My Gamergate & Sad Puppies Apologia

It has been a little over a year since Gamergate started and a little over a year since I became involved with it. My traffic has more than doubled in the last year, so I think it’s a good time for a reflection on the matter for new folks. I will also go into my relationship with Sad Puppies. This is a personal disclosure, rather than a defense of all the particulars of either movement; I want to put out there why I supported these things.

Gamergate
First things first, for those who are wondering about that image over on the right side-bar, that’s Vivian James: she’s the unofficial mascot of Gamergate whose creation was crowdsourced by the artistic members of the community that grew around the whole debacle. Why is she standing in front of a Confederate flag? That image was created in part of the response to game storefronts who decided earlier this year that the Virginia battle flag was so offensive that historical games featuring it were being pulled from digital shelves. As a historical war gamer, that was a pretty big deal for me. The OpSkyNet hashtag it links to was created as a networking tool.

Why did I come out in support of Gamergate? I first heard about the whole debacle that started Gamergate from James Desborough back in late August. In his post, he actually defended ZQ to some extent while acknowledging that there is corruption in games journalism. What followed, however, were wave after wave of articles condemning anyone who questioned journalistic practices all sorts of ugly names. The media spun a provably false narrative of Gamergate being comprised of white male misogynists who wanted to run all women out of gaming; what I saw was an incredibly diverse and talented group of creative people who were not only upset that the media covering their hobby was corrupt but that the media was accusing them (many of whom are non-white and women) of trying to impose white male hegemony over gaming. It was absurd!

Gamergate is a very different thing today. As a movement, it accomplished a lot, and being acknowledged by the Society o Professional Journalists as having a legitimate grievance about media corruption was huge. Is there still media corruption? Absolutely. But the initial push was about exposing and getting people to recognize the issues regarding media malpractice. What has happened, however, since SPJ (and to some extent leading up to it) is that the movement (as all movements do) began to slow and wind down; the community is still there, and there is a very diverse (including politically diverse) group of people who are not quite sure what to do now. Keep fighting, or plant the flag and go home? A lot of folks don’t want the party to end, and to an extent, I understand that: it feels good to have been part of something. The community is still there and the cause is still there, but some of those differences in opinions manifest themselves in unpleasant ways, and the community (not Gamergate) is struggling to deal with them.

In the end, I think it was a good thing filled with mostly good people trying to accomplish a worthy goal, and I’m proud to have been a small part of it.

Sad Puppies
Not long after I started blogging, I became a member of the now more-or-less defunct* RPG Blog Alliance. One of the many blogs I was a regular reader of from there was Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog. When he was announced on the Sad Puppies 3 list, I had no idea what Sad Puppies was or the whole story behind the Hugos drama; I just thought it was cool as heck that someone from our community had been noticed! This was a big deal for those of us in the tabletop community.

Then I started noticing something happening. Something so familiar! News outlets were saying that a bunch of racist white men were trying to run women and minorities out of science fiction! I saw a mind blowing amount of not just hatred and meanness but falsehood being directed towards these people, including someone I really like and respect.

Now, I’m very fortunate that this did not spill into my personal life more than a little. I did nearly lose a friend, however, who sent me numerous blog posts and articles, including one that invoked the Holocaust, trying to convince me how terrible these people were. If anything, it had the opposite effect; the worst and even many of the milder things they were accused of struck me as so obviously false that I couldn’t help but sympathize with them. To the “this individual is pompous, rude and disagreeable”, I may say “Okay”, but to the “these people want women out of science fiction!” I must raise my eyebrow in suspicion. I’d seen this very thing before reported about a different group of people in many of the same outlets.

The gist of what I saw was “These people are racist sexist misogynists who have bad taste in fiction!” It was the old Arson, Murder and Jaywalking. See, if the response I had encountered was simply “The Sad Puppies have bad taste and they’ve nominated bad stories”, I don’t think I would have been inclined to take any position on the matter. Ultimately, I may have found myself disappointed with nominations I did have time to read (I did not participate in nominations and did not vote in categories wherein I did not read all the works), but I still sympathize with any group who has been so unfairly, wrongly and falsely maligned.

