The Potted Responses of Camestros Felapton

I have attempted to compile a list of the kinds of arguments I’ve encountered when talking to supporters of the Puppy Hugo Award campaigns. The list is my paraphrasing of those arguments so it is fair to say that these are ‘straw puppy’ arguments. I certainly do not believe every person who has ever supported some aspect of the Puppy campaigns believes or has asserted each of of these. People vary and groups of people are always to some extent diverse – this is just as true of supporters of any of the Puppy campaigns as it is with any group of people.
These are my responses, they aren’t suggested responses and others won’t necessarily agree with each of them (either in tone or content). People are welcome to make suggestions or provide feedback. If you feel I have misrepresented an argument then please make a suggested alternative – I’ll probably add it rather than replace but I’ll try and acknowledge it.

If you want to use the list to frame your own responses then please go ahead and make what use of it helps you.

I’ve made up my own humorous categories for the arguments included:

  • Every puppy is an island. Arguments which rely on each case being treated differently.
  • Diversity of ideas. Arguments about diversity of ideas.
  • Puppy Time machine. Argument about how later events change earlier events.
  • All non-puppies are the same. Arguments that lump everyone together.
  • Well that didn’t work out then, did it? Self defeating Puppy things.
  • Tor-gemony is the enemy. Arguments about Tor Books.
  • The Big Meanies. Arguments about how people are mean to puppies.
  • Sure but why? Factually/logically OK statements but don’t quite go where they should.
  • Yeah but no. Claims that wander away from reality, not dealt with elsewhere.
  • They Did it Too! Claims about slates, bad behavior and log rolling.
  • Essjaydouble-ewwww. Stuff about combating the influence of lefties.

Spelling mistakes, typos etc are my own. Arguments are in no particular order other than the order that I wrote them down.

 Arguments (click for link to response)

Arguments with Responses.

