An update, a thought or two and a snippet

I’m sitting at my desk, watching it rain. While I love the rain and would prefer to be outside walking in it, I have to work. Of course, rain also means it is dark outside so, as I try to focus on editing, I want to go back to bed and nap. The fact the idiot dog and demon cat decided it would be sooooo much fun to get me up at 0330 — the 0400 and 0430 and, well, you get the message — a nap sounds really good right now. But I will remain strong and keep drinking coffee and try to get back to editing.

So, here’s the update. The edits on Sword of Arelion, the first book in a planned three book fantasy arc, are progressing. Fingers crossed, they should be done some time over the weekend, if not sooner. Both Honor from Ashes, the third book in the Honor and Duty series, and Nocturnal Challenge, book four in the Nocturnal Lives series, are talking to me again. I have a feeling that I may wind up writing them pretty much simultaneously.

Once those two are done, I will finish up Skeletons in the Closet. Then it will be time to do the sequel to Sword. The good thing is, Skeletons is plotted and the voice in that one is strong, very strong. That’s why I can’t work on it when I’m working on anything else. There are other books in the pipeline and a couple of novellas. Let’s just say, I don’t see any real down time in the future.

Now for the Hugos. Sigh. I am going to try not to spend much more time discussing the contretemps but I make no promises. I can’t and won’t sit still when I see good men and women attacked without cause, often maliciously, simply because they don’t toe the party line. But the truth of the matter is, nothing I say, nothing any of us say, will change the minds of those so ingrained in the status quo that they are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the outsiders from coming in.

Frankly, I am more than disappointed with how a number of them have reacted to the current situation. Here are authors who ought to know better trying to get their peers and fans to vote No Award ahead of nominated works simply because they don’t like they think something made it onto the ballot. They don’t give a damn about the author or the work. They are making a “statement” — well, I hate to tell them this but it is a chickenshit statement and one that shows just how petty they are. I have looked at the ballot and there are works on it that I have a pretty good idea I won’t like — and yes, they come from one of the so-called slates. But I am not going to vote No Award because of the slate it was on. Nor am I going to vote No Award because I think I won’t like it. What I will do is read it, as well as the other entries. Then and only then will I cast my ballot. The only way I will vote No Award is if I think a work — after reading or watching it — is not worthy of being awarded the Hugo. Too bad others can’t do the same.

Now for the snippet.

Portrai of mystic  elf woman with sword, armor and tattoo on her hand.Sword of Arelion is a fantasy novel I originally wrote more than 10 years ago. I have now completely rewritten it to what is, at best, rough draft status. It’s been an interesting project because I haven’t written anything like this in quite awhile. Please keep in mind that this is a very rough draft. That means there will be spelling and grammar errors, and probably more as well. These will be corrected during edits. As with anything posted here, the copyright is mine so all the standard disclaimers apply. Now, here is the opening section from Sword of Arelion, a fantasy novel that may or may not see the full light of day.

The image I’ve attached to this post is a mock-up of what I think will be the cover. Yes, I know the typesetting sucks. I was more interested in finding an image that “fit” and then in getting something that would keep reminding me that I am serious about trying to complete this novel, even if only as an exercise in what can be done.

Click here for Snippet 1 and here for Snippet 2 and here for Snippet 3.

One last note, you will notice some of the names have been changed or altered since the earlier snippets. That happened during the first editing pass after talking with my Alpha Reader. I think, for the purposes of this snippet, we are only taking about the tavern-master, but there could be one or two other minor changes.

***

She swallowed hard. The last thing she wanted to think about were those first days after waking. To give herself time, she once again lifted the mug to her lips and sipped. As she did, she knew she should have no more. With no food in her stomach, it would not take much for the wine to affect her and one lesson she had learned early on was never to lose control. It was a hard-learned lesson and one she wasn’t about to forget just because it appeared her situation was changing.

“I was nothing to him, less than an animal,” she began only to be cut off by an angry denial from the tavern-master.

Instinctively, she hunched her shoulders and looked for someplace to hide. She knew that tone of voice, just as she knew what would happen should he get his hands on her any time soon. She would be lucky to survive the beating. He had been so angry before the knight had interfered. Now his rage was deadly and she would be the one to pay the price if he managed to get free.

“Quiet!” Commander Darrias ordered.

Cait flinched as the commander followed up his order with a savage blog to the tavern-master’s midsection. Even as Giaros gasped for breath, a sense of satisfaction filled Cait. Too many times had she been on the receiving end of such blows. Now, to see the man treated in much the same manner, she could feel that faint glimmer of hope in the pit of her stomach building. Maybe this was real and her nightmare was about to end.

Not that she would let her guard down. There were still too many unknowns and too much that could go wrong. So she focused on the commander, watching as Darrias extended his right hand. A moment later, one of his troopers handed him a leather thong. Without a word, the commander nodded and stepped forward. Cait swallowed hard as memories threatened to overwhelm her as Darrias quickly bound Giaros’ hands behind his back. Much as she had suffered at the tavern-master’s hands, this was too close to what he had done to her.

“My apologies, Cait. I promise he won’t interrupt again.” The soft statement drew her attention back to the duke.  “I only have a few more questions. Did you ever try to leave Giaros or tell someone what had happened? Also, did he force you to lie with him after that day in the camp?”

Cait once again looked down at her hands. They were wrapped around the mug where it rested on the table before her. She hated remembering. It brought back all the pain and fear and threatened to overwhelm her. Why couldn’t they just leave her alone? Then a gentle hand closed over her shoulder. Looking up, she found Fallon watching her, compassion and understanding reflected in his eyes. Seeing it, she smiled slightly. She could do this. She had to. Otherwise, they might make her return to the tavern-master and she would not survive that. If he didn’t kill her, she would kill herself. She would not give him power over her ever again.

“I did try to escape, milord, several times. The first was on the trail. The next was not long after our arrival.” She closed her eyes and the memories came flooding back. “Two days after we left the camp, I managed to slip my bonds before we broke camp. It was early, not quite dawn, and he didn’t seem to be paying that much attention.  I ran but I wasn’t fast enough. He caught me and then he beat me until I lost consciousness. When I woke, he gave me my first lesson about how the slave bands could be used.” She shivered violently at the memory. “He chained me like an animal so I could only move on hands and knees. For the rest of the day, I had to follow the mules like a stray dog. Then he beat and raped me again. From then until we arrived here, when we would make camp at night, he would chain me to a tree. He promised I would never get away from him again.”

She paused, her mouth working as she swallowed against the bile the rose in her throat. She could feel his hands on her, rough and painful. His breath was fetid. Madness – or something worse – filled his eyes and she knew he would take a great deal of pleasure in dealing out as much pain as he could before he finally killed her.

No! It was just a memory. That was all. He couldn’t hurt her any more. He was the one now tied and helpless. She could do this. She had to do this.

“The second time I tried to escape, he caught me before I could leave the tavern. It was late, after the last customer had left. I thought he would kill me, he was so angry. Instead, he dragged me down to the cellar where he beat me again. Then he chained me so I couldn’t move, much less leave. He kept me down there for two days without food or water. Except when he came to me at night, he kept me gagged. He promised he would kill me if I did anything to bring attention to myself. From that day on, he made sure the opportunity to escape never came.”

“Why didn’t you say something to me at least, child?” Longbow asked.

“He threatened to kill anyone I told, sir. He said if he even thought I’d said anything untoward to someone, he would kill them and make me watch. I couldn’t risk him hurting anyone else.” Tears burned her eyes and she angrily dashed them away.

“She lies!” Fear laced Giaros’ voice so heavily Cait prayed the others realized it meant she spoke true.

“I said to be quiet!” Darrias turned and backhanded the tavern-master, almost knocking him from his chair.

“What about my other question, Cait?” the duke asked.

“Milord, he did force himself on me. I know not how many times. I quit counting long ago.”

“When was the last time?” Fallon asked.

“A few months ago.” At least she thought it had been that long. She couldn’t be sure.

“Do you know why he stopped?”

“I asked what he would do if he got me with child.”

She could almost smile at the memory. She had known the moment Giaros dragged her upstairs to his rooms what he had in mind. Something inside of her seemed to snap. She no longer cared what happened. If he beat her into unconsciousness, at least she wouldn’t know if he raped her. Death would be a welcome release.

She had asked the question before she knew what she was doing. The response was something she had never thought to see. Giaros stopped, his breeches around his ankles, his shirt dangling from one hand. His expression looked like he had just been hit by a tree and then he paled. Without a word, he pulled up his breeches. Then he grabbed her by the arm and hauled her down to the cellar where he chained her and, just before locking the door behind him, he warned her to be quiet or face his wrath. Then the door closed and she listened as the bolt slid into place. That had been the last time he’d forced himself on her.

As she remembered that night, Cait sensed Fallon stiffening at her side. When she looked up at him, she was very glad not to be in Giaros’ shoes just then. The knight looked as if he would like nothing more than to pull his sword and use it to make short work of the tavern-master. That did more to reassure Cait than anything short of Giaros’ death and her departure from the duchy could have and she clung to that for all she was worth.

Despite what the duke said, there were more questions. How often had he hit her? Had he treated her injuries? Had she ever been seen by a healer? She answered as best she could, all the while wishing they would just stop. Hadn’t she said enough already to convince them she was telling the truth.

“Cait, we’re almost done,” Fallon said softly. She nodded, not quite believing him. “But now we need to see where you stayed. Can you show us?”

Swallowing hard, she nodded. Fear knotted her stomach at the thought of returning to the cellar. Could this be a ruse to get her down there so they could do with her as they wanted? No, she couldn’t – she wouldn’t – believe that. Not when Fallon looked at her, so worried and caring, and not when she could see the fury reflected in Commander Darrias’ eyes whenever he looked at Giaros. She needed to trust these men not to betray her. But it was so very hard . . . .

She slid her hand into Fallon’s and let him draw her to her feet. Without a word, she led them through the tavern to the cellar entrance at the back of the kitchen. The heavy wooden door was closed, the bolt slid into place. Darrias stepped around her and slid the bolt back and opened the door. At his signal, one of the troopers appeared with a lantern. He led the way down the steep, uneven steps, Darrias just behind him. With Fallon following closely, Cait descended into the setting of so many of her nightmares.

She said nothing as the men looked around. She didn’t have to, not when the cellar itself told the tale. Resting on the stone floor in the far corner of the dark, dank room were the thin mattress and threadbare blanket that had been her bedding. Cait shuddered at the sight of the heavy metal rings set into the stone floor along the sides of the mattress and the short chains attached to them. Most nights, those chains had been secured to her slave bands, leaving her a helpless victim to whatever depravity Giaros wanted to visit upon her.

Her other nights had been spent chained to the man’s bed. It might have been more comfortable but there had been no pleasure in it. Those nights she had been raped and abused, often by others besides Giaros. She had learned to fear those times even more than those lonely nights in the cellar. At least on those nights, unless Giaros came to her, no one hurt her and she could escape in her dreams for a little while at least.

“Cait, did you ever see any others like you?” Fallon asked as they once more made their way to the common room.

She shook her head and then smiled slightly as he once more seated her at the table and handed her the mug of mulled wine. Gods above and below, she wanted to trust him.

“You have my deepest apologies, Cait. Until now, I did not want to believe you. I did not want to think such evil could exist in my lands without me knowing about it. For that, I am truly sorry.” The duke inclined his head, his expression as serious as she had seen since his arrival. “There is little I can do to make up for what you have suffered, but I hope you will let me begin by accepting my offer for you and Sir Fallon to take up residence at the keep until the council has met and determined the appropriate punishment for the tavern-master.”

“It would be our honor, my lord,” Fallon answered for them both. Then he looked down at Cait and she realized he wanted to make sure she agreed. She nodded. Just then, she would agree to almost anything if it meant she could leave the tavern and never return. “With your permission, milord, I think it best we leave this place. It holds nothing but pain and fear for Cait. More importantly, her injuries need to be seen to. Then I want those cursed bands removed. She has been forced to endure them all too long already.”

“Of course, Sir Fallon.”

“Once that is done, milord, I think the two of us must discuss how such an abomination could exist in your duchy for so long without someone discovering it.” Fallon’s voice was so cold that Cait looked at him in surprise. “Steps must be taken to insure there are no others suffering as Cait has.”

“I assure you, Sir Knight, that I share you concern and want those same questions answered.” If possible, the duke’s voice was even colder than Fallon’s had been. “Come morning, the council shall convene to hear this matter. But for today, Commander Darrias and his people will question the tavern-master about Cait and what has happened.”

“Very well.” Fallon inclined his head and once again rested a reassuring hand on Cait’s shoulder. “I insist upon one other thing, milord. Giaros must be confined. He cannot be given the opportunity, no matter how small, to cause Cait more harm or to escape justice.”

“Agreed.” The duke quickly issued the necessary orders and Commander Darrias assured him he understood. “Shall we go?” he asked, pointedly turning his back on the tavern-master as Giaros once more began pleading his cause.

Fallon nodded and helped Cait to her feet.

“Sir Fallon,” she said softly as they followed Longbow and the duke into the golden warmth of the afternoon sun, the first she had felt in more than a year.

“Just Fallon, lass.”

She paused and glanced skyward, one hand lifting to shield her eyes. Everything seemed so bright, so clear and clean. Despite the pain from her injured ribs and back, she breathed deeply, filling her lungs with first fresh air for the first time in much too long. Then she smiled slightly, praying this wasn’t all a dream. Even if it was, it was worth it. She had forgotten how beautiful a day could be. Now if it would just last.

“There is no way to thank you for what you’ve done.” She fell silent, wondering what those looking through open doors and windows thought of the strange procession moving through the streets in the direction of the keep. How many of them had come to the tavern over the many months she had been there? How many had seen her, had seen the bands she wore and ignored them. Anger flared and she pushed it down. There would be time for that later. But now she had to focus on what was happening and do everything she could to make sure she was never returned to Giaros. She would rather die first. “What happens now?”

“After we’ve been shown to our rooms, your injuries will be treated and those accursed bands removed. Then you can bathe, eat and get some much deserved and needed rest.”

“And after the council meets?” Damn that note of fear in her voice. It was never good to show weakness. It would be used against her. That was another lesson she had learned at Giaros’ hands.

“I promise to see you settled and safe well away from here, Cait.”

She glanced up at him, surprised by the fierce determination that shone from his expression. As she did, she knew intuitively that she could trust him. Even so, until the bands were removed, she would not be able to accept it was all real. Maybe then she could finally begin to believe things were going to get better.

About the author

Writer, proud military mom and possessed by two crazy cats and one put-upon dog. Writes under the names of Amanda S. Green, Sam Schall and Ellie Ferguson.

Comments

  1. Rule Number 1 of animal training:
    Behaviour that is rewarded is repeated.

    If I evaluate works that were pushed onto the ballot by a slate “fairly”, then I am rewarding work being pushed onto the ballot by a slate.

    I will not reward a slate. I think slates will kill any hope of this still being a good award.

    Also, I do not believe I have an obligation to be fair to people who aren’t there by being fair in the first place. You can argue that this makes me petty, but that’s kind of where I (and face it, quite a few people) stand. But over and above whether or not I’m being fair, I really think Rule Number 1 is important.

    1. Welcome to the blog. The problem I have with the absolute “no slate” comment I keep seeing is it denies the fact that others have been “recommending” how their fans and followers should vote for years. Even GRRM admits that lobbying and more has gone on behind the scenes. It also ignores the fact that there may and are some excellent — and Hugo worthy — work on the ballot. But to each his own.

      1. Thanks. 🙂

        There’s a big difference between “I like this work” and/or “vote for me!”, for single works or even for a couple, on the one hand — and “here are 5 works in each category, please throw your weight behind specifically these” (that is, ALL NOMINATION SLOTS for multiple categories). In other words, what has been done before is _not_ slates, and this most definitely is.

        And slates are not just about getting your own favoured work onto the ballot, it’s about making sure that no other work gets onto the ballot.

        It is a qualitative, as well as a quantitative, shift. I won’t support that.

        1. Having said that, I’ll be making an exception for a couple of works — for example, “Guardians of the Galaxy” in media — because those are quality works which quite possibly would have made it onto the ballot despite the slate (seriously, who didn’t like Guardians of the Galaxy?). I certainly don’t intend to “No Award” every category. But for the works which clearly would not have made it on if not for the Puppies slates — all the rubbish from Castalia House, for example — it isn’t there fairly, so I don’t have to be fair about rejecting it, and I certainly don’t want to reward it.

          1. Sigh, first of all, go back and look at the SP3 recommendations. Not every category had a full complement of suggested nominees. For another, I am really getting tired of folks saying that those of us who support what Brad did this year are not capable of thinking for ourselves and, yes, that is exactly what you and others like you are doing. You make assumptions that are simply not provable by the math.

            But what really gets me about your last comment is that you seem to somehow think you can determine what works would have made the ballot without having been endorsed by SP3. How? What makes that sort of work? I’m not going to apologize for this coming across a bit testy because I am tired of people like Jim Butcher and Kevin J Anderson and others on the ballot who damned well deserve a Hugo being dismissed because of who liked them.

            The Hugo is a fan award. It isn’t an award only to be determined by a few “special” fans. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all those new voters this year were simply sheep being told — and accepting it — how to vote. Instead of assuming everyone voted straight slate — which the numbers prove did not happen — read the nominees and then vote No Award only if you feel none of the nominees are worthy of the award. But that would require you going in with an open mind and that is your challenge. Me, I’m going to do just that and I guaran-damn-tee you there are things that got nominated, from both sides, I wouldn’t normally read. But I will give them a fair shake. Too bad those who are scared of SP3 can’t say the same.

            1. First: I think it is actually clear that a slate dominated. It may well not have been the SP slate, but the RP and RP/SP crossover slate certainly did. I did not interpret your comments in your OP to be exclusive only of the SP3 slate, but interpreted “slate” to mean “any slate.”

              Second: I gave a specific example of the stuff that I think it is clear would not have made it onto the ballot without a slate — the Castalia House stuff. I am most certainly not going to read those “fairly”, for the exact reasons outlined above.

              ” It isn’t an award only to be determined by a few “special” fans. ” <– Now, see, that right there is where we exactly agree. The problem is that it wasn't before, and it sure seems to be, now. I really, really don't buy the line about outsiders being kept out; I've seen too much military and "ordinary adventure" SF be welcomed warmly.

              And I'm sorry, but the only people I've seen accusing others of not being "true fans" has been Torgersen and other Puppies. I mean that regretfully, but honestly. Did you not see Torgersen's "Civil War" post (now deleted)?

              1. I’m too lazy {because I’m not that interested at the moment}, but the TrueFan comment goes back to a comment Theresa Hayden made three days before the nomination was announced. She implied that those of us with views that disagree with hers were not true fans.

                Consequently, on this side of the game, playful tags have been appropriated and used. Wrongfan, Truefan, Wrongspeak, goodthink, etc.

                Much of it meant to poke fun at the Orwellian talk coming out of Making Light, Whatever, and other ickly places.

                Now, be a good little Borg, leave your serial number at the door when you leave {you all seem to say exactly the same things}.

                1. I was unaware of the TH post; any chance you could point me at it?

                  I’ve been doing my best to be polite and have an actual discussion. I find the turn you have decided to make to be kind of appalling. The temptation to simply respond “FU2” is kind of strong now, is that what you wanted?

                  1. Lynne

                    No disrespect meant, but you started out with “First Rule in Animal Training”.

                    Again, no disrespect meant, but if you want a polite and actual discussion, you might have wanted to start it a different way.

                    Our host is quite patient, and if you want said discussion, you can probably have it.

                    Over the last two weeks, most of the sites that support “Puppies” have been overrun by trolls, concern trolls, and other assorted folk that want to tell us who we’ve been in bed with, how muddy we are because of it, or stupid and dirty we are.

                    And a lot of these posts sound the same.

                    I think you’ll find plenty of space for a discussion and different opinions. But I think most of us have had enough of being “told”.

                    Sorry about my tone, but I initially interpreted where you were going from the first statement “First Rule in Animal Training”.

                    1. “No disrespect meant, but you started out with “First Rule in Animal Training”.”

                      Ah. Well, my apologies; let me unpack that a little. I shouldn’t assume that what lives in my head is what anyone else understands from what I write, and I clearly made that mistake. 😛

                      The “Rule Number 1” of animal training has been put to good use in my life, as applies to me, my husband, and all the kids I’ve ever had to deal with, as well as any actual pets or working animals. Humans are animals. We ALL just work that way. I don’t see it as denigrating people, and I honestly didn’t mean it that way. If you think about it, it’s just Game Theory in action.

                  2. just go read Making Light. If you are honest and really trying to understand the situation reading the whole thing for the week leading up to the official nominations is quite enlightening. Evey thing they accused Sad Puppies of was from there. They knew and were discussing how the slate had swept while the SP folks were in the dark. They then accused the SP side of having illicitly gained knowledge of this. They did start the True Fans nonsense. most of the other crap that has gone down comes form there. I say this as someone who is not a sad puppy. I had nothing directly to do with it. Many friends of mine were recommended in minor categories but, none of them expected a nomination. As far as Castalia house goes? Well I don’t know, I have not read anything that was from there. I would be willing to bet that it was all SF though. Something that was not happening before the SP group formed. I know quite a few SP types. Brad said and i paraphrase “Pay your $40 and vote for what you think is good. These are ones that my friends and I have talked about and think are worthy if you are having trouble coming up with good stuff. “. Everyone I know that voted has said things like “Well i nominated x and y off the “slate” but I thought W and Z were good so I put them on instead of the other recommendations. For a lockstep slate there was a lot of differentiation. You see, most of Brad and Larry’s fans are libertarian minded (small l) Getting them to work together would be like herding cats, makes for a cut commercial but never happening in reality

                    1. Actually, Sanford, I think herding cats would be easier than getting us all to shell out $40 just to vote for what someone else thinks is the best unless we happened to agree.

                      We’re a prickly sort that way.

                      For the record, I haven’t talked to a single Sad Puppy voter who went straight slate.

                    2. I don’t want to accuse any SP of voting in lockstep. My concern is that the Hugos generally get hundreds of nominations, scattered all over the landscape, usually with a relatively low number of votes each. However, when you end up with 61 out of 85 actual nominations being off of the suggested slates (and some of the categories not swept by slates being ones that were not included in the slates!)
                      — and when out of the SP slate, 46 out of 58 were on the ballot (and a far higher percentage from the RP slate)
                      — and when you look at the fact that the SP & RP slates thoroughly swept novella, novellette, short story, best related work, both editor categories, best fan writer and the John W. Campbell award

                      — I’m sorry, but it’s clear that rather than the usual scattershot, there was a fair amount of block voting going on. It’s clear that the entire thing wasn’t nominated as a single block vote, but it’s also clear that the nominations are strongly skewed by block voting.

                      If you think that’s inaccurate, please clarify how.

                    3. What you’re not considering, even though it has been spelled out above, is that the “slate” of suggestions was the result of an informal poll of the readers of Brad’s and Larry’s blogs. So there was ALREADY broad-based support for them built into the supporters of the Sad Puppy initiative.

                      That’s why there were so many votes for them in the nominations. They had already gone through one set of voting before the list was even posted.

                    4. Wayne: “What you’re not considering, even though it has been spelled out above, is that the “slate” of suggestions was the result of an informal poll of the readers of Brad’s and Larry’s blogs.”

                      Well, I went over the suggestion threads, all the ones I could find, anyway. And I saw a few things suggested multiple times that didn’t make it onto the slate, and there were quite a few things that didn’t seem to be on the slate at all. So at the end of the day, it looked a lot like “Brad Picks.” Unless there was something like a non-public email poll going on somewhere, what ended up happening was a lot of people ignoring their personal preferences to nominate what Brad decided on. (Incidentally, if you’re patient enough to wait until Monday and I’m back on my other computer, I’ll point you at at least one comment on a suggestion thread of “I’ll just wait and then vote whatever Brad picks, just because I want to make hippies cry.” Certainly in the spirit of the award, there, folks. Forgive me if I wax a bit sarcastic.)

                      And yes, I do actually think that while this is not against the rules, it violates the spirit of the award. Slate voting and block voting *do* game the system, which I believe was in fact Torgersen’s and Correia’s assertion in the first place: they were saying that there was already slate voting gaming the system, and that this __violated the spirit of the award__.

                      And then they set out to prove it, by gaming the system. O_o

                    1. Ah, thank you for pointing me to that. I freely admit, I’m unlikely to have ever found that on my own.

                      I think what she was doing there, working off of pre-announcement knowledge of nominees, was poor form. I don’t like that.

                      But as for any true fan comment, I think I see the sentence in question, but it continues: ” One of the most upsetting things about the Sad Puppy campaigns is that they’re saying the Hugo shouldn’t belong to all of us, it should just belong to them.”

                      I guess the way I read that, “all of us” seems inclusive of everyone who loves SF, and I would have interpreted that to mean all the people who affiliate with the SP group as well, since I assume there’s a fair old lot who love SF — vs. “only to them” as in “only Puppies.” I think if you look at the proportion of nominees from the slates, as I’ve noted above….is that really an unfair way to see the comment?

              2. Actually, Lynne, numerically if people were voting a straight slate, you’re expect to see the same number of votes applied to each category across that slate. This doesn’t appear in the Sad Puppies, or Sad Puppies union Rabid Puppies nominees.

                Interestingly, it does appear in the nominations and eventual votes for Tor editors or quite a number of years.

                1. Please see my breakdown just above this comment.

                  The Tor editors have a huge fan base, let’s face it. How would that *not* legitimately be reflected, even without a slate? And, are you suggesting that they suggest a slate, that is, a block of multiple works they want people to vote for? Again, I have not seen that.

                2. Sorry, just to clarify (in the absence of an ‘edit’ function):

                  71% of the Hugo nominations were off the suggested slates; 76% if you exclude the category of “Best Fan Artist”, for which no slate was suggested.

                  79% of the SP3 slate made it into nominations (some later withdrawn, but I’m counting those as having made it on).

                  I don’t think that anyone is asserting that people who affiliate with either the SP or RP groups make up a clear majority of voters — would you agree or disagree on that? If you agree, then I have to ask, do you think that this does *not* represent the kind of statistical skew that one would expect of block voting, even when the block vote is not 100%?

    2. If I evaluate works that were pushed onto the ballot by a slate “fairly”, then I am rewarding work being pushed onto the ballot by a slate.

      Of course, if you fail to evaluate some set of works fairly, it follows you’re evaluating those works unfairly.

      1. Yep. I thought I made clear in my first comment, that’s maybe petty on my part, but I genuinely don’t feel the need to be fair to people who have acted unfairly.

        1. Here is something for you to think about:

          Are you voting for the stories or are you voting for the people who nominated them? The people who nominated the stories are not on the ballot. The stories are.

          And why is it wrong to recommend stories for an award anyways? That’s what the Sad Puppies Slate was: recommendations. Heck, I didn’t put the owner of this blog down for “Best Fan Writer” but she’s on there anyways. (Sorry Amanda, haven’t read enough of your blog to be comfortable putting you down). Everybody who voted paid the membership fee to be eligible to do so. By saying the Sad Puppies recommendations were somehow unfair is to say they should somehow count less than other votes. Like it or not, the Sad Puppies are part of WorldCon as well. Nothing they did was “unfair” by any objective evaluation.

          1. James, no sweat although I think my contributions to Mad Genius Club are more why folks voted for me than this blog. However, I appreciate the honesty and I know you will vote for who you think is the best for the category as should everyone.

          2. “Are you voting for the stories or are you voting for the people who nominated them? The people who nominated the stories are not on the ballot. The stories are. … By saying the Sad Puppies recommendations were somehow unfair is to say they should somehow count less than other votes. Like it or not, the Sad Puppies are part of WorldCon as well. Nothing they did was “unfair” by any objective evaluation.”

            I think I answered the first part of that in my first post here.

            I am actually voting against the *behavior* of the people who nominated the stories.

            Because I _don’t_ accept that behavior as legitimate.

            Because Puppies votes shouldn’t count less….but by block voting, they have made their votes count disproportionately more. Honestly, it’s disproportionate; I posted a couple of percentage breakdowns yesterday, you cannot look at that, surely, and tell me that this is not disproportionate.

            So, yes, I do think that what the slate and block voting did WAS “unfair” by an objective evaluation. Because other people were voting as individuals, for hundreds of scattered individual preferences, and the block voting overrode every other voice, just about.

            And like I said — “behavior that is rewarded is repeated.” If the slates and the block voting are seen to work, then they WILL become the norm, and that is all that people will ever do, if anyone ever wants to see something they like on the ballot. And then individual choices will vanish from sight, more and more, and it ends up being a situation where politics _always_ matters more than the story, because look at this, people are now more polarized and angry than ever over politics, and nobody wins out of that.

        2. I am trying to choose my words carefully here because I’m suffering the aftereffects of a migraine and that makes my temper short. How was it unfair for Brad to ask for recommendations? How was it unfair that he posted those recommendations, especially since he did his best to read or watch everything first? How was it unfair that he pointed out to fans of the genre that they could buy a membership and nominate works for the Hugo? If it is not against the rules, if it doesn’t violate the “spirit” of the Hugos for other authors to recommend a slate, whether you want to call it that or not, why is it bad for Brad to do so?

          1. Amanda, I think I’m seeing a pattern of these people who come in and say they are voting “no award” for a “slate”. They come in and repeat themselves 6-10 times, then when people start giving actual examples of how their description of SP as a “slate” is not so valid, they don’t show up again.

              1. Incidentally, while I freely grant you that I have many voices in my head, for the most part they stay there. I’m not sure that counts as a “collective.”

                …More seriously, it’s a very bad habit to assume that one’s own side of things are all individuals, while everyone who opposes you must think in lockstep. No matter what side of things you’re on.

                1. Well Lynne, it’s not like there’s anything new here. We’ve seen this all before. Yeah, it might be a variation on a theme, but there’s nothing new here.

                  “Not rewarding behavior”. So you’re not going to vote on the work, you’re just going to vote for Noah Ward. Got it. We’ve seen this before.

                  You ask for questions, you get answers and links, doesn’t change anything. We’ve seen this several times in the last month.

                  It’s reached the point of saturation. Never anything new, just more repetition. I’ve reached the point I don’t care what you do. I don’t reward bad behavior either.

            1. Oddly enough, I had other things to do yesterday. I don’t live online. I’ll answer when I have a chance to come back to it today. There is work to do at the moment.

                1. Thank you.

                  Seriously, there are days that I can spend quite a while on the internet, and days that I just can’t. This last 24 hours was a busy one. The weekend will be as well, but I am still here.

          2. Amanda:

            It isn’t unfair at all for Brad to ask for suggestions. A lot of people do that.

            It isn’t unfair for him to say what *he’s* voting for.

            However, although it does not violate the rules for him to ask his blog followers to throw their weight behind his list of picks, I really wouldn’t agree that it doesn’t violate the spirit. The spirit of the award is that everyone should be voting their own widespread preference — and I honestly don’t know very many people who nominate for _all five slots_ in multiple categories. That slate voting and block voting IS what violates the spirit of the nominations, and Torgersen and Correia themselves claimed that it did, they just said that SJWs were doing it.

            1. And again you fall into the “slate voting” issue and ignore the fact that many of us, if not most, did no such thing. You are echoing the charges against those supporting what Brad has done without proof. In fact, if it were slate voting, the numbers for votes being cast in each category would be closer to the same than they are. You also ignore the others who have put out slates and said that they should be followed. And you still fail to address the “fairness” of asking others to “slate vote” No Award simply because you don’t like who nominated a work.

              Why should authors and artists be punished because you don’t like who voted for them? Why should they be punished because someone did something IN THE OPEN that brought new voters into the mix, something that WorldCon should embrace, especially if those voters continue to support future WorldCons?

              1. I think I explained all that in other posts. I don’t want to get into the point where all we’re doing is circling around each other repeating the same things again and again.

                I will pick you up on this, however: “You also ignore the others who have put out slates and said that they should be followed.” Who did this? Where? I’m very serious about this, I HAVE asked this before, and all I’ve had for an answer is that VD somewhere said he found evidence of a 40-vote block. Really? I need something with a little bit more than that, honestly I do.

                “…someone did something IN THE OPEN that brought new voters into the mix, something that WorldCon should embrace, especially if those voters continue to support future WorldCons?” — I’m sure the money is great for the WorldCon, but if the new voters brought into the mix are all for voting slates in the future, then the Hugos are genuinely doomed. Like I said elsewhere, that *does* violate the spirit of the awards.

  2. I know Amanda wants to play nice. I would prefer it. All you want to do is squall Slate! Slate! I’m being Slated!. I never liked false slate accusations which is what I feel you are doing.

    1. Then please explain how it’s not a slate? I’ve posted a breakdown above. There is a distinct statistical problem with this year’s nominations, it looks like to me. And that’s just by simple numbers.

      1. look troll, there is a much greater statistical correlation between the Tor slate numbers for the last 10 years.

  3. To herd cats all that’s needed is a can of tuna and a can opener. You’ll be swamped.

    I don’t have a dog in this contest. I haven’t been to a Con since 1990/91, and I won’t be nominating or voting. My $40 has to go to other concerns right now.

    Having said that, I’ve chatted with several of the SP selections; I’ve read some of their stories; I’ve formed an opinion of their characters.

    And I am angered by such things as Entertainment Weekly’s punitive posting in which they didn’t bother either to get information from both sides, or, for that matter, to even talk to anyone on the Sad Puppy side.

    Not until they were threatened with libel, that is. THEN they made the hasty decision to offer a back of the hand apology – of the sort that indicates that yes, they were mistaken, but it was your fault for being so obnoxious.
    Mother Theresa hasn’t bothered to either apologize nor get her facts even moderately straight. And Gerrold has been acting the ass for months, because someone happened to opine that technology was a compelling factorr in Star Trek.

    Have abuses been committed on both sides? Sure. But when someone is trying to stab you in the back, it’s hard to avoid delivering a crippling or mortal self defense. We didn’t start the fight; but we won’t stand down until the other side capitulates. We are not the Jews of Warsaw from WW2; we will fight back.

    I’m sure this analogy is offensive to you. But as the Jews said afterwards, Never Again. Do not confuse our willingness to be polite as inattention. We watch both hands.

  4. A quick thought, Lynne

    The results of the nominations shocked most it not all puppies. No one expected the numbers that wound up being on the final ballot.

    That’s just a thought. No one intended anything unfair. Everything was by the rules. But I’m not suggesting you change your mind, do as your conscience dictates.

    1. Just a thought which occurs to me:

      ” No one expected the numbers that wound up being on the final ballot.” — I’m perfectly willing to believe that. But given the numbers that wound up being on the final ballot, would it not suggest to you that the ‘opposite camp’, as it were, were NOT voting off a slate? Because if they were, would it not suggest that there ought to in fact be a more even mix?

      1. If you’re encountering some impatience when you ask these questions, it’s because we’ve seen them over and over again the last two weeks.

        Vox did some research and posted the numbers on his site before the nominations were announced. It was pretty indicative that there were indeed slates in the past, particularly in the last five or six years. But the numbers were small compared to the puppy slates. If I recall, we’re only talking like forty votes across a few categories, where the numbers of votes were nearly identical.

        This kind of evidence isn’t conclusive, meaning it wouldn’t stand up in court. But it does point to some secret slates.

        1. Forty.
          Forty. Votes.

          ….Ok, I generally try to limit my exposure to the vileness that is VD’s brain, so I missed this. But 40 votes?

          Really?

          There are generally around 1500 or so nominating votes for best novel, and generally in the region of 700-800 for the shorter fiction categories. So you’re talking about something that is at most 5% of the vote, and potentially half of that. I want to know how he thinks he can distinguish this from statistical noise….

  5. Lynne, on the 25th – long before the embargo was lifted, Patrick Nielsen Hayden announced on Making Light, that he knew that novel category had two winners that were not SP endorsed, and he knew who they were, and that the SP endorsed had taken the other three. Now, think about this very carefully: How did he know? He isn’t the editor of either non-SP book. One comes from another publisher. And JUST HOW THE HELL DID HE KNOW THE OTHER THREE CAME FROM THE SP LIST? Work it out. We’ve pretty well established the information didn’t come from the Hugo Admins. We’re absolutely certain it didn’t come from the puppies. And, realistically the 3 didn’t know could have just been people who obeyed the embargo rules. They could also have been many other authors. It doesn’t take a lot of votes, there must be at least 50 sf/f authors who could have motivated their fans to nominate them, and at least 20 who will have some votes even without saying a word. So how COULD he know they were sad puppies endorsed? The only way is by elimination – people he expected to get it, and tell him, didn’t get their notification. There are just too many possible nominees (in honest competition) for elimination to work unless there was a slate vote, in secret, by his ‘friends’- a little group that vote in concert. He knew that only his ‘slate’ could possibly win, and when they didn’t it could only be the puppies. This was something that happened in the Nebulas, for years. The nominees were open, and you could see it. The same people often won Hugos and Nebs, the same people were very active in the nominations for both. Why would they not repeat it in the Hugos? (and I’m trying to summarize several thousand words of investigative post into a brief reply. The numbers look indicative: the same crew have been at the ‘fix’ for a long time. That’s a lot of great authors who have been excluded over the years. I’d like to see that stop.

    1. “…on the 25th – long before the embargo was lifted, Patrick Nielsen Hayden announced on Making Light, that he knew that novel category had two winners that were not SP endorsed, and he knew who they were, and that the SP endorsed had taken the other three.” <– Ok, I've now spent way more time than I should on Making Light, and I cannot find this. I wanted to have a look, and seriously, I cannot find this. Where did you see it?

      "JUST HOW THE HELL DID HE KNOW THE OTHER THREE CAME FROM THE SP LIST?" — Well, there were various and assorted tweets and blogs by people not PNH claiming things. Presumably some were notified somewhere?

      "We’ve pretty well established the information didn’t come from the Hugo Admins. We’re absolutely certain it didn’t come from the puppies." …Wait. We know that? how? Because although I don't have links (and seriously, I'm too tired to look for them at the moment, since much of my browsing history is on a different computer than this), I **know** I saw tweets by various Puppies or Puppy-related people who seemed to know this before Easter weekend.

      "The only way is by elimination – people he expected to get it, and tell him, didn’t get their notification. There are just too many possible nominees (in honest competition) for elimination to work unless there was a slate vote, in secret, by his ‘friends’- a little group that vote in concert. " — Um, no. I'm not at all prepared to accept that. Because first, too many people genuinely seemed to know in advance, and I am not at all assured that authors who were nominated were not notified and/or did not leak it. And second, the idea that there is a secret slate vote is not at all borne out by the chaos of previous years. (I'm about to respond to the comment about VD "finding" a block(?) of 40 voters above, but I'm not there yet.)

      Yeah, there are a relatively small number of people who are active in noms year after year. At least 1,000 or so, anyway — yes, I am aware that this is a small proportion of fandom. I have a hard time seeing the conspiracy that's there, though, considering that I don't exactly find it surprising that a lot of people just remain uninvolved with the awards, big names get nominated for novels, and that there is generally massive chaos in the shorter fiction categories (do you remember the 2013 Hugos, where there were only 3 short stories on the ballot, because there had been hundreds of nominations, but the votes for them were so scattered that only three of them made the minimum 5% to be considered?).

      I can see that this conspiracy is plain to you, but I'm sorry. It is not to me.

    2. Additionally, I’m going to point you to this post:
      http://file770.com/?p=20680 (Here’s hoping that links post to this blog? I haven’t tried before.)

      Yes, the tone is openly hostile to Correia. However, logically, something leaps out at me:

      Here is a widely read SF gossip blog giving the heads-up about the Puppies slates, back on the 2nd of February, and reminding people of their success getting their picks onto the ballot in 2014. If there were any sort of powerful slate/voting block among what Correia/Torgersen/VD call the SJWs, then surely it would have swung into motion with that much advance warning, and the resulting ballot would not be nearly so dominated by Puppies.

      Which would logically suggest, to me, that this powerful cabal does not really exist, or that if any cabal exists, it is entirely too feeble to dominate a slate even in the presence of a clear warning that they’re about to be bumped. Which does not fit with your narrative, really.

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