don’t like the “story messaging like Conan the Barbarian”—no problem they can self publish and people buy the books. This is something that will work out in time.

@Sarah–“And if we didn’t all manage to hear each other out every single time, there was generally a sense that someone in the virtual room would try to hear you out.”

You were one of those leaders who did just that. That is why I admire and respect you.

“What polarization and inflammatory rhetoric we did have drove away some of the women who used to blog, read, and comment at BG. I don’t know about every case, but at least in some, it was not because their sensibilities were offended, but rather because of a spillover effect from Gamergate.”

I’ve met a few women bloggers here. They didn’t seem to mind me and they interacted with me on their blogs. They were clearly feminists. I don’t recall saying boo against them. Was my mere presence enough to make them curl up and run away?

Gamersgate may have been wooly but I think you have an incomplete history. Feminists sent bomb threats to Gamersgate conventions. Anita Sarkasian makes her living by ginning up hatred for men who play computer games and then gets funding from outraged feminists. Hatred is a profit business for her and all she needs to do is point and screech her way to more funding. She is now heading up Twitter’s group out to crush free speech. My, what a racket she is in! And it pays well!

“Here’s my crazy hope: That we can build on the things that we did well last year, and the trust that some of us developed, to the point where both Puppies and women feel a hope of being heard out by people who disagree with them, and have reason to trust that at least none of the regulars will trash them intentionally.”

Hey Sarah, you are aces with me. You are a class act. Trouble won’t come from the regulars I suspect. At least not from me.

“And then VD promises a wave of hit pieces, character assassination, and guilt-by-association PR campaigns such as we’ve never seen before.”

Uh,….I’ve seen some of what he has planned and if you think things were bad last year you haven’t seen hell unleashed yet. Y’all are going to miss the Sad Puppies of old. Vox ain’t playing this time and he isn’t stupid. His minions are thirsty for SJW tears.

@NOLAbert—“as an aside, Wild Ape has strongly recommended Grimdark Magazine here on Black Gate. I have purchased every issue to date and I’m more reticent in my praise of the zine. While there has been at least one good story in every issue, there have been a few where, for me, only one story was interesting in the issue”

I’m flattered that you took my recommendation seriously. I agree with your assessment of Bodard. See seemed kinda opposite of grimdark in her response.

“I mention this here because I wonder if SF/F as a creative endeavor would reflect the same ideological homogeneity (George R.R. Martin speculated as much on his blog during the puppygate controversy) and would also benefit from a greater diversity in viewpoints.”

It would. Part of what the Sad Puppies were angry about was the bias in the publishing. Sword and sorcery disappeared and the fiasco that Tor brought to the Conan franchise was appalling. Tor should stick with its own brand of sword and sorcery and leave Conan to the experts.

@VD—Go easy on Black Gate please.

Tiberius

Thanks Ape,
Yes after I asked what CHORF was I decided to stop being lazy and did a search. Found a humorous article with Mordekai and Rigby from The Regulars Show that explained it.

True what you say about e-readers. For example I have a bit of an obsession with books about orc’s (as main protagonists) and apart from Mary Gentle, Morgan Howell and Stan Nicholls these have been a bit thin on the ground. But with the advent of kindle etc one can now access many more that otherwise wouldn’t have seen the light of day.

GreenGestalt

I’m posting again on this thread in reply, response.

Let me say first of all I LOVE these “Puppy” discussions. We need good conversation here, including firey arguments. Put on the Conan music, the sword being forged scene, etc. Lots of good works are inspired by/in response to arguments. C.S. Lewis for instance wrote his science fiction excursion in response to events in Stapledon’s “Last and First Men” book.

And John, while it is your board, please let me suggest there’s a difference between people debating, between strong feelings and statements and actual attacking. The Gamergate issue Sara tangents here, not to mention anything related to a -chan board otherwise should be proof of that.

I’m greatful to VD for his works, ordinarily I’m the “Rabid Puppy” and was for years here before that term came into place. I can keep the foam in my mouth ‘coz I’m doing art practice and working on my latest story, but take the time to check/comment here because its a good nexus of people actually doing stuff in stuff I am interested in.

