Monster Hunter Nation

Fisking the Guardian’s Latest Sad Puppy Article of the Week

I wasn’t going to bother fisking the latest Article of the Week about the evils of the Sad Puppies campaign, but I figured what the hell, it’s Friday.

And when I say Article of the Week, I’m not really exaggerating. Apparently the Guardian is all worked up about Sad Puppies. A cursory Google search shows this is what the Guardian has run recently, and let me save you some time, it appears all of them run with the same racist/sexist/homophobic angry white cismale backlash narrative that’s been easily debunked since Entertainment Weekly beclowned themselves on day one.

April 6th, Are the Hugo nominees really the best sci-fi books of the year?

April 9th, George RR Martin says rightwing lobby has broken Hugo awards

April 17th, Hugo award nominees withdraw amid “Puppygate” storm

April 18th, The Hugo awards hijack is nasty and dishonest

July 20th, George RR Martin urges every true fan to rally for Hugo awards vote

July 24th, The Hugo Awards will be losers if politics take the prize.

July 27th, NK Jemisin interview (and how Sad Puppies are racist sexists blah blah blah)

Those are just the recent ones. Three years ago I set out to demonstrate that there was a left wing bias in publishing.  Immediately the Guardian did their best to prove me right. Not once in three years have they spoken to anybody on my side.

And now for today’s stupid article:

As usual, the original article is in italics and my responses are in bold.

The Puppies are taking science fiction’s Hugo awards back in time

That’s a really dumb title. He’s trying to say we’re dragging it back to the days when democrats were still lynching people, but it actually reads more like we’re saving the Hugos just in the nick of time (now we’re talking!). 

Rightwing infiltrators unhappy at the liberal direction of modern science fiction have gamed the polling for the Hugo awards with a hateful online campaign. If they win, sci-fi loses

Funny. The only hateful online campaign I saw was the libelous smear campaign the Guardian participated in

By Adam Roberts

Never heard of the guy. Most of the Guardian’s weak ass nonsense about us usually comes from the Guardian’s Village Idiot and wannabe fiction writer, Damien Walter. But a bunch of folks sent me screen caps of Adam’s Twitter posts this morning, where he’s calling us Nazis. So you know, the usual level of professional unbiased competence we’ve come to expect from the Guardian.

The clock is ticking for the public vote in this year’s Hugo awards, which celebrate excellence in science fiction. Sixteen categories are up for grabs, from best novel to short fiction, fan writing, art and dramatic presentation, and the deadline is 31 July. But this year the prizes are not just about celebrating science-fiction – it’s political war.

It has been political war for decades. Only this time the opposition actually bothered to show up.

There’s usually a kerfuffle of one kind or another – popular authors habitually campaign for fans to vote them on to the list,

I think it is hilarious how the narrative has changed. Three years ago I said the awards were just a popularity contest with a bunch of campaigning between friends and like-minded cliques, where the author’s politics were more important than the quality of the work, and that was all sorts of outrageous. How dare I question the sanctity of the sainted Hugo process which represents the best of all fandom? How dare I openly campaign to get things nominated? How uncouth! How barbaric! But then GRRM killed that narrative when he said there’d always been campaigning. Whoops. He was also the first VIP on the other side to come out and say that the Hugos were just for one small group of people, and not all fans… Which is kind of what got me started on all this to begin with.

but 2015 has proved the biggest drama the award has ever seen. That’s because two linked online campaign groups, known as the “Sad Puppies” and their more politically extreme running mates, the “Rabid Puppies”, have been campaigning hard to register supporters and bump their preferred titles on to the shortlists.

I’m amazed that this article actually pointed out that they are two separate campaigns with different motivations. Getting something right for once, that’s like an achievement unlocked for the Guardian.  

They have managed it, too: this year’s Hugos are packed with Puppies titles.

And we couldn’t have done it without all of you guys’ self-righteous gloating last time. Thanks. Seriously, Damien Walter was probably one of our best recruiting tools. And with Damien, special emphasis goes on the word tool.  