  • # :-: Idea || ** Response
  • 1 :-: Sad Puppies 3 wasn’t a slate because people were told to vote for what they liked. || ** The SP3 campaign was called a slate, and all entries on the slate received substantial number of votes regardless of whether they were good or bad.
  • 2 :-: Sad Puppies 3 was politically diverse because Sad Puppies is committed to diversity of ideas. || ** This may be true but there is little evidence that people and works on the slate were chosen so as to create a diversity of ideas. Also, if the aim was to create a diversity of ideas why have multiple nominations for John C Wright? Was their really no worthy contender for at least one of those spots?
  • 3 :-: Sad Puppies 3 went to great lengths to ensure there was diversity of ideas. || ** There is no indication that Sad Puppies 3 went to any particular lengths at all. Brad Torgersen has been vague about how items were selected for the slate.
  • 4 :-: Sad Puppies was not about Larry Correia wanting a Hugo – this is demonstrated by him turning down the nomination in 2015. || ** The original campaign that started ‘Sad Puppies’ was quite literally about getting Larry Correia a Hugo. Has Larry Correia’s eagerness for a Hugo declined since? Obviously but that doesn’t change the past.
  • 5 :-: Sad Puppies 2 was about Larry Correia proving the Worldcon voters were biased against conservatives. || ** Certainly this is what was claimed about Sad Puppies 2 after the event. However, it ignores some key issues. Firstly, a major objection from many was the slate tactics and campaigning of Sad Puppies 2 rather than the politics. Secondly, many people who might not have a general problem with most conservatives have very specific problems with the views of Vox Day which they see as promoting violence towards specific groups. Vox Day is not typical of most people on the right and people’s objections to him are not isolated to people on the left.
  • 6 :-: Puppy-kickers/CHORFS/Liberals/Worldcon voters etc. said X. || ** Really? EVERYBODY said that? Or just some people? If so which people said that? Was it actually typical of the beliefs of a large and politically diverse group?
  • 7 :-: Puppies include people of very different ideas and politics and you can’t make generalizations about us. || ** This is true. Not everybody who supports or who has supported the Sad Puppy or Rabid Puppy campaigns is the same or has the same beliefs or has supported those campaigns for the same reasons. However, the specific Puppy campaigns do have have named leaders and a small number of people closely associated with the campaign. It is reasonable to describe the campaigns in terms of what the leaders and spokes-people for those campaigns have said.
  • 8 :-: Puppy-kickers/CHORFS/Liberals/Worldcon voters etc. are all X. || ** If this is meant to be anything other than silly name-calling then you need to be clear about who your are talking about. Is EVERYBODY who is critical of the Puppy campaigns a ‘Puppy Kicker’ or a ‘CHORF? If not then who is and who isn’t? If you can’t say then any claim about what ‘Puppy Kickers’ say or think is just you making stuff up. If you are trying to say that a particular person said something you didn’t like then say that. Otherwise, this claim is little more than a farting noise.
  • 9 :-: Sad Puppies is about celebrating independent writers struggling against Big Publishing. || ** If so then the Sad Puppy campaigns so far have been a self-defeating failure. The novels SP got on the final 2015 ballot were from major publishing houses.
  • 10 :-: Sad Puppies is about bringing in other kinds of fans e.g. from comics or video games. || ** Despite the rhetoric, Sad Puppies track-record here is poor. There was lots of talk about tie-in media to TV or film SF franchises but little action. The Sad Puppy pick for best graphic work in 2015 was extremely weak despite their being a vast field to chose from. In the meantime, ordinary Worldcon fans have been nominating popular movies, comics, graphic novels and video-game related works more consistently than the Sad Puppy campaigns have managed so far. Perhaps this will improve with Sad Puppies 4 but it is safe to say that judged on its track record Sad Puppies has failed in this area so afr.
  • 11 :-: The people who voted No Award didn’t read the books. || ** This claim appears to be based on very flimsy evidence. Certainly some people campaigned for No Award regardless but then again others campaigned for ‘read then No Award’. I know that I read the works and reviewed several of them. I know that even some people who were calling for a blanket No Award of EVERYTHING read at least some of the Puppy slated works (e.g. it is easy to verify that Philip Sandifer read ‘One Bright Star’ by John C Wright enough to debate its content with Vox Day)
  • 12 :-: Tor controls or is trying to control the Hugo Awards. || ** Tor is a SF/F imprint of one of the 4 or 5 world’s biggest publishers. It isn’t surprising that they have some success in getting novels nominated for a Hugo. Even so they are far from having a lock on the award. Additionally it was Sad Puppies 3 that nominated a Tor book (The Dark Between the Stars) for best novel and it was Rabid Puppies/Vox Day that recommended voting 1 for the Tor-published Three Body Problem. Or are you trying to say something about Best Editor Long-Form?
  • 13 :-: Tor controls the Best Editor Long Form category. || ** Tor editors have certainly won this category many times since it was created. Notably several of those occasions was when the late David Hartwell won. Did he deserve to win? I don’t know but given the praise he received from notable people supportive of the Puppy campaigns it doesn’t seem surprising or mysterious that he would have won on many occasions. If Hartwell’s wins are discounted then the number of Tor wins is much smaller. Patrick Nielsen Hayden has won on several occasions but he is also a famous and notable editor. As claims go this one is weak.