Having said that I do agree with you mostly. We are getting this “Dual issue” forced by the media on all level. These two sides batter each other and perfectly cancel out and sometimes miss things they should. We have this in politics and supposed “controversy” – each side being a cartoony image of the other side. In this case the SJWs go “Aaha!” when finding a really ugly sexist or neo-nazi or other extremist on the “Puppy” sense but then yes they do enshrine quite a few perverts…

I could point out how while they ruined the “Howie” – they still make mega big bucks on new “Lovecraft” stuff so much they defend with the threat of lawsuit stuff that is in the public domain clearly. Just bash HPL coz he was racist, but then here’s the next “New Cthulhu stuff to buy” article. And the person who’s objectation to the award was used to argue for its change KEPT said award because it gets her published. Others returned their awards over it, but only got essentially mocked here, like S.T. Joshi…

And, as I’ve pointed here – what about L.Frank Baum? He wrote “The Wizard of Oz” something still making money today – but he also argued for a “Final Solution” to the Native Americans.

Or also I feel – one man’s opinion – the same SJW’s who applaud the removal of the Howie would -if writers- be willing to throw acid in each other’s faces if they thought it would help them get a “Burroughs” award – and I don’t mean the Mars/Tarzan one. Whilel right now they probably burn the late Bowie in effigy over a sweet statutory shag-a-delic 70s bit o’ fun (that at least wasn’t drugged and forced allegedly like Polanski) they ignore the classic “Beat” doing young boys in Tangiers as if he had time with the Heroin, Alcohol, Cigarettes and misc. bizzare drugs also…

On the other hand, I don’t agree with pure moralizing. Almost every good writer has at least one “Major Malfunction” that’s kind of what triggers the creative urge now that we don’t have “Bards” in this modern age. I indeed read and like people who might have some malfunction or be people I wouldn’t agree with. I like the story.

To Wild Ape, there are a LOT more markets out there than Amazon/Kindle. Matter of fact, the push should be for alternatives to it. Amazon charges too much, even when ‘exclusive’ though still far less than traditional outfits.

Try Lulu, Hulu for instance…

The best way for true writers indepenance is to have many seperate markets that compete with each other. That way the fees will be low and censorship non-existant. Amazon still charges too much and they do take down stuff for little/no reason at a whim. Their market, their rules, but we need to support many markets out there. You might not sympathize with the writer of “Raped by the Pteranadon” (not kidding…what..the…????) but how about the latest “Lamentations of the Flame Princess” or a cool “Crime Noir” novel, or just crazy stuff like “Software found too many hyphens”…? When censorship by a market only costs them money and save publishing truly illegal stuff there’s tons of competition out there, the story and doing good will be king.

Ultimately I say the story should be king. We need to work out a way to get it so people who are good writers who have that in their hearts can get their works out and if they make lots of good stories over years maybe make good money off of it. This would be far better than the old system of the “Impress the Editor/Gatekeeper” lottery. Short term there will be (heh, is) a flood of stuff that the Editors kept out for good reason rather than bias/agenda. But sinking the “I could be the next Steven King/J.K. Rowling/George Martin if this script impresses Mammon Publishing…” lottery will remove the ones into it hoping to make money primarily. Having them leave the ones with real talent and perserverence will develop big fan bases that will eventually support them. No one will quit their day jobs by sticking scissors into the boss’s shoulder anytime soon, but a few might be able to manage it. (well don’t use the scissors, he’ll sue for ruining his golf game and it’s rude behavior) But I think that the big publishing houses now have agendas, bias (anyone can, and left/right its bad) and are flooded with too much stuff to fairly manage and it interferes with readers getting stuff that people want, not helps.

VD

“Go easy on Black Gate please.”

I don’t see that Black Gate is involved at all. While John has made his disapproval of Rabid Puppies and my take on the cultural war perfectly clear, he has always gone out of his way to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

While I don’t agree with many of the Black Gate contributors and commenters, I regard it as a model of what an SF-related site should be.