There’s no avoiding the politically partisan nature of this campaign.

Well yeah, considering that it all started because I wanted to demonstrate that there was political bias in the system, duh… Sadly for you guys, we had real success when Brad took over and pushed a group of politically diverse nominees this year.

Its leading lights range from respectable rightwingers such as US authors Larry Correia

Ha! The Guardian says I’m respectable. It must be crazy upside down day! Normally Damien just fabricates scare quotes to make me sound scared of gay people.

and Brad Torgerson,

Okay, seriously. My last name has double Rs and four vowels and you can manage to spell it correctly, but none of you can spell TorgersEn?

through to those with more outlandish views such as John C Wright 

By “outlandish” you mean John is a devout Catholic who actually believes Catholic doctrine and doesn’t get all mushy and apologetic about it.  

and Vox Day (also known as Theodore Beale).

Who is probably disappointed you only called him outlandish.

It’s the Tea Party of contemporary US sci-fi.

Yes, because if anybody understands American conservative political movements, it is the UK’s socialist rag.

The Puppies are complaining that recent Hugo winners have been too highbrow,

Is highbrow a synonym for boring and preachy?

Curious, I searched my blog for the use of the word “highbrow”. It occurs once, in an unrelated post where a New York Times reporter uses it in an idiotic article pontificating on why Mormons haven’t produced another Shakespeare (hint, nobody has or will, because he’s Shakespeare).

and argue that winners such as Anne Leckie’s smart gender-deconstruction of space opera Ancillary Justice, or John Scalzi’s witty Star-Trek-inspired metafiction Redshirts are too experimental and literary.

The fact that instead of words like good, fun, memorable, inspiring, exciting, or imaginative you need to use terms like “gender-deconstruction” or “metafiction” to describe them might be an indicator that you’re the one out of touch with what people actually like to read.

Sure, I’ve made fun of literary, as in the sense that some books try too damned hard to be GREAT LITERACHOOR. Sad Puppies supporters are more likely to be regular readers than college English Lit guest lecturers, but I don’t know why that’s such a terrifying thing to contemplate for something that is supposed to be a fan based award.  

More importantly, as Sarah Lotz says, they’re also suggesting SF has been hijacked by a conspiracy of “social justice warriors” or “SJWs”, intent on filling the genre with progressive ideological propaganda.

You guys really don’t need to keep putting Social Justice Warriors into quotes. Everybody knows the kind of folks we’re talking about. It’s mainstream. Eli Roth is making a movie where annoying SJWs get eaten by cannibals.

The Puppies’ real beef is that SF, and society as a whole, has become too feminist, too multiracial, too hospitable to gay and trans voices.

I do like how you just boldly state that’s our “real beef” despite the complete lack of evidence. I started this thing to expose left wing political bias. Brad continued it to get deserving authors (regardless of their politics) on there who weren’t part of the cliques. Yet you lazy bastards always go right back to your tired old racist/sexist/homophobic narrative. 

Did you miss the part where your newspaper’s Village Idiot already crowd sourced a witch hunt to find evidence of my supposed hatemongery, and despite being a prolific political blogger for a decade they came up with nothing? Considering how we had no problem nominating people of various races, sexes, and orientations on our slate, if our secret goal is trying to keep sci-fi white and male, we must really suck at it.

Anti-SJW rhetoric, most of it proceeding from angry straight white men, has flooded online discussions.

I do like how you slip in the “most” there, totally ignoring all of the non-white/straight males who are sick of the shrieking harpies of tolerance too. Anybody with a few functioning brain cells to rub together is sick of the bitter scolds and their perpetual culture war. Whether they’re screaming at a scientist for wearing a sexist shirt, or screaming for another scientist’s job because they erroneously thought he told a sexist joke, or getting people fired for donating to the wrong political campaign, or barking at wrongfans for having wrongfun, everybody is tired of you assholes making every disagreement about sexism/racism/homophobia.

Kind of like you’re doing right here.

It’s been ugly. It’s also proving self-defeating.

