All The Scarlet Letters

One of the most interesting things – and by interesting I mean scary – about the reaction to Sad Puppies 3 is that many people who are anti-puppy (always wanted to write that) were mad at Brad for “not telling people you were putting them on the slate.”

Okay. The accusation is not true. Brad actually told people, except for a couple he legitimately forgot to contact.

But let’s not defend Brad on that front, because when we are defending him on that front, we’re already swallowing whole a pretty bizarre assumption of the other side.

Instead, let’s step back and take a deep breath.

What are the Hugos?

They’re awards, right? They’re awards given, supposedly, for the best science fiction and fantasy of the year, right?

In theory, theoretically as it were, who is supposed to nominate: why, Lord love a duck, right? Any reader of science fiction who pays at least the supporting worldcon membership.

And who gets to make recommendations for nominations? Well, from what I’ve seen over the years, anyone with an interest in sf/f. I could, tomorrow, (well, not tomorrow, but at the beginning of the next set) put my list of recommends on the blog, whether I meant to vote for them or not. (I.e. whether I paid the membership or not.)

Readers, reviewers and various other side-spurs of science fiction do that pretty much every year.

So, if I did that, would I have any obligation, no matter how remote, to tell people I was putting them on my slate? Why? I mean, I might, as a friendly gesture, send a note saying “I love your books and I’m putting such and such on the slate.” BUT WHY would I HAVE to?

I mean, when I won the Prometheus and the two other times I’ve been nominated, all I got was an email saying “you’ve been nominated.” No one warned me. And trust me, ten years ago that announcement would have frozen me solid, instead of causing me to dance in my office.

That is because ten years ago, I lived in a state of fear. And the fact that my fear was real and serious is justified by that accusation to Brad, “You bad bad man, when you decided these people deserved awards, you didn’t TELL THEM you were putting them on a recommend list.”

I lived in fear because of the implied end of that sentence “And you knew that because you associated them with you, a known conservative, we would make their lives miserable and do our best to end their careers.”

And that, my friends is what I realized when I sold my first novel in the late 90s. Most Americans might not be that sensitive to the “climate” but I was. I had after all grown up in a socialist (at best, during the better times) country where to graduate you had to present the proper progressive front. I knew the signs and the hints and social positioning of “further left than thou.” For instance, my first SF cons, as an author, in the green room, I became aware that “a conservative” was a suitable, laughter inducing punchline for any joke; that all of them believed the Reagan years had set us on course to total dystopia; that the US was less enlightened/capable/free than anywhere else; that your average Republican or even non-Democrat voter was the equivalent of the Taliban.

As for Libertarians, I will to my dying day cherish the dinner I had with my then editor to whom I was describing a funny incident at MileHi where for reasons known only to Bob, I found myself in an argument with someone who wanted to ban the internal combustion engine. My editor perked up and (I swear I’m not making this up) said “Oh, a Libertarian.” At which point my husband squeezed my thigh hard enough to stop me answering. But yeah. That was a not uncommon idea of a libertarian. If it was completely insane and involved banning something, then it was a libertarian.

I once overheard the same editor talking to a colleague and saying that if she got submissions across her desk and they were – dropped and horrified voice – somewhat conservative she recommended they try Baen.

Which the other editor (from a different house) agreed with, because after all, they weren’t in the business of publishing conservative works.

This immediately put me on notice that in the field if you were a conservative (I presume libertarians were worse, or at least they seemed to induce more mouth foaming. And though I was solidly libertarian and – at the time – might have qualified as a Libertarian, I suspect if faced with my real positions they would have classed me as conservative, because my positions were self-obviously not left and that’s all it took.) there was only one house that would take you, and if what you wrote/wanted to write wasn’t accepted by then, then you were out of luck.

After that I lived in a state of fear

I imagine it was similar to living in one of the more unsavory periods of the Soviet Union. You saw these purges happen. Whisper-purges. You got the word that someone was “not quite the thing” or that they associated with so and so who associated with so and so who was a – dropped voice – conservative. Suddenly that person’s books weren’t being bought and somehow people would clear a circle around them, because, well, you know, if you’re seen with a – dropped voice – conservative they might think you’re one too. And then it’s off to Neverland with you.

I found a few other conservatives/libertarians (frankly, mostly libertarians) in the field, all living in the same state of gut clenching fear.

We did such a dance to test both the reliability and discretion of the other before revealing ourselves that we might as well have developed a hanky code. [Blue for true blue Conservative, white for pure Libertarian, red for the blood of our heroes, brown for OWL (older, wiser libertarian), purple for squishy conservative, baby blue for Brad Torgersen.]

Conventions were nerve wracking because I watched myself ALL the TIME. And you never knew how much you had to watch yourself. Suddenly, out of the blue, at a World Fantasy the speaker, a well known SF/F writer went on about Howard Dean, our next president. The room erupted in applause, some people stood to clap, and I sat there, frozen, unable to actually fake it to that point but too shocked to even put a complaisant expression on my face.

This is one of the instances where I think if I didn’t give myself away I gave them the impression I was not very bright and therefore untrustworthy. Another would be the letter exchange with a gentleman who went after my first Analog story. Another instance would be that I actually could not help myself and defended Heinlein at all possible occasions.

They were never sure enough that I was a – dropped voice – conservative, but they were sure enough that my books had the strangest issues with distribution and marketing. I. e. like the year I had six books out and not one on the shelves anywhere. [Yes, I have considered the possibility that maybe my books sucked, but a) if that was the case then why did they keep buying? b) why are the same books making me a paycheck every month indie?] And I was never one of the “darlings” who got promo or even really nice treatment (by editors) at cons (until I worked for Baen.)

Btw, speaking of Baen, when I was picked up by them after my first series tanked and no one else would touch me, I was overjoyed. The agent who had been trying in vain for years to get SOMEONE to buy me, promptly told me that I couldn’t work for Baen because of the Baen taint. (yeah, that – dropped voice – conservative taint – this while Baen publishes anyone from any political color provided they like the story.)

One time I came into the room at a con and found one of my editors talking to another of my editors. I could tell from the expression, the startled look at me, that news that I might be a – dropped voice — conservative had been conveyed. I hoped I was being paranoid, but I wasn’t. My treatment by that other house immediately changed, overnight.

So I lived in fear, unable to associate normally or make friends with anyone. It was like being spied on all the time and knowing the worst construction would be put on my actions and words, even if the actions and words were not political, even if I just forgot what the week’s hate and the week’s cause was.

I got tired. I got really tired. I know authors who walked away after one or two books because they simply couldn’t take it anymore. I know others – gentle souls – who didn’t realize they’d been blacklisted on suspicion of being – dropped voice – conservative. This was particularly true of Libertarians (and libertarians) who never thought of themselves (I still don’t) as “conservatives” and couldn’t understand it when I tried to explain it.

All this was justified, you see, because in the minds of the establishment and establishment hangers on, conservatives are creatures shown as “right wing” on movies and tv (none of whose writers would know a true conservative, much less a libertarian if one bit them in the fleshy part of the *ss [and libertarians might.]) They give conservatives (which again is everyone to the right of Lenin) informed attributes never found in the real creature: conservatives, in their crazy little heads, are people who are racist, sexist, homophobic, ultra-religious in a medieval fashion or a crazy-evangelical (there are some, but not many) one.

Informed attributes for those who don’t follow the link, are a characteristic of lazy, sloppy writing, particularly common in fanfic AND beginner writers (though we all do it, but hopefully not in contradiction to our real writing.) This is when you tell the reader that the character is kind or socially conscious or whatever even though the rest of your writing shows exactly the opposite. (One of my ex-fledgelings had a penchant for this. Would inform you the character was so nice and universally loved, and then show he was the ass everyone rode in on and most people hated him. Eh.)

The informed attributes of “conservatives” in gatekeeper circles for SF/F are just that. Someone informed these people that “conservatives” are sexist, racist, homophobic religious fanatics and they believe it without checking it against every day reality.

Here I am tempted to insert snark about their preferred modes of writing, but I won’t. I’ll just say that once in a group populated mostly by them I found that if a person was good but didn’t proclaim it, then they were horrible. No, I don’t get it either. But somehow it works for them. They HEARTILLY believe this stuff, because someone told them.

And frankly if someone were racist, sexist, homophobic (religious fanatics I don’t care either way, unless they chase me down and make me believe as they do) I wouldn’t want to work with them either.

So, if you are revealed, through… what are the words of the old act of contrition? “Your thoughts, your words, what you’ve done and what you’ve failed to do” or indeed, whomever you associate with at a third remove, or whom you failed to denounce on denouncing day, to be a – dropped voice – conservative they don’t want to work with you. And if they have to work with you, they’re going to do it at as arm’s length as possible.

When I realized I couldn’t watch everything and didn’t have the energy to keep up with the hate or the enthusiasm of the week (there is a reason most of the darlings are single or at least childless) I told my husband I was dropping out. But by then there was indie, and I was working for Baen, and he convinced me to stay on.

Still, such was the reflex of that fear that the first time I was mentioned on Instapundit I reached up to wipe the scarlet L from my forehead.

Now? I’ve come a long way in seven years. By baby steps. But now I don’t hide I’m a libertarian. (Technically an OWL – waves brown feathery scarf.)

And still that naked “you should have told them you were putting them on your slate” and the implied, scary because we intend to f*ck up their lives because you like their work made me catch my breath and remember the fear.

The people who preach to you of inclusiveness and love (SF is “love” apparently); the people who are hunting for writers of various colors of the rainbow to give awards to demand (and receive) perfect lockstep abasing compliance with their beliefs.

The prize they held hostage was a writers ability to make a living.

Fortunately there is indie. They haven’t realized it yet, but what they hold in their hands is nothing. And the more they show their colors, the more they pursue their little purges (now in public) the less they’ll be taken seriously.

We haven’t yet reached the point when “banned by the New York Publishing establishment” is a badge of honor, but unless I mistake my gut we’re not very far off.

And it’s a beautiful thing. A scarlet l on my forehead, and an American flag on my heart, and what is it to you, and who made you keeper of other’s thoughts, other’s ideas, other’s art, other’s opinions?

Are you so empty, so vacant, so devoid of creativity and joy that all you can do is tear down the designated targets?

Well, then, you have my sympathy. But you no longer have my fear.

And you never had my allegiance.

Depart from us in peace and go find someone else who might still fear you. It won’t happen here.

Ask not for whom the puppies bay. They bay for you.

650 thoughts on “All The Scarlet Letters

  1. “baby blue for Brad Torgerson” made me giggle. And there is a reason I know I will never bother to submit (so many mixed meanings there) to a traditional publisher outside Baen. I like being in control of my own destiny, and there are more ways over the fence than through the gates. And now I want to do a picture of a gate being guarded by trolls, with a stile just around the corner…

      1. Oh, I know some trolls are nice. Wrote one into the last book, which was fun. Also an ogre bar bouncer… But it’s a good visual. Not all trolls are nice…

        1. Remember that the critter guarding the seventh ladder in the attic is a trow, not a troll. He can be touchy about it.

        1. Melvin is / was a real life troll and bane of gun forum mods for years, until he went to Club Fed. He’s the Anti-Marty Stu.

    1. Sleeping Beauty type of wall of thorns, with a few gates guarded by trolls, except now there are plenty of holes in that wall, all sizes, and the trolls are chained to the gates so they can’t reach the people going through the walls. 🙂

        1. True. They can be quite scary, and the chains aren’t readily visible so one might worry they reach further than they actually can – or reverse, maybe one might still go where they can get to you. And the thorn wall can look pretty intimidating. No guarantees you can reach the princess, either. Might just end wandering around for who knows how long (but there are smaller rewards, I hear the kitchen can be pretty interesting, and rumor says some of the smaller treasures are available too, even if you never get any of the main rewards). 😀

          1. Ah but the trolls firmly believe, and will trumpet those beliefs to any passerby, that those holes in the wall and the tunnels beneath are an aberration, an anomaly, and will shortly disappear. And they will hold to those beliefs even as the wall shreds into nothingness and the gates they guard so religiously turn to millstones around their necks dragging them into the much and mire that traditional publishing is fast becoming.

          2. Before entering castle, be advised that the quality of princesses os vastly over-rated these days and that the ones truly worth having are not lying about discerning numerous shades of gray. Dejah Thoris (or Athena Hera Sinestra) don’t sit around awaiting rescue and isn’t likely to long endure being ensconced in a wall of thorns.

            Rapunzel, Rapunzel — Let down your hair.

    2. And there is a reason I know I will never bother to submit (so many mixed meanings there) to a traditional publisher outside Baen.

      Yes, exactly, so many mixed meanings there. 😉

    3. Speaking of always wanting to write something; Memories Pizza in Walkerton, IN has been forced to close its doors because of all the Anti-Hate death threats. Five years ago I would have never dreamed of being able to write something like that un-ironically.

      1. On the other hand, you never see stories about Muslim bakers driven into hiding, no matter who they refuse to serve.

        As Instapundit says: Be careful what incentives you set up:

        Presumably they’re afraid that the Islamists will kill them if they do that. One hopes that religious Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc., won’t take the obvious lesson regarding incentives . . . .

        I’d rather live in a nation that believes in freedom of association; instead, I live in a nation where so-called libertarians like Bill Quick think that Memories Pizza deserves what it gets, because icky Christians.

        1. If you interpret freedom of association to mean that only your side of a debate has the option to practice shunning, you’ve missed the point. Bill Quick gets it.

          1. Annnddddd….. swing and miss.

            My point is that neither Bill Quick nor you nor any number of Leftoid hypocrites has the spine or cojones to go after a target that will actually respond with violence, that until you all have the guts to demand the same standards of behavior from ALL groups, PUBLICLY, you’re nothing but cowardly hypocrites, and that if you keep it up, you’re going to establish the incentive of extreme violence as the only way to be left alone in this country.

            Is that sufficiently clear?

    1. Man, “Howard Dean, our next president.” Cracks me up just thinking about it.

      1. Somehow I think back to Mary’s post above:

        And their roars have been known to frighten people off.

        Yup. **giggle**

                1. It’s like watching two shag carpets rubbing past one another, moaning and grunting.

                  Do you think there are problems with tangles?

                  1. I would say that you just crossed a line, but lets face it, this crowd is all about crossing lines.
                    And that’s why i love it hear, moaning wookie love and all.

                1. Brain Bleach: When the image is so horrible that mental floss won’t due, try Brain Bleach! Available at retailers nowhere.

                  1. That brings up a question. Do we have a supplier for this, or does someone make the Brain Bleach in one of the labs?

                1. Really, that exists? My most profuse apologies to my homeland and loved ones. John Balook is dead, he hit his head.

                  1. Not only did it exist, but it has vocal public supporters. If you feel like going insane, go diving into some of the gamer sub-culture stuff from shortly before the Star Wars mmo came out. That’s where I found out it existed, and in levels beyond “humor.”

                  2. Oh yes. Good ol’ Rule 34 and its subset of “there is slash for any pairing you can imagine, and many you wish you hadn’t.” Bringing us such joys as the aforementioned Han/Chewie and other gems like Wincest (which was so bad, they even lampshaded it on the show: “Dude, they do know we’re related, right?” “…that doesn’t seem to matter…”)

                    1. Yes, try Slayers shippers for Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun and Zelgadis Greywords as Rezo the Red Priest rendered him. Zel’s hair is wire … seriously.

                    2. *sadly* It’s been so long since I watched / read The Slayers so I don’t remember (and damn, it’s hard to find the various manga, translated… I wanted the light novels too).

