Sad Popcorn

I’m stuck for a word and being stuck made me wonder whether the proper hierarchy is:

spat < flame-war <  brouhaha < kerfuffle?

“Spat” seems the right term for what I want but ‘fallout’ also works, so I’ll name this the ‘End of Sad Puppies Fallout Spat’. In which nothing very much happens but which I’ll carry on watching just because I stuck with the show for so long.

Prompted, perhaps, by Larry Correia’s anti-Mike Glyer meltdown, Sarah Hoyt posted her intentions around Sad Puppies 5 at Mad Genius Club. The fifth iteration of the Sad Puppies was intended to be a book recommendation site. This would amount to a kind of soft-landing for the brand, allowing Hoyt et al to retain control, stop others hijacking the term, and do something worthwhile. I honestly do think this is a good idea for everybody – some other group hijacking the name ‘Sad Puppies’ could prolong the griefing and angst.

However, one of her remarks caused some offence:

“Tips hat to the right. Thank you kindly. But you guys are aware your aesthetics and goals aren’t ours, right?

You just turned Marxist aesthetics on their head, and are judging books by being anti-Marxist and how much they don’t support the neo Marxist idea of justice. That’s cool and all. To each his own. And since, so far, your crazy isn’t being taught in schools, it’s slightly less annoying than the Marxist crazy.”

Hoyt wasn’t exactly clear who she was addressing beyond “the right”. I took it to mean specifically supporters of Vox Day, but that very vagueness caused some issues. While Vox’s comment section are plainly just out to troll ‘the SJWs’, attached to the Rabids are two other offshoots of the Puppy campaign:

  1. Superversive: primarily around this review website: but also associated with non-Rabid writer L. Jagi Lamplighter (who is also John C Wright’s wife) and SciPhi Journal editor Jason Rennie. Among this cloud is Brian Neimmier, Jon Del Arroz and Declan Finn. Superversive writers also blog at Vox Day’s publishing house’s blog Castalia House.
  2. Pulp Revival: this is centred around Jeffro Johnson, who is the main editor of the Castalia House blog and it is aimed at reviving interest in pre-WW2 pulp science fiction writers and those associated with that genre (including post-WW2 works like Philip Jose Farmer’s re-invention of Tarzan).

The overlap between the two groups is substantial, with several names writing for both Superversive and the Castalia House blog. Superversive is also acting as a publisher having published an anthology of stories entitled “Forbidden Thoughts” which included an introduction by Milo Yianopoulos  and which also included a story from Sarah Hoyt.

The link between Vox Day’s reactionary politics and the two movements above is not as overt as Vox Day himself. It isn’t mysterious though – obviously the pre-war pulps including many attitudes and beliefs that the Alt-Right would like to re-normalise, while Superversive is just a more general push-back against modern science-fiction.

So, Hoyt’s comment was seen as a criticism of the Rabids, Pulp Revival and Superversive and caused some negative comments. [eta: in particular from here ]*

Hoyt has now written a longer reply at her own blog: Be warned, it doesn’t always make sense and there are a lot of cases of the kind of revisionism of events around Sad Puppies 1,2,3, & 4 that have become depressingly familiar. However, the meat of the piece is counter-criticism to the quasi-Rabid reaction.

“So, imagine my surprise when my post immediately attracted two commenters yelling at me for… well… actually I have no idea because most of it makes no sense. You guys can see the comments yourselves. There’s something about me looking down on people who don’t use the right oyster fork. You guys know my background and my question on this is… there’s a FORK? FOR OYSTERS? Why?”

Anyway, that’s about it. Various grumpy things going on.

*[as spotted by Doris Sutherland]

[eta Doris also points out these posts from Russell Newquist – who publishes some of Declan Finn’s books. The posts relate in part to an earlier post by Hoyt attacking Declan Finn for posting his own suggested Sad Puppy list: ]


81 responses to “Sad Popcorn”

  1. OMG, she’s gone back to composing posts with those childish animated GIFs. She’s come unhinged almost as badly as Correia.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After a quick Google I was quite elated; I’ve never been called midwitted before. Sadly I fear it’s a typo, which is not nearly as interesting.

