Some Hugo finalists who were on Theodore “Vox Day” Beale’s block-voting slate have had things to say about it. Some have not. Below, I’ve compiled the comments I’ve come across in the hope that it’s helpful for people who are interested in the finalists’ reactions.
I’m not saying that all the finalists are obligated to say something about this, or that the Hugo voters who are not so inclined should really care. Some finalists don’t want to share their opinions (in case they have any) and some voters couldn’t care less what an author says, and that’s completely fine.
However, this is another special Hugo year. The vast majority of finalists were gamed on the ballot by a slate-voting campaign and practically a single person has decided what the ballot will look like. He put his troll army of about 200 or 300 people to work, and that was enough to render most of the other 3700 voters’ opinions meaningless. That’s how Hugo math works — even a small number of slate-voters have a huge advantage because the pool of potential nominees is so vast and honest voters’ votes are dispersed so thin. A rule change will probably take care of this next year, but we are stuck with it for now.
All in all, it’s an awkward situation for a writer to be in — being on a shortlist for a major award after someone hacked the nominations. Worse, it was hacked by a bigoted asshole.
At this point, we don’t know for sure which of the Rabid Puppy nominees would have made it without Beale’s help, but there’s no doubt that some would have. Neil Gaiman and Lois McMaster Bujold, for example, already have their closets full of Hugos, so it’s quite likely that they were going to be there, slate or not. With others, it’s difficult to say.
The thing I’m interested in here is what do the nominees make of the situation: What do they think about the Rabid Puppies campaign, Beale’s Hugo vandalism and the fact that they are (partly, possibly) on the ballot as a result of those?
I’ll be updating this. Please comment if there’s something that should be added.
- 30/4: Updated Marc Aramini’s and Grey Carter’s views. (Thanks to Snowcrash and Mark for pointing these out!)
- 1/5: Updated S.R. Algernon’s and Andy Weir’s views. (Thanks to katster and S.R. himself for pointing these out!)
- 2/5: Black Gate has declined nomination.
- 5/5: Updated Daniel Polansky’s statement.
- 29/5: Added Jason Rennie (thanks JJ!) & Strange Horizons (thanks, Mark!). Updated Superversive SF (thanks, Kieran!) & Chuck Tingle.
Jim Butcher (The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass)
I think Butcher, who was one of the few big name Puppy candidates last year, has said absolutely nothing on the subject. In 2015, he ended up below No Award in the novel category despite his huge following.
Neal Stephenson (Seveneves: A Novel)
Stephenson is another writer who seems to never comment on fan politics and maybe that’s wise of him. Beale seems to be entertainingly uncertain about the guy. He has attacked Seveneves for its “gamma male” mentality (whatever MRA crap that is) on the other hand, but also celebrated Stephenson as one of the great “blue SF authors”. I sense some wishful thinking in this quote from Vox Popoli blog: “I cannot tell if Stephenson is writing with a straight face, or, as I strongly suspect, taking the piss out of Pink SF.”
Daniel Polansky (The Builders)
Polansky’s novella was published through Tor.com which was the target of a Puppy boycott last year, and the writer himself has little sympathy for the Rabid Puppies.
It’s been, frankly, a frustrating week. An essentially private person, I resent intensely having been dragged into a controversy which I had no role in creating and little interest in generally. My initial reaction was to withdraw from the contest immediately [–] but upon consideration, and in consultation with some of my fellow nominees, I’ve decided to stay in, which seems to be the least-worst option. I’m reasonably convinced it minimizes the harm which the organizers of the slate intended to do to the award itself. If you read the Builders, and you thought it was deserving of a Hugo, by all means, vote for it. If you preferred the work of one of the other fine nominees, vote for that. If you want to no-decision the lot of us, that’s entirely understandable as well. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of a matter which has already cost me more in terms of time and energy than I would have preferred to offer to anything that isn’t my work, family, or friends.
But before I sign off, a quick word to those who are upset about the whole thing; don’t let it get to you too much. Every moment you spend being angry, every furious blog post, every back and forth with a moron over twitter, is a small victory you have offered to your opponents. It is to you to decide if you are offended, angered, insulted. A righteous soul needs not concern themselves with the doings of fools. Link
Lois McMaster Bujold (Penric’s Demon)
Bujold was nominated in novella category, but I’m pretty sure that Edward James’s nonfiction book about her would have made a great Best Related Work finalist. Sadly, Rabid Puppies made sure its not there. Bujold dropped a short note on Rabid Puppies in Goodreads.
