A few days ago the finalists for the Hugo were announced. The Hugos are the big prestigious award for science fiction and fantasy. One of my books was a finalist for best novel. A bunch of other works that I recommended showed up in other categories. Because I’m an outspoken right winger, hilarity ensued.
Many of you have never heard of me before, but the internet was quick to explain to you what a horrible person I am. There have been allegations of fraud, vote buying, log rolling, and making up fake accounts. The character assassination has started as well, and my detractors posted and tweeted and told anyone who would listen about how I was a racist, a homophobe, a misogynist, a rape apologist, an angry white man, a religious fanatic, and how I wanted to drag homosexuals to death behind my pickup truck.
The libel and slander over the last few days have been so ridiculous that my wife was contacted by people she hasn’t talked to for years, concerned that she was married to such a horrible, awful, hateful, bad person, and that they were worried for her safety.
I wish I was exaggerating. Don’t take my word for it. My readers have been collecting a lot of them in the comments of the previous Hugo post and on my Facebook page. Plug my name into Google for the last few days. Make sure to read the comments to the various articles too. They’re fantastic.
Of course, none of this stuff is true, but it was expected. I knew if I succeeded I would be attacked. To the perpetually outraged the truth doesn’t matter, just feelings and narrative. I’d actually like to thank all of those people making stuff up about me because they are proving the point I was trying to make to begin with.
Allow me to explain why the presence of my slate on the Hugo nominations is so controversial. This is complicated and your time is valuable, so short explanation first, longer explanation if you care after.
- I said a chunk of the Hugo voters are biased toward the left, and put the author’s politics far ahead of the quality of the work. Those openly on the right are sabotaged. This was denied.
- So I got some right wingers on the ballot.
- The biased voters immediately got all outraged and mobilized to do exactly what I said they’d do.
- Point made.
I’ve said for a long time that the awards are biased against authors because of their personal beliefs. Authors can either cheer lead for left wing causes, or they can keep their mouth shut. Open disagreement is not tolerated and will result in being sabotaged and slandered. Message or identity politics has become far more important than entertainment or quality. I was attacked for saying this. I knew that when an admitted right winger got in they would be maligned and politicked against, not for the quality of their art but rather for their unacceptable beliefs.
If one of us outspoken types got nominated, the inevitable backlash, outrage, and plans for their sabotage would be very visible. So I decided to prove this bias and launched a campaign I called Sad Puppies (because boring message fiction is the leading cause of Puppy Related Sadness).
The Hugos are supposed to be about honoring the best works, and many of the voters still take this responsibility very seriously. I thank them for this. But basically the Hugos are a popularity contest decided by the attendees of WorldCon. I am a popular writer, however my fans aren’t typical WorldCon attendees. Anyone who pays to purchase a WorldCon membership is allowed to vote. Other writers, bloggers, and even publishing houses have encouraged their fans to get involved in the nomination process before. I simply did the same thing. This controversy arises only because my fans are the wrong kind of fans.
For the people saying that I bought votes, or made up fake people, or bought memberships for a couple hundred imaginary relatives, nope. For those saying I committed fraud, put up or shut up. That would be extremely easy to prove if it were the case. I’ve been up front and public the whole time. Sadly, the thing which has so damaged your calm consisted of a few blog posts and I drew a cartoon. And I’m a terrible artist: http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/01/14/sad-puppies-2-the-illustrated-edition/
Eventually one of my friends colored the cartoon in PhotoShop and one of my fans thought it was funny and made a video. Sorry, outrage crowd. No big evil conspiracy. An evil right winger is treading in your sacred halls because of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzGKlOkQsxY
I mean, seriously, my spokesman was a manatee. No. I’m not making that up. So Sad Puppies 2: Rainbow Puppy Lighthouse The Huggening got my fans involved. Really, that was what we called it. Because writing is such a serious business.
Even last year’s winner, John Scalzi, has said that I did nothing different than what he and other authors have done before. And Scalzi and I seldom agree on anything. Tor.com wrote a scathing bit condemning my actions (and implied what a horrid writer I am). Of course, the very same website did the exact same thing explaining to Wheel of Time fans how the rules allowed them to nominate all 14 books as a single work and encouraged them to get involved. And a cursory Google search by my fans found dozens of other places where authors, reviewers, and bloggers had pushed their favorite works and tried to get fans involved.