“I await the latest move in your goofy crusade against SJWs with my usual enthusiasm. Friendly reminder, however, that as we’ve discussed before, Black Gate isn’t the stage for that kind of rhetoric.”

Roger. But believe it or not, I think you may actually appreciate the most significant aspect of the upcoming crusade. You’ll know it when you hear about it.

Wild Ape

@GreenGestalt—“I could point out how while they ruined the “Howie” – they still make mega big bucks on new “Lovecraft” stuff so much they defend with the threat of lawsuit stuff that is in the public domain clearly. Just bash HPL coz he was racist, but then here’s the next “New Cthulhu stuff to buy” article. And the person who’s objectation to the award was used to argue for its change KEPT said award because it gets her published. Others returned their awards over it, but only got essentially mocked here, like S.T. Joshi…”

Yep I remember. It was very confusing to see people who wanted to destroy Lovecraft and then turn around and buy their Cthulu books. It was as if Cthulu had mind gripped them and shredded their sanity. I think Cthulu has been very busy lately.

@Tiberus—Orcs eh? I finished “The Orc of Many Questions” and I found it very enjoyable. Please recommend the ones you liked. If you haven’t read it then you should put it in your que.

@VD—I have to admit that I thought your Xanatos Gambit was moon bat crazy I think you were proven right. I used to think the Hugo was an honorable award where fan democracy was chose what they thought was the best of the best literature. You ripped the curtain off and exposed their “Wizard of Oz” magic parlor. The Hugos are a sham. It sucked to see this but I’m glad that you revealed it. It was time to grow up and time to move on.

John is wrong. Standing up for real free speech isn’t goofy. SJWs are ruining everything and they need to be put down. I may not like your tactics or what you say at times but I’m glad you are doing this. SJWAL opened my eyes not only at the Hugo but at my work. They have poisoned my workplace and I plan on fighting them or moving on. Thank you for that book.

Tiberius

Wild Ape,
My fave to date and one of the few books I have read more than once has to be Grunts! by Mary Gently. It’s violent, crude, funny and pretty much reads like a podcast of her role playing groups campaign, but somehow she pulls it all together.

Thereafter Stan Nicholls Orcs First Blood series, also enjoyable, different but hmm, a little deux ex….

Eugene R.

Dear Mr. Surridge,

You did the right thing. You were placed in a difficult situation, a “lose/lose” proposition where you would be adopted by either by the partisans of Puppydom or the defenders of the Hugo castle. In such a case, deciding it to be a fight not of my choosing, I hope that I, too, would withdraw gracefully. And with an explanation. Thank you for making your explanation about principles and not personalities (which is more difficult than it may appear due to the sheer strength of many of those personalities).

If we hold to the concept of a “marketplace of Ideas”, then it is hypocritical to defame anyone for bringing an idea to market. And, worse in your case, as your ideas were certainly worth pondering.

peer

VD: “that’s how they work. If you don’t submit to them, you are the enemy”

That still doesnt mean Im on anybody side.

Let me make this clear: I state my opinions, I read the books I like and I say what I want. Some of it may agree with the puppies, some doesnt. Sometimes agree with the antipuppy. Sometim,es I dont. If both sides consider me an enemy because of that then it only means, Im on nobodys side.

Make a good argument, Ill listen. I might even agree. But tell me I have to agree, beacuse its the right thing and I get very suspicious.

@Wild Ape: Im not sure anyone revealed the Hugos as a sham. Its a price. Its voted by a certain group of people with a fixed set of likings. Thats hardly news. Avenger Movies wont win an Academy award for best Screenplay either. Doesnt mean there is a conspiracy. Doesnt mean ther Oscars are a sham. Just means that not all movies Ill like will win Oscars (and on the opposite end: Arthouse movies wont win a Best screenplay either). For years now I discovered the Hugos are rarely in line with my taste.

