Must we? Apparently.

Prominent former leaders of the Sad Puppies campaign have completely moved on from that whole business. So much so that it seems like a week can’t go by without one of them offering a new revised history of events.

This week it’s Sarah Hoyt.

Now I’m a lazy but forward thinking man and over two years ago I decided to save future me sometime.

But there are a few points in Hoyt’s post I didn’t cover there but most I’ve covered in later posts. So in order, here is a reply to Hoyt’s post:

Sarah Hoyt promised that Sad Puppies 5 would be a way of recommending books – it never eventuated. Running a divisive campaign to try and make others reshape the Hugos into something Hoyt wanted but couldn’t be bothered to do herself is not a great endorsement of the Sad Puppy campaign -even assuming Hoyt is being honest here.

The Wikipedia article in Sad Puppies doesn’t even use the word ‘supremacist’ and doesn’t call Sad Puppies “white supremacists” or propagate any lies about them:

“Then how did we think we could achieve our goals?” That’s not even a clever strawman.

“It starts with their being enormous racists.” [sigh] a few sentences ago, Hoyt was arguing that the Sad Puppies couldn’t be racist because some of the leading figures were members of ethnic minority groups. Many noted opponents of Sad Puppies were members of ethnic minority groups therefore one of both of Hoyt’s claims is false (hint: its both).

“They think they’re helping “minorities” and “the oppressed” by telling minorities and the oppressed how to think and feel, ” now I can’t say I’ve ever had much success telling people how to think and definitely not how to feel. Hoyt blithely assumes “minorities” are like easily led children and then lectures everybody else about racism…

“They assume that people of color (any color, even my spun-gold) can’t compete with standard white people.  They assume that women can’t compete with men.  They assume that gay people are fragile flowers who’ll be destroyed by the wrong word.” – I know that isn’t true about most of the so called “SJWs” than I know. However, I do know Brad Torgersen thinks PoC and women writers who have won a Hugo could only do so via ‘affirmative action’

“Academic jobs” –

“If you follow all those assumptions and you have some experience in Academia, you know that the left insists on giving awards on the basis of race, sex, etc, because that helps with university jobs.  (To be fair most of them also work in academia.)” – a special Hoyt combo move! Nope – firstly Hugo winners are generally not academics (I can think of two in recent years), a Hugo award wouldn’t help them much, the person who thinks women and PoC can’t compete is Sad Pup Brad Torgersen who keeps calling such wins “affirmative action” and denies that they are wins on merit.

“Ignored in all this is indie, of course, because you know, it doesn’t fit in the academic career plan.” – The Hugos rewards independent publishers and authors:

“So, you know, you can’t keep anyone from writing.  And with indie you can’t keep anyone from publishing.” True and yet notable Sad Pups have claimed that people with even less power over what gets published (including little old me) have been trying to sabotage careers.

“Ignored in all this too is the fact that writers write.” Then WRITE! Literally nobody on the left hand side of things is stopping or can stop Sarah Hoyt from writing.


86 thoughts on “Must we? Apparently.

  1. *Vocally opposes immigration by parroting Nazi concepts such as “chain migration”
    *Writes an actual Lugenpresse article for PJMedia*
    *Makes a blog post stating that the Dolchstoßlegende wasn’t a myth*
    *Claims that roundups and detention centers are fake news
    *Tries to defend Roseanne from criticism by denying anti-Semitism and racism using honest-to-Dog phrenology and “race realist” science

    “How dare they call us Nazis?!”

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Well, they have to go with the really complex explanation that keeps collapsing inward and has to be constantly shored up by new theories, because if it’s not true, then they’re mostly a bunch of assholes with horrible motivations.

        I think there are three laws:

        1. A Puppy must preserve its own ego.
        2. A Puppy must preserve the ego of the group, unless it conflicts with (1).
        3. A Puppy must sneer at anyone whose narrative conflicts with that of the Puppies, unless it conflicts with (1) and (2).

        Or are these backwards? It’s kind of early in the day. Revisions will not be gainsaid out of hand.

        Liked by 6 people

  2. I’ve noticed that the far right, especially in the Trumpian era, have a go-to tactic of projecting their flaws and motivations onto their opponents. It seems to be a knee-jerk reaction.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. *sigh* Same old nonsense, I see.

    But when you deny that white privilege (as well as climate change, no doubt) is a real thing in the world…well, all the other bullshyte she’s spouting just naturally follows from there, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Ignored in all this too is the fact that writers write.” Then WRITE! Literally nobody on the left hand side of things is or can stop Sarah Hoyt from writing.
    Unfortunately, no one on the right-hand side of things can force people to read Hoyt’s books, which I suspect is the real sticking point. Of course, devoting your time to working hard on your fiction instead of whining is the CHORF-iest attitude of them all.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I personally would be profoundly grateful if Ms. Hoyt just spent the rest of her life writing. Hell, she can even be published. Maybe if she wrote more fiction (edit: more SFF fiction, as opposed to more ‘re-telling the past inaccurately’ fiction), I wouldn’t have to come across descriptions of her periodic bouts of whining about the way she and her friends have been treated by the greater SFF community.

        OK, enough spleen-venting for one day.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Her attempts at non-fiction suffer grievously from a lack of show and an overabundance of tell. If she’d just file off the serial numbers from the actual Kerpupple events and people, and write a political thriller about a group of intrepid conservative internet activists and authors battling the forces of cultural Marxism hell-bent on bending the world to its iron will… well, she’d have _something_, that’s for sure, and it’d be a bit more honest, acknowledging that it’s a work of fiction.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Very efficient of you, Camestros!
    The choleric canines do so much mind-reading of their identified enemies that I’ve started imagining all of them with these vast, feathered turbans that Carnac the Magnificent used to wear. Interesting image.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Camestros, I’m impressed you were able to get *coherence* out of that mess. It appeared to be one big, massive strawman about how we don’t think minorities can write or win awards, despite the fact that the BEST NOVEL WINNER of the PAST TWO YEARS is none other than N.K. Jemisin.

    I wrote a fantasy novel, comedic, similar fantasy world to those of D&D, in 2009-2010. It was called THE LORDS OF PERTH. It was good. Took that baby through five complete drafts and several beta-readers. Got manuscript requests from agents, but couldn’t land an agent, and couldn’t get it published. I did not go around claiming this was due to some massive conservative conspiracy against me, or that people hated D&D novels. I recognized, on some level, that, while massively disappointing not to even get an agent or be published, that I could write and make more, and better things. So I moved the frack on.

    Do you have any idea how honored I would’ve been to get a Campbell nomination? I sure as bleep wouldn’t have launched a campaign two years later whining about how people would never vote for me because there was a much better writer named Lev Grossman who won.

    These bleeping people.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Ok, I kind of am just enjoying now how she keeps claiming that a fan award of a book con for mass market retail SFF is an academic credential, poisoned against self-publishing, for non-academic authors who also frequently self-publish works in addition to license publishing. Clearly she’s aware that her followers have no idea that this is a ridiculous statement, or at least don’t care, as she keeps making it.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The academic thing she is gripping too so tightly that her metaphorical knuckles are turning white. Whereas other parts of her revision of Puppy history are distortions or idle speculation repurposed as ‘fact’, this claim about academic is spun out of nothing and seems to float without any support at all.

      I assume she got it from that Neal Stephenson essay about different kinds of writers (can’t find a link) – he’s at some kind of event and somebody strikes up a conversation & can’t get their head around the fact that he writes for a living rather than as a sideline from a University position.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You probably want this interview

        ” a while back, I went to a writers’ conference. I was making chitchat with another writer, a critically acclaimed literary novelist who taught at a university. She had never heard of me. After we’d exchanged a bit of of small talk, she asked me “And where do you teach?” just as naturally as one Slashdotter would ask another “And which distro do you use?”

        I was taken aback. “I don’t teach anywhere,” I said.

        Her turn to be taken aback. “Then what do you do?”

        “I’m…a writer,” I said. Which admittedly was a stupid thing to say, since she already knew that.

        “Yes, but what do you do?”

        I couldn’t think of how to answer the question—I’d already answered it!

        “You can’t make a living out of being a writer, so how do you make money?” she tried.

        “From…being a writer,” I stammered.

        At this point she finally got it, and her whole affect changed. She wasn’t snobbish about it. But it was obvious that, in her mind, the sort of writer who actually made a living from it was an entirely different creature from the sort she generally associated with. “

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Yes! That’s the one! Of course Stephenson literally means literary but Hoyt does her category collapse thing (Hugo winners are more literary than she likes, therefore they are ‘literary’ in a specific genre sense, therefore her stereotype of what literary authors are like is true of Hugo winners QED)

        She is so absolutely certain of it that I really can’t call it a lie on her part. It’s an article of faith. I’m even confident she isn’t aware of the closest actual examples in recent years.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Naw, I’m not buying the she’s confused speculation. She has an MA, she knows how academia works and how SFF is generally viewed, especially published and packaged from specialty genre publishers. Her husband also writes SF and is a mathematician — an academic. And that the nominees aren’t mostly academics is readily apparent, so it’s an easily picked apart myth — if she ever ventured out of her viewpoint bunker.

        Stephenson has won a Hugo and Clark awards, and more importantly, he was on the long short list for the National Book Award for Cryptomonicon (a very big deal at the time), which is an actual literary award that would actually be considered one of the few prominent credentialds in academia. Yet, he’s not an academic. So his very story shows that her claim about the Hugos and academic careers makes no sense. (Not to mention that there are quite a large crew of best-selling “literary” authors who make their living full time from writing fiction alone, plus many of those have more than a passing familiarity with SFF, which is why I suspect Stephenson’s story isn’t really true in the first place or occurred way back in the early stages of his career decades ago.)

        So obviously it has some sort of value to her to keep repeating this false claim to the people at Mad Genius Club. I just have no clue what she gets from it. Does it help raise money? Makes her the resident academic expert? It’s simply weird.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. It’s entirely possible for a person to earn an MA and have no idea how the actual business of academia works (hiring, promotion, evaluation, service credits, quality metrics etc). In fact, doing an MA could fortify a pre-existing conservative bias against academics — which assumes they work six hours a week teaaching classes and then sit about pontificating about theories while getting a high salary in a job from which they can never be fired and to which there is no accountability. Someone who did an MA, went to class and looked at it from the outside might think that, sure. I have no doubt her time in English dept grad school left her with a nasty combination of scorn and resentment for those in the gig.

        As for the constant recourse to slamming academics, it’s one of the oldest themes in the US conservative playbook — anti-intellectualism. They assume academia is dominated by leftists, and are utterly unwilling or unable to see that universities and higher ed (like elementary and high school before them) have been taken over by the business classes, the MBAs the Ed.D, the metrics managers with performance indicators, rubrics, outcomes assessments, branding, public-private partnership lackeys, experiential learning/employability offices, and all other forms of the neo-liberal, late capitalist state. It’s so effin’ lazy and not even remotely close to any reality that a working academic today would recognize.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. She didn’t get an MA recently — she got one in languages quite awhile ago, when the Hugo Awards would be even less of interest to academia. We’ve discussed this before — there is no way she doesn’t know about the status of Hugo Awards as opposed to actual things that are counted as academic credentials in literature and creative writing. Numerous SFF writers with far less academic backgrounds than hers are completely well aware of it.

        More to the point, as we’ve also discussed, author bios are not hidden and she knows full well that nearly all of the Hugo nominees are not academics. That was in fact the point of Stephenson’s story, although Stephenson’s story marks an outdated and always inaccurate notion of markets. (And the woman he talked to was apparently also ignorant of Margaret Atwood, Martin Amis, Hilary Mantel, etc.) N.K. Jemisin is not an academic, Scalzi is not an academic, Rachel Swirsky has an MFA but is not an academic, Seanan McGuire is not an academic, etc.

        So it’s not a matter of her being mistaken or confused. She is simply making an assertion that she cannot logically believe to be true. And yes, it is an argument of anti-intellectualism, a false attempt to paint the Hugos as lapsing into something they can’t ever actually be, but again, does this claim itself particularly strengthen the conspiracy cabal notion the Puppies like to make about the Hugos? When pushed on things that are easily disproven (such as that nominees are academics when they factually are not,) the Puppies have tended to retreat into more vague mutterings. But she has not retreated from this and instead keeps repeating it, even though it makes her look ignorant and vacuous rather than authoritative.

        So she must see it as beneficial in some way to keep making this easily disproven claim, that it gets her something from her non-fiction audience. So I remain curious as to what the benefit is supposed to be, while being amused to hear that writers like Paul Cornell have apparently been magically turned into professors (because he wrote for Doctor Who?)


      6. I guess I’m saying that her claim is so so contrary to checkable facts that the only explanation is faith rather than deception – after all, who is she trying to deceive other than people who can just as easily spot that the story isn’t false. Heck, they all know Scalzi isn’t a professor of anything!

        Yes, anti-intellectualism and the paranoia that universities are Marxist indoctrination factories explains a lot of it, I suppose.


      7. I don’t agree. Sure the bios are available, and she may have done her degree awhile ago (though the business-ification of education is itself a 30+ year old movement), but I still don’t think she understands academia at all. Social justice interests = cultural Marxist = university. It’s all interchangeable. It’s one of the most elemental forms of conservative dog-whistle virtue-signalling, in-group solidification there is. Never mind that it is not now, or ever has been true. It just feels true to them.


      8. Except it doesn’t feel true to her or she wouldn’t have gotten an MA or married a professor. They don’t believe all the stuff they spout. It’s posturing. They don’t have faith in it. It’s never cohesive. Maybe she’s trying to give herself bonafides with someone, but I don’t think it’s the Puppy crowd necessarily. Anyway, it’s funny at this point.

        Liked by 3 people

      9. She sometimes writes for PJmedia, so maybe that’s whom she’d trying to impress. Though PJ media is run by the Instapundit guy as far as I know and he is a professor in his day job.


      10. Well, if he’s a conservative professor by day, I’d expect has a well-developed shtick about how horrid and close-minded all those other academics are. Not going to read to find out, of course.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. I’m wrong — I swear I read somewhere on the interwubs that Hoyt’s husband was a math professor in CO. But I can’t find the web page that said so. I must have mis-remembered this.

        Sorry for the mistake!

        Liked by 2 people

    2. And as I’ve said previously: If academics where chasing (and manipulating) Hugo Awards for career purposes, we’d see much more high-brow, academic, literary criticism in Best Related Work.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The most academic SF writer that I can think of is Adam Roberts, and he never gets a sniff at the Hugos. Possibly because he’s too literary for Hugo voters?

        Hoyt’s theory doesn’t make a lot of rational sense.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Hoyt’s husband is a math professor in Colorado, where there’s an unusually high number of SF writers. So it’s just *possible* that in the universities there you do not have to explain what a Hugo is.

        But (as we have noted before) most universities are extremely unimpressed by fiction publications in general, and publications in the field of science fiction specifically. My university has a creative writing major, and I am its sole professor of fiction writing, and it was a *struggle* to get my promotions committee to believe that yes, indeed, my publications in science fiction magazines were “real” publications, and should count toward my promotion. “But they are not peer-reviewed!” the committee cried. “How can we accept publications toward your promotion which are not PEER-REVIEWED?”

        tl;dr The notion that writers in universities are doing this to impress our promotion committees is pretty funny.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Given delagar’s comment, I’m forced to seriously consider the possibility that she actually believes her own BS. Here’s why: Math, like the sciences, and as opposed to the humanities, mostly does publication count as a numeric function. The more papers you’re named as an author or co-author on, the better. This showed up in a local university here when there was a huge hullabaloo over tenure granted to a historian who had claimed a publication credit for a ‘history’ book which was one step above a vanity press pub, and most of which was old recipes from the community they were ‘studying.’ The department objected, but the college’s tenure committee (which was full of scientists) as a whole agreed because ‘a book is a book’. So Ms. Hoyt may have a gross lack of understanding of how a fiction book would effect a tenure app.