So THAT is why I wound up on the side of the Puppies this year.

I am not interested in fielding “what about (something gamergate/sad puppies allegedly did)?”questions, but if anyone has any questions for me about my interests or involvement with either of these things, I would be happy to discuss them off-site.

*There is a G+ community, but it has a largely different membership and just really does not feel the same; with the exception of Rumors of War, none of the stuff posted there is from the blogs I regularly followed from the old web portal days.

Vox Day’s Xanatos Gambit a Confirmed Win (at Least for Vox Day)

Just as planned

“JUST AS PLANNED!”

“…I told everyone that this year was about the nominations and the best we could reasonably hope for was to provoke them into voting No Award… which they dutifully did.

Our execution wasn’t flawless. I made two mistakes, one which was fortuitous as it permitted Three Body Problem to make the shortlist and win, and one which was stupid as it cost us a 6th category in novelette. Our discipline could also have been better, although I don’t see that it would have made any difference at all with regards to either the nominations or the awards. But I trust the moderate approach is now sufficiently discredited in everyone’s eyes.” – Vox Day

“The real winner this year was Vox Day and the Rabid Puppies. Yep. You CHORFing idiots don’t seem to realize that Brad, Sarah, and I were the reasonable ones who spent most of the summer talking Vox out of having his people No Award the whole thing to burn it down, but then you did it for him. He got the best of both worlds. Oh, but now you’re going to say that Three Body Problem won, and that’s a victory for diversity! You poor deluded fools… That was Vox’s pick for best novel. That’s the one most of the Rabid Puppies voted for too.” – Larry Correia.

Hugo Post-Mortem

In the end, the Hugos turned out not how I’d hoped, but how I’d expected.

The big question looming over the announcement was who were the people who’d shown up in record numbers to vote in the Hugos. Well, we still can’t say that it was entirely the GRRM “True Fans”, because there were several categories that had incredibly high vote totals for nominees in what are normally incredibly small categories. Toni Weisskopf got what may be a record number of votes in the Best Long Form editor category, with 1216 first pass votes. However this was one of the many categories that was “nuked” by the No Award vote.

Originally, I’d predicted that a lot of the lesser known categories would be nuked because the straight ticket and puppy-free ticket No Award crowd would certainly outnumber good faith voters in those categories. While I was one of those who had been brought in by the Puppy controversy, I was a good faith voter and only voted in categories in which I had read everything and could make an informed choice, so I skipped a number of categories. What surprised me was how large the No Award crowd actually was. I was expecting the Puppies to lose because they were splitting their votes among 5 nominees, not because they were outnumbered by the No Award block from around 3:2 to 2:1 in most categories.

There were a few other shocks which should not have been surprises, but still were. The Asterisk award bit was a huge insult to the nominees and the winners, but what was strange was the fervor of the cheers whenever “No Award” was announced. It was the best thing in the world to a huge number of people that the “wrong” authors didn’t win. In a year that gave an award to The Day the World Turned Upside Down for best novelette when other categories were being nuked because “hurf-blurf quality”, the cognitive dissonance is amazing. I abstained in the Novelette category because I didn’t get around to reading them all, but DtWTUD was one of the worst things I’d read recently. In fairness, it WAS losing to No-Award until the 4th pass.

There were a few bright spots in the categories that did win awards. I’m not unhappy that Guardians of the Galaxy won. It wasn’t my first choice, but it was definitely the kind of movie I’d love to see more of. I’m glad Julie Dillon won; I know nothing about her, and she could be the most horrible person in the world, but her artwork was superb and she deserved the win; I’m sorry that her win has an asterisk by it. I’m also happy to see Ms. Marvel get the win. Ms. Marvel is a flawed work and probably ultimately doomed to either die a withering death or become another zombie title simply because it’s an American comic that is part of the Marvel Universe, but it was certainly the best of the bunch. At least Rat Queens didn’t win, amirite? The Zombie comic had no chance because that dude could not give but a single fuck about the Hugos, and I’ve got to respect him for that.