Im quite surprised that so many people seem to be surprised by this. There is no award in any medium that is not biased by the people who vote for them, be it a jury (like Nebula) or fanbased (like Hugo). I won an International Gamers award last year and that was mainly because that jury is made up of boardgamers with a certain taste in line with my own. There is no way I would have won an SdJ or DSP (dont bother with not knowing what these are, Im just making a point here), because my game has a different intended audience. Thats Ok. Awards are not science. They are games and games are played by certain rules and certain people and the outcome solely depends on those. Again, nothing new here.

Martin Christopher

It’s art. There are no quality awards in art. There are always only popularity contests.

Sarah Avery

@Ape Friend, your presence is a good thing. Anyone who’s seen a lot of your comments on a variety of posts over a period of time will know this about you: you’re passionate about the field we all care about, with dueling tendencies toward ardent loyalty and principled openmindedness that can lead conversations in directions they otherwise might not take. There’s a reason regulars like me who often disagree with you regard you, too, with affection and respect.

A person who didn’t know you as well, or who read some of your more irascible comments without scrolling long enough to see who they were from, might be put off by phrasing like the comment above in which you said SJW’s “need to be put down.” I know you don’t literally mean that actual people need to be killed for expressing views you disapprove of. But less regular readers of BG might not know you well enough to be certain of that. A person who’d received threats of personal harm or harm to her family in some other internet settings would look at that and wonder if she endangered her children by engaging in open conversation about books here.

At times when our comment threads have been most collectively heated, I’ve wondered what a wandering 4chan user would think was okay if he showed up and saw the language in front of him. On our good days, which are many, such a person would see that we do have a baseline of civility. On our hardest days, which have mostly been within the past year, such a person might conclude that this was the wild west, where anyone might say anything to anybody.

On our hardest days, there were times when I looked at the range of tones in the comment threads and thought to myself, Which would be the more annoying chore: participating in this movement of the conversation, or scrubbing out the catbox? From backchannel communication with some of our female bloggers, that was basically the way the Hugo controversy posts made them feel. Not unsafe, just unwilling to invest their time and energy into a conflict that got more heated more often, and spilling over into more places, than they were willing to stick around for. And although I made a different choice, I totally get it.

Ape, I know there were times when you felt that way, too. Jay Maynard seems to have felt so much that way that he hasn’t come back, which I think is unfortunate.

I just Googled the bomb threat against that DC Gamergate gathering. Hadn’t heard about it before, but there it is. Bomb threats are a serious crime, and for good reason, no matter who they’re from or against. You know where I stand about this kind of thing: threats, libel, and defamation of character are wrong in themselves. Where laws have been broken, legal procedings, with all their due diligence, due process, and due whatever else, are in order, no matter who the wronged party or the wronging party may be.

(I tried to be Chaotic Good in my youth, but I’ve come to terms with being Lawful Good.)

Wild Ape

@Sarah—okay, so you want Mild Ape and not Wild Ape in the verbage.

“A person… might be put off by phrasing like the comment above in which you said SJW’s “need to be put down.””

Uh…I see your point. To all the adoring Wild Ape fans please note that I am NOT opening the Rules of Engagement here. SJWs are not to be violently harmed in any way. Mocking engagements and highlighting their lies with facts is authorized. To all others who have just met Wild Ape, this should clarify the Wild Ape’s intent.

“I just Googled the bomb threat against that DC Gamergate gathering.”

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This is why I love you. These actions are not what fandom should become. It seems these bad actions are ignored by the Hugo establishment whereas if they had said to the Puppies that these actions are unacceptable and wrong they would go a long way to mend and heal the rift between them. Instead they appear to be applauding these actions. Instead of dismissing the fact or the appearance that there is a bias that exists in publishing they instead marginalize the Puppies and minimize the criminal actions perpetrated against them.

It has been my experience in life that people rarely remember what one says. They never forget how one felt about those words were hurled against them. This is what the establishment does not grasp. Sad Puppies are angry and when bias exists in every corner of the world it is hard to believe that it doesn’t exist in publishing when it is obviously is the case. Check out Control Alt Revolt http://www.nickcolebooks.com/2016/02/09/banned-by-the-publisher/

Here is a prime example of the bias that the Sad Puppies are angry about. The book is very good and currently a best seller on Amazon.

