Unified puppy theory: confirmation [Updated]

In the Unified Puppy Theory I advanced a model of how the Sad Puppy movement thinks about awards and literary contests. On the Mad Genius Club Cedar Sanderson has offered an interesting piece of evidence for the model: http://madgeniusclub.com/2015/07/18/everyones-a-winner/

Apparently without irony it opens with a complaint about modern society and everyone expecting to be a winner:

We live in a society – or most of us do, since I’m sure there are a few readers who hail from distant shores that aren’t the US of A – which fosters the idea that everyone will win. Whatever the game is. From reading contests at school (I was perma-banned from them in high school, since I would always win, and it didn’t hurt my feelings a bit) to getting a job, everyone wants to come out on top. Reality, as the adults among us know, is a rather different beast.

Yeah, hmmm, forgotten the Sad Puppy campaign already?

[Update] There is another post at Mad Genius today that is pertinent to the model – this time a re-post of an essay from 2014 by this blog’s favorite Mad genius Dave Freer.

The thing, of course with a brand is that has value in itself. And that value needs to be nurtured, looked after and guarded if it’s going to keep being worth having, let alone grow. Authors need to be aware that they stand or fall by that brand reputation. You’re as good as your last book, or maybe two or three, if you’re an old brand (like the Hugo Awards are, or Larry Niven)

Potentially, that goes a lot further with Publishers, and indeed awards. Nurture should be their first name. Start to disappoint people and there goes many years of hard work -it’s easier to break than make. And it is largely self-inflicted injury: Attempting to diss a brand name may put off those who don’t know it, but it is a balancing act. If the brand was obscure, all you’re doing is making people notice it, and if it is a good product – or at least one that has faithful partisans, this is a stupid technique, because it tends to make those partisans vocal. Trying saying something derogatory about Apple Macs to see this in action.

In addition there is that odd lack of awareness of events (yes I know this was written prior but how could they then forget?)

he only way anyone who isn’t hard left and blinkered is going to believe that… is if the noms and awards take a sharp turn away from the left, and have some very popular authors with a large following who are center and right wing — and they’ll have to do it for a good few years. The problem, of course, is twofold. If anyone who is not an outspoken left-winger is going to be attacked by the same creeps as this time, you’ll have repeat of this year, and more damage, and secondly… who are you going to get? There are dozens of outspoken left wing authors in traditional publishing, some with a fair size following – probably most of what there is to have in their niche (which is a small part of whayt is out there). Traditional publishing skews hard left, that’s just about all they’ve done for years. It’s very available, expensive, and made to suit the sellers, not the market. Rather like bakery bread here. Not selling that well, now that people are feeling the pinch. But you can find fifty virtually indistinguishable clones of the current Hugo winners very easily.

The other side is hard to find. They make their own bread, mostly. It’s generally cheaper, more varied. While there are actally quite a lot of center/right authors doing very well as indies, the list in ordinary traditional publishing of people selling 100k + copies is tiny anyway, and those who aren’t outspoken left wing is miniscule. Larry Correia was literally the Hugos best bet.

So to those who wish to retain some value for the award. I suggest you start looking for suitable bestselling nominations… that have no trace of left wing about them. Good luck trying. Most of those mavericks are more likely to kick you than go along quietly to wear your brand and add value to it.

1. Did they nominate good non-leftwing works? No, the overall quality of the Puppies was very poor. Put another way THE PUPPY NOMINEES DAMAGED THE PUPPY BRAND. Brad should have paid attention to Dave and Dave should have applied the principle he was trying to explain to the Puppies own campaign.

2. If, as Dave says, “traditional publishing skews hard left, that’s just about all they’ve done for years” then why bother with all that Petunias analysis? If the bulk of published work is to the left (or at least to what Dave regards of the left) it would be nigh on impossible for the Hugos not to be dominated by what Dave regards as the left *IF* the Hugo process itself had no political bias. If you put biased data into an unbiased process you’ll get a biased outcome!

3. This is essentially an AFFIRMATIVE ACTION argument – which Dave regarded as symptomatically of the left.