Time to take a deep breath, stop and think

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I’m trying very hard not to react every time I see someone attacking an author or artist who has been backed by Sad Puppies 3, much less the fans who have supported them. I’ll admit it is difficult and I have stepped into the mire from time to time. How could I not when I see people I care about and respect being called things like “neo-nazi”, “misogynist” and “homophobic” among others? But I’ve spent a great deal of time over the last few days thinking about what those attacks are really doing. They aren’t helping to promote something we all — at least supposedly love — science fiction and fantasy. Instead, they are obscuring the real purpose behind SP3 by using trigger words and phrases to stir the emotions in the most negative way possible.

So, instead of going to those sites where the ad hominem attacks and misrepresentations are being made, instead of trying to address them here, I’ll say this: those I know who support SP3 are not about getting the message out of science fiction or fantasy. We are all about giving readers a great story they can get lost in with characters they can enjoy. We don’t want to be hit over the head with a message, any message. We can go to school or church if we are looking for a sermon. But give us something that makes us think and something that lets our imagination soar. As writers, don’t demand that we use a cookie-cutter checklist to make sure we have all the “right sort of” characters and issues included in our work. Let us work our story in the way that is best for the story. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? If the readers don’t like the story, they aren’t going to read the message.

I’ve spent the last couple of days dealing with issues that have made it pretty much impossible to sit down and write. So, I’ve done a lot of reading, watched a couple of movies and played video games. One thing I noticed was that I was more interested in the story, including the backstory, of the video games than I was in some of the books I picked up. Sure, the games had a message. It is hard to pick up an RPG today that doesn’t have some sort of message in it. But the message wasn’t the primary mover of the game’s plot.

And that is why some books lose me.

So here is what I’m going to do for the next few days as we lead up to LibertyCon. I’m going to write about some of the games I’ve been playing and why I keep going back to them. I’ll write about some of the books I’ve been reading — including the good, the bad and the ugly. I may even talk about some of the movies I’ve watched. All of this is to celebrate why I love science fiction and fantasy, something that is being lost in all the contretemps surrounding the Hugos.

I’m going to part with one last comment. When I was growing up, I loved SF/F because there was a place for everyone, at least that is the way it seemed. Looking at it now, it feels like a house divided where those on the inside are doing their best to bar the door to everyone else, including a large faction of the reading public. That has got to stop and now.


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.


  1. The only way for this mess to settle down more or less, is for one side {ours} to wind down a bit. The other side makes themselves look bad then.

    The one, rather large thing that is continuing to roil all of this, is Mike Glyer’s roundup. That makes it easy for the always outraged crowd to restart their rage all over again.

    What I’m trying to do, is moderate my responses a bit. I’m still responding, which is why I’m not suggesting turning the other cheek.

    The thing is there are a lot of lurkers, since Mike has everyone linked. If the crowds at Making Light, File 770, etc are still rabidly attacking, and we’re as a rule more moderate, how is that going to look to someone who hasn’t made up their mind?

    I admire how you’ve handled this of late. Keep it up Amanda.

    1. Thanks, Angus. You’ve said what I’ve been thinking. I will admit it was hard to step back today and not take the fight back to the other side, especially after reading Glyer’s round-up and comment this morning and then seeing how he had not responded to comments made in response to his own statements. Then I realized that is simply playing into the other side’s hands and giving clicks where they don’t need to be given. So, I will go back to what I love talking about good SF/F in its different forms.

  2. I find that most of the nominees of the Puppies except for movies and novels are hitting me over the head with a message.
    If the Puppies want to de-escalate the name calling and restore peace quit adopting GamerGate tactics and quit name-calling.
    People who oppose Sad Puppies are Happy Puppies, not Social Justice Warriors or Cliquish, Holier-than-thou, Obnoxious, Reactionary, Fanatics, which seems more descriptive of Vox Day’s band.

    1. I debated whether or not to let this through moderation. However, I wanted to address something you said. First, you tell Sad Puppies to de-escalate the name-calling. I think if you really look, you will find that most of the name-calling is coming from the other side. Yes, some SP supporters use the terms SJW and CHORF. However, for myself and most of those I have been following, nothing has come close to the constant refrain of “misogynist”, “homophobic”, etc., that has been aimed at us.

      You also seem to have missed the fact that Vox Day has nothing to do with SP3. If you have an issue with him — and he does like a good fight — take it up with him and his Rabid Puppies. They are two very different groups.

