Tag Archives: nominations

Wrapping Up the Related Work Category, And a Personal Note

I’ve read and reviewed — or, in one case, at least interrogated a bit — all the five Hugo awards finalists in the Related Work category. Here are the links in case you want to take a look:

I especially recommend the Vox Day piece. Despite the odious subject, I had sort of fun writing it, and exploring bizarre and alien ways to think about things is always a somewhat SFF-nal experience.

But yeah, there was a lot of toxic stuff there (60%, to be exact), and this category was hit especially bad by Vox Day’s/Theodore Beale’s slate-nominating campaign that was meant to destroy the Hugo awards. Well, the award is still here, and plans are underway to make sure it’s going to survive and become more resistant to gaming, so I’m not worried.

In fact, my optimistic prediction is that the Rabid Puppy contingent will stop trolling the Hugos now that they have done everything they could with the memberships purchased last year — they could nominate this year but cannot vote now and cannot nominate next year. If they want to keep going, they have to give more money to the social justice acronym smurfs who run Worldcons, and, even if they do it, the rule changes mean that they can’t do as much damage in the future.

However, let’s give them slow clap for managing to really mess up the ballot this year.


There are related works that deserve a bigger applause, of course. Many interesting things were left off the ballot, for example:

Any other good suggestions?

No matter what the trolls come up with, we can celebrate the good related work stuff by taking a look at it and having a good time.

And finally, the personal note I promised in the post title:

Anybody who is paying attention has probably noticed that I’m not going to review all (or even most) of the 85 Hugo (or Campbell) nominees this year. There’s two weeks left before the voting deadline and I’ve written about 5 of them — so, even though I have numerous superpowers, being able to produce 5.7 blog posts a day is regrettably not one of them.

I have a good reason for this sorry state of affairs, though. We had a new baby added to the family last month and the lovely little rodent has been stealing significant chunks of my spare time since then. So, blame him.

I’m not that late with my reading, though, so maybe I’ll be able cover one or two categories more, or at least a couple of interesting finalists. I was thinking of the Campbells, or possibly the Graphic Story, but we’ll see.


On Fighting Trolls and Going to Have to Ask Kevin Standlee

I exchanged a couple of tweets this morning with Damien Walter who has been suggesting that Midamericon II throws the ballots with the complete Rabid Puppies slate out of the window. Then, he thinks, Midamericon could reinstate the works that were pushed off the list by Theodore Beale’s slate-voting effort.

I’m not expert on WSFS constitution or legal matters, but my guess is that a particular Worldcon cannot just simply do what Walter proposes. Or can they? It stands to reason that the Hugo administrators can only do the things that the WSFS constitution says they can.

Am I right? Is Damien right? Who knows? Gonna have to ask Kevin Standlee? The rules that you can ignore when you feel you have to are not very good rules (or rules at all), are they?

However, that got me thinking: Is there anything else that could be done in this situation?

Rules could be changed, even though it will take a while. Another problem with this approach is that persistent trolls have a tendency to dig up the loopholes, wherever they are. E Pluribus Hugo that I hope will pass this year is going to take some wind off the slate-nominators’ sails, especially if the campaign is built around a small number of people sending in identical ballots (which probably describes this year better than last year).

The rules guru Kevin Standlee and others have talked about intituting a third voting round in order to stop undesirable candidates before they get onto the final ballot. That would probably stop all puppy takeovers (and there may be other good technical solutions floating around), but I’m not certain that it would feel worthwhile during normal Hugo years.

In my opinion, nominating, voting and caring about the Hugos should be as easy and simple as possible, and it’s already too complicated as is (because of the arcane categories). In the very least, extra voting rounds and such should not be the standard procedure but rather something that a significant number of Worldcon members could initiate as a safety measure in case of exceptional circumstances (like a hostile takeover by trolls who have stated explicitly that their intention is to destroy the award).

On the other hand: Would an easier solution be just to grant the administering Worldcon a right to disqualify a candidate that is put on the ballot through means that are clearly in conflict with the spirit of the awards? I don’t know.

Rule changes are slow, however, so they don’t help in the current situation — where we indeed have a hostile takeover by trolls who have stated explicitly that their intention is to destroy the award. Among the Hugo finalists, there are works that include blatant hate-speech, fat-shaming, misogyny et cetera. Overall, it’s more horrible than last year, when the voters had to mostly just stomach bad writing (this year, the level of writing is probably much higher).

The works I’m referring to here are of course the short story “If You Were an Award, My Love” and the related works SJWs Always Lie, “The Story of Moira Greyland” and “Safe Space as Rape Room” (and maybe the work of the fan artist “Kukuruyo”). These are ugly works manufactured to harass individual members of the SFF community or groups of people that the Rabid Puppies contingency happens to love harassing (women, LGBTI community and so on).

So, what could be done about them? Unfortunately, not much.

After reading the WSFS constitution, I came up with only two things. If I was running the Worldcon (which I’m not, of course), I would:

  1. Not include them in the Hugo voter packet. (There are zero rules about the voter packet, so it would be completely possible for the Worldcon to exclude the works mentioned above.)
  2. Insert onto the online voting form a statement that says “Midamericon II condemns the hate-speech/whatever featured in Finalist X”.

That’s my 5 cents for the Midamericon II. Cheers!

kitten rulebook

Kitten reading WSFS constitution

Rabid Puppy Finalists’ Reactions, Compiled

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:

stephen king

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


S.R. Algernon (Asymmetrical Warfare)

S.R. Algernon’s short story was published in the prestigious Nature magazineI’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.


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).


Boaz Lavie / Asaf Hanuka / Tomer Hanuka (The Divine)

No comment.

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)

No comment.

Corinna Bechko / Gabriel Hardman (Invisible Republic)

No comment.

Neil Gaiman / J.H. Williams III (The Sandman: Overture)

Neil Gaiman doesn’t hide his opinions on Beale.


Jerry Pournelle

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


Vox Day

Scroll to Best Related Work for comments.

Jim Minz

No comment from the Baen editor.

Toni Weisskopf

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.


Lars Braad Andersen

No comment.

Larry Elmore

No comment.

Abigail Larson

No comment.

Michal Karcz

No comment.

Larry Rostant

No comment.


Beneath Ceaseless Skies

No comment.

Daily Science Fiction

No comment.

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

Strange Horizons

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.


Black Gate

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.

File 770

There are so many comments that I don’t know which should be included.

Superversive SF

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.)

Tangent Online

No comment from the fanzine that has been siding with the Sad Puppy campaign.


8‐4 Play

No comment.

Cane and Rinse


No comment on the Hugo mess but I do love the enthusiasm of this video.

The Rageaholic

No comment.

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


Douglas Ernst

The former soldier, Milton Friedman enthusiast and conservative pop culture blogger hasn’t commented on the Hugos.

Morgan Holmes

The Castalia House blogger hasn’t commented on the Hugos.

Jeffro Johnson

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

Shamus Young

The game blogger has been careful to stay neutral.


Matthew Callahan

No comment.


No comment.


Pro-GamerGate comic artist seems to be a proud Rabid Puppy.

Christian Quinot

No comment.


Pierce Brown

No comment.

Sebastien de Castell

No comment.

Brian Niemeier

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

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:

I asked Weir to publicly repudiate the slate inclusion. He has responded that he does not get involved with politics.” Link

Puppy-Free Hugo-Voting Guide – And the Problem with It

So, here are the Hugo finalists:


  • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik


  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: The Builders by Daniel Polansky
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds


  • “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed)
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: “Flashpoint: Titan” by Cheah Kai Wai
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang (Uncanny Magazine)
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: “Obits” by Stephen King
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: “What Price Humanity?” by David VanDyke


  • RABID PUPPY PICK: “Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. Algernon
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: “The Commuter” by Thomas Mays (declined nomination)
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: “If You Were an Award, My Love” by Juan Tabo and S. Harris
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: “Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” by Chuck Tingle


  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 by Marc Aramini
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: “The First Draft of My Appendix N Book” by Jeffro Johnson
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: “Safe Space as Rape Room” by Daniel Eness
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police by Vox Day
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: “The Story of Moira Greyland” by Moira Greyland


  • RABID PUPPY PICK: The Divine by Boaz Lavie / Asaf Hanuka / Tomer Hanuka
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Erin Dies Alone by Grey Carter / Cory Rydell
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Full Frontal Nerdity by Aaron Williams
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Invisible Republic Vol 1 by Corinna Bechko / Gabriel Hardman
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman / J.H. Williams III


  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: The Martian
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens


  • Doctor Who: “Heaven Sent”
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Grimm: “Headache”
  • Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile”
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: “The Cutie Map”
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Supernatural: “Just My Imagination”


  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Jerry Pournelle
  • Sheila Williams


  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Toni Weisskopf


  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Lars Braad Andersen
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Larry Elmore
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Abigail Larson
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Michal Karcz
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Larry Rostant


  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Daily Science Fiction
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Sci Phi Journal
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Strange Horizons
  • Uncanny Magazine


  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Black Gate edited by John O’Neill
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Castalia House Blog edited by Jeffro Johnson
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Superversive SF edited by Jason Rennie
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Tangent Online edited by Dave Truesdale


  • RABID PUPPY PICK: 8‐4 Play
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Cane and Rinse
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: HelloGreedo
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: The Rageaholic
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Tales to Terrify


  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Douglas Ernst
  • Mike Glyer
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Morgan Holmes
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Jeffro Johnson
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Shamus Young


  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Matthew Callahan
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: disse86
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Kukuruyo
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Christian Quinot
  • Steve Stiles


  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Pierce Brown
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Sebastien de Castell
  • RABID PUPPY PICK: Brian Niemeier
  • Alyssa Wong

As we see, the shortlist got taken over pretty badly by the Rabid Puppy campaign put together by the Hugo-nominated short story writer and editor Thedore Beala aka Vox Day — who also just became a Hugo-nominated Related Work author (I can sense him updating his CV right now).

In case you don’t want to support any finalists suggested by this sexist and white supremacist dick (and who would), you should fill your voting ballot so that you put those finalists in your preferred order below the No Award option. No Awarding all the puppy finalists was what everyone (not me, though) did last year, and all sorts of mean dudes were upset afterwards, so maybe it worked that time.

But — and here’s the problem — many things on the Rabid Puppies slate this year are quite good and have nothing whatsoever to do with Theodore Beale. There’s silly crap up there as well, but some are worthy finalists which might well have gotten on the shortlist also without Beale’s help.

Off the top of my head, I would say that this includes at least the new writer Andy Weir, the fan artist Matthew Callahan, the fanzine File 770, the semiprozines Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction and Strange Horizons, the graphic novel Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III, the novelettes “Obits” by Steven King and “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, the novellas Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds and Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold, and the novel Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.

I nominated a couple of these myself, so I won’t be happy if everything goes below no award this time. So, how about just no awarding the shit and ignoring the troll’s trolling?


And, lastly:

Happy Kittens Smile Back

Whew, Hugo nominations have closed and I managed to actually consume enough good SFF to nominate five things in most categories. The extraordinary new resources like Rocket Stack Rank and various longlists really came in handy.

Of course, the Hugo nomination deadline is just an excuse. Discovering new writers and fanzines you hadn’t heard of before is the thing, not some weird, phallic awards that never (or very very seldom) are given to your absolute top favorites anyway. I do like the fan community aspect of it — people reading the shortlisted works at the same time and discussing them, and getting together to throw the annual party  — but it’s all more or less sideshow. The books, the stories and the other exciting things are what it’s about for me.

So, to some extent, nevermind what the eventual nomination results are going to look like on April 26th. Even if a certain former disco musician manages to make his MRA troll army sweep the ballot like he did last year, there will be terrific thing to read and watch on the various recommendation lists that many fans have put together. Next year, the necessary rule changes are ratified and we get rid of him. (Truth be told, I don’t think that it will be as easy for them to wreak havoc as it was last year, but who knows.)

Whatever happens, I don’t intend to care too much. More quality SFF was published in 2015 than anybody has time to read in 2016, which is nice.

Here are a couple of nice things I’ve been excited about lately:

  • Up and Coming: Stories by the 2016 Campbell-Eligible Authors is, as the name suggests, an anthology of the Campbell-eligible authors. It’s sadly no longer available, but anybody who did download it while it was up for grabs got to enjoy a wide variety of new voices in SFF. Apparently, these free e-anthologies have been put together for a couple of years but this was the first the first time I heard about it. Not knowing who to nominate for the Campbell (not a Hugo) award wasn’t so difficult this time.
  • Stories for Chip. A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany is a crowdfunded anthology of Delany-esque short stories by writers like Nick Harkaway, Geoff Ryman and Michael Swanwick. Editors Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell have done a tremendous job in digging up stories that include quite a few I think should be on all the year’s best lists.

There really should be a Hugo award for the best anthology, shouldn’t there? (Maybe accompanied by best magazine so that we could scrap the Best Editor: Short Form and Best Semiprozine in the process.)

Speaking of new awards, there is going to be a new one. Atlanta’s Dragon Con will start giving out Dragon Awards — not to be confused with the Dragon Awards, the Dragon Awardsthe Dragon Award, the Blue Dragon Film Awards or the Golden Dragon Book Awards. Great, another set of award is just what the dragons SFF needs.

Well, jokes aside: more is more, so why not?

Their rigid-seeming category divisions between science fiction, fantasy, military SFF, horror, alternate history and apocalyptic novels may cause some problems for subgenre blenders but all awards have their own blind spots. It will be interesting to see who wins and I plan to nominate my own favorites. It’s free and open for everybody, so maybe you want to do it too before the end of July.

puppygnawingIn the best scenario, the Dragon Award may become The SFF Award That Ends The SFF Award Wars. Rabid Puppy and Sad Puppy activists — that is, people who opined last year that they want to end the politicization of the Hugo Awards by cramming the shortlist with politicized works (that didn’t turn out so well) — have been busy in declaring victory. If they decide to quit pestering the Worldcon fans and start gnawing on dragons’ slippers instead, everybody will be little bit happier. In case the slipper-owners won’t object, of course.

A Dragon Awards Rabid Puppies slate is already in the works, and last year’s Sad Puppy spokesman Brad Torgersen has prophesied that a “gold-foil DRAGON AWARD label on a book is going to routinely replace both NEBULA and HUGO labels”. Maybe, maybe not. I’m guessing that Torgersen’s statement has more to do with his red hot hate towards anything connected to Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America or World Science Fiction Society than industry-insider’s wisdom.

Publishers competing for the readers’s limited attention will be keen to exploit any award. It is higly unlikely that Dragon Awards will push Hugos or Nebulas out of the business — or, for that matter, the Philip K. Dick Awards, or the World Fantasy Awards, or the British Science Fiction Awards, or the Prometheus Awards. There’s always room for one more and (as I said a couple of paragraphs ago) more is more so why not?

15 Days Left

Holy terror, Batman! Only 15 days left to send in the Hugo nomination ballot.

In the previous post, I mentioned a couple of rec lists fans can look at if they want to know what other people feel are the best things around. Here are few more. These are especially helpful with short fiction — there’s so much of it that trying to make sense of the field is quite overwhelming and there’s not much critical discussion around to help the readers find what they might like.

Still, there’s 15 days left and anybody can easily read two or three short fiction pieces every day. That’s thirty or forty stories by the end of the month, maybe even fifty, so there’s plenty of time to get a good taste of what’s going on in the scene.

Here they are (did I forget something?):

Rocket Stack Rank Super Hyper Meta-list tells you which novellas, novelettes and short stories are recommended by heavyweight editors/reviewers such as Lois Tilton, Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan.

2015 Locus Recommended Reading List is a consensus effort by Locus (=SFF genre’s most prestigious magazine) editors and reviewers “with input from outside reviewers, other professional critics, other lists, etc.”.

Rocket Stack Rank’s Annotated 2015 Locus Reading List sort of combines the two and tells you which Locus list items are recommended elsewhere as well.

The 2016 Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together Hugo Award Longlist is like the Locus list but put together by people who are running the tremendously interesting online fanzine Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together.

Tangent Online 2015 Recommended Reading List offers another long, long list of short fiction recs. That is in case you can make it through a painful Sad Puppy wall of text apologia — behind that, you’ll find recommendations for the same social justice stories by Aliette de Bodard, so no problem. Tangent Online is an SFF short fiction review zine.

NESFA 2015 Hugo Recommendations are, as the name suggests, Hugo recommendations by NESFA, New England Science Fiction Association.

The all-new and democratic Sad Puppies list hasn’t been put out yet, but from their website (where everybody can vote for anything on the comments) we see that this year’s gloomy canine picks will include, for example, the Nnedi Okorafor novella Binti.

Last but not least, there is the Rabid Puppies endeavour by SFF genre’s sole Trump-supporting former disco musician who vowed to burn the awards down after losing hard last year. His list is not yet finalized but so far he is suggesting we vote for Alastair Reynolds, File770 and Strange Horizons (which is what I just might do).

What a lovefest!

Hugo Season!

The annual SFF self-loathing theme weeks are here again — I feel (as I feel every year) like a total loser for not having read enough new science fiction and fantasy to make informed nominations for the Hugo award. I haven’t read Seveneves, haven’t seen Ant-Man, haven’t had the time for Jessica Jones, haven’t waded through a lot of short fiction.

Damn damn damn.

Then again, you’re always going to feel that way, no matter what. And it’s not football (which means “soccer”, in case you’re American), so whining doesn’t help.


There’s still two and a half weeks to do some catching up. That’s not going to be enough for Seveneves, though, but there’s shorter stuff I want to take a look at. At any rate, #Hugogeddon2015 demonstrated that every fan should do their part and read and nominate something so that nobody can hijack the award and turn it into a political football (at least not so easily). If that happens again, there’s even more whining than in real football.

So: please nominate. I’ll try to do that as well. We don’t have to have read everything to have a say (nobody can do that, after all, and we all have our real-world obligations). And you don’t have to fill up the whole ballot — just putting in one or two things is fine.

Myself, I’m probably going to nominate five different episodes of Sense8 and a bunch of short stories from Stories for Chip anthology. Ancillary Mercy and Speculative Fiction 2014 are the only eligible things for novel and related work categories that I have read, and I liked them, so they’re going to be in there too. Speaking of movies, I have seen The Martian and The Force Awakens and I sort of enjoyed them both, but right now I’m considering about only writing Mad Max on the ballot. That was so mind-blowing that it’s hard for anything else to really compete.

Probably I manage to cough up some more things to nominate during the last couple of weeks. We’ll see. There are some good resources out there for people in my situation, such as Locus Recommended Reading List, Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together Hugo Award Longlist and others. Selecting a couple random stories and giving them a go is a fun exercise (and everybody has time for that).

So far, the one category that’s really going to be crowded is the best graphic story, aka comics. On that department, I’ve done my homework slightly better, and there are at least 10 things I’d like to nominate.

The three greatest living comics writers have all published a major piece of work last year (or it was collected last year). Neil Gaiman returns to Sandman in Sandman: Overture (with J.H. Williams III), Alan Moore completes the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen spin-off trilogy with Nemo: River of Ghosts (with Kevin O’Neill) and Grant Morrison’s Multiversity stories were collected in a single volume in The Multiversity Deluxe Edition (with practically everybody).

In addition, there’s The Sculptor by Scott McCloud, Bitch Planet: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro and the next collection of Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. And two Zero TPBs: Tenderness of Wolves and Who by Fire. And two Astro City TPBs: Private Lives and Lovers Quarrel. And three Ms. Marvel TPBs: Generation WhyCrushed and Last Days.

Damn damn damn.