  • 14 :-: Worldcon voters have a bias against conservative authors. || ** A not implausible claim has been made that there is a bias in the overall results in so far as few authors who are clearly to the right of the center of US politics being nominated for a Hugo award. This claim has not been well established as there isn’t a neat way of tabulating the politics of all nominees. However, even if this claim was correct it does not imply a bias in the way Worldcon members vote. If the other claims of anti-conservative bias in publishing were true (and again these are debatable) then this by itself would explain a paucity of conservative nominees without any bias among Worldcon voters (they could even be biased towards conservatives and you’d still get the same results). The bias could be further out – conservatives themselves may be less likely to write award worthy SF/F. Is there any evidence for this? Yes: Sad Puppies itself is evidence – the nominees have been repeatedly drawn from a very small pool implying that there is not some large un-tapped reservoir of conservative writers out there.
  • 15 :-: Worldcon voters have a bias against Baen Books. || ** Baen books have had few nominations and few wins but the number is not zero. The obvious exception is Lois McMasters Bujold who has both been a finalist and won Hugo Awards. The existence of such an obvious exception would suggest that there isn’t a specific bias against Baen per-se. What is not clear is which Baen books are the potentially award winning books that have been overlooked by Worldcon voters. Arguably this is something Sad Puppies 4 might address.
  • 16 :-: The Hugo awards have become all about message fiction. || ** This arguments has been made many times and the usual response from non-puppies has been to ask for examples. Examples generally have been thin. ‘The water That Falls on Your From Nowhere’, ‘If You Were a Dinosaur My Love’ are the main two examples used and the second is used more frequently (although it did not win a Hugo). Weaker examples given include the pronoun use in Ancillary Justice but this is rarely supported with a strong explanation of how the book is message fiction. As ‘message fiction’ is in the eye of the beholder, it is difficult for non-puppies to survey Hugo nominees and demonstrate that the proportion of message fiction is low. Attempts to get Puppies to do the converse and show that the level of message fiction is high is usually met with the same thin set of examples.
  • 17 :-: Sad Puppies is about stopping the Hugos being dominated by message fiction. || ** As well as the very weak claim that the Hugos have become dominated by message fiction, there is a parallel claim that the Puppy campaigns were some sort antidote to this. The obvious failure here is the nomination of strongly message loaded stories from John C Wright. If the aim was to reduce the amount of message fiction then it is safe to say that the campaigns failed.
  • 18 :-: The ‘No Award’ fans burnt down the Hugos in 2015. || ** No categories have been destroyed, no awards were irrevocably reduced to ashes, the Hugo Awards still exist. The wins for No Award mean one thing to the Hugos as actual entities: that nobody won an award in some categories in 2015. That is what No Award is for and it is why the rules give it two ways to win in a category. In terms of wider significnace the votes for No Award show that people who feel bullied into picking certain choices may vote No Award.
  • 19 :-: The ‘No Award’ votes in 2015 legitimise Puppies voting No Award in the future. || ** If you are a Worldcon member and wish to vote for No Award in a category then you are entitled to do so. If you are voting No Award in a category in an attempt to seek revenge on how other people voted in 2015 then my best advice would be to talk that through with somebody you trust and who cares about you.
  • 20 :-: The ‘No Award’ votes in 2015 were playing straight in Vox Day’s hand. || ** Vox Day will do whatever he wants. Might he use some events of 2015 as a pretext to do what ever he wants? Sure but he’ll do what he wants regardless. During the voting some prominent Sad Puppies were saying people should just ignore Vox Day, well in this case the advice makes a little bit more sense. Nobody should let Vox Day dictate their actions in either direction. No Award votes neither limited nor expanded Vox Day’s range of ethical choices.
  • 21 :-: Sad Puppies were the only thing protecting the Hugos from Vox Day. || ** I find it difficult to believe that conservatives would advocate that people should concede to what they perceive as a lesser aggression in the hope of saving themselves from a more terrible one. In reality the Sad Puppy campaign was disruptive to an event many people love and while Vox Day could have been even more disruptive (and may yet be) that is no reason for people to silence themselves. Standing up to bullies is a good idea. In the event of there being too different levels of bullies, standing up to the lesser bullies is still the right thing to do.
  • 22 :-: If You Were a Dinosaur My Love was message fiction/bad/won a Hugo/not-SFF/some other thing… || ** Given its length, it is extraordinary how much talking there has been about this one story. It has been repeatedly cited by a range of Sad and rabid Puppies as the epitome of what is wrong with the Hugo Awards. Occasionally (particularly in older comments) people claim that it won a Hugo Award – it did not but it was a finalist in 2014 and it did win a Nebula Award. It is also claimed that it is not a SF/F story despite featuring a huge dinosaur getting married on the grounds that it is overtly set up as a normal person’s imagining. The Hugo Awards do not enforce a test of genre appropriateness but given the repeated theme of a dinosaur (apparently) living a human life in our modern world, arguments that isn’t SF/F are, at best academic. It was arguably SF/F enough, although some non-Puppies also think it wasn’t really SF/F (I disagree). It’s structural and textual strengths have actually been praised by noted Puppy nominee John C Wright and the shear amount of conversation that the story has generated would suggest that it is a story of some depth and significance. The more the Puppies have attempted to strike this story down the more powerful it seems to have got like some T-rex/Obi Wan hybrid. Another claim is that this story is ‘message fiction’. This claim is an unfortunate one for those who make it. As the story proceeds we discover that a character is in a coma after a vicious beating in a bar. During the beating, we are told, the attackers used a range of loaded slurs against their victim pertaining to gender and ethnicity. It is this aspect that some Puppies claim is ‘message fiction’. What is the message? that beating people up based on prejudice is wrong? I would call that a given rather than a ‘message’. That such violence occurs? Sadly it does – but are some Puppies seriously claiming that it doesn’t? Perhaps seeing where such a critique is leading them, some have claimed that the story demonizes working class men or people from the south, despite the story making no mention of the social class of the attackers or were the story is set.
