Broken Hugo Fisking – D Jason Fleming

Broken Hugo Fisking – D Jason Fleming

So somebody named Chris Meadows has decided to weigh in on L’affaire des chiots triste, and as with most of the mainstream “explanations” of what’s going on, his take is, to use a favored word of good Social Justice Warriors everywhere, problematic.

Why the Hugos are broken, and who’s breaking them now

Gosh, sounds promising, doesn’t it? And authoritative, too!

The Hugo Puppies affair proceeds apace. As it will for at least the rest of this year, and probably the next as well. Everyone is having their say, and some excellent things have been written about the whole matter lately. I’ll get to those in a moment.

One of the things that the whole Sad Puppies Affair has brought to the fore for me, personally, is my total lack of patience or respect for what you might call the Argument By Posture, or Argument From Attitude. There are a great many people, largely on the left, who believe that no logical argument is needed, all one need do is express contempt or, sometimes more artfully, mere dismissiveness by affecting a certain pose and using loaded words without dealing in actual content.

(I have been blocked by any number of these people after both pointing out the vacuity of what they were doing, and treating them to precisely the same thing. I am, of course, always the bad guy in such situations.)

So, let’s just say that Meadows sets off my alarm bells with “proceeds apace” and the affected world-weariness of the first two sentences in general.

Also, it’s hilarious to note that he does not actually count those on the Sad Puppies side of things as having anything “excellent” to say, because of course not. This, also, is of a piece with the Argumentum Ad Poseurum, since he again is inserting his judgement before anything else, a rhetorical placing of the thumb on the scales. We’ll get to that in a moment.

The Internet Breaks the Hugos

Whether you’re for the Puppies or against them, there can’t be any argument that the Hugo nomination and voting process is badly broken. The interesting thing is that the process hasn’t changed appreciably for years or even decades. It didn’t just break on its own. No, the same thing happened to it that happened to so many other processes and industries that had long been taken for granted. The Internet happened.

Well, actually, there has been a lot of argument that the Hugos were just fine, dammit, until those dastardly Sad Puppyvolk came along and Ruined Everything. It is in fact only in the past week or so that there has been acknowledgement that the nomination and voting process is deficient.

Which, please note, is what Larry Correia has been saying for three years.

But, of course, the Sad Puppies cannot be permitted to be correct, so the Old And Busted argument is “the Puppies ruined it allllll!” and The New Hotness is now “Everybody Already Knows About This, And The Fact That These Jerks Are Winning PROVES It And They Must Be Stopped!”

But Meadows goes further, with an argument that’s, well, interesting.

I mean, “the internet broke everything”? Really? Yes, he is apparently serious.

The music industry. Movies. Television. Books. Newspapers. All of these institutions have found the solid bedrock foundation on which they built their business crumble to shifting sand as the Internet gave people ways of either getting their stuff without paying for it, or getting the same stuff legitimately but more cheaply. The Internet has been a great democratizer, and that hasn’t worked so well for institutions that relied on a top-down distribution model.

Openness and “piracy” are ruining everything.

Ignore, for the gods’ sakes, that gigantic pachydermic-looking thing in the middle of the room.

The music industry? The one that tried suing kids for millions upon millions of dollars for daring to make mix tapes? The one that tried to get away, in the ’90s, with claiming that you did not “own” CDs you purchased, and had no right to resell them, share them, or even let anyone but the purchaser even listen to them? The industry that deliberately set things up so that no musician could become a success while retaining ownership of his music? (Don’t believe me? Then listen to Buddy Holly, in 1957, begging his former record company to allow him to record his own songs.) But forget all that, the problem is the internet letting those damned kids record and copy and share without permission. Their business was built on a solid bedrock foundation. Yep.

Movies? There are lots and lots of problems with the movie industry, and despite the shrieking hysteria you occasionally hear from Hollyweird, “piracy” really isn’t one of them. An industry whose budgets are outpacing inflation nearly as badly as universities’ has inarguable problems, and those budgets aren’t caused by “the internet”, they’re caused by magical Hollywood accounting under which no movie ever, ever shows a profit, and unions jacking up their rates to try to compensate for that.

And on and on.

The actual problem is that the internet eliminated the need for gatekeepers, and The Establishment in each industry no longer gets to dictate to everybody else what they will like and what they can and cannot do.

Does piracy exist? Sure. Is it a problem? I tend to think not, generally speaking. Unless, of course, you try to force prices higher than the market deems reasonable, in which case, yeah, you’re going to get pirated a lot and paid very little. But that’s another blogpost.

But no, ignore all that, ignore all those industries violations of decency and cronyism with Congress to keep gaming the law (remember the Disney copyright extension of 1997?), and all other evidences of their corruption and glorious comeuppance once the internet hit.

IGNORE IT, I SAY!

Because the internet is ruining everything. There, isn’t that much easier? Much happier? Now shut up and eat your garbage!

(Who wants to lay odds that Meadows really, really hates Fox News and yearns for the days when media bias and malfeasance was never exposed “didn’t exist”?)

But the Internet hasn’t had to affect institutions directly to cause these problems. Sometimes all it takes is connecting people together outside of those institutions. The entire point of the Cluetrain Manifesto was to warn corporations that consumers now had the power to talk to each other the world over about those corporations’ products, and if the corporations didn’t take note and engage in a two-way dialogue, they were going to be roadkill on the Information Superhighway. When Cluetrain was first published, in 1999, this was a pretty bold statement. In the years since, it’s become recognized as a fact of life, not just for corporations but for everyone.

I’m not sure which is more interesting here, Meadows’ pimping of his own past work, or his use of the 1996-fabulous term “information superhighway” with the not-clever-since-maybe-1997 roadkill metaphor.

What has this to do with the Hugos? Um, well, internet. It’s destroying everything, you know.

Anyone remember in the late ’80s, early ’90s, when the Japanese were buying up everything and that was what was wrong with life, the universe, and everything? No?

So, here we have the Hugo Awards, adapting their voting process to the Internet by making it possible for associate members to enter ballots by web instead of just mailing them in as before, without taking into account that the Internet makes it possible to organize concerted campaigns by letting people post communications to everyone else on the Internet. Something like this was inevitable. Perhaps the only thing to be surprised about is that it didn’t happen sooner. (And, given that this is the third year in a row there has been Puppy activity, and it takes two years to implement Hugo rule changes, perhaps the Worldcon folks should have started considering this problem a little earlier, before it became the full-blown crisis that it is this year.)

“Perhaps the only thing to be surprised about is that it didn’t happen sooner”?

Meadows, in a capital feat of Missing The Point, manages to ignore that the Sad Puppies maintain that it did happen sooner — that’s why Sad Puppies exists.

Oh, and Harlan Ellison was saying that it existed way back in 1995.

And the other thing Meadows completely fails at noting is that Sad Puppies played by the rules as they stand, was open and transparent about what they were doing, and were decrying the secret, behind the scenes collusion and deal-making.

You know. The whole point of the exercise.

And this could be only the beginning. When I was chatting with SF and romance novelist Mercedes Lackey the other day, she made this prediction:
I cannot WAIT until someone lets the Romance Writers know about this, and how to get a book on the Hugo ballot.

Romance readers outnumber SF readers by about 100 to one, and a very high percentage of them would be gleeful to only pay $40 to get one of their beloved writers an award.

Romance writers are extremely savvy women about energizing their fan bases. They were using social media for that long before SF writers started.

I want to see their faces when Diane Gabaldon takes the Hugo in 2016.

You know, I was chatting with Bigfamous Namedrop the other day, and she said:

So Diana Gabaldon might win a Hugo? She’s been writing a time-travel fantasy series for, what? Twenty years? More? Sure, it’s romance, but it’s also time-travel fantasy. Does the “romance” label somehow render her Too Uncool To Deserve A Hugo?

As a point of interest, when your horror-show hypothetical result is still more deserving of a genre win than an actual Hugo-winning story — and yes, I mean the dreadful dinosaur piece of wankery — then maybe, possibly, perhaps you are arguing from a position of weakness.

Food for thought, Meadows.

Are the Hugos out of Touch?

By now we’re all familiar with the Puppies’ contention that the Hugos no longer reflect the popular reading tastes of the general public. But did you know the Puppies may have at least part of a point? No less a personage than Eric Flint has spoken out to say that the Hugos are somewhat out of touch after all—but not for the reasons the Puppies think, and they’re going about trying to “fix” it the wrong way. The far-far-left Flint would seem like the last person one would expect to agree with the Puppies on anything, but he makes a pretty good case.

Again, let us look at the ever-shifting goal posts. (In all fairness, I have no idea if Meadows ever did this shift, but since he’s arguing the “Everything Is Awesome” position, with careful attenuations to admit that not quite everything is awesome, but the Puppies are still drooling morons, it’s completely fair to bring up this shift.)

Old & Busted: Baen Books Is Not A Real Publisher And Is Conservative (BOO! HISS!), Too.

(Another logical fallacy is implicit here, the Argument from Cooties — if something is “conservative”, it has cooties, and everyone even tenuously associated with it has cooties, too, and therefore doesn’t need to be dealt with, merely smeared.)

New Hotness: Baen Books Superstar Eric Flint Is Lefty And Therefore Awesome (because he lets me argue that the Puppies are right, but still wrong wrong wrong!!!)

Now, let us pause to consider the argument, made by more serious-minded folks than Meadows, that the Sad Puppies are indeed correct that something is wrong with the process (note: yes, a distortion of the SP’s actual position, but let it pass for now), but incorrect about how to fix it.

Note that, prior to the Sad Puppies victory this year, according to “everybody” (that is, the popular establishment opinion), Everything Was Awesome except for Larry Correia’s Hugo nomination which, because Larry is a nasty non-leftist, was Too Abhorrent To Discuss. But the problem was Larry, and Vox Day, and the wrong kinds of fans getting involved in the process.

But this year, the Sad Puppies dominated the nominations before the whisper campaigns got certain authors to withdraw their works because of cooties. And while, at first, we still heard that Everything Was Awesome, that excuse just wasn’t flying anymore.

So, now, thanks to Sad Puppies 3, people who have a violent allergic reaction to any nonconformist wrongthink are admitting that, well, okay, something is wrong.

In other words, the Sad Puppies ended up both Speaking Truth To Power and Starting A Conversation.

Why are these things only awesomesauce when lefties do them? (Yeah, yeah, I know, “Because SHUT! UP!”)

Flint is so long-winded in his explanation that it’s hard to find bits to quote, but the fundamental causes he lays at the feet of Hugos’ disconnection are threefold: First, there’s simply too much stuff being written these days for people to read more than a small fraction of the potential output while it’s still eligible for nomination. Second, the categories the Hugo covers (novel, novella, novelette, short story) no longer reflect the ways in which fiction is actually published. Third, the tastes of the people who care enough about these awards to bother to take part in them have diverged over time from those of the average person.

[Eric Flint quote omitted.]

Flint also thinks that limiting the awards to one particular item per specific year leads to a lot of excellent works failing to be considered—both because there’s not room for them all to be nominated, and because many people may not even get around to reading something until years after it was published.

Flint’s proposed fix is expanding the categories to account for more types of fiction than are currently covered, or even scrapping the current system of annually-delimited awards outright in favor of more overall-in-field recognition. But he admits that institutional inertia makes it unlikely such a thing will ever happen.

It’s quite cute that Meadows is trying to enlist a Baen author’s arguments against the Sad Puppies (whose organizers are largely comprised of Baen authors and indies).

The problem is, Flint’s arguments would have been just about equally apposite in the early 1990s.

Too much stuff being written these days? Gardner Dozois’s “The Year’s Best SF” anthologies always documented raw numbers in an expansive introduction, such as how many genre novels were published in a given year. I got that anthology from 1989 through about ’94, and every single one included an implicit apology that Dozois could not possibly have read all ~500 novels published in the preceding year, and then noted books that others had mentioned thinking highly of.

If that aspect is broken now, it was broken twenty-five years ago too, and why is it only okay to discuss it now?

The answer is “never mind, we’ve found an argument that will co-opt the Sad Puppies and still let us mock them for being stoopit”.

The second point, that the categories don’t cover how fiction is published, is incredibly open to argument on both sides, pro and con, and that lies outside the scope of this fisking. If the thing needs to be hashed out, it will be, but for now, readers know what a novel is, what a short story is, and the in-between categories of novellette and novella aren’t exactly hard to figure out either. If changes need to happen, well, that’s what Emergent Order is for. It will happen if it needs to, without anybody needing to control it. (Which, come to think of it, is what so frosts the Anti-Sad-Puppies like John Scalzi. They don’t get to dictate, and that’s Wrong.)

The third point is interesting, though, in how Meadows is trying to square the circle.

“Third, the tastes of the people who care enough about these awards to bother to take part in them have diverged over time from those of the average person.”

This is, shall we say, a problematic argument to make when you also accuse “people who care enough about these awards to bother to take part in them” to be “ballot stuffing” because they’re voting in ways you don’t approve.

See, the Hugo is “the fan’s award”, and has (until this year) always been presented as such.

But in recent years, a certain cadre has “cared enough to bother” with the award. And Sad Puppies comes along, declares “we care enough, too, and there are more of us!”

Which has lead to rather delicious public admissions, such as Theresa Neilsen-Hayden declaring both that the Hugo is not “the fan award”, and that “the wrong kinds of fans” must be kept out of the voting process.

Which, by the by, is exactly the sort of mindset and behavior that Larry Correia and the Sad Puppies said was the problem to begin with. Not that “the process is broken”, but that the process had been taken over by a self-appointed, self-congratulatory “elite”, and that they would not take well to intrusions from the riff raff.

Well, thanks to TNH’s admissions, among others, we have crystal clear evidence that that supposed “elite” was not theoretical, but real, and they have very publicly Not Reacted Well to being exposed and shown up.

So what it comes down to is this: if “average people” suddenly “care enough to bother to take part” in the Hugos, does that mean that the tastes of the average person are now more closely aligned to the tastes of people who care enough to bother to take part, or does that mean that suddenly the rules must be changed to keep these awful people out?

The Sad Puppies are simply trying to make “the people’s award” reflective of the people again, and not a self-appointed clique that took over the process to puff its members up while pretending to represent the mass taste.

The Anti-Sad Puppies just want to shut out these knuckle-dragging uncouth savages from the process.

Understanding Vox Day

It’s also worth noting that laying all this disruption at the feet of the Sad Puppies campaign might actually be a mistake. If you dig through the statistics, you’ll find something interesting: the Rabid Puppies campaign by Vox Day (aka Theodore Beale), whose slate had significant but not total overlap with Sad Puppies, actually did better in the nominations than Sad Puppies. When the two slates conflicted, the Rabid choices won out. Ten works that were on Rabid but not Sad made it into the final ballot, while only three works that were on Sad but not Rabid did (and they generally did so only because Rabid didn’t nominate a full slate in those categories). It’s possible that if no one had submitted a Sad Puppies nominating ballot at all, the end results would have still been largely similar.

And now begins the part of the game where smear-by-association sets in, with the super-neato twist of using it also to denigrate the target further by insinuating that Evil McBadPerson is more effective/competent/lock-steppy than those silly Sad Puppies.

More argument-by-cooties, in other words, with the extra attempted insult of “cooties are better than you!

Doesn’t this mature, respectable, and, hell, I’m not afraid to say the word, honorable behavior just make you puff up with pride in all the Good People who aren’t so stupid as to actually associate with Sad Puppies? Doesn’t it? Huh?

The thing is, a lot of people don’t seem to know a lot about Beale beyond the fact that he was kicked out of the SFWA for using its official Twitter feed to disseminate a blog post in which he called author N.K. Jemisin a “half-savage.” Beale’s defenders have tried to insist that his words (and those of multiply-nominated author John C. Wright, whose work Beale publishes) are taken out of context, but lately (and to John Scalzi’s amusement) Sad Puppies leaders Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen have tried to distance themselves from him. (A bit too late, given that he’s already gotten what he wanted out of them, but better late than never I suppose.)

Dear gods this is tedious.

Yes, Chris Meadows, yes: Cool Kid John Scalzi will now confer upon you Righteous Awesomeitude, okay? Could you just, you know, do the fellating somewhere the rest of us don’t have to watch? The whole toady-on-bully thing just doesn’t do it for me, you know?

Now, apart from the porntastic aspects of this, the (pardon me, but it is the word) smear continues. Just a few points of interest:

1. Vox Day is not a part of Sad Puppies. Yes, yes, some of his work was included in the recommendations of Sad Puppies 2. He has no connection to Sad Puppies 3. It is not defensive to say this, especially as people on the Anti-Sad Puppy side continually try to smear by association.

2. Rabid Puppies was, as I understand it, inspired by two things: the partial success of Sad Puppies 2, and the fact that it would piss off John Scalzi and all his toadies.

Rabid Puppies is the responsibility of one man, Vox Day. And he is responsible for himself. Neither Larry Correia nor Brad Torgerson are accountable for the words or deeds of another adult human being. That’s because, he’s, you know, an adult.

Unlike Chris “I learned to argue from the mean girls in eighth grade” Meadows.

(Now watch: if he responds, he’ll ONLY bring up argumentum ad hominem, and not the many, many, many, many, many factual deficiencies of his position, which I’ve been pointing out at length.)

3. Vox was ejected from the SFWA in violation of the rules of the SFWA.

Just kind of a minor point about how The Establishment operates. They are totally willing to break their own rules, just so long as they win.

Unlike, say, the Sad Puppies, who are openly playing by the established rules. And winning.

Here’s a great opportunity to remedy that lack of knowledge. Writer Philip Sandifer has written an epic analysis of Beale and Wright’s political and religious position and how it informs the stories they’ve written and nominated for Hugos. I think that this should be required reading for anyone who wants to take part in the the discussion, whichever side you’re on. I hope I remember this piece when next year comes around, because I feel it should earn Sandifer a place on the 2016 Hugo ballot for Best Fan Writer. It’s extremely long, but well worth reading.

[quote omitted]

Vox is a bad-wrong-odious-wrongthink-BADPERSON, we get it already.

Also? He’s not part of Sad Puppies, and thank you for reviving guilt by association as Totally Awesome. The shade of Joseph McCarthy smiles upon you, Chris Meadows.

What Would Heinlein Think of the Puppies?

As I’m about to demonstrate, if you want to know the answer to this, Chris Meadows is pretty much the last person to look to.

Finally, let’s consider one of the deities the Puppies claim to idolize: Robert Heinlein, who wrote a lot of terrific pulpy action adventure back in the day. One of the Puppies’ major goals is to get more of that kind of stuff and less preachy message fiction in the Hugos, after all.

Chris Meadows would appear to bathe in pure smug. It takes quite a lot of smug to do a double-reverse implied scare quote, after all.

Yes, there are scare quotes around “deities”, you can feel them purely through the power of his contempt.

Actually, this is so jam-packed with idiocy, I’m going to deconstruct it phrase by phrase:

Finally, let’s consider one of the deities the Puppies claim to idolize

As my added emphasis makes clear, Meadows is striving mightily to engage in impression management. The snarky “deities”, the stiletto of implying that Sad Puppy claims are inherently untrustworthy, and the not-at-all accidental implication that we’re insane religious fanatics, all in less than a dozen words.

This isn’t an argument, this is inept propaganda.

Robert Heinlein,

Hey, I managed to cull two words that weren’t a sneer! Yay me!

who wrote a lot of terrific pulpy action adventure

As to “terrific”: right.

As to “pulpy”: great Hera, I could do an essay on this one attempt to sway readers through implication instead of reason and facts, but I won’t.

But let me say this: Meadows is either a fool or a scumbag. Take your pick. [We’re going with both – ed.] Robert A. Heinlein was the very first science fiction writer in America to break out of the “low brow”, “ghetto” of the pulp magazines and into the “respectable” slick magazines. The very first. He was the guy who was So Good, the snooty editors could not deny him because of his genre. This is the author being praise-dismissed with the word “pulpy”.

“Oh,” Meadows is going to claim, “I was praising his quaint, old-fashioned, non-modern style!” Well, not in those words. But make no mistake, it’s left-handed praise, and it’s meant that way.

So is Meadows making it because he’s an ignorant twit, or because he’s a mendacious jerk?

And really, does it matter?

To continue, “action adventure”: Another loaded phrase that can be excused as “positive”, but as everybody who is ANYBODY knows, “action adventure” just isn’t literary old chap, not important. You know. It’s not nearly on par with a first novel that deliberately calls every character “she”, because Gender Is Socially Assigned, you know. What what?

back in the day.

Get that? Heinlein is OLD, people! And, as every Mentos commercial made in the ’90s informed, us, old is stupid, and young is awesomesauce, automatically!

One of the Puppies’ major goals is to get more of that kind of stuff and less preachy message fiction in the Hugos, after all.

For a guy who, I don’t even have to guess, is on the side that claims to be Far More Nuancier Than Thou, Meadows sure has a rough time understanding a not-at-all difficult to understand distinction between what he claims here, and what Sad Puppies is actually about.

Mr. Meadows, I know this is hard for you to get entered into that gray matter you have, but do please at least try: What we want is fiction that tells an entertaining story first. It can have A Message, or No Message, that’s more or less beside the point.

We’re just tired unto death of fiction that has no story, eschewed in favor of Just One Approved Message, or else a story that Makes No Sense because the message trumped story logic.

We don’t mind messages. We don’t even mind messages antithetical to our own views (unlike you and your hate for Vox Day for having The Wrong Message, as noted above). We just want A Good Story, and if it has a message, fine and dandy, but the Story Must Be Good first.

Which, if you notice, is not what you say above. Because you’re wrong. Whether you’re wrong because you’re too stupid to understand a fairly minimal level of nuance, or because you’re an impression-managing manipulative lying jackass, again, I leave as an excercise for the reader.

Except the Puppies are kind of forgetting something. Heinlein was no stranger to “preachy message fiction” himself. In fact, he had some pretty harsh words for critics who wanted all adventure and no message:

Harsh words for critics who want what the Sad Puppies avowedly Do Not Want. As explained above. So, you know, GREAT ZINGER, DUDE! Just, too bad it doesn’t apply to the people you thought you were zinging.

Dumbass.

This is the Heinlein quote (which he got from a comments section, rather than, you know, sourcing it himself):

He will permit any speculation at all” as long as it is about gadgets only and doesn’ touch people. He doesn’t care what mayhem you commit on physics, astronomy, or chemistry with your gadgets but the people must be the same plain old wonderful jerks that live in his Home Town. Give him a good ole adventure story any time, with lots of Gee-Whiz in it and space ships blasting off and maybe the Good Guys (in white space ships) chasing the Bad Guys (in black space ships) but, brother, don’t you say anything about the Methodist Church, or the Flag, or incest, or homosexuality, or teleology, or theology, or the sacredness of marriage, or anything philosophical! Because you are just an entertainer, see? That sort of Heavy Thinking is reserved for C. P. Snow or Graham Greene. You are a pulp writer, Bud, and you will always be a pulp writer even though your trivia is now bound in boards and sells for just as much as Grace Metalious stories and you are not permitted to have Heavy Thoughts. Space Ships and Heavy Thinking do not mix ” so shut up and sit down!

The rule is: Science Fiction by its nature must be trivial.

This of course rules out a large fraction of my work” and all my future work, I think.

I defy Meadows to find one individual even remotely related to Sad Puppies who thinks SF should only be about gadgets. Go for it. Try.

(Which is even funnier, because his Biggest Complaint about Vox Day and John Wright’s fiction is that He Does Not Like Their Speculations About People, because wrongthink!)

If the Sad Puppies have a rule for SF, it is this:

The rule is: Science Fiction by its nature must be entertaining.

This is a rule Heinlein never broke. (You, yes you, the one about to kvetch about The Number Of The Beast — be quiet; you would only be admitting that you missed the joke of what Heinlein was doing in that book. [Seconded! – Ed.])

It’s like he’s speaking directly to the Sad Puppies from beyond the grave, isn’t it?

It’s like Meadows is an idiot savant, except for the “savant” part, isn’t it?

616 responses to “Broken Hugo Fisking – D Jason Fleming

  1. A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a couple of younger SF fans, and I mentioned Heinlein.

    Both of them suddenly became Very Serious. “Oh, yes, he was very important. But he’s dated.”

    Dated how?

    “Oh, you know. Doesn’t have much in common with today.”

    Again, how?

    It turned out that, while both of them were Very, Very Sure that Heinlein was Dated and Not Relevant, neither of them had, you know, actually read any of his books. Both of them eventually brought up the Starship Troopers movie as an example of why he wasn’t as important (I successfully resisted the urge to strangle the both of them on the spot for that).

    • There’s been a push on the SF sites to present him as such. Apparently, there is no relevant science fiction before Old Man’s War.

    • Yep. That’s about normal. OTOH if you let the kids read them before the school gets to them, they love the books.

      • Interesting. The first time I read ST (I was still basically a social democrat then) I found it profoundly disturbing — and yet a great read. It wasn’t that I mistook his description of a timocratic society as advocacy therefore — but the lectures by LTC Dubois, well, are hard to stomach if you come from a leftie perspective (let alone the post-Marxist idiocy that even old-school Euro socialists couldn’t stomach). It was upon the 3rd read (which, incidentally, happened after I’d married into a military family) that I finally “got” it.

        Don’t remember what the 1st RAH was I read: either Waldo and Magic, or Citizen of the Galaxy as a teenager. SIASL was the 2nd “serious” RAH novel I read, and which made an enormous impression at the time — but less lasting than Heinlein’s alter ego in ST.

        Of course, while SIASL is probably inimitable, ST also became an archetype for an entire subgenre, and the direct inspiration for (inter alia) Ender’s Game and the Weber/White collaboration “In Death Ground”.

    • I’ve read and enjoyed Heinlein, and I would agree that in a lot of ways he’s dated; his prose style is noticeably different from the prose style younger fans would be accustomed to.

    • Heinlein has nothing to say to today’s readers because his characters used slide-rules. Duuuuuh.

      And he thought Pluto was (hah; get this:) a planet! What a dope.

      • Your Reverse Hopping Troll Technique is no match for my Lightning Razor Tongue Style!

      • And he himself used butcher paper on the kitchen floor to calculate a Hohmann S trajectory. (Space Cadet)

      • If the references you mention preceded the mid 1970s, this was excusable. It was mainstream opinion that Pluto was monkeying with Neptune’s orbit and was big enough to be seen. The first part was “true” because we didn’t have a good enough constraint on Neptune’s mass and orbit. The last part was true because, uh, Tombaugh saw it.

        The latter half of the 1970s was when our telescopes got good enough to figure Pluto’s albedo and then its moon. 1989 was when Voyager flew by Neptune and made on-the-spot readings. Heinlein lived to see the former but not the latter.

    • John R. Ellis

      There were no good SF or fantasy books before 2010. Didn’t you get the memo?

      Okay, fine, there were -some- decent things published, by they were all…PROBLEMATIC.

      It’s only in 2010 that the WISE people began serving the plebes the deboned, defatted, processed, sanitized, carefully calculated and 100% problematic-free fiction deserving of attention.

      And that’s all it can get. Attention. Which might not be as good as the adoration Heinlein and the other old grandmasters got, but at least the stories don’t possibly contain anything different, unusual, or troubling!

      *sarcasm mode off*

    • I am going to agree, he is dated. I bought Farnham’s Freehold and disliked it, try it yourself and see if you consider this a good story by todays standards. Farmer in the Sky was slightly better, but felt like a young adult novel. By the standards of todays Hunger Games novels it was dull.

      • Oh, GOOD LORD. Farmer in the Sky IS a YA novel. I’d say 90% of the people here have read FF. My favorite? No, but some deep and relevant ideas there. You disliked it? Good. I can’t stand the nonsensical worldbuilding and plotting by stupidity of Hunger Games. So, your opinion is of little concern to me.

        • Yay! Glad to find someone else who had the same opinion of Hunger Games. I kept having to stop and rant about how incredibly stupid the world-building was. Just couldn’t stand it. I actually objected to the movie less because it papered over some of the idiocy.

          • It struck me as someone pulling a Narnia with lower quality material to draw from– I don’t mean just the religious stuff, either, Lewis used a lot of lovely chunks of mythology and folklore and heaven-knows-what, I guess adventure stories. Less organic than Middle Earth, but ‘different’ rather than ‘worse’ or ‘better’.

            I don’t much care for the world view involved, but I’m aware of that. 😀

        • Hunger Games was another entry in the honorable tradition of YA dystopias with execrable world-building. My introduction to the YADWEWB genre was Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Shadow Children series. (OK, Among the Hidden was spooky, but once she started writing sequels the world-building fell apart.)

          • overgrownhobbit

            Quite a lot of dystopian teen fic, or (YA) starts out strong, then falls apart, becoming less satisfying as it goes along, almost certainly due to a misunderstanding about how utterly critical world-building is if your plot development and ultimate catharsis relies on: fixing the world. Not stopping (or just, pace Tolkien, delaying for a time) a threat to a society that mostly works, but a revolutionary change.

            The “how it got that way” reveal needs to be plausible and satisfying, and the fix needs to be equally organic to the world and culture. It doesn’t help that the educated modern is frequently clueless about economics, human nature, and history. What impressed me about the Hunger Games was how Collins handled the (then) obligatory love triangle in the first book. Really the whole first book had a lot going for it, which, unfortunately, the subsequent 2 books completely undermined.

            But I am admittedly have a soft spot spot for any teen novel where the underlying assumption is that the secular apocalypse is caused by Big Gummint 🙂

            • how utterly critical world-building is if your plot development and ultimate catharsis relies on: fixing the world

              Did you read Divergent 🙂

              And I’ll admit that I liked hunger games, although the third book not as much as the first two.

          • I’ll admit to not having read Hunger Games and not having seen the movie at all.

            But I remember thinking… if you wanted to ensure that all of your subjected peoples spent every moment of every day of their children’s development training them to be very very good killers… you’d set up some Hunger Games… but really, if you wanted to keep them subjected and keep yourself in power, that would be DUMB.

            The whole thing was popular enough that it was probably not that simple, but my experience with non-science-fiction critique groups is that people who don’t generally “do” science fiction get really distracted by the bells and whistles and miss really obvious story issues like… “evil is dumb.”

      • BTW the relevant comparison to Hunger Games would be Tunnel in the Sky. Your preppers didn’t prep you right…

      • Actually I consider Farnham’s Freehold one of Heinlein’s best adult novels. His YA novels, like…uh… Farmer in the Sky (which was originally published as a serial in Boys Life) tend to be of a more consistent quality in my opinion. Having choked on the original Hunger Games, I can’t tell you the quality of the sequels, but the first one was so beat your head against the wall stupid/nonsensical that I can’t believe they even produced sequels, and I have no desire to waste my time.

      • So, you didn’t like Farnham’s Freehold (I didn’t either) and you felt that Farmer in the Sky (a Young Adult novel) “felt like a young adult novel.”

        What about his major works? Have you read any of them?

    • Actually, the fact that several of his books were made into movies after his death impliesthat he was very, very important. Yes, the Starship Troopers movie sucked bigtime, but it was better than the Old Man’s War movie, wasn’t it?

  2. I have a sad. I remember when Chris was a nice guy and a Barfly. But hey, I’m sure his new ‘friends’ can offer him far more than us worn out old friends who aren’t the rightfans.

    • I had never encountered him before this piece. Color me unimpressed with his critical thinking skills, for starters. :\

      • I know you hadn’t, and it’s probably best you were able to approach the thing objectively.

        • For “approach objectively”, I understand you to mean “with hammer and tongs”. 😀

          • Well, I meant you wouldn’t pull your punches, which I certainly would have – he was kind to me, years ago. Sadly, I do know that people change. You did a good job with this post, and it addressed points far beyond the main article you were dissecting.

            • overgrownhobbit

              I suspect he fell victim to the same temptation that Scalzi did, what CS Lewis called the lure of the “inner ring”

              Here: http://www.lewissociety.org/innerring.php

              Scalzi wasn’t always as he is now, Whatever was a pretty fun blog, and I had high hopes for his SF writing career (as a reader)

              The price of fitting in with the CHORFs is death to art.

          • I’d go with hammer and scythe, with “Your Name Here” engraved on the blade. Just to personalize it.

      • I cannot evaluate his critical thinking skills as this piece doesn’t employ any. His rhetorical skills, OTOH, I grant about a D- but only because I am employing a High School Sophomore standard rather than a collegiate one.

        • We’re kind of a bad audience; most people don’t even notice such things. I had a fairly intelligent 40 year old woman assure me that a total hit piece that pulled all the usual tricks was “not taking any sides” in her estimation. /headdesk

          • Funny how often “not taking any sides” equals “pushing my point of view.”

            As demonstrated on Yes, Prime Minister: I have an independent mind, You are eccentric, He is round the twist.

            • *shrug* Sometimes, it’s true. Thing is, we check.

              Little story.

              We bought a red van several years ago, and suddenly I was noticing how very many red vans there are.

              So I counted them.

              Then I restricted it to only minivans.

              Then only to mini vans actually driving on the road.