Even more frightening is that Goodreads has banned conservatives. Facebook has banned people who disagree with Zuckerberg and has helped European governments crack down on political enemies. Twitter is shadow banning people. The murderers of free speech are not governments but social media working by proxy with the governments.

I and the other Sad Puppies have been called racists, white supremacists and Nazis. I remind you of the first actions of Hitler’s oppressive regime. He burned books long before he burned people. Banning comes in many forms and it is the first step of fascists who stiffle ideas and then people. You don’t get a choice when the fascists are in power. Who is in power in publishing? I submit that, like Zuckerberg’s and Twitters playground that the Hugo establishment is just like them. You can have all the free speech you want as long as you agree with them. The anti-Puppy establishment is a classic case of doing just that. The Hugos Awards Ceremony was a shameful act and most know it. That is what I am saying Sarah. Nazis started off the same way. The fanatics would root out opposition and silence it. Then they engaged in acts of violence. You at least stand up for the marginalized.

Publishers like Tor treat sword and sorcery of the blend of Conan and military sci-fi like Halo like it is porn. They sell their Halo “smut” because it is popular and is a good money maker for them. However, they have no respect for those fans at all. Conan was the prize gem of sword and sorcery and was at one time one of the most popular subgenres. What happened to it? How can you botch Conan? They had Robert Jordan, Harry Turtledove, and John Maddox Roberts for crying out loud! How did they do it? They had those great writers convert their stories to Conan stories. That is why the master world building of Jordan never flourished in Conan. Where were the classic battles of Turtledove in Conan? Where were the self reflective heroes and side characters of John Maddox Roberts? Why did M. Harold Page only get ONE Conan book? Tor, like DAW, purged the genre and ignored it because it was porn to them. Heroic adventure was toxic messaging to them and they milked the Conan fans with garbage until the Conan fans left for something better. At least they kept Jordan and allowed him to do his own thing. The only thing left from Tor with sword and sorcery was their narrative approved Teletubby swashbuckling heroes on their Rainbow Ponies. I suppose there is a market for that but not for me. That fiction sucks and I haven’t seen it like until recently when the Kindle and the eReaders came onto the scene.

@peer—“That still doesnt mean Im on anybody side.”

My advice is when you do get popular and you have something that happened to Mr. Surridge, do not do what he did. It is just like two friends (x and y) fighting. If you side with x then you will offend y and vice versa. It is best to say to your friends that you aren’t taking sides and remove yourself from the fray. Surridge didn’t. He said that he had sympathy with x and didn’t have to say anything to y accept that he found it difficult to make the choice. He should have bowed out and said nothing or said things through the back channel. He alienated some of his fan base.

TW

” unwilling to invest their time and energy ”

Funny thing, that is something I realized just the other day as I was cleaning up podcast episodes on my phone, I discovered that I hadnt listened to quite a few of my “regular” genre related podcasts in months…I would just skip over them when they popped up. It was a quandary, do I keep these few dozen episodes? or do I dump them? (I ended up dumping the vast majority of them, and even unsubscribing from a couple of podcasts)

It made me think about my habits over the last few months, there are quite a few websites that I would visit on a near daily basis that I dont anymore. Some, like Black Gate or SFSignal, I have come to check once a week or so, some I havent been to in ages.

I came to the conclusion that maybe subconsciously I thought too many supposedly grown adults behaved like spoiled children around the whole mess, especially in the aftermath, than I couldnt take them seriously anymore.

peer

Well I guess Surridge spoke his mind. Which I will too. I can´t promise I wont offend anyone. That will be impossible. But yeah I guess this is one of the things that are hard to predict, until youre really in this situation. I do see where youre coming from though.

Just an offside: “has helped European governments crack down on political enemies” – Probably just an inside from a citicen of those European goverments: It is forbidden in my country to dehumanize humans in public and it is forbidden to publicy call for killing or harming other human beings. That is what the Facebook-actions are aboout (and Facebook was actually very slow to bow to local laws). Now I know, that Americans have a different perspective on free speech (like you have a different perspective on Gun Laws) and I dont think this is the place to discuss those persepectives. We can gladly discuss those privatly via email(if you wish)though. I just wanted to offer an explanation, or a background/perspective on this particular topic.

Martin Christopher

Yeah, we’re really not feeling like our free speech is being restricted here in Germany. You’re legally allowed to say almost everything as long as you don’t promote hate crimes. There’s a far-right conspiracy that the press is supressing their opinions, but a right to free speech is not a right to free media coverage.

Wild Ape

@peer–Spreading an arguing about free speech everywhere is not my intent. I don’t wish to talk about international politics. I do think that the Puppy movements were in part about the suppression. That is at the center a free speech argument. Voting for a Hugo because you like an author should not be treated like a hate crime or hate speech.

Sad Puppies were tired of the bias against conservatives. One of the people we voted for was Toni Weiskoff. Weiskoff has been a champion of fandom for a long time and has a strong reputation. The trouble is that she works for Baen Books and that brand has a reputation for publishing some books from right leaning thought. She was never nominated for a Hugo and we got her on the ballot. She received the highest number of votes than any other editor in the history of the Hugo—-far more than John Scalzi. She lost to No Award because there more that would rather crush free speech than to give a deserving editor a Hugo because she is supported by the Puppies.

Martin—I used those as examples of crushing free speech, my intent is not to spread the discussion past the Hugo fiasco. Do you think that it is right to publish character assassinations upon anyone that is innocent of the charge? Do you think it is okay for people to deliver bomb threats to people that they disagree with? Do you think that the Hugo should only be reserved only for left leaning fans?

Martin Christopher

No, that falls under promoting crimes. Which is illegal, as I think it should be.

And people can vote whatever way they like on a popularity contest. Vote whatever you want. And then live with the fact if the works you like are not the most popular.

Trying to make a popularity contest for fiction a fight about social issues is just undignified and immature. Trying to rig the system for a popularity contest so that the fiction you like wins and then making it about social issues is just sad.

peer

Just worte a very long comment, but it got eaten…

So I wont elaborate: I think its simple: The voters consist of mainly non-conservatives. Is this representative for SFfans? Does it even matter?

I dont think there is an oppression. If there are more non-conservative than they vote for the authors, they are exposed to. And authors that -for whatever reason – are more exposed to conservatives are getting less votes. Is this because the author is conservative or is it because he is more reviewed by conservative fanzines/websites and known by his conservative friends? I think the latter. As I said before: Unless American fans are very different from European ones, I doubt most fans would know which authors are were in the polical spektrums (safe for very few exceptions).

Wild Ape

“Trying to make a popularity contest for fiction a fight about social issues is just undignified and immature. Trying to rig the system for a popularity contest so that the fiction you like wins and then making it about social issues is just sad.”

Voting on a book for its politics has never been what I’ve advocated—EVER. Vote for who you like, Sad Puppies just voted for who they like. We lost. The problem is that you want to FRAME the picture to look as though we were pouty and cheated and tried to rig the system. We played by the rules.

More importantly, the Sad Puppies LISTENED to the criticism and adjusted to it. The chief complaint was that there was only five nominations and five choices. Although the Puppies played by the rules it was felt that they the Puppies didn’t abide by the spirit of the award. We considered this and felt that in the SPIRIT of the award we’ve broadened the RECOMMENDATIONS to ten or more selections. Our purpose is to promote the fiction we like—REGARDLESS of messaging. Most of us prefer story over messaging but this isn’t a hard and fast rule.

Look Martin—you were the one who said that you thought character assassination and bomb threats was criminal and should be treated as such. Thank you. I agree. What you don’t see is that the Sad Puppies are being abused and targeted because of social issues and you are confused by why we are fed up. Being fed up with abuse is not irrational nor is it immature to stand up for yourself and your beliefs. Now if you look at the facts you will realize that both sides are like mobs. The Sad Puppy mob, if you will, has LISTENED and ADJUSTED in order to create civility and acceptance. The anti-Puppy side continues its abuse. What is better for fandom?

“The voters consist of mainly non-conservatives. Is this representative for SFfans? Does it even matter?”