                      I’m tempted to go back and read Dragon’s Cycle because I have vague memories of weaponizing Zel’s hair, possibly before it was done in the anime.

                  1. Here’s the jug. If it’s not enough, the tanker is out hiding behind the tiger lilies.

                2. I played a Wookie medic in a Star Wars RPG campaign. The other two mainstays of my group (a married couple) played anime-style teenyboppers. To emphasize that my character had no interest in them when he had downtime I would say he was in his quarters enjoying Wookie porn.

                  It evolved from a running gag into a plot point as the game progressed. When Imperial agents too our ship was ‘Damnit’ when he saw the medbay was trashed, but he was ‘NOOOOOO!’ to find they stole his collection. (Which they later destroyed in front of him.)

  2. You are so right. I have no pro gun stickers on our cars, I have to bite my tongue in certain circles, and yes there is the feeling out dance before stating my thoughts.

    I was in the dentist’s waiting room not very long ago and had tuned out the TV and was reading my Kindle. I had glanced at another patient, female, give or take my age, (early sixties) and placed her into the most likely liberal and anti gun, as her overheard comment of retired school teacher led me down a certain assumption path. And yet, when she glanced up at the TV screen showing a very high placed elected official and murmured, “That moron.” I realized that once again my assumptions were wrong. Turned out we both use the same pistol range, and she has her concealed carry permit.

    And on using scarves for a secret code recognition system, I use a ball cap with an AR boltface logo instead. (almost as good an insider tag as my Miskatonic University t shirt.)

    This time it was nice to be wrong.

    John in Philly

    1. The lib/prog crowd is invariably anti gun. (for the common folk, they themselves are exempt and can arm themselves or hire armed guards. That is perfectly OK)
      A while back they got very excited about a survey that “proved” gun ownership was on the decline in America. Finally their message was getting through to the public.
      It was a phone survey. Of course anyone would tell the truth when a perfect stranger on the phone asks them if they keep guns in the house.
      Eventually someone thought to fact check the survey results against the number of background checks being done and new gun sales from the industry and realized that the survey might have a few flaws.
      Side note: had a little family reunion this past weekend and got the opportunity to chat a bit with youngest son. His two kids are now 12 and 13 and we talked about how he has taught them to lie. If anyone not vetted by mom or dad asks about guns in their house they are to look them in the eye and say “no sir or m’am, no guns in our house.” A bit sad in a way, but I must admit valuable life training skills when dealing with authority as that question could easily come from a doctor, a teacher, or any government official.

      1. Uncle Lar,

        If asked, “Do we have any guns in our house?” We answer, “Not one.” Most people do not outright lie very well and in the rare occasion when asked, the above truthful answer works well for us.

        I have tried to stick close to the truth when I am lying.

        When I am wearing my AR boltface symbol cap, once in a while someone glances at the hat, looks at me, nods and smiles. Another fellow traveler I think.

        John in Philly

        1. Or as someone once said of testifying before Congress (and which I used in one of my own books)
          Don’t lie to them – but don’t blurt out the truth, either.

            1. Totally agree in principle, but not an option open to my grand kids when dealing with nosy parkers with authority over them such as teachers. Sometimes it’s just smarter to try to fly below the radar.

                    1. I wonder if Vox Day uses the VD name because of the connection between “VD” and “Venereal disease”. [Very Big Grin]

                  1. Spewdonym #42!

                    It’s hilarious how he’s hijacking the Sad Puppy debate to continue his blood-feud with Vox.

                    1. I asked; the police order is for Vox’s blog, but seeing as how YamaClamp is obsessively attempting to destroy Vox’s business, slander him, serial harassment and such, Vox is already collecting material for the next round.

                    2. Not sure. He definitely can’t go to Vox’s. The police recommended he be kept off the internet, but his caregivers seem to be asleep at the switch.

                1. Made himself known over on Brad T’s blog linked from MGC today. Whiney little beyatch ain’t he though. Made me want to reach through the screen and poke him one.

                  1. I think, developmental issues or not, that would should have been walloped a lot more when he was a toddler. He might have learned to act LIKE a human.

                    1. When I checked back late last night Brad had booted him and removed all his posts. While I do understand, it’s still a pity as they were a perfect example of a raving loon on the net.

                2. I was skimming my way down the post and I glimpse: C*l*a*m*p*s

                  hmmm? My mind asks: Clamp? A group of Japanese women who started as a dojinshi group. In the late 80s they started producing original Manga and Anime works and, for a time, were extremely successful.

                  Oh? I see. You mean a poster. Never mind.

                  1. Known troll. As in — known to the police.

                    His guardians have been made aware of his habits.

                    1. Yes, with whom I thankfully have never had to deal. Otherwise I gather I would not be inspired to even so feeble an attempt at levity. 😉

                    2. Oh, there is always levity* where Clamps is involved. But a little bit goes a LONG ways.

                      *for certain values of levity, maybe Shadowdancer would be kind enough to link to the thread where Clamps whines that everybody picks on him because he is a gay muslim, and then backpedals and says that he said no such thing… when you can plainly see it on the screen, just a couple comments upthread.

                    3. I was under the impression, having been assured so by (former) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that there are no gay Muslims.

                      I think Clamps needs to go for the Phobia Trifecta and claim to be a transgendered gay muslim. He’s already partway there, as many would attest he has no _____ and is somewhat of a _______ .

                    4. Also, we need to keep people informed about his history because newcomers keep showing up.

                    5. I thought I should let folks know – you CAN add to the Spewdonym List as well. Or post examples of his harassment. The Stalker Sticky and the Spewdonym List isn’t just to show examples of Clamps/Yamamanama harassing myself, it’s to show that he goes after a certain set of targets and records his behavior. It hasn’t CHANGED AT ALL since he targeted the children of a white supremacist to punish the mother.

                      The incident where he painted himself as gay was hilarious because he was attempting to make it seem like I’m a homophobic bigot, and I was insinuating the reason why he was so focused on the crotch details of a male character I drew was because the implied size of the bump was making Clamps feel insecure. His response was “What? You think homosexual men have small genitals?”

                      Naturally, it sounded like him saying he was gay, because NOBODY had said anything about homosexuality other than himself. And it took him THREE DAYS to deny it while raging throughout the thread.

                    6. Yeah, the nesting sucked.

                      The best part about that was he did it all to himself, surprising everyone with how he not only blows himself up, he digs a pit, fills it with landmines, then dives headfirst into it. Then wonders what went ‘kaboom’.

                    7. That’s what gets me about him going on and on about Vox allegedly stalking him.

                      You stalk ME for five YEARS? You’ll be fortunate if all I do is send some emails to your friends. Especially if I had Vox’s money.

                      Hell, I’ve been tempted to do just that a time or two, and that’s only been in dealing with his crap for a couple of years, tops.

                    8. That’s why I’ve been his favorite target for six years now. I’m in Australia now, and trying to build up a harassment case would take more money than I have. Given his proclivity for trying to point people in my direction to harass me though, I have bigger things to worry about. *sad smile* I’ve shown that he likes to do it online, and he has history of reaching out and targeting the children of people he hates to punish the parent for their political views. He’s ok with crossing that line.

                    9. And he’s still at it. As I go around looking at the various Hugo Result posts, there he is, reliably flaming Vox in one line on all of them. File770 seems to have a permanent infection.

              1. I told my youngest to tell both the teachers and doctors that exact phrase when he was asked 4 years ago as a senior in high school, and this was a CATHOLIC high school even. When the principal sent home a note, both the wife and I went straight to his office the next morning and gave him an earful.

                It’s hard to fly beneath the radar when the authority figures are coming straight at you. Outright loud defiance usually throws them for a loop and they back off.

                  1. They’d charge you with terrorism. You might wind up at GITMO. Because wrongthink is the same as doing it.

                    1. I am not sure but the crime of wrongthink is considered worse than action in their world view.

                      They might do something which crosses their carefully drawn lines, but, because their minds and hearts are in the right place, it can and will be forgiven. On the other hand when conservatives do something that is right in their eyes it will be considered suspect because their motives cannot be correct.

                1. I’ve been watching this trend for a while, now. It isn’t just about guns, though that part is troubling. Yiu go in to a dental surgeon’s office for a root canal, referral from your regular dentist, and they want you to fill in 5 pages of life history.

                  I generally answer the few questions that seem reasonable, and scrawl “what conceivable business is this of yours?” Over the rest. To date, nobody has confronted me on it.

                  1. My kids’ dentist asks for the social and birth-date of the emergency contact that doesn’t live with you.

                    I tend to leave MOST of the stuff dead. And not sign the bit at the end that says “if we have any trouble with the billing, you’ll pay everything we ask.”

                    No troubles.

              2. It is ALWAYS appropriate to respond to intrusive boundary violating questions with “Why do you ask?”

                This has the benefit of inverting the initiative and enabling interrogation of the would-be interrogator. Children should practice this technique until they acquire a collection of suitable follow-up questions.

    2. Heh. Reminds of the time I was picking up the daughter from work at midnight. Parked on the passenger side of an SUV belonging to one of her fellow employees. Sticker on her right rear window proclaiming “Guns kill people.”

      Lady came out, I said nothing, didn’t want to get the daughter into any grief at work.

      Few nights later, picked up the daughter again, but parked on the OTHER side of the same SUV. Two stickers on the left rear window proclaiming “Forget diamonds, ladies.” and “.45 ACP are the real thing.”

      Lady came out again – and I couldn’t resist now, rolled down the window and asked her about them.

      Told me that some moron had scraped off the second sticker on the other side – which said “That richly deserve it.”

  3. I wish Tom Wolfe would get on this, and do a (nonfiction, please?) book. He’s touched on it, in HOOKING UP, where he asks why American writers abandoned the Novel of Reporting (GRAPES OF WRATH, IN COLD BLOOD, THE GREAT GATSBY) for the novel of neurasthenia. But he didn’t touch on what was happening in the generas.

    Tom Wolfe, giving the prissy gatekkepers the THE PAINTED WORD treatment would be priceless.

    1. Wolfe got more than a bit of blow back for Hooking Up if I rightly recall .. bunch of not so quite whispers that had lost his magic — that maybe he was getting a bit long in the tooth.

      1. I think you are confusing HOOKING UP with I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS (his most recent novel). He got blow back for both SIMMONS and A MAN IN FULL, at least from the New York (il)Literati. Didn’t matter a damn; they both sold and found solid support, from what I read.

          1. If you haven’t dipped into his nonfiction, i strongly recommend it. All the books are worth the time, but THE PAINTED WORD, FROM BAUHAUS TO OUR HOUSE, and HOOKING UP deal most with the art world and art.

            1. Back when our cable still carried C-Span 2, which had Book TV on weekends, The Spouse and I would pay attention to when Tom Wolfe was going to be a featured speaker or guest. He was always good.

              1. For a wonderful hour and twenty:

                Excerpted from transcript:

                Now, going to all that, by way of stressing the importance, to me, of going outside of your own ordinary boundaries as a requirement going outside of the domestic arena is concentrated on by so many writers today, talented writers, and somehow, some way, seeing what is on the outside is outside of your experience. My theory is that everybody’s personal psychology is created by two things. Or rather the intersection of two things: one is the, I think, of horizontal, the setting in which you’re living. It could be a city. It could be a farm. It could be the air force. It could be hippies. But that setting is going to have a crucial affect on your life.

                And you have your own personality, your own psychology but where it intersects with the setting is where your life and your real personality is created. This is somewhat similar to Hegel’s theory from oh, my god, almost 200 years ago. Meaning the spirit of the age. And Hegel said that every historical epic has its own moral tone, and that you can try all you want to escape that zeitgeist because it’s going to impinge upon your moral life and there is no way on earth that you can escape it.

                To me, I believe that is substantially true. I think that’s why it’s so crucial for writers to do what writers did routinely in the 19th century, namely, look for material outside of your own life. The MFA program, the master’s of fine arts programs in creative writing, students tend to be — hear the following maximum over and over again. Write what you know.

                And that’s actually great advice. But now what do you know? [laughter] >> most of us know only our own lives. And that’s why you end up with this phenomenon of a brilliant young writer cannibalizing all the material of his first 25 years on earth, comes up with a brilliant novel. It gets great reviews. Then the second novel is about a young writer who’s gotten great reviews on his first novel. [laughter] >>

                Nevertheless, he’s — what little income he got from this highly praised but not widely bought novel is gone, and he’s trudging wearily up to the fifth floor of some decrepit walkup in the hell’s kitchen area of New York and thinking about the fact that he has nothing. He has no beautiful lovers. He has no power. This is not really a very interesting novel. [laughter] >> that’s because all that’s left is what happened the preceding two years. [laughter] >> Dickens never let anything like that happen.

  4. Informed attributes for those who don’t follow the link, are a characteristic of lazy, sloppy writing, particularly common in fanfic AND beginner writers (though we all do it, but hopefully not in contradiction to our real writing.) This is when you tell the reader that the character is kind or socially conscious or whatever even though the rest of your writing shows exactly the opposite. (One of my ex-fledgelings had a penchant for this. Would inform you the character was so nice and universally loved, and then show he was the ass everyone rode in on and most people hated him. Eh.)

    So, basically “T… is a good girl”? (Sorry, but that was that popped into my head. 😉

    Back when I was writing “full time” (which is another way of saying back when I was unemployed) I would generally manage to sell one or at most two stories a year (that was a very hard time for me). I did better with non-fiction, actually. I had just started working at novel length but well, things happened and I was fafiated.

    This past year, with indie, I’ve published more stories (mostly shorts so far–one novel) and individually sales haven’t been anything to write home about but while reading your post I had an epiphany:

    I’m making as much, in total, indie as I made per year selling to the magazines.

    It’s not much, but it’s a start and a promise of things to come.

    And the “gatekeepers” just. can’t. stand. that.

    1. No, they can’t. It takes away from their self-declared power and prestige. After all, if EVERYONE can write and publish without their help, their function as a critical resource for those who want to ‘go big’ is severely diminished.

      In a way, they’re a lot like movie critics who want to guide the hoi polloi in directions the vast unwashed don’t care to go. They’re standing in front of the theater trying to persuade people to go to a reshowing of the critically acclaimed ‘Sex Lives of the Potato Men’ instead of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’.

      (And I joke – ‘Sex Lives of the Potato Men’ was actually hated by the critics as well as the public…)

      1. Well of course it was. It has men in the title.
        Now ‘Sex Lives of the Potato Transgendered’ that would be a winner.

          1. Nay sweetie. I loves you like my idiot sister, and anywho I always heard that laughter was the best medicine. That and very good drugs.

              1. Absolutely. It’s a thing that we past members of this super secret smart people club do to each other in jest.

            1. Hearty laughter is an excellent exercise for rebuilding core strength, providing a superior combination of abdominal muscle group workout and cardiovascular benefits. The repeated muscular contractions and gasping for breath are yoga-like in their results. It is conducive to enhanced visual and mental clarity, allowing the practitioner to see objects and persons with greater perspective.

              As with all strong medicines, do not use while driving. Use only in appropriate circumstances and limited amounts, preferably under the supervision of a trained comedian.

            1. You, my dear are a dangerous women.

              I am thinking ‘twould be excellent title for a gardening and cooking book, sprinkled with rambling reminiscences.

        1. The problem is that the people who came up with the title aren’t current on the terminology. If they had correctly titled it “Sex Lives of Potato Otherkin” not only would it be a critical success, it would be required viewing in most $NOUN$ Studies programs.

        2. Well, one of the most ppular characters in GOTG was a tree man, er,,, thing… er… well, non-gendered whatever but it sure sounded male…

          So why not something about rude vegetables?

          1. Rude vegetables?

            The Usual Suspects would think it was an attack on them?

      1. “So, basically “T… is a good girl”? (Sorry, but that was that popped into my head. ;)”

        I’m just glad to know I wasn’t the only one who thought that. 😀

                    1. Heh. I’m not likely to be seen on campus at this point. I might do the MIT online courses once I get my other house sold, but I don’t see any scenario where I could take classes on campus.

    2. And the “gatekeepers” just. can’t. stand. that.

      It’s happening everywhere, but somehow the gatekeepers assume their business is unique. Here’s the Country Music Version:

      Sony Nashville record label Gary Overton said in an interview with The Tennessean, “If you’re not on country radio, you don’t exist,” and the quote continues to resonate amongst independent country fans and artists, especially in the Texas scene, where many of the top artists enjoy excellent support from loyal fans, yet find their songs being ignored by mainstream country radio.

      1. …Sony during the days I had the patience to smile while ignorant pencil pushing,mullet headed expense account rapists like you ran those labels.

        Oh *SNAP*.

        That’s gotta leave a mark.

        1. A Mark????

          Hell, that was a full set of tire tracks from a 4WD F150in a high speed lock the brakes stop…….

      2. Huh. The only “country” music I’ve ever bought is frim Australian and Brit artists.

        I doubt they’re on US radio, but they’re certainly “real”.

      3. Hmmm. You may have hit on a deep thought analogy here…

        Asked the daughter once why she had the radio on to a station that (charitably) played the same half-hour’s worth of music all day long. Quote – “Because I can ignore it, Dad.”

        Is this not what the Hugos have become for most of us – what the Nebulas long have been? Just background noise…

        1. Or it’s become like the Bancroft Prize was in US History for a while – a sure sign of a dull book. The topic might have been interesting, but the writing was guaranteed to be deadly dry. That has improved, a little, with the Bancroft, kinda.

          1. Hmmm. Wasn’t the Bancroft Prize the award won by Michael Bellesiles’ fraudulent “Arming America?”

            I’d think getting caught giving an award to a proven academic fraud – top to bottom, cover to cover – would result in at least “a little” improvement, no matter how thick the ideological bubble you live in…

          2. The Hugo, Nebula, Caldecott, Newberry and Bancroft prizes may be largely irrelevant to the reading public but they are likely influential in determining what librarians choose to stock and display, if only because it offers a ready defense if challenged for “stocking that kind of crap.”

            Never underestimate the importance to a bureaucrat of the ability to deflect criticism by saying “It is an award-winning book.”

            1. I noticed even when I was a child, that the books marked “Newberry Award Winners” tended to be depressing at best.

              And the dog always died. Depressingly.

              That experience kind of permanently soured me on “award winning” books.

                  1. The committee has alway s had the problem of Australian rules voting, which means that everyone’s 2nd (or even 3rd) choice book would win. Over the past hmmm… Decade or so, the SJWs have percolated down from ALA proper and the awards are currently on a fast slide to oblivion.

                    They desperately need a sad puppies. Maybe, when the yard ape is a bit older…

    3. The only book I really and truly gave a horrible Amazon review for involved *telling* the reader that the romantic hero was feared… then it went on to tell-describe every single person adoring him and him expressing wonderful thoughtfulness and consideration to everyone.

    4. Human beings are social animals, like monkeys. And monkeys have hierarchies, and alphas, and some monkeys just have to try to be in charge. It’s in their genes.

      Personally, I’d rather be a human being. Being a monkey is boring.

  5. As for Libertarians, I will to my dying day cherish the dinner I had with my then editor to whom I was describing a funny incident at MileHi where for reasons known only to Bob, I found myself in an argument with someone who wanted to ban the internal combustion engine. My editor perked up and (I swear I’m not making this up) said “Oh, a Libertarian.”

    The Spouse is one to refuse to adopt labels, among them political. Why? Because while one may know what they mean by the word — with a working understanding of the historical, dictionary and functional meanings — experience proves that most others do not. No, they are quite capable of hearing libertarian and believing that to be equivalent to totalitarian.

    Consider the SJWs who insist that the world needs to be a safe speech zone. By this they do not mean places where you are free to discuss ideas openly, but rather places where words and ideas are to be avoided if they deem offensive to those who they have decided deserve protection. But they will not ever call this censoring, because censoring is bad. Censorship is what those terrible no-good very bad conservatives do. Because in their mind’s dictionary it says conservative = that which is bad, undesireable, mean.

    But this – redefining and twisting meaning – is an old game.

    1. Based on my casual observations the two groups desperately trying to wipe out any vestige of free speech on college campuses are the SJW and Muslim activists. And the fact that those two can find common cause proves in my mind that truly God is an Iron.

    2. If libertarians want to ban the IC engine why aren’t all environmentalists libertarians?

    3. No, they are quite capable of hearing libertarian and believing that to be equivalent to totalitarian.

      Got relatives who self describe as libertarian; on actually talking… they’re totalitarians of the Free To Be Just Like Me I Want type.

      1. That’s pretty common, actually.

        If you got 100 random Americans together but somehow made it so they didn’t know labels for political groups, most would self identify as libertarian.

        However, if you gave them a questionnaire with 100 questions about their stances, then told them their label, you’d have many, many fewer libertarians.

        Freedom sounds good when it’s freedom for what I want to do. It’s much harder when you have to protect freedom for things you find distasteful.

      2. You comment reminded me of how I’m going to response now on concerning another issue.

        “Freedom Of Religion For Thee But Not For Me”. [Frown]

        1. *spreads hands* It makes sense, if you want to simplify things by denying compromise is possible.

          Freedom is good, Religion is good, so if what you do is not also good, then it’s not really religion or freedom….

          It’s the same logic that paints the guys who stopped mass human sacrifice as inherent villains for that act.

          1. In my humble opinion any religion that requires its members to impose said religion on non believers immediately removes itself from the category of religion and assumes the mantle of political system, and one I will resist with violence if necessary.
            Now proselytism on the other hand can range anywhere from mildly annoying to “y’all get off my property and never show your face here again or next time I’ll shoot first!”
            Faith is good. I believe in faith. Everyone should have some, whatever works for them. Organized religion on the other hand I consider to be an abomination and a ready vehicle for charlatans, hucksters, and snake oil salesmen.

            1. ‘s why they place word-games– play at semantics to “win,” rather than arguing semantics because it matters.

              I could probably find you more lawsuits than EITHER of us would like to read about where folks took “impose their faith” as “come to my notice in any way, including doing something I don’t want you to which I will attribute to your religion.”

              Organized religion on the other hand I consider to be an abomination and a ready vehicle for charlatans, hucksters, and snake oil salesmen.

              As opposed to disorganized religion, anti-religions, or active hostility to organization type belief systems, which never have any of those…
              Wait. Those are all human conditions.

            2. Tell me, is “a group of people getting together regularly to discuss their religion” organized religion?

              I’d like to know just “how organized” a group of religious people can get before it becomes an abomination? [Sarcastic Grin]

              1. Got no problem with folks who gather together in His name. I abhor the kind of organization that allows a grifter to assume the mantle of priest, generally to feather their own nests.
                To put it as plainly as I can, I have nothing but respect for a person who chooses to study religion, think on the nature of God, and develop a set of beliefs they would like to discuss whether with fellow believers or debate with non believers. But anyone who claims to know better than I do God’s intentions for me and tries to tell me how I must live my life so as to earn a way into Heaven, those get the same treatment as cold call phone salespeople with really good investment opportunities.
                Every so often I get a visit from two middle aged black ladies who stand on my porch and pray for me. Sweet as can be and crazy as a pair of bedbugs, but I always treat them with kindness and respect. They are doing right as they see it. I know in my heart that if I needed any help they could provide they would offer it freely. I would do the same for them. The fact that I think they are nucking futs is neither here nor there and does not give me the right to mock or insult them. To be perfectly clear, I am not disparaging them or their sincerity here, just saying my belief system and theirs will never share the same reality. I can still respect their good intentions.

                1. You do realize that there are people who do object if it means that cars are regularly parked about a home where people are gathering to discuss the Bible. And who will say, only a little sugared over, that any practice of religion that they even notice is not protected.

                  1. Yep, and self centered opinionated a$$holes we will always have with us.
                    But in action if not specific cause to beat their ever so special drums over how is the bunch you describe any different from the SJWs attacking our very loose amalgamation of SF&F fans.
                    There is a sickness that the human race seems to spew forth on a regular basis. I’d call it anti libertarianism, folks who are compelled to stick their noses in where they have no earthly right to be, dictating what is right and proper behavior and punishing anyone who fails to cheerfully and completely follow the must dos and shun the must nots. All as laid out by our friendly buttinskis who after all are doing good by controlling every aspect of life.
                    I myself am a small L libertarian bordering on rational anarchist. I really don’t care what anyone else does to themselves. Fornicate with farm animals for all I care, though I may as a good neighbor request that you frolic indoors or behind a fence. I will admit that I draw the line when your actions harm women, children, or those unable to defend themselves, but perfect consistency is an ideal and I admit to being far from perfect.

                    1. … self centered opinionated a$$holes we will always have with us

                      I am struck by the recognition of how many who proclaim themselves “enlightened” are actually rather dim bulbs.

                      Filled with utter hatred for He who is “the light of the world.”

                    2. “Yep, and self centered opinionated a$$holes we will always have with us.”–Uncle Lar

                      There you go.

                  2. Oddly, such people rarely take to the courts or legislature to ban people from hosting extended and noisy Sunday afternoon celebrations of the secular American faith known as Football.

                    Just as many (if not more) cars parked at the curbs, far noisier and generally generating more litter (with the potential for tragic accidents on the drive home.)

                    One more cynical than I might suspect it is not the gathering but its purpose to which they object.

                2. I abhor the kind of organization that allows a grifter to assume the mantle of priest, generally to feather their own nests.

                  So, you abhor all human organizations? Because EVERY kind of human organization has allowed grifters to assume the mantle of authority. Governments, schools, hospitals, theaters, book clubs, unions, corporations, animal rescue groups, etc, etc. To limit OR focus your abhorrence on religion is crass bigotry.

                  1. Oh, I freely admit to prejudice, but I’m an equal opportunity bigot. Crooked politicians, crony capitalists, phony religious, I’m agin them all.
                    Seems to me to be the human condition, existential whack-a-mole where these types always find some vehicle to grab power and better themselves at the expense of the clueless masses. Beat one down and two more pop up somewhere else.
                    I wasn’t especially picking on religion, though it does seem to be a fairly fertile field for such charlatans. It was just the topic that came up. I have similar opinions on our current fearless leader and his merry band of mortar forkers as well. And I expect that regulars here know my feelings about the SJW and their ilk.
                    So I freely admit to being judgmental, often overly so, but perhaps not so much a bigot as I tend to judge by action rather than appearance with one exception. I loathe and detest all Chicago politicians, comes from growing up in downstate Illinois. I will always consider them the scum of the earth until proven otherwise.

                    1. Better be careful. If you talk too much against religion, the Progressives might think you’re one of them. [Very Very Big Evil Grin]

        2. Note recent assertions (prompted by the kerfuffle over Indiana’s law allowing people to a court challenge of infringements of their religious beliefs) by presidential spokespuppet Sirius Joke Josh Earnest that the RFRA endorsed by the younger Barry Obama was for protection of the rights of religious minorities — thus asserting special protections for designated interest groups as approved public policy. Apparently religious majorities (undefined, of course, as to what percentage of population is required to be a majority nor how sectarian differences should be considered in aggregation of such groups) and unapproved religious minorities (e.g., Mormons*.)

          *Contemplate, briefly, the likely “enlightened” opinion reaction to a proposed Broadway Musical The Book of muslim

    4. I mentioned being Libertarian once, and a colleague said, “Ah, yes. And how is Mr LaRouche doing these days?”
      To which I replied, “I wouldn’t know. Lyndon LaRouche is one of yours (meaning a Democrat).”

      1. Excellent. Also, never miss a chance to point out that Fred Phelps was a life-long Democrat and Al Gore supporter.

  6. The only way to win their silly game is not to play. The proper answer to “Are you a …” or “Do you really believe …” is “Yeah. What of it? So what?” Challenge their assumptions, and never show fear. Debate with them, but politely. Ask them what their end goals really are, and what would be necessary to achieve those goals. Calmly egg them into losing their cool in public. As Larry says so eloquently, the target of the debate isn’t them – it’s the onlookers. The more you calmly, politely enrage them, the more you win over the audience. They don’t have facts, and really can’t handle the truth. The are like vampires, and the truth is the sun. It cleanses while it illuminates.

    I have fun at the yearly “equal opportunity” interviews. (Yes, we undergo personal interviews to make sure we understand the process.) I always tell the interviewer that I fully understand that the process is not fair; is not intended to foster a democratic equality of opportunity, but a socialist equality of outcomes; and that as a straight, white man, I am not protected by the law. Indeed, under the laws and policies, I am guilty until proven innocent, am not entitled to see the evidence presented against me, and I am specifically forbidden from confronting my accuser. Therefore, the law blatantly violates the Constitution in numerous ways. Oddly enough, the interviewer normally ends up agreeing with me. I do so enjoy those brief moments. 🙂

    Shame the devil, and tell the truth. After all, “The truth shall make ye fret.”

    1. The Truth only makes me fret when I can’t remember what it was that I told the person I’m talking to. Like “OK, did I tell Mom I was at study group, or this time was I with the church group, or did I use the rehearsal excuse. Come on brain, which was it?” 😉

    2. My approach is to say “Politically, I’m a Crank.”, which is true, all in all.

      I’m in favor of legal Gay marriage … and think the divorce statistics will be instructive.

      I think the war in Iraq was a mistake …. I think we should have atom-bombed Saddam, wherever he was and said “annoy us again, and we’ll be back”

      I personally will not watch a Jane Fonda film …. Because she’s a lousey actress. I EXPECT an actor or actress to have lackwit political ideas based on emotion instread of reason.

      See? Crank.

      1. IMHO Saddam was not the problem, Islam is the problem and nuking Mecca the solution. Should have happened as soon as the hijackers were identified.

        1. Saddam was a problem because he had never come within shouting distance of meeting the surrender terms from the Gulf War. If we were going to do anything other than destroy things in the Middle East, there had to be some consequences. I like the idea of nuking the sonofabitch, but taking down his government, the way we did, and then LEAVING would have done.

          Nuke Mecca and we have to kill at least half the Muslims in the world. Amd whatever happens, we DON’T want to fight the Saudis. Because if we fight them, we win, and if we win, WE get to administer Mecca. Oh. My. God.

          I think Bush was hoping that taking out “the fourth largest army in the world” (I remember being repeatedly assured that the Iraqi army was) in a couple of weeks would serve as a nice object lesson.

          We should have left.

          1. Nuke Mecca and we have to kill at least half the Muslims in the world. Amd whatever happens, we DON’T want to fight the Saudis. Because if we fight them, we win, and if we win, WE get to administer Mecca. Oh. My. God.

            Oh, gad, that would be a nightmare. Mostly because we’d try to do it correctly.

            1. How hard would it be to build a baptismal and a shul? The Hindu temple could be built later, along with the shrine to Ahura-Mazda.

              1. Yes, around the shiny glass lake. Plus killing half the muslims would fix a lot of the world’s problems . The ones at Mecca are self – selected hard core.