      Further, SP3 has nothing to do with GG and never has. The only “tactics” SP3 has utilized is letting folks who love SF/F know they have the ability to vote for what they think is Hugo-worthy. That’s it. There has been no call from the SP3 side for boycotts or anything besides reading and voting. I dare you to find a post from Larry Correia or Brad Torgersen, the two main faces for Sad Puppies, saying they support a boycott.

      Finally, as for your opinion about the Puppy nominees, to each his own.

    2. “If the Puppies want to de-escalate the name calling and restore peace quit adopting GamerGate tactics and quit name-calling.”

      Such as referring to people as being neo-nazi racist homophobes? Where do you go for information? And have you ever decided to expand your viewpoint?

      Fact: All the Sad Puppies wanted was to expand the types of stories winning awards. At this time, since more than 3 times the previous number of Hugo voters have registered than the previous 2 years, I’d say they made their point. They – the Sad Puppies – are not the ones screaming and calling names.

      Fact: Vox Day is not and has never been a Sad Puppy. Every time someone mentions him as being part of it proves how deeply they are swilling the Koolaid.

      Fact: Sad Puppy haters are not happy. They are, in fact,
      Cliquish – if you ain’t part of their select group, you are lower than whale dung in the Marianas Trench; Holier-than-thou – They claimed the title of Tru-fen, and all others are wrong-fen (that pretty much sums up the Holier -than-thou attitude;
      Obnoxious – really, how else to describe those who pick a fight, then ban from comments anyone disagreeing, call names – then ban from commenting those who would differ, spread lies, then ban from commenting those who would try to set the truth out;
      Reactionary – freak out when people do manage to get their side of the story out; and
      Fanatics – they keep doubling and tripling down on their lies and distortions and abusing language to the point that readers and fans – book buyers! – are seeing for themselves who is reasonable and who is not.

      So, my advice is to avoid the Koolaid – especially if it has aspartame in it; that stuff can warp your health, mind and body. Stick with milk. Even if you are lactose intolerant, there are still varieties that are good for you.

    3. Oh, and seriously? Gamergate? Those guys were latecomers to the issue. Sad Puppies has been around at least a year before They even knew what was going on. But hey! “The enemy of my enemy” and all that. They are a feisty bunch to have on our side.

      1. Gamergate didn’t even know about Sad Puppies for crap until Brianna Wu started blaming them for the SP success. Which made them all check it out and decide to jump in, which is freaking hysterical. 😀

          1. Amanda, “taking responsibility” means that they were wrong and they can’t admit that. [Sad Smile]

    4. Eleming. I find it curious that you think SJW or Chorf is an insult worthy of causing all this trouble when those who have been described by those two acronyms are using terms like racist, homophobe, and Nazi. I am not a Sad Puppy, though I am a supporter. I am a supporter mostly because I dislike being insulted by people who have no knowledge of me. I despise the insinuations that some sort of evil supergenius can make me obey like a robot. And I truly hate it when someone of apparently little contact with reality claims these things are my fault. No that is not a personal gibe at you, it is a general gibe at the majority of those who have souls so filled with hate that they are making baseless accusations. I always allow for the factor that too many people just repeat what all their friends say. Of course when all their friends are actually lying it does cause problems seeing what is actually happening. I would appreciate it if you would carry a similar message to the other side that you seem to be carrying here. Peace and cooperation instead of vitriol and hate would be a nice start.

    5. Eleming, you should spend more time digging through all the primary-source background instead of believing tertiary and thoroughly biased and self-serving sources. If you want to know the kind of behavior in fandom that resulted in Sad Puppies, do yourself a favor and check in with Selina Rosen and ask her about CQT and pants. Oh hell, let me save you a step and just give you a link.

    6. @ eleming

      I thought long and hard before responding. But, since there’s just a chance that you’re a person that has been sheltered the last few months, and is under informed, I thought I’d correct something. After all, maybe you’re just ignorant of the realities, and not an SJB troll.

      Accusing Vox Day and the Rabid Puppies of fanaticism approaches libel. Truth to tell, it doesn’t cross the legal boundary, but isn’t true. Worst case its an absolute lie. Best case, it’s a scenario of too wide a brush.

      I heard all the bad things people say about Vox when I first started having some interest in Sad Puppy doings about 1.5 years ago. I don’t take anyone’s unsupported word whom I don’t know. Thus, I went to his site and followed his posts, and read some of the comments. Since I’m not a regular, I’m sure there is a lot I missed.