Year 1, a couple of nominations. You guys flip out. More fans notice.

Year 2, several nominations. You guys have a total come apart. More fans notice.

Year 3, a sweep of the nominations. You guys run organized slander campaigns while calling every fan who thinks the awards are biased, Nazis.  

Wow, yeah. That’s brilliant. Keep up the good work.

George RR Martin’s intervention, urging people to register and vote in order to defeat the plans of people he call “assholes”, has galvanised the counter-vote.

The more people involved, the better. My side isn’t the one trying to keep out any fans because they have fun wrong. I want as many fans involved as possible, because then a couple tiny little cliques can’t dominate the whole thing. The fact is the Hugo voting pool had gotten so apathetic that twenty votes could swing whole categories. No matter what happens, we’ve changed that dynamic.

We won’t find out the winners until this year’s Worldcon on 17 August, but it looks as though enough people will vote for “none of the above” over the Puppies titles, and syphon support in the direction of the non-Puppies nominees.

Don’t worry, I’m sure however it turns out you will move the goalposts so you can gloat about it and declare total victory, sort of like you guys did the last couple of years. That’s been working great for us.

What the Puppies have done is within the rules of the awards, and key figures in the movement have already declared their intention to repeat the process next year.

Yep. Kate Paulk is running it next year. I wasn’t even supposed to be involved this year until Brad dragged me back in. Arguing with an internet full of morons for months cuts into my paying writing time.

But this is larger than one set of awards. It is about the direction of science-fiction as a whole, and it poses larger cultural questions.

Note how pretentious the Guardian is about all of this. In the next few paragraphs they are going to go out of their way to demonstrate how they’ll never be content until their snooty, preachy, bossy nonsense drives off everyone who just wants to read books for the sake of reading.  You can’t read for fun, you must read for SOCIAL JUSTICE. And then publishers are bewildered as fans buy fewer books and our genre shrinks, as those same consumers spend record billions on sci-fi movies and videogames. 

The truth is that this year’s Hugo awards are wrecked.

The Guardian hasn’t been this upset since Hugo Chavez died.

Can you imagine anyone saying that of the Pulitzer, Man Booker, or Nobel?

Imagine? You mean like if they gave the Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore for “weather”, Jimmy Carter for “Jews are mean”, Barack Obama for “getting elected”, and Yassir Arafat for “not killing anyone lately”?  Yeah, I can’t possibly imagine how various prestigious awards could start to suck when they become dominated by politics. 

Yet here we are, and if the Puppies succeed in gaming the awards again in 2016 we may as well give up on the Hugos forever.

By “gaming” I assume you mean by fans buying memberships and voting? Getting people to vote in a popularity contest… What a dastardly plot!

Now personally, when I think of “gaming the awards” I think of things like elaborate schemes to tweak the rules to keep the wrongfans out, like the various complicated systems proposed by you guys over the last few months, but those totally doesn’t count.

This is what is so frustrating about the Puppies’ campaign. Not that it has resulted in a bunch of frankly inferior works being shortlisted – although it has.

Sure, that Jim Butcher guy may be one of the most popular and successful authors on the planet, but he doesn’t write proper progressive post-colonial metafiction! However, considering you guys seem to think Damien Walter is employable as a writer, I’ll just have to take your opinion with a grain of salt.

And not that it values old-fashioned SF over more experimental, literary and progressive writing –

But what about fun? Memorable? Exciting? Thought provoking? Enjoyable? Adventurous? Compelling?

Nope. Experimental. Literary. PROGRESSIVE.

And still, the Guardian and the CHORFs can’t figure out what actually motivates the Sad Puppies supporters.  

that’s a matter of taste.

Fiction is a matter of taste. Unless you disagree with the approved taste, because then it can only be because you are a racist, sexist, hatemonger neo-nazi who doesn’t want women and minorities in publishing. 

What is so annoying is that it so ostentatiously turns its back on the global context out of which the best writing is happening today.

Huh? That kind of word salad nonsense may have gotten you an A on your Gender Studies thesis, but you’re writing for an (alleged) newspaper now. Tighten that shit up, dude.

As Damien Walter argues,

There’s our favorite reporter! You know it is going to get really stupid when they’re going to the Guardian’s Village Idiot for quotes.

science fiction is currently in a golden age,

Except for that part where mainstream publishing’s sales are tanking.

“fuelled in large part by the genre’s growing diversity – to be a truly global art, it must be made by a globally diverse roster of creators”.

Just not diversity of thought, because that’s bad. Last year’s winners were like a dozen white liberals and one Asian liberal and they hailed that as a huge win for diversity. I saw a thing somewhere, can’t remember the link but somebody went through the last 20 years of the Hugo awards and of the 266 winners, 19 went to conservatives. I don’t know if those numbers are accurate, but that’s probably close.

Now the Guardian will just say that’s because conservatives are just stupid poopy heads who don’t write proper literary experimental progressive metafiction or whatever pseudo-intellectual wanker terms they’re calling it today, but half of America is like, well no wonder that award winning stuff seemed so obnoxious.

So the Guardian’s snob clique would have us believe that a fan popularity award, that’s supposed to be decided by fans, and voted on by fans, is ruined if fans vote for what fans actually purchase, enjoy, and read… And that instead the award needs to keep going to edgy progressive socially conscious LITRACHEWER that ranks somewhere in the top five million and has two and a half stars on Amazon.

Opening the genre to writers from outside the US and UK, making welcome a greater diversity of voices, has broadened and strengthened science fiction.

Except that the Hugo is an ENGLISH LANGUAGE AWARD, you pretentious dolt. The ENGLISH TRANSLATION of the Chinese novel Three Body Problem is up for best novel right now. (It ended up 3rd on my personal ballot. I believe the Villainous Vox Whom the Guardian Hates Above All put it 1st on his).

The Guardian should be careful what they wish for though. I’ve been up for best novel in France. :D

Conversely, narrowing that pool of talent would only weaken it.

But the Guardian thinks narrowing the WorldCon voting pool is super awesome.

Compare the Man Booker prize, the longlist of which has just been announced. For its first decade, the Booker (as it then was) threw up some pretty insular, white, middle-class dominated shortlists.

Why is it that the only people who care about an author’s race are the ones who keep accusing everybody else of being motivated by race?

Then, following the win for Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children in 1981, the prize opened up: through the 1980s and 1990s and into the present century it regularly rewarded post-colonial writing and other international experiences, and the slates of shortlisted titles were richer and more enduring as a result.

So enduring that most people have never heard of any of them. Oh, wait. Skimming the list, there’s the one they made into that movie with the tiger.

The prize woke up to the reality of global literature. The Hugos are decades behind in that regard, and the Puppies want to drag it back further.

Nope. We don’t care if the book was written in China, India, or on the moon. We care if it is good or not. 

Considering that the Hugo awards hadn’t even ever nominated a single work of media tie in fiction until Sad Puppies came along, I don’t know where the hell you’re getting this idea that the insular little inbred cliques were combing the whole world for worthy new talent before. Hell, I believe the first ever INDY PUBLISHED novel nomination came from Sad Puppies, and you expect that little cliquish circle jerk of friends who’ve been taking turns giving each other awards, to suddenly teach themselves Spanish in order to check out the best sci-fi from Uruguay? 

This whole train of thought is just a stupid diversion. The Guardian is just being its normal snooty self. Look at us, we read MOAR GLOBALLY (no, actually, they probably don’t. From inaccuracies in previous articles about various classics we’re already pretty sure Damien skates by reading Wikipedia synopsis of books and then pretending to be well read). 

Science fiction, if it is about anything, is about hospitality to otherness,

Just not conservatives or libertarians, because screw those guys.

 to the alien and the unusual, about freeing one’s mind and boldly going where no one has been before. It is, centrally, about diversity. Locking out women writers, writers of colour, gay and trans writers does a violence to the heart of the genre.