            2. Mostly because we’d try to do it correctly.

              Exactly backward. We wouldn’t try to do it correctly. We’d try to do it nicely.

              “Correctly” involves entirely too much blood for many people’s stomachs (probably including mine, if I’m honest about it).

              1. “Mostly because we’d try to do it correctly”

                That would be remarkably similar to the correct way to administer a nuclear enema. a) insert nuclear warhead b) nuke the $@*# out.

            3. Try to fit your mind around this; the Saudis are the best and fairest administrators of the Hadj in recorded history. The SAUDIS.

              Every time I get mad at them, I remember that for their sins, they deal every single year with what has to be the biggest recurring administrative headace in the world, amd don’t do too badly.

              Rather them than us.

          2. “Nuke Mecca and we have to kill at least half the Muslims in the world.”

            Of course there’s the little problem of whether we will have to kill at least half the Muslims in the world even if we don’t.

            True, the rhetoric about fighting to the last Japanese proved mostly rhetoric (though Saipan shows it was not all rhetoric), but we can’t rely on that.

            1. My Japanese-American friend who grew up in our concentration camps and her big brother who fought in WWII told me, when I was a child, that they believed that Japan would have fought to the bitter end and that there were both fewer dead Americans and fewer dead Japanese as a result of the bombs. (I was somewhere between six and twelve at the time of the conversation, which certainly happened at Church. Surely this is perfectly normal behavior for a child, at least among this crowd.)

            2. Hindsight is a luxury. Those involved in a conflict have to make their choices based on the information available to them at the time. Based on such battles as Saipan, Okinawa and Iwo Jima the Allies had every reason to believe that a land invasion of the home islands of Japan would be very costly (for both sides).

              1. Not just heavy casualties. There were serious discussion whether any victory short of extermination was possible. Certainly the Japanese rhetoric called for it, and Saipan nearly was exterminated, mostly by the Japanese forces.

          3. Nuke Mecca and we have to kill at least half the Muslims in the world. I’m leaning toward, but not yet committed to, the question: “And this is a problem because????”

            1. The problem lies in the probable results. Would bombing Mecca cause the Muslim extremists of various stripes to surrender or would it cause them to ramp up their activities?

                1. Some of the Dabiq = Megiddo crowd believe that Mecca will be destroyed, and then everybody gets to have a fun final battle at Dabiq.

                  So yeah, that takes some of the fun out of the Mecca nuking idea.

                  1. ISIS expended significant effort to capture Dabiq — they believe they are the final Islamic army who will ultimately fall to the Romans at Dabiq and bring about Armageddon.

                    No solid word on who gets to play the Romans.

                  2. Nuke Mecca, then land a medium sized army somewhere within 300 miles of there, make big noise about occupying and killing off every muslim while agents provocateur stir up trouble in other muslim nations getting the crazies to flock to Arabia to “defend the faith”, get them concentrated in a reasonable sized area to confront the “Crusaders,” then one night load up, haul ass over 100 miles away while a saturation nuking of the gathered barbarian horde takes place. Keep repeating until no more hordes gather, and then place the area under permanent occupation.

                2. Can we wait until I get back from central Europe? Say, July? (Realizing that other nation/state/ideological groups do have a say in the experimental parameters and timing.)

                3. Looked up Top 10 Countries with Largest Muslim Population – Countries of the World. Indonesia has a population of approximately 209,120,000 Muslims. India has approximately 176,190,000. Pakistan has approximately 167,410,00. Bangladesh has approximately 133,540,000. Nigeria, which is largely radicalized, has approximately 77,300,000. Those are the top five. All significantly higher numbers than that of Saudi Arabia, which, with approximately 25,493,000, does not even make the list.

                  Bombing Mecca, even during the Hajj, with an annual attendance of about 2 to 2.5 million, would not do what has been claimed it would do by others in this line of post. It is not the center of the radicals. The radicals are now disbursed, with a significant presence in Africa and Asia. Therefore, I do not suggest bombing Mecca.

                    1. So they are suggesting the equivalent of poking an angry animal in a sensitive place to see what will happen?

                    2. Sort of, but not really.

                      It would be a psychological attack, removing one of their icons, which would tend to demoralize them, yet with the understanding that there would also be a tidal wave of raging attacks in retaliation. This is what would bring about the “…would have to kill half the Muslim population” part of the original statement.

                      I actually doubt it would take that many. I think that they would get the message after about 10%. However, a lot of people don’t realize (or don’t take the time to consider) that that would mean over 100 MILLION dead, and if you start talking about raw numbers, instead of percentages, a lot of people would lose their resolve.

                    3. It would force a reformation that Islam sorely needs. And with out the force pilgrimage, the religion would also start to diverge into more different lines, which would hopefully do away with the inherent violence that is the main part of it.

                    4. To be perfectly honest, I’m quite unsure these days of whether that (turning Mecca into a glass lake) would make the Islamists back down or less radical. I just think of how when we see Muslim-on-Muslim violence, one of the most common ways to ensure that there’s lots of dead is to attack mosques on Ramadan. Hell, every Ramadan, there’s lots of corpses. Neither their own mosques nor their supposed most important holy day is important to them the way Christmas is important to Christians, and the Islamists routinely use holy days and holidays to target large masses of people. I keep expecting, quite honestly, ISIS to attack Mecca, and then have the blame on the usual conglomeration of Westerners, and Israel. And the sad thing is I don’t believe the current European and American governments will NOT listen and believe.

                      It worked really well in Kosovo, after all.

          4. Nuke Mecca and we have to kill at least half the Muslims in the world.

            A number which would instantly halve the moment a mushroom cloud appeared.

            (Obligatory Heinlein quote) “Geometric progression?” “Worse.”


          5. If you actually wanted to solve* the problem that way you’d have to nuke Medina as well, and then either taken over Jerusalem and administer it as a neutral zone or nuke it as well.

            *For certain values of solve

        2. That’s exactly what bin Laden was looking to accomplish, provoke us into an overreaction that would trigger a general Muslim-West war – which, Europe being throughly infested with progressive ideology and Muslim immigrants, would be America vs the Muslim World.

          No, our biggest mistake was not taking out Iran once we cleared our flank. The late stages of the Iraq campaign was a proxy war by Iran against us. Iran also provides support for the worst groups going after Israel. Plus clearing the east coast of the Gulf gives us the strategic room to apply real pressure to Saudi Arabia.

            1. The results of a West vs. Islam war would be no more Muslims, quite a lot of dead Westerners, and more than a few radioactive craters. Not exactly something to look forward to. During the Crusades the West and Islam were roughly evenly matched with regard to martial prowess, but the past millennium of colonial and European wars, culminating in WWII, taught the West a lot about strategy, tactics, and logistics. The Arabs have bought all of the weapons and sent many of their favored sons to the war colleges, but culturally they lack the attributes necessary to form a truly effective military.

              After the demise of the best Airborne plan, a most terrifying effect occurs on the battlefield. This effect is known as the rule of the LGOPs. This is, in its purest form, small groups of pissed-off 19 year old American paratroopers. They are well-trained, armed to the teeth and lack serious adult supervision. They collectively remember the Commander’s intent as “March to the sound of the guns and kill anyone who is not dressed like you…” or something like that. Happily they go about the day’s work…..

              1. The Arabs have bought all of the weapons and sent many of their favored sons to the war colleges, but culturally they lack the attributes necessary to form a truly effective military.

                I am totally stealing that, it’s such a polite way of putting some of the stuff my uncles say that makes folks bristle too much to think.

                It means the same thing, but some words just trigger a reaction too strongly, and if it’s phrased that way and then the emphasis on how their family loyalty is graded up, it might get folks to understand…..

          1. A better solution for Iran would be to repeat 1953. Send a Marine sniper squad to take out the Ayatollah and his president, then install a Shah. I’ve talked to some Iranian-Americans, and they say most of the people would welcome such a change.

            1. I own that I was very happy when The Spouse found me a DVD of the film Spirits of the Dead which features adaptations of three Edgar Allen Poe short stories by different directors. One was a done by Roger Vadim and features his then wife and her brother. This is not why I wanted to own it. Then there is one which Louis Malle directed, which was visually stunning. But that, still, is not why I wanted to own it. The final was directed by Federico Fellini and takes the Poe story into the present. It is both entirely Poe and entirely Fellini. And that is why I own it.

            2. I don’t watch Barbarella for the acting.

              From a long time ago in Mad Magazine, a piece on “updated nursery rhymes”:

              Jane by naughty, Jane be bad.
              Jane act in movies, all unclad.
              Jane big nothing, Jane big bore.
              Jane, please put on your clothes once more.

    3. You realize at some point this is going to get you fired for creating a hostile work environment, right?

      1. Not when they specifically ask me about my understanding, in a private interview, where I am expected and required to speak the truth. You will notice that I state no negative (or positive, for that matter) opinions about any person or group, just my opinion of the law itself. Plus I’m a government employee with tenure. 😉

        If they want to stop discrimination based on race/sex/whatever, maybe they should stop discriminating against people based on their race/sex/whatever. Just a thought.

  7. …I don’t care either way, unless they chase me down and make me believe as they do.

    To our most esteemed hostess:

    I am having a bit of a hard time trying to wrap my head around the idea of anyone making you believe anything against your will.

    1. “You can’t make anybody do something they don’t want to do. You can, however, make them want to do it.” See 1984’s Room 101, the survivors of various Communist purges, the forced converts to Islam, the 30 Years War, et al, ad nauseum, heavy on the nausea.

      Although, to be fair, lots of people weren’t convinced to change their beliefs against their will. They’re generally in mass graves.

      1. Ultimately the philosophy of any totalitarian movement is “convert or die!”
        True for communism, it’s written into Islam’s holy books, used to be so with extreme versions of christianity though mostly that’s well in the past.
        See it today in unguarded moments with the SJW crowd as several of them have expressed the wish that their opposition would die.
        Seems to me when faced with folks that have that attitude anything I do back at them is simple self defense. When someone says in front of witnesses “I want you dead” I consider that to be the first shot and I am free to return fire.

        1. To be unfair to the SJWs, I don’t think their wish that their opponents would die is the mature plotting of mature monsters. I think it’s the uncontrolled tantrum of the permenantly adolescent.

          1. Would tend to agree as to their motivation. Still, whatever the reason, their actions are intended to cause harm to and silence all those with a different viewpoint. Screw them and their calls of microaggression. Their actions against us and ours are macroaggression and deserve whatever retaliation we deem fit and appropriate.
            Best way to stop bullies is to slap them down hard and immediately. The council currently being espoused in our public schools to just ignore them and they’ll leave you alone never works. It simply brands you in their eyes as prey.

                1. Most of the types at the school I went to who would be bullies were also jocks and I was the starting center/noseguard on the varsity football team…..

            1. I found that a combination of ignoring verbal BS and responding savagely to anything physical worked pretty well for me in high school. A lot of times the taunters get more hot and bothered when ignored, so resort to something physical after having first demonstrated to witnesses that they started it and that I was provoked.

              Early in my freshman year in high school, some fool of a varsity football player was taunting me as I was headed toward one of the school buildings with a stack of books from the library. I ignored a series of verbal taunts, which resulted in said fool pushing me. I pushed back – hard – and he fell over backwards into a thorn bush. I continued onwards, but he and his idiot little friend came after me in the vestibule of the building. After a couple of minutes of slamming them into the walls, I left their battered selves on the ground, collected the books I’d dropped, and continued to my locker to put the books away.

              I didn’t have much trouble for most of the next 2 years, and nobody tried anything with my friends, either. I did nod off once in the library, and one of the younger students who’d taken a dislike to me on account of my geekiness was going to try something, but I half-woke up to overhear one of my classmates telling him the story of what had happened in the vestibule. A few miscreants tried stuff that didn’t involve confronting me directly. For instance, if I left my bookbag unattended in the library they’d slip ladies magazines into my bookbag so they’d set off the detector when I went through – but they gave themselves away the second time because they were standing nearby waiting, and laughed when I set off the detector. I kept a careful eye on my stuff after that, and whenever I saw those two jokers I gave them a dark look, and they were the ones who looked away.

              1. Of course, that requires authorities who will listen to the witnesses, or care. Those who will punish you for being attacked on the grounds you should have tried to get along better with the other kids. . . .

            2. Call “heifershit” on them; they’ll most likely have to look that up, have trouble spelling it, and you’ll be long gone by when they figure it out.

            3. I *hate* those commercials. As noted, the only way they will ever stop is when they get hammered.

              (Along with the problem of “Tell someone.” Do that, and you could find yourself in serious trouble – if they are an “approved” bully.)

      2. True. It may be so, but our esteemed hostess has a track record. In the past she has proven to be one of those who are less than pliable.

    2. Nonsense! I made her believe that I was a nice guy by promising to buy every book she writes. It’s just a matter of making her an offer she can’t refuse. :p

        1. Anyone who will purchase every book our esteemed hostess writes is considered nice in at least one way by me. They help those of us who are addicted to her writing … by making it possible for her to produce more books.

          1. My. I think that is the first time in 55+ years that I have been called a nice guy. (If intentions count, that is – I’m still catching up as finances allow…)

  8. I’ve been in ideological deep cover, except with my former friend, the communist. Mind you I post here under my real name. Yet it’s a better-kept secret than, say the Hugo results, or the president’s college transcripts.

    1. People who know me personally generally know my politics, but I don’t discuss them on facebook because I don’t want to get into it with anyone. And it’s much easier to convince people you aren’t a crazy loon if you talk to them in person, rather than write things that can be taken out of context and distorted. Which is why i think Twitter is the devil.

      I did have a funny conversation with a lady on a plane into dc once. I refered to the airport as ‘National’ after they had changed it to Reagan National. I only did so because I was used to it, but she took it as an opportunity to rant about how much she hated reagan and she was glad I did too. Hilarious.

      1. > I only did so because I was used to it

        I have a habit of ignoring it when things I already know by one name are renamed after some still-living politician. So I still call it national – but I also still call the “RFK Bridge” the Triborough bridge. Neither one should be taken as a diss against the politician in question. 🙂

          1. Even then – I think there’s something contemptible about paying to have something named after you. I acknowledge that it’s a common thing, and I understand businesses doing it for marketing purposes, but all the same.

            1. I’d suggest you avoid Springfield, Mo if you feel that way. Whole durn town is named after John Q. Hammonds.

              1. A friend of mine married a woman whose family is originally from this small town in Nova Scotia where *90% of the phone book* has her last name.

                1. Between Mom’s family and Dad’s family, the only girls I could date in high school were imports.

              2. Did my college years at Evangel. All I’ll say about Springfield’s naming conventions is “Yep.”

            2. Sigh. More contemptible is spending other people’smoney to name things after yourself.

              I says this as an emigrant from the state of West Byrdginia.

            3. Smith College is so named because Sophia Smith founded it. There are some cases where it’s reasonable.

              1. Shucks, look at the grand tradition of the Melon School of Business Administration, look at the many libraries across the USA named for Andrew Carnegie, look at the many highways, boulevards, parkways and streets named for civic benefactors (or, in the situations of many rural roads, the family who lived at the end of the drive.)

                Heck, as the good burghers of Cincinnati asked in 1985 when they changed the name of Second Street to Pete Rose Way for the city’s favorite son baseball hero: “What could go wrong? How could this ever embarrass us?”

                Even this hemisphere bears the name of a (then) living person, which is why the two continents are known as North and South Vespucci.

        1. What about new construction named after living politicians, like the Navy ships Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and Gabrielle Giffords?

            1. I was going to ask what exactly she did that deserved having a ship named after her, but then I looked at the rest of list, and realized she was at least as worthy as Jimmy Carter.

              1. Yeah, but at least Carter was IN the Navy.

                Giffords doesn’t even have that. They also planned on naming a ship after Cesar Chavez, but backed down on that one IIRC.

                1. “at least Carter was IN the Navy”


                  Chavez? Really? And just when I thought we had reached the heights of idiocy, I look up and see a higher peak.

                    1. Chavez also served in the Navy, too, although he referred to his time in the Navy as the “worst two years of my life.”

                    2. Which say all that needs to be said, on so many levels.

                      I mean, if we’re just going to name ships after people who served, where the hell is the USS Bill Cosby, for crying out loud?

                    3. What’s the difference? They were both Spanish speaking Communist wanna be dictators. Ok, the one in Venezuela wasn’t really a wanna be.

          1. From what I’ve heard, the name USS Jimmy Carter was a rather blatant attempt to get funding for the sub in question (the attempt worked, obviously). And both the Carter and Bush at least are named after people who served in the military on vessels of that type (as is the case with the Ford).

            Personally, I’m of the opinion that no ship should be named after an historical person until the person in question has died, and it’s been at least 25 years since the person did whatever they became famous for doing. The time span is in there so that there’s at least some agreement that the person didn’t get the name as some sort of passing fad (for instance, an unfortunate congresswoman who was collateral damage in the assassination of a judge). And also in case the person embarrasses themselves later on in life.

            More than Carter has already done, of course.

            The list of ships that would have been named something different under those guidelines include –

            USS Franklin D. Roosevelt
            USS Nimitz (barely – the ship was named in the late ’60s, just a few years before the 25th anniversary of the end of World War 2)
            USS Jimmy Carter (Carter is still alive)
            USS Ronald Reagan (Reagan was still alive when the name was chosen)
            USS George H. W. Bush (Bush is still alive)
            USS John F. Kennedy (this ship is probably to blame for all of the current trend of naming carriers after presidents)
            USS Forrestal

            … and quite a few smaller ships whose names I can’t think of off the top of my head.

            The USS Gerald R. Ford actually slips through, though. The name was selected shortly after Ford’s death, and Ford had been out of office for more than 25 years at that time.

            1. Traditionally, navy ships named after politicians are either for politicians who also happened to be heroes, or who did a great deal for the Navy.

              For example, while Ronald Reagan wasn’t a sailor, he expanded the navy significantly and therefore meet the tradition.


              Not a thing except get shot.

              1. I agree that there’s nothing wrong with naming a ship after Reagan. 600 ship fleet, and all that. I simply think they did it too soon.

              2. So, the USS Giffords would be an acceptable name for a whatchamacallit — one of those ships that tows targets for naval artillery practice?

                  1. None taken — you probably don’t want to see the things that don’t get through my filters.

                    happily, bad taste is not yet a crime … although Trevor Noah’s critics may think it ought be.

            2. Agree mostly, but I do have to call for an exception for Bob Hope. Oddly enough, the practice of not naming ships after living folks has been the general rule for the entire history of the country, and has been broken just as long. Sadly, there have been just as many instances of flouting the rule this century as there were in the entirety of the last century.

                1. I agree. Unfortunately he might fit in at least under the “at least 25 years since the person did whatever they became famous for doing” since his long running TV show ended in 1973 and the ship was delivered to the navy in 1998… but hopefully he’ll never stop being beloved or funny.

          2. The Jimmy Carter is a bit of political genius. It’s the spook boat, so everything it does between pulling out and pulling in is classified. It precludes naming a CVN after him. It’s also going to be around for 30 years, so there’s essentially zero chance of it – and his name – being in the news for decades after his death.

            If I had my way, no ship would be named after anyone who hasn’t been dead for 30 years. With the exception of the destroyers named after MOH winners

            1. ” so everything it does between pulling out and pulling in is classified.”

              Shouldn’t that be named the USS Bill Clinton, then?

              1. I work with a bunch of Navy vets (big surprise at a naval shipyard, huh?). One of the topics was what kind of ship would be named after BJ. My vote was a new class of “comfort ship” where sailors could wrap themselves around a couple of beers and enjoy the company of women (or men) of negotiable affection without the risk of international incidents that come with foreign port calls. Just the thing for the 12 month deployments current shipbuilding trends will require.

                Now what would bear the BHO name? My vote would be for a propaganda broadcasting ship. An Iranian one.

                1. I’m not sure about the Bill Clinton, but the Monica Lewinsky would have to be a sub.

                  I’m sorry, but since she’s best known for going down, it just makes sense.

                  Maybe Bill Clinton could be as sub tender?

                  1. Guess who just got hired on The View…. just in time for Hilary’s campaign? 😉

                    Don’t normally watch the show, but for that interview I’ll make an exception…

                2. A garbage scow?

                  A lifeboat, with a single seat?

                  A relief vessel that only ships fertilizer?

                  1. “I didn’t mean to say the Bill Clinton should be hauling garbage. I meant to say Bill Clinton should be hauled away as garbage.” 🙂

                3. BHO should not have a ship named after him; he should have either a train or a bomber bear his name.

                  A train for all those he’s thrown under it.

                  A bomber, but it would be known for dropping its load in Blue on Blue instances.

                  If it extended the service of the A-10 I would endorse applying his name, but who in their right mind would call such a plane for close air support?

                  1. Why would you do that to the Warthog? I know a lot of people who are very fond of that plane.

                4. Brian Hepler 19980501

                  “President Clinton today signed an order closing the Norfolk, VA submarine base. When asked why he closed the 4 billion dollar facility, he said:
                  ‘Those funny black ships just kept sinking anyway.'” –Brian Hepler

                1. They just named our airport the ‘bill and hillary’ clinton airport. Irritating. I’ll probably still just refer to it as ‘the airport’.

        1. Just remember this formula when encountering stupidity from somebody on Twitter:
          *INSERT NAME*: putting the twit in Twitter since *INSERT YEAR*.


  9. I know from whence you came as an author. My “Political” views are formed as a result of my Christianity. This made me unpopular with some church mates, over the years Theirs was the unthinking “some authority said it was so, and I *believe* it.” Whereas, I go back to the original source, and “reason” forward. That means I believe what Christ said about it being *individual choice, whether or not to sin.”
    For years, my computer consulting business was Dragon Consulting. My slogan was. “Don’t slay the Dragon, put it to work for you.” The name of my publishing company FBN and logo, fit that same mold. I realized a _long_ time ago that I couldn’t please everyone, and decided to stop trying.

  10. And still that naked “you should have told them you were putting them on your slate” and the implied, scary because we intend to f*ck up their lives because you like their work made me catch my breath and remember the fear.

    The despicable found something of worth in your writing! Oh, horrors!

    How very sad. To have progressed to this point in the insanity cycle where an author would have reason to fear having the ‘wrong’ people — people over whom the author has absolutely no control — promote your works. It seems to me that the gate keepers are heading to the point where they will start eating their own.

  11. Oh, and thanks for the ear worm, Sarah.

    (The Mike Curb Congregation, (All the) “Burning Bridges”)
    It’s now competing for ear time with “All for the Love of Sunshine.”

  12. I could, tomorrow, (well, not tomorrow, but at the beginning of the next set) put my list of recommends on the blog, whether I meant to vote for them or not. (I.e. whether I paid the membership or not.) Readers, reviewers and various other side-spurs of science fiction do that pretty much every year.

    After reading the other day, I can kind of see their point that if people vote that exact slate, that would swamp the other people who vote piecemeal. However, I just don’t believe that everyone will vote that exact slate, because we are all individuals and will vote whatever we feel like. Which is the point that they seem unable to understand. Maybe it could be phrased differently next year, or have different numbers of ‘recommendations’ (and I would say that would make them happy except that is doubtful) but I do agree with you that it’s mostly the same thing as listing your recommendations.

    Someone informed these people that “conservatives” are sexist, racist, homophobic religious fanatics and they believe it without checking it against every day reality.

    Yes. And this informs everything they say. That’s why this is all about hating women or people who aren’t white or what have you, not about thinking the stories they’ve picked have been subpar.

    Do you know what someone noted on that thread? 4/5 nominees in a major category were published by the same house. I don’t know how common that is, but it seemed odd to me.

        1. You know, I didn’t USE to be. In fact, because I trend mildly paranoid by nature, and know it, I’ve always overcorrected to the point that if you’re REALLY conspiring against someone I like/me you’d have to hit me with it for me to see it.

          1. When you’ve been the target of an actual proven conspiracy, suddenly you start to notice that conspiracies are in fact very common. They are human nature, for people tend to band together against those they do not like, and because what they are doing is sometimes illegal, they keep it quiet.
            I didn’t find out I was the target of one until I got called into the IG’s office and they showed me the evidence. Heads rolled that day, and it was all because I got into a conflict with someone who had lied about something. So his friends had to ‘protect’ him by making an example of me.
            Ten people got reduced in rank, and got a black mark. And now I had even more enemies because it was my fault that they got caught, even though I had no idea about any of it until the IG showed it all to me.

            THAT was an education.

            1. I was once threatened with court martial for DDO. Told the officer making the threat that it would be a lot of fun. Didn’t even get an NJP, though my evals suffered.

              1. lets just say that when the worse officer fitness evaluation report that the IG had ever seen in their entire career came across their desk (I was given the lowest grade in every single category) it raised their eyebrows and an investigation was launched.
                If the had been smart, they could have torpedoed me. But they were just too damn petty, and it cost them.

      1. I’d expect there to be a trace of it somewhere. Not saying that there isn’t, after all, you have Jason Sanford all but conceding the nominations, but these aren’t the type of people that come off as being able to keep a secret.

    1. > 4/5 nominees in a major category were published by the same house.

      That’s both true and not true. 🙂

      4 of the 5 nominees were published *in the United Kingdom* by the same house. But the UK publisher was in some cases not the US publisher, and the UK publisher was in some cases a republisher of works which had *originally* been published in the US. Which is to say that the UK publisher wasn’t responsible for all of the books being in print.

    2. “However, I just don’t believe that everyone will vote that exact slate, because we are all individuals and will vote whatever we feel like. Which is the point that they seem unable to understand.”

      Because that’s not how they work. They look at the herd and follow along. The highest degree of individualism is in jockeying for position within the herd, which is usually related to the volume and fervor the party line is pushed.

      1. And if you push too far ahead in the herd too fast, they try to push you back, or out of the herd entirely.

        1. That’s why I’m not a prog – well aside from my three digit IQ, general decency, and a stubborn streak that makes mules seem downright obsequious – I’m lazy and trying to properly gauge the speed and direction of the herd is just so much WORK.

          1. they frequently have high IQs. One reason for their grievance mongering is that they think that their IQs and academic performance entitle them to authority. That is why so many go into education — you can flunk a student for defying you, but if you build a bridge that falls down, or develop an ad campaign that decreases your customers, YOU flunk — they want to set the rules for rewards.

            “Systemic processes tend to reward people for making decisions that turn out to be right—creating great resentment among the anointed, who feel themselves entitled to rewards for being articulate, politically active, and morally fervent.”

            ― Thomas Sowell,

    3. … we are all individuals and will vote whatever we feel like. Which is the point that they seem unable to understand.

      They do not desire to be individuals but to be part of the heard. That is why they do not understand.

      Part of the problem here is that the meaning of the Hugo is not clearly defined.

      If awarding of the Hugo is recognition of superior literary merit as determined by popular vote of SF readers, then their complaint is unfounded.

      If awarding of the Hugo is recognition of superior literary merit as determined by an elite core of fans presenting themselves as general fandom, their complain is valid — it is the outing of them as self-congratulating snobs that is the underlying issue.

      We see the same dynamic at work in labor union heads claiming to represent the average working stiff and in Civil Rights leaders who claim to be the only authentic voice of “their” people.

      If people were allowed to think and speak for themselves, think what a cacophony there would be; why, booking Sunday Morning talk shows would become a nightmare! It is only by banding together and shouting down dissidents that the right people’s voices can be heard.

      1. I could’ve sworn I remembered some folks mentioning that they were taking part in SP3 by making their own list— heck, I thought I remembered that some folks had even used that as an angle of attack.

  13. Sarah, you nailed this one.

    This is the Cult of the Righteous Left, and all those Heretics who will not worship the Idol of the Progressive Future are Teh Evol, and must be broken until they repent.

  14. As the *reader*, I can offer perspective from the other side. I expect my SF awards to be about good fiction. Therefore, if *anyone* lists your publication as a nominee, I am interested about it. I am NOT interested in lists compiled of politically correct SF, which frankly is what the Hugo’s have been for many years. Any true ‘guardian of fandom’ would realize that “not telling people you were putting them on the slate.” indicates that you have some overarching interest that is not to identify the best SF out there.

    My advice for SP4 is to make sure John Scalzi is on the list, but certainly do not ask him if it is OK, and if he complains, it is proof that his agenda outweighs his loyalty to readers of having good recommendations.

    Now, I am horrified, but understand that writers may indeed be concerned that they not be black-listed by publishers. My loss of having only crappy novels for sale means I save my money. Your loss of being black-listed means you get no money.

    In the past, publishers were the gatekeepers, and their ideas/values certainly influenced what was written. Much like the taxi-drivers fighting uber, the worry of publishers today is less about quality writing and more about money and control. They certainly do not want Baen/indy readers to have inputs to the award lists, so a small cadre of rabid SJWs do their dirty work for them. Hopefully, this too shall pass.

      1. I think a mentioned yesterday the idea of a Yugo Award awarded to a steaming pile of… stuff.

      2. I quite liked Zoe’s Tale. I wish he’d write more like it. More old school skiffy, less self-consciously precious fluff. He could have been a really good writer. It’s too bad.

    1. Does Scalzi have something? He’s recently crowed about being out of work, er, out of contracts with Tor.

      1. Oh, he’ll have some fanfic written pretty soon. Maybe based on “Supernatural”, “Gravity Falls” or MHI.

    2. “My advice for SP4 is to make sure John Scalzi is on the list, but certainly do not ask him if it is OK, and if he complains, it is proof that his agenda outweighs his loyalty to readers of having good recommendations.”

      Yeah, that won’t happen. SP4 intends to recommend GOOD stuff. Not mediocre SJW stuff. We don’t need more proof of Scalzi being a liar or hypocrite, there is already plenty of evidence of that.

  15. I took that same hand-wringing a bit differently.

    There’s something in the rhetoric of some of the sad puppies supporters that make sad puppies out to be an insurgency, a revolution of the people against the corrupt elite. To the extent that that rhetoric matches reality, I think I’d be irritated if someone attempted to enlist me in their revolution without my consent – whether or not I agreed with their cause.

      1. Sure; I don’t have the knowledge needed to judge from personal experience, and you do. That said, I also have this really strong preference to look for the best possible interpretation of people’s actions, and that reflex informs my response.

        And, honestly, I think it’s a fair request: if you’re enlisting someone in a fight, check with them first. 🙂

        1. The only problem with that it’s not truly intended to BE a fight. It really only became a fight because of the response of the gatekeepers of the Holy Hugo.

          1. No, it is a fight. The Holy Guardians Of The Hugo are objecting to us “fighting back”.

            1. You’re picking up on “you may not be interested in war, but war may be interested in you” meme?

        2. The very idea that the names on the SP3 slate are enlisted in a fight is indicative of their mindset. There is a fight associated with the SP3 slate, but it’s *our* fight, a fight to get quality works nominated and awarded. It’s not about getting “our” guys awards. But the SJW twits see it as a bloc-voting cabal to get certain people awards, so inclusion on the list must necessarily mean that they’re part of the cabal. The fact that they assume bloc voting informs quite a bit of recent Hugo history, especially when you use the heuristic that a progressive always accuses you of wanting/doing what they secretly want/do.

        3. How is publicly stating you like someone else’s work and think it is worthy of praise and public recognition — enlisting them in your fight?

          Our admiration of an artist’s work does not in any way obligated said artist to support our politics or our religion or anything else for which we advocate.

        4. I also have this really strong preference to look for the best possible interpretation of people’s actions … if you’re enlisting someone in a fight, check with them first.

          Does it not seem to you that assuming they are “enlisting someone in a fight” does not represent “look[ing] for the best possible interpretation of people’s actions”?

          Maybe they just thought the “enlistees” had written really good books that deserved greater attention, and included them in the slate as a way of NOT offering only politically approved (albeit by the wrong folks) works?

          1. Of course it’s not “look[ing] for the best possible interpretation”.

            In their mind, those books aren’t award worthy, so the only reason they could be recommended is because we’re trying to enlist them in a fight. They can’t comprehend the fact that they were nominated because this side of things actually thought they should get an award.

  16. YEE-HOOOW!!!!
    That Hoyt woman can WRITE!!!
    I love the entire post, but the closing brought chills:

    “Well, then, you have my sympathy. But you no longer have my fear.
    And you never had my allegiance.
    Depart from us in peace and go find someone else who might still fear you. It won’t happen here.
    Ask not for whom the puppies bay. They bay for you.”

    Like, WOW! man, I wanted to put on a toga and run outside with a kukri in one hand, a Mosin-Nagant in the other, and a 1911 in a shoulder holster and just start screaming : “THE PUPPIES ARE COMING FOR YOU!!!” THE PUPPIES ARE COMING FOR YOU!!!”
    However, since I live in Woodstock, Georgia, the free land of motorcycles, firearms, and pick-up trucks, I didn’t have anyone to scream at.
    So I wrote this post.
    I vote for Sarah. Don’t care what she is running for. Anyone who can write like that gets my vote.

  17. What annoys me is that while these people were, and are running the roost, what great books did we miss? How many careers did they ruin before they even started? How many books were sent to the like of TOR, rejected by the Haydens and their ilk and dropped in the proverbial drawer, never to be seen again. How many like me, ran into their like and never even wrote anything because there was no point in starting.

      1. I’m guessing more and more just gave up, stopped going to cons, stopped thinking about the future, moved on to other interests where they didn’t have to deal with empress Teresa and her ilk.

    1. Well, Dave Freer would say that the remaining conservative/libertarian writers are the BEST in the field, because we came in through a field of fire. He calls it a something or other effect. (He’s a biologist. He does statistics and social effects like he breathes.)

      1. The toughest, anyway. And probably, the luckiest (however unlikely that seemed at the time.)

    2. That… is an excellent question. And thinking about it is making me see red.

      They *robbed* us!

    3. They did that to me twelve years ago, when I naively sent them my libertarian first novel. Nothing was ruined, though they may have lost me some time. I later sold the novel to another house and it was reviewed on Instapundit. Lesson: Never give up! Never Surrender!

        1. Indeed, we have a weekly (when he gets stuff) promo post by the Free-Range Oyster for our books.

        2. The Cunning Blood, by Jeff Duntemann. ISFiC Press, 2005. Sorry; should have been more specific. Had forgotten that WordPres shows my ham call, not my real name.

    4. This. This is the thing that I think energises so many of the relatively quiet fen. The thought of all the great stuff they could have read or watched that got shafted by the SJWs.
      I’m still convinced that’s why The Middleman got cancelled.

  18. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    What annoys me is that while these people were, and are running the roost, what great books did we miss? How many careers did they ruin before they even started? How many books were sent to the like of TOR, rejected by the Haydens and their ilk and dropped in the proverbial drawer, never to be seen again. How many like me, ran into their like and never even wrote anything because there was no point in starting.

    1. I often wonder if this is why I got rejected. Course now as an indy I’m starting to see sales and doing rather well.
      Whatever the case, it is all water under the bridge now. Hopefully we will never see their like again, and those who were stymied will self-publish their works for us all to enjoy.

  19. Used to be the progs turned on you for what you did. Then said. Then thought. Then what they thought you thought. Then for what other people you’d never even met thought about you. Then…?

    Because you can never be proglodyte enough

    1. But you CAN be too frightening for them to f*ck with. They would never, ever, attack anyone who actually did what they accuse people of doing.

      1. Right – name a group in reality that in actual behavior is “…racist, sexist, homophobic, ultra-religious in a medieval fashion (and) crazy-evangelical.” Oh, say they also chop up, crucify or burn to death their captives.

        And then look to the prog side of the aisle for the drumbeat of loud repeated ongoing denunciations… OK, the widespread background of quiet denunciations… OK, even the occasional high profile individual denunciations who are not then denounced themselves for intolerance… No? Mph. Imagine that.

  20. “Ask not for whom the puppies bay. They bay for you.” Oh, I LOVE that! And if the puppies are baying now, wait till they grow up and really learn to hunt! I can just picture a forest full of treed progressives. Let the proto-commies tremble, they have reason.

  21. Ask not for whom the puppies bay. They bay for you.

    This line, it’s why I come here.

  22. [*sniffle*] That was just lovely. At the end, did I detect an echo of Sam Adams’ speech? “May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!”

    Now I have to go buy a brown hanky, which could get me into trouble…

            1. Sadly, not yet. I hear that spring is slow in arriving this year.

              Otherwise there would be:

              Too many flies, too many flies…

  23. Dangit! After seeing the title of this post a few times, I started “hearing” it to the tune of, “All the Lonely People”. Now THAT is an earworm.

  24. Sarah, I can imagine how Glenn mentioning you would have been frightening, but I can’t tell you how glad I am that he did. I wandered in here from his link to Witchfinder, looking for some free quality reading, and discovered the online home I didn’t know I was missing. That one link has led me to a lot of amazing people and places, a part time career, and several new kith as I invited myself into your internet living room. You know that’s why I do the promo, after all: paying rent for all these years of crashing on your virtual couch. 😀

    1. I wandered in because Lin linked to a post Sarah did in Instapundit and I liked it, so I wandered over here to check this out. And Sarah made the mistake of feeding me, and you all know what happens when you feed strays. 😉

          1. I hope he doesn’t. One of our terrors, Greebo, is the result of just that. And we’d have all three if the neighbors across the street hadn’t inveigled 2 them with their arts, allurements and tuna.

        1. Nah, most of the subjects I have kittens over, Sarah has deemed tarpit subjects and off limits. Which she has to do at least once a month with this crowd. 🙂

          1. But there are so many interesting things stuck in the tar. Besides, who doesn’t like getting good and dirty every now and again?

          1. Since we’re mostly those strange people who “normal” people look askance at, we can gather for “family” get-togethers and look askance at each other while pretending to be “normal” and laugh at ourselves for doing it.

            1. Someday, over drinks, I’ll tell you about my great grandfather. If he hadn’t died in his forties (likely of tiredness) in a few centuries his genetic legacy would be like Genghis Khan.

    2. I think I wandered over from Dean Wesley Smith and The Business Rusch, which led to MCG and thence to AtH. I’m not certain any more. Although I may be why the cat door now has four dead-bolts and a nose-pad scanner activated lock on it.

      1. Came in from PJ Lifestyle, after reading through the “Making Covers” archive.

        Obviously, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for… (But I’m enjoying it!)

          1. Stumbled across an unmarked door at Monster Hunter Nation. I’ve been here ever since.

      1. In my case, it was my wife’s fault. 😎

        Which is definitely a man-bites-dog…..

  25. As an EU lefty, I find American lefties to be some of the most intolerant people out there while at the same time preaching tolerance (one of the many double standards / hypocrisies of US left).
    In reality, “progressives” are no different than Italian Fascists, they enforce their ideas through fearmongering, guilt-tripping and mislabeling, while pretending to fight those very same things.
    The thin veil – false pretense – of wanting the good of others is just a shield they use to defend themselves when caught being fascists; “but think about the DIVERSITY, think about INCLUSION”, the progressive said just after he enforced uniformity of opinion and exclusion of dissent.
    No one is doing more damage to the left than progressive.

    1. Well, weren’t the Italian Fascists merely their version of American Progressives?

      1. According to Jonah Goldberg, Italian Fascists were what Mussolini got when he took Communism, and made it “nationalist” (i.e. Italy-focused) instead of “internationalist” (i.e. Moscow-focused).

    2. It’s important to remember that the American “left” are the intellectual heirs of Woodrow Wilson (KKK supporter, most evil man in the White House ever) and FDR (wannabe Mussolini).

  26. Reblogged this on Cirsova and commented:
    SF Writer Sarah Hoyt describes the inescapability of politics, the stigma of not falling into line, and how non-progressives or those who are less politically inclined and might innocently associate with non-progressives are at risk of being marginalized and blacklisted.

  27. It took an hour to read all the SP-associated material in my feed this morning. After someone showed up to claim SP was trying to tear down “literary science fiction,” I did some quick research.

    Iain Banks, Ken Macleod, or Neal Asher have never won a Hugo for best novel, despite having produced some of the best work in what I would call “literary” science fiction. And Asher is conservative (which reviewers on Amazon dinged him for when envisioned a future EU megastate as a murderous tyranny), but the others are leftish, Socialist even, grumpy old men. Why the lack of Hugos? Suspected answer — not intersectional. White males, not in the US Progressive catalog of victims. Another brick in the wall of evidence that the Hugos have been dominated by “approved” classes of authors, or those willing to kowtow to progressive authority.

  28. Okay, I came over here from Larry Correia’s site, and this line broke my brain:

    I found myself in an argument with someone who wanted to ban the internal combustion engine. My editor perked up and (I swear I’m not making this up) said “Oh, a Libertarian.”

    Is the editor implying that you’re a Libertarian for not wanting to ban the internal combustion engine? Because that would be stupid enough, but it sounds like the implication is that the person you’re arguing with is a Libertarian. Aren’t Libertarians rather infamous for not wanting to ban ANYTHING whether it be heroine bricks or tactical nukes for personal use? Implying the person who wants to ban the IC engine is Libertarian moving beyond stupid and into “I live in my own fairy land and should probably be institutionalized for my own protection.”

      1. Part of me wants to try and imagine the mindset that can conflate libertarians with hard left Greens, but the rest of me knows I will need those brain cells again in the near future.

        1. Don’t worry, those with that mindset have plenty of spare brain cells they aren’t using, I’m sure they would be happy to lend some to you.

          1. I fear that those spare brain cells would be too flabby from lack of exercise to be of any use.

            1. And considering what they’ve been marinating in . . . No thanks. I’ll keep my own poor, abused little neurons.

                1. Y’know, having actually read in a cookbook how to prepare brains for a meal, I always found myself wondering about that scene. I thought the brain needed to marinate in vinegars and such first, or end up rather tough and tasteless.

                  The preparation method didn’t make it sound any more appetizing. I read the instructions out loud to my mother, who started laughing, and ever since then, whenever we saw sheep and cow brains for sale at a butcher’s in France, she’d giggle at the memory.

                  1. We used to have cow brain in our scrambled eggs in the village, but I don’t remember their being soaked in anything.
                    And you know, those cows were vegetarian, so no problem.
                    Yes, children, I come from a place brains and other organ meats were prized above steak, because … because we only really got veggies (other than cabbage) spring and summer, and everyone was short on various vitamins. In fact rickets was endemic. I think part of the reason our family was taller/healthier (exception me, but severely premature) is that we ate marginally better, including gorging on fruit in spring and summer. (We grew it, we ate it.)

                    1. Had an aunt who had scrambled eggs and brains every morning. Swore by it.

                      Farmers (and ranchers), not big on waste. Often don’t have any illusions about “icky.”

                    2. Yep. I bet you’re familiar with the concept of “if it’s icky but it’s food — it’s not icky.”

                      Organ meats, delicacies like eyes, hunks of meat like tongue, testicles…

          2. And I would want to transplant cancer and insanity? “Where’s that get fun?”

      2. “heroine bricks” sounds like some kind of feminist novel. And yes, I can’t imagine libertarians banning them, either. Pointing and laughing maybe….

        (you must have the same Evol Autocorrector I do. I swear it’s possessed)

  29. Much of this brings to mind my freshman year of college, when a late orientation meant I got stuck in the only open section of the Freshman writing course. This last section was entitled, “American Thought and Language: Women in America, Provincial to Global.” A more accurate title might have been, “Feminist perspectives and ideology on absolutely everything, including things that shouldn’t require a separate feminist perspective. And occasionally some writing shit.”

    I was the only one who apparently did NOT get the memo. And, ergo, pulled a few things in that class that would likely get me kicked out in the current environment. To include once raising my hand to state that I had clearly missed the group brainwashing session, and could someone please fill me in? And also singing the Buddy Bears Song from Garfield. (If you’re not familiar, the first 10 seconds of this will give you the idea:

    And while I can laugh about THAT part of it (as well as having 4.0’d the class, in spite of arguing the opposite side of the fence from that of the prof each week, which would never happen now), I’m sad for the 16-year-old girl who, prior to her encounter with these types, had a stack of SFWA paperwork and the application ready to go for the moment she was eligible. I’d had enough that when my mother offered to pay my registration for Clarion, turned down the offer.

    I won’t even go into the silly nonsense that happened in the dorms and more than once having to sit through “Sensitivity Training” for perceived infractions against one victim group or another. It was easier to head for the hard sciences, where you only had to discuss that facts.

    1. (Note: This joker was then, and is now, the creative writing instructor for said institution. One Prof. Penn, who is back in the classroom, because he’s a good Prog:

      1. This is a creative writing instructor?

        Does he think that there isn’t racism in Great Britain?

        1. Ain’t he a peach? I’d gotten word through the grape vine about what he’s like. Hint: His fiction is the greatest ever. Yours sucks. Repeat this ad nauseum for the semester. If you can suck it up and praise/imitate his stuff all semester, you get an ‘A’. Write anything he disagrees with and expect to fail.

          I admit it. I bailed on the whole thing and ended up with a DVM instead.

          1. That nine and a half minutes was painful enough. A semester of it, having to shovel it back?


            For I have crossed the Rubicon,
            Let the bridge be burned behind me
            Come what may, come what may

            The croaker all say
            We’ll rue the day,
            There’ll be hell to pay in
            Fiery Purgatory!

            Through all the gloom,
            Through all the gloom, I can
            See the rays of ravishing light and

            Is anybody there?!
            Does anybody care?!
            Does anybody see
            What I see?!

            1. It was the only class I ever dropped, and I don’t regret having done so. 😉

              1. Which means you missed his evisceration of George Washington. He blames everything wrong in our country on Washington because David McCullough, in his book 1776, said something that amounted to the revolution would not have been successful without him. AND we all know that Washington was a slaveholder!!!!!

                1. “the revolution would not have been successful without him”

                  IF that were true, which I highly doubt, Washington was a great man, but I’m sure there were others who could have lead us to victory, he would even have a point. If we hadn’t won the revolution, there wouldn’t be a country to have anything wrong with.

                  1. It is an issue of personality, not military prowess. He himself could only claim command at one major victory, Yorktown. Washington was able to get and keep the loyalty of competent men. He was also able to navigate between the various factions, maintaining their respect.

                    One thing that is not recognized by this professor — at the time slavery was legal in Britain. He might even find it quite discomforting being confronted with the history of and forces behind the abolitionist movement in Britain (and everywhere else in the world).

                    1. His military prowess was amazing. Successful retreats in the face of superior forces are the most difficult of all maneuvers.

                      I also point out that Trenton had enormous impact. It effectively meant the British were reduced to Philadelphia rather than all of Pennsylvania. (You had to split up your forces to control all the colony. Washington showed at Trenton that he could crush you piecemeal that way. But it did mean giving up most of it.)

                    2. There are plenty of arguments against Washington’s ability as a great tactical general on the battlefield. But it’s generally acknowledged that he had excellent skills *off* the battlefield. The logistical stuff, for instance. And he was apparently a very good spymaster. All of the little things that will quickly hang up any general, and that generally go unnoticed by the general population because they don’t take place on the battlefield – Washington was apparently *very* good at those things.

                    3. There is also the matter of him having accumulated quite a bit of power and influence, giving up the former, and using the latter to make sure everyone else would give it up.

                  2. He was probably irreplacable on the military side in the beginnning. By the end of the war, he had told Congress that if anything happened, they should appoint Nathanael Greene in his place. Fortunately, they were not put to the test.

                    1. As you observed above, Washington’s ability to keep his army together and retreat in the face of the enemy is an example of military prowess.

                      He was also able to continually rebuild an army whose population was in nearly permanent flux. I have just covered Valley Forge again in Joseph P. Ellis’s American Creation. By this time Washington was having to deal with each of the thirteen colonies legislatures separately. The general population had long tired of the ongoing war, as populations have proven they are wont to do in any protracted conflict. They also were disinclined to sell supplies to the army. (Among things, the Continental scrip used to pay was considered worthless.) The more you learn the more impressive it is that Washington managed to come out the winter with an army when the spring campaign season started.

                    2. CACS (sorry, can’t reply to yours; the thread’s too deep), thanks for mentioning American Creation. And this isn’t in any way a nitpick, but it’s Joseph J. Ellis. I mention that here because I immediately went to put American Creation on my EreaderIQ list and couldn’t find it with the middle initial J.

                    3. Yes thread too deep (sorry Mary) –To Dawn Dreams:

                      Sorry, my bad. I can only plead my dyslexia and hope you will forgive me.

                    4. Time and again Nathanael Greene, a self-taught soldier, proved himself useful and trustworthy to Washington. Greene was appointed the Quartermaster General at Valley Forge, with the understanding that he could continue his military command. Ultimately Green was put in command of the southern forces.

                      (There is a lovely statue of Greene on horseback at Guilford Battlefield National Park in Greensboro, NC.)

  30. Yeesh. I wasn’t aware that it was this crazy. But nicely and calmly written. Thankfully it hasn’t tanked you, and you’ve become a success anyway!

    Still, the implications for up-and-coming authors aren’t quite so good.

    1. Quite the opposite, actually, with the rise of indie, and the various paths around, under, between and behind the gatekeepers. It’s a better time for up-and-comers, if they’re willing to get to work and stick with it. (I keep telling myself I need to get to work and stick with it.)

  31. This might be relevant here. One of my favorite writers is Keith Roberts, an English SF writer who passed away in 2000. He wrote a couple of short story series, and one towering masterpiece, “Pavane,” that hasn’t been out of print for long since 1968. I was baffled in 2000 by the nasty tone of the obituaries, and attributed it to things like the fact that “Pavane” was the only novel in Anthony Burgess’s 100 best novels of the 20th Century listing that was marketed as SF. Envy. But I think I’ve solved it just by the ending of the Wiki article on Roberts:
    Roberts described himself as a political conservative and an anti-communist.[3] (account of his last illness) Obituaries recalled him as a talented but personally ‘difficult’ author, with a history of disputes with publishers, editors and colleagues.
    “difficult.” Yeah.

  32. Dear Evil Space Princess, Dominatrix of the Eastern Spiral Arm. If God is willing and I am able to attend LibertyCon–as I intend to–you will meet a true American Conservative S F reader who Co-Chaired an organizing committee for a fairly large convention. I doubt very much that this will actually increase your enjoyment of the con, but it may add anthropological interest.

          1. Please post when you are next going to be in TX. It’d be worth a road trip to meet with you.

        1. Em wrote this before her husband decided we were going to attend Libertycon. Bought the registrations and booked the hotels.

      1. I am probably going to be there this year, it would be nice to meet some of you, because you’re all much funnier than I am, and I can always use a good time hanging out with people who aren’t afraid to say what they think or believe.

        1. Hope you got your room already, they ran out of regular ones when I made my reservation, and I’m in one of the rail cars this year (my first).

          Still need to make the flight reservation.

      2. Ron’s a good guy, and the ’86 Worldcon was great.

        Unfortunately, there hasn’t been one in Atlanta since.

    1. Ron, if it’s Libertycon 2016, I may be there as well. I have (cough) standing orders from Toni Weisskopf to attend a Libertycon as soon as I am back from deployment. It would be nice to talk to a conservative who was involved in SMOF stuff before the “social justice” side of the genre began to take over in the 1990s.

  33. As far as lefties writing conservatives and libertarians, I thought Joss Whedon (and I have no idea how left he is, but some of his fans hold him up as an icon) did a pretty good job with the character of Mal Reynolds in Firefly. Mal seems like a very libertarian kind of person. Perhaps that’s why Fox seemed to try to kill the show?

    1. If Whedon can manage to grow out of genuflecting to the “all good people think” stuff and just tell good stories, he’ll be another Pratchett. Very left, but a good story teller when he doesn’t remember to “fix” things.

    2. Firefly was as much the brainchild of (libertarian) Tim Minear as Whedon. And Whedon occasionally lapses into almost writing characters with viewpoints he disagrees with in a respectful manner.

      It’s always been amusing that he’d be the biggest supporter of the Alliance if he lived in the ‘Verse, though.

      1. From some of his comments, Nathan Fillion would be number 2. Thus leading to the amusing spectacle of Mal shooting both his creators.

    3. Fox just has problems in general. ‘Almost Human’ ran a very similar path to Firefly. It was sci-fi, episodes were run out of order (resulting in what appeared to be rather dramatic mood swings from episode to episode on the part of one of the leads), and it was cancelled after just one season.

      And it ran on Fox.

      1. Fox is not the only one to have a problem.

        I have recently watched my way through Wonderfalls and I even enjoyed the commentaries. I am now in the middle of Eureka, this time selectively watching the commentaries. As a result I have learned something about the process of networks.

        It appears that network executives do not think in the same manner as the consumer of stories. They want to put the episodes that they think are the strongest first, even if it mucks with the rhythm of character development or ongoing story arcs. In fact, I have concluded that the networks, outside of soaps or an already long running series, are wary of any continuing story arcs.

          1. I’m just up to the introduction of Deputy Andy at the beginning of season 3.5. I like Deputy Andy.

        1. What I’ve been told is that story arcs interfere with syndication. Syndication is a large revenue stream, and anything that endangers it is bad, bad, bad.

            1. Well, I see what you’re saying, but then how did Babylon 5 ever survive? It was necessary to watch that show so hard to catch all the foreshadowing, I still can’t watch reruns.

              1. This is a topic that would take some time to explain (Mauser probably will if he sees this).
                To make it short, B5 did not show on any major network, it was a group of minor networks, that got together, to develop a major network level show, to draw audiences (and therefore better advertising revenues). The group fell apart when season 5 rolled around, which was how it ended up on Turner, who of course did everything he could to screw it up be constantly changing its slot (often only hours before it was due to be shown).

                1. The whole thing with the show being picked up for season 5 at the last possible minute didn’t help.
                  So you’re saying that since B5 was developed outside normal channels, it wasn’t subject to as many of the normal pressures? I don’t suppose there’s any way to catch that lightning in a bottle again, is there?

                  1. The other half of the equation is J. Michael Straczynski the creator of the show. B5 was subject to different pressures not no pressure. It was in effect the 1st indie TV show.

                    1. Okay, I see that. But it also had funding out the wazoo compared to other indie stuff. Take Pioneer One, for example. Good show, all the production values they could afford, but in the end they had to cancel because they couldn’t keep a funding stream going.

                    1. Gee, I wish I had the bandwidth to play on Netflix. The good internet is still a quarter mile from the house.

  34. I think that you’re performing a public service by jamming their information channels by nominating people who still want to be part of their club. By making it unclear whom they should and shouldn’t purge, by triggering random purges, you make the prize for conformity to their standards uncertain, and hence destablize their regime by creating the risk that loyal supporters will be turned upon without warning. This is a GOOD thing.

    1. The problem is that we have to search out works by those folks that are good enough for a Hugo. There was this guy who put it well: “The more criteria one applies to a selecting a story, other than its quality, the greater the limitation on the set of stories from which one is selecting a subset. This in turn means that the average quality of the stories in the subset is likely to go down.”

  35. I am late to the comments, but Sarah is not kidding about the fear aspect in the SF/F genre, for those of us who came to the field any time after 2000. If you’re a conservative — and especially if you’re a conservative with a religious conviction that is not froo-froo liberal Earthmother animal goddess shit — you are sticking your neck way out there. Because the vast bulk of editors and agents and authors in this field, are secular and anti-theist left-wing. In some cases, tyrannically anti-theist and left wing. They will happily discuss the nuances of perverse sexual deviance of various kinds, but God help you if you admit you voted for Bush at any point, or that you don’t 100% endorse Obama, or that you think there should be limits on government. The claws and hissing come out at lightspeed. You’d better be a damned good writer and/or have your fallback options lined up, because the people in this field will line up happily to turf you every chance they get.

    Which is sadly hilarious, considering all the brave talk about “inclusivity” and whatnot.

    All I can say is: thank the Lord for Baen, Analog, and IGMS.

    1. I thank the good Lord for Bezos and the Kindle. He doesn’t care what you write, as long as it sells. So my very ‘politically incorrect’ novels have a place where people can find them, and lo and behold, a great many have, and suddenly I have found myself to be a successful published author.
      All I need is a guest of honor invite to cinch the requirements of the class ‘G’ writer on Larry’s list, then it is on to class ‘F’!!

    2. There’s a reason why I’m no longer very active in the filk community. And I was one of the founding members of GAFIA and GAFILK.

  36. Twitter fun:

    “@SFReviewsnet · 4h4 hours ago
    The core sickness of the Sad Puppies is in insisting that all SFF fandom who isn’t them must be considered enemies and not allies.”

    Projecting much?

    1. And:

      “@effjayem · 1h1 hour ago
      @RozKaveney @thefuturefire @rosefox @kiplet Heinlein would loathe the Sad Puppies. By their lights he was a SJW.”

      See? I told you Zombie Heinlein would be exhumed to attack us?

        1. Heinlein in re: SJW’s would be, “Been there, done that, had the sense to rip up most of the T-shirts.”

          But it’s true that he was more fiscally conservative and not at all lifestyle conservative. But since most folks on the left want somebody else to pay for all their fun, he wouldn’t register to the SJWs as on the left if he were on the street in San Francisco smoking marijuana, wearing hipster clothes, and doing a foursome with gay T Rexes.

                  1. No society which fails to recognize and suitably reward their enlightenment, wisdom, kindness and just all-around gosh darn awesomeness deserves to exist.

                    Oddly enough, I feel exactly that way, although I suspect my thoughts and their’s differ about what exactly constitutes such recognition and suitable punishment reward.

            1. *aardvark trundles out to the tranker with the jug — and is of the opinion we need a second jug*

                  1. You need to look up the Dr Jane/james Robinson’s “Sexy Rexy”. Hilarious

                    “‘Cause when a predatory female is determined to breed,
                    does no good to hide, run, reason or plead.
                    She’s gonna satisfy that Tyrannical need,
                    Sexy Rexy!”

                1. Hm. Dogs’ve been at the computer, again…

                  Apparently the blue brain screen means I’m more amenable to long walks in the sunshine, the tossing of slobbery tennis balls, and general fuzzy mayhem.

                  Fortunately, I have an automatic reboot schedule the wagging ones don’t know about.

      1. So Baen and Heinlein have been used to shun us back into our place. I guess they are having issues with figuring out how to bring the weight of their community against us non-members.

  37. The ironies continue to pile up.

    I got an e-mail from another author a few months ago congratulating me on finishing FALSE GODS. He told me in the e-mail that I had done a “masterful job of passing myself off as a neocon.” I wrote him back and stated that I’m glad he thought it was a masterful job because I AM a conservative and unlike him and his “action” hero, I really was in the military and I really had served in federal law enforcement–and that the experiences gained in both were what helped shape not just my present social/political beliefs, but the characters and plots for my books.

    But to read this guy’s books, you’d think he was somewhere to the near right of Ronald Reagan–and he admitted passing himself off as such because, as he stated in his e-mail, “conservative folks actually buy books while liberals mainly borrow or pirate them.”

    Dunno if that is true or not and don’t care. But I did find it telling that an avowed liberal would pose as a conservative for nothing more than economic (read: capitalism) reasons.

    I guess this is far more common in the world of novels and fictional literature than I ever cared to fathom.

    JD Kinman

  38. The seem appropriate with regards to being told who a real science fiction fan is.

    “Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.” — DirkGently’s Holistic Detective Agency

  39. Glad you’re free of the insanity. And, TBH, glad you brought back stories to tell. : )

    Your experiences have been a deep well to draw upon when telling people what life under SJW’s is like. Sorry for your suffering, but it wasn’t pointless.

    Cheers from #GamerGate, Twitter wing! (Where this post has been passed around a bit today.)

    And, as always, best of luck!

  40. Reblogged this on Spin, strangeness, and charm and commented:
    Sarah Hoyt is back from surgery — and how! This post about “scarlet lettering” of authors (sci-fi, in her case) by SJW “gatekeepers” for having politically incorrect thoughts — and how such gatekeepers fear and loathe indie publishing because it is not “pod nash kontrol” (Russian for ‘under our control’). Long (as usual for Sarah :)) but very much worth reading all the way through.

  41. Also chiming in late, but better late than never. Sarah is dead on the money about the ‘we will crush your career’ crap that came out of the gatekeepers and their camp-followers. TNH is threatening it now. This is how they swing. Even when they can’t actually stop your books getting published… they will make sit up, and try to smear and damage. That’s how they work. If you were even under suspicion, doors closed (See ‘Requires Hate’ for their normal and acceptable operating procedure). If they knew you were not in lockstep, you were the enemy. The truth, of course, is that their ‘enemy’ is all of us, except a tiny incestuous little group who had a great deal of power. They were free to advertize themselves, to link up, to collude and game everything to their advantage (as at many colleges, left wingers, LBG whatsits, pagans, radical feminists etc are free to make themselves loudly heard. That is of course as it should be. But Heaven help you if as a Christian white male heterosexual you did the same thing.) If you weren’t one of them… you either did chameleon, or shut up, and shutting up was enough to attract suspicion. Now the genie is out of the bottle. The more people who don’t fit their narrow parameters of goodthink come out into the open, and succeed, the easier it gets for the people who don’t fit to come out of hiding. They shut up all signs of dissent, so they think it barely exists. I think they may find themselves in for a rude shock. It’s not implausible that the former victims will give their gander the sauce. I hope they enjoy it.

    1. Geeze, sounds like you are describing the plantation class of the antebellum South. As i now reside in North Carolina, the state with the lowest percentage of plantation owners and highest number of troops committed to the War Against Northern Aggression, I perceive a certain similarity to the way in which the SMOF rile up the less attentive classes to fight on their behalf.

      1. Status. In the Slave-Holders’ Revolt, Northerners observed that talking with soldiers who never had owned slaves and never would, they would explicitly saying they were doing it to carry slaves into the territories. But even if they didn’t own slaves — well — “There is, however, a circumstance attending these colonies, which, in my opinion, fully counterbalances this difference, and makes the spirit of liberty still more high and haughty than in those to the northward. It is, that in Virginia and the Carolinas they have a vast multitude of slaves. Where this is the case in any part of the world, those who are free are by far the most proud and jealous of their freedom. Freedom is to them not only an enjoyment, but a kind of rank and privilege. Not seeing there, that freedom, as in countries where it is a common blessing, and as broad and general as the air, may be united with much abject toil, with great misery, with all the exterior of servitude, liberty looks, amongst them, like something that is more noble and liberal. I do not mean, Sir, to commend the superior morality of this sentiment, which has at least as much pride as virtue in it; but I cannot alter the nature of man. The fact is so; and these people of the southern colonies are much more strongly, and with an higher and more stubborn spirit, attached to liberty, than those to the northward. Such were all the ancient commonwealths; such were our Gothic ancestors; such in our days were the Poles; and such will be all masters of slaves, who are not slaves themselves. In such a people, the haughtiness of domination combines with the spirit of freedom, fortifies it, and renders it invincible.”

      2. I’ve always thought that war should have been named “The Slave-Owners Rebellion”.

        ::Drak suddenly notices The Hoyt’s annoyed look.::

        Ah, please forget I said the above. [Nervous Smile]

        1. when my sister and I were looking around a Connecticut archive, we found two of our great-great-something-granduncles in a book whose precise title I forget but was about Connecticut Yankees who served in the “Slave-Holders’ Revolt.”

          One died, the other was disabled.

          1. It’s IMO more accurate than “War of Northern Aggression”. There may have been more involved than just Slavery but the Southern Newspapers of the time mainly talked about the “evils” of ending Slavery.

            In any case, I was “making a funny” about the use of “War of Northern Aggression” and I wasn’t joking about Sarah’s annoyed look.

            She has stated that discussion of the “War Between The States” aren’t welcome in her place.

            1. Our esteemed hostess does not insist on barring conversational topics lightly. But some of us are stubborn cusses who when once started on certain topics fail to realize that others in her livingroom have become less than comfortable — and that nothing has been or will be gained upon the matter.

    2. Regardless of the vote result in August, looking at the nomination numbers when they are released should be revealing.

      Last year, I think Sad Puppies overestimated itself when it came to the vote. There were likely about 100 or so at the nominating stage and about 200 or so at the final result. I expect that there will be an increase over that this year.

  42. Hi, everyone. My name is RES and I have a confession to make.

    I have, on more than one occasion, gone on Amazon to endorse (review in a positive way, awarding more stars than three) books without first seeking the author’s permission. I have even, albeit with diminishing frequency as I aged, accosted friends and even strangers to tell them “You’ve GOT to read this book!” without asking permission of the author or even the publisher.

    I had not realized the pain and trauma such unapproved endorsements might bring and, now that I am aware, shall attempt to amend my ways and become more respectful of the rights of authors to have their works endorsed only by sanctioned reviewers.

    In atonement I resolve to never again endorse, in any way, manner or form, a literary effort by any Liberal, Socialist or Communist author without first asking their permission and, if possible, allowing them to read and approve any review I might contemplate posting in any public forum such as Amazon.

    I further seek atonement by recognizing the pain and discomfort my custom might bring to such authors and resolve to not burden them with the money I have spent on their works and shall humbly request its return.

    1. N.B. — acceptance and retention of my monies carries implicit acceptance of my public review of their works. ALL persons inclined to abjure such recommendations by me are hereby warned and advised to refuse acceptance of my funds. They are further advised that unless they issue their work in hermetically sealed containers with prominent advisory notices* they run the risk that I will accidentally come across their product, read it and recommend it without awaiting their approval.

      *Sample notices are left as an exercise for the reader. Please be aware that these notices can be visual, auditory, tactile and/or olfactory.

  43. I have been labeled by someone — an editor with three initials — as being “An Abusive Asshole,” primarily because I had the termerity to disagree with his assessment that Teddy Kennedy was the greatest senator the U.S. Senate ever had. If I ever attend a worldcon ever again — fat chance, that — I will insist that my name badge label me as such, as a badge of honor.

    I chaired a WorldCon once (1978). Then I grew up and got out of fandom. I’ve worked in Congress as a space expert, in the House, and in the Senate, and I’ve been a lobbyist for a space company, and for a nanotech institution. I worked as a *shock!* Bush **APPOINTEE ** in the Pentagon on the Iraq Policy desk. Because of this last job I’ve lost (a) my marriage and (b) several “friends” who will no longer talk to me.

    The SFF publishing field is the most reactionary, conservative, stuck-in-the-mud bunch of people I have every run into. Conservative in their leftism of course.

    1. Tim, I imagine that you had closer exposure to The Ted blob than just about anybody. Looking at it from a long distance, how anybody could say that Fat Teddy was the greatest anything is beyond me.

      1. A lion of the senate. Lions, it turns out are lazy beasts who steal the lionesses hunt and will kill, maim and terrorize in order to get more sex.

        1. Probably. On the Lion stuff that is; I don’t know myself; I *do* know that The Ted and his staff were OK to work with. Which can’t be said for a lot of other Dem staff (or GOP for that matter). However: I can’t and don’t and didn’t forgive him his stance on space issues. Feh!

          1. Michael Medved said that as a young man a day spent on the campaign trail as Teddy’s assigned host/driver/minder when said Lion was making appearances for The Campaign was part of what turned him conservative.

            I doubt you possessed the attributes known to attract Teddy’s attentions.

  44. To some degree, this is a variation on the hostility toward fans of the SF writers who really don’t want to be SF writers. Harlan Ellison wrote that essay about 20 years ago about how horrible fans are, collecting isolated incidents of fan misbehavior.

    1. Ellison also wrote that stories must entertain before they can educate, which is pretty much in line with Sad Puppies.

    2. I have never been involved with fandom, but know two “victims of Harlan Ellison” — people who had the misfortune of working with him professionally. He has no room to talk about poor behavior.

      1. Considering some of his brags that became columns, I can only imagine what those two victims endured.

    1. They have, ah, extended the offers when there was enough positive response before. (That magician LARP robe, for example.)

      1. And the Tauntaun sleeping bag, IIRC. (And the unicorn meat-in-a-can, which led to a cease-and-desist order, among other things.)

    2. That is Golion, not Voltron. Blah, blah, blah, weaboo purist crap.

      I wonder if cardboard tubes would be strong enough, and where to source them?

        1. Yeah, but you have to use Gundam mecha for hamsters or anything that uses a hamster ball, because of HARO.

          Super Robots are better blah, blah, blah, Getter Robo, Big Volfogg, Valcazard, and Mazinkaizer SKL.

  45. Reblogged this on faalon and commented:
    I don’t often read AccordingToHoyt and think, “I’ve got to reblog this”. Mostly because she writes on a level too far above my capability to understand completely. That said, this is excellent commentary on the “Sad Puppies 3” campaign (see specifically and on people who believe they have a right to tell you how to have fun in general. Excellent.

  46. This year, because of circumstances beyond our control, the 1632 editorial board had to pull out of our agreement with the con we were planning on hosting the 2015 minicon at. Eric contacted Brady Spraker, with the result that pretty much at the last minute, we’re going to be hosted this year by Libertycon.

    So what? It’s a pretty damned substantially important so what. The SJW’s who dis Baen, and who dis conservatives and libertarians, and who dis the Sad Puppies campaign almost always paint all three (and Libertycon) with the brush of reactionary conservatism. But you understand that Brandy and Uncle Timmy and Richard didn’t just allow us to relocate to Libertycon, they jumped at the chance.

    So, Libertycon is hosting a track dedicated to a multiple best selling long running series whose head writer is an ex-board member of the Socialist Workers Party of America, who was a labor union organizer for decades, who is a self-avowed Trotskyite.

    — By the way, unless you have several hours, and unless you are particularly well read in communist political analysis, I strongly urge you not to confront Eric on that subject. Some of the most fun I have is listening to him take apart poorly educated, poorly prepared neo-cons and big L libertarians.

    — On the same thought, be informed in advance that Eric’s position on Stalin is that the man was an evil asshole who deserved to be shot long before he came to power.

    Anyway, we’re going to be at Libertycon, and Brandy and Uncle Timmy and Richard were more-than-helpful making that happen, because they believe in Liberty like many others I know who believe in freedom and stand ready to defend it.

    Sad Puppies may well be essentially futile. The Hugos utter lack of a category for Gaming, and their lumping of all non-print media into just two categories, makes the Hugos and Worldcon a backwater which our efforts probably can not reverse. So be it.

    I long hoped that someday I would be a published author. I am. I long hoped that I would qualify for SFWA membership, and I did, (the fact that I didn’t renew is beside the point, I realized a childhood dream) SP is a way to spread the wealth of dreams to many others who are utterly deserving, but would, without the SP campaign, never ever have gotten close to a ballot.

    That makes me feel good, and I’ll continue to support and participate in the SP experience.

    1. Funny – Due to a comment in the Diner, I was just looking on the LibertyCon website and saw that notice. Just a few minutes before your comment here.

    2. Arguing politics with Eric is akin to fighting a land war in Asia — you’re on his turf and he has a near infinite wilderness to draw you into, bleeding you in detail before administering the coup de grace.

      It doesn’t make his politics right, it simply means that in debate he’s a professional and you’re likely not even a ranking amateur.

  47. BTW — read the tale of Indiana’s Memories Pizza which has publicly confessed that they would indeed decline the honor of catering a Gay Wedding.

    Their Google Maps icon has been hacked, and it has received 192 reviews (nearly all of recent vintage) with multiple one-star ratings and open admissions to having never eaten at the restaurant.

    At the crowd-source review site a similar dynamic has followed, including foreign nationals.

    While the internet and Indie have reduced the barriers, the internet has often enabled the launching of scheisssturms of hatred

    1. I hope that we won’t get started on *THAT* discussion here. I’ve seen too much garbage from the usual suspects on it. [Frown]

      1. N.B. — the intent of that post was NOT to open the SSM Ball but to address the violent swarming behaviour of the SJW Colony. ANY responses to it should simply remember that this is a demonstration of the concerns which what kept Sarah and others “in the closet” for so many years.

        Frankly, i don’t think there are many weddings — straight, same-sex, multiple spouses or whatever — seeking to be catered by pizzerias. Perhaps this is a niche Dominoes or Pappa John’s has already filled?

        1. I understand your intent but I’m trying to “ward off” any discussion on *THAT* subject. My patience is going away very fast.

        2. I’ve come to the conclusion we’re living in a theocracy. They have hope of future utopia and all their causes are sacred, until they aren’t. (They turn on a fricking dime, too.)

          1. There is an aspect of cultic religious fanaticism to it.

            Fortunately their recent choice of a idol has proved not so enchanting as to enlarge the cult.

          2. Sigh. What Orwell would have made of the freedom Twitter grants to the Two Minute Haters. Facebook is nearly as bad — these venues allow too many people without filters to blast their bigotry into the cyberealm while decrying bullying. Charles Dodson had their number:

            I weep for you,’ the Walrus said:
            I deeply sympathize.’
            With sobs and tears he sorted out
            Those of the largest size,
            Holding his pocket-handkerchief
            Before his streaming eyes.

            These people hate bullying (by all the wrong people) so much they will torment and abuse anybody they even suspect of a bullying thought.

          3. A theocracy in which they recognize no god but their own desires, given license by their sense of victimhood (either their own or that of those they presume to protect.) Theirs is a jealous and brutal faith, brooking no dissenters.

            As for that dime:

            [I]t’s helpful to note, I think, that, whatever the motivation of some backers of RFRA today, RFRAs largely implement the religious exemption rules that Justice Brennan and the ACLU had long argued for — and that Justice Brennan and the ACLU had sharply criticized Justice Scalia and others for overruling.

            Maybe the ACLU and many in that movement have changed its mind on the subject. They are certainly entitled to do so. But it’s worth noting that there is something of a change of mind going on, and that perhaps some of the old criticisms of Justice Scalia — who wrote Employment Division v. Smith (1990), which largely overruled the religious exemption rules that Justice Brennan had advocated — should be retracted.
            Eugene Volokh, HT Instapundit []

            They could give you change but have nobler uses for it.

          4. Sarah, we are living in a society which is attempting to impose a theocracy, but there is a -strong- undercurrent of belief in the world’s fourth great religion: “Americanism”, which is characterized by its sacred scripture, its long history of martyrs, and its near unique nature of being a belief system in which you can become a native — as an adult —.

          5. I’m not sure if theocracy is the right term, since their religion either denies the existence of a deity, or accepts all deities as equally insignificant. I’m not sure of the proper term for a non-deity based belief system, much less a state run by one, however.

    2. And just yesterday there was a piece over at ThePassiveVoice about the perils of Twitter and blogs when the e-mobs start swarming. It really is a mob/herd mentality in all the ugliest, nastiest ways.

      When An0nymous and 4chan first took on that certain-author’s-self-described-religion (I’m not going to name it because it is in the news again and I do NOT want them coming here), I cheered them on. No longer. The e-mob is too vicious, even when it attacks causes I personally disagree with or find abhorrent.

      1. The e-mob is too vicious, even when it attacks causes I personally disagree with or find abhorrent.

        Illistrative example:
        4chan is know for taking on those who prey, sexually, on young children.

        In practice, this means that if they look around for a target they suspect of tending that way, and feel free to be all chaotic evil on them.

    3. There is an antidote. BTW, RES, Since your comment, they’ve been driven into hiding. After all, they’re Christians: safe targets who don’t fight back.

      On the other hand, you never see stories about Muslim bakers driven into hiding, no matter who they refuse to serve.

      As Instapundit says: Be careful what incentives you set up:

      Presumably they’re afraid that the Islamists will kill them if they do that. One hopes that religious Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc., won’t take the obvious lesson regarding incentives . . . .

      I’d rather live in a nation that believes in freedom of association because it’s right; I’ll settle for being left alone, by any means necessary.

  48. Reblogged this on The Worlds of Tarien Cole and commented:
    One of the things I am more than a tad suspicious of is that my past activism in *gasp* conservative circles had an adverse effect on the search for an agent. That, and my books did not carry any obvious check marks for the Diversity Celebrants to claim me as one of their own.

    Oh well. Color me an old-fashioned reactionary, and I’ll go Indie.

  49. “The prize they held hostage was a writers ability to make a living.”
    Everything can, and perhaps should, be viewed from the market perspective. By holding conservative voices hostage the left is actually eliminating competition that threatens their own livelihoods. Are they anything more than capitalists who cheat? No. They’re in it for the money. Can we start calling them out on it?

  50. A long distressing piece, but like the story of Pandora, it ends with hope. Thanks for an optimistic note on getting past the SJW world…. and also for adding OWL to my lexicon.

  51. I forget just how refreshing your posts Can be at times. Thanks and have a good one.

  52. One thing I don’t quite understand is how something as Libertarian as “The Unincorporated Man” got published by TOR. Was it simply to erudite for the SJW to actually understand what it was about?

  53. Given your experiences, you can imagine what they did to openly libertarian authors. At least Baen wouldn’t stoop to putting soft core porn (and UNDERAGE soft core porn at that) on the cover of a book, as happened to an author friend.

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