Not to the Puppies. Just write good fiction. We could care less who you sleep with, who you vote for, or whatever. We are maligned constantly and painted as racist, white supremacists and homophobes. It’s not right.

Baldanders

We are maligned constantly and painted as racist, white supremacists and homophobes. It’s not right.

It may not be right, but if you associate with Theo Beale, it is understandable that you would be tarred with the same brush.

This seems to be the hardest thing for the pro-Puppies (Sad or otherwise) to understand.

peer

I disagree Baldanders. A lot of the puppies have distanced themselves with Beale. It did them no good.

I dont like big strokes. The anti-puppies are not all goverment-overthrowing communists (or whatever) and conservatives are not necessary nazis. Once you started saying “All my opponents are [Blank]” you killed all discourse and can start throwing pitchforks (*)

As hard as it is: Talk about the matter at hand. Dont simplify

(*) Im fully aware that you dont throw pitchforks.

Sarah Avery

Just speaking for myself, I’m setting aside some things that happened last year and allowing for the possibility that this year might be different. The Sad Puppies changed some of their leadership for this year and started announcing their intentions to move away from proposing a slate, proposing a longer recommended reading list, as a way of putting the worst of the conflict behind them. Okay, let’s give that a chance to work and see what happens.

The Rabid Puppies have chosen to escalate the conflict. That was predictable.

Let’s remember that last year a lot of the Sad Puppies did not care for Beale’s hijinks. Some of them came to feel that he had used them for purposes they would not have agreed to.

I think an eventual — maybe _very_ eventual– reconciliation with many of the Sad Puppues will be possible.

The Rabid Puppies are another matter.

If those of us who identify as centrists, leftists, or non-aligned want to see the Hugos stop being a battlefield that tears up the whole SF/F community every tear, it’s worth our while see where they’re distancing themselves from the Rabids and acknowledge that. I don’t want to punish progress by endlessly reminding them of their initial bad choice of ally. If they feel they’ll never live down the guilt by association no matter what they do, what incentive do they have to repudiate Beale and his methods?

Thomas Parker

I try to stay out of this fracas because, while having strong beliefs about our culture and where it’s going, I loathe with every fiber of my being the unceasing war over such things that public life has become. But I came across something today that seems to have some bearing, not on the issue itself, but on the rancor and unrestrained passion with which it all too often plays out. It’s from Adam Roberts, a SF author himself (New Model Army, etc.) He says:

Perhaps we are witnessing a return to a mode of more immediate access that in turn informs a sort of faceless orality—to the sort of thing we might associate with (for instance) social media such as Twitter. Online interactions lose the old alphabetic sequential rigour and logic; they function as emotional rather than intellectual megaphones. Poke your head into online interaction—about the new Star Wars movie, about Doctor Who’s representation of women, about Gamergate, about the 2015 Hugos, anything you like—and what comes across most strongly is that people feel intensely and are moved to express those feelings with a vehemence that cannot comprehend that others might feel just as strongly in a different way. ‘The characteristic mental disorder of alphabetic societies,’ according to Ong, ‘is schizophrenia, but of analphabetic societies it is anger and polemicism. Old oral was very angry.’ I really can’t think of a neater encapsulation of the online culture surrounding genre in the twenty-teens than ‘Anger and Polemicism’. Perhaps we are indeed moving towards a combination of oral choler and typographic flatness. Renaissance and Reformation scholars attacked one another with furious rage over things they believed mattered intensely—God in the world, how we are saved, how we must live. People today employ the same furious rage, and many of the same rhetorical tactics, over the issue of the crossguards on the lightsabre glimpsed, for less than a second, in the trailer to the forthcoming Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens.

In response to which Alan Jacobs reflected:

“A combination of oral choler and typographic flatness” — that sounds really, really awful and really, really plausible. But I wonder if it’s true that this anger arises when people “cannot comprehend that others might feel just as strongly in a different way.” Maybe they comprehend just that, and they simply hate others for feeling differently, and want to punish them for it, and drive them from the field of battle, and pour salt on the foundations of their city. Carthago delenda est.

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