Real mature

Soon — as in Saturday — we will learn who has made it to the final ballot for the Hugo Awards. In case you aren’t already aware, there are those who are up in arms and crying that the sky is about to fall. Why? Because someone has dared to try to upset their apple cart. You see, there are folks out there who think the Hugos should actually be for the best science fiction and fantasy and not necessarily for message fiction that puts the message before the story. Some of those folks are people like Brad Torgersen and those who support Sad Puppies 3.

Contrary to what others are saying, SP3 is not about pushing forward a libertarian or conservative political agenda. In fact, if you look at everyone on the SP3 “slate” (it’s not really a slate as much as Brad’s recommendation based on his own reading and/or viewing), you will see people from across the political spectrum. You will also see that it is not an all-white, all-male listing. But, of course, SP3 detractors are quick to overlook or dismiss that.

Comes now the latest attack, a piece of whiny, “I’m not going to let them take my toys” piece written by Steve Davidson on the Amazing Stories site. It really is one of the biggest whinefests I’ve read in a long while and that’s saying something considering some of the things already being written about the upcoming Hugo announcement.

(One has to wonder why all the angst and foot stomping before the final nominees are announced. Do they have inside knowledge or what?)

Anyway, on to the post.

This announcement has already been pre-empted by at least two individuals who were informed by the Hugo Awards Committee of their impending nomination last week as is customary (done so to give folks the opportunity to decline).

I know of one and it was an honest mistake. The author in question did not know he wasn’t supposed to make the announcement and, once he was told — and not by anyone who is currently whining about what he did — he removed all posts referring to his nomination.

This is as fine an example of disrespect for the institution as one could hope for – but not at all surprising given the constant disrespect that has been on display for the past two years from the Sad Puppy crowd.

Disrespect? Hardly. Honest mistake, yep. If it were disrespect, the author in question would not have taken down his posts referring to his nomination. As for the alleged disrespect by the SP crowd, I do so love general condemnations without specific allegations or proof. But it is so much easier to just toss out allegations like that and hope the readers buy into it.

Right now they’re probably anticipating the announcement with a certain amount of glee, since “leaks” (from the nominees most likely) seem to be indicating that a goodly percentage of those on the final ballot were championed by the Sad Puppy recommended voting slate.

The only “leaks” I’m seeing are coming from Davidson and his ilk and they are all whining and crying and gnashing teeth. Just check out the Making Light blog for prime examples of such behavior.

Some have even voiced the fear that one or more fiction categories for the award may consist entirely of Sad Puppy nominees (or potentially worse, a combination of Sad & Rabid Puppy nominees).

That prospect is an entirely unwelcome one.

Oookay, I’m assuming he means that someone other than those supporting SP3 are worried. Why are they worried? Because their own nominations might not make each slot in the different categories? Or are they afraid because people like Brad managed to show readers — and are they the ones we, as writers, should be asking what is the best in the field? Or are we at the point now where the Hugo is only to be decided by a small group of writers, agents and editors? — that they can have a say in how the awards are decided? It sounds to me like Davidson and those who think like him don’t want anyone else playing in their sandbox, that they believe they, alone, are qualified to determine what works are worthy.

Funny, I always thought those who bought our books and went to see our movies and read our fanzines and blogs were the ones with the final voice. But then, I’m one of the unenlightened who believe that story is more important than message. Silly me.

Sad Puppies puts out a recommended Hugo voting slate under the false flag of seeking greater recognition for deserving yet underrepresented authors.  They do so by by creating a false equivalence between a voting slate with a political agenda behind it and non-politicized eligibility mentions.

Okay, now I’m going to laugh hysterically. Saying that Jim Butcher has the same political views as Brad, or that Brad has the same political views as Kevin J. Anderson is ludicrous. Sure, the first year of SP, and even SP2, had a definite conservative bent to it. But not this year. Davidson is, at best, misrepresenting what Brad did and is doing a disservice not only to his — Davidson’s – readers but to each author and artist on SP3.

