Eruditorum on Three Body Problem

Philip Sandifer has an interesting discussion on The Three Body problem and its sequel The Dark Forest here

I made a couple of comments that I’m repeating here 🙂

I think Vox Day’s motives for putting The Three Body Problem as preference 1  were simpler. The points mentioned in the piece (e.g. the Cultural Revolution section) were primarily just elements that meant the book had elements he could spin. The main motive was that he could pick something that could 1. could win and 2. wasn’t Leckie or Addison.

Aside from a core set of ‘payload’ ideological works (primarily John C Wright) neither set of Puppies put much effort in considering ideological aspects of what they were nominating (most obviously Guardians of the Galaxy which included literal tree-hugging) as opposed to what they objected to.

None of the Puppies (including Wright and Day who have pretensions towards this) have particularly good critical skills. Their ideological objections to particular works tend to be shallow and politically inconsistent.

In terms of the numbers. There were 453 1st preference votes for 3BP that in the race for 2nd place transferred to Puppy nominees. In the last round of preferences for 1st place, the difference between Goblin Emperor and 3BP was 200 votes. So there certainly is cause to say that the Rabid votes made a marginal but significant difference.

Using the numbers provided, it is possible to run a hypothetical version of the 1st place race with those 453 ‘Rabid’ votes missing by deducting them from 3BP’s 1st preferences and then assuming all other votes went the same way. If you do that then Goblin Emperor wins by 253 votes.

However, the question then is would 200+ non-puppies have voted differently if Vox Day had NOT endorsed 3BP? Given the size of the anti-Puppy vote that is plausible but there is no way of demonstrating it.

Taking the counterfactual further, with zero Puppy nominations (including Gannon and Torgersen’s works as well) then the works would have included John Scalzi’s Lock In and Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs. There simply isn’t a way of knowing how everybody would have voted in that case 🙂

2 thoughts on “Eruditorum on Three Body Problem

  1. I think people are quite rightly ignoring any suggestion that 3BP represents some sort of success for VD because as you point out it’s impossible to be sure, and it’s a classic case of VD moving his victory goalposts, so let’s just ignore him. A fairly nominated novel won, job done.

    You are spot on about the confused nature of their application of any ideology. I seem to recall Hoyt said that 3BP would get support from people who mistakenly thought they were supporting Maoism/Marxism, which shows, well, I don’t know exactly what it shows other than huh what?


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