We always hear about how fandom is supposed to be inclusive… Only apparently my fans are the wrong kind of fans. They don’t care about the liberal cause of the day. They don’t care about Social Justice. They like their books entertaining rather than preachy. They probably vote incorrectly. That sort of thing.
The last few days have been kind of awesome. I said that for the Hugo’s the writer’s politics were more important than the quality of their work. I was called a liar. Yet, within a couple of hours of the announcement there were multiple posts from the other side where groups of SJWs were strategizing how to make sure No Award beat me, and how to punish every other artist I recommended as well. Others were complaining that the rules needed to be changed to keep the undesirables out. All of this was while they proudly bragged how they had not read me, nor ever would… because tolerance. Hell if I know.
For those who have heard that I’m a terrible, undeserving writer whose mere presence is a mockery of their sacred system, but haven’t read any of my books, I’m actually pretty decent. Feel free to judge for yourself. For the record, my novel that is nominated, Warbound, is the final book in a trilogy that has sold extremely well, been translated into a bunch of other languages where it has also done well, gotten tons of positive reviews (out of the thousands of reviews for this series from across all the various different places I’m still at 4 ½ stars) won and been nominated for other awards, is one of the bestselling and most praised audiobook series there is, has won two Audies, is currently nominated for a third, and been a finalist for best novel in other countries where I don’t speak the language and can’t campaign, so there is that…
But everybody knows bad people can’t create art, says the side that keeps showering Roman Polanski with awards.
In closing, I would really like everybody who is a voting member of WorldCon to actually read the works in each category and vote based upon which ones they think are best. I fully expect Wheel of Time to win my category of best novel. It is a fourteen book epic written by two authors over twenty six years. Duh.
Personally, my goal has been reached. I got the thought police to show the world their pretty pink panties. :)
Now here are the behind the scenes details for whoever wants the whole story.
Bias and Motivation: In this business, most writers who are conservative, republican, libertarian, or devoutly religious have needed to keep their head down so as to not rock the boat and damage their careers. This damage comes from two directions, the publishing industry which is based in Manhattan and which is uniformly left wing, which will hurt careers out of spite, and also from the small, but extremely vocal left wing fans who swoop in to crush all dissent. I like to call them the Social Justice Warriors.
If right wing authors share their opinions, they will be openly chastised and attacked by very vocal, very angry people. Any deviation from the approved narrative is met with scorn, mockery, character assassination, and because the author doesn’t want to damage his career, he will usually fall back into line and shut his mouth. Basically if you step out, they form an angry mob and attack you until you roll over and apologize for something that shouldn’t be apologized for. Once you’re apologizing for your principles, they own you. They really don’t know what to do about people like me.
This squashing worked for them for years, which helped establish this vision that genre fic, much like Hollywood and the rest of media, was monolithically left. In reality people like me sell a ton of books. SJWs became a powerful voting block for the Hugo’s and pushed their favorite topic of the day as the best works. Many regular readers became turned off or annoyed. Genre fiction fans are as diverse as the rest of the country. As time has gone on, more and more of us creators have gotten pissed off and started being open about our beliefs. I sold machineguns and did gun rights lobbying before I got my first book published, so being in the closet about my politics was never an option for me.
My first realization about how messed up this system was dates back to when I was first starting out. One of the smaller voting blocks at WorldCon is made up of Baen fans. They got me a nomination for the Campbell award for best new author. I was brand new, hardly anybody except for them had heard of me. No problem… Except then people looked to see who these new guys were, and they discovered that I was a Mormon, who owned a gun store, and who’d done gun rights lobbying for the Republican party, and had been running a gun nut political blog for years… Whoops. The SJWs had a complete come apart and began warning each other what a terrible, awful, horrible, bad person I was. (most of them were downright gleeful to proclaim they would never read any books from someone so despicable). A reviewer declared that Larry Correia winning the Campbell would “end literature forever”. They hadn’t read my book. The funny thing is that I was actually much more polite to my detractors on the internet back then. Within 24 hours of the announcement I knew that I would be dead last. People who believed this stuff physically avoided me at WorldCon because they’d been told how I was unsafe.
But there is no bias.