As a point of information, “Penric’s Demon” was conscripted onto the “Rabid Puppies” slate without my notification or permission, and my request that it be removed was refused. Link
Brandon Sanderson (Perfect State)
After discussing how he disagreed with last year’s Sad Puppy campaign participants but feels that they were also not treated right, Sanderson goes on to describe his antipathy towards Rabid Puppies:
As most probably agree, the Sad Puppies are not the big problem here. There is another group who are simply determined to burn the house down, with everyone inside. Though there might be people in this group who are sincere, I believe that their leader (and much of the movement) is instead just trying to stir up controversy. They paint targets on people expressly to subject them to hateful ridicule. They have targeted friends of mine this way, and have said terrible, terrible things. They worked to nominate things simply out of spite and amusement. I want nothing to do with them at all. Link
Alastair Reynolds (Slow Bullets)
The Welsh space opera writer has been very critical of Sad Puppy and Rabid Puppy campaigns, and has taken the time to confront his fans who didn’t like that.
As several commentators have noted, the eventual ballots are quite strongly biassed in favour of Rabid Puppy choices. The unpalatable conclusion to be drawn from this is that my story, good as its chances were, probably wouldn’t have made the cut were it not for the RP block vote. However, I didn’t ask for those votes and in fact I expressly requested that my story not be slated. Kate Paulk (of the Sads) and Vox Day (of the Rabids) both declined my requests. Link
Cheah Kai Wai (Flashpoint: Titan)
The writer from Singapore, whose real name is Benjamin Cheah (according to his website), seems to be one of the few Rabid Puppy authors who share Beale/Day’s ideology. In his blog, he enthusiastically supports the misogynist evangelist Roosh V and bashes “social justice warriors”.
I happen to agree with many of Vox Day’s choices, including the ones that made it to the finalists. And Vox Day struck back at the people who have slimed, defamed and insulted him for decades by exposing their hyprocrisy. He did so simply by posting a list of recommendations for the Hugo Awards, which people are free to follow, critique or ignore. As far as I’m concerned, what he did is good in my book. Link
Hao Jingfang (Folding Beijing)
The Chinese writer hasn’t commented on this, and whether she is even aware of the whole mess is uncertain.
Stephen King (Obits)
No comment. The Google search for Stephen King puppies gives us this adorable corgi picture:
David VanDyke (What Price Humanity?)
David VanDyke has spelled out in various places (before and after the final ballot was released) that he doesn’t want to take any part in culture wars and that he only sent out his work for the Pournelle anthology — it’s the same Castalia House book that Cheah Kai Wai’s novelette was published in.
I’d like to say that I’m not a puppy, kitten or animal analogue of any sort. Writing a story for Jerry Pournelle’s There Will Be War anthology was an opportunity to contribute to that excellent body of work, not some kind of socio-political statement. Link
BEST SHORT STORY
S.R. Algernon (Asymmetrical Warfare)
S.R. Algernon’s short story was published in the prestigious Nature magazine.
I’m not aware of the writer saying anything about the Hugo mess. On a comment to this post, S.R. Algernon notified me that he has discussed nomination in Goodreads.
Second, I recognize that, with the politics of the situation being what it is, many worthy contenders did not make it on the Short Story ballot. After some consideration, I have chosen to defer to the position of the Hugo Administration and allow “Asymmetrical Warfare” to contend for the Hugo in good faith, irrespective of its presence on any slates.