It was a nice gesture to let that fan from Austria(?) come up and announce some winners. The Dalek was awful, though. No, not because of any ‘exterminate the Sad Puppies’ reference that some people are suggesting, but because the audio was completely borked for that entire portion of the ceremony. How great would it have been if they had to announce a No Award from Outer Space?

So, record turn-out for Worldcon to match a record number of No Awards being given out (doubling the total from all previous years). Saturday night, we may have seen the most epic ‘taking the ball and going home’ in history. Ultimately, there’s a now a stalemate in fandom: the Puppies have proven that they can lock the nominees in the most categories, while the TruFan crowd has proven that they can shut down those categories once nominees are decided. So, the question is, what will happen next time? Who will give first and by the time one side gives, will the Award even mean anything? The Puppies camp is already ratcheting up for next time. While the straight No Award camp was probably only in the few hundreds (else Movie and Comic would’ve been nuked, too), the Puppy-Free camp was certainly in the thousands. That’s a LOT of money being spent by a LOT of fandom to keep those nasty Puppies from taking home an award. With Worldcon membership price jumping up to $50, I wonder what attrition we’ll see? The psychological significance in difference between $40 and $50 is larger than a mere $10, so I would not be surprised if next year did not have the record number of supporting members.

This empty box cost fandom roughly $140,000.

This empty box cost fandom roughly $140,000.  How much will it cost next year?

I’m probably not going to register next year. After what I saw Saturday night, I don’t think Worldcon deserves my money.

Breakdown of voting can be found here, if you’re interested.

I was almost surprised Mixon didn’t thank Requires Hate in her acceptance speech.

Minor update: I loved the running joke of an old white guy making fun of Vaishnavism.  Progressive Hugos 4 the Win!

Best Long Form Dramatic Performance: Some (almost) Final Thoughts on the Hugos

All the True FansTM have been called to put their foot down and stop the Puppies. Sigh…

This is probably the last time I’m going to be writing about the Hugos until after they’re announced. Honestly, the best way to have stopped the Puppies was to let the works stand on their own merit or lack thereof and quietly vote against them, even if it meant No Awarding everything. Instead, the crazed hyperbolic name calling led to thousands who had no dog in the fight (wakka wakka) getting involved, getting loud, and getting belligerent to match belligerence. I know, because I was one. You didn’t want me involved? You shouldn’t have called people racist homophobic neo-nazis who wanted to kick all the women and colored folk out of Sci-fi when that was clearly not the case. You didn’t want the Puppies getting any awards? Discuss the merits, not the slate, and when stuff sucks and No Award wins the day, THEN go back and say “Well, things weren’t so hot that year, and here’s why.”

I’ve done a lousy job as a New Hugo Voter. I only made it completely through one prose category, short fiction, and for the most part was fairly unimpressed. I didn’t get through Novelettes, because one was awful and another I just couldn’t get into; I won’t vote in that category because even though I’d hope that the awful story didn’t get an award, I’m not going to nuke a category where I haven’t read everything. Between all of the blog posts about how bad The Goblin Emperor was and the three pages of Ancillary whatever I read before I said “Nope”, I gave up on the Novel category in favor of reading old sci-fi books at my leisure. Most of the art was meh, Rat Queens ought to have been more of a controversy than the Puppies, and I’m tempted to give the zombie comics guy a Hugo for being the most nonchalant dude to ever have the privilege of being blase about such a prestigious award. Black Gate deserves the fan-zine award so I voted for them even though they don’t want me to. I’m not going to put this on the slates, because the worst things I read were not on the slates, but I was unimpressed enough by what I read overall to say “Guys, I’m unimpressed.” And if folks hadn’t called these people every name in the book, I would have still been unimpressed, but I would not think that the detractors are a bunch of shitheads. There may have been some bad stories, but there were a lot of bad people.*

So why am I actually writing this post? Because I finished another Hugo Category over the weekend so finally have something else I can vote on in good conscience. Movies.

This year’s movie category is nothing short of amazing, and I’ll admit, I am having a hard time ranking these films. With the exception of Captain America 2: Electric Boogaloo, I loved all of these films. I would love nothing more than for every year for 15 or so movies as good as those nominated (even CapAmerica) to come out so I could wallow in sci-fi goodness. As such, it’s hard to decide which movie to award, because, in my mind, that would be to reward a certain type and approach to science fiction, when really I just want to shout “give me more of all of these things!”

Until this weekend, I’d say things were pretty neck & neck between Interstellar and Guardians of the Galaxy; though Guardians of the Galaxy is the sort of thing I’d probably want to watch over and over, it lost a bit of points for being a branded bit of franchise entertainment as opposed to Interstellar’s unique and independent vision. If Guardians of the Galaxy had not been a building block in a multi-billion dollar media and merchandising web based on a comic book, it would be a clear 1st place winner, because I love crazy wacky pulp sci-fi and planet romance. But Interstellar was just so goddamn thought-provoking and beautiful, like a 2001 or, hell, a Forbidden Planet, but without being a preachy and taxing slog like a Neill Blomkamp flick. I’d like to see more films like it, and while I’m afraid I’d get more of the latter than the former if directors try to emulate Nolan’s piece, I’m still wanting to go with Interstellar.

But then I saw Edge of Tomorrow; it’s based on a book, which has a comic based on it as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me that there’s an anime out or in the works based on All You Need is Kill, but I’d still say that this sort of film represents a much bigger gamble than a piece of the Disney-Marvel cash-cow, and it’s the sort of gamble I’d like to see studios take. This movie was just so damn good, and so much fun to watch. I mean, sure, it can be boiled down to “Groundhog Day with aliens, power armor, guns and explosions”, but really isn’t that enough? Tom Cruise is back with a vengeance and Emily Blunt is a badass who I’d look out for if all the rest of her films didn’t appear to be the complete opposite movie-going experience as this. Though I’m sure if she showed up in it with a 4-foot sword wearing powered battle armor, The Jane Austen Book Club could potentially be my new favorite movie of all time.

I enjoyed the Lego movie a lot, but even moreso than Guardians of the Galaxy, I feel hesitant to reward something that so obviously exists largely to cash in on valuable media properties, such as Warner Bros. stock of DC characters. It could’ve easily been terrible, and walked a razor’s edge a lot of the time; as good as it was, it’s not the sort of thing I’d like to see more of, particularly because it could easily descend into the sort of shameless cashing in that we tend to expect from this kind of picture.

As it stands, I may end up flipping a coin to see which movie I put at #1 in Best Long Form Dramatic Presentation, because I really can’t make up my mind between Interstellar and Edge of Tomorrow.
Coming soon, I talk Vance, nail down exactly what it is that sets Morrowind apart, why I keep coming back to it, and criticize its failings in light of an adventure paradigm that Dither has been working on. After that, Part 2 of Doing it Wrong, in which I talk some about Magic, Spells, Scrolls and Spellbooks in B/X and try to decide whether we’re all doing it wrong or if B/X was doing it wrong. Then, Civil War: Can Albert Sidney Johnston crush Grant in the forests of Tennessee before the Army of the Cumberland sails up the Mississippi to take Vicksburg? What is General Hardee doing in Harrisburg and what is McDowell going to do about it that won’t leave the road to Washington and Baltimore open? Why can’t Lee get the hell out of the Carolina swamps and go someplace useful? These questions and more will be answered!  Where am I going to find the time to talk about Andrew J. Offutt!?  Probably not this week!

*At least Thomas Heuvelt didn’t tell me I was gonna have to answer to Jesus for my lies.