That concluding paragraph is just regurgitated tripe.  We’re not the ones trying to lock out anyone. Female, “writers of colour” (oh how I hate that stupid racist term), gay, trans, left handed ginger pygmy wolf-riding garden squirrels, WE DON’T CARE. Write books. Entertain people. Fans get to judge books by the content of their pages rather than the author’s bio. Then give the really good ones awards.

This isn’t exactly rocket science, not that you jackasses didn’t literally try to make actual fucking rocket science all about sexism too.

If the Puppies win, nobody wins.

No. The Puppies would win. That’s sort of what the word win means, dumbass. :)

Sad Puppies maligned in the Guardian and New Yorker. It must be the voting deadline week!

I’m not going to bother to link to click bait. (seriously, googled my name for the last 24 hours to find the New Yorker article I’d been told about, and it barely made the first page, which is a pretty good indicator of how popular the New Yorker actually is)

It is more of the same old tired narrative. The Guardian interviewed N.K. Jemisin, where of course the Sad Puppies campaign was all about white men motivated by their white maleness. And the New Yorker interviewed Samuel Delany, where somehow they can interview an actual NAMBLA supporter and yet the most controversial thing talked about is me and Sad Puppies.

Since I’m really busy, here is the entirety of my Fisking of the pertinent bits, the New Yorker is in italics, and my super in depth response is in bold.

On the phone recently, I suggested to Delany that Asimov’s poor attempt at humor—which, whatever its intent, also served as a reminder, as Delany notes in “Racism and Science Fiction,” that his racial identity would forever be in the minds of his white peers, no matter the occasion—foreshadowed a more recent controversy, centered on a different set of sci-fi awards. In January, 2013, the novelist Larry Correia explained on his Web site how fans, by joining the World Science Fiction Society, could help nominate him for a Hugo Award, something that would, he wrote, “make literati snob’s [sic] heads explode.” Correia contrasted the “unabashed pulp action” of his books with “heavy handed message fic about the dangers of fracking and global warming and dying polar bears.” In a follow-up post, citing an old SPCA commercial about animal abuse, he used the tag “Sad Puppies”; what he later called “the Sad Puppies Hugo stacking campaign” has grown to become a real force in deciding who gets nominated for the Hugo Awards. The ensuing controversy has been described, by Jeet Heer in the New Republic, as “a cultural war over diversity,” since the Sad Puppies, in their pushback against perceived liberals and experimental writers, seem to favor the work of white men.


Diversity my ass. Last years winners were like a dozen white liberals and one Asian liberal and they hailed that as a huge win for diversity. 


Delany said he was dismayed by all this, but not surprised. “The context changes,” he told me, “but the rhetoric remains the same.”


Well, that’s a stupid conclusion. 


In the contemporary science-fiction scene, Delany’s race and sexuality do not set him apart as starkly as they once did. I suggested to him that it was particularly disappointing to see the kind of division represented by the Sad Puppies movement within a culture where marginalized people have often found acceptance. Delany countered that the current Hugo debacle has nothing to do with science fiction at all. “It’s socio-economic,” he said. In 1967, as the only black writer among the Nebula nominees, he didn’t represent the same kind of threat. But Delany believes that, as women and people of color start to have “economic heft,” there is a fear that what is “normal” will cease to enjoy the same position of power. “There are a lot of black women writers, and some of them are gay, and they are writing about their own historical moment, and the result is that white male writers find themselves wondering if this is a reverse kind of racism. But when it gets to fifty per cent,” he said, then “we can talk about that.” It has nothing to do with science fiction, he reiterated. “It has to do with the rest of society where science fiction exists.”


Really, nobody cares.

SJWs are the only people who seem to care what color an author is. Everybody else just wants to be entertained rather than beaten over the head with the cause of the day. If our secret goal was to keep publishing white and male we sure sucked at it.

Great. Micro Fisking complete. Sure, the Sad Puppy related parts of these are filled with nonsense and I could do a whole giant Fisk, but I’m tired of repeating myself. Now I’ve got to get back to work, because “economic heft” has nothing to do with winning snooty awards, and everything to do with producing work that people want to give you money for.


Forgive the lack of organized blogging, but I’ve got a ton of stuff going on.  This is going to be brief, because I really do have a ton of work to do, and yesterday instead of working I took the kids shooting. Yesterday we worked on pistols, I taught them the difference between double taps and controlled pairs, and introduced them to the speed rock. My kids are getting pretty damned good.
1. Don’t forget to vote for the Hugos. The deadline is looming. Only you can prevent Puppy Related Sadness.

2. Speaking of deadlines, Project Blue (not the actual name) is due at the end of August. Mike and I are working on that now. It is pretty awesome.

3. This week I’m drawing cartoons for yet another secret project. Yes, I know I’m a terrible cartoonist. That’s what makes it funny.

4. People keep asking, yes, there are more Monster Hunter novels coming. That’s the next book I’m working on after Project Blue is turned in.

5. And there is a John Ringo MHI spin-off series coming out.

6. And there is another MHI collaboration with me and another author.

7. And there is an MHI anthology coming in 2017.

8. Oh, but I forgot, I’ve got another secret project this summer. Crap! I volunteer for too much stuff. This one involves Tom Stranger.

9. I wrote another novel for Privateer Press and their Warmachine universe earlier this year. It is the sequel to Into the Storm. They are sending the continuity edits back to me. I really enjoy writing these. They’re a lot of fun.

10. GenCon is this week, but I can’t go this year. I’ve still got like 4 other cons to go to before three weeks of book tour.

11. I’m listening to Monster Hunter Nemesis on audiobook right now. It is awesome. Oliver Wyman is amazing.

12. On that note, I found out who the narrator is for Son of the Black Sword. I’ve not worked with this narrator before, but he’s done a lot of epic fantasy. I listened to some of his work yesterday. I think Audible found someone who will be a really good fit.

13. Speaking of SotBS, go preorder it.

14. Which reminds me, I need to write a blog post about how opening week stats help or hinder writers.

15. I put up more shelves in my office. They look nice.


Okay, nobody cared about that last one, but this is a stream of consciousness kind of update.

Now back to work!  These manatees will not draw themselves!

A good friend of mine is looking for work

Many of you on the Monster Hunter Nation know Jack Wylder (that’s not his real name by the way). He is a really good friend of mine, and for the last few years has been helping me with my merchandising and web stuff on the side. He is the one who took care of the Challenge Coin Kickstarter, designing the art, and processing all the orders. All the various shirts, hats, mugs, and assorted oddball fun things we’ve done on this blog, Jack was more than likely the one who actually put it together.

Jack’s real job was as the marketing director for a well-respected gun company. If you have read a gun magazine in the last decade, you’ve seen his work. What most people didn’t realize though was that he wasn’t the manager of a department, he was the entire marketing department by himself. He designed the ads, placed the ads, handled the advertising budget, did their website, handled their social media, even shot the photos, and basically did all the stuff that most folks in the gun business assumed was done by a team of people. Before that he was one of their sales guys (that’s how I met him), and before that he was quality control.

Jack was laid off. Everybody in the gun business knows his work, but it isn’t a huge industry, so there aren’t a lot of open positions for full time marketing people. He found another marketing job at a start-up gun company, but before he’d even started working they ran into some legal trouble and put everything on hold.

So Jack is currently unemployed and looking for work. The man has serious skills. I vouch for his character without hesitation. To give you an idea, when this blog started having technical problems when Jack offered to help, I said here are the keys to everything and my credit card, I trust you, have fun.

Jack lives in the Austin area. The man is Texan to the core, so it would have to be something pretty sweet to move, but I think marketing is one of those things where you can do it remotely too.

I don’t think he wanted me to post this. Jack is a proud guy, and not the type to ask his friends for favors. So that’s why I’m using his internet name instead of his real one and leaving the above description of his work history vague about who he worked for. If your company needs a marketing wizard, post in the comments below so I can put you in touch with him, and he can send you his resume.