“Asymmetrical Warfare” has received some positive reviews (for example, see Lela Buis’s review). I believe that the aim of the Hugo Awards should be to give the science fiction and fantasy community writ large a voice in recognizing work that has merit. I do not want to deprive them of their chance to vote next month, whether they are voting tactically or based on their opinion of the story itself. Link
Thomas Mays (The Commuter)
Thomas Mays (whose self-published short story was originally written for the Baen Fantasy Award but didn’t place) has already declined the nomination, saying:
To be clear, Vox Day and I have worked together before, but I did not request or engineer my appearance on his slate. I’m very proud of my story “Within This Horizon”, that I contributed to the first Riding the Red Horse anthology, which allowed me to be in the same volume as friends and acquaintances Chris Kennedy, Christopher Nuttall, Ken Burnside, and one of my literary heroes, Jerry Pournelle. I have been interviewed for Castalia House. However, Vox and I disagree on many political and social points and I am neither a Rabid Puppy nor a member of his Dread Ilk. My stories have no real ideological bent right or left. And while I cannot dispute the experiences of others which brought the Sad and Rabid Puppy movements into existence, I did not approve of the straight-slate bloc voting that so damaged fandom last year. [–] Rather than eat a shit sandwich, I choose to get up from the table. Link
Juan Tabo and S. Harris (If You Were an Award, My Love)
I have no clue where to look for the thoughts of the co-authors of this “humorous” Rachel Swirsky pastiche published in Vox Popoli — or if “Juan Tabo” and “S. Harris” even exist, for that matter.
Charles Shao (Seven Kill Tiger)
This is another story from Pournelle’s Castalia House anthology There Will Be War X. No comment on Hugos as far as I know.
Chuck Tingle (Space Raptor Butt Invasion)
Chuck Tingle of the Pounded on the Butt by my own Butt fame has already published a new book titled Slammed In The Butt By My Hugo Award Nomination and offered statements such as these. Deciphering them is an art in itself, I guess.
Do you know about the Sad Puppies, a group of people who try to disrupt voting for the Hugo Awards every year?
Don’t know about any puppies but it’s BAD NEWS BEARS if you want to disrupt awards. That is a scoundrel tactic and probably part of Ted Cobbler’s devilman plan. Ted Cobbler is notorious devil and has been seen using dark magic to control puppies around the neighborhood. I do not support the devilman agenda but i think that Space Raptor Butt Invasion proves that LOVE IS REAL and no scoundrels can stop that. Especially not some dumb dogs. Link
Update: On May 5th Tingle announced that the Gamergate hate victim #1, Zoë Quinn, has agreed to accept the Hugo for him. Later on, Tingle has moved to full-scale reverse-trolling the Rabid Puppies, registering therabidpuppies.com domain and using it to promote Quinn’s online abuse victim support organization, N.K. Jemisin and Rachel Swirsky.
BEST RELATED WORK
Marc Aramini (Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe)
Wolfe-scholar Marc Aramini is published by Castalia House — and judging by this comment left on File770, he is quite happy with his publisher. Aramini acknowledges that without Beale he wouldn’t be on the ballot but doesn’t draw the same conclusion as some filers: that perhaps he therefore shouldn’t be on the ballot in the first place.
From an author’s perspective Vox is the only publisher who treated me with any respect, and certainly given the obscurity of my work it would never have appeared on a ballot without him. His contract included a hardback and a second volume to finish the job regardless of sales,which he expected to be negligible, and that was well before any Hugo issues of 2015. I expect that there is a better than 70% chance that No Award will take related work, but I know that I wrote my book with all of my heart, soul, and out of love and respect for Gene Wolfe, who should have won a Hugo years ago, regardless of the things which surround it. Link
Jeffro Johnson (The First Draft of My Appendix N Book)
Scroll to the Best Fan Writer section for the comments.
Daniel Eness (Safe Space as Rape Room)
No comment that I know of. His multi-part essay contains so many of Beale’s talking/trolling points (such as John Scalzi being a rapist) that it’s not hard to guess what is Eness’s take on the situation.
Vox Day (SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police)
Well, the man himself!
Well done, all of you Rabids. Very well done. According to Mike Glyer, the Rabid Puppies placed 64 of its 81 recommendations on the final ballot. I understand we actually would have done a little better than that were it not for the odd withdrawal or disqualification. [–] You understand, as the other side does not, that there is no end to cultural war.
Moira Greyland (The Story of Moira Greyland)
I haven’t seen any comments by Greyland, and I’m not very keen to look for them. After reading her nonsensical gay-hate manifesto and learning that she is a victim of horrible crimes herself, I think that she really should be left alone. The fact that Beale included this in the Rabid Puppies slate tells us what kind of a person he is (not that we didn’t know it already).
