Set Your Phasers to Stunned: 2015 Hugo Nominations Stir Controversy

HugoawardsThe April 4 announcement of this year’s Hugo Awards shortlist, which are voted on by members of the annual World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), was met with bewildered and outraged responses on Twitter and on various sf websites.  At issue, as Charlie Jane Anders noted in her post for the io9 blog, is the politicization of what should have been a selection process based on literary merit.

Beyond the Best Novel category, which included Nebula nominees Ann Leckie (Ancillary Sword) and Katherine Addison (The Goblin Emperor), most of the final choices in the other categories (Best Novella, Best Novelette, Best Short Stories, Best Related Work) came from two fan block-voting campaigns, one called Sad Puppies organized by sf authors Brad R. Torgersen and Larry Correia.sad_puppies_3_patch and the Rabid Puppies slate headed by fantasy writer. Vox Day (real name Theodore Beale),.

The Urban Dictionary defines the term “Sad Puppies” as a male pushover type who bows down to females,” a not-surprising choice of a name for politically conservative (and shall we say misguidedly misogynistic) sf writers upset by last year’s Hugo winners, a mostly younger group of women and people of color. In organizing their campaign, Torgersen and Correia criticized the current “fandom” as elitist and out of touch with pop culture. “This is just one little battle in an ongoing culture war between artistic free expression and puritanical bullies who think they represent ‘real’ fandom,” writes Correia on his Monster Hunter Nation website.

While Sad Puppies may have been within the nominating rules of the Hugos, many fans plan to vote “No Award” in every category except “Best Novel. Some authors on the Puppies’ slates are turning down their nominations, but there is no word yet whether Jim Butcher (Skin Game), Kevin J. Anderson (The Dark Between the Stars), and Markos Kloos (Lines of Departure) will follow suit.

The winners will be announced August 22 at the 2015 WorldCon in Spokane, WA, so stay tuned for more drama.

POSTSCRIPT

After I posted this story, I decided to check with Megan McArdle, LJ‘s sf/fantasy columnist, to get the librarian perspective on this controversy:

“I think the reality is that no one really looks at anything but the best novel category. Librarians buy based on the winner of that category and maybe the short list but aren’t really aware of anything beyond that. and the short list this year proves that category is fairly game-proof.  I think it is a really sad stunt by a vocal segment of the fandom who resent the attention and critical acclaim that new authors are getting who  happen to be women and persons of color.  The thing that scares me about the whole thing is that it threatens to undo all the work that librarians and reviewers like me are trying to do to show the diversity of the sf/fantasy genres— how you can find every kind of story here, and fans of every age, gender, race and background.  It seems that the SP/RP fans don’t want that diversity of story or fanbase.  We’ve crashed their clubhouse where the sign clearly says ‘”NO GIRLS ALLOWED.”  But really, that’s their problem. We’re here to stay”

 

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Wilda Williams About Wilda Williams

Wilda "Willy" Williams (wwilliams@mediasourceinc.com) is LJ's Fiction Editor. She specializes in popular fiction and edits the Mystery, Science Fiction, Christian Fiction, and Word on Street Lit columns.

Comments

  1. wyldkat_ says:

    “…politically conservative (and shall we say misguidedly misogynistic) sf writers upset by last year’s Hugo winners, a mostly younger group of women and people of color. In organizing their campaign, Torgersen and Correia criticized the current “fandom” as elitist and out of touch with pop culture.”

    You seem to be ignoring the fact that several supporters of SPIII are women. Why? Are you saying we hate our own gender?

    As for the person race or gender, I could not possibly care less. I am far more far more interested in the quality of the story. I don’t want to be lectured to, like some of the recent stuff I have seen, I want to be entertained. In fact, I don’t even know the race, gender, or orientation of most of the authors I nominated. How does that demonstrate a political agenda?

    SP III has brought new members to the WorldCon table. I’m sorry that some of us are not your kind of fan, but we deserve to have our say just as much as you do.