Everyone is Talking About Month Old Crazy

So according to Irene Gallo, Creative Director of Tor Books, we’re all extreme right-wing Neo-Nazis.  We are unrepentantly racist, misogynistic, and homophobic. Worst of all, we’re very tangentially related to Gamergate.  I use “we” loosely, in sort of an “I am Spartacus!” sense, because while I don’t personally identify* as a Sad or Rabid Puppy, I’ve been lumped in with them before, and I’d happily stand up against non-sense like this alongside them.

What’s odd to me is that this post has been up for a month, and we’re just now starting to see the outrage on it.  Like, everyone is suddenly talking about Gallo spouting this non-sense off now (and by now, I mean saturday).  It’s everywhere in my feeds.  Did someone just notice this a few days ago?  Some folks (who are normally more on top of this sort of thing than I am) seem to just be finding out about it.  I’m kind of wondering why it’s just now that this has become a big story.  And yeah, I’m contributing to the flash cycle by even talking about it.  I’m not outraged, though it is outrageous.  Call me bemused.

A few people have said that they would boycott Tor if they’d actually ever bought anything published by them in the last decade. Unlike a lot of popular boycotts we see these days, the aggrieved party is at least admitting that they didn’t support whatever entity it was doing the aggrieving. So it’s not really a boycott so much as it is people saying “Well, I’m glad I haven’t been supporting Tor for years and I don’t expect to support them for years to come.”

Some people are calling for her to be fired. There’s not really a lot of point in that, because, well… see that first point. It would be like calling for a white nationalist**  publication to fire its creative director because they posted on facebook about how awful jews were; the company’s stance is that jews are awful and the people who buy stuff from and support the company agree that jews are awful, so no heads are gonna roll for a facebook post saying jews are awful. Tor and prominent members of its team hold the position is that the Puppies are extreme right-wing Neo-Nazis and they seem to cater to an audience that agrees with that position, so yeah, no one is going to lose their job, bad PR or no.  Unfortunately, since Tor is nominally a sci-fi and fantasy publisher and doesn’t run out of a closet in the back of some San Francisco Communist Bookstore, there are a lot of writers who could be potentially hurt by this who might not necessarily agree with or want to associate themselves with Gallo’s venom.

Anyway, I’ll have an actual Hugo review up later of Ms. Marvel.  My review of Ms. Marvel vol 1 is up here.

*I have, however, referred to myself in the past as a partisan on the matter, particularly following the EW libel.

**Since Gallo played that card first, I consider Spades to be broken.

Hugo Awards Best Fan Writer Category

Even after all this time, I’m still trying to nail down a definition in my mind of what “Best Fan Writer” really means. So today, I’m going to try to define it for myself, and if that definition helps others, so be it!

Wikipedia says “The Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer is the Hugo Award given each year for writers of works related to science fiction or fantasy which appeared in low- or non-paying publications such as semiprozines or fanzines or in generally available electronic media during the previous calendar year. There is no restriction that the writer is not also a professional author, and several such authors have won the award for their non-paying works. The award was first presented in 1967 and has been awarded annually.”

The Hugo Awards official webpage simply says: “This is another person category. Note that it does not just apply to writing done in fanzines. Work published in semiprozines, and even on mailing lists, blogs, BBSs, and similar electronic fora, can be including when judging people for this Award. Only work in professional publications should not be considered.”

Sadly, neither of these definitions really convey what it means to be a fan writer beyond the barest qualifications. While it would be nice to see a few pieces try to objectively define what it means to be a fan writer, most of what I’ve seen have been Phillipics or Jeremiads in the Hugo Blogosphere decrying Mixon for even having the audacity to be nominated in the same year that the Puppies dominated the categories.

So, in this post, I will try to define what “Fan Writer” means and use it to justify my support of Jeffro Johnson in this year’s Best Fan Writer category.

On the face of it, a Fan Writer is just that. A fan who writes. They are a fan of something in the realm of fantasy and science fiction, and they write about fantasy and science fiction from the perspective of someone who is a fan to an audience of fellow or potential fans. A good fanwriter is like an evangelical minister of fantasy and science fiction; they give sermons to the believers to help them better understand the texts they know and love and they take the good word to those who have not heard it. You’ve been missing something in your life, and you don’t quite know what it is, but I think I can help you; here’s this story by Lord Dunsany!

To me, Jeffro Johnson has provided a treasure trove of knowledge and insight into a wide range of games and fiction, some of which I have only had a passing familiarity with others which I knew and loved but still gained new insight into. First and foremost, Jeffro Johnson is a fan. Not an elitist hipster fan who only likes that band because no one has heard of them and those who have can’t stand them, but a true and loving fan who wants to share the joy he has found in games and fiction with others. “Look at this awesome thing! Share in its awesomeness with me!” Of course like any devout, Jeffro has his shares of quirks. Monopoly orthodoxy, for instance, is as passionate a subject for Jeffro as politics and religion for most. But that’s part of why we love him, right? He has passion for the things he enjoys! Plus, his Google feed is like Drudge Report for nerds.

The hardest task for me this Hugo voting season is going to be ranking the Mad Genius Club Writers. They’re all amazing, and I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve read by them. The catch is, I know about the Mad Genius Club writers BECAUSE of Jeffro. I’m not going to attempt to rank any of them here, because I still have no idea which one is my favorite (but I suggest you check them all out, because they’re all great).

Mixon’s post on Requires Hate stands out like a sore thumb among the rest of the fan writing nominees. While I’m sure her piece is an excellent and important TL;DR (sorry, I really wasn’t interested enough to read all of it. The word count: it’s OVER 9000!!!) piece of serious journalism, I’m hesitant to call it Fan Writing. I’m sure that Mixon is a Fan, but her piece is not about fantasy/sci-fi written to the fandom or in an effort to expand the fandom in an effort to proselytize the genres further. It targets and pertains to very particular groups within the community in relation to the adverse actions of an individual -who sounds like an absolute reprobate-, but to me it does little of what the best sorts of Fan Writing ought to do.

Compare and contrast
Baird Searles’ now all-but-forgotten blurb from F&SF 1977:
“Probably the best reason [why the show works] is that Wonder Woman, by its very nature, doesn’t take itself at all seriously. And therefore, by a curious paradox, becomes much easier to take seriously, on its own level.”

“Keeping that blank naievete(sic) without coming across as stupid and boring is very difficult, and [Linda] Carter manages it beautifully”…”Besides, she fills those golden breast cups without looking grotesque, which is no small feat (take a look at some 40s s/f pulp covers and you’ll see what I mean).”

Laura J. Mixon’s Hugo Nominated Blog Post from 2014:
“Benjanun Sriduangkaew has established herself over the past two years as a well-liked and talented newer writer. As a lesbian Thai woman, she identifies as a member of a highly marginalized community, and there has been quite a bit of excitement in progressive circles around her rise in popularity as a short story writer.”

“I think of what happened this last August in Ferguson, Missouri. As a mother of two young adults around Mike Brown’s age, I break into a cold sweat when I think what his mother must be going through. I feel deeply angry, that in my own country today an unarmed young person can be shot on the street by a uniformed police officer, and months later there is no indictment, no criminal charges, against that man.”

“Between 37 and 40% of [Benjanun Sriduangkaew] targets, or nearly two-fifths, were people of color. Given that the field has been, and still is, predominantly white, this is disproportionately high. In other words, POC are much more likely to be a target of her attacks than whites.”

That Linda Carter sounds hot and that Benjanun Srimalamadingdong sounds like bad news. Requires Hate, from what I’ve gathered, is a far left radical progressive who pissed off a lot of people by harassing other far left radical progressives while ignoring the ‘rules’ set by the progressive stack. Linda Carter, from what I’ve gathered, is a hot lady who is staring in an awesome sci-fi show based on an old comic book, and all three sound like they’re worth checking out, amirite?