      But, he struck and strikes me as a man with rather unpopular viewpoints. However, taking that into account, he doesn’t force his viewpoints on others. He doesn’t advocate violence, nor does he attack others on his blog, unless like Scalzi, he’s been attacked first.

      Better yet, he’ll happily debate you. If you can debate well, intelligently, and not get abusive, he’ll treat you the same way. Whether you ever agree with anything, he’ll probably thank you for the debate afterwards.

      About two months ago, I was saying similar things about Vox {on Brad’s site}, when Mary Kowell {sp} came upon my post and took issue with it. She accused him of threatening her. Not taking anyone unsupported word whom I don’t know, I asked for particulars. She of course reacted emotionally to start with. When I explained my desire to understand her position, she relented.

      I was inundated with links and screen captures. Really, I was overwhelmed with info. I came to the conclusion that what we had here was a massive misunderstanding, probably because the last conversation was on twitter.

      I came to the conclusion that a reasonable person, heck even a jury, would find Vox Day, aka Theodore Beale innocent of harrassing or threatening Mary. In fact, he was the injured party. He was merely trying to show her that someone she claimed was expelled was still on the SFWA roster. His last name started with K, and there lies where the misunderstanding happened. She felt threatened and reacted. She felt he was about to doxx her. He wasn’t, he was trying to prove a point. Unfortunately on Twitter.

      Since I had a sister in-law who was abused multiple times, I am familiar with the language Mary used at the end. I understand how she feels as much as a man can {which isn’t much, granted}, but she was wrong. Its too bad it happened, but Beale is still catching flak for this.

      1. It’s astonishing to me that there exist people who are willing to challenge the proposition that Vox Day/Theodore Beale is a bigot. Takes all kinds I guess. But it does appear curious to me that if VD/TB is not “toxic” then why do the Sad Puppies declaim so vigorously that they are distinguishable from the Rabid Puppies? I suppose it could be a desire for “accuracy in reporting” but it does seem to me that some of this differentiation between the groups appears to be animated by repulsion from VD/TB. But there’s also not much acknowledgment by the SP group that their impact on the ballot was minimal compared to the effect of the RP. In other words, no one would be talking about the SP if the RP had not amplified their effect on swamping the 2015 Hugo ballot.

        As a “Happy Kitten” (i.e. someone opposed to what the SP/RP did to the Hugo Ballot this year) I stand with people like George RR Martin, John Scalzi, Eric Flint and Jim Hines. However, I think this post from Patri Friedman expresses how I feel about Puppygate right now, especially in the context of the ongoing Irene Gallo kerfuffle:

        Complain about Irene Gallo’s inaccurate and hateful statements; refute them; heck, you can even cast aspersions upon her sanity, sexuality, attractiveness, parentage, and consign her to perdition.That is how you personally respond to a personal insult. But turning it into an anti-Tor boycott is not moving towards a better society, it is deepening the war instead of working for peace.

        And it seems to me the onus on “standing down” in the Puppygate war should be on the
        side that made that changed the facts on the ground by making the first move (i.e. Publicizing a slate of nominees that dominated the 2015 Hugo ballot). That appears to me what Amanda is trying to do here and I applaud it.

        1. They disclaim it so vigorously because so many are trying so hard to equate the two different things. And frankly, the impact of each group cannot be realistically compared until the final stats are released after the awards. Some keep demanding that SP disown VD, but they never owned them in the first place. Why is pointing that out in the face of determined attempts to link the two somehow evidence of guilt by association? A true Kafka-trap, that.

          Had Gallo not done her slandering while promoting her company’s product in her role as a company employee, I might agree with Friedman. But she did. Personally I have no interest in casting aspersions on anything but Gallo’s character, which is a QED assessment backed by her “I’m sorry you didn’t like me calling you Nazis” non-apology.

          My only quibble with Tor re: Gallo is that she made them responsible for her slanders under the specific circumstances, and there has been no public indication that she has been disciplined for that, which implies indifference on Tor’s part to such actions. That’s poor corporate management. But being acquainted with corporate practice, those are wheels that I don’t expect to turn quickly, so I’m not rushing to judgement.

