A couple of significant notes of ‘meh’ today from the watchtowers looking over Puppydom.
Firstly Vox Day has announced his Rabid Puppy slate and it is a testament to just how tired the whole Rabid Puppy thing has become. There were no obvious upsides to the previous Rabid Puppy campaigns but at least there was something to talk about it. This time the brilliant strategy is to just nominate one or two things per category to defeat EPH (i.e. EPH provoking the behavioural change it was intended to provoke). Aside from that, it is the obvious hostages (Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, File 770 ), Castalia House self-promotion, some pals/hanger-on, and some people you haven’t heard of. Doesn’t seem to have bothered trying to nominate video games this year.No Chuck Tingle this year after that backfired spectacularly but there is a dodgy Tingle imitator in the mix.
YES – some things/people there might be ineligible PLEASE DON’T POINT THEM OUT. Wait until nominations close.
Will this impact nominations? Assuming the core Rabid Puppy votes stays as it has been (60 to 180 votes ) then yes, some of these nominations might make the ballot.
Link for the purposes of me finding it later http://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2017/03/rabid-puppies-2017.html
Meanwhile no overt signs on the Sad side but over at Mad Genius Club, Brad Torgersen is reprising his Nutty Nuggets argument here https://madgeniusclub.com/2017/03/05/sawdust-chocolate-cake-new-coke/
It is in response to a N.K.Jemisin interview here https://www.wbez.org/shows/nerdette/the-past-present-and-future-of-sci-fi-with-nk-jemisin/3aed7a8c-4de4-4f97-8bb9-8dcd5044c450
But, as usual, there is an odd coyness about not ever really mentioning who is being talked about. It then goes off on a tangent about New Coke and rather like the Nutty Nuggets argument is betrays both misconceptions and an aspiration:
- The misconception is that SF is sufficiently a single thing to be a marketable entity in its own right.
- That some small group actual does do that (and gets it wrong in Brad’s eyes)
- The aspiration that REALLY Brad wants somebody in charge, running science fiction in the way he thinks it should be run.
Point 3 being the now obvious truism that if you scratch the paintwork of libertarian-flavoured conservatism you find the colours of frustrated authoritarianism peeking out. The revealing ‘tell’ is that rather than the much trumped ‘diversity of ideas’, Brad sees other kinds of SF that he doesn’t like as a threat to SF overall.
Brad’s theory has two basic premises:
- People would love classic SF (although Brad remains vague as to what this is, other parts of Puppydom assert this would be the age of the pulps).
- People are turned off by all this ‘new SF’ (again vague as to what counts and where).
A conservative of say 10 years ago would have an easy answer to this problem: there is no problem! Anybody can publish anything (now even more so) and so the purveyors of the right kind of SF will make money hand-over-fist as people flock away from the ‘new SF’. Not only that, but the mega-corporations that run publishing will follow their bank balances and invest in the most nutty of nuggets.
Given that reality isn’t behaving that way then, Brad needs an extra theory. New SF somehow drives away fans. Ignore, for the moment, the huge volume of available SF of any stripe, from movie and game tie-ins to classic reprints to many big name SF authors pumping out space operas, no the decline somehow must be because the books Brad doesn’t like are doing bad things.
In the comments, Brad even manages to have his cake and eat it by complaining about more ‘literary’ SF *not* having traditional SF covers (his specific example is All the Birds in the Sky) because that is a bad thing too for some reason. Yes, yes, you’d think that he would WANT non-nuggety SF to have non-nuggety covers but that would be applying far too much logical consistency to what is a fundamental objection to wrongbooks having wrongfun in the bookshop.
I think the best, most recent example of this, is All The Birds In The Sky. It’s packaged deliberately as a lit book. It desperately wants to escape the SF/F shelves and go live on the mainstream shelves where the “important” books live. (chuckle) I blame Irene Gallo, who is very much responsible for this trend at TOR. She wants the field as a whole to stop looking like it did during the high period. Because making all that amazing money with space art that actually looks like space art, and swords’n’sorcery art that actually looks like swords’n’sorcery art, was just so gauche.
Note how there is no ground for compromise here. If publisher markets SF to a less-SFie audience then for Brad this is bad, if they market the same SF to an SF audience then to Brad this is also bad. Would Brad *seriously* be happy if All the Birds in the Sky had a cover featuring space rockets (in the book), people descending from ropes from helicopters (in the book) and magical people casting spells (in the book)? Goodness no! That would be the other evil of somehow tricking the honest-SF-reader into reading a book with cooties.
We are back to the unspoken logic of much of what has consumed the right for decades. It is unspoken and avoided, an incomplete argument that would lead people to a conclusion that they would reject if spoken out loud. By not following the logic they can retain a belief that they are moderate and reasonable. However, their argument always leads to the same spot. Brad would just rather these wrong books DID NOT EXIST. He doesn’t want to ban them or burn them or imprison their authors (although how else can his wish come true?) he just wants them to magically not be there.