    • Paul Oldroyd says:

      The problem being that one of the leaders of the Puppy slates, Vox Day, is a misogynistic, racist homophobe. And if you associated with people like that, your fingers are going to get burned.

      I’m all for bringing new people to the table. All for people suggesting what they think are the best books of the year.

      Not so much for people who say “These are my recommendations for the 2015 nominations, and I encourage those who value my opinion on matters related to science fiction and fantasy to nominate them precisely as they are.” I quite like to make up my own mind, thank you very much.

    • Wolf says:

      Paul Oldroyd. NO. Vox has nothing to do with Sad Puppies actually. He has his OWN slate. he takes no part in the Sad Puppies. Or did you miss that part of the article?

      “I’m all for bringing new people to the table. All for people suggesting what they think are the best books of the year.

      Not so much for people who say “These are my recommendations for the 2015 nominations, and I encourage those who value my opinion on matters related to science fiction and fantasy to nominate them precisely as they are.”

      Then you’ve been reading what other people have been saying. What those of what I call the “insular idiots brigade” have been saying instead of what those who run, and those who support the Sad Puppies have said from the beginning. which is in its most basic form ‘these are my suggestions. I’m not telling you who to vote for. Make up your own minds make your own selections. These are just who I like.’

  2. Wilda Williams Wilda Williams says:

    Thank you for your insightful comments. I agree there is room for new voices in the sf/fantasy community. The more, the merrier! But my concern is when fans of either political persuasion game the system to promote only those writers that reflect their point of view For librarians who use these awards to make purchasing decisions, this is a problem. LJ sf columnist Megan McArdle argues that this controversy “threatens to undo all the work that librarians and reviewers like me are trying to do to show the diversity of the sf/fantasy genres – how you can find every kind of story here, and fans of every age, gender, race and background. “

    • Greg Jorgensen says:

      “But my concern is when fans of either political persuasion game the system to promote only those writers that reflect their point of view ”

      ” I think it is a really sad stunt by a vocal segment of the fandom who resent the attention and critical acclaim that new authors are getting who happen to be women and persons of color.”

      These two quotes would appear to to undermine the entire point of your article. If your main concern is the lack of diversity in the nominations I would recommend you actually review the recommendations put forth by Brad Torgersen. The authors included in his recommendations actually reflect a wide spectrum of political, gender, and racial points of view. You can find the original article here:

      https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/sad-puppies-3-the-2015-hugo-slate/

      On I side note I see that your comment policy states “Be respectful, and do not attack the author or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.”

      Does this policy not apply to your article writers as well? You noted:

      “The Urban Dictionary defines the term “Sad Puppies” as a male pushover type who bows down to females,” a not-surprising choice of a name for politically conservative (and shall we say misguidedly misogynistic)”

      This would appear to be a gratuitous insult towards the Sad Puppies movement and of no relation to the actual gist of your article. I am surprised that anyone associated with the Library Journal would consider citing the Urban Dictionary. Additionally since any term can have negative connotations that are irrelevant to the person or group who identifies themselves by that name it would seem prudent to actually ask the group what their name means.

      Finally you may want to consider actually investigating the group you are discussing to find out more about them before publishing what could be considered libel. I refer here to the second portion of the above quote where you tar an entire political movement with the same brush.

      While I understand that there is a narrative going around that the current nomination process for the Hugos is being dominated by a group of misogynistic, white males bent on excluding all others from the field I would ask that you fully research the situation and ask both sides before jumping to conclusions.

      I would recommend starting with an article written by Larry Correia explaining why he started the Sad Puppies project found here:

      http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/04/06/a-letter-to-the-smofs-moderates-and-fence-sitters-from-the-author-who-started-sad-puppies/

      Let me conclude by saying that I read a wide variety of books that include many points of view. I don’t necessarily identify with the Sad Puppies group but I do agree with their stated goal – to support stories that reflect all of Science Fiction and Fantasy, not just one view. This does not mean that those who have been nominated in the past should not be nominated in the future, simply that all points of view should be represented.