          As for “publicizing a slate” (which I would call “making recommendations and suggestions to Hugo Awards voters”) I have yet to hear anyone condemn the Locus Awards for doing exactly and explicitly that for over forty years. Indeed, So, shrug. Apparently that’s only offensive when the wrong people do it. Me, I’ll just vote what’s on the ballot by merit as I see it. As I have always done.

        2. Mad Prof

          If you reread my post, you’ll see that I said that Beale has unpopular beliefs. I won’t argue if you call him a bigot. Saying he’s a fanatic though, in my view is going to far.

          He’s definitely not as bad as the Torlings, who are not only bigots, but play discriminatory games that Beale doesn’t. Ie, temporarily banning and disemvowelling on Making Light.

          I could go on about bigots as bad as Beale on the left, but I’m not all that interested in arguing that. My interest in this is getting us away from using Beale and the Torlings as excuses or parts of ad hominim {sp}.

          So my question to you, is are you supporting the totalarian {sp} movement led by the Torlings to tell writers what they have to write, and readers what they can read? Or are you willing to allow writers to write fun stories, and readers to pursue the stuff they’d prefer to read as escapism?

          Freedom or dictatorship? Which do you support?

          1. “Unpopular views” doesn’t really do justice to the kinds of things VD has indicated that he believes through his words and actions. But I guess we can quibble about the terminology…

            Why do I have to be associated with what you call “the Torlings” at all? If not all Puppies are the same (i.e. RP and SP are distinct) then why can’t there be various kinds of anti-Puppies (Happy Kittens, Gloating Kittens, Social Justice Cats, etc etc)?

            Do you not see by claiming that just because I oppose the Puppies and the Torlings oppose the Puppies does not imply that I and the Torlings have anything (else) in common besides that opposition? By making this implication, aren’t you practicing exactly the same activity (guilt by association) that you claim all Happy Kittens are doing when we don;’t distinguish between the Puppies?

            If you really can’t tell the difference between the Locus longlist and what the Puppies did (i.e. creating a slate of nominees for Hugos, publicizing it as a way to “end affirmative action” to various groups of people and then taking up more than two-thirds of the available nominations in an unprecedented fashion) then we really have nothing to talk about. The inability to agree to the facts of what actually happened just reeks of intellectual dishonesty and is a primary reason for the dispute in the first place.

            But as Amanda said, things might get better between the two groups if both sides just took a breath and chilled out for awhile instead of repeatedly ratcheting up the rhetoric and continually haranguing the other.

            1. MadProffessah

              In the interest of getting some dialogue going, rather than pick what you said apart and tossing it back it you, let me explain some things. I get from what you’re saying we disagree, but I also would like to think there’s room to talk about things.

              Let’s start with Beale. I see him as an enigma. I understand that might be hard to defend.

              I can see why people consider him a racist. Two examples from last year: During the problem in the St Louis area, he referred to the rioters as “vibrants”. He also believes in differences of IQ average by race. That seems to fit into most folks definition of racist. I get it.

              But recently he made the statement that a black female fetus three months along was equal to a white male, 40ish, with a high IQ in human rights. Last fall he took the side of black athletes when they had a difference with the white owners in the NFL. That doesn’t look like a typical racist.

              So, I don’t know what he is. From my perspective he’s inconsistent by my standards. An enigma. I also tend to understate things, thus “unpopular views”.

              I also hate “piling on”. In the case I mentioned in my first post, it’s my take that he was accused of something he didn’t do. That it was a tragic misunderstanding. I can see Beale being painted with what he has said, I can’t see the piling on.

              Can you understand that? I strongly believe in our First Amendment rights.

              I will also define how I see bigot versus fanatic. I see a bigot who has prejudices he talks about. A fanatic does something about his belief. The nutcase in South Carolina in my mind is an extreme fanatic, and the more I read about him, the more I think he’s insane. Death Penalty should be considered.

              I can name several bigots on the left side of this argument, but you stated you don’t want to be painted with them. I get it. Despite my protest in having Beale called a fantatic, I’m a Sad Puppy, not a Rabid Puppy, and I don’t like being painted as the other either. Beale’s own words could define him as a bigot {though I personally am undecided}. He doesn’t act or incite though that I have seen, so I don’t think fanatic works in this instance.

              I could express how I see other matters in your post, but this one is already long. If there’s other things you’d like to talk about, I’m here. You’ve been polite and well spoken, and I think I can match that. It doesn’t mean we’ll wind up agreeing. But nothing lost in talking.

            2. Any “intellectual dishonesty” there is not mine. They are far more similar than dissimilar, and Locus not only publishes the long list, but also the short list (which has exactly the same number of slots as the nominating ballot) and the Locus winners BEFORE the Hugo vote closes, for the express and explicit and openly stated purpose of influencing Hugo voters.

              How many of the stories that eventually end up on the Hugo ballot are also on the Locus list, not counting this year? Hint: It’s higher than 2/3rds. How many Locus Award winners go on to win the Hugo? Better go take a look.

              I can tell the difference. One SET of lists is published annually by the premier newszine of fandom and has been for over forty years for the express and explicit and openly stated purpose of influencing Hugo voters. The other was published by a diverse group of fans for the same reason. Everything else is equivocative BS rationalizations, applied political demonology.

              I don’t need another flawed set of assertions claimed as “facts” as to how SP was somehow unique. It wasn’t. I watched the SP crowd do their thing in real time the last couple of years, and have been in fandom for decades. I’ve seen log-rolling galore, and watched it intensify over the last decade. Hell, Harlan did a video post on it over twenty years ago.

              The Puppies were told “You don’t like what gets nominated, get involved and join WC and make your own nominations.” So they did. Turns out there were more of them than expected, at least in relation to the extremely apathetic turnout for nominations among WorldCon members in previous years. And that ridiculously low number of nominators (consistently 10% or less of those eligible to nominate) is what made log-rolling possible for YEARS. A large publishing house like Tor could simply send their editors and office staff to WC, coordinate, schmooze a few friends, and be assured of a certain number of nominations.

              The math of this is not difficult. In 2012 (the last No-Puppy-of-any-kind year) it took only 71 nominations to make the Best Novel ballot. (Actually it could conceivably have been done with a mere 48 votes, the number required to clear the 5% hurdle.) It took 47 for Best Novella (cutoff was 24). Best Editor, Long Form? The cutoff was a mere nineteen votes. And that was a record year at the time for nominations and votes.

              The best cure for that is not shouting about how every WrongFan recommended nomination achieved is evil. The best cure for that if for fans to get off their apathetic asses and nominate. As the Puppies did. As roughly 90% of eligible nominators historically HAVE NOT. The system is not broken. The electorate is. This year the number of nominators was twice what it was in 2012 — which was still a pathetic 14% of the eligible nominators. The complaint appears to be that some people just aren’t as stupendously apathetic about nominating as 90% of WC members have been for the last few decades.

              It would indeed be nice if both sides just backed off and chilled. And I have seen several attempts to do just that … but only one side ever seems to ever actually back off and chill. Puppies. At which point certain non-Puppy parties immediately ratchet up the rhetoric again.

    7. @ eleming: If the Puppies want to de-escalate the name calling and restore peace quit adopting GamerGate tactics and quit name-calling.

      @MadProfessah: And it seems to me the onus on “standing down” in the Puppygate war should be on the side that made that changed the facts on the ground by making the first move

      Translation: “Oh, you want peace? That’s easy, just surrender!”

      Sorry, when one side routinely smears the Puppy supporters as uniformly neo-Nazi, homophobic (a meaningless term in reality), misogynist, and obviously not real SFF fans and now even starts inventing fears of physical violence, I don’t trust you.

      Surrender is not an option.

  3. I love being called names as a Sad Puppies Die Hard supporter. I learn all the new insults and slang terminology, as well as finding out how people really FEEL the hatred they spew at me while ignoring their own hypocrisy and bigotry.Z
    Please continue!

  4. Pity, rather than rage, at elemming. The urge to jump from ecliffs is ineluctably written in their genes.

  5. When I was growing up, I loved SF/F because there was a place for everyone, at least that is the way it seemed. Looking at it now, it feels like a house divided where those on the inside are doing their best to bar the door to everyone else, including a large faction of the reading public.

    You loved SFF growing up because it was open to everyone, mostly. Not just Fandom but the larger world of SFF fans. You’re right, mostly about the state of the house. But it’s not just divided. It’s occupied. It’s as if you invited a group of folks into the house you built and made them welcome as part of the family and when you stepped out to run an errand, upon your return you find that not only have they invited their friends into your house, they’re trying to bar the door to you and change the locks claiming it’s their house now and you’re not welcome.

    Your right that it has to stop. They can either open the doors or burn down with the house. The choice has always been theirs…

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