BEST GRAPHIC STORY
Boaz Lavie / Asaf Hanuka / Tomer Hanuka (The Divine)
Grey Carter / Cory Rydell (Erin Dies Alone)
My guess is that Beale nominated the webcomic Erin Dies Alone because of its name and the fact that one of the people who was making the funniest fun of him last year was Alexandra Erin. Her book John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular: How SJWs Always Lie About Our Comparative Popularity Levels is highly recommended, as is John Scalzi’s audio version of it that raised over 10,000 dollars for charity.
The Erin Dies Alone writer Grey Carter has a specific idea about what sort of cunt that makes Beale.
Aaron Williams (Full Frontal Nerdity)
Corinna Bechko / Gabriel Hardman (Invisible Republic)
Neil Gaiman / J.H. Williams III (The Sandman: Overture)
Neil Gaiman doesn’t hide his opinions on Beale.
BEST EDITOR ‐ SHORT FORM
The editor of the Castalia House anthology There Will Be War isn’t optimistic about the whole thing but hasn’t spoken about slates specifically.
I’m unlikely to get this one – I’m a good editor but that’s hardly my primary occupation – but I admit I’d like to. I was already going to Kansas City this August, so I’ll be there, but I doubt there’s much need to write a thank you speech. Link
BEST EDITOR ‐ LONG FORM
Scroll to Best Related Work for comments.
No comment from the Baen editor.
No comment from the other Baen editor. According to many Puppy apologists, Weisskopf’s loss to No Award last year was a travesty of some sort and she has been their hero for years. However, she has been very careful not to say anything.
BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST
Lars Braad Andersen
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Daily Science Fiction
Sci Phi Journal
No comment. Sci Phi Journal editor Jason Rennie commented on Brad R. Torgersen’s blog that he (like Vox Day) doesn’t care about winning a Hugo one bit. In his opinion, everybody who voted No Award last year are “brain damaged morons” and “head injury patients”.
Do you know how much Vox cares about actually winning one of those cheap plastic rockets? Not at all would probably be overstating the case AFAICS. Heck, i’m on the ballot twice and I don’t really care about winning one either. Makes no difference to me. I don’t expect it to translate into subs for Sci Phi Journal and that is the only validation I care about. It might boost the profile of SuperversiveSF some and that is welcome but that will happen whether we win or not.
But Vox finds the idea of them burning the awards down and doing exactly as he predicts absolutely hilarious. Want to stop him, want him to get bored, take the gasoline and matches away from the no award voting morons. Link
On Camestros Felapton’s blog he elaborated:
Please allow me to clarify as we had the discussion about withdrawing over at SuperversiveSF behind the scenes. I wont withdraw either nomination and it has absolutely nothing to do with Vox. We have fans who voted for both in good faith, I don’t know how many but quite a few people contacted both to say they voted for us long before anything was announced. Link
No comment. In the Strange Horizons ebook sampler that was included in the Hugo Voter Packet, their editor-in-chief Niall Harrison addresses the puppy in the room:
I should address the puppy in the room, briefly. This year, we are one of
the hostages on this year’s Rabid Puppy slate.
We discovered this during the nominations period, and discussed
whether or how to respond. It should, but perhaps does not, go without
saying that we do not support the aims or philosophy of the Rabid Puppies,
and do not want them to support us. Strange Horizons has for sixteen years
been working to help open up the SF field to the widest possible range of
voices. The Rabid Puppies are trying to close it down, and, if they can’t do
that, to burn it down instead.
There are a variety of valid opinions on how to respond to the actions of
the Rabid Puppies; indeed, different strategies will work best for different
creators, groups, or voters. Our considered response is straightforward: to
not allow ourselves to be forced from the road, and to keep doing our work.
No comment. Black Gate has declined nomination. They did the same last year, as did the Black Gate writer Matthew David Surridge whose monumental Sad Puppies takedown is still worth reading.
Several folks I admire, including George R.R. Martin and John Scalzi, are urging nominees not to withdraw, and for excellent reasons. However, the reason that’s paramount to me, my desire to step aside in favor of a worthy publication not on the slate, outweighs those considerations. Link
Castalia House Blog
I’m pretty sure they’re delighted.
There are so many comments that I don’t know which should be included.
The Sad Puppy mouthpiece from last year announced it has gone full Rabid.