  • 23 :-: The Water that Fall on You from Nowhere was message fiction/bad/won a Hugo/not-SFF/some other thing… || ** This story by John Chu did win a Hugo. It is arguably more magical-realism than fantasy but well within the range of the broader genre encompassed by the Hugos – oh and remember the Puppies say the Hugos should encompass MORE not LESS (but perhaps they mean that selectively). As the story involves same-sex marriage and people of color it also gets called message fiction. However by the Puppies own standards of what counts as ‘message’ this story is not message fiction. Instead it deals with family dynamics with grown children in a world in which lying is difficult without immediate consequences. If it has a message then it is the radical ideas that ‘honesty is the best policy’.
  • 24 :-: X dig Timelords demonstrates that the Hugos are stupid and leftwing and full of Doctor Who fans. || ** Sometimes trolling occurs by accident. Various works involving people from particular groups discussing critically the role Doctor Who has played in their lives hit several spots likely to cause consternation among puppies. Specifically, modern views on sexuality, literary theory and Doctor Who. For reasons that Puppies have yet to explain, Doctor Who fandom doesn’t count when it comes to the Hugos bringing people in from TV/Popular culture related fandoms. Perhaps the Puppies never saw the episodes with K9 in it?
  • 25 :-: You people nominated X, so you can’t object to us nominating Y. || ** Nominate what you like. If you are nominating to make people’s head explode then you will be disappointed. If you are nominating to prove some point then it is worth asking whether your actions will actually prove the point you are trying to make and whether the point you are trying to prove is worth proving. However, just because you can nominate something doesn’t mean people won’t be critical of it. People are critical of nominations every year, people will be discussing what they like or dislike about books. Note also that some people will saying things about nominated works that are unfair, unkind or incorrect – that is because Worldcon voters are people and include a wide mix of people who behave in different ways and have different viewpoints.
  • 26 :-: SJWs have been systematically waging a culture war and attempting to shut out conservatives. We are just fighting back. || ** For a culture war, Puppy tactics seems to involve a lot of collateral damage. The tactics used around the nominations in the past Puppy campaigns made a lot of people angry. Many of those people would seem themselves (rightly or wrongly) as political moderates. Personally I’m on the left and I know my political opinions are minority ones, so when I watch the Puppy campaigns I see those campaigns act as if they wish to create allies for people like myself on the left. Not everybody who has some disagreement with your politics is necessarily on the far left.
  • 27 :-: Sad Puppies is about bringing in more people into the Hugos. || ** People want to know that their vote counts. I know that many people sympathetic towards the Puppy campaign feel that possibly there is some degree of hidden shenanigans that prevent their votes from counting and hence this makes the Puppies tactics justified. However, if the tactics used in Sad Puppies 3 had become the norm and accepted then this could only have made people feel more alienated and reduced participation. People voting No Award demonstrated that the awards had a way of coping with slate tactics.
  • 28 :-: Sad Puppies brought more people into the Hugos. || ** This is true. It is not the only thing that has brought more people in but it definitely the biggest factor in the huge surge in memberships in 2015. Yet, it is worth noting that by a substantial edge, these were people joining to oppose the Sad Puppy slate. I’m not sure that was the objective to Sad Puppies.
  • 29 :-: Fewer and fewer people were voting in the Hugos until Sad Puppies. The Sad Puppies saved the Hugos. || ** It is true that for several years this century Hugo participation was declining. However the lowest point for votes was in 2007 and the lowest point for nominations was 2008. Participation rose from those levels, starting before Larry Correia’s first campaign. Those campaigns have drawn more attention to the Hugo awards but much of that has been people trying to protect the Hugo awards from the puppy campaigns.
  • 30 :-: Sad Puppies 3 wasn’t a slate because in a slate you only have one candidate per category. || ** I suppose that might be how slates operate in votes were only one candidate can win. In political elections were there can be several winners, political parties will often list several candidates. But more pertinently, what is the point of your argument? The objection to Sad Puppies 3 tactics was based on the net effect of those tactics – limiting the choices on the final ballot to those works picked by Brad Torgersen and Vox Day. If you don’t want to call those tactics a ‘slate’ it doesn’t change the objections to the tactics used.
  • 31 :-: Voting No Award was the real slate voting in 2015. || ** I’m sure there is some way you can construe the various ways people chose to vote No Award as a ‘slate’ but how does your argument help make Sad Puppies more legitimate. The objection to the Sad and Rabid Puppy slates was that they reduced the variety of works nominated to be finalists in a way that they became dominated by the choices of just two people: Brad Torgersen and Vox Day.
  • 32 :-: Voting No Award excluded genuine fans who liked the things the Puppies nominated from fandom. || ** There is no guarantee in any year of the Hugos for any fan, that the works you want to win will win. It is a competition, there will be losers. I rarely pick the winners in my votes, does that mean I’m excluded when my favorites don’t win. But is it different when No Award wins? No and nobody, not even a finalist, is entitled to a Hugo. It is not easy to win one and that is one reason why it is a prestigious award.
  • 33 :-: Seanan McGuire was nominated for 5 Hugos in 2013, so it is hypocritical to complain about John C Wright being nominated lost of times in 2015. || ** Seanan McGuire in her own name and in her pen-name ‘Mira Grant’ was nominated in several categories in 2013. Four of those nominations were in the fiction works categories and the fifth was as several people who were part of a podcast. So why was that OK but John C Wright being nominated lost of times bad? Putting aside specific issues with the quality & content of the Wright works nominated, the most obvious issue was the Puppies were claiming that they were helping get people nominated who wouldn’t normally be nominated. So either Sad Puppies was short of people to nominate or people they should have nominated were left off to make room for extra John C Wright. Neither are particularly good adverts for either set of Puppies actually doing anything good for their own stated objectives.
  • 34 :-: Entertainment Weekly libeled the Puppy campaign. That proves the mainstream media were tipped off and biased against the puppies. || ** The EW article was error ridden and poorly written. It was good that it was retracted and should never have been written. What it proves is that there is a lot of really poor news media out there that publishes poorly researched stories but then we all knew that already. Did it hurt the Sad Puppy campaign? Given that it allowed the Sad Puppy leadership to correctly claim that people has said untrue things about them, it was probably a propaganda victory for the Sad Puppies.
  • 35 :-: The Guardian newspaper was tipped off that Larry Coreia had been nominated for a Hugo in 2014 and wrote a hit piece on him. || ** The main truthful aspect of this claim is that there really is a Guardian newspaper. Aside from that the facts don’t support this claim. The hit piece is actually a regular Friday column on SF and weird things and mentioned Larry Correia in passing in a piece on gender in SF/F. There is nothing that indicates any ‘tip off’.
  • 36 :-: In 2011 a critic said that Larry Correia’s Campbell nomination would end writing forever || ** Really? I wonder what the full quote was. Could you send me a link to where this critic said that? What was this critic’s name by the way? Do you know? Does anybody know? Was it just some random person? Nicholas Whyte has suggested that Larry Correia may be referring to him because he did write a critical review but Whyte’s review doesn’t use those words or even imply anything like Larry’s claim.
  • 37 :-: There are bad people on both sides. || ** That is true but some of the loudest most name-callings people are on the Puppy side are people actively leading the Puppy campaigns. The problem with the name calling and verbal abuse from the Sad and Rabid sides is not just from Mr Random J Troll but from Larry Correia, Brad Torgersen and, of course, Vox Day.
  • 38 :-: The Puppies are about returning to the tradition of the pulps. || ** OK. Seriously, I don’t have a problem with a pro-pulp part of fandom talking about books and promoting what they like. Do it right and such a group probably would influence how people vote in the Hugo Awards. What I don’t see is how a half baked slate campaign and a lot of blusters helps any of that.
  • 39 :-: It is a terrible lie to claim that the Puppies is about returning to the tradition of the pulps. || ** Huh? The pulp thing isn’t just something I made up its based directly on what Larry Correia and other notable Puppies have said. Oh, this is John C Wright? OK, the Puppies are about the tradition of the Pulps and grandiose literary message fiction as well. [sigh]
  • 40 :-: Ha, I misspelled your name in a way that is sexually suggestive about camels. || ** OK, I’m not sure what effect you were trying to achieve but it looks like your are trying to express sexual fantasies about me and a camel. All I can say is that I’m not interested but I hope you find a safe and loving way to explore your interests.
  • 41 :-: The sarcasm and put downs show you are biased. || ** I’m being upfront about my position but this isn’t about me.
  • 42 :-: You have written these questions in a way that makes Puppies look silly or wrong. I believe something here but in a more complex or less stupid way. You should answer proper comments. || ** Please, put your argument in the comments and I will try and answer it sensibly.
  • 43 :-: What the Puppies did was within the rules. || ** Yes, the Puppy campaigns did not break any rules that I know of. However, that doesn’t mean it was a good idea or something that made anybody’s lives better. The nomination process works in a way that the works with the most votes aren’t necessarily the works that most people voted for (i.e. they are the works with the most votes not the works with near 50% of the vote). That means it is technically possible for a work that MOST voters don’t like to be a finalist. This isn’t a usual outcome but in special circumstances (i.e. a slate or a campaign to get a group to vote in the same way) this is what can happen. The net result is a finalist that isn’t going to win – which amounts to a waste of everyone’s time. The Puppy tactics took this to another level in 2015 with whole categories dominated by works that were not likely to win. You will note that nobody ended up very happy in that circumstance.
  • 44 :-: Irene Gallo called puppy supporters ‘neo-Nazis’. || ** When asked about the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns on her Facebook page Irene Gallo (creative director at tor.com) said they were extreme right wing to neo-nazi, respectively. I’ve a few taxonomic issues with that statement and it was undoubtedly unwise in a highly charged atmosphere but…it wasn’t unreasonable in my opinion. Gallo was talking about the two campaigns and distinguished between the Sad and the Rabid campaigns and highlighted their political stances. I think her description was inaccurate but well within the normal misuse of political labels and certainly no more inaccurate that the political labels used by notable Puppies. She did not call Sad Puppies neo-Nazis and she certainly didn’t make a claim that anybody who supports Sad Puppies was a neo-Nazi. Was it correct? ‘Extreme right wing’ is a relative term and while it is fair to say that many notable Puppies are quite right wing ‘extreme’ implies view beyond the mainstream spectrum – the political views of notable Sad Puppies are about as ‘extreme’ as Ted Cruz, i.e. very rightwing but also actually part of mainstream US party politics. The politics of the Sad Puppy leaders was not off the charts politically but many have views that people further on the left would regard as extreme (and arguably Gallo was not therefore misleading her readers). As for the Rabid Puppies, again I’d say *technically* Vox Day is not a neo-Nazi. In the meantime Sad Puppy Kate Paulk has compared attendees at the Hugo Award ceremony as actual Nazis.
  • 45 :-: Rec lists (e.g. the Locus Recommended Reading List) are slates. || ** List of eligible works do have some things in common with a slate campaign – mainly that both things have lists of eligible works. However there are crucial differences. Firstly such lists usually have far more works than available slots for the nominations. This means even if some people used it as a ‘slate’ they’d still have to pick between works and narrow it down. Secondly such lists typically have books in alphabetical order of some kind (by title or perhaps by author), so the works at the top aren’t the ‘top picks’ of the list. Together these two factors stop such list acting like slates. The third aspect is the campaigning. The Locus list has now campaign or agenda or any sort of reason why people should pick works from those lists. Sure, the list probably does have some impact on people’s choices but it is just one factor among many. The Sad Puppy 3 slates was, in the end, primarily the choice of one person and that person’s choices ended up having a major impact on the list of finalists – a result that in the end benefitted NOBODY.
  • 46 :-: John Scalzi’s Hugo eligibility posts were a slate or logrolling. || ** Single authors promoting their own work can seem tacky to some or it can look like just good business sense to others. The added issue with John Scalzi’s early self-promotion was that he was also a popular blogger and user of social-media. Consequently his own self-promotion may have had a bigger impact on Hugo nominations than it might for other authors. Having said all that, I’m not sure I see the relevance of this argument. Some people promote themselves more than others? True. Is there any kind of award system that could negate that? Not that I’m aware of short of some extreme Maoist dictatorship around the era of the cultural revolution and I don’t think that is what the Puppies are proposing. Does John Scalzi’s actions justify anything of the Sad Puppy campaign??No.
  • 47 :-: Puppy supporters were called racists, misogynists and homophobes. || ** I’m cautious about saying X is a Y because I thing it suggests that the person can’t be anything else. This is why I prefer to say what X wrote/said/did was Y, as it focuses on the actual problem rather than the person’s motives or personality. So I’m not going to say Larry Coreia or Brad Torgersen or Sarah Hoyt or Kate Paulk or various other people are racists, homophobes or misogynists. But that is me and other people will be more direct and their definitions of these term may not overlap with mine. In some case it is much easier to point at what people have said and say this person is actually committed to views that are racist or homophobic or expresses those sentiments so frequently that making a distinction becomes silly. Vox Day’s views are racist – he has an extensive racial/genetic theory of politics. John C Wright’s views on women and homosexuality are unequivocally sexist and homophobic. But what does this all mean for Sad Puppies? As a campaign Sad Puppies has promoted works that either expressed views that could be reasonably classed as misogynistic or racist or homophobic to some degree. The campaign has promoted writers with extreme views in these areas. Notable Sad Puppies have expressed sentiments that can reasonably described as being homophobic. Does this make all of Sad Puppies racist, misogynistic and homophobic? Not in my opinion but essentially the campaign allied itself with those views even if they were not adopted wholesale as part of its campaign. As well the Sad Puppy campaigns and its leaders have often appeared to place themselves in opposition to those trying to redress these issues and the campaign has often acted as if attempting to address these issues is oppressive or a bad idea or an attempt to solve non-existent problems.
  • 48 :-: Science fiction publishing is in crisis! || ** Is it? Obviously publishing books as an industry is in a state of major disruption at the moment but is SCIENCE FICTION in particular in crisis? I haven’t seen specific evidence of that other than the same evidence that publishing in general is in a major state of flux because of electronic publishing. But let’s say that is true what are the Sad Puppies saying in general? They are offering a kind of retreat – go back to what is safe, what is traditional, write only what is populist. It would be rather like advising the music industry in the face of the rise of MP3s and the iPod to stick with Rock and Roll and cheery songs about drinking beer. Oh and what the heck does that have to do with the Hugo Awards? The Hugo Awards aren’t the publishing industry (although some editors play a role). Sad Puppies isn’t somehow going to save Science Fiction publishing by changing what wins a Hugo and why would they want to save the publishing industry anyway?
  • 49 :-: The Sad Puppies are trying to save Science Fiction from grey-goo/pretentiousness/introspection/something… || ** Great, go right ahead. Write what you think is good. If you can’t find somebody to publish it then publish it yourself. I have absolutely ZERO objections to you doing so. Nobody, not me not the Hugos not Tor books is stopping you. The Sad Puppies campaign has done NOTHING to help you do any of that – at best it has distracted you from writing. Have fun writing. That doesn’t mean I will LIKE what you write (I might or I might not) but that doesn’t matter. WRITE! Express yourself! Carpe Diem and all that.
  • 50 :-: Socialism is…and the nazis were…and the Democrats did…and the Supreme Court… || ** Fascinating and I love arguments about politics but I am trying to focus on the subject of the Hugo Awards and the various Puppy campaigns.
  • 51 :-: Something, something, guns, 2nd amendment, something… || ** Another fascinating topic for discussion and I’m more than happy to discuss it but this is a discussion about the Hugo Awards.
  • 52 :-: Sad Puppy X can’t be racist because they are Y/because their wife is Z… || ** Nope, not going there. This is one reason why I avoid saying that X is a racist etc. Whatever you are and whatever your background is and whatever your motivation may have been, it is possible to support or encourage various forms of prejudice. There are no magic talismans. That doesn’t mean that racism operates in the same way for all ethnicities, it just means that racism and other forms of prejudice exist in many degrees and many forms.
  • 53 :-: Puppy Kickers say we should denounce Vox Day but Requires Hate is still published. || ** You are conflating different issues. The issue with Vox Day was what relationship he had with the Sad Puppy 3 campaign. Interestingly it remains an open question. Do some people who aren’t Puppies promote the work of the person known as Requires Hate? Apparently so but aside from VD and RH being not nice people, what else have the situations got in common. We know many people who voted No Award against the Puppy nominations in 2015 must have also voted for Laura Mixon on the strength of her report on Requires Hate’s behavior and we know lots of people in fandom have been outspoken about RH’s behavior.
  • 54 :-: Sad Puppies 3 was not Vox Day and you shouldn’t keep bringing him up. || ** The impact on the Hugo nominations was due to both the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns and so when people discuss that impact BOTH Puppy campaigns are relevant. As to whether there was a connection between the two campaigns that remains an open question. SP2 had nominated Vox Day and the key figures in Sad Puppies have referred to themselves as being members of the ‘Evil League of vil’ with Vox Day (yes, humorously ). Further it was said by Larry Correia that the Evil League of Evil was somehow involved in the final choice of the slate. Did that include Vox Day? We don’t know.
  • 55 :-: Asking Sad Puppies to condemn Vox Day’s views and the Rabid Puppies is like an Orwellian two minute hate and we won’t do it because we have principles. || ** This is odd because I haven’t noticed any shyness in general from Puppy leaders to attack the politics (or other things) of *some* people. Does this mean that all the various criticisms of people to the left of Puppies are ‘two minute hates’ and if they aren’t then what was stopping you criticizing Vox Day back during Sad Puppies 3? Could it be that you didn’t want to attack an ally? That makes sense but in that case 1. Vox Day was an ally and 2. it is reasonable for people to point out who Sad Puppies was allied with. I’m guessing that by 2016 the willingness to be Vox Day’s shield has diminished somewhat but it is worth remembering who played who.
  • 56 :-: Vox Day isn’t a white supremacist because he is a Native American/Indian. || ** That argument simply makes no sense. Vox Day advocates a set of beliefs about how nationality should be based on descent/genetic heritage and he has made his view clear on the issue. Now there is a ‘but technically’ aspect in that he appears to favor people of English descent more than other Europeans, so arguably his racial supremacist views are a bit more specific and sophisticated than just ‘white supremacy’ but none of that has anything to do with whatever Vox Day’s genes might be.
  • 57 :-: Worldcon/Hugo-voters are aging. The Hugos are facing a demographic time bomb. Something must be done! || ** I’ll take it as a given that the Hugo Awards need fresh generations of people to participate. Now what has Sad Puppies offered to younger people? Promoting traditional style SF/F with (at best) an early 1980s aesthetic based around a notion of what sells is best, from authors many of whom have outspoken views on returning to traditional values (in John C Wright’s case medieval values). Not every writer/artist/editor nominated by Sad Puppies is a conservative but the leadership of Sad Puppies has certainly aligned itself with views that tend towards conservative ones on issues such as rights around gender and sexuality. I’m not a marketing person but as a general strategy for bringing in more people who will be the future America, the Sad Puppies strategy sucks very badly. And for people beyond America, the way Sad Puppies tended to frame things in terms of US culture wars was also not an effective way of bringing people in. Now it is true that Sad Puppies has made a lot of noise about things like gaming and wider popular culture but it has consistently failed to deliver in these areas and has done LESS well than Worldcon voters in general.
  • 58 :-: The Rabid Puppy campaign is stopping the SJW take-over of Science Fiction! || ** If anything the influence of the left was increased by the Rabid Puppy campaign. Associating the ‘Puppy’ brand overtly with the extreme views of Vox Day, the Rabid Puppies helped alienate moderate conservatives and centrists from the whole Puppy movement. Yes, some people would have jumped from sitting on the fence to the Puppy side but the net effect was to reduce the influence of the right.
  • 59 :-: Awards don’t matter – making money is the true mark of success for an author. || ** OK, that seems like a reasonable position to take. I can’t say I have any strong opinions on this but given a choice between [A: lots of money & no awards] and [B: lots of awards & no money] I think I’d prefer the first. But…well if you think that why are you making all this fuss about the Hugo Awards?
  • 60 :-: Awards only make a difference for unpopular literary works. || ** I’ll take your word for it but then why are you cross that the Hugo Awards concentrate on what you regard as ‘literary’ SF/F? If it is in this area that it makes a difference then that would be a sensible place to give awards.
  • 61 :-: Popularity is what matters. Amazon/Goodreads rankings prove quality. || ** If you want to define quality that way then I guess there isn’t way of proving you wrong. But if you really think that then why bother with the Hugo Awards? if *objectively* the best SF/F novel is the one with the highest Amazon ranking then why not just look up which novel published in the previous year had the highest Amazon ranking (or which ever metric you prefer)?
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17 comments

  1. Stevie

    I greatly enjoy your posts, but my iPad doesn’t. No matter how I play with the settings I can’t get larger font and more contrast between text and background to make it easier for me to read.

    I shall have to invent a very large magnifying glass!

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    • Archbishop Laudanum

      Stevie, are you not able to make the text larger on your iPad by using fingers on the screen to pinch and expand? That method works on tablets and on my parents’ iPad.

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  2. thephantom182

    That looked like a lot of work. Don’t you ever think about anything else? We paid $40 and nominated stuff we liked. That’s the extent of most Puppy’s participation. Getting a sweep of the noms was a surprise.

    Having all those noms No Awarded was not a surprise. Because that’s what we know to expect from y’all. See a witch, burn a witch. Anything not talking from the Daily Talking Points is a witch.

    That our collective choices were counter to your taste is the entire reason and purpose of Sad Puppies. We are tired of your taste being dominant. Time to try something else.

    That the very idea somebody might differ from the Party Line continues to be such an outrage, even four years on, this is simply delicious.

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    • camestrosfelapton

      Do I ever think about anything else? Yes: beer (see posts), books (see posts), logic (see posts), philosophy (see posts), politics (see posts) pictures (see posts) and a big moth shaped like a leaf (see post)

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    • Mark

      “Getting a sweep of the noms was a surprise.”

      That’s another good one. What’s the reply? If X can cause Y, and you do X, can you claim to be surprised when Y happens? Well, possibly, if Y is highly improbable. Can you claim not to have caused Y? No.
      At its heart, this argument is the small boy looking at the window his ball just broke and saying “it was an accident…”, which may be true but is unlikely to get him out of trouble.
      In terms of what actually caused Y, it’s probably true that given SP1&2 the leap in effectiveness was a surprise. The main factor in pushing SP3 into sweep territory was the rabid campaign taking SP and copying it with greater discipline and stronger use of outrage-as-recruitment-tool. That doesn’t excuse SP though.

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      • camestrosfelapton

        They just sort of accidentally voted for the same things…There is another side to this which I need to do a bit of number crunching on but which I’m not sure anybody has pointed out.

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  3. Pingback: The Phantom Nominations | Camestros Felapton
  4. Lurkertype

    2. is particularly damning: if it’s all about bringing new people in and more voices, then why did JCW dominate? Wasn’t there some new good writer out there who could have used a nomination in 3-4 of those categories?

    57. also. These Kids Today aren’t going to enjoy the Victorian prose stylings of JCW, regardless of his content. The content is going to turn them off too, what with them being browner and gayer on average than people of JCW’s age. And the Pups forgot it’s called WORLDcon.

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