But that’s not what is really going on.  At its base, Sad Puppies is about a few authors who have twigged to the fact that controversy, outrage and building an army of sycophants is good for their bottom line – especially if they can gin up a Judas goat for everyone to love to hate.  The fact that the prize at the end of all of this bullshit might be a Hugo Award for one or more of them – along with bragging rights over how successfully they’ve managed to corrupt fix the system – is the plum in the pudding.  (You’d think that a handful of creative, think-outside-the-box science fiction and fantasy authors would be embarrassed to be caught red-handed copying Fox News’ methods, but if you think about that for a second…)

OMGF, does he really believe this bullshit? I would recommend he look at the tactics of his own side in all this. Look at the lies they printed and have spread about Larry Corriea. All that SP3 has done is help educate fans of science fiction and fantasy who remember what it was like to race out to buy the latest Hugo nominees because a nomination was an almost automatic guarantee that the book or short story would be entertaining and make you think. Oh, wait, that was back when story mattered more than message. Silly me, I keep forgetting that things have changed.

And these folks condemning SP3 wonder why readership for sf/f has decreased and why so many readers are flocking to indie published science fiction and fantasy.

Right now, a lot of involved folks are starting to seriously ask how fandom is going to handle this growing problem.

Hmm, so “fandom” is worried about what the fans think are good books. How many of this so-called fandom actually read the books they nominate for the award, much less all the books (titles) that make the final ballot? Or are they simply voting based on who the author is and if they are the “right” sort of author.

Funny, when an award is supposed to represent the best in a field, who decided this inner star chamber gets to have the final word on not only who can nominate or recommend something, much less what titles should win?

There’s strong evidence to suggest that Sad Puppies, or some faction of Sad Puppies, have begun to engage with the GamerGaters.

Oooh, GamerGate. We’re going to tremble in our boots because SP3 might be — MIGHT BE (again, no supporting facts and then some hand-wavium to say, well, maybe not SP3 but some faction of it. I guess Davidson is striving for plausible deniability) — involved in GamerGate, the big bad boogie man of feminists everywhere.

I’ve been reading a lot of the proposed solutions.  They range from giving the Hugo Awards committee more power to identify block voting, to countering Sad Puppies with a different voting slate.

Funny how no one worried when their side published their own recommendations for the Hugo. Those were okay. But when someone like Larry or Brad — who have the poor taste to be published by that evil publishing house Baen — should do so, everyone gets their knickers in a twist. Funny, too, how he seems to forget that there were counter-SP recommendations last year. Oh remember the crowing from folks like Scalzi after the Hugos were announced because no SP nominees won. But that was okay because SP evil and everyone else good.

The real, long term solution is to create more participation in the voting – by people who will not be trying to turn the Hugos, Worldcon and fandom into yet another mundane political arena.

Funny, that is exactly what SP3 has tried to do — but because it is doing just that, it gets denigrated. If that wasn’t the case, why all the hand-wringing and teeth gnashing. Oh, wait, I know. The fact that those helping spread the word of SP don’t buy into the cause du jour method of writing means they are wrong thinkers and trying to politicize the award.

Give me a break.

I’m going to place ANY nominee that is associated with advancing a political agenda BELOW No Award.  If that means that No Award is my top pick in one or more categories, then so be it.  (I’ll read the works in the voters pack so I can rate the works as #1 behind No Award, #2 behind No Award, etc.)

So much for the purpose of the Hugos which is to recognize the best in the genre. How is Davidson going to decide this? That’s easy. If it is a nominee from the SP side of things, he will no vote, no matter how good the work. Very open minded of you, sir. Not that it surprises me.

I’m hoping that others will see their way clear to adopting this method of protesting the corruption of the Hugo Awards.

Corruption?!? I would suggest that by judging something based only on what he perceives as a political agenda is the real corruption of the system. I doubt he will even glance at a SP nominee for fear he might become tainted by the “political” aspect of the work. As I said earlier, real open minded of him.

Individuals who find themselves on a voting block who want to avoid being ranked below No Award should immediately remove themselves from those lists, or make a public statement disassociating themselves from that list.

Okay, I will do that at the same time as all those supported by John Scalzi, the folks at Making Light, you and all the others condemning SP3 distance themselves from your “slate”. You can condemn the writer but condemning the work without reading it is the height of hypocrisy. Not that I expect Davidson to admit it. After all, that wouldn’t fit his own agenda of making sure the evil old libertarians and conservatives crawl back into their corners and never come out again.

There is more and you can read it. What really bothers me about what Davidson has to say is simple. Here is a man who is using his role as editor of what was once one of the pillars of the sf/f magazine world to promote his own political agenda. But he is not honest enough or forthright enough to say so. He would much rather throw out unsupported allegations and use hot button words to trigger reactions. How can an editor of a magazine that covers sf/f refuse to consider that there are other viewpoints other than his own and that those viewpoints should have the same right to be read as his own?

More than that, how dare he suggest that an award for the best in the field be decided by tossing out works that aren’t politically of the right vein? Who made him and those who believe as he does our nannies?

Most important of all, why is he whining so loudly now, before the nominations are announced? Is he really that scared that he and the others who thought they had a stranglehold on the award might have lost their leverage?

All I know for sure is the next week or so is going to be interesting and not necessarily in a comfortable way.

(Full disclosure: I was honored when Brad added my name to the SP3 “slate” for best fan writer. I know this post will mean Davidson will no award me if I wind up being nominated. But I believe the Hugos aren’t the property of a few people but of all those fans who are willing to pay for their membership or supporting membership to WorldCon and I applaud Brad and all the others for educating the fans. Too many did not know they had a voice in the awards and that, I am certain, is what really scares the Davidsons of the world. They are terrified that the real fans, the ones who buy the books and go to the movies, will finally find their voice.)

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. Nope. He just saw it was lapsed, and he registered it. I remember commenting at the time that this meant his site wasn’t really the continuation of Amazing Stories, it was just a new venture with the same name. He has mentioned plans to someday acquire some of the assets and otherwise establish continuity with the original AS, but he’s not there yet.

          1. Despite his asinine behavior, I still hope he can do it. I’d like to see AS return as a viable fiction outlet. Right now it’s not fiction, it’s just boringly predictable SF commentary from the left. A wannabe IO9, SF Signal, or Tor.com, but without their market penetration.

  1. “That prospect is an entirely unwelcome one.”

    To whom? Obviously not to the majority of nominators who nominated the works in question.

    I’m also not clear on how he knows who’s been nominated, unless he’s implying the committee has leaked information. If so, it’s they he should be unhappy with, and he should say so. That would be a corruption of the award.

    But as far as I know, that committee takes their work very seriously and doesn’t talk out of turn.

    So where is he getting his information, and is it anything more than rumors?

    Once again, the “right” people prove themselves to be questionably honest, highly deceitful, prejudiced and narrow-minded.

    1. I can see them scurrying around, asking one another if they got a nomination and then lamenting because none of them did. I could be wrong. But the venom and spleen these folks are already displaying — and without cause at the moment — is astounding.

      1. “I can see them scurrying around, asking one another if they got a nomination and then lamenting because none of them did.”

        One of the comments on Making Light said something about messing up the slate…maybe I’m paranoid but I’m pretty sure they had a mental list at the least of who is ‘supposed’ to be on the ballot. And those people aren’t getting called. That’s my guess.

  2. How anyone can determine YOUR political position from YOUR writing is utterly beyond me. I’ve read your work, and I’m on record as loving it, but I cannot for the life of me think of anything you’ve written that would be a clue as to how you would vote in a national election. I think we CAN tell how you would vote for a writing award, though: you’d vote for the best writing.