It’s no secret that the Rabid Puppies dominated in a way that is unprecedented in the history of the Hugos. It was an SJW massacre of epic proportions. But what does this mean? We got nominated because of a slate. This is slate voting. It’s time we all admit it – Sad Puppies is not that, and wasn’t at the very least since Brad Torgerson started taking reader input into account, but the Rabid Puppies absolutely are. It is the slate of Vox Day. And honestly, I think everybody here knows that. We know “Space Raptor Butt Invasion”, a parody story by a guy who calls himself “Chuck Tingle”, was not going to be nominated unless people voted based entirely on Vox Day’s orders, and in impressively consistent concert. This is pretty much undeniable.
[–] Does this bother anybody? It shouldn’t. It doesn’t bother me. We’ve been growing a fanbase since we started, and the fact that the Sads AND the Rabids both had us on their lists does mean we’re leaving a mark. Link
Update: In the comments, Kieran Sterling Holmes set me straight — the above announcement is written by one of the people behind Superversive SF, and all others don’t agree with him. On the site, there has been another post in which Kieran (who decided to leave the whole semiprozine for good because they didn’t turn down the nomination) explains why he disagrees with some of the opinions put forth in the discussions in Superversive SF headquarters.
Since diversity is one of SSF’s goals, I encourage the group to rethink their position on things like the RP slate. [–] Outside of dire circumstances, life to me has always been about how you play the game. And with luck it always will be.
In this case, I feel certain that playing the game justly demands stepping away. If not from the nomination, which is not my call, then from SFF. And so I go. Link
(See also the comments by Sci Phi Journal editor Jason Rennie in Best Semiprozine section — I guess he is one of the people running Superversive SF as well.)
No comment from the fanzine that has been siding with the Sad Puppy campaign.
Cane and Rinse
No comment on the Hugo mess but I do love the enthusiasm of this video.
Tales to Terrify
Being associated with the Rabid Puppies slate is terrifying for the Tales to Terrify.
We just wanted to let our listeners and the science fiction community know that we did not know we were on the Rabid Puppies slate. We would never agree to be on their slate. We have never agreed with either the Sad or Rabid Puppies, or their ideas about what science fiction should be and who should write it, or their bullying tactics. We do not support the Puppies’ attempts to ruin the Hugo Awards. We are disgusted that we were drawn into their ugliness without our knowledge. In the words of someone close to Tales to Terrify, “this has been like being presented a polished turd.”
We’re all sickened by it. Tales to Terrify and the entire District of Wonders has always (and will always) celebrate a diverse range of voices, be they authors, narrators, or editors. We do not agree on shutting anyone out or any form of discrimination. Link
BEST FAN WRITER
The former soldier, Milton Friedman enthusiast and conservative pop culture blogger hasn’t commented on the Hugos.
The Castalia House blogger hasn’t commented on the Hugos.
The Castalia House blog editor has stated many times that SFF readers would be better off writing about books rather than stirring up controversy. That would be sort of a nice thing to say in case it was coming from someone other than the dude working for the principal controversy stirrer, wouldn’t it?
As to the controversy surrounding the Hugos, I get that a lot of people want to talk about that but really, I just don’t have too much to say that hasn’t already been said on the topic. Several people have suggested that we would better off writing about the books we love rather than fussing and fighting so much. And while I have a small stockpile of popcorn laid back for the coming months, I will say that I’m fairly well in agreement with that sentiment. Link
The game blogger has been careful to stay neutral.
BEST FAN ARTIST
Pro-GamerGate comic artist seems to be a proud Rabid Puppy.
JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER
Sebastien de Castell
Superversive SF activist Brian Niemeier considers himself a friend of Puppies of every description.
To all of the science fiction fans who selected the finalists for the 2016 Hugo Awards, especially my readers and Puppies of every description, I’m honored to make the following statement: I accept the nomination for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Link
Andy Weir, the author of The Martian, has been a weird political football in the Hugo culture wars. Last year, various Sad/Rabid Puppy activists, such as this one, considered the fact that Weir hasn’t won a Hugo as proof of the literary left-wing social justice bias among the Worldcon fans. However, when the final numbers were released, it became clear that without the Puppy campaigns, Andy Weir would have been a Campbell Award finalist, and The Martian would have almost made it into the ballot as well.
I haven’t been able to find a quote by Weir himself, but Steve Davidson mentioned in File770 that he had contacted Weir about this: