Tag Archives: Sad Puppies

How Mad Genius Club Banned Me

Mad Genius Club, the joint blog of notable Sad Puppy activists such as Kate Paulk, Dave Freer, Amanda S. Green and others, banned me. There’s nothing special about that, of course. Blogs can ban commenters they don’t like for any reason, and that’s fine. Nobody has freedom of speech on other people’s websites.

If that was the whole thing, I’d be just slightly amused, but there’s more (and I must admit that I’m giggling a bit). They went through the trouble of writing a blog post about the incident. Naturally, I’m humbled by the attention of this bunch of professional writers, but I cannot resist commenting on their statements briefly.

I also have the screencaps of my offending comments, and reading them alongside the mad geniuses’ explanations is rather funny.

In case you didn’t go through the link to read the whole thing on Mad Genius Club, here are some of the highlights:

Unlike other sites, we don’t take glee in banning people and we bend over backwards to avoid doing so. We give warnings and then we warn again. In all the years of MGC, I can count on one hand — and still have fingers left — the number of people we have banned.

However, we have learned over the last few years that whenever we come to Hugo time, we get a few folks who come over with the sole purpose of condemning anything that doesn’t have to do with Fandom. We anticipated it would happen when the Dragon Awards were announced and then when the winners were named. What we didn’t anticipate was that one of the prime suspects would continue to ignore the warnings and then accuse us of doxxing them because we told that person that the only way they would be allowed to continue posting here is if they posted under their real name.

Yes, this person came back and accused us of trying to dox them.

Yes, that person’s comments have been deleted because they were told that was what would happen if they posted again under an alias.

I don’t have access to all (or most) or my deleted comments, but I guess these last few comments are enough to demonstrate how I “condemn anything that doesn’t have to do with Fandom”.

In the MGC post post All Hail the Dragon! Jason Cordova wrote (after complimenting the trophy’s design): “I can’t wait to see the final tally numbers of just how many people actually participated in the selection and voting process.”

The comment thread looked (and still looks) like this:


When the Dragon Awards were given out and voter figures were not released, there were a couple of comments that have since been deleted:

September 5, 2016 at 2:36 pm
Aaaaaaaand did we see the numbers? Nope.

September 5, 2016 at 4:32 pm
[…] either use your real name and quit the concern trolling behavior pattern (you show up on all the Hugo/award threads and hardly anywhere else, you derail with either irrelevant or marginally relevant comments, and you’re way the hell light on facts, even when what you say is technically correct) or quit commenting here. Your call. […]

September 5, 2016 at 10:45 pm
Whoa, trying to doxx people who disagree with you is not cool.

It’s your blog, of course, and it’s your right to prevent people from voicing opinions differing from yours if that is what you want to do. I don’t want to disturb people’s safe spaces and can stop commenting.

However, I have tried to state my opinions respectfully and politely here, even when other commenters have called me names and hurled abuse around.

“Derailing” the discussion with “irrelevant” comments is a bit confusing accusation. Releasing the voting numbers was explicitly discussed in the post I was commenting on. I said that I wasn’t sure they would be released and was told I was trying to smear the awards or something. Well, now they haven’t been released and to the best of my knowledge will never be. If you have different information about the matter, I’ll happily admit I was mistaken.

Well, now, I’m the first to admit that “trying to doxx” is probably too harsh a term to use in this context. After all, MSG people were not about to release my personal information without my consent, only demanding that I provide it.

Disagreeing with Sad Puppies can fill your social media with all kinds of garbage, though, and that is not something I’m interested in seeing in my personal accounts. For example, just today a dude called Thomas Monaghan tweeted me this out of the blue:

That doesn’t bother Spacefaring Kitten, but I can live without my real-life friends and family seeing this sort of nonsense. That’s why I’ll have to respectfully decline MGC’s offer and refrain from commenting there in the future.

So, that’s what went down, basically. But there’s more in today’s Mad Genius Club post. I’ll quote it below and add comments there.


Here’s the thing. When this person showed up, casting aspersions and making thinly veiled accusations against the Dragons, I did some checking. With only a very few exceptions, they had only commented on Hugo-related posts. This person — because it isn’t hard to find out who they are — is someone who does not tolerate what they see as dissenting opinions on their own social media pages. This is a person who has attempted, and on occasion, succeeded in having people kicked out of cons for being wrong-thinkers. I could go on and some of the others here may.

I have commented on Hugos and Dragon Awards, true. That’s about it as far as facts go in this paragraph, I guess. Kicking wrong-thinkers out of cons, huh? I’m sure I’d remember that. My social media is not in a language they understand, so I have my doubts about their knowing what opinions I tolerate there or not.

However, here’s the thing. It takes a lot to get a bunch of writers to get together to discuss what should happen on a blog, even a joint blog. The fact that this person took the majority of us out of writing and work to do just that says a lot. So, before you see it on Vile 770, yes, we did delete comments here. This was done after warnings — which you can find still in the comment sections on at least three recent posts. Did we like doing it? No.

We want free discourse here. As writers, we hate silencing discussion. But that isn’t what happened here. There was no discussion. There were thinly veiled attacks on a new award and why? Because it didn’t go the way certain parts of Fandom apparently thought or wanted it to. It’s not enough that they have turned the Hugos from a fan award, something it was founded as, to a Fan award. Now these folks are trying to tear down a new award because it let everyone vote — without paying for the privilege to do so.

Riiiiiight. I did guess right whether the Dragon Award voter numbers would be published or not, but this is a bit much, isn’t it. I have to say I didn’t realize I was tearing down a new award with the comments that were quoted previously in this post. 😀

So there it is. A very infrequent commenter was warned and chose to ignore the warning. That person then chose to use inflammatory comments to accuse us of something we were not doing, specifically of doxxing them. That person is no longer welcome at MGC unless and until they follow the rules as set out first by Dave and then reiterated by several others of us. But to accuse us of doxxing, when we are asking nothing more than to post under a real name, a name many of us already know, is disingenuous. We are not the ones with malicious intent.

Well, no matter how hard the MGC people try to trick me to doxxing myself, it is not something I plan to do, so I guess I’ll just have to turn down that offer.


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

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!

My first (seven) reactions to the surprise announcement of Sad Puppies 4

4 reasons to pet the Puppies:

1. Tone

The Puppy organizers Kate Paulk, Sarah A. Hoyt and Amanda S. Green have written things that I consider stupid, hateful and obnoxious, but the Sad Puppies 4 announcement was phrased very un-obnoxiously. Civility is a nice thing.

2. It’s not a slate, really

Listing more works than one can nominate for the Hugos and stating up front that one should read the stuff before suggesting it are good and play down the slate aspect.

3. No more shady correct taste comissars

With Sad Puppies 3, Brad Torgersen had a somewhat similar nominee suggestion phase (that had humorously few participants). After that, though, he ditched most of the stuff people had suggested and went on with the things that were written by his chums. There will be no more of that, it seems.

4. Focus on MOAR

The Puppy trio has promised to focus on participation instead of ideological screeds. It remains to be seen if that is a promise they are able to keep.

3 reasons to prefer kittens:

1. Hijacking Sad Puppies 4 is child’s play

Hugogeddon2015 made it very clear that there are a lot of people who just love to troll and cause damage in SFF fandon. About 500 Rabid Puppies were ready to pay the membership fee in order to get to vote the way their leader told them. Messing up Sad Puppies 4 is a lot easier, plus it’s free.

2. Why does this have to be about the Hugos at all?

Compiling this (possibly huge) recommended reading list would be an interesting experiment in and of itself. I don’t see any reason why it has to be connected with the Hugos. I mean, the Locus Recommended Reading list is a little bit similar mega list, but that is not constructed as a catalogue of great stuff you can nominate for the Hugos — it’s a catalogue of great stuff you can read and enjoy. Why not do something similar here?

3. Why would Hugos need primaries?

Sad Puppies 4 is — if it works the way that the organizers say it should — a sort of preliminary election about what works are popular enough to be on anybody’s Hugo nomination ballot. I’m not convinced that something like that would increase the voter participation in any way.

Nations of Zombies and TV-Heads — Wrapping Up the Graphic Story Category

Two more comics left to review. Let’s start with Zombie Nation.

Category: Graphic Story
Slates: Rabid Puppies & Sad Puppies

Zombie Nation by Carter Reid is a horror-themed gag strip webcomic. The information about what strips are actually included in the Hugo-nominated collection Reduce Reuse Reanimate is nowhere to be found, so I took a look at some random strips that were published last year.

Judging by the reactions I have seen elseweb, many Hugo-voters — especially those unhappy with the Puppies — are giving Zombie Nation the cold shoulder. And now that I checked, Vox Day himself is doing the same thing: he tells on his site that he is going for No Award in the Graphic Story category and has placed Carter Reid last in the Professional Artist category, below the only artist not on his preliminary slate.

Reid is truly out of supporters, it seems, so let me say a few kind words for Zombie Nation. It’s actually not that awful.

Zombie Nation is a gag strip, so you can’t expect an elegant storyline or the sort of a satisfying dramatic arc that’s possible in long form comics. There has to be one joke per strip and you have to deliver it in three or four panels. Gag strips are a hard to do, and amusing gag strips are infinitely harder.

Some jokes make me smile, most did nothing and only few are embarrassingly bad (many are just weird, which is better than bad). Technically, most punchlines are delivered decently, and the rhythm and timing usually work. That is all that I can realistically hope for when reading a gag strip. Zombie Nation is no match for the other comics on the ballot and it shouldn’t be there in the first place, but it is not a bad comic of its kind.

Score: 4/10


Next: Saga Volume 3

Category: Graphic Story
Slates: None

The first volume of the science fantasy series Saga won a Hugo award two years back, and the second volume nearly managed to do the same thing last year. Now we have here the third collection and the third Hugo nomination.

During the summer, I reread the whole series after getting my hands on the nice hardcover omnibus that collects volumes 1-3, and I ended up liking the series even more than I used to. It’s an extraordinarily good comic full of engaging characters, lying cats and weird worlds. Occasionally, the action takes some melodramatic turns, but I can’t help loving it.

It’s hard to put my finger on the reason I like Saga most for, but it may have something to do with the subversive feel or quirky tone of the storytelling. The TV heads and various things that slip on their screens, the virtual reality slash interactive theatre form of entertainment, the protagonists’ baby as an extra narrator and countless other delightful details add to the impression that Saga is saying lots of complex and interesting things in imaginative ways. Even though it’s a war story of sorts and terrible things do happen, the comic manages to stay cheerful and fun. What mad scripting skills Brian K. Vaughan has.

The third volume ties up neatly all the story threads of the first two volumes, and I guess that the series is going to take a new direction now that the protagonists have dealt with all the immediate threats. I’m pretty certain I’ll stay reading.

Score: 9/10


That wraps up the graphic story category:

  1. Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick 9/10
  2. Saga Volume 3 9/10
  3. Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal 8/10
  4. Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery 5/10
  5. No Award
  6. The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate 4/10

Rabid & Sad Factoids — Wrapping Up the Related Work Category

It’s a mystery to me why the Puppy crowd chose to nominate two short pieces of nonfiction, “Why Science is Never Settled” by Tedd Roberts and “Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF” by Ken Burnside.

Category: Related Work
Published in (Roberts): Baen website [part1] [part2]
Published in (Burnside): essay and short story collection Riding the Red Horse, edited by Vox Day and Tom Kratman
Slates: Rabid & Sad Puppies

Why pick a somewhat dry exploration into the scientific method and a physics-heavy account of thermodynamics and military science fiction? They seem to be fine as far as dry explorations and physics-heavy accounts go, but it feels quite weird that suddenly a legion of Hugo nominators pretend that they are enthusiastic about these tedious things.

Here’s an exemplary paragraph by Burnside:

The Space Shuttle Main Engine had an ISp of 470, and was a Rube Goldberg contraption pumping cryogenic hydrogen and oxygen past the engine to regeneratively cool it, running a little bit past the rated design spec. The cheaper to operate, but less efficient Falcon 9 has an estimated ISp of about 290 seconds. NERVA open core nuclear rockets using hydrogen as propellant had ISps of 1200 seconds with a thrust of around 400 milligees. The ion thrusters used by NASA’s probes to Pluto have ISPs of around 10,000 seconds with a thrust of around 4 milligees.

Roberts’s text isn’t even related to SFF, but let’s have a soundbite from that as well for fairness’s sake:

Accidents occur, and scientists are not immune from them. Hopefully, errors are caught in the review process; it has certainly happened to me, and I’ve caught many errors as a reviewer. Too much pressure to publish too often (or simply rushing the process), can lead errors that must later be corrected, either through published retraction, or simply by other lab(s) finding and reporting to differing results. No scientist truly wants to get a result published, and then find out later that the results were not valid due to a decimal point error…

What fun. What rip-roaring, swashbuckling fun.

Score for both: 1.5/10

This wraps up the very disappointing Related Work category that is going to look like this in my final voting ballot:

  1. No Award
  2. Letters from Gardner: A Writer’s Odyssey by Lou Antonelli 2/10
  3. “The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF”, Ken Burnside 1.5/10
  4. “Why Science is Never Settled” by Tedd Roberts 1.5/10
  5. Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth by John C. Wright 0/10
  6. Wisdom from My Internet by Michael Z. Williamson 0/10