After that I got back to the business of writing books. I’ve published ten more since then. I probably would have been content to ignore awards and just keep on cashing my royalty checks, but the SJWs had to just keep on annoying me, by mocking and insulting me and my friends. A writer can only be told they’re not a *real* writer (because of their badthink) so many times before we say screw it and hoist the black flag. If you’re curious how come my fans ponied up perfectly good money to get involved, it is because they’ve been watching this transpire in the comments here, on my FB page, and on Twitter for several years. They felt invested.
This SJW angry mob inquisition has been a gradual and relatively recent development in our culture, mostly as a result of the anonymous and instant internet. It isn’t just for writers, but the demand for a rigid conformity which is expected from the entire entertainment industry. There are many on the left who cannot tolerate opposing viewpoints or philosophies, so when they arise, they must be stomped down. Any deviation from conformity is met with immediate outrage. They have been doing it to people on my side for so long that it is simply expected by us. We are used to it.
However, it comes as a shock to reasonable people on the left when so emboldened the SJWs begin to do the same thing to people on their own side. Stephen Colbert says something they don’t like. Outrage. Patton Oswalt simply agrees with someone on my side. Outrage. Jonathan Ross might say something in the future. Outrage. Patrick Rothfuss says maybe fandom shouldn’t be so quick to outrage. Outrage. Wil Wheaton simply retweets Rothfuss. Outrage. So on and so forth. It doesn’t even matter that all of these people are staunch allies of the outrage crowd, the mob has been programmed to attack, so they do.
Responding to the insults: I wasn’t joking about Google searching my name and reading the comments. Holy moly, it really is enlightening what we’re dealing with here.
First off, I know it doesn’t matter what I say here, because we’ve already seen hundreds of time that they’ll ignore my actual words and just make up new ones for me.
The thing is everybody who knows me knows that I’m actually a nice guy and all that stuff is a bunch of crap. Yes, I am extremely rude to people who attack me on the internet. It saves us all time that way. Six years of this has worn away my thin veneer of civility. Don’t show up, call me a racist teabagger, and then expect reasoned discourse. We all know where we are going to end up eventually, so why not skip all that passive aggressive foreplay and get down to where we’re going to end up anyway, with you making up stuff, and me kicking your ass.
Many of my writer friends who’ve had the option of keeping their heads down and their beliefs secret think that I’m crazy to be so public. I have a response ready for them, I usually pick out whatever topic it is that I know they personally feel very strongly about, but which goes against the accepted group think of the Social Justice Warriors and ask them to go write a blog post sharing their honest beliefs, and then see what happens. Of course, none of them ever take me up on it, because they know that the caring and tolerant crowd would immediately and blindly lash out.
The funny thing about the misogyny, racism, and homophobic allegations, is that I was a self-defense instructor for the better part of a decade and certified literally thousands of people to carry concealed firearms. I taught women, minorities, homosexuals, didn’t matter, often on my own dime, all because I think people who would try to drag anyone to death behind a pickup truck will have a difficult time doing so after they have a pair of hollow points placed into their chest cavity at high speed. Unlike the SJWs, I don’t just pay lip service to empowerment.
Since I’m a prolific political blogger, with thousands of posts to pick through, you’d think these people would have some actual example of where I’d been racist, homophobic, or misogynist, but they don’t. Go figure. In reality, all of us right wingers simply know that the outrage crowd attacking us is so boringly predictable that we have a checklist ready to go for them: http://monsterhunternation.com/2013/09/20/the-internet-arguing-checklist/
Politically, I’m more of a libertarian than anything. Of all the things I’ve been called over the last few days, the most hurtful thing said was that I was a NeoCon who believed in big government welfare (that’s a bit more offensive than the woman who insinuated I’m a wife beater). If they’re looking for homophobia on my blog, they’re always sad when they discover that I’m not against gay marriage, mostly because I’m far more frightened of the overreaching federal government telling people what to do than I am of gay cooties. The angry privileged white man bit is kind of funny since legally I’m not white and I grew up in a poor immigrant community. But facts should never get in the way of a good narrative.
It is kind of sad that some republicans getting nominated is far more controversial than actual communists and socialists winning. Last time I looked those particular philosophies had killed over a hundred million people over the last hundred years, but there’s absolutely no bias in the awards…
Allegations of fraud: I also had another goal, which I never shared publically during my campaigning. I had heard many allegations of fraud in the nomination process from other authors. Tossed votes, far lower than expected counts, that sort of thing. I am a full time author now, but I am a retired auditor. I love looking for fraud. I do spreadsheets and statistical analysis for fun. So I wanted to see if votes were being tossed. When Sad Puppies 1 launched I kept track of who said they were voting, kept a tally, and then kept their emails so if necessary I could ask for their registration receipts. My suggested slate in other categories would help provide check figures in the smaller categories. (But for the record, everything I suggested was something that I read, enjoyed, and thought was of superior quality and deserving of an award).
The final numbers for last year were within the expected deviation. No red flags. LonCon has struck me as perfectly honest in my dealings with them. So I’m happy to say that I see no evidence of dishonesty in the nominating process. That is excellent.
So me being accused of making up fake voters is kind of funny since you can go through my blog and Facebook comments and see all the real live genre fiction fans I’ve been collecting.
Applying a little critical thinking to this (something Social Justice Warriors struggle with) I’m a popular author. I have more daily blog readers than the total attendance of WorldCon. And not only that, my fans aren’t casual, they are hardcore. I just did a Kickstarter and sold over a hundred thousand dollars worth of merchandise related to one of my book series. (still waiting on those last 70 coins, dang it, stupid broken molds!). That’s not a typo, over $100,000 of merchandise on one project in a month… My last Kickstarter before that did $85,000. So what’s more likely, my fans are hard core and have enough disposal income to drop $40 to make a point to an annoying group of people who despises my fans, or that I spent thousands of dollars of my own money to make up imaginary relatives?
Please, keep in mind, my fan base is the same group that routinely is able to sway the entire ranking system of the biggest online book retailer in the world. Once a month, I pick a book, Book Bomb it, and my fans move it onto the Amazon bestseller lists. I’d say that the evidence suggests that A. I’ve got fans. B. They like books. C. Many of them have money.
I find it fascinating that many people on the left end of the spectrum actually believe that their beliefs are the norm among genre fiction readers. They’ve created an echo chamber to validate each other. They’ve taken over SFWA and dominate the conversation there. They’re right and good and any who disagree are evil and bad. They formed a powerful voting block in the most prestigious awards and once a year they could reinforce just how brilliant and important they are by nominating their friends to the various categories. In the last Sad Puppies post’s comments my fans collected a whole bunch of the SJW’s tweets demonstrating this mindset, where conservatives are these anti-science flyover country barbarians who are dying off… Yet, they’re totally oblivious to the fact that guys like me sell a lot of books because there is a big market out there who is tired of being preached at about the SJW cause of the day, and just wants to enjoy their fiction again. They can’t wrap their brains around the fact that people like me are more popular than they are out in the world.
Storytellers win where it counts, BOOK SALES. The SJW contingent wins awards. If the barbarians start taking awards from them they’ll have nothing left.
No wonder they are so angry.
EDIT: I must add the best new bit of character assassination… Larry Correia’s Sad Puppies was where he threatened to kill puppies if his fans didn’t vote. :D
The Controversial Slate: For the record, I’m only the second most hated man who got a nomination. The most despised is Vox Day by far, however, I’m the one who suggested him to my fans who were participating in Sad Puppies 2. So if he’s their devil, I’m the antichrist.
Let’s back up. The reason Vox is so hated is that he is the only person ever kicked out of SFWA. He makes me look cuddly and diplomatic. He was expelled from SFWA because the powers that be decided he was a racist, in fact, it was so obvious that he was racist that it only took a thirty page thesis explaining how stuff he said was actually racist, including the leadership of SFWA searching through the vile cesspool that is Stormfront until they found some nazi skin head who used similar words, and then holding him accountable for things that posters said in his blog comments (us right wing bloggers don’t believe in censorship so we don’t “manage” or “massage” our comments like they do) then they kicked him out for misusing their Twitter account.
Basically, he called Nora Jesmin an “ignorant half-savage” and that pissed everybody off. See, Nora, is a beloved libprog activist and Social Justice Warrior, and all the reports of her victimization at the hands of the villainous Vox usually leave out the parts where she’d been hurling personal insults at him for years. Myself? I thought that comment might be a bit over the line, but then again, Google search my name and see what the SJW’s have been calling me for the last few days. It is way worse that ignorant or savage, and I think I’m darker skinned than K. Tempest Bradford. I’ve yet to see any SJWs condemning those comments about me. Tolerance is a one way street with them.
I didn’t really know the guy that well before he started pissing so many people off, but having been character assassinated myself, I’ve learned never to take the internet’s word about somebody’s character. Having actually talked with, and then gotten into long arguments and debates with Vox, he is a contrarian, can be a jerk is extremely opinionated, but I honestly don’t think he’s a racist (He’s also not a white guy, but most of the people attacking him don’t know that). We’ve had some long, heated debates on different subjects now, but since I’m not a panty twisted liberal, I can handle differing beliefs.
We disagree about a lot. I disagree with him on some fundamental philosophy. His “rabid hateful” views on homosexuality match about a third of America, most staunch Catholics, and he’s far more moderate on the issue than any devout Muslim or average European villager. So I disagree with him, but he’s not the out there whackadoo his detractors make him out to be, but then again, these same people say I want to drag gays to death behind my truck, so take the hate with a grain of salt. He thinks I’m nuts on several topics, but the dude is smart, and he can write. As for the people saying he “bought” the awards… Holy moly, you’ve got no idea what his day job is. If the man wanted to simply buy votes, he’d be up for everything from Best Novel to Motor Trend Car of the Year.
So when I was putting together my slate and looking for ideas, I remembered his novelette that I read earlier that year. I was surprised by how good it was. I found it to be a really good story (it is actually about love and friendship, with a moral philosophy based on Thomas Aquinas, so not really what you’d expect from such a supposed hatemonger of hatey-hate). I plugged it to my fans earlier this year, which meant that a lot of them had read it as well. To be fair, it was only my second favorite work I read of that size this year, but that’s a tough one because I believe that Brad Torgersen is the best new sci-fi writer around. So I threw them both on the slate.
Yes, I will totally admit that I knew this would spur additional outrage. And oh, how I was proven right. His existence offends them. They aren’t going to read his work. They’re proud to admit it. In the spirit of the awards, a certain Tor editor—who has no problem marching with communists—is pushing for everyone to automatically vote No Award over Vox. Stay classy, noble Social Justice Warrior, but once again, there’s no bias.
The thing is, even if what these people say about Vox is true,(and I personally think it is as grossly exaggerated as anything else these people decide to attack) what they’re declaring is that assholes can’t make good art… Well, the entire history of art would like to disagree with you. Truly brilliant works of art have been created by people who are bat shit crazy. So now that it is nominated, how about you goose stepping morons try reading books instead of burning them?
The SJW contingent isn’t just outraged that these vile hatemongers are on there, but since I’m popular and I riled up a whole bunch of normally uninvolved fans, most of the stuff I suggested also wound up on there too. My other nomination for best novel was for Sarah Hoyt’s (a Latino immigrant woman) story with a gay male as its main PoV character and hero… It checks all their boxes! Oh, but wait… Sarah’s a libertarian and I only nominated A Few Good Men because it was a really good book and not for social justice. Only not as many of my fans had read that one yet, so it didn’t make the list. So much for that monolithic group think thing we’re supposed to have going on over here.
Normally, media tie in fiction, as in books relating to games, movies, etc. is considered contemptible by the WorldCon voters. Tie in writers are looked down on and sneered at by the literati. You’ve got writers who’ve written hundreds of books, like Anderson, Stackpole, or Zahn, with some of them being brilliant, but it would be a cold day in hell before some media tie in fiction got any respect at WorldCon. In any normal year a work of tie in fiction getting a nomination would be extremely controversial. This year it doesn’t even make a blip on the radar.
Peter David writes Star Trek novels, comic books, and other things. I saw a post from him lamenting how sad it was that a racist got on the ballot but tie in fiction can’t… Little did he realize that my slate pushed the excellent Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells, which is Warmachine tie in fiction, and got it a nomination for Best Novella. As far as I’m aware, in the history of the Hugos this has never happened before… So you’re welcome, Peter. My “wrong kind of fans” broke new ground for you on the very same slate.
It has made me sad to see Dan Wells getting caught up in their hate. Dan is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and he’s a political moderate. I nominated Butcher because it is excellent. It is a story about a homicidal maniac that made me tear up at the end. And now the same people who despise me without having ever read my fiction are conspiring against this brilliant, creative, artist simply for the crime of being recommended by a bad person like me.
But there’s no bias…
I thought it was interesting that the Fanzine category, which is normally dominated by the same handful of groups year after year, taking turns giving each other the Hugo, is actually totally shaken up this year with new nominees… Because last year I demonstrated what happened when a creator simply asked their fans to get involved, so people did. And those little categories can be swayed by a couple dozen votes. Of course, those old Fanzines with their closets full of Hugos simply love me now. :)
Toni Weisskopf is one of the most successful and prolific editors in publishing. She’s edited some of the most successful authors in genre fiction, discovered tons of new talent, and runs one of the biggest sci-fi publishing houses in the country… Everybody in the industry knows Toni. The woman is brilliant. Yet did you know that she’d never gotten a Hugo nomination until I launched Sad Puppies? Back during Sad Puppies, some Fanzine (that had like 30 Hugo nominations) was offended by the uncouth barbarity of me asking my people (the wrong kind of fans) to get involved, but even they had to admit that Toni Weisskopf deserved a Hugo.
Meanwhile, the Tor editor who is cool with his followers organizing to vote No Award against the barbaric interlopers? Ten nominations. But there is absolutely no bias in the awards.
I actually got Marko Kloos nominated for the Campbell as well, but it turned out he had his first pro sale in 2011 so he was ineligible. I nominated him because Terms of Enlistment was a really good debut novel. So of my slate, I only missed a single category.
And as they scream and rail against me, this is what my fans accomplished while mildly amused and a little annoyed. Keep attacking us with crazy accusations and maybe I’ll do this again next year, only with more manatees.
Actually reading the books. Crazy idea, I know. The people warning others not to read the nominated works because of badthink. Good. They’re simply demonstrating that they are the small minded, bigoted, control freak, censorship loving, statists I accused them of being.
Now for everybody else who isn’t a jerk, I would encourage you to read the works for yourself and rank them accordingly.
Brandon Sanderson posted about this. Most of the WorldCon voters really want the Hugo to be about quality and art more than politics, and they take their voting very seriously. I agree with him. His fans are being attacked in some quarters as well because they are outsiders. I thought his response to this was very well reasoned. Brandon is a class act. I look forward to his inevitable mud stomping of me and the other competitors.
I actually had a Stross novel on my nightstand to be read when the announcements were made. I’ve read Mira Grant and think she’s a solid writer. I’d encourage anybody who signed up because of Sad Puppies to read and vote based upon the quality of the work.
Tor owes me. Now, in any normal year, the entire fourteen book series of the Wheel of Time, written over 26 years, by two different authors being nominated as “best novel” would be by far the most controversial thing about the Hugos. Instead most of the outragers are spending their energy praying Vox gets cancer.
You are welcome, Tor. Now please go down to Tor.com and tell some of your idiot bloggers to at least try and get their facts straight before they make shit up about me. And to that one junior editor who supposedly could only make it through the first 20 pages of Hard Magic, part of being an editor is finding sellable talent, and I’ve sold the hell out of this series in multiple countries now, so you must really suck at your job.
The rules allow WoT to be considered a novel, so it is there. I’d ask readers to judge the works accordingly. If you love the WoT, vote for it. But please, actually read some of it and don’t vote for it simply because Rand was awesome when you were in middle school. It is bad enough to be outnumbered 27 pages to one, but none of us can compete with 12 year old you’s nostalgia.
That said, my money is on Brandon. :)
The Actual Awards. To the morons who keep talking about how they wouldn’t “feel safe” if I attended WorldCon, you may untwist your panties. I’m not going. That’s the same weekend as GenCon, which is actually fun (and has an excellent writing track by the way). If I’m going to go all the way to England, it is going to be to play tourist around a beautiful country, not sit around being lectured on the dangers of cismale gendernormative fascism and neocolonial patriarchy.
And seriously, when you “feel unsafe” in real life you usually end up calling somebody like my average fan to come save you, so quit the drama queen act. It is annoying as hell.
I don’t expect to win anything, and don’t really care. I got my trophy as soon as the Social Justice Warrior contingent demonstrated to the world that they’re a bunch of hypocritical little fascists.
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