              Then only counting them when I was more than five miles from home….

              Red vans were more common, more than twice as common as any other color. And that’s after I made “metallic,” “sort of white,” and “any shade of blue” into categories.

              And every single time, folks assure me I’m wrong, red vans aren’t more common, it just SEEMS like it.

              • For those wondering, all the variations were changes I could think of that could possibly bias the information– it was theoretically possible I lived in a statistical bubble of red vans.

                • No, I’ve seen several studies say that silver and red and beige are the most popular colors, and have the best resale value. Sportscars have a different color list.

                  • If I really cared, I could probably check the registered minivans in the state, too– just annoys me that folks go from “there’s a possible perception issue” to “obviously, this is a case where it’s purely perception.”

            • I gotta admit that when the bees in the writer’s bonnet buzz in harmony with those in mine, it’s a lot harder to hear them.

    • Yeah, and little Johnny Barefoot used to be a Heinlein fan, until he realized that his bread was buttered on the left side. Now it might turn out it wasn’t. Too bad, so sad.

    • Oh, and join your tears with mine. Connie Willis is the person who brought me back to reading science fiction. I wish they understood the culture war and that they’re not at war with people. BUT what do I know?

      • I wonder how much this is going to end up like the Blog Wars. “Yeah [name] really encouraged me/ had neat stuff/ did great work. it’s really a shame he lost his mind in the Blog Wars.”

        • A lot of it. I already feel that way.

        • Yeah, he was with us in the trenches in the Blog Wars, and when it got down to hand-to-hand he was right there with us, up until the day he threw himself on a plot grenade. He saved the unit but his mind was never the same afterward.

          If we are mark’d to fail, we are enow
          To do our country loss; and if to win,
          The fewer fans, the greater share of honour.
          God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one fan more.
          By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
          Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
          It yearns me not if men my t-shirts wear;
          Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
          But if it be a sin to covet honour,
          I am the most offending soul alive.
          No, faith, my coz, wish not a one from Fandom.
          God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
          As one fan more methinks would share from me
          For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
          Rather proclaim it, Torgerson, through my host,
          That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
          Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
          And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
          We would not die in that fan’s company
          That fears his fellowship to fall with us.
          This day is call’d the feast of Puppies.
          He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
          Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
          And rouse him at the name Sad Puppies.
          – – –
          We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
          For he to-day that sheds his ink with me
          Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
          This day shall gentle his condition;
          And gentlemen in Fandom now-a-bed
          Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
          And hold their fanhoods cheap whiles any speaks
          That fought with us upon Sad Puppies’s day.

          With apologies to the Bard, even as he’s stricken from college curriculae.

          • Professor Badness

            Bravo!

            • The beauty of it is, our opponents cannot do the same. They give speeches not to inspire but to incite.

          • Stands up. Applauds madly! More, more, sir. More.

            • Pish-tosh. You do me too much credit for abusing the works of others.

              SAD PUPPIES
              Accursèd be that tongue that tells me so,
              For it hath cowed my better part of man!
              And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
              That palter with us in a double sense,
              That keep the word of promise to our ear,
              And break it to our hope. I’ll not fight with thee.

              YUGOS
              Then yield thee, coward,
              And live to be the show and gaze o’ th’ time.
              We’ll have thee, as our rarer monster hunters are,
              Painted on a pole, and underwrit,
              “Here may you see the benighted.”

              SAD PUPPIES
              I will not yield,
              To kiss the ground before young Scalzi’s feet,
              And to be baited with TNH’s curse.
              Though Birnam Wood be come to Dunsinane,
              And thou opposed, being of no woman born,
              Yet I will try the last. Before my body
              I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, World Con,
              And damned be him that first cries, “Hold, enough!”

              Always steal from quality, I say.

              Happily, few these days will ken how that battle ended. 😉

          • *polite golf-clap* Oh, well done, sirrah! Well done indeed! Three cheers for the noble Res, and I’ll lead the way –
            Hurray! hurray! hurray!

            • Being addressed as “sirrah” always leaves me wondering if the user is familiar with the proper meaning of the word — something which is always probable amongst such erudite company as this.

              I don’t mind being tweaked for pretentiousness, I dislike wondering whether it was inadvertent or out.

              As for the three cheers …


              … I am forever tested by the difficulties of manipulating the lyrics of that one. The worst part of it is that my actual name scans for Captain Spaulding but I resolutely refrain from using that on line.

              Jamison: He went into the blogwars,
              Where all the posters throw nuts.

              Mumble: If I stay here I’ll go nuts.

              Crowd: Hooray hooray hooray.

              Hooray for mumble mumble,
              The internet explorer
              He brought his name undying fame,
              And that is why we say:
              Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

          • This needs the soundtrack.

        • Blog Wars? Is that something like the Exclusion Act?

          • Not exactly. It goes back to 2004-2006 or so, and involved an individual who had become the blogfather to a lot of major blogs. It gets kinda complicated, but the blogfather ended up turning against many of the people he once encouraged, in large part because his left-liberal associates encouraged/threatened/pestered him to return to the fold. Now most of the bloggers and others he once mentored/encouraged avoid even naming him or his blog, because he’s so touchy. I was watching from the fringes under a different nom de cyber, Sarah was closer to the epicenter, as I recall.

            • Poor Charlie. He lost his mind in the blog wars. Yes, I was a frequent commenter on that blog, under a nom de net.

              • I started lurking just about the time he turned to the Dark Side.

              • I started there some time after 9/11, not sure by which path. I wonder if we ever interacted?

                • Tell me the name you used. I remember some of them. My name/identity was taken into the back woods and shot.

                  • Mauser, naturally. 🙂 I think the account hasn’t been banned, since the last time I checked.

                    • I don’t remember you, so we must not have interacted much.

                    • I get that a lot. :-/

                    • Trust me, it beats the alternative. I have had so many conversations about the “times we had” with people I not only have never met before, but who may actually be talking about a time before I was capable of interacting beyond making cute noises. And that’s above and beyond the “I work here!” field effect. (Which is really impressive when you’re wearing half-dead jeans and gray shirt in Target. Wasn’t even one where they could’ve mistaken me for my sister out of uniform.)

                    • That’s ok, I distinctly remember pulling into a burger joint with a girl I had went to high school with (we were in our early twenties). A guy hollered at us across the parking lot, calling both of us by name, came over and spent fifteen minutes discussing what he had been doing lately, describing his new truck, etc.; and asking us what we had been doing and how certain (mentioned by name) members of our family had been doing.
                      When he walked off I looked at Jess and asked her, “who is he?” She shrugged and replied, ” I haven’t a clue.”

                      Obviously we made a much larger impression on him, than he did on us.

                    • I HATE it when that happens.

                      I have friends on Facebook who went to middle school with me who I honestly don’t remember in the least. The oddest was a guy I went to high school with telling me that his wife was in middle school with me. He sent pictures, everything, but damned if I could remember her.

                    • My parents and I were sitting in a Ponderosa Steak House one evening when this guy walked by and said to me, “Hey, how’d you like that party last night?” Then he mentioned a couple of details, but I don’t remember what they were. I told him I was sorry, but I wasn’t there, because I had no idea who he was. He said I really looked like his friend who had been at a party with him the previous night and walked off shaking his head,

                      But far worse than that was the time that every single person who was there swore up and down that I had been at the get-together which had included a strip poker game, which I had no knowledge of at all (and no, I hadn’t gotten drunk and forgotten it – I was elsewhere at the time and had witnesses, ya smart-alecs 🙂 ).

                    • Wormholes. It’s wormholes, I tells ya!

                    • “Great talk at the library, Sarah” said the friend at a dinner. “What? What talk?” asked the Sarah whose days were devoted to toddler. “About excessive taxation. I meant to go up and tell you it was great, but you were surrounded.” “Uh, John, it wasn’t me.” Come to find this woman is named Sarah Hoyt, is an anti-tax (excessive tax) activist, looks like me (our pharmacist confuses us) and our older sons (named Robert) attended the same high school. Thank heavens she divorced her husband (Dan, of course) who moved to Denver, and she’s a realtor, not a writer. I still wonder how often she gets my books shoved at her at house showings. And NO, I don’t intend to use her to sell the house.
                      I’m also somewhat scared she was born the date I was due.

                    • You’ve mentioned her before, but I don’t think with ALL of those details.

                      Wow.

                    • I have possibly one of the rarest names in the world. There are less than sixty people with the same last name, and they all live in the US. So I don’t get those kinds of mistakes.
                      However I used to look like the bass player in (I think it was) White Lion, back in the 80’s, so I got a lot of people coming up to me about that.
                      Which was kinda funny.

                  • Was your name/identity shot in the back woods with a Mauser?

              • I used to go there a lot as well. I believe I was ‘Banner’ over there. Did we ever interact or argue? (Hope we didn’t argue!!)

                • I was (still am in a few places) LittleRed1.

                • No, we didn’t argue. I think we talked. Actually, I remember a lot of people here from there. Not the names, but sometimes a turn of phrase makes me go “Oh, you.” The same way I’m sure a lot of you have pegged me, and I’m grateful no one has outed me.
                  The seductive allure of a fake online personality is that it allows you to be an agent provocateur. It also starts to take over your life. Which is why I kilt her dead.
                  From that blog, or at least at two removes, I retain two RL friendships, though. So, not all is thorns.

                  • Yeah. I know I hung out there before it went off the deep end, but don’t remember commenting much. And it’s too lon ago for me to clearly remember who some of you (including you Sarah – sorry ) were there.

                  • I got banned there twice. The first time I sent him an email and said ‘WTF? I was just asking about X, what’s the problem with that?’ and he apologized.
                    Second time I think I called one of his friends out (the ones who the rules no longer applied to) for saying something insulting.

                    The funniest thing that ever happened was when one of his leftist friends accused me of coming there because of ‘right wing reasons’. To which I countered that I am a HUGE fan of the performer he used to work for (which I am, and which I won’t mention the name of here), and I came to his blog cause I’d seen him actually perform and was curious.

                    I do wonder sometimes if that got me some brownie points with Mr. C.

            • “Blogfather” calls up all sorts of interesting images.
              It would have been perfect for “Herman’s Head”.

        • What were the Blog Wars?

        • You see me now a veteran,
          Of a thousand fannish wars.
          I’ve been living on the edge so long,
          Where the winds of flamewars roar.

          • Again, I keep thinking “There was a war in heaven” and don’t tell me how weird that is.

          • Believe it or not, for all the bandwidth the current Hugo flap is taking up, it still is nothing in intensity compared to some of the online fan wars I’ve seen (or even participated in).

            Go google some of the “discussions” from Rec.Arts.Drwho circa 1995, if you don’t believe me.

            • or rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5, that resulted in the .moderated version of that newsgroup being added…

              (as a side note, jms flames with the best of them)

          • Wow, change that first paragraph, and one line near the end, and it’s perfect as-is

    • TheOtherSean

      I am also somewhat disappointed by Chris’ post. I’ve been bumping into him on the Internet since before the web, and in the past I’ve enjoyed his presence in a number of venues. This time, though… sigh.

  3. So, these are, theoretically, the folks who think it was so terrible that the ‘god botherers’ burned all those thousands of poor innocent little witches… and that the evil conservative Republicans tried to keep all those black people down with their Jim Crow laws… and then all those evil conservative Republicans with their HUAC … were all such horrible horrible people

    and then they make an Inquisition of their own, and want their own Jim Crow laws, and their own Hugo UnFan Activities Committee.

    • The popular wisdom always looks back in horror on the prejudices of the previous generation. THEY persecuted heretics, WE “rescue cultists”.

      • Well, I was making a point… the HUAC was headed by Democrats, mostly. Jim Crow laws also, largely, came from Democrats. But their Narrative says that we are the bad guys, so we must have done it.

        (and i know they are the ones who burn heretics, all i have to do to prove that is question global cooling err warming err ‘climate change’ in public.)

        • But the popular wisdom also has it that the Democrat and Republican parties “changed places” while nobody was looking.

        • Jim Crow laws also, largely, came from Democrats.

          Even Wiki’s article places the blame squarely and solely on the Democrats:

          During the Reconstruction period of 1865–1877, federal law provided civil rights protection in the U.S. South for freedmen, the African Americans who had formerly been slaves, and former free blacks. In the 1870s, Democrats gradually regained power in the Southern legislatures, having used insurgent paramilitary groups, such as the White League and Red Shirts, to disrupt Republican organizing, run Republican officeholders out of town, and intimidate blacks to suppress their voting. Extensive voter fraud was also used. Gubernatorial elections were close and had been disputed in Louisiana for years, with increasing violence against blacks during campaigns from 1868 onward. In 1877, a national Democratic Party compromise to gain Southern support in the presidential election resulted in the government’s withdrawing the last of the federal troops from the South. White Democrats had regained political power in every Southern state. These Southern, white, Democratic Redeemer governments legislated Jim Crow laws, officially segregating black people from the white population.

          And, while we are at it the article also condemns the part of the Progressives:

          While the separation of African Americans from the general population was becoming legalized and formalized during the Progressive Era (1890s–1920s), it was also becoming customary. …

          (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Crow_laws)

          • Yes, I know. but if you ask an SJW- in many cases after stopping to explain what Jim Crow laws were- they sure aren’t going to say that.

            The ‘largely’s were so some troll doesn’t come by and say “Republican Senator Mucketymuck voted for Jim Crow laws, your argument in invalid”

            • The problem with that is there was no “Republican Senator Mucketymuck” hence the term “The Solid South.” Look that up and you get phrases such as “the states of the southern U.S. that traditionally supported the Democratic Party” (dictionary.reference[DOT]com) and “the electoral support of the Southern United States for the Democratic Party” (references-definitions[DOT]blurtit[DOT]com). Wiki is even more damning;

              … the Democratic Party controlled state legislatures and most local and state officeholders in the South were Democrats, as were federal politicians from these states. The control of the Southern Democrats after disenfranchisement of blacks at the turn of the century meant that a candidate’s victory in Democratic primary elections was tantamount to election to the office itself. Though regarded by most as an example of racial segregation, white primaries further entrenched white Democratic party control of the political process in the South.

              The simple fact is that Jim Crow was enacted for the specific purpose of disenfranchising a key Republican voter bloc. Sorta like what the Democrat District Attorney in Milwaukee is attempting with pre-dawn “no-knock” raids, guilt by association and secret subpoenas.

        • Yep, I’ve been called a flat out liar for simply pointing out that Lincoln was a Republican. Yes, he started in the Whig party, but was elected president on the Republican ticket.

          • The proglodytes are eagerly attempting to highjack Abe for the Dems, a topic too absurd, an argument too dreary to engage — except that failing to engage the twaddle usually ends in it becoming accepted fact (as John Ford defined fact) thus some rebuttal is necessary. It is an argument propounded by Doris Kearns Godwin, a terrific writer not unduly hampered by fact (as well as lickspittle to LBJ & FDR) and expanded upon by those with a vested interest in creating a legitimacy for their views not inherent in them (as well as commitment to the creed the modern GOP has become extremist.)

            One rebuttal can be found at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/11/i_am_a_lincoln_republican_1.html#ixzz3YLddLSwz :

            The same slave-owning Democratic establishment that was trying to influence Western states through federal power — while confronted later by the same power — would hide behind the state rights defense and shamelessly use it to manipulate masses of poor Southern boys into a war to preserve the interests of a few.

            This is the same mindset of special interests that today manipulates women, minorities, and gays in order to impose its political will onto others, and who, when challenged, hides behind and uses the same women, minorities, and gays as human shields.

            It was precisely this “civil terrorism” that Abraham Lincoln came to defeat. It was this passionate opposition to federally sanctioned slavery that fueled Lincoln’s otherwise Zen-Midwestern engine, transforming this participant-citizen’s moderate political impulses into an uncompromising will to national leadership.

            Even more devastating are these arguments made by Steven Hayward at the Powerline blog

            … after an inventory of this favorite liberal talking point, McGurn summons Allan Guelzo as his witness for the defense:

            In a paper still available online at the Heritage Foundation, Mr. Guelzo takes on the Lincoln chestnuts one by one, e.g. that he bequeathed America a huge centralized government—in fact, the federal government shrank back to prewar levels in the years after the war. That he promoted federal activism through programs such as the Homestead Act—Mr. Guelzo prefers to call it “the greatest privatization scheme in history.” That Lincoln was an authoritarian—the narrow limits of the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves only in states in rebellion, shows Lincoln’s reluctance to exert powers he did not have. And so on.But there is a simpler and more direct way of prying Lincoln back from the Left: Lincoln’s entire outlook and constitutional statecraft was based in his understanding of and commitment to natural rights as the Founders understood them. And if there’s one thing modern liberalism is viscerally opposed to, it is the Founding philosophy of natural rights. If the Left had its way, John Locke would be locked up.Look for that at the Powerline archives under powerlineblog[DOT]com/archives/2015/04/grand-theft-lincoln.php

            Finally, doesn’t it matter that the proglodytes constantly use Argument from Authority rather than honestly asserting the demonstrable merits of their cause? I have long observed that the only conservatives liberals love are dead ones because then the libs can rob their graves and use their corpses to attack their heirs.

            When a Chris Matthews uses the after-hours conviviality of Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill to bash George W Bush I cannot help but think it said more about Teddy Chappaquiddick than it did W.

    • and that the evil conservative Republicans tried to keep all those black people down with their Jim Crow laws

      The Republicans and their Jim Crow laws? Really!

      To echo Professor Kirk, ‘What do they teach in schools these days?’ Certainly not history.

    • Because the dog always returns to its vomit and the pig to its mire.

  4. ” When the two slates conflicted, the Rabid choices won out.”
    Which is why THE CHAPLAIN’S WAR is on the ballot. Oh, it isn’t?
    Meadows has decided he is entitled to not just his own opinions, but his own facts.

    • I probably should have dinged him on that, but my response was already so long that I chose not to. It’s a perfect example of every word being wrong, including “and” and “the”.

    • They always do. Heck, the three body problem, which only got in after people quit also wasn’t RP.

    • Everyone also keeps ignoring the fact that you had to be a member by Jan 31, 2015 to nominate anyone for the 2014 awards and Rabid Puppies was announced on Feb 2.

      • So only people with access to a time machine were eligible to nominate works?

        • *trots off to the second workshop* Hey gang, work faster! If we’re going to dominate the 2015 Hugos, we need to get a bunch of people registered by three months ago.

          • No, the vote is … never mind.

          • Not to worry. I finished the prototype months from now and used it to go back and introduce a lot of people to Heinlein in the Sixties. The cumulative effect finally rolled through the stream last Fall.

            You’ve got to be very careful about secondary effects of such “adjusting” of the stream, so its best to use material already available.

            Oh yeah — while I was running time laps I also took out that nut job in Germany before he could get started. I convinced them 35,000 followers was enough to launch their putcsh in Munich and the paperhanger got tossed in jail. He’s fully discredited and won’t manage to do any harm.

            I’m off now to convince that Corsican second lieutenant to turn his artillery on the mob in Revolutionary France. That should cool their ardor.

            • We got that group of Serbian anarchist ready to take out that upstart Austrian duke. Hopefully, that should stabilize Europe for a few decades.

              • GREAT! I’ll drop them off as soon as I return from telling Caesar “Go ahead, cross the damned river; whatta they gonna do?”

                (Jots down note to tell Harald Hardrada to get his but in gear and invade England before that Norma bastard gets there; that way he can whup Godwinson, kick Billy’s butt and not have to split the bloody island.)

            • don’t cross the streams.

    • I’m pretty sure that Brad refused the nomination, not that he wasn’t nominated. He certainly didn’t put *himself* on his suggested slate. Larry refused, of course.

      • “The Jenregar and the Light”, “Coherence”, and “The Maze Runner” also lost. Those are the cases where RP “conflicted” with SP. Meadows is asserting the exact OPPOSITE of the truth and assuming his audience is too gullible to check for themselves.
        I am unable to believe he is as stupid as he is pretending to be… leaving the conclusion that the CHORF’s are now telling LUDICROUS lies about something so easily checked.

  5. I’m old enough to remember when the Internet’s ability to allow people to bypass gate keepers, organize, and subvert centers of power was a good thing.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      It’s only GOOD when the Gatekeepers being “bypassed” are the “Wrong People”.

      It’s EVIL when the Gatekeepers being “bypassed” are the “Good Men”. [Very Big Evil Grin]

  6. Oh, and I don’t see anything wrong with a cross genre novel winning the Hugo. Meadows’ literary prejudice is showing.

    • But with Gabaldon, the romance fans and the historical fiction fans might gang up on poor us. (There being, of course, no overlap between the groups.)
      Too bad Dorothy Dunnett is dead. Well, “Niccolo” did have psychic episodes.

      • Actually, I was one of the first to say that it would be awesome and amusing if the romance fans came to get their Hugo. I was not thinking Gabaldon, but she is a good candidate.

        Technically Monette/Addison would also count, although I think she writes slash fantasy romance in her Monette books.

        • If you look at the classical meaning of the term “Romance” (Merriam-Webster: a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious) pretty much all traditional SF fits into the category.

          For that matter, although it startled me when my mother pointed it out, Louis L’Amour’s western novels were technically Romance novels.

          I don’t so care much about whether a story is SF, Fantasy, Western, Mystery, Thriller or Romance — just so long as it is a good story. Genre arguments are a game for book vendors and literary snobs, all of whom have an agenda beyond the quality of the story-telling.

        • slash fantasy romance???? What is?

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            Like Kirk/Spock. That kind of slash. I think.

              • Christopher M. Chupik

                Best. Reply. Ever.

              • The last few years, there have been at least six fantasy novels from traditional mainstream publishers, which feature protagonist gay guys having romances. However… what I saw of them argued that they were not done in a very realistic way for gay guys or general audiences, in my humble opinion, but rather in a way directed towards the titillation of heterosexual women. My general description for this is “slash” (if it’s more like US fanfiction) or “yaoi” (if it’s more like Japanese manga and anime aimed at little Japanese teenage girls).

                I think Sarah does try to be realistic with her gay characters, and is aiming the story at all readers, not a specific target audience. (Although I’m sure she does consider the heterosexual female audience more when writing romance-romance.)

                I think the same division of authorial intention exists for lesbian romance. There’s a pretty clear difference between what’s written for the lesbian reader and what’s written for the male reader.

                So yeah, I’m not the target audience for these books, which is why I tend to look for subgenre markers early on. It’s possible that I was wrong about the subgenre and slant, however.

                (Other than Monette, the writer I was thinking of was Lynn Flewelling and her Nightrunner series. Since I have only skimmed a couple of her books in the bookstore, it’s entirely possible that she was just including subgenre signals because she was trying to make the series attractive to slashfic readers.)

                • And yes, I did spend my first thirty years of life reading everything on paper that came into arm’s length. But after that I lost a lot of my reading energy. Also, I haven’t had any free libraries full of paperbacks to plunder anymore, or endless time to read during classes instead of paying attention to the teacher.

                  So as demonstrated by the last few weeks, I am not nearly as completist a reader of the last fifteen years of novels as I am for stuff published in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

              • Christopher M. Chupik

      • And we might get a lot more readers. Oh, the woe is us.

      • Sara the Red

        While I am not a fan of Gabaldon, I laughed at Meadows’ implicit fear that the icky romance fans might infiltrate the Hugos. (I also laughed at his description of Lackey as a romance writer. I’ve…never actually considered her anything but a fantasy writer. Sure, there’s more than a bit of romance thrown into stuff, but it’s fantasy, first and foremost.)

        It’s like the folks going “Well, now that the bad SPs are in, we might, horrors, get people who like stuff like TWILIGHT voting!”

        Okay, I didn’t like the Twilight series. (And yes, I read all of them, I had nothing better to do, shut up don’t judge me) But my response to the horrified “Oh no, what if something like THAT got nominated” is always…”But why would it be BAD if it did win a Hugo? If that’s what the people voting really loved, why is it a bad thing? Isn’t the Hugo the fans’ award?” (Obviously, as of SP3, the other side is suddenly howling NO IT ISN’T WE WERE KIDDING) Doesn’t matter if I thought Twilight was drek, if enough fans loved it. Heck, I can’t stand the Wheel of Time, but you don’t hear me howling about it winning a Hugo. Clearly, I’m in a minority of folks who hated WoT (though I didn’t hate it until about Book 6, and didn’t give up in disgust until Book 7).

        But I guess it really does boil down to the ‘moving goalposts’ silliness of the SJWs, eh? To which I say: Let’s go find some great fantasy or scifi-themed “romance” and get it nominated! (For that matter, has Lackey ever been nominated? I’ve not liked much of her recent stuff, sure, but still…)

        • People who read primarily sf/f have a weird idea of romance. I’ve been accused of writing romance and my mind boggled. They should read a romance and taste the difference.
          Gabaldon CAN write and when I’m desperate I can read her, but yeah, not my cup of tea. however, better than a lot of recent winners.

        • I’ll give him a pass on that, because Lackey does, or at least has admitted to in the past, write romance under another name.

          • There’s also the 500 Kingdoms and possibly some more stuff through Luna, and even if she hadn’t admitted it… kind of like how you can read the Peter Wimsey books and catch that Dorothy Sayers was self-inserting some (although, famously, some nasty folks picked the wrong things), it’s so standard for her characters to be romance writers and it’s got the same “flavor” as whatever the hobby of the year in the back of the book is, I thought it was pretty obvious.

      • Remember when Ringo’s fans invaded the balloting and got Ghost a best Romance novel award? I doubt many of us are such hypocrites as to deny any Romance fans a right of rebuttal.

        I do question whether any Romance author would want a Yugo Award.

        • Lois McMaster Bujold keeps trying to pull in the Romance market, but hasn’t managed to break in. Too many SF&F cooties. She regularly fields complaints about the romance cooties in her SF&F, but they haven’t kept her from pulling in multiple Hugos. She’s mentioned that the differing reader expectations and typical structure of the different genres are often incompatible, but she tries.

          • Not just SF & F cooties. RIGHT NOW the romance market requires a LOT more explicit sex. I don’t like it, but there it is.

            • Except that a lot of readers don’t actually want that explicit sex. I’m firmly convinced that it’s a big part of the reason of the explosion in YA. Lot of explicit-romance escapees.

              • Oh, I know that and I agree with you. I’m one of those fans. But as long as the big publishers (And S & S for Baen) control the distro-shelving it’s hard to make inroads in a field that they think should be sex soaked. And btw, they’re doing it to YA romance now.

              • I personally think a chunk of the reason YA does so well is because it typically has upbeat and satisfying endings, which many genres aren’t providing (though Romance apparently IS an exception to this rule).

                • Not THAT upbeat. Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Ring of Endless Light” and “The Arm of the Starfish” both ended with “yay? we won?” type endings. If “Ender’s Game” is classed as YA, and it really should be, then I’d class its ending more as “bittersweet” too.

                  Maybe I’ve just read better YA than most.

              • It’s also why some of the indies doing sweet romance, Regency, and Western romance, and some of the older romance writers who’ve gotten control of their backlist and put up ebooks, are pulling in some serious bucks. Seeeerious.

                • I could do regency. Would you guys read me if I did regency? I could probably do regency in a weekend now and then.

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    You started one with elves. [Wink]

                  • I’d read it because I do anyway. 🙂

                    Quite a few mainstream (?) historical romances put magic in them. The conventions are different, that’s true. But they’re not even a separate sub-genre and nothing on the covers indicates that your Lord so and so and his family are part of a secret society of magical persons working for the Home Office.

                    • True dat. Like in the 1970’s, when half the people in romances were having psychic flashes of psychic knowledge.

                      (Although I bet there’s a lot more emphasis on everybody in the secret society being sexy, in a way far beyond the likely statistics of rabbity English noblemen.)

                  • Bird on a Wing

                    Sorry, this is a late reply, but: Yes! I would read you! Do regency! I picked up Witchfinder for that reason, plus I like fantasy too.

                    I’m getting back into reading regency and there is nothing like a good Heyer romp. We need more good regencies where the females aren’t feminists in fancy costume, and the men aren’t women with hairy chests. I know you would never allow your characters to corrupt themselves like that.

                    I do indeed have reading money set aside for such a product!

              • I’ve some of what passes for YA. To quote Sarah Hoyt, “!”

              • Also one is allowed to have more fun in YA.

            • So you’re saying we should expect John Ringo to enter the Romance market? (I kid, I kid)

            • The Market? Or the Editors?

              It strikes me as another aspect of the culture wars, pushing sex in everything. (with Liberals and Democrats as the gracious enablers of Good Times who should be rewarded with your vote).

                • To be fair, a lot of people doing erotic fiction are also making boocoo bucks.

                  But the hamburger market doesn’t make the chicken wings market cease to exist, and vice versa.

                  • Yes. I have no issue with erotica, as erotica. I have issue with forty pages of sex in the middle of my regency romance. (I was looking for Heyer-like.)

                  • I tried my hand at writing erotic romance for a while, but I got soooo bored doing the sex scenes. I would copy the beats from a scene I had liked and substitute words. So I figured out that it was not my genre. Now even when reading romance with the big sex scenes, I skim or skip. So I’m pretty happy when people just summarize instead. If there’s a relationship issue that came out, go ahead and discuss that. But *please* don’t give me a stroke by stroke account of the action.

                    • Yeah. My characters have a tendency to become giant alien spiders or something when I try to write erotica. Otherwise I fall asleep.

                    • Hi, my name is John and I have a confession to make (whisper) I write erotica.(/whisper)

                      Now I haven’t written any in a while though, because I’ve been too busy writing ‘my own’ stuff (rather than under the pen name) because I enjoy it a lot more and it actually pays more.
                      And yes, writing sex scenes gets BORING after a while. Probably should just start cutting and pasting from other books!

                      I would like to point out however, that there is probably MORE speculative fiction in Paranormal Romance (PNR) than there has been published as SciFi or Fantasy for the last decade. I’ve read some pretty hardcore science fiction that was in the PNR grouping, Stuff that no SF&F publishing house (well maybe Baen) would have touched because of the very strong male characters!
                      And yet oddly enough, women aren’t insulted by stories were men are Men and women are Women. In fact, they buy them by the boatload!

                      I would love to see the SJW’s take on the Romance crowd. They wouldn’t last ten minutes.

                    • Yes, agree with this along the line. One caveat on erotica being boring: not if it contributes to the character development.

                    • Sarah, you’d better move fast or someone else will corner the market on giant spider erotica.

                      Actually, there already IS such a thing.

                      I mean, seriously, people have already programmed objects for role-playing it on Second Life.

            • I don’t know if they’re any good or not, not having bought any, but by *appearances* the romance shelves are bursting now with variations of Christian romances, which presumably skip the raunchy sex.

        • And this is why I should not read in reverse. Ringo has already done it. (Smacks forehead)

      • Professor Badness

        You know, here at the used bookstore, we had the worst time figuring out where to put the Outlander series. It has time travel, (scifi), historical elements, (Genfic), and romance (self explanatory).
        So if the romance fans got it awarded a Hugo. I think I’d be okay with that. It’s supposed to be a well written series, and that’s more or less what we want, right?
        Although, whether or not it is scifi enough would be up to the moderators/mediators(?) at the Awards.
        Either way, there are far more important issues at hand.

        • Hell, I wouldn’t lose any sleep.

        • Speaking of SciFi-enough… I just started reading the Goblin Emperor and it feels totally like fantasy. For those who’ve already read it, are there any Sci Fi elements?

          • I haven’t, but fantasy has snuck into the Hugos before. (Paladin of Souls springs to mind, but that’s Bujold again.) I don’t mind that, if it’s clearly genre and it’s a good story. It’s when the story in question only has the barest nod to genre that it bothers me.

          • To answer my own question: yes, it’s fantasy. No sci fi elements at all. I though it was pretty good. There were a number of bits of obligatory “main character being more accepting of teh wimmens”, but only at the shrug-worthy level.

        • Yeah, I’m not seeing where exactly on my butt I’m supposed to be hurt if a pretty-good female-authored fantasy gets an award that Jemisin doesn’t get.

      • Jean M. Auel’s Children of the Earth series is, logically, science fiction. It’s fiction, about a science — paleo-anthropology. It has psychic powers, too, so it might quality as science fantasy.

    • I thought the same. The Kindle “This week! $0.00” special, and the $0.99 ebooks allow for broadened scopes of readers. I have read a couple of these romantic fantasy books, and while not my favorites, if one of these books received a Hugo, I would consider it worth buying. If nothing else, with the large demand in the category, if any one book got the win, it would represent best-of-breed.
      The only point of merit in the entire Fiskee’s diatribe was the Eric Flint’s post. Logical and well written, it reveals a common thread between the Hugo bruhaha and other cultural fronts.
      As for the point about ‘the Internet’ being destablizing on the commercial business models?’; isn’t destablizing technology and the effects on people a major sub-class of SF novels?

    • I might argue that it should be a separate category all its own, but my first reaction was, “Oh, noes! They might nominate what they consider a GOOD story!!! Whatever shall we do??!?”

  7. Somehow, I think that Heinlein quote at the end is missing some context. I think he is actually objecting to that attitude.

  8. And I am NOT about the kvetch about THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST! I am about to kvetch about I WILL FEAR NO EVIL! So there!

    • He was sick at that point. Doesn’t count against his aesthetic theory to have defects in execution.

    • Richard Cartwright

      The Number of the Beast was not RAH ‘s best work, but it’s telling that the man could write a better story with a brain tumor than most recent Hugo winners.

      • That was the first draft, which was never published. He went back and revamped the whole thing after he was healthy and recovering.

        That said, if you agree with this take (which I do, pending a close rereading), then RAH wrote a (very entertaining) bad story On Purpose, and with malice aforethought:

        http://heinleinsociety.org/rah/numberbeast.html

        • It’s very weird to click over to a link and to find an article from somebody who used to be a family friend. He was very like that in person, as well—I got exposed to a lot of analytical stuff when I was young. I’ll have to re-read that now, though my husband decided to purchase it in a copy with obnoxiously porn-ish 70s illustrations. (Which he finds hilarious. I should bounce that article off of him, see what he thinks.)

          • You were very lucky. I always thought very highly of Gharlane’s posts when I ran across them, and I actually wrote him a fan letter. 🙂

            Re: Number of the Beast, I hadn’t seen this post before and am now smacking my head.

            The nice thing is that this actually makes a lot more sense of the Revelation imagery, if Heinlein was proposing a narrative structure much like that of the Book of Revelation (which is driven by good and evil, truth and lie parallel figures).

            Good and evil writing examples, huh? That also explains the whiplashy feel of the book….

            • He experimented. A lot.

              • It occurs to me that there’s a bit of an analogue to another personal hero of mine, Akira Kurosawa.

                Even though he started out basically communist in outlook, he was always of an independent mind. In the early ’60s he made a film called High & Low that had a very experimental story structure, almost two different films jammed together, plus a powerful epilogue.

                And Japanese film critics and filmmakers gave him holy hell for it, because it dared to portray a businessman as heroic and implicitly supported the death penalty. (Which it doesn’t, but they were pissed that audiences would view the criminal as such a subhuman monster — which he was — that they wouldn’t find his being sentenced to death at the end to be appalling.)

                Less than ten years later, Kurosawa could not get Japanese financing for any of his film projects to save his life. (Literally. There was a suicide attempt at one point because he simply could not a film going.)

                In other words, being experimental is only good when you use it toward the correct ends, according to the left, always and anywhere.

            • He had the greatest stories. He did some graduate work at Caltech and knew some of the pranks that didn’t make it into the books. (One involved a popular professor whose car got stolen just long enough to upgrade with all of the “improve this” assignments he’d given over the years.) He also had a number of “no shit, there I was” style Army stories, some of which I believed. I still maintain that the tetrahedral fiber-ice story was exaggerated.

    • These are my middle fingers, sir. That’s the novel that taught me to be a gurl. SHUDDUP.

      • Hey, does anyone know why the carp in the trebuchet are on fire?

      • I don’t know if I could go BACK to NUMBER at this point in my life, but reading it in middle school was a hell of a lot of fun and got me turned on to Doc EE Smith and the Lensmen

        • It was the first Heinlein novel I ever read, back in 5th grade, I think. Picked it up because the title was awesome, along with The Earth Book of Stormgate, Dune and Gateway. Still have it on my shelf with all of his other books, except ‘The Sixth Column’, which is cursed and evaporates during mail-order.

          • Number, Dune, Gateway, and The Earth Book of Stormgate!?!?!?!?!?!?

            That, sir, is a damn feast with which to begin the genre!

            • Stormgate was also because of the name, Dune was because I sort of remembered seeing part of the movie, and Gateway was because of the spaceships on the cover, iirc. I didn’t even know about the juveniles, they were downstairs in the ‘children/young adult’ section, where I’d only ever borrowed nonfiction. I had read the Hitchhiker’s Guide earlier, since it was misshelved in the children’s books at the store when I was sick in 2nd grade and my mother bought it, but those were the first serious ones I ever read.

          • Wow – nice starter list. I think “Red Planet” was mine.

    • Captain Comic

      IWFNO had many good ideas and explorations of identity and whatnot.

      My single biggest complaint about the book was the almost-this-time teases over and over.

      If you’re gonna get that close, somebody just shag already…

    • I have to agree, I Will Fear No Evil is all message and no story, IMHO. But obviously others liked it.

      I won’t comment on Sarah becoming a gurl.

      • Well, I wasn’t raised very girly… so I had to fill in.

        • Was that in English or Portuguese?

          And if in English, it’s true that sometimes close reading of a text in a foreign language can give a lot of enjoyment, maybe even more than a native speaker would get. Some people think this is some kind of illusion, but I think it’s a lagniappe of language learning.

          It’s sort of like sensawunder.

          • I THINK — I don’t remember it exactly — it was at the end of my exchange student year, so it would be in English, bought for the trip over. I don’t think it was published in portuguese when I got married, in 85. However Number was in Portuguese. I bought it at the downtown bookstore, started reading it in the train station and missed all the trains on the way home.

        • per Spider Robinson:
          I Will Fear No Evil concerns a man whose brain is transplanted into the body of a healthy and horny woman; to his shock, he learns that the body’s original personality, its soul, is still present in his new skull (or perhaps, as Heinlein is careful not to rule out, he has a sustained and complex hallucination to that effect). She teaches him about how to be female, and in the process learns something of what it’s like to be male. Is there any conceivable way to handle this theme without lots of internal dialogue, lots of sharing of opinions and experiences, and a minimum of fast-paced action? Or is the theme itself somehow illegitimate for SF?”

          I read it when it first came out (first Heinlein I was able to do that with) and was somewhat … disappointed. I have not read it again, which is something I probably ought correct (adds one more item to a list already of appallingly length.)

          I presume we can all agree that this work was not as well done as RAH would have wanted before its publication. It’s interesting that he did not insist on a revised edition for the PB release.

          • I certainly stipulate that it is not in the form it would have been had Heinlein not almost died from having a misdiagnosed abdominal condition that was caught only after A FOOT AND A HALF OF HIS LARGE INTESTINE had disintegrated into nothing. If I recall my reading of Volume 2 of his biography correctly, he was not fully recovered till after the paperback release, at which time he dug in on Time Enough For Love.

            In any case, the book was already out, and revising it would violate one of his Rules For Writing (“Do not rewrite, except to editorial order”), and having just very extremely nearly died, is it any surprise he would forge ahead on something new, rather than tinkering with something already out in the world? It’s not a surprise to me, at any rate. 🙂

            • “In any case, the book was already out, and revising it would violate one of his Rules For Writing (“Do not rewrite, except to editorial order”)”

              That rule seems to be one he honored more in the breech. He has more books with multiple, significantly different versions in print than any other author I can think of.

  9. And in Meadows’ alternate universe, COHERENCE and the MAZE RUNNER are on the ballot too.

    Clearly, he is not worried about underestimating the intelligence of his audience.

    • I didn’t take time to explain it, but Meadows is deliberately engaging crafting a narrative, possibly with an eye toward creating a “paper trail” to provide the “proper” narrative for Wikipedia, among other places.

      And if he can gull a few lazy minds in the process, so much the better, right?

  10. You know, I first read that as, ” So somebody named Chris Mathews has decided to weigh in on L’affaire des chiots triste,”

    Sadly, Mathews might have made a more logical argument.

    • At least until his leg started to tingle.

    • Chris Matthews does logic? That cannot be, his head is still attached, and totally unexploded. 🙂

    • Both of them tingle. Meadows just does it for Barefoot Johnny.

      • Hmmm, I assume this is a nickname for the author of Old Man’s War? 😉 I actually liked that novel, but yes, he apparently decided to go with the side his bread was buttered on, as you hinted above.

        • His last name means barefoot. Yes. Apparently it annoys him. And since he maligned my publisher and twisted her entirely reasonable words he’s on my carp list. Well, to be fair, the left is where the power was when he broke in. Reasonable decision if you have no morals. Now, let’s see if it pays off, or if he gets carped. This whole thing promises to be as fun and revelatory of characters as the war of the roses.

          • If he objects to being called Johnny Barefoot perhaps we should refer to him as Grima Scalzi? There is considerable resemblance, after all.

            (Wondering now about anlogizing him to the Councilors in Stasheff’s Gramarye tales and whether enough people would get it to justify the effort … and whether it would offend Mr. Stasheff.)

            (Wondering now how many people will spot this play as a cheap way of inserting a reference without making any effort at cleverness or wit.)

            (Wondering now how far I can push this idea boulder up this slope before it rolls back and crushes me.)

            • I just call him Scalzidouche, because I half-wrote a silly filk of Bohemian Rhapsody about Sad Puppies.

              Scalzidouche! Scalzidouche!
              Will you vote for John Ringo?

            • (Wondering now how many people will spot this play as a cheap way of inserting a reference without making any effort at cleverness or wit.)

              Well, *I* caught it, but then again, it’s a method I have used a few (ahem) times, myself.

              • I always think of him as ‘the plagiarizer’ because he totally plagiarized H. Beam Piper.
                And that was BEFORE I heard of any of the stuff involving SWFA, or even knew anything about him. You copy someone else’s book and ‘re-write’ it without their permission? That’s plagiary.
                Which he then followed up with a second book that’s so much a derivative work that I have to wonder now who he ripped ‘old mans war’ off of. Because he sure doesn’t seem capable of original work.

          • Heh… like “Discalced Carmelites”. Why didn’t I think of this? This one is worthy of Tom Kratman (a treasonous president Wozniak, a smug SecDef named Campos,… :))

  11. Dropped a comment pointing out that the puppies aren’t against message in fiction, let’s see if it clears moderation.

  12. Apparently this is a good weekend for puppy related news. From the Washington Free Beacon:

    The Men Who Started the Hugo Awards Controversy
    Review: The Work of Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen

    Posted By James Braid On April 25, 2015 @ 5:00 am In Culture

    A prominent editor of speculative fiction (a term that encompasses both science fiction and fantasy) declared in 2013 that the genre had “moved away from the white male Anglo Saxon Mayberry of its youth and towards a more mature, diverse, and inclusive future.” His words were an encapsulation of trendy opinion among certain sorts of spec-fic fans. They were also flat-out wrong. If early science fiction and fantasy had an ideology (a doubtful proposition at best) it was techno-cultural utopianism—the opposite of the conservatism of The Andy Griffith Show. The giants of the field wrote in explicit support of civil rights, sexual liberation, and women’s equality. But ideologues must exaggerate past evils to justify their present excesses, and so down the memory hole go Heinlein’s 1961 A Stranger in Strange Land and LeGuin’s 1969 The Left Hand of Darkness.

    2013 was also the year a conservative-leaning author, Larry Correia, (later joined by Brad Torgersen) decided to take a stand against this kind of demographic obsessiveness. Beginning that year, they began to promote a slate of candidates each year for speculative fiction’s most prestigious awards—the Hugos—and urged readers on their personal blogs to nominate the candidates en masse. This year it worked. Their slate dominates this year’s nominations. A predictable wave of outrage followed, culminating in an over-the-top hit piece in Entertainment Weekly. Correia and Torgersen have become boogiemen to liberals and folk heroes to conservatives.

    In all this fuss, the quality of their work has been largely overlooked. Both writers recall an earlier time in speculative fiction’s development, before the New Wave of the sixties and seventies brought in experimental literary techniques.

    [SNIP]

    Correia and Torgersen’s approach to storytelling finds itself in the same position as modern cultural conservatism—fighting a rearguard action against a swelling elite consensus. Rule changes will prevent them from succeeding in stacking the Hugo ballot again, and the dominant forces of speculative fiction will once again reassert themselves. Future awards will continue the practice of judging the author first and the story second. But Torgersen and Correia have bright careers ahead of them—and both their efforts with the Hugos and their books have given the identity politickers, the social justice warriors, and the literary snobs a black eye.

    • Somewhat related – I posted over in google+ in regard to this: http://deirdre.net/hugo-awards-blocs-slates-lists-and-milliscalzis/

      (originally noted via Jeffry: https://plus.google.com/106512618424209956610/posts/fQawT1oyuUo )

      They keep avoiding one thing though – the variance in votes among the puppy-favored items.

      So yes, by one definition of slate, both of the puppy recommendations were inarguably a slate. They are, however, conflating this with “slate voting” – namely that you vote straight ticket. [note – I’ll allow that this is “wrong” for the sake of argument]

      The issue being that there are several ways that the results they see could have come about, and “straight ticket” votes obviously were not common by variance alone.

      That leads to a scarier conclusion for those who care that every action in their life signals “right mind”.

      let’s assume the most – nominated work on both puppy slates got a 100% voting rate from everyone who signed up to join up with the puppies.

      Let’s also assume that the entire increase in supporting memberships of the last two years was directly puppy-related (as opposed to “signed up because the uproar, and independent or even likely to oppose puppies) – whereas I’d estimate from the couple years before that that only 80% of the increase was puppies.

      Far more puppies signed up than people voted for the most-nominated work. Both of the above CANNOT be true.

      Even at a 80-70% rate, there could not have been uniform voting on the MOST nominated book, and certainly could not have been on nominated works getting half that.

      nevertheless, we’re in a position where – even assuming a 70% “new puppy” recruiting rate, plus some percentage of previous voters being sympathetic, “human wave” friendly readers are now 33-50% of the voting body. And they firmly enough reject the tastes of postmodernism, nihilism, and anti humanity, that stories enjoyed by those who wanted adventure and a positive outlook of humanity swept the day.

      That requires far less conspiracy, and more importantly, matches the numbers better than “slate voting”

      That whole Occam’s razor” thing

      [and also means there are a LOT more SF fans out there sick of “social justice” related obsession with demographic checkboxes]

      • It’s a pity the article reinforces the untruth about slate/bloc voting, and does not mention that both Larry and Brad urged people to read widely and nominate the stuff that works on a personal level. There was never any attempt by SP to encourage mindless partisanship.

        • I don’t think Jason said there was?

          • I think she is referring to the Free Beacon article, not Jason’s.

              • Sorry if I was unclear. I did indeed mean the linked article. And it’s that kind of crap that pisses me off beyond the telling. Even when they think they’re being supportive they’re spreading the lies. Sigh.

                I guess, going forward, all we can do — those of us who intend talking about eligible works and spreading the word about how to get involved in nominating/voting for the 2016 Hugos – is keep on shouting it loud and clear: this is the stuff we really liked, if you haven’t read it and decide now to read it, great – and if you like it too consider nominating it for an award. Let the nominations speak for themselves. Don’t attach any kind of ‘agenda’ to their recommendations. Underscore the fact that it’s about great stories and nothing else.

                Frankly, as much as I applaud the intent of SP, if we’re to avoid any more shitfests I think we need to look beyond that label, or any label, and just have more and more conversations about books /films/short stories we enjoyed, why we enjoyed them, and keep on reminding folk that they too are encouraged and able to get involved in the award process.

                The more the merrier, I say.

                • PS to add — in no way meant to diss Kate Paulk and SP4. It’s just I think it might be wise to avoid a repeat of the bi/tri partisan breakdown from this year.

                  • Um… but truly multipartisan will allow the CHORFS who vote lockstep to dominate again. While there was no slate, books were called to people’s attention more or less in unison in the SP slate, which helped.

                    • Which is why CHORF Concern Trolls like to “Helpfully” suggest that if we had less than five, or a lot more than 5 (like, 15) suggestions, they wouldn’t have objected so much.

                      (Ignoring, of course, that only 4/16 categories of the SP list had 5 items, and only two of the Big Four.)

                    • Or the fact that last year, there wasn’t and they lost their freaking minds anyways.

                  • UNLESS we get truly prodigious numbers in. While I’d love that, I think it’s going to take more than two/three years.

                    • I don’t want you to be right. I really don’t. But I suspect you might be. Sigh. So all we can do is what we can, as best and as honourably as we can do it, and go forward from there!

                • I don’t think that the shitfests are avoidable without simply taking our ball and going home. There was a lot this year about how the only reason anyone was MAD was because (more or less) ALL other works were totally shut out. But some of us remember year one and year two and even getting a couple of nominees on the ballot resulted in shitfests.

                  So I don’t think there is a solution to other people’s bad behavior, no matter how much noise is made about how it’s only this one particular thing that has people up in arms. I just don’t think it’s true.

                  Planning ahead and really promoting books that each person thinks is great is a good and important thing. The problem is probably mostly that there is far too much to chose from and too little time to sort through it. (I do think that Eric Flint had a reasonable discussion of the practical problems of picking the “best” of any year during that year.)

                  I read something today suggesting that the recent huge leaps in World Con supporting memberships were anti-puppies. That’s fine with me, of course, because I expect those people to be as bad at lock-step as Puppies are, in the end, when push comes to shove. But there is still too much, too many, and not a good way of developing a nominating process *without slates* that has a chance of getting new or interesting or popular or overlooked work nominated if there are 2000 nominating ballots split between 600+ novels.

                  • Apparently there are hundreds of members being sponsored in to vote anti-puppy. I wouldn’t be sure they won’t vote lockstep, though.

                    • I thought the hundreds of sponsored SJW voters were known as Tor staffers?

                    • Stephen St. Onge

                      RES, Mary Kowal, I think, offered to pay some people’s memberships if they’d agree to vote, and others chimed in. So a lot of people who wouldn’t have voted if they had to pay their own way will be taking part.

                    • I am aware of that offer, and the fact the “scholarships” are being awarded through random lottery to avoid appearances of partisanship.

                      As if the pool of applicants for those scholarships didn’t stack the deck.

                      Still and all, I expect she believes she is being fair … and is probably being as fair as she can.

                      Which is illustrative of the cataract afflicting their vision dangerously.

                      My reference was to the report that Tor routinely buys 150-some memberships for their “employees” to attend.

                  • My problem with Flint’s post was that he flat out stated the lie that the puppies slates were based on the authors political views. He basically made a long post that pretty much totally agrees with Larry and Brad’s stated views, except that he made a one or two sentence statement at the beginning of his post claiming that the puppy slates (he calls them that, rather than differentiating between Rabid and Sad) are a purely political phenomenon, and then rifs from there with absolutely no acknowledgement of either their stated views or the fact that stories and authors on both Brad’s Sad Puppy slate and the evul Vox’s Rabid Puppy slate included leftwing, rightwing, and centrist authors.

                    •         Apparently I’m the only one who remembers, but Eric suggested that the Hugo categories didn’t match the voting several years ago.  His original post might still be available on his website, or in the Bar archives.

                              Funny how those ideas weren’t even worth noticing, till Sad Puppies 3.

    • I’m not sure the CHORFs will be able to implement rule changes. Right now it takes two years to change the rules. First the rule change must be proposed and passed at a Business Meeting at Sasquan, then it must be ratified at a Business Meeting at MidAmericaCon. I’m pretty sure that if they get a rule change proposed that would seriously impact supporting membership, more than enough people opposed to puppy-related sadness could make time to attend a convention in the middle of America to vote it down.

      There’s a rule change pending ratification from LonCon that would add another layer of a popular vote among those who can cast a site selection ballot – you pay a site selection fee which also provides you supporting membership in that WorldCon. That rule change is going to be the canary in the coal mine. If it’s ratified there’s nothing the CHORFs can do, a SP style campaign will defeat any malicious rule change. If it gets voted down the CHORFs might try a long play of writing off ’15 and ’16, getting an out of they way place – like Japan or Helsinki – named for ’17, then proposing a rule change next year with the expectation that most of the SP supporters won’t be able to physically attend and vote it down. At which point we go back to ignoring the Hugo’s and start a truly fan-based award.

      • If someone proposes a rule change for the voting, I hope someone is there who can offer my suggestion as a counter-proposal. (link in my name).

  13. Here’s a great opportunity to remedy that lack of knowledge. Writer Philip Sandifer has written an epic analysis of Beale and Wright’s political and religious position and how it informs the stories they’ve written and nominated for Hugos.

    *

    AND

    Finally, let’s consider one of the deities the Puppies claim to idolize: Robert Heinlein, who wrote a lot of terrific pulpy action adventure back in the day. One of the Puppies’ major goals is to get more of that kind of stuff and less preachy message fiction in the Hugos, after all.

    So the author of the article here reviewed and skewered makes two assertions. One that the Sad Puppies slate, as he has connected it to the author of the Rabid Puppies slate is all about problematic political and religious positions. Then he turns around and identifies Sad Puppies with ‘less preachy message fiction.’ Which?

    And yes, Heinlein had messages, but he was not one to preach. He knew how to show, not tell yell.

    * I tried to read the linked article. Don’t waste your time following the link, unless you enjoy angry tendentious drivel. As I read I came to the realization that even if that author had possibly made a point, I was inclined to disagree with him on the principle of the irritation of his writing.

    • I tend to think Spider Robinson was correct about R.A.H. — he always preached, but for most of his career it was covert. His later books are quite overt, but people still misread them (his main lecture point being “THINK FOR YOURSELF, DAMMIT!”), and react badly in general because it is overt. Lots of young fools also disdain any advice given by their far more experienced elders.

      That some elders were and remain fools is used to dismiss all elders, like R.A.H. But he was never a fool, and what he had to say is worth reading and considering.

      • Also, he was right, near-immortality, distributed memory, etc. WILL change humans. We’re already way different from the Elizabethans, for instance. We’ve doubled our life span, got contraceptives and abundant food and we’re almost another species.

      • Captain Comic

        RAH routinely put lectures in his stories.

        As, you know LECTURES. People in training or classrooms or orientation…

        The one person lecturing another was typically used by the antagonists…

        Heinlein would immediately understand the concept of villains “monologueing”…

      • Think for myself???? But what if I think badthoughts? What if I imagine a story is fun even if the moral isn’t wholesome and nutritious?

        That’s scary. (Does WP offer any “tremble-font” HTML tagging?)

        • I read ST twice. I gathered that his real motto was “think for yourself… after I’ve planted you in a lecture-hall, held up the action, and explained political theory to you”.

          I didn’t mind because, hey, interesting lecture and also it was at the start, where exposition is supposed to go. The later lectures in the book about how the army was, or was not, supposed to work were more intrusive.

    • Ah, the essay is online:
      http://www.heinleinsociety.org/rah/works/articles/rahrahrah.html

      (7) “Heinlein is preachy.” “preachy: inclined to preach.” “preach: to expound upon in writing or speech; especially, to urge acceptance of or compliance with (specified religious or moral principles).”

      Look: the classic task of fiction is to create a character or characters, give he-she-or-them a problem or problems, and then show his-her-their struggle to find a solution or solutions. If it doesn’t do that, comparatively few people will pay cash for the privilege of reading it. (Rail if you will about “archaic rules stifling creative freedom”: that’s the way readers are wired up, and we exist for their benefit.) Now: if the solution proposed does not involve a moral principle (extremely difficult to pull off), you have a cookbook, a how-to manual, Spaceship Repair for the Compleat Idiot. If no optimal solution is suggested, if the problem is left unsolved, there are three possibilities: either the writer is propounding the moral principle that some problems have no optimal solutions (e.g. “Solution Unsatisfactory” by R.A.H.), or the writer is suggesting that somebody should find a solution to this dilemma because it beats the hell out of him, or the writer has simply been telling you a series of pointless and depressing anecdotes, speaking at great length without saying anything (e.g. most of modern mainstream litracha). Perhaps this is an enviable skill, for a politician, say, but is it really a requirement of good fiction?

      Exclude the above cases and what you have left is a majority of all the fiction ever written, and the overwhelming majority of the good fiction.
      But one of the oddities of humans is that while we all want our fiction to propose solutions to moral dilemmas, we do not want to admit it. Our writers are supposed to answer the question, “What is moral behavior?”—but they’d better not let us catch them palming that card. (Actually, Orson and I are just good friends.) The pill must be heavily sugar-coated if we are to swallow it. (I am not putting down people. I’m a people. That bald apes can be cajoled into moral speculation by any means at all is a miracle, God’s blessing on us all. Literature is the antithesis of authoritarianism and of most organized religions—which seek to replace moral speculation with laws—and in that cause we should all be happy to plunge our arms up to the shoulders in sugar.)

      And so, when I’ve finished explaining that “preachy” is a complimentary thing to call a writer, the people who made the charge usually backpedal and say that what they meant was:

      (8) “Heinlein lectures at the expense of his fiction.” Here, at last, we come to something a little more than noise.

      • Spider does it so much better than me.

        • It’s a shame what happened to him. I guess that living in Canada has rendered him susceptible to the dysenewstary afflicting the media mainstream and which is why so many of us employ filters and anti-microbial agents to limit the damage of tainted thinking water.

    • For that matter, Sandifer does not have a clue about what fascism is, or thinks that Marx and Rousseau were fascists.
      At that point, the only epic analysis is the one you do of his psychological state.

  14. Here’s another elephant in the room the SJWs are overlooking: For all his alleged evil wrongthink, Vox Day is far more willing to reach beyond his social/political comfort zone than most of them are.

    IIRC, both Kary English and Marko Kloos were on Rabid Puppies – Vox’s support was one reason Kloos gave for his withdrawal from the Hugo ballot – and I think Annie Bellet was too.

    The SJWs drove Kloos and Bellet – an immigrant and a gay woman – off the ballot because, tolerance. Yet Vox is somehow viewed as the biggest a-hole in SF/F, while the Scalzis, etc. are paragons of goodness.

    The hilarious thing is that Vox is also a fan of “The Three Body Problem,” which replaced Kloos on the Hugo ballot. Oh well, I suppose they can always vote for Leckie again. Or that Noah Ward guy.

  15. I truly have a problem understanding the sheer volume of.. umm.. misinformation that is being flung on this subject. Brad et al have gone to great lengths to broadcast the thought and positions that drive SP3 and yet i seem to see the same flawed points used to attack us over and over. I give folks the benefit of a doubt, misinformed, misread, whatever.. and I try very hard to remember the old saw about keep it simple, don’t see conspiracy where there is a simpler explanation. The sheer repetition and wide spread of these identical talking points suggests to me an orchestrated campaign. This point was well made above, no honor, no facts, just innuendo and smear.

    I am disgusted and I do not want them to succeed using such odious tactics. Right now, Saquan has sold 4200 supporting (voting) memberships, an almost 50% increase over the TOTAL from last year. I would like to see 10,000 supporting memberships, 10,000 reading the books and voting for what they like, and then voting on the nominations for next year. That would be very problematical to control or manipulate for the CHORFs and then this Puppy would smile and smile. So please, push registration, leave the link to Sasquan Registration everywhere. We still have a few months, let’s make it count!

    https://sasquan.swoc.us/sasquan/reg.php

    • It’s really rather simple. At their core the opposition are little more than poo flinging monkeys, and when challenged they instinctively step up their game by flinging an ever increasing amount of poo. Of which they apparently have an endless supply. They also in the main seem to have tenured positions that allow them a lot of free time to post their long disjointed rants and drivel.

    • Increasing the voter pool for the Hugo’s solves the first and third problems identified (the second simply isn’t germane to the current discussion). Anyone who has taken a statistics course – or read a little bit on the subject – knows that as you increase the sample size the mean and distribution of the sample approaches those of the population. And more voters mean more eyes being able to read more works and potentially get them onto the ballot.

      It also serves to mitigate the effects of bloc voting, since a bloc can only be successful if it contains a significant portion of the electorate. Expand the electorate so that the bloc is only a small portion of it, and their power is greatly diminished. This is why the CHORFs are so adamantly opposed to SP. They had power, we took it from them and they are unlikely to get it back.

  16. The sheer virulence of the anti-puppies is mind-boggling. It suggests to me that they are truly, and deeply afraid. Flack is heaviest when you are over the target, hey?

  17. James Schardt

    Yeah, I missed the joke in “Number of the Beast”. That could be because I stopped reading when he brought in Lazarus Long, but I doubt it. Explain the joke please.

    • Just linked it above, but here it is again:
      http://heinleinsociety.org/rah/numberbeast.html

      In short, RAH made Number a post-modern-ish manual on How To Write. The characters in the story talk about all the stories they loved and what made them work, while the actual story is a long and extended example of How Not To Do It, with every single “black hat” being RAH himself, slightly disguised.

      • Number was my introduction to RAH as a teenager. I had to read nearly everything else and then read it again to get idea.

        • I can’t even imagine what it would be like to encounter RAH through Number first. Talk about a bumpy first experience!

          • It was…interesting. It took a while to get back into him, and that was because of the very high regard everyone had for his writing. I had to make a point of it to myself – and read Friday and Troopers (before the movie came out, btw) before I went whole hog and tired to find and read everything he wrote.

            • By interesting I mean it was like coming into a movie in the 3rd act. I had no idea who Lazarus Long was, and why he was so important. I understood he was a Big Character, but had no idea of the backstory.

          • Was about my third, I know I read Stranger in a Strange Land, fi… well second. I got it first, and tried to read it a couple of times, but just couldn’t get into it. Then I read Starship Troopers, then I went back and forced myself to read Stranger, and to this day I feel the only reason to read Stranger is the reason I forced myself to; so many other authors reference it in their own works, that you are missing out on a lot of subtle (and some not so subtle) references until you read it. Then I listened to an Audio version of Number. Actually I liked it a lot better than most of his later works, but I think I would have struggled with it in written format. It is written almost to be performed, and as long as you are looking for sitcom-esque comedy, it is pretty good. Frankly I don’t usually care for comedy, but in audio format, while driving, Number works well.

            If I was recommending a first Heinlein read, I would recommend “The Long Watch” because it is far and away the best thing Heinlein ever wrote, and that short story by itself makes up for every Heinlein story I didn’t care for.

            • To be fair, in Number of the Beast, he references Stranger as “what some writers will do for money.” 😛

              • I caught that, it was part of what I found comedic. I also recalled parts of Number later while reading other Heinlein’s, in a “that’s what he was talking about!” manner; which caused me to laugh at entirely unfunny sequences in other novels. So yes, it works as an intro, or almost intro, but you will be missing things if you haven’t read his other works, and I’m quite sure I’m still missing things, because I’ve probably only read about half of Heinlein’s works.

          • James Schardt

            Yep, Number of the Beast was the second RAH novel I read (after Starship Troopers). I remembered my aunt reading it right after it came out and thought “Hey, Starship Troopers was good. I’ll try this one.” It’s probably why I don’t revere him as much as the rest of y’all. I had friends in high school that positively gushed over “Stranger in a Strange Land”. I still haven’t read it. I’ve read a lot of his short stories since then though. Liked most of them. I simply do not have enough time these days to go back and read a lot of that stuff.

          • Not to horn in of Jeff’s experience but Number of the Beast was my first Heinlein as well. It was being run in Omni magazine as I recall, back in about 1978’ish. I thought it was great fun, thus I looked up his other works…don’t recall where I went from there.

            • My first Heinlein was Starship Troopers, which my mother gave me as a gift the day I shipped off to Basic Training.

              • I’ve mentioned that mine was Orphans of the Sky, when I was 8. My dad had a great SF library when I was growing up. Alas, most of it is in my oldest sister’s possession now. I re-read it at 21 and picked up a lot of stuff I missed when I was younger. I usually don’t re-read stuff because I like the novelty (as in newness, not as in “Novelty item”).

                I need to get a list so I can go through my Heinlein collection and fill in the missing bits. That original copy of Orphans disappeared, and the newer one doesn’t have the same cover.

      • And it was still mostly enjoyable, at least I found it so, and at that point I hadn’t read all that many of his earlier novels. There was no real ending or solution, and he teased with worlds which didn’t get visited which was frustrating, but I really liked the main characters and liked spending time with them, even when the plot meandered all over. And for years Zeb was my daydream husband (well, he did propose to Deety after one tango – and goes through with it when she takes him seriously and says yes. Of course anyone with any sense would have, considering it was Dejah Thoris Burroughs 😀 ).

      • Thanks for explaining this.

        Another interesting joke on the reader was Spinrad’s “Iron Dream”. At least, I hope it was a joke.

  18. How long is it taking anybody else to get the rest of their registration? I got an acknowledgement of payment, but nothing since, and it’s been a couple of weeks.

  19. > This is a rule Heinlein never broke

    _I Will Fear No Evil_ failed to be entertaining. It was his one great failure.

    • That is indeed RAH’s toughest work to get into, but it has a small and rabid core of fans who love and defend it. And it’s still in print. And it still sells.

      So it failed to entertain you, along with many others. But it does not fail to entertain in toto.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Which is why I like to add “YMMV” (Your Mileage May Vary) to reviews/comments about books that I’ve read.

        “I didn’t enjoy that book” is always valid.

        “Nobody could enjoy that book” is almost always wrong. [Smile]

        • Ye. I mean some people like the Dinosaur Abomination. I’d like to what they’re toking, but hey….

          • As someone who kindof liked the Dinosaur Abomination, I think it’s because I enjoyed a lot of the works I read for my AP English class, and the Dinosaur Abomination was in the spirit of those things. So that’s probably what I’m toking.

            But then, as has been said before, there’s no accounting for taste. (And for the record, while I liked those kinds of stories while taking the class, I haven’t really gone back to re-read those things. Well, maybe “the Grapes of Wrath”, but then, I did it for my Economics class in college…)

            (And incidentally, I’m in the process of discovering Heinlein, and while I haven’t yet re-read anything by him beyond the short story or two that left such a memorable impression that I had the reaction “That was written by HIM?!?”, I have this funny feeling that I’ll be much more inclined to re-read his works, than I would of stories like the Dinosaur Abomination.)

            • Look, the main reasons I object to it are as follows: a) it will give people who read sf/f by “award” the impression we’re all intellectuals divorced from the real world. b) the author — whatever defenders say (yeah, the Harvard faculty drinks gin in rough bars — what?) the author’s searing disdain for the working class comes through (and it’s a working class that doesn’t exist. Someone defending it told me that masculine women and effeminate men will get “bad comments” and mockery in these bars. Yeah, and? It’s not beating to death, is it?).
              As mitigation for how much I dislike it/it bothers me: its ONLY appeal is “language done well.” Well, language is what I get “for free” — if you doubt it, read Ill Met By Moonlight. It’s an obscuring gift, and I’ve been running from it since I realized how much it can get BETWEEN me and the reader. I’m not lying when I say that the thing reads like one of my pieces at 12 (I’ve been toying with translating a couple and putting them here, as proof. Recently found my one surviving notebook from the time.)
              There is nothing so annoying as seeing a defect you’re trying to correct in yourself bandied about as great art.

              • I’ll second the suggestion to try Ill Met By Moonlight.

                • Well, I meant it as proof I can do the word thing. There are cheaper ones, too, An Answer From The North, for ex. Or Thirst if you don’t mind gay Roman vampires…

              • If it is any consolation, Sarah, I have the utmost confidence that wereyou the one to do it they would not hail it as “great art.”

                No, they’d run their quill pens through it.

              • Stephen St. Onge

                Sarah Hoyt wrote:
                “There is nothing so annoying as seeing a defect you’re trying to correct in yourself bandied about as great art.”

                        That reminds me of my reaction to The Catcher in the Rye, a novel about someone I wanted to slap in the face because he has all my worst qualities, but more so.  And yet many love it.

                        “De gustibus non disputandum est”, as the Romans said.  (Translation: ‘There is no disputing that Gus dislikes the East.’)

          • Stephen St. Onge

            And I’m one of the people who like the Dinosaur Abomination. I don’t think it should have been nominated for a Hugo, because it’s not sf or fantasy, and it’s also not a story, but I still like it.

            ‘Course, if the dude had been carrying, the ?female? lamenting the ?guy’s? beating would have had to find something else to kvetch about.

            Granted, it’s not in the same league as the actual stories in THE GREEN HILLS OF EARTH, but then, very few things are.

      • That was the first book of his I disliked. I bought it, read the first short bit and set it down for years. Somehow, I don’t recall how, I picked it up again and slogged through the beginning until I finally got to a point that I enjoyed it. The argot in the early part really threw me for some reason and I couldn’t get past it, until I made a serious effort. Once I overcame that the book was vastly entertaining.

    • Or, to put it slightly differently, I wish I could have that kind of a failure in my own writing. 😉

    • I found it quite entertaining. But YMMV.

  20. What they fail to recognize is that Heinlein *himself* disliked message fic. Case in point: “For Us, the Living”. He bemoaned the heavy-handed message he tried to write the story around – a guaranteed minimum income scheme – that he personally thought was the way to go at the time. There was a reason it wasn’t published until long after his passing; it wasn’t very good – precisely because he let the screed dominate the story, and he knew it. He was the early Sad Puppies prototype – 60 YEARS ago.

    They also ignore the fact that he explored many different political, social, and religious systems in his works; personally-earned franchise in Starship Troopers, “rational anarchy” and line-marriage in Moon, jobs-for-jobs-sake in Door into Summer, Slavery in Farnham’s Freehold, Theocracy as part of “the crazy years”, religious sexual cultism in Stranger, and the competent individual and sexual freedom in all of his “world-as-myth” stories.

    Fact is, he can’t be pigeonholed, even though they try with cries of “fascism” over Troopers.

  21. Number was one of those books it took a couple of reads to ‘get’… And great fisking job Mr. Fleming! I’m slogging through the nominees and The Three Body Problem IS going to get my vote! I wish I could read it in the original language, as I’m sure there are things that got lost in translation, but it’s still a helluva read!

    • Thank you, sir!

      The issues of translation between English and Chinese are terribly interesting. I’ve had Chinese friends who learned to read “traditional” written Chinese (as opposed to the PRC-imposed “simplified” version) for the sole purpose of reading wu xia novels, because most of them apparently lose a lot with any translation.

      Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is based on such a book (one of a series), and is considered “average” for the genre. The movie also has the interesting distinction of being considered to have “bad” dialogue, but in an interesting way. The English subtitles were judged to be a better rendition than the actual Mandarin. (My Mandarin is too poor to make any kind of a judgement.)

      Then there are issues of allusion, which Chinese arts do a lot, and it does not translate most of the time. John Woo’s classic film The Killer has a title which is poetic and allusive — in Chinese. But translating it literally gives us “Two Blood-Spattered Heroes”, which loses almost everything in translation. 🙂

      • I got the allusion habit in Chinese arts from reading Hughart. Then I found it again while researching for Heart and Soul. (Though I was never dedicated enough to learn Chinese.)

      • This recalls to mind my experience seeing Fitzcarroldo in theatre, coming off four straight semesters of college German. While semi-fluent at best I was still able to sense the subtitles were strangely skewed, sort of like a translation through Babel-fish and back again.

        When I later learned the movie had been shot in English and dubbed into German some of the phrasings made far more sense. A language is so much more than the words employed, so much a matter of emphases of allusiions of metaphors and of pauses that true translation is a high art.

        A useful example I have found is based on the idea that there is no Japanese phrase for “no.” But one can convey that in English:

        Young Smith: Mr. Jones, I would like to marry your daughter.
















        Mr. Jones: … Sure.

        • Actually, there is no Chinese term for “no”, either, though there is a general negation that works into various phrases ().

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            Watching martial arts movies with subtitles has taught me that word. It’s about the only Chinese word I know, though.

            • Technically, isn’t a word, I don’t think. A modifier for words and phrases, but not a word on its own.

              Shì is a good one to know. Literal meaning is “is”, but used alone it works as “yes”, and shì ma? is “what?”

              But be careful of learning Chinese from martial arts films. Most are in Cantonese (guangdonghua), while the “official” language of the mainland is Mandarin (putonghua). They’re both “Chinese”, but if you speak one, you won’t understand much of the other. For starters, Cantonese has nine tones, Mandarin has four.

    • I just finished reading The Three Body Problem, and I’m not completely sure what I think about it. There was some wonderfully creative things, in the technical bits and the whole alien setup. The portrayal of the Cultural Revolution era was fascinating. I found it intellectually intriguing and stimulating. But I didn’t actually *enjoy* it all that much. Possibly because I didn’t really empathize with the main characters that much? I’m not totally sure. Will have to think about it a bit more.

      • I bounced, hard, off the notion that getting different results in different tests meant the laws of nature weren’t invariant.

        Good heavens, we’ve known the laws of nature weren’t invariant the first time someone discovered that you have to cook something longer up in the mountains; what it means is that the rule has a deeper level with more factors for differing conditions. Even if you precluded all factors you can identify, all you would do is deduce that you need to identify more factors. . . .

        One notes that by this rule, no one could prove the laws of nature are invariant. Yup.

        • Of course it means Nature’s laws are not invariant!

          It couldn’t possibly be that our comprehension is incomplete or (more unthinakble!!!) inadequate. Nor could it be that factors not controlled for in our experiments could possibly material.


          As the Sage of Springfield said: That’s unpossible.

        • When I read that part I thought I was dealing with anti-SF, but no: there’s a very good (in-story) reason particle accelerators have stopped giving meaningful results.

  22. That Harlan Ellison piece about the Awards being bought?

    He used the term “Chinese Whispers” so clearly he is racist and nothing he says matters.

    Life is soooooo much simpler when, instead of actually attending to arguments and refuting or accepting them you can simply use a checklist to spot badthink and use that to disqualify an entire argument (because one taint of badthink invalidates an entire argument, through homeopathic effect.)

  23. Christopher M. Chupik

    And someone else plays the Zombie Heinlein Card, hoping to end the game.

    That old trick never works.

  24. ““Third, the tastes of the people who care enough about these awards to bother to take part in them have diverged over time from those of the average person.””

    Isn’t that what tumbrils are for?

  25. Great fisking, D. Jason. So many people accepting as givens malicious falsehoods about strangers, then proceeding to spread them at length. This being a searchable blog, I will refrain from commenting on persons playing the Heinlein card or the Roddenberry card to back up their opinion. There are signs that reasonable people are thinking reasonable thoughts about expanding access, and I have an idea about making the voting packet a profitable source of extra revenue for the copyright owners…

  26. So are any of the Huns going to be at Sasquan? Who will keep us updated on the unfolding drama?

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      If they do, they should be wary of being treated like the Honey Badger Brigade. Innocence is no defense against the hardcore SJW types.

      • Innocent intentions are no defense against the charge of microaggression. Once you are suspected of crimethink, anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of social media. Anything you don’t say can and will be used against you. The best you can do is smile, and smile, and be a different kind of villain than they expect.
        .

      • A GG supporter got kicked out of a panel at raven con by Wu for taking her picture and posting it online.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          Brianna Wu doesn’t want to hear from any Sad Puppies people:

          http://spacechannel6.com/post/117189650788/a-statement-from-frank-wu-and-brianna-wu-about

          • Summarize, I’m not giving them any traffic.

            • Christopher M. Chupik

              “Neither of us wish to discuss the Hugo hijacking with any person responsible for this atrocious action. Both of us would consider it a professional courtesy if you didn’t attend Brianna’s Gamergate panel tomorrow.”

              • Another reason to be glad to have skipped Ravencon this year.

              • Funny sort of thing, professional courtesy. Has either of them ever shown any for those they disagree with? Do they think Con panels exist so that The Chosen can deliver the tablets from On High or are they for a free and open exchange of disparate views in order that attendees may be informed of the positions on all sides and reach decisions based upon fuller understanding of the question?

                /rhetorical queries

                Maybe they need to check their SJW Privilege.

          • Surely she is not against a conversation, establishing a dialogue in which all points of view can be heard and fair-minded people can reason out an accord? After all, the Hugo Awards represent the considered opinions of all SF fandom and all voices deserve to be heard.

            Or perhaps she prefers a “conversation”, establishing a “dialogue” in which all can be informed of her point of view and understand why they cannot take her Yugo Awards and allow morons to vote. She and her friends represent the responsible fans who revere the Yugo Awards and will protect them from expressing the plebeian tastes of the yucky masses.

            Ever notice how some people are all for democracy so long as the right people get elected. We cannot have proper classes if every member persists in thinking for themselves.

            In a recent EconTalk podcast host Russ Robert chats with James Otteson of Wake Forest University about his new book, The End of Socialism.

            ROBERTS: So why don’t you close us out and talk about the socialist impulse to think about classes versus the capitalist focus on the individual and why that’s such an important–why do you make that distinction as one of the important ones between the two?

            OTTESON: Well, I think that’s really one of the central parts of the moral argument against socialism and in favor of this decentralized notion of capitalism. Once you start thinking about human beings as members of classes–so, even if it’s classes that sound initially plausible or neutral, like the rich and the poor, immediately what you begin to do is to see human beings within those classes as being more or less interchangeable. They’re like marbles or poker chips and one is just as good as another.

            But the danger that has actually issued real and horrible consequences in human history–once you begin to see people as being interchangeable, at least among classes, this religion, this nationality, this ethnicity, then you begin to dehumanize them. They don’t seem to you like individual centers of human dignity. And I think, looking at a lot of the horrible episodes of human history, that’s what you see. You see one group of people looking at another group of people as mere members of a group, mere members of a class. But by contrast, when you see instead human beings as being individuals–which, by the way, I think is the correct way to view this, individual centers of human agency, individual centers of human dignity–that completely transforms our relationship to one another. So, I no longer view you as interchangeable, as fungible, as a poker chip. I view you as an irreplaceable and precious asset, precious commodity, precious human being. Someone who brings something to the world that nobody else ever has or nobody in the future ever will. That completely transforms our relationship to one another.

            And I think that’s captured by the individualism that you see in capitalism: that what we do is we see people, all people, any person as being unique, having dignity, and being uniquely precious in exactly this way. And when we see it that way–and this is what I call this triumph of human moral agency–that’s really a transformation in how we view other people. That is what will debar us from labeling a whole population of people as a certain kind of group and then devaluing them because they are in the wrong kind of group. We can’t do that. Because each member of that group is unique; each member is different from all of the others; and each one of them is irreplaceable.
            http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/205740/

            Emphasis in original.

            • oh, she just doesn’t want anyone bringing up the video where she said she had to leave her home and was forced to hide in an ‘undisclosed location’ because of the ‘threats’… which some sharp-eyed viewers figured out was just her apartment from a different angle than usual.

              • Oh, but her apartment is not her home. Forcing her to sit in a different spot is intolerable cruelty.


                [Reference: Sheldon’s spot]

          • Umm… why was she on a “Gamergate panel” if she didn’t want to discuss Gamergate?

      • I’m wondering when the other shoe’s going to drop on this. They paid for their tickets, transportation and lodging. They should sue for recompense from the Calgary convention organizers. And they should publicize the breach of contract, naming the organizers by names as persons not to be trusted in business — then see if the organizers will be stupid enough to try pressing their own suit for libel. Make sure that everyone in fandom knows these organizers as “folk who will take your money then fail to deliver the goods.” Keep hammering away at this, long after the details of just what excuse they used for this have been forgotten.

        • The organizers are not so much perpetrators as fellow victims in this. Granted, they should have been more alert in their dealings and less gullible tools, but they were used by the complainants every bit as much as any SWAT team sent to a non-existent domestic dispute. Destroying this convention would do nothing to improve the Honey Badgers nor harm the actual character assassins.

          The Honey Badgers are (per Insty: http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/205756/ ) seeking redress but the trick is to get through the SJWs shield.

          “Let’s you and him fight” is a longstanding SJW ploy, antedating the SJWs by many years.

          • To clarify a point which shouldn’t require making: the Calgary Con does owe compensation in full. They should probably (although I doubt they can identify the groups) ban the false complainants from future cons.

    • Nope. Too close to the start of school. I hope to make LibertyCon next year, though.

    • I plan on it, and I think Draven was talking about going.

    • Captain Comic

      Irregular hun here. (More of a water carrier than a spear carrier.)

      Anyhoo, I’ve already got my vacation days, attending membership and hotel reservation.

      And I’ve got a badge ribbon plan I got from this very forum…

  27. Re: the “horror” of a “romance writer wins a Hugo”– do you have any damn idea how much I’d flip to have a selection of books like Anne McCaffrey’s Restoree?

    • Then I would skip McCaffrey’s books that she labels ‘romances’, at one time I picked up anything with her name on it, and ended up with some of her ‘romance’ novels. Which to me didn’t seem to have much romance involved in them, and generally lacked the special magic that was in her other books. Certainly none held a candle to Restoree.

      • I tried reading one that was set around a race track, didn’t really click with me. Can’t even remember the rest of it. Race horses are just too different from ranch horses, I guess.

        I’ve gotten pretty good at going by my gut, although I keep trying things I have a bad gut feeling about and it’s usually verified. (Just tried to read a modern continuation of the Lord Peter mysteries; made it three pages before I quit. New author made him the Duke, and made his mom a generic fluttery person instead of…well, an Odd.)

        • Yeah, those official Lord Peter continuations really stink. Sorry to the author, but they do. The only reason to read ’em is to get the chapter of Sayers first draft towards the beginning of Thrones, Dominations, and even that has been fiddled with.

          Re: McCaffrey romances, there’s a paperback omnibus of three of them that is pretty fun.

          Andre Norton and Juanita Coulson both wrote a fair number of Gothic romances in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Coulson also wrote a very very fun Babylonian/Sumerian historical romance with magic and such in it (Dark Priestess, 1977)!

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Well, I liked the first three continuations but the fourth (and most recent) didn’t work for me. While some others had said that the continuations weren’t “Lord Peter” (ie the characterizations were wrong), I only noticed the problem with the characterizations in the fourth one.

            By the way, Lord Peter becoming Duke of Denver was “set up” by Sayers herself. Apparently, she had said that Lord Peter’s nephew was killed during the Battle of Britain (he was a fighter pilot). So Lord Peter (or his oldest son) become the Duke of Denver followed from that Sayers’ decision.

            • Problem is, if he did become the Duke, he wouldn’t have kept investigating.

              If that had been the only thing, I might’ve kept going. But the author apparently totally missed that the Dowager Duchess isn’t a moron, she’s basically Peter but with that randomly-switches-words thing instead of his “all nose and nerves” look.

              I can’t find a well-sourced citation for Sayers saying he died in the Battle of Britain, just a claim that she told the lady who wrote the play for Busman’s Honeymoon that he had, and several different ones that says the new author did it.

              No mention of St. George being dead and thus them being stuck in line in the one about Lord Peter’s son being accused of stealing peaches, either, which would definitely be mentioned by that horrible woman at the very least.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                “Problem is, if he did become the Duke, he wouldn’t have kept investigating.”

                I’m not going to “argue” the rest but I’m not sure about the above.

                Since Lord Peter’s investigations weren’t a “money-making” thing for him, I’d like to know why you think he won’t have kept investigating once he became Duke of Denver.

                • Because being the Duke is a responsibility.

                  It was mentioned in several books that he viewed his detective work as a stand-in for the advantages he’d gotten by being the spare without having the responsibilities of being the duke or duke to be. Heck, he ripped St. George a new one on several occasions for less dangerous things than his detective habit, because he had a responsibility to fulfill.

                  He almost quit investigating from the responsibility of being married, for goodness’ sake, and it was implied that other than his intel work he stopped putting himself at risk because he had the responsibility of being a father.

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    Ah, I’m not sure that I agree but I see what you’re saying.

                    I will say that I got the impression from the last book that he had “cut” back on his investigating not stopped it but had reduced the amount.

                    Mind you, I’ve about decided that I won’t be purchasing another of the continuation books.

            • In her letters, she observed once that Peter became the Duke. That St. George died in WWII is fan speculation. Presumably people don’t want to see him dead in a car accident.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                I imagine the Fans prefer that St. George died a “hero’s death” than died in a stupid car accident.

          • Not as bad as the Rebecca sequel. One of very few books — and the only hardcover — I dropped in the trash. It was anti-human-wave and feminist. Everyone was a villain, all men horrible, and the main character ends up identifying with Rebecca. EW.

        • “a modern continuation of the Lord Peter mysteries”

          I refuse to believe that any such thing exists. Much like the rumored Star Wars prequel trilogy (of which I’ve only seen some overwrought special effects. 😀 )

          • Personally I’m caught between never having seen the prequels for good and sufficient reason and wanting to see what Ian Doescher did with them in Shakespearean language.

        • Possibly “The Lady”? I don’t know, it has been quite some time since I read it, but it was set in Ireland, and about well-bred horses. Can’t actually remember that much, other than I was unimpressed, and didn’t really find much ‘romantic’ about an affair between married people.

          Ditto with the one set in a hotel, although I think in that case at least neither of the ‘romantic’ couple were still involved with someone else.

          • I kinda liked _The Lady_. She got the horse bits spot on (for well-known reasons) and the romance and stuff fit well into the story of the family. Even the minor-bad was painfully plausible, and rather sad. The book wasn’t _Dragonflight_ or _Dragonsinger_, but it was a lot better than most romances with half-way similar plots. YMMV.

            • I actually have it, it has just been at least ten years since I read it, and I never reread it. I seem to recall the horse parts being fine (imagine that) and it being well written (again no surprise) but to what was to me a really dull plot. And I’m sure my ‘religious prejudices’ affected my view of the romance. 😉

              I don’t read romances, and I read that one, so no, my mileage probably doesn’t vary that much.

              • There was also Ring of Fear and the other two that were in the romance omnibus. I think one of them was set in VA in WWII or just after, and there was a husky.

          • As has recently come up in related discussions, this crowd really sucks at remembering the books that we didn’t either like or passionately, passionately dislike. Anything from “meh” to “Uh, no” gets round-filed.

    • I just snickered and thought, “Wow, dude, way to admit you’ve never read Nebula-winner Catherine Asaro.”

      • I’ve never read Catherine Asaro. Sounds like I should.

        • She has a degree in physics — particle physics I believe — and it shows. I once saw a panel she was on on SF romance, and she said you should try to get it published as SF not only because SF readers won’t read romance, but romance readers will read SF, but because the editors will let you get away with more science.

          • Definitely writes romances, though. Trying to remember the first that I read… I’m pretty sure it was Primary Inversion. It’s still one of my favorite ones. The latest, Undercity, was pretty good too, I thought.

        • You should. Asaro is very good, and has the most damned interesting background you could imagine. High-level particle physics and ballet, and that’s just for starters. Her books are unique.

          • Fun fact: her father was the Frank Asaro involved in the work on the Alvarez hypothesis — that the asteroid killed the dinosaurs.

      • I tried one of her works, and bounced hard.

  28. Mr. Flemming spotted something that I do believe is the core of the entire affair. He quotes Meadows: “Third, the tastes of the people who care enough about these awards to bother to take part in them have diverged over time from those of the average person.”
    This is the main (in fact only) objection I’ve seen from any of the frothing ragebeasts over at Scalzi’s (where I have been slumming so y’all don’t have to.)

    WorldCon Fans are the cognoscenti. Only they posses the refined taste, the highly developed cultural discernment to be able to Truly Understand the Greatness of the works they and only they were cool enough to vote for Hugo Award. In their capable and oh so politically relevant hands, the Hugos have been raised from mere pulp awards to the Acme of the Best in Important Literature.

    The Sad Puppies are of course mere plebes, whose unrefined tastes have muddied the pure, crystalline waters which previously revealed the pool of Hugo nominees.

    Or, shorter, its a class war. They are the smart good ones, we are the stupid bad ones. We should shut up and go away because we are stupid and bad.
    This is the same thing that happened in painting, in sculpture, in movies, in Important Literature.

    I recall bringing some children to a modern art show in Phoenix, at the Phoenix Art Museum. They were unimpressed. It could be said that Art is wasted on children, but some of the comments on some of the pieces closely paralleled my own, adult, impressions. There was a horse made of junk which a little girl said was “ugly and mean”. Right on, little girl. The crown of the show though was three identical blue lucite boxes standing on a pestle. A little boy said “Really? THIS is art? Come on!” Pretty much what I was thinking.

    Modern art was long ago co-opted by a movement which despised skill, talent, work, and most important, beauty. They champion snark and rebellion for its own sake. If you’re not a fan of snark, you’re not going to have much to look at in modern art. Or writing. Or most any other modern cultural event or artifact.

    Result: modern life, where the insane is commonplace. Example, there is right now a push on to grant Habeas Corpus to a chimpanzee in New York State. He is “imprisoned” by his owners, and some local group of bleeding hearts is trying to get him “freed”. The insane part is the judge going along with the bleeding hearts and against the owner.
    Example, terrorist, murderer and captured non-uniformed combatant Omar Khadr, formerly of Guantanamo Bay Prison, is about to get -bail- in Canada. He’s being congratulated on this in Twitter and in the papers by journalists etc.

    Because that’s the “reasonable” response in a culture that values snark and rebellion over all else.

    So now, finally, they have come for us. The nerds. The science geeks. The weirdos that like space ships and aliens and ray guns and comic books and super heroes. The dorks who live in Mum’s basement and collect Star Wars action figures and play video games.

    Sad Puppies is the nerds say no. We will not be disenfranchised by a bunch of snarky, supercilious, neck-bearded assholes looking for a new bunch of people to push around. We will not let you send our beloved space ships and ray guns into the same trash heap of history that the Modernists sent painting, and the Bauhaus sent furniture, and the Noir sent movies and on and on and on.

    Hilarious that science fiction nerds are finally the ones who stand up to the Modernist steam roller and tell them to step off. And them MAKE them step off.

    • Stephen St. Onge

              Your experience at the art show reminds me of an exhibit by an important modern architect my wife and I went to.  I very much embarrassed her, looking at pictures of his buildings and laughing.  Chain link “fence” that sticks up into the air, corrugated iron painted blue, and used as decoration, and the thought that people paid to have their homes defaced this way — it was hilarious.

    • A whole-hearted “Amen!” to that discussion of modern art. There’s nothing inherent in the concept of non-representative art that means it has to be ugly, or snarky, or anything of that sort. I’m thinking of one painting in particular; I can’t remember the artist or the name of the piece, but it was a series of rectangles of various proportions and colors, with some horizontal and/or vertical lines thrown in. And the combination of colors and shapes was well-balanced and aesthetically pleasing. You can’t get that result without having studied aesthetics and color — and that’s good art.

      On the other hand, some of what’s being passed of as “modern art” could be easily done by someone with no knowledge of art, and no understanding of aesthetics and how to make something visually pleasing. (And apparently, often is done by such a person). The “if my five-year-old kid could do that, it isn’t art” rule is a good one. The five-year-old could not have produced the visually-pleasing rectangle painting that I’m thinking of (WISH I could recall the name), because that one required actual understanding of beauty. But some of the modern rebellion-as-art pieces? Yeah, the five-year-old could easily have produced them, and therefore I’m perfectly comfortable in saying that they’re not art.

  29. I keep reading, in this topic, about the wrong think of Vox Day and Mr. Wright. On one of the oppositions sites it’s as if they were the personification of the modern day Klan. Could someone please point me at a source that explains what the people are on about re: Vox Day and R. Wright?

    • Frankly, Sandifer will do for that.
      Long story short: John C. Wright was an atheist who is now Catholic. He has the zeal of the converted, rhetorical and otherwise–and the savvy and writing ability to back it up. He also has a tendency to not mince words, and occasionally goes overboard. Generally, the wrongthink example is the blistering open letter he wrote to the creators of the kids’ show Avatar: The Legend of Korra after the season finale, wherein a lesbian relationship involving the title character was heavily implied.
      As to Vox Day, he once called a black woman a half-savage after she had heaped insults upon his head–this is the general wrongthink example. He also (this is not understatement, nor overstatement) has a tendency to attribute to genetics what can be explained by culture, can be a bit of a grandstander, and can make Wright look like the voice of the center. He also is a participant in Gamergate, on the not-SJW side, which is worse than all of that combined.
      Basically: They don’t buy into the SJW narrative, nor into some of the narratives preceding said narrative, and they are not shy about it.

      • John C. Wright was 100% right on with the thing on Legend of Korra, and that’s why the SJWs are on his case. They hate it when people call them out for cause, it damages their self image of Purity.

        Vox Day for his part called N.K. Jemisin a “half savage” after she called him a raaaacist. Having briefly delved into that farce just now, my reaction is “can’t they -both- lose?” When its asshole vs asshole, you don’t pick a side. You pray for an asteroid.

        • Agreed as to both.

        • To be more precise, she said that she is fear of her life anywhere where there are stand-your-ground laws on the grounds the whites will just use them to shoot down blacks.

          • Which means that she is either maliciously lying, ignorant of both what the laws say and what actually happened betweeen Martin and Zimmerman, or insane (specifically, paranoid-delusional). And none of the Tor Clique will call her on it.

          • So, essentially, she takes the view “screw the facts, i’ll drink another glass of narrative.”

            Because any actual review of death rates will show a) black murders gun deaths are far less common per 100K people in “stand your ground” states and b) blacks are far more likely to shot by other blacks than by whites.

            OTOH, there is a bit of good news here: by passing “stand your ground” laws a state can reduce the likelihood of visitation by certain types of judgmental idiots. On a related note, see: We’re Addicted To Judgment Porn.

            • So, essentially, she takes the view “screw the facts, i’ll drink another glass of narrative.”

              Yes. Stand-your-ground-laws are worded in an entirely race-neutral fashion, and statistically it is blacks who are most likely per capita to need to use them as a legal defense (because they live in worse neighborhoods on average and hence are more likely to find themselves seriously assaulted). Trayvon Martin was only shot because he was trying to kill George Zimmerman, so unless N. K. Jemisin routinely tries to murder people for the offense of speaking to her, she has little to worry in that regard. Zimmerman never used the “Stand Your Ground” defense, because he didn’t need to — he couldn’t have fled, anyway, from a man who was kneeling on his chest.

              Of course, Jemisin assumes that she will never need to defend her life. Unlike the average black person, she is rich, upper-class, and thoroughly-spoiled. If her life was threatened, she’d just hire some plebian sort to do the dirty work of defending her — she doubtless imagines, anyway.

              • Trayvon Martin was only shot because he was trying to kill George Zimmerman, …

                This is why we need greater cultural understanding. Isn’t it possible that in the culture from which Martin comes, knocking a person down, kneeling on their chest and pounding their head against the pavement is just a socially acknowledged form of friendly greeting? Why, oh why, must you immediately jump to an invidious and inflammatory conclusion? We don’t know Martin intended Zimmerman’s death, he might have been satisfied with nothing more than permanently crippling him. And Zimmerman didn’t have to shoot Martin dead, he could have fired a warning shot or just winged him.

                … so unless N. K. Jemisin routinely tries to murder people for the offense of speaking to her, she has little to worry in that regard

                I doubt anybody here disbelieves Jemisin would happily have people executed for such lèse majesté, if only as an incentive for others. After all, the only reason anybody might have for expressing to her an opinion in conflict with her own expressed views would be a desire to inflict pain, anguish and to leave her feeling mentally raped. Sure, she might settle for their being stripped of all wealth and driven out into the wilderness, but that is only because she knows they are racist sexist homophobic binary people of the sort who think that the US Constitution has some kind of actual meaning, limiting the power and authority of enlightened folk like her.

              • I think it was on Guns Save Lives, they shared the story of a lady whose son (maybe grandson she raised) bought her a gun when he joined the Army. She hated it, was scared of it… and was protected by Stand Your Ground when a guy broke in at two in the morning with a knife and some rope. I believe it was just after her city had been slapped and told no, their local laws did not over-rule the state ones.

          • Stephen St. Onge

                    Jemisin said:

            Right now there are laws in places like Florida and Texas which are intended to make it essentially legal for white people to just shoot people like me, without consequence, as long as they feel threatened by my presence.

                    She went on to say:

            the membership of SFWA also recently voted in a new president. There were two candidates — one of whom was a self-described misogynist, racist, anti-Semite, and a few other flavors of asshole.

                    She lifted that from a SFWA site that was supposed to be SFWA members only, in which Beale said he’d been accused of those things.  Quoting offsite without permission of the original poster was against the rules.  She was not called to account for violating said rules.

                    The claim about gun laws is ridiculously untrue, and the weasel wording shows she knows it.  Beale replied:

            She is lying about the laws in Texas and Florida too. The laws are not there to let whites ” just shoot people like me, without consequence, as long as they feel threatened by my presence”, those self-defense laws have been put in place to let whites defend their lives and their property from people, like her, who are half-savages engaged in attacking them.

                    I don’t find his behavior particularly edifying, but Jemisin clearly picked a fight with him.

    • Could someone please point me at a source that explains what the people are on about re: Vox Day and R. Wright?

      The evidence offered here, a few days (week or two?) ago, is that Wright is a fascist because he says that he’ll be happy to swear not to defend himself after people stop attacking him.

      I think he’s too far in the Shea zone, but it’s frankly ridiculous to claim he’s malicious.

        • He’s half of the members of the Mark Shea/John C. Wright fan club.

          Catholic apologist. Very good when he sticks to objective teachings. Catholic blog thing, can search the-american-catholic.com for more details if you’re interested in details.

          If not, just figure on bombastic and very sure they’re correct.

  30. Bob –
    If you want an explanation about VoxThink, just go over to his blog(search under Vox Day) and spend a few days. You’ll either be enlightened or horrified, heh, heh, heh – or maybe a little of both.

    • We live with a genre which consistently posits that sf fans are genetically more intelligent and more evolved than anybody else.

      Ain’t nobody in sf with room to talk about Vox Day. Particularly the progressive types, because it’s almost always been the progressive types who’ve posited it.

  31. “…Speculation now is doing the rounds that Castalia House was created specifically to launch books to pack the Hugos….”

    http://www.teleread.com/award/sad-puppies-dog-just-wont-lie/

  32. This is a long thread and I admit I didn’t read all of it, but I did a keyword search on dinosaur and found nothing so:

    The Dinosaur story didn’t actually win a Hugo. It was third in a field of four. Yes, I realize that this fact doesn’t really substantially change your argument, and I’m disappointed that it was even nominated. It did win a Nebula.

  33. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    If you have registered to vote for the Hugos, voting is open.

    If you have not registered to vote for the Hugos. I believe that you can still register to do so.

    I have voted for the items that I have opinions on, bypassed the ones that have no opinions on and HAVE NOT voted NO AWARD for any category.