    1. Pat, thank you. That is probably one of the best compliments I could get when it comes to my writing. I don’t see it as my job or my duty to educate or enlighten anyone. I’m a fiction writer. My job is to entertain. Any message I might include in my work should take second — or even third — place to plot and characterization. You are right, however, about how I would vote for a writing award. It is the best writing that I will support.

    2. You obviously have not read much put out by those held dear by Steve Davidson and company. Periodically I will attempt to delve into some of the message fiction they put forth. I can seldom stand more than a few pages before quitting in disgust. Message fiction that entertains while conveying a point or even a series of concepts is fine with me, but writing that attacks beliefs I consider valid even fundamental with little or no justification other than “because I said so!!!” I find tedious and unpalatable.
      Message fiction, agenda driven fiction, stories with precious little story but tons of praise for concepts that work only in some radical fever dream just don’t cut it with me. But then I am a product of white male privilege, so my opinions obviously don’t count for squat. Certainly not with Stevie and his ilk.

      1. Uncle Lar, you are right. Of course, you missed the part where he will also turn right around and deny that he said what he said and claim that we simply didn’t read what he wrote. Hence the next post in the series.

      1. For those that don’t want to read the cheesy whine here’s the
        TL;DR

        Very few, if any, of my friends have been nominated this year and none of the stories I published. I haz a sulk

  3. This is the same Steve Davidson that two years ago was lamenting the state of fandom, calling for more inclusion of newfen and new fandoms, and for bringing back the futurist outward focus of the field.

    My, how things have changed.

    1. Nah, Tully. He just wants more newfen and new fandoms that believe as the “right sort of folks” do. At least that is my take on it.

    1. Oh, it is!

      It means “the idea that there was every any kind of a threat from communism means you’re a murderous teenage girl who is also a liar, but only because your parents are horrible racists who hate black people and other religions.”

  4. Reading the fiskings here and at Sarah and Larry’s sites, I finally figured out the one, true underlying theme of the anti-SP protests.

    I thought about trying to put it in my words, but decided the original deserves his due:

    “I don’t care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating.”

    — William M. “Boss” Tweed

  5. I am going to read everything that comes my way in the voter packet and give all works a fair chance, but my guess is that some Sad Puppies are going to have a hard time beating No Award if they make it to the shortlist.

    One obvious example is the Tea Party joke collection by mr. Williamson that is up for best related work. It has to be quite extraordinary to get my sympathies. Reading the Kindle sample was quite amusing in the light of all the Sad Puppy talk renouncing “message fiction”.

    1. While I appreciate the fact you say you will give all works a fair chance, it appears you have already made up your mind, especially in light of your own site denouncing SP3. However, I hope you do give everything a chance. I know I will be. Of course, I’m not sure your definition of best and mine are the same. I think story tops message and a well written, plot driven or character driven story will top a message piece any day of the the week when it comes to fiction. Non-fiction had better be persuasive and, when necessary, backed by evidence.

      Welcome to the blog and thanks for your comment.

      1. Thank you for the kind words.

        I’ll give everything a go, but there are a number of reasons why I do dislike the Sad Puppies campaign. One of them is their baffling claim that fiction by current Hugo winners such as Ann Leckie or Charles Stross would be driving some sort of political agenda. In my opinion, Ancillary Justice, for example, was a well-written, plot-driven space opera, and I hope a well-written and enjoyable novel wins this year as well, no matter whose slate it was on originally.

    2. Wait: seriously? You hold up MZW’s collection of internet posts as as an example of fiction?
      I cry ‘SHENANIGANS!’
      A collection of internet posts does not meet the definition of ‘fiction writing’ by any standard, message fiction or not.
      Now, what I get out of this post, and this is only MY opinion, not that of any other, is that you were just looking for something to complain about.
      How about you send a letter to my fellow veteran, Michael Z. Williamson, and tell him ‘THANK YOU’ for defending your right to speak? He did that, you know, even on those occasions when your speech is mean-spirited and irrelevant, AS IT IS IN THIS CASE.
      And I’m a vet as well. And I celebrate the fact that you can be so UTTERLY WRONGHEADED in your approach, and not have jack-booted thugs knocking at your door.
      Have a nice day!

