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: http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2015/jul/31/the-puppies-are-taking-science-fictions-hugo-awards-back-in-time
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.
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.
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.
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. 😀
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. 🙂