    • MC Duqesne says:

      “my concern is when fans of either political persuasion game the system to promote only those writers that reflect their point of view”

      A simple perusal of the Sad Puppies 3 slate shows liberal, socialist, progressive, indeterminate, moderate, and conservative nominees. There was no attempt to limit the slate to any political agenda, merely to advance the best of the genre in the various categories. As a result the nominees are more politically diverse than has been the case for years.

      Nobody knows what Jim Butcher’s politics are, but it took a public slate to overcome the covert slate that had denied him previous nominations in favor of less white, less male, and more TOR published nominees. The Haydens of TOR are behaving like enraged rancor beasts because the scam they’ve been running for decades has finally been beat. The end result of all this drama should be vastly increased participation which should prevent the abuse the award has been suffering for decades and a return to the Hugo representing the best of the genre, not the best that can get by the gatekeepers of groupthink.

    • Wolf says:

      And what’s more Greg is they are all by and large pretty good stories. I know. I’ve read most of them

    • Wilda, seriously, (1) go look at the Sad Puppies slate. It’s easily found, and belies pretty much everythig that has been said about it — and that you’ve repeated uncritically. You owe people like Cedar Sanderson an apology.

      And (2) I’d love to see you explain how buying a supporting membership, and voting, is gaming the system. There’s been talk about Larry et al “buying” votes, but ask yourself seriously: first, 1000 votes would cost $40,000. Do you think Larry, a working fiction writer, has that kind of spare money? And secondly, if he’d really spent $40,000 to buy 1000 votes, that he’s then withdraw hiw work from consideration? But then, if it’s not authors buying votes, what was this “gaming”? It’s exhorting people to vote for certain works. How does this differ from when, eg, John Scalzi does it?

      You might always want to consider the correction Entertainment Weekly posted on the original story:

      <i<CORRECTION: After misinterpreting reports in other news publications, EW published an unfair and inaccurate depiction of the Sad Puppies voting slate, which does, in fact, include many women and writers of color. As Sad Puppies’ Brad Torgerson explained to EW, the slate includes both women and non-caucasian writers, including Rajnar Vajra, Larry Correia, Annie Bellet, Kary English, Toni Weisskopf, Ann Sowards, Megan Gray, Sheila Gilbert, Jennifer Brozek, Cedar Sanderson, and Amanda Green.

      This story has been updated to more accurately reflect this. EW regrets the error.

      If EW regrets the error, might you want to consider a similar expression of refgreat for what is basically the same error?

    • Guest says:

      <> No. Entire political movements aren’t protected by libel laws. Individuals are. Also, individuals have 1st Amendment rights. “Movements” do not.

  3. ThirteenthLetter says:

    Would it have killed you to maybe talk to some of the people organizing the Sad Puppies campaign and get their side of the story, instead of just your social justice columnist? Or are you too terrified of contracting badthink by actually speaking to an ideological opponent?

  4. badpandasinc says:

    Wilda Williams, I’m not seeing the full story here. How were the Hugo Awards not always a political popularity contest?

    What about previous slates by John Scalzi who tends to be vocal about his political views?

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/01/03/the-2011-award-pimpage-post/
    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/01/03/the-2013-award-consideration-post/
    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/01/02/the-2014-award-consideration-post/

    What about an analysis of the comment of the columnist you provided?

    “The thing that scares me about the whole thing is that it threatens to undo all the work that librarians and reviewers like me are trying to do to show the diversity of the sf/fantasy genres”

    This comment demonstrates an active awareness and a political activist pursuit of working towards building in what her opinion is diverse.

    As others have stated, where is the attempt to contact the group in question, Sad Puppies, to obtain direct quotes and corroboration of the content in this post?

    What I see in this story is bias and projection. If something is filed under news, then the article should at least attempt to cover all sides and obtain the facts in order to properly inform the public.

    Otherwise, its just ranting and gossip.

  5. Dude says:

    I don’t see why people are angry at Sad Puppies other than it’s a bunch of SJWs angry that their own bloc voting practices that predate SP are too small now to counteract it. I also find it hypocritical that the SJW demonize the Sad Puppies as racist, homophobic, fascist, transphobic, sexist, misogynistic, nazi, etc., but somehow are the good side.

    They’re the name-calling, bombastic side. And they’re losing.

  6. Paul Oldroyd says:

    It’s difficult to know where (or even if) to start a reply to this. You guys know that you’re coming over as the equivalent of Scientology zealots, yes? Someone posts a story that has no factual inaccuracies and six of you jump down her throat. This is the equivalent of a Puppy hit squad and verging on saying “shut up, we don’t want to listen to your views and, hey, we don’t think anyone else should either”. It’s pure and simple bullying.

    And before you start jumping down my throat, here’s some commentary on what you’re all saying:

    Greg – you question whether the analysis of the Sad Puppy mission is accurate. Torgersen in laying out the Sad Puppy manifesto said:

    “Largely because of the nomination and voting tendencies of World Science Fiction Convention, with its “fandom” community. In the last decade we’ve seen Hugo voting skew more and more toward literary (as opposed to entertainment) works. Some of these literary pieces barely have any science fictional or fantastic content in them. Likewise, we’ve seen the Hugo voting skew ideological, as Worldcon and fandom alike have tended to use the Hugos as an affirmative action award: giving Hugos because a writer or artist is (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) or because a given work features (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) characters.”

    If that’s not saying that you’re fed up of minorities winning awards, I’m not sure what is. And therefore the description of your movement as misogynistic seems entirely appropriate. (This is of course not saying that all of you individually are that.) And the ironic appropriation of the term “Sad Puppy” as a comment on the supposed “Social Justice Warriors” who are male pushovers is based on exactly the definition in the Urban dictionary. Ask Larry. Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m a Social Justice Warrior myself, and proud of it. But that’s *not* the reason I oppose the Sad Puppies. We’ll get on to that.

    MC – The issue is not about the authors you like or the political views portrayed in their books. Whatever you have been told, fandom is in effect an anarchy. We *really* don’t like being told how to vote. And we don’t like people to game the system by nominating as a block, thus denying most people the chance to vote on a wide selection of books. The anger you have seen over the last few days is not because a left wing liberal elite has had a secretive slate of books vetoed by the courageous Puppies. It is because a small minority of nominators – probably no more than 200 – has voted as one. And in an anarchy, where a large number of books are nominated by a small number of people, a block vote of 200 people sweeps the nominations every time. It games the system. And before you say “but I didn’t vote as a sheep”, the fact that the vast majority of suggestions on the Sad / Rabid Puppy slates means that a large amount of people did exactly that.

    Bad Pandas – If you can’t see the difference between an author saying “these are the books of mine who are eligible for an award this year” and putting forward a full slate of books and saying “These are my recommendations for the 2015 nominations, and I encourage those who value my opinion on matters related to science fiction and fantasy to nominate them precisely as they are” then I’m afraid there is no way of having a sensible debate with you.

    And Dude, if you don’t want us card carrying Social Justice Warriors to portray the slate as “racist, homophobic, fascist, transphobic, sexist, misogynistic, nazi, etc.” then you guys really need to disassociate yourselves from people who are exactly that. (I’m talking about Vox Day here. I’m not sure about the Nazi epithet though. Never heard about that one before.)

    • Lea says:

      The SP group is not associated with VoxDay and he wasn’t on the slate. He did his own thing.

      If that’s not saying that you’re fed up of minorities winning awards, I’m not sure what is

      It is saying that no one should win an award because of their race, but instead because of their writing.

      As for inaccuracies, contrary to the ‘no girls allowed’ nonsense from your librarian, there were many female authors on the slate.

    • Paul Oldroyd says:

      Saying that Sad Puppies are not associated with Rabid Puppies is somewhat disingenuous. the slates overlap each other to a large extent. They’re both “Puppies”. I would have thought that it would be very sensible for the Sad Puppies to publicly dissociate themselves unequivocally from the Rabids and Vox Day. For what it’s worth I suspect that the fact that the Hugo ballot more closely resembles Vox’s list than the Sad Puppy list means that his adherents have more slavishly followed his exhortations than Sad Puppies have followed Torgersen’s.

      If you truly believe that there is some sort of conspiracy to vote Hugo winners because of their colour, creed, sexual orientation etc etc, then you clearly do not understand the nature of fandom. Nobody votes for those reasons. It’s a fable made up by your leaders who don’t understand that fandom has moved on since the 50s and tastes have changed.

      And finally, the problem is not who you have on your slate. It is about you gaming the system.

    • So, Paul, when confronting what is, to be frank, an outright passel of lies — Misogynist, racist, and all the others — what is the “correct” response. This “politically conservative: slate has radical leftists; this “misogynist” slate has many women; this “homophobic” slate has very much out gays.

      It also accumulated a helluva lot of people who paid their membership, according to the rules, and voted for the stories they liked.

      So, is your point that you’d rather people just acquiesce to the lies and the outright libel? And would you rather that people who qualified to vote just shut up and sit down?

      And if so, what does that make you?

    • RG says:

      “This is the equivalent of a Puppy hit squad and verging on saying ‘shut up, we don’t want to listen to your views and, hey, we don’t think anyone else should either.’ It’s pure and simple bullying.”

      How is it bullying? And how are we trying to silence you? Do you know how many news outlets have carried similar stories like this one as opposed to doing more than cursory research to figure out what Sad Puppies is actually about? Yes, we can be pretty intense in defending the overall cause, but can you blame us?

    • badpandasinc says:

      @Paul Oldroyd

      I’m afraid that it would be a waste of my time to debate someone who quickly dismisses people without proper research. There were other authors that were listed in his blog comments, though it requires someone that is willing to read the whole post to dig through his blog in a different post to find it rather than just skimming content and then posting a brazen assumption.

      Thank you. You’ve nicely illustrated the point of why performing proper due diligence is needed to cover subject matter rather than quickly skimming material and commenting on it.

    • Greg Jorgensen says:

      Paul Oldroyd –

      While several responses appear to address the gist of your reply I wanted to add my view as well.

      While not really a member of the Sad Puppies coalition(?) I do admit to reading and enjoying several authors on their slate. However i also have read and enjoyed some of John Scalzi’s (among other’s) work as well.

      I wasn’t aware of the Sad Puppies movement until last year. I read remarks from both sides and admit that while there are hot heads on both sides I found good points were being made by each group. Since I do not personally know any of the people involved I assume that each person is acting in good faith. That is, I see no reason to disbelieve anything they say until proof of impropriety is seen.

      In reviewing the claims of both sides I found that most of the provably wrong information was coming from the anti-Puppy individuals. While there have been claims from the Puppies side that fall into the “no definitive proof” category, some of the people from the other side are providing blatant lies, innuendos and, as noted in other comments, libelous statements.

      This is why I commented on this article. The demonstrably false claims in the article needed addressing. I tried to assume that this was not malicious, simply erroneous on the part of the author, but the commentary regarding the meaning of Sad Puppies does seem to indicate otherwise. For a journalist to stoop to that type of reporting is not good.

      As to my commenting I would quote Simon Wiesenthal, “For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.”

      I am not claiming the author of the article reported as she did with evil intent, but the incorrect information should not pass unchallenged. Intended or not the result of that information is to accuse innocent people of despicable actions.

      I would also like to directly respond to your comment:

      “If that’s not saying that you’re fed up of minorities winning awards, I’m not sure what is. And therefore the description of your movement as misogynistic seems entirely appropriate.”

      First, to clarify the term, misogynistic is defined as “a person who hates or doesn’t trust women”. I believe what you mean in your quote is racist. If not, I apologize for misinterpreting your intent.

      While I can understand people confusing what Brad means, his actions and other commentary would seem to clarify the meaning.

      What I see them saying is, “I have no problem with minorities, women, or anyone really, winning as long as they are being judged on quality of their work. What I have a problem with is people being judged by their (race, gender, etc) first.”

      The claim that the Sad Puppies are racist or misogynistic would seem to be proven false by the fact that they have nominated minorities and women.

      Whatever the Puppies ultimate goal their stated goal of educating more fans about the Hugo voting process has been a huge success. I have been reading SF/Fantasy for over 30 years and I never knew how easy it was to become a voting member.

      While I didn’t sign up in time to participate in the nomination process I have since done so and am eagerly awaiting the voter package to review the nominated works. I then intend to vote based on my judgment of the quality of said works.

      What disappoints me is the faction I see who are urging people to vote “No Award” above anyone on the Puppies slate without regard to the actual quality of the work. I understand that they seem to feel this is ethical in the pursuit of “purity” in the nomination process, but it strikes me as McCarthyism. (Are you now or were you ever a member of the slate of those racist women hating Sad Puppies???)

      One concern I found striking from the Puppies camp was the following, when accused of not having notified all of their potential nominees their response was (to paraphrase), “why should we have to notify someone that we intend to tell people their work is noteworthy? Because there are people that will judge them by who endorsed them rather than by the worth of their work.”

      To me this is what is more damaging to the Hugo’s, people blatantly stating that they will be ignoring the work itself and judging it based on factors outside the authors immediate control. Yes they could distance themselves from the slate, but why should they have to?

      Asking nominees to do so is the ethical equivalent of asking a political candidate “When did you stop beating your wife?” Regardless of what they say or do in relation to the demand, their reputation is damaged.

      That is my view, and that is why I purchased a supporting membership. For those who wish to vote “No Award” well, that is their right and, having presented my argument against it they are welcome to follow their conscious. I my disagree but I will not condemn them for that.

      Just don’t expect me to keep quite when demonstrably dishonest or mistaken attacks are being made.

    • Paul Oldroyd says:

      Greg – thanks for the thoughtful reply.

      One of the ironic things about this whole argument is that it forces people into camps. I too like a range of books. The ones I grew up loving in the 60s and 70s were Niven, Pournelle and Herbert. All of whom I suspect would fit very well into a Puppy slate. These days I like Dan Simmons, even if his preaching gets a bit tiresome at times. Not so keen on Scalzi, although Old Man’s War was an entertaining read. Last years Hugo Winner, Ancillary Justice, was a guns and empires story and was probably my favourite so far this decade.

      I’ve been chatting online to a group that supports the Puppies that I stumbled into by mistake this weekend. We were having a right good chat about Fred Saberhagan. The group owner quite considerately deleted a comment from one of his friends who called me an ideological monster. There’s more that binds us than divides us.

      I also think that the media in general have not got a good handle of the argument and have been hopelessly one sided about it. (The Entertainment Weekly article being a good example.) I rather think Wilda did a good job given the amount of misinformation there is out there.

      However (you knew there was a however coming, didn’t you), none of this excuses the Puppy campaign. It just makes it easier for them to portray themselves as a victim of a liberal conspiracy. I’m not going to repeat myself, so take a look at my comment above. The Puppies (whether Rabid or Sad) gamed the system. They organised a block vote of fans to make a particular set of nominations. This has *never* been done before in the history of the Hugos. (Of course people have campaigned for particular works before: that’s not the same as presenting an entire slate of works and asking people to vote for them.) So around 200 people have effectively over-ridden the choice of all other nominators. Now I know the Puppies don’t agree with this, but they are very much a minority in fandom. A minority that has just chosen all the works that can be voted for in a number of Hugo categories. You can guess what the effect of this is going to be if it is not squashed immediately. Next year there will be a counter Social Justice Warrior slate that is likely to be used by the majority to select nominations. And that will sweep the awards next year. I do not think this is a Good Thing. I would like people to nominate like they have done up to this year. There would be a wide range of nominations which I think can only be a good thing. With rival Puppy SJW slates a small group of people will determine what will be nominated. This would be a bad thing. So the only sane thing to do to stop this nonsense (from either side) is to vote for No Award this year above any Puppy Nomination. This will prevent any of their nominations from winning – even if there is no non-Puppy nomination on the ballot – if sufficient people vote this way.

  7. Cedar Sanderson says:

    As one of the many women who were on the sad puppies suggested reading list, and one of the nominees, I deeply object to being characterized as misogynist, or ‘no girls allowed.” I strongly suggest that you do due diligence and actually look at who was on the list of nominees before you make sweeping generalizations. I am sick and tired of being called male.

  8. Wolf says:

    *shrug* and by people stating opening they plan to vote no award? Without even BOTHERING to read any of the nominees? Those same idiots prove the sad puppies point. That the Hugo’s have become insular and elitist. the open nasty secret is slates have been around for years. John Scalzi for one openly admits to his running slates. Yet when he does it, it’s lauded, When someone else does it, it’s baaad and eeeevil. Nope sorry. Doesn’t work that way to anyone who’s honest with themselves.

  9. Wolf says:

    Oh and Wilda? the ONLY one that I know of, so far, to decline a nomination is Larry Correia himself

  10. Brad Handley says:

    I love how you picked up the lie that EW was embarrassed about and actually corrected in their article. Sad Puppies was started by two Hispanics, a Native American and a White Guy who is married to an African American.

    Yup they are all a bunch of racist trolls like you portray them to be. (Feeling Embarassed Yet?) You are a the Library Journal, surely someone there knows how to do research.

  11. Brad Handley says:

    Oh I forgot to add two of the 5 were women.

  12. FrancisT says:

    Compared to some of the out and our falsehoods posted in the last couple of days, this is a pretty good article. LJ won’t need to write a correction liek the one EW penned:

    CORRECTION: After misinterpreting reports in other news publications, EW published an unfair and inaccurate depiction of the Sad Puppies voting slate, which does, in fact, include many women and writers of color. As Sad Puppies’ Brad Torgerson explained to EW, the slate includes both women and non-caucasian writers, including Rajnar Vajra, Larry Correia, Annie Bellet, Kary English, Toni Weisskopf, Ann Sowards, Megan Gray, Sheila Gilbert, Jennifer Brozek, Cedar Sanderson, and Amanda Green.

    This story has been updated to more accurately reflect this. EW regrets the error.

    However it might be worth LJ and the author considering whether what they have written contradicts anything in that correction.

    LJ members might like to consider the history of the Hugo awards over the last decade or so.

    The Hugo award was sinking into irrelevancy long before Sad Puppies were even a twinke in Larry Correia’s eye. A decade ago you could get a major Hugo award (e.g. best novel) with perhaps 50 or 60 people nominating you and then 200-300 votes (out of a total of about 500) voting for you. Given the preference system you’d need maybe 150 first pref votes and then pick up enough 2nd/3rd preferences to beat off your competition.

    [At the time (2007 ish) I pointed out that if someone really wanted to buy a Hugo it would cost at most $10,000 and probably a lot less – in fact I recall other people working out that you could probably do it for half that amount. ]

    So that was the state of play in the 2000s. The Hugos were awards supposedly given by the readership that were voted on by fewer than 500 people – for books that sell thousands (tens of thousands in some cases). This was not really a popular award, it was an award handed out by a tiny minority who claimed to speak for the larger readership. If the small minority did speak for the larger readership (or even a significant fraction of it) then there wouldn’t be much argument, but Larry’s hypothesis was that in fact the Hugo voters were in fact quite out of step with the readership. The Sad Puppies campaigns have been waged to try and get more people to nominate and vote and, in the process, vote for works that are actually popular as opposed to being favored by an unrepresentative minority. There seems to be considerable evidence that this is the case. I don’t know how many Puppies (whether Rabid or Sad) nominated works this year but it looks like there was an order of magnitude more nominations than a decade ago and I strongly suspect based on last year that voting numbers will be such that the winner will need to get close to 2000 votes instead of 250.

    Any rational person would see that as a positive outcome not a negative one

  13. Mike Hatchett says:

    Hi,
    Just a guy who reads lots of science fiction and fantasy. My only agendas are reading good books and recommending them to my friends. The fact that a title is an “award winner” rarely influences my decision to buy or read a title. This entire debate is moot and confusing. I don’t think excellence should be watered down in the name of diversity. I don’t think people should be denied a chance to be recognized in their field of endeavor because of their ethic/cultural background, sexual orientation. I think all reasonable people can accept both of those ideas. Start there. Intellectual conflicts like this make me really glad that I’m just a guy who reads and enjoys lots of Science fiction and fantasy.

  14. Jenn Armistead` says:

    If the Sad Puppies don’t want to be conflated with the Rabid Puppies or called mean words like misogynist, perhaps they should have done a better job of explaining how what they were doing wasn’t a reaction to the “large” number of minorities who won the Hugos last year. Yes, it’s lovely that your slate also has women and brown people, and that women and brown people were involved in creating Sad Puppies, but if you are going to claim the past winners didn’t deserve their awards but received them because of their gender/race/sexuality/whatever, you have to be very very careful with your messaging, because it is going to tend to sound like you don’t like women/brown people/LGBT/whatever winning awards instead of white men. The choice of the term “Sad Puppies” also doesn’t help your position. It was obviously chosen as a nod toward the anti-SJW term, and it is rather disingenuous to claim otherwise. At the very least, your message was not received as it was intended. At worst, you sound like Gamergaters crying “But it’s about ethics in game journalism!”
    At the end of the day, I don’t think it matters. This is about a small subset of the science fiction reading population vying with another small subset of the science fiction reading population over a popularity contest. The rest of us readers will continue to read whatever we prefer. If we don’t see ourselves and the works we care about reflected in the Hugos, we’ll just go elsewhere.

  15. Jenn Armistead` says:

    Oh, and for the love of Asimov, I just found this from Brad Torgersen’s blog:

    “A few decades ago, if you saw a lovely spaceship on a book cover, with a gorgeous planet in the background, you could be pretty sure you were going to get a rousing space adventure featuring starships and distant, amazing worlds. If you saw a barbarian swinging an axe? You were going to get a rousing fantasy epic with broad-chested heroes who slay monsters, and run off with beautiful women.”
    These days, however:
    “There’s a sword-swinger on the cover, but is it really about knights battling dragons? Or are the dragons suddenly the good guys, and the sword-swingers are the oppressive colonizers of Dragon Land? A planet, framed by a galactic backdrop. Could it be an actual bona fide space opera? Heroes and princesses and laser blasters? No, wait. It’s about sexism and the oppression of women. Finally, a book with a painting of a person wearing a mechanized suit of armor! Holding a rifle! War story ahoy! Nope, wait. It’s actually about gay and transgender issues. Or it could be about the evils of capitalism and the despotism of the wealthy.”

    Well, god forbid there be books out there he doesn’t want to read! I suppose the fans who want to read those kind of books should get lost, because that’s not the proper kind of scifi. Also, hasn’t he ever head the adage about not judging a book by its cover? Perhaps he should try reading that nifty little summary they include on the back or inside flap of the book.

    Ms. Williams, I found your summary of the situation much more respectful to the Sad Puppies contingent than many other outlets that pop up in a five minute Google search. And, oddly, none of them have followed EW and printed a retraction/apology. So I would imagine you don’t need to, either.

  16. Danny in Canada says:

    For the record, it turns out that it wasn’t an issue of political conservatism, or racism, or sexism, or even dissatisfaction with current narrative trends. It was all about cronyism. With the exception of the Dramatic Presentations, and the token bestselling novelist, every single nominee from Torgersen’s slate was a friend of his. Similarly, all of Beale’s nominees were from Beale’s own micro-press.