    On the gripping hand, a concept now horrifically personified by Donald Trump, I’m greatly looking forward to meeting up with my fellow scum at World con; indeed, I’m working on some sort of badge so we can recognise our fellow scum, thus enabling the villainy to get under way. We villainous scum know how to have fun…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. At this point, actions will be more interesting than words, but I don’t expect to see any; the Sad Puppies have been pretty short on action for quite some time now. The way I read her post is that they just want the thing to die quietly and go away. I think that’s a place we might find some common ground.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are right but they need something to park their name on. There are a couple of lines in Hoyt’s post that imply that they’ll have something together in the next couple of weeks.


      • Again, why they aren’t going with MGC instead of the tainted Puppy name?

        It’s things like this that attracts people to the Monopuppist interpretation.
        (Well, that and what Larry and Brad said.)


      • MGC exists to co-promote their own works while engaging with their audience, I don’t think they want to use that for promotion of works outside of that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Apparently that’s what ranting misogynist (and pal of Declan) Russell wants.

        Of course, if they’re so keen on doing something, why aren’t THEY starting up their own group instead of trying to ride the losing coattails of the Sads? Doing his own thing worked out great for Teddy.

        Pick some catchy name that doesn’t have a negative word like Sad or Rabid in it, and no Puppy reference, so they don’t get bogged down in all that confusion. A positive name that people would be proud to say they’re part of. Maybe name it after their publishing company.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hence JDA’s Happy Frogs but I think Newquist is saying that SP5 is dead anyway but wants to use its non-appearance as stick to bash Sarah Hoyt in retaliation for criticising his boy Declan (who isn’t a child obviously – just trying to reflect the tone).

          At this point the theme music from “Soap” starts playing…

          Liked by 1 person

      • But are Declan and Russell interested in joining the Frogs? They seem to be competing self-promotion efforts, not wanting to work together.

        Oh and thanks for the retro earworm, Cam.


      • Even the “Happy Frogs” moniker clearly ties them to the Puppy campaigns. It is like they can’t ever come up with anything that isn’t tied to the history of their failures.

        Liked by 1 person

      • i’m not entirely clear why some sort of last-minute and half-arsed Puppies 5 campaign would prevent it getting hijacked by the other idiot children. it didn’t stop Captain STD, after all.

        Liked by 1 person

    • If they expect people to ever forget, they’re wrong. They comprehensively shit their bed; they may not WANT to lie in it anymore, they may be up and waving “hey guys, look at me walking around instead”, but the stink doesn’t go away.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I always figured the Pups would eventually start eating their own. When you have a group that is held together only by the fact that they all hate things, sooner or later they will set about hating one another.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Their other bogeyman, Stephen Colbert, said last week “From now on we will call the alt-right what they are: Wrong.”

    Which makes sense grammatically.


  6. I get a kick of of the fact that Russell Newquist says he’s attacking Sarah Hoyt in order to defend Declan Finn. As Declan’s publisher, he feels obligated to do so. Here’s how he defends him as a person:

    The one and true crime that we can absolutely lay at his feet is having zero social skills – maybe even negative social skills. Frankly, I’d lay money that he has more than a touch of Asperger’s.

    And then to make the point that she was mean to attack him (because Finn is “weak”):

    My wife and I had to explain to him why certain scenes in the earlier drafts of his books didn’t work… and he just wasn’t getting it. He really and truly doesn’t understand this stuff.

    From Cliques and Outgrouping.

    With friends like that, you don’t need enemies!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I was thinking the same thing! In particular in one of those post Newquist suggests that Finn’s implausible characters demonstrate that Finn doesn’t get people.

      [ETA: Ooops! I started replying before reading all of your comment – you quoted the bit I was thinking of and I mangled what he was saying a bit.]


    • Also…

      People I know that are on the ‘mild’ end of the Autism spectrum spend a lot of time thinking about how people behave and how behaviour reflects emotion (skills that would help a writer) because they have to. Using cognitive strategies to help navigate social circumstances is a way of coping with everybody else.

      Liked by 1 person

    • And apparently his lack of social skills extends to not realizing when his “friend” has insulted him.

      And if it’s “mean” to attack a “weak” guy who’s autistic (which nobody knew till now), isn’t it even meaner to attack a woman with health problems? Who also has a family life she’s trying to balance with work? Talk about punching down. I’m no fan of Hoyt, but wow. That is beyond the pale.

      Sarah! Don’t let these boys take over anything you care about!

      Liked by 1 person

      • And RN pretty much said DF’s upcoming book is actually good now thanks to his own editorial work. Ouch.

        His is an angry, ugly neighborhood that I won’t be visiting again.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. This is like watching the school bullies beating each other up, and being glad that they’ve finally left you alone, but feeling disturbed at how sad and pathetic it all is. 😐

    Liked by 3 people

  8. This is all a bit popcorn, isn’t it?

    I’d place Cirsova firmly into the pulp-revival camp as well.

    I think you could see the pulling away of Superversive and Pulp Revival as them realising that MGC had a firm hold on SP and its alt-marketing benefits (even if they weren’t really using them any more) and weren’t going to let anyone else benefit from them, so they needed to do their own thing. The Dragon Award is the next handy alt-marketing target, hence Declan trying to splinter off that part from SP (and getting slapped down by Hoyt) and JdA now trying a similar ploy with “Happy Frogs”.

    Hmm, would it be fair to say that Declan formed the prototype for alt-marketing that JdA then latched onto? I feel “Declan Finn wannabe” is quite a scathing judgement.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mark-kitteh: Hmm, would it be fair to say that Declan formed the prototype for alt-marketing that JdA then latched onto? I feel “Declan Finn wannabe” is quite a scathing judgement.

      Finn’s always been an arriviste — but a cheerful and congenial one, at least, and not calculatingly malicious as JdA has repeatedly been. I’d say that “JdA wannabe” would be an even more scathing judgment to put on someone.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. When I see them posting revisionist history like this:

    The original point of the Puppies was to expose the corruption in the Hugo’s. That was accomplished in spades. The secondary point of the Puppies was to attempt to change it. That had limited success depending on who you talk to. But the Hugo’s have declined in relevance over the past few years, and have ceased to be a mark of quality and are driving more and more readers away from these books because they’re shit. The Hugo’s are in a death spiral, and there’s no more need for an attempt to reform them.

    (Done With Dead Puppies, Jim Fear)

    I’m torn between replying to say the Puppies were always about getting awards for conservative authors (the idea that awards are for works not people has always been a major disconnect with them) vs. just being happy that they’re advocating giving up. Oh and I see this “death spiral” thing a lot, but I don’t see any evidence for it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Hugos are in such a death spiral that this year had the second-highest number of nominations in history.


    • The Pups have been saying “the Hugos are irrelevant” almost since the beginning of their “movement”. They really really want it to be true, but they have never actually shown any reason to believe it to be. All they really have is that they want it to be so, so they will say it is. They are really quite sad.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Camestros, thanks for putting this together. Never heard of RN before but I automatically dismiss the opinion of anyone whose first response to a woman is gendered insults. I don’t like Hoyt but I find no joy in watching people pile on.

    Pre-internet, I read somewhere that Vonnegut’s overriding theme was we should all be kinder to one another. I don’t know why RN’s post made me think of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So Hoyts trotting her “Woe is me, a hard-working (honest) Real American stigmatized for being working class” schtick again with this oyster fork analogy? Oh, the surprise. My God, that woman must be easy to take in a poker game – she comes across as just a twitching bundle of tells.

    Liked by 2 people

    • And yet to many of her fellow travelers, she isn’t a Real American, since she’s an immigrant with an accent. She probably gets mistaken for a “Messic’n” all the time.


Blog at

%d bloggers like this: