Vox Day is all “Strike me down and I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”

I’ve got no beef with Vox Day.  I don’t necessarily agree with all of his positions, but I’m pretty sure he’s not the Devil.  I don’t like the idea of escalating the Hugo Wars, but Vox’s threat to No Award 2016 if No Award sweeps 2015 seems more like retaliatory escalation of the current escalation being proposed by some out there.  The scary thing is, not only is he open to the idea, he’d probably succeed.

There have been two very different cases with the two recent nominees dropping out: the first is Kloos, who dropped out because he was on the Rabid Puppies list.  The statistical analysis done by Nate Givens actually suggests that he was on the Hugo Finalists list BECAUSE of Vox Day’s recommendation, even more so than Torgerson/Correia/Hoyt’s recommendation.  Of course anyone has the right to decline a nomination, and no one should give Kloos shit for dropping out, and he’s already apologized (an apology that was publicly accepted) for calling Vox Day a “shitbag”.  But the fallout and consequences of withdrawing are unfolding, and what we’re seeing is a notion that Vox Day can destroy writers just by nominating them.  Now, it seems reasonable to me that Vox nominated Kloos because he thought that Kloos’ book deserved the attention; but ultimately Vox’s opponents have given him the power, by haranguing and demonizing anyone even tangentially associated with him, to take someone down just by claiming to enjoy them.  If you really hated Vox Day, this is the last thing you wanted to do, because it not only proves the Sad Puppies point, it proves his point and gives him new power which he never before had to influence the field.  It kind of reminds me of an old Penny Arcade blog where one of them mentioned that they had to avoid linking content they enjoyed because it was like casting the Eye of Sauron on whatever website they linked to with all of the traffic taking down the site.  Only instead of taking a website down, it’ll be a person’s chance to ever get named ‘Best in Science Fiction’.

The other case is the withdrawal of Annie Bellet.  I’m more disappointed about this one, because her story “Goodnight Stars” is REALLY GOOD and definitely deserved recognition.  Her reasons for withdrawing are rather different; she has suddenly shot to public attention, going from relative obscurity to being made a face of the controversy.  Lies have been told about the Puppies, and lies have been told about her, but she’s also easy go-to proof that the lies are lies; as such, she feels she’s been made a piece in the political game, and she wants no part in it.

One can’t help but feel like one is watching the Hugos fall apart or rather about to smash into a wall at 90 miles per hour, but less because of the Sad Puppies or any of the Nominees, really, but because the reactions, the threats, harassment and escalation brought on in response to them.  If their opponents go scorched earth this year with No Award campaigns concurrent with harassing nominees because of who nominated them, then it would be hard to blame Vox Day for retaliating with a scorched earth campaign of his on in 2016.  I don’t really think that anyone wants to see that happen – at least not on the Sad Puppies side – but it seems that there are a lot of folks unwilling to take their foot off the gas even though Vox has said he’s building a wall and even faxed everybody the invoice he got for the bricks and mortar.

On a more or less unrelated note, I started reading Summa Elvetica.  It’s not bad!

3 responses to “Vox Day is all “Strike me down and I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”

  1. (Oh yeah, I want to read “Summa Elvetica” now, too, because after Dunsany, I’m not so sure elves even have souls anymore…!)

    The problem with this whole blowup is that before… I would have quietly suggested that there was some sort of bias or filter in journalism, academia, Hollywood, and publishing. And I figured heads would explode over the whole Sad Puppies thing this year. But I had no idea… no idea at all… that it would be made this obvious that these domains are full of people that would rather cut off their own hands rather than acknowledge the existence of people that think differently than they do. It’s unreal. The libel across media outlets over a relatively unimportant award is stunning. The “guilty by association” thing runs deeper than even I imagined. I’m shocked. They’d eat their own just to spite us.

    What this means is that there is an entire world of creators and creative work that has been intentionally shut out. This seems like power to those that have perpetuated it… but it will ultimately be their undoing. Because 95% of readers and gamers simply do not care about the drama and just want help finding things that are awesome. I look at this and think… what an opportunity!

    • Once I realised who Vox Day was and that I had a book by him on my shelf (because of a post you wrote on Castalia House, no less) and someone had told me that he was satan incarnate, I made getting to Summa as soon as I could.

      I’ve been enjoying it, though it’s sometimes difficult to mesh ones own understanding and knowledge of ancient Rome with a fantastic proxy of Rome. When I first got it, I was actually kind of hoping that it would be more of a ‘real world’ fantasy wherein the elven kingdom was something like the Kingdom of Prester John. The setting is more typical high fantasy than I had expected (at least in terms of races present and fundamental concepts about them), but the elves are VERY MUCH classic fey elves rather than the high fantasy elves in most modern fantasy. I wouldn’t say that Summa itself is a classic, but it has been a good read and given me some bones to chew on regarding things that do and don’t work when trying to transplant Christianity into a wholly fantastic setting.

      As for what’s going on, all I can say is it’s crazier than I could have ever imagined. I have a friend who has literally been harassing me bringing up the Puppies and sending me links trying to bait me, (and I can’t be mad at him, cuz he just loaned me an L Sprague de Camp book, but geez). And I feel bad about the Annie thing because I feel like in a way I was a part of it; my friend: “Larry Correia wants the hugo awards to be for white heterosexual christian males” me: “That’s provably false! Annie Bellet was on the Sad Puppies slate!”

    • I just finished Summa (minus the two short stories collected in the appendix); while I wouldn’t call it a great work of fantasy, it was a fun read. While it’s kind of predictable, it is not so in that tedious manner but rather the comforting way in which the reader feels reassured because with each new twist, the reader’s guess as to what will happen next is usually right. On one hand, it could’ve stood to be a bit longer and more of the characters fleshed out, but as a novella written as a thought exercise on a single idea, it works well enough. From the Author’s notes, I feel like Ted basically says “I wanted to write an Umberto Eco novel, but I’m not that good a writer, so I tried something else instead; I hope you enjoy it”. I did, and I’ll probably grab another of his books one of these days.

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