What Happened to Kevin J Anderson? Another Sad Puppy 4 Stray Observation

Of the books nominated for Best Novel by the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies, the weakest to make the ballot was (IMHO) Kevin J Anderson’s The Dark Between the Stars. I’m afraid to say that I found it a bit dull, but tastes differ and I’m sure it sold well and clearly somebody recommended it. Now The Dark Between the Stars was part one of a presumably epic series (The Shadow Saga) and the sequel Blood of the Cosmos was published in 2015.

Now here is something interesting. Of the many books recommended on the Sad Puppy 4 Best Novel pages there are exactly zero recommendations for Blood of the Cosmos. There is one recommendation for a different Kevin J Anderson book Clockwork Lives, which is a tie in novelization with a Rush concept album (honestly, is there nothing Anderson couldn’t novelize?) but that’s it.

If we are to take the Sad Puppy 3 claims seriously Kevin J Anderson (a writer for whom ‘consistency’ is his bankable quality) has gone from being a Puppy-pick for Best Novel i.e. one of the outstanding works of science fiction in 2014 to almost a nobody. Is the sequel really that bad that NOBODY would even suggest it? Does this mean Sad Puppy 4 will tacitly endorse the evaluation of Worldcon voters by going even further than No Award and not even muster a single recommendation for poor Mr Anderson?

The conundrum is easily resolved: the US publisher of both The Dark Between the Stars and Blood of the Cosmos is Tor books and while Sad Puppies is not officially boycotting Tor the overlap between the Tor boycotters and Sad Puppies supporters appears to be quite extensive. It seems that at long last there is a visible impact of the Tor Boycott and it is actually a previous puppy-pick that is the victim. I’m sure Mr Anderson won’t suffer too badly 🙂




  1. Phil Sandifer

    I wonder if part of it is that Anderson got on SP3 because SP3 was really Brad Torgersen ignoring the commenters and constructing a slate out of his friends and personal preferences, and that he picked Anderson as a shield against accusations of overt politics as opposed to out of any real quality. And that the reality is that nobody has ever been unaware as to exactly which two of the famed “meet your deadlines, be easy to work with, and be good” triad his career was based on. Which is not to say that he’s a bad writer – but he’s a writer people few people are deeply invested in, bought because he’s a reliable lark.

    (This being, I think, a key flaw of the “pulps > literary” aesthetic – it’s very hard to distinguish quality within the formulaic slush of the pulps. Which is not a knock against the pulp style – just a flaw when it comes to awards for it.)


  2. Stevie

    Extraordinary, yes. I suppose that it is remotely possible that one or more of the Sad Puppies actually tried reading ‘The Dark Between the Stars’, which would certainly account for a deep desire never to read anything by him ever again..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark

    Hmm, I wonder if the support for tie in authors that Brad inherited was a bit lackluster. Larry put something of the sort on SP2 (a warhammer book?) but Brad didn’t seem to be able to follow through too well, considering he couldn’t even bring himself to nominate an actual tie-in. There’s no sign of his successors in the MGC crew caring about tie-ins, probably because it doesn’t fit their anti-trad pub theme.
    And as you and Stevie note, TDBTS was incredibly dreary. Anderson is fine, but a campaign to reward him with anything more than increased bags of cash has a bit of a credibility gap.