Aw, the Guardian’s Village Idiot Remembered My Birthday!
At least I assume that’s why I showed up in the pages of the pathetic Brit newspaper/bird cage liner The Guardian again on Saturday. Either because it was my birthday–and Damien knows I love piñatas–or it might have been that poor stupid Damien Walter needed the uptick in traffic again. The only time his goofy little opinion pieces get any traffic are when I make fun of them.
Or it could be that last week I wrote an article about the sorry state of the US media, and the Guardian took that as a challenge.
For those of you not familiar with Ace Reporter Damien Walter, you are in luck. Just go up to this blog’s search engine and type in “Village Idiot”, and a whole bunch of fiskings of his goofy/snooty ramblings will pop up. Every time I say something about how modern sci-fi fandom has gone so PC that it has shoved its head up its own ass, and some person thinks I’m exaggerating the state of things, along comes another Damien column, and that person is like “Damn, son. It’s worse than you said.” Truly, Damien is the gift that keeps on giving.
Since the Guardian is falling apart financially and laying people off, I can only hope that Damien is able to cling to employment. Ha! Who am I kidding? I doubt the Guardian actually pays him! He should be safe.
I might not bother fisking the whole thing, because poor dimwitted Damien’s latest jackassery is even more pedantic and boring than usual. It’s another article where he pretends to have read books before reviewing them. I’ll just hit the highlights.
Here is an archived link to the original. http://archive.is/Ip4pw
Basically, Damien read some Wiki synopsis or the first few pages of various books, and then put on his Wannabe Literature Professor hat. Because those who can do, do. Those who can’t, teach. And those who can’t even do that take grant money from the British government to write a novel and then run off to Thailand to chase Lady-Boys.
Original is italics, my comments are in bold.
Hugo awards: reading the Sad Puppies’ pets
The rightwing lobby are gunning for books to win the sci-fi awards that match their ideological project. They really don’t care about writing well
By Damien “Never Had a Proper Male Role Model and Is Still Very Upset Someone Made Fun Of His Hair Cut In Middle School” Walter.
For the last few years, the Hugo awards for science fiction have been campaigned against by a group of writers and fans calling themselves the Sad Puppies – mostly male, very white, and overwhelmingly conservative.
In true Olympic spirit, Damien is off to a great start by cramming several lies into the opening line. It isn’t mostly male. In fact, it was run by three women this year. The Sad Puppies don’t care what color anybody is (ironically in the USA, I’m supposed to check the Latino box, which is annoying because I think checking any box is stupid). And last but not least, I’d say most of us are probably more libertarian than conservative.
Unhappy with sci-fi’s growing diversity, the Puppies have deliberately block-voted for certain titles to get them nominated for Hugos at the expense of a wider field.
Another lie. If by “diversity” Damien means the year I really got going on this topic the winners were 14 white liberals and 1 Asian liberal, and people like him hailed it as a “triumph of diversity”, sure. Run with that.
They say it is their goal to “poke the establishment in the eye” by nominating “unabashed pulp action that isn’t heavy-handed message fic”.
Yeah. I just couldn’t handle any more dying polar bears or robot rape.
I say it is to sponsor awful writers.
And Damien is an expert on awful writing.
The Puppies have two criteria for what they deem excellence: does it turn a buck? And has the author dared to say anything, ever, that they disagree with?
Nope and nope. Two more lies.
Never disagree with? SP1 and 2 was mostly me throwing some stuff together that I liked, and I nominated works by several people who I disagreed with politically. Damien conveniently forgets that part where one of my novella nominees was a liberal democrat, who was immediately set upon and attacked as a “racist neo-con” because I liked his story (Remember, back then the WorldCon crowd wouldn’t actually come out and admit the whole thing was political, which was the point I was trying to prove).
If you look at the SP3 nominees, they are clearly all over the board politically, philosophically, racially, sexually, or by any other metric you come up with. SP4’s suggested nominee list was put together out in the open, democratically, with input from anyone who wanted to participate. And to put a cherry on top of how obviously idiotic this accusation is, a few of those nominees “disagreed” with us by dropping out due to political pressure from Damien’s friends.
Scratch that. Damien’s side. Damien doesn’t actually have “friends”.
Making a buck? Well duh. It’s a FAN POPULARITY AWARD, moron. When books nobody ever actually buys are winning your fan award, that should be a warning you’ve got a problem.
This, paired with their conspiracy theories about some big sci-fi publishers, means that they tend to champion mostly self-published authors.
One more line, two more lies.
In an award system where a category came into existence simply so Patrick Nielsen-Hayden could finally get a trophy, somebody with clout and reach got a dozen media outlets—who never covered the Hugos before—to run matching stories about sexist/racist invaders in the same 24 hour period, but conspiracies are absurd! – Says the reporter who somehow knew I was a finalist before the announcements were made.
And the vast majority of SP nominees have been traditionally published. I do believe however that we were the cause of the first ever nominations for self-published or shockingly, media tie-in works.
Which tells you a lot more about the snobbish nature of the Hugos than it does about us.
Nothing about quality
Lie. In fact, going back to the very beginning I was saying that the quality of any given work had become irrelevant compared to the author’s politics or ass kissing ability.
– though you don’t need an in-depth knowledge of sci-fi to understand that a short story called Space Raptor Butt Invasion (yes, really) has not arrived on the Hugo lists because of its calibre.
Another lie. Space Raptor Butt Invasion was not a Sad Puppy nominee. It was nominated by an offshoot group which started during SP3, called Rabid Puppies. They have different goals and methods. Damien, and everybody who has paid a lick of attention, knows this. They just like to confuse the two whenever it is convenient.
Oh, and Space Raptor Butt Invasion is still more award worthy than If You Were a Dinosaur My Love… Because Chuck Tingle is hilarious and love is real.
With this year’s Hugo awards coming on Saturday night in the US, I thought I’d read some of the authors championed by the Puppies. (Don’t ever say I don’t do anything for you.)
Judging by how pathetic these reviews are, trust me, he still hasn’t done anything for you.
If you find meaning in straight-to-video Dolph Lundgren films, then Larry Correia’s novels will be your kind of read.
Wait… Is he comparing me to Dolph Lundgren, the ripped 160 IQ chemical engineer, turned Red Mother Fucking Scorpion, Ivan “I Will Break You” Drago, and all around bad ass… as an insult?
He left out the turned Machinegun Dealer part, which is what if I recall correctly, was what caused Damien to begin wetting the bed about me to begin with.
kicked off his Monster Hunter series with Monster Hunter International, about an accountant whose boss turns into a monster.
News flash. Guardian Book Reviewer reviews an author’s debut novel seven years late.
So he shoots him. In fact, much of the Monster Hunter series relies rather heavily on people the hero doesn’t like turning into monsters … so he can shoot them.
Another lie, but it just demonstrates that Damien merely skimmed the first chapter so he could fake a review.
The bit about the series relying heavily on people the hero doesn’t like turning into monsters so he can shoot them? I found out about this article when somebody shared it to the MHI fan page on Facebook. Nobody there could think of any other cases over five books where somebody the hero didn’t like turned into a monster so he could shoot them. The closest anyone could think of was the opposite happening.
You know what they say about assumptions, Damien? They say when you in particular make them you’re probably going to be wrong, because you’re a dope.
Speaking of assumptions, this is the same guy who published that I was a sexist/racist/homophobe, who when confronted for evidence, then crowd sourced a witch hunt of all my copious political writings to find something bad I’d said. And the best thing they could come up with was my teaching free self-defense classes to women (so they could shoot rapists in the face) was “victim blaming”.
Sadly, Correia’s books are not quite awful enough to be good. They’re just mediocre.
Isn’t it a little weird that Damien chose to talk about my debut novel from 2009, rather than my 12th novel, Son of the Black Sword, which would have been the book eligible for this period? Because that book was picked as one of the best books of the year by the LA Times, Buzzfeed, and the Science Fiction Book Club, has gotten critical and even academic acclaim, and has been a finalist for the Audie, Gemmell Legend, AML, CLFA, H. Beam Piper Memorial, and Dragon awards.
That’s fine – Dolph Lundgren movies are also often mediocre, but plenty of people like them.
And more than anything else here, that one sentence demonstrates why Damien is a fucking tool.
But did Lundgren’s Masters of the Universe deserve to take the 1987 Oscar over Oliver Stone’s Platoon? I don’t think so – and in that same way, Correia’s novels in no way merit consideration for the Hugos (thankfully, he only made the 2014 longlist).
Actually, dipshit, I made the 2015 longlist also, but immediately asked them to remove me from the list, and then I recused myself from all future Hugo nominations, so that you mopes couldn’t carry on your ridiculous narrative that Sad Puppies was all because I personally wanted a Hugo.
Dave Freer’s Changeling Island, shortlisted for this year’s inaugural Dragon awards, is all about story – which is fortunate, because sentences as thoroughly mangled and amateurish as Freer’s won’t be winning any prizes (at least I hope not).
Compared to Dave’s writing, Damien is finger painting with his own poo.
Open with a strong start, they say; now read Changeling Island’s opening:
It had been the most terrifying, miserable day of Tim Ryan’s whole miserable life. He’d just done it to show Hailey. Because … because she said he was too scared. He was. Every time he tried anything it always went wrong. Horribly wrong. And he wasn’t a thief. Well, he didn’t want to be. It was one of the few thing things his dad ever really got angry with him about. And then he’d only been a little five-year-old kid helping himself to a chocolate bar in a store. But Hailey … she said … and he’d do anything to get her.”
Editor hat on (and unlike Damien, I’ve actually edited stuff people have paid money for). The purpose of an opening line is to serve as a hook to make you want to read more. It makes a promise. This is a YA book, aimed at young adults. We meet a character, and from the voice/tone, we can see it is a kid, he’s nervous, and he lacks confidence. Now the reader wants to know why, and reads the next sentence. And the next. If they made it that far, they just bought the book.
Mission accomplished. Except for Damien, because apparently Dave didn’t write that to hook the Sanctimonious Fucktard market.
Funny Damien didn’t pick the opening line of MHI for some reason.
On one otherwise normal Tuesday evening I had the chance to live the American dream. I was able to throw my incompetent jackass of a boss from a fourteenth-story window.
Damn right. And that opening line has probably made me a million bucks now. I bet Dolph Lundgren would love that opening. If Damien had put that in the Guardian, with its readership numbers, I might have sold another one, maybe even two, books!
Oooooh, this working author used too many ellipses in a paragraph to indicate a young character was hesitant and correcting himself! says the knobtosser who has only published a handful of short stories (to such a pathetic reception that I can’t even find them on an Amazon search).
But at least Damien skimmed one whole chapter of my first book before writing a review. Dave only got one paragraph!
By the way, Sarah Hoyt started out writing “LITERATURE”, and got a lot of critical praise, but switched to stuff people actually like to read because the pay was crap. Brad’s background was in short fic, where he kept winning that Analog Reader’s Choice award, and before his badthink politics came to you guys’ attention SFWA thought he was good enough to nominate for a Nebula.
Within the Puppy movement, John C Wright is considered to be its resident intellectual colossus and was nominated three times for the 2015 best novella category (which eventually went to no one).
Objection, your honor. The prosecution is conflating the two puppy movements again, because this article is supposedly about Sad Puppies, but only one of those nominations were from the Sads and he knows it.
Sustained. One more outburst like that, Mr. Walter, and you will have to look upon this photo of Dolph Lundgren in order to dwell upon your own pathetic existence in comparison.
He is hugely influenced by the Inklings, particularly CS Lewis. But in comparison to Lewis, whose metaphysical investigations were built up from wide-reading during a lengthy education,
Uh, actually Wright got an education, graduated law school, was an attorney, then a reporter, then a newspaper editor, and back before he became known as a staunch Catholic he was so beloved by the literati they nominated him for a Nebula (an award which only SFWA members can vote for).
Funny how Brad and John were both *real* writers before their politics became well known…
Wright reads like a first-year humanities undergrad who refuses to read beyond a small pool of comforting favourites, writing essay after essay (or novel after novel) only to demonstrate how much he knows.
I was wrong earlier. Damien has one friend. Projection. In this case the “essay after essay trying to sound smart” part, because Damien is way too incompetent to get his novel finished.
Consider this dialogue from Wright’s The Phoenix Exultant:
Rhadamanthus said, ‘There is a tension between the need for unity and the need for individuality created by the limitations of the rational universe. Chaos theory produces sufficient variation in events, that no one stratagem maximises win-loss ratios. Then again, classical causality mechanics forces sufficient uniformity upon events, that uniform solutions to precedented problems is required. The paradox is that the number or the degree of innovation and variation among win-loss ratios is itself subject to win-loss ratio analysis.
Oh, look guys, Damien picked a dialog paragraph with no context from a book. You have no idea who the character is, or what they’re talking about, or what that paragraph is supposed to convey. Is the character actually smart? Trying to impress someone? Is the information meant to confuse someone else? Who is he speaking to? Have these ideas been discussed previously?
Well there you have it, folks, books have beginnings and page numbers for a reason.
That random sampling of one paragraph is a bullshit review method. You could do the same thing to Dune, Hyperion, or Cryptonomicon, and cherry pick some information dense, confusing when out of context paragraph too. It doesn’t mean those books aren’t fucking amazeballs.
That is why we have Book Reviews and not Paragraph Reviews (unless it is the Guardian, because we should just be thankful those lazy socialists show up to work at all).
Though this reminds me of an incident with the Imbecile Stalker Troll Clamps, where he was all hung up on what were author’s best lines, and his was something about globes of light floating like fish semen or some bullshit. I said my best line was The End, because that meant I’d finished another book and now I could get paid for it. Wannabe artistes get hung up on individual lines. Working authors tell stories.
This goes on, for page after page.
Actually, no it doesn’t.
The characters are no more than ciphers for Wright’s ranting, and what story exists is only glimpsed in momentary fragments between diatribes. After long enough reading Wright, you start to suspect that he, like most of these authors, simply can’t help himself, vomiting on to the page whatever passes through his head.
Maybe you should try “vomiting” stuff onto a page, Damien. Then you might actually finish that book and quit ripping off the British tax payers with your book welfare. Whatever your current method is doesn’t seem to be working.
But the funny thing is, for those of us who have read Wright, we know that his stories vary a lot in style depending on what kind of effect he’s going for. Sometimes he does big brain sci-fi, other times he writes borderline Narnia. Personally, my favorite is his Nightlands stuff.
At this point, we must be reminded that these are amazing times for science fiction and fantasy storytelling.
Something I agree with, but for entirely different reasons. Back when gatekeepers controlled what made it to market, jock sniffer wannabe pundits like Damien actually had a small measure of power. Now they are increasingly irrelevant.
We have Ted Chiang’s sublime short stories making it to the big screen in Arrival, a new book from China Miéville, Alan Moore’smagnum opus Jerusalem coming next month. Claire North is topping bestseller lists, while there’s an exciting debut from Laurie Penny and a TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods following in the footsteps of Game of Thrones …
Good for them.
I could go on.
Not really. That’s what Damien found in ten seconds of Googling. Anything more exhausting would require him to take another mental health holiday.
And the hack writers and sloppy sentences championed by the Sad Puppies deserve no place in that picture; for their politics, yes, but also their sheer shoddiness.
I love when they slip up and admit that it is actually all about politics.
But the Sad Puppies don’t want any of their books to end up on bestseller lists or TV screens.
That is quite possibly the stupidest thing Damien has ever written, and that’s saying something.
First off, all authors want our books on bestseller lists and TV screens. Duh.
Second, I’ve optioned the rights for an MHI TV show to Entertainment One (the Walking Dead people). They teamed up with Sky Network and brought in a team of screen writers. We just renewed the contract this year. It is in development. Knock on wood.
And third, last week the latest MHI novel was the #1 bestselling fantasy hardcover in America on Nielsen Book Scan (the most accurate of all bestseller lists).
So literally, while Damien typing up this dreck about how we don’t want to be on TV or bestseller lists, I was on a bestseller list and cashing option checks.
You can’t make this stuff up.
And I’m not the only SP nominee to be a bestseller or have optioned stuff for movies. SP3 and SP4 nominee Jim Butcher is a #1 bestseller and already had a TV show. We nominated bestseller Kevin J. Anderson, who has written for like a dozen movie and TV franchises.
Shittiest. Reporter. Ever.
It’s the same frustrating paradigm that British MP Michael Gove hit upon when he said that people were sick of experts, or what Donald Trump plays upon when he rails against “professional politicians”.
I don’t know what the fuck lame ass comparison Damien is trying to draw here. But he thinks comparing me to Dolph Lundgren was an insult… so thanks? I guess?
We’re seeing the Dunning-Kruger effect played out on a mass scale, and the Sad Puppies are just a speck in that wider problem.
BWA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAA HA HA! Snort.
Oh wait… Dear Lord. He’s serious. Sometimes I can’t tell if Damien is such an ideological shill that he is compelled to say stupid shit, or if he’s actually as mentally defective as he comes off.
Regardless, for those who aren’t familiar with Dunning-Kruger, that’s the phenomena where the less you know about a particular topic, the stronger your opinion tends to be, with the truly ignorant being the most opinionated. The more you learn about the topic, the more uncertain you become, until you achieve actual expertise, and then your confidence in your conclusions increases.
The subject under discussion is WRITING BOOKS PEOPLE WANT TO READ. On one side, Damien cites me, Dave, Sarah, Brad, and John, who between us have published like 40 million words of paying fiction, as being shitty writers. On the other hand, we have a clueless wannabe dilettante hanger-on who has failed to publish anything, who is so certain he knows the market that he can judge entire careers based on a paragraph.
Yeah… Draw your own conclusions about who goes where on the Dunning-Kruger graph.
Projection is truly Damien’s only friend.
EDIT! Because this is too awesome not to share, this was pointed out on FB while I was putting this up, Damien’s first short fiction sale was in 2005. In 2008 he attended one of those fancy expensive writer’s workshops. That means that Damien has been trying to be a professional writer LONGER THAN I HAVE.