      1. Whether it’s fiction or not is beside the point. My point is that it’s amusing to see Sad Puppies fight the undue politicization of Hugo awards with a book that contains nothing but politics.

        If it’s the US army you have served in, I’m quite sure that neither you nor mr. Williamson has done anything to defend my right to speak.

        1. One “related work” is the best you can do? As for whether or not MMike or Pat defended your right to free speech, who knows. You are hiding behind an alias. Following the link through to you anti-SP3 site, doesn’t give any indication of who you are or where you are from. If I’m not being as gracious as before, sorry. But having seen my friends — and my own nomination — trashed by folks who are bitter because they are seeing power slip through their fingers tends to do that to me. That is especially true when I remember all the cries of joy and victory last year when they all got together to make sure SP2 wasn’t successful.

          Tell me, how is threatening to vote no award without having read and judged a nominee on its own merit better than Brad suggesting artists and writers he felt deserved to be nominated for the Hugo because of their talent?

          1. I don’t wish to offend anybody and I’m sorry if I did. What I wanted to say was that in light of the Sad Puppy manifestos renouncing politization, I find it weird that such a work is on the slate. My impression has been from the start that one of the unstated goals of SP was to piss off liberals and (having read only the Kindle sample at this point) the work seems to have been quite obviously nominated for that end.

            You are hiding behind an alias. Following the link through to you anti-SP3 site, doesn’t give any indication of who you are or where you are from.

            I don’t wish my identity to be out there, but it’s not my intention to troll. I’m just an ordinary SF/F fan and what I have written online details my outlook of the Sad Puppy campaign. This is the second time I’m voting for the Hugos, so I’m certainly no business insider or someone who sees power slipping from my hands (cause I have no power 😀 ).

            Tell me, how is threatening to vote no award without having read and judged a nominee on its own merit better than Brad suggesting artists and writers he felt deserved to be nominated for the Hugo because of their talent?

            Voting no award without reading is not what I’ll be doing myself, so I can’t really answer that. Some people seem to feel that Sad and Rabid Puppies used sordid tactics to hijack the Hugos and for them that’s a good enough reason to vote against all the works. That’s their opinion and I don’t share it, even though I can see where that’s coming from. Last year, I did place some Sad Puppies below no award, but I did that after reading them and deciding they were, in my opinion, unworthy of the award.

            Congratulations to you for the nomination, though.

            1. Thanks for your clarification and, again, I apologize for any churlishness on my part. The hatred — because there really is no other word for it, at least no polite word — spewing from certain people has been disconcerting even if it wasn’t unexpected.

  6. I could look at a list and make reasonable guesses on the sex of the writer, but color, sexual preference, political inclinations would be unknown to me. And would stay so.

  7. Ah. Changing the rules, are you? After saying , and I quote,

    Reading the Kindle sample was quite amusing in the light of all the Sad Puppy talk renouncing “message fiction”.

    you now say that it’s beside the point that MZW’s book isn’t fiction.

    But then again, anyone who thinks that the United States Armed Forces have done nothing to protect the rights of free speech for all people, regardless of country of citizenship, is breathtakingly naive, given the most beneficent interpretation.

  8. Regarding the GamerGate thing, as far as I can tell the only actual connection is Vox Day comparing what GG has faced to what SP/RP has faced, small but noisy, progressivist cliques who want to silence any and all voices other than the “proper” ones. That’s it.

    But then I don’t think anyone who’s been following the SP saga (so to speak) will be at all surprised at the CHORFs* misrepresenting what people said to fit the CHORF narrative.

    * https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/chorf-its-a-word-now/

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