I’m not trying to minimize the work that Mixon did on her write-up on Requires Hate; that would take editing skills far beyond my own (wakka wakka!). But seriously, this might have belonged more in the Related Work category than Fan Writer. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to spit shine the dust jackets of those Jack Vance books Jeffro convinced me were worth checking out!

Be Careful How You Frame Those You’re Villainizing

The weirdest thing about how the anti-Puppies narrative-shaping is playing out is how they’ve gone from trying to convince everyone that Vox Day is some kind of raving lunatic to positioning him as some kind of brilliant chessmaster who has played everyone because he’s such a grand marshal.

That evil nasty Vox Day managed to manipulate and play all of the sides against each other because he’s such an evil genius. Larry and Brad were unwitting pawns in his scheme to conquor science fiction because Vox Day is a master student of modern warfare and COIN ops. The moderates have played into Vox’s hands, as have the SJWs, because Vox can see six moves ahead.

Congratulations. This is how everyone is going to imagine Vox Day now, and you have only yourselves to blame.

196775

Just as planned!

Also, I do not think that fascist means what Philip Sandifier thinks it means.

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!

If I Didn’t Know Better, I’d Think I Was Being Trolled

This Saturday was international games day or international tabletop day or something like that.  Anyway, i had hoped that it would be a brief respite from the Hugos drama, but I was wrong and made the mistake of accepting an invitation to a book club, in which I was behooved to to take up the cause as someone familiar with the situation of the Sad Puppies; normally, I’d keep my mouth shut, but when I’m hearing people being called white male racist homophobes who are going out of their way to exclude women and minorities from Science Fiction, I have to say “Wait a minute, that’s really, provably, not the case”.

Anyway, I’d hope that it was over and done with, but my friend sent me an email demanding citation for my remark to the effect ‘I was under the impression that the Anti-Puppies were the ones who wanted to burn the Hugos down if the Puppies won’ (maybe Jeffro can help me out, or I can at least find where I saw some of it in his G+ feed… but the last thing I want to do is dig through more TNH posts) and included this article* which begins with a hyperbolic laundry list of unrelated terrible things (I’m surprised they didn’t toss in the Holocaust for good measure; they had to save it for the second paragraph!) just to set the mood to make sure you know just how horrible the Sad Puppies are.

I wasted far more time on this than I should’ve on something where I can either ignore it and continue with an uneasy friendship until after Hugo Season or I can fire off an email (after doing even more research to find stuff like the guys who are all “After 2014, every Hugo Award should have an asterisk by it” and finding some incendiary anti-puppy quotes, which is the last thing I want to spend my monday morning doing) and escalate.  Dude clearly wants to escalate, but I’m not sure I’m up for it.

I was going to write some thoughts on the Fan Writer award and why the Mixon article on Requires Hate just doesn’t quite feel like the right fit in that category, but I’m seriously too stressed out by Hugo drama which has spilled out of the internet and into my gaming groups to put my thoughts together on the subject.  Like, it may have made me physically sick last week!  And when I was finally getting better on Saturday…  BAM!  Let’s talk about how those racist white guys want to ruin things for everyone, also: gamergate!

*:This is seriously one of the most disgusting and trolly articles I’ve ever seen and I can’t believe someone actually sent it to me as though it would somehow make me think anything other than “Wow, the person who wrote this is a disgusting shithead”.  Have I seen some stuff that Ted Beale has posted in places that I’m like “wow, that’s kind of gross and inappropriate”?  Sure.  Does John Wright come off as a hardass sometimes in his comments section?  Who doesn’t!?  But if you’re seriously trying to convince someone that someone is bad and you shouldn’t like them, if you’re going to resort to cheap tricks like ‘Cop homicide, Book Bannings, Republican Candidates… We’re not saying Vox Day is directly responsible for Ferguson, but it makes you think, doesn’t it?’ seriously, fuck you in your stupid fucking face.

Added because I needed something to laugh about this morning: