Please Don’t Say ‘Puppies’

For the past few years the Hugo Awards have been embroiled in controversy around what have been called the Puppy campaigns. Originally a campaign to get Larry Correia a Hugo that had the ironic slogan of trying to end puppy sadness, which morphed into ‘Sad Puppies 2’ and ‘Sad Puppies 3’ as discussed ad-nauseum here.

Sad Puppies 4 took a different tack but was not uncontroversial. Opinions on how like or unlike the previous campaigns it was have been mixed. Looking at the net results I think it operated in a benign way. There is obvious evidence of Sad Puppy-like voters voting for things that with or without a list/slate/whatever you could guess they would vote for but that is exactly what the SP4 propaganda claimed they were trying to do – get a group of fans involved and voting for stuff they liked. I can see no moral objection to that in those terms. SP4 did not end up being a slate, it ended up being a way of helping people participate in the Hugos. That doesn’t mean I suddenly agree with all of Dave Freer’s overblown conspiracies, Sarah Hoyt’s angry rants or Kate Paulk’s hypersensitivities – it just means that’s their world and yup, they are entitled to their opinions.

The damage this year (and of course last year) is from Vox Day. His campaign was christened ‘Rabid Puppies’ and like the most naive of idiots Brad Torgersen spent a lot of time acting as a Sad Puppy smokescreen for Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies – whilst simultaneously demanding that everybody make a distinction between the two that he kept failing to make.

This year there is no need for a collective name of ‘Puppies’ to describe the impact of two dual campaigns. There is only one impact that matters to the ballot – the Rabid Puppy slate and specifically the Castalia House entries. Using the term ‘Puppies’ has an unfortunate side effect of bringing in the irrelevant issue of Sad Puppies 4. So a general criticism of the damage done to the awards that is phrased in terms of ‘Puppies’ will generate irrelevant side arguments with supporters of Sad Puppies.

I’m going to try and avoid using the term ‘Puppies’ as a general term except in a historical context (or when I’m actually talking about baby dogs). Rabid/Castalia make more sense as terms and indicate better what the problem is – a vanity publisher trying to rig an award out of spite and ideology.



  1. Mark

    Good point. I’ve been trying to be specific about SP/RP for a while, for roughly the same reasons – there were (some) distinctions between then that were important, and now there are even more distinctions.

    Of course, this leaves a vital question to be answered – what snappy and snarky title should we use for the RP?

    I’m going to put in an early bid for


  2. greghullender

    I suppose we could call them “Butt Puppies” in honor of Chuck Tingle, and with reference to the habits of dogs in general. 🙂 Or “Yellers,” in honor of Old Yeller, surely the most famous Rabid Puppy of all time, with reference to what the RPs do best.

    However, I’m thinking there were never more than 50 Sad Puppies (almost all writers), and today I think the breed is extinct. I’m not sure why “Puppies” doesn’t work going forward. Vox Day himself says there’s only one kind now (so it must be true). 🙂

    By the way, I think you were right about the RP vote being just 200 this year. I tested my algorithm on last year’s numbers and found a couple of bugs. Now I’m predicting last year correctly and getting a minimum of 202 and a maximum of 208, provided I assume that people in the Novella, Best Editor (long form), Fanwriter, and Fan Artist declined their nominations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • camestrosfelapton

      The problem with the term “puppies” is that while Sad Puppies as a group isn’t a factor, the individuals will still make big noises and a claim that “puppies do X” or “puppies nominated Y” will still end up in pointless side arguments with nominal Sad Puppies. Rabids (or let’s face it ‘Vox Day’ because the minions are irrelevant) is clearer all round e.g.
      ‘Puppies are racist’ <- results in various people claiming victim hood, definition arguments etc etc, varying degrees of truth and so on…
      'Rabids are racist' <- better
      'Vox Day is a racist' <- easily documented and demonstrated

      I don't know if smaller estimate is good news or bad news. Smaller means fewer Rabids in play but it also means the threshold for distorting nominations is lower. I guessed 200 based on what I think VD could marshal + plausible with results.


      • greghullender

        He only had 163 hard-core supporters for nomination last year plus about 41 hard-core Sad Puppies. Last year is harder to estimate using only the data available after nominations, since both kinds of puppy had fairly sloppy slate discipline, but I get around 200 for last year as well.

        I suppose the sad news is that we doubled the number of fans nominating while the slate was the same size (although far more disciplined) with nothing to show for it.


  3. KR

    Cobblers. Chuck Tingle seems to be ahead of the curve here (note: when in the Tingleverse it would seem that one speaks in double entendres) in referring to Teddy Cobbler, which urban dictionary tells me “cobblers = Balls. English Cockney Rhyming slang: cobbler’s awls – balls. Awls in this case being tools used by cobblers (shoe-makers).” Balls and tools. Ayup.


  4. thephantom182

    I see that even now, none of you fully comprehends the gravity of your situation.

    To encapsulate the problem, I chose the words of the inestimable Camestros Felpatron, who unwittingly stated the entirety of your combined misapprehension: “let’s face it ‘Vox Day’ because the minions are irrelevant.”

    Vox Day is irrelevant, It is the “minions” you should be thinking about. These are guys who paid money to piss in your coffee, and chose the Rabid Puppies slate as the most effective means available. Meaning there’s a hell of a lot more the same who were too cheap to pay $40.00 US.

    Teddy Beale is one guy with his finger raised, testing the breeze. As with many wave riders, I’m sure he has no deeply held values of his own, he just says what he thinks will sell this week. Kind of like a certain presidential candidate I don’t have much use for either. What he says and does is designed primarily to boost his popularity.

    Which means that shitting on the Fandom represented by WorldCon and those Assterisk medals IS VERY POPULAR. Many, many people want to piss in your coffee. To the point where they are happy to see Butt Invasion and My Little Pony on the ballot.

    Camestros, your attempts to minimize the damage and re-name your opposition are foolish at best. Your Sad/Rabid puppy opposition is pretty much the whole non-Ivory Tower reading public of the Western World. Even if they’ve never heard of Larry Correia or Vox Day, every time the Hugos come out they want to piss in the coffee of whatever effete dickslaps voted for that year’s SJW extravaganza.

    Larry C didn’t do anything, really, other than advertise the fact that The Common Herd can vote in the Hugos. Now they are. Vox Day didn’t do anything other than advertise a way to stick it to the SJWs. So they did. Because y’all have been pissing us off for 30 years.

    What’s the real difference between Skin Game and Three Body Problem? I enjoyed Skin Game and read it right through, Three Body Problem was work, left me bored and mildly offended. Because I’m sorry, the “humans are cockroaches” thing is offensive and it’s been done a million fucking times already. And done better, to boot. Why would the done-before story win? SJWs think humans are cockroaches, they vote for that shit every time.

    Fandom got taken over by the SJW cult, who have manipulated the vote for political and personal gain for a very long time. Now that cult is all offended that somebody else is doing what they did. Poor babies.

    This year I will predict, sight unseen, that Butcher’s story I read right through and N.K. Jemisn’s gets thrown against the wall. I have not read either one, but I can safely say that’ll be the result. Because NK Jemsin is an SJW Extraordinaire, and I fully expect her writing to reflect it. Butcher likes a good yarn, and while it ain’t Shakespeare at least it won’t leave me screaming imprecations at my e-reader.

    I will also predict that WorldCon will be a lovely hatefest again, with lots of slagging Sad Puppies as racists, lots of wooden asshole medals floating around, and lots of cheering for Noah Ward at the ceremonies. I predict he takes even more categories. I can only imagine what the pre-ceremony panel is going to look like this year, given last year.

    Because you still don’t get what is happening here. You’re getting punished for thirty years of being politics-first dickheads. Maybe you should think about that a little bit.


    • camestrosfelapton

      I’m not sure what news you think you are telling me. That there is a small but significant number of extreme right vandals in the world isn’t news to me – it isn’t news to anybody who has their eyes and ears open. I’ve been fighting people like that all my life and my parents were fighting them before that.
      They didn’t frighten me when they were dressed as skin heads and attempted to shut me up with physical violence. They certainly don’t frighten me now when they are dressed up in their pro-rape, pro-abuse keyboard warrior clothes.
      Yes, I know a section of humanity are arseholes. I know that section love to flock behind an uber-arsehole, because people like that can’t stand the notion of having to think for themselves. They need a tin-pot dictator to tell them how to think and how to dress and what to read in lieu of independent thought.

      The fascist right exists Phantom. Not news. If I was fighting them here I’d be fighting them somewhere else. The difference is the morons this time think they can win a culture war and the only real weapon they’ve got is finding gullible idiots on the NON-fascist right to do their bidding for them.

      Liked by 1 person

    • KR

      Dear sweet summer Phantom: You know what? I’m really glad to see you revealing your fundamental Marxist self. You are one of us! Yay! You think history is made by the masses and so do Camestros “Felpatron” and I. Not for you, the charismatic leaders of this world. You know where power lies (amirite Michel Foucault?)

      I am curious, though, and have spent more time than I really should have lo these many years, trying to figure out what is behindd the anger expressed in your first sentence. I really, really don’t why this kerpupple is such a big deal. What could possibly be grave about this “situation”? You are 100% correct, I do not understand the gravity of this situation. It’s a tiny award in a niche genre that affects virtually no one on a daily, material basis. I’m not even interested much in sci fi (reality is unreal enough for me these days) — but the manichaean levels of meaning and desired outcome that have driven this Hugo deal is utterly fascinating to me (viz . Greenwald, G, v. Bush, G.)

      Please, help a girl out and explain to me exactly how and what is “grave” about awards given to things you don’t personally like? I don’t like cats, but I can still like people who like cats. I don’t smoke and know it to be unhealthy, but don’t morally condemn smokers. I hate the color orange but can still recognize the humanity of people who do (my dad and nephew and the entire Princeton and Clemson University student bodies, for example). Meh, not for me, but some people like it, so there you go (insert obligatory Houellebecq referece here).

      CF is 100% right that the Right has only strengthened in the past 30 years, and it’s only been in the last two that i’ve become genuinely concerned about fascism in the West. I don’t throw words around easily, because words mean things, and things can hurt people (Hi Slavoj Zizek!).

      Anyway, comrade, I’ll look for you at the next Internationale. I’ll be the one in red quoting Tony Benn “In the course of my life I have developed five little democratic questions. If one meets a powerful person–Adolf Hitler, Joe Stalin or Bill Gates–ask them five questions: “What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you?” If you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system. “

      Liked by 1 person

      • KR

        Also, sorry for including blog host in assumptions above. He writes better than I do and knows his own mind. I retract the inclusion above, hit before I proofread (or purrrrrr fred, for Timothy fans)


      • KR

        Prose Olympics triathlete I am: number of typos, missing or partial words, and occasional slides into pretension. FRIDAY!


      • KR

        Well then, there must be some inconsequential award somewhere that I can nominate you for …. if only to test the theory that someone would then immediately and loudly flip out and want to enforce traditional grammar, spelling and punctuation rules in order to “make blogs great again.” Get on yer bike, lazy misspellers! You ruin everything. 🙂


    • iamzenu

      Phantom Said:

      “Larry C didn’t do anything, really, other than advertise the fact that The Common Herd can vote in the Hugos. Now they are. Vox Day didn’t do anything other than advertise a way to stick it to the SJWs. So they did. Because y’all have been pissing us off for 30 years.”

      I would not believe what Larry says. He lies. More than that he is insane. I post as George Kirby on his site and there he suggest I had intimate relations with him Mom. Hey… I don’t even know his mom. He is also an internet hero… he talks big on the internet but he wouldn’t in person. He’s kind of like those rage road drivers that are all brave behind their car windows. Forget little Larry. We all will.


  5. iamzenu

    Greg said: “However, I’m thinking there were never more than 50 Sad Puppies (almost all writers), and today I think the breed is extinct. I’m not sure why “Puppies” doesn’t work going forward. Vox Day himself says there’s only one kind now (so it must be true).:-)”

    I agree. Having read pups at VD”s, Mad Genius, BT’s, and LC’s, I can’t tell any difference. They all seem to wear tin foil hats.

    For that matter, I don’t see much difference between LC and VD. Larry does a post saying “I am not Vox Day” and Sarah does a post saying “We are all Vox Day”. I tend to believe Sarah.