        To be honest, I think my theory is unlikely, since there’s no possible way a fictional book about, say, the destruction of the elephant-people of Barnoon by the cats of Omnigor, would seem to fit into a food scientist’s tenure app. But what the hell, I’m pleased to lengthen this comment thread a bit.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Pixlaw: “So Ms. Hoyt may have a gross lack of understanding of how a fiction book would effect a tenure app.”

        Nope, she studied in languages and the humanities. So again, she’s perfectly well aware. But I enjoy the attempts to find some rationale in academia for her floating the myth.

        Cora: “She sometimes writes for PJmedia, so maybe that’s whom she’d trying to impress. Though PJ media is run by the Instapundit guy as far as I know and he is a professor in his day job.”

        Possible. Or maybe she’s trying to destroy the women’s studies program at her husband’s university. 🙂 We will probably not learn for certain.

        Liked by 3 people

      5. delagar: Hoyt’s husband is a math professor in Colorado… Are you sure about that? He describes himself as “SF/F writer and software architect” on his twitter account, and I couldn’t find any info that suggested he’s a professor somewhere. (If it’s on Facebook I won’t have seen it, as I am not.)

        After 25 years at CU in Boulder, I would be astounded if any faculty other than SF/F fans have any idea what a Hugo is.

        Liked by 3 people

      6. Yes, I’m also puzzled by this. I thought he was a software engineer. I’m not actively interested in what he does for a living but I’d rather we didn’t say things that aren’t true – even if they are innocuous.


      7. @PhilRM: My brother both graduated from and taught at CU (in humanities; the man can’t math or compute to save his life) and the only reason he knows what a Hugo is is b/c he was an SF fan since childhood and was the one who got me into it. Had he won/finaled in it, it would have done absolutely nothing for his academic career other than looking cool and shiny as a paperweight.


      8. (I replied in the wrong place above, so I’m repeating it here.)

        I’m wrong — I swear I read somewhere on the interwubs that Hoyt’s husband was a math professor in CO. But I can’t find the web page that said so. I must have mis-remembered this.

        Sorry for the mistake!

        Liked by 1 person

      9. He’s down as a SF writer and mathematician. Mathematician usually means a professor of math. However, a mathematician can also be employed in the technology fields, and I did not check. (Though they don’t usually refer to themselves as a mathematician in those jobs, but that isn’t rigid.) But to be a mathematician, you still usually have done some sort of graduate school in mathematics. So again, there is enough familiarity with various sectors of academia there that I continue to not buy that she doesn’t know her claim about the Hugos and academia is bunk. Not to mention again that non-academic SFF authors are quite familiar with how the Hugos are regarded in general in academia as credentials.

        There are SFF authors who are professors, both of science and of humanities, as we’ve discussed. There are SFF authors who have taught as writer in residence at universities as well, quite a few of them. But they do not dominate the Hugo nominees, they have not done so over the last ten-fifteen years and they didn’t in the past either. Very few public awards for literature have much of an effect on academic careers, and that’s mainly in creative writing, not English literature, which is the study of literature and so non-fiction analysis is far more important there. The Pulitzer and the Nobel obviously. The Booker and the National Book Award can have an impact, though they have a bigger impact on being a well-respected bestselling fiction author in the trade market and establishment media. A few others. All of those awards are juried awards where a select jury analyzes entries and decides on nominees and winners, not a public voting block or group membership.

        A fan voted award put on by a convention would never, ever count. It’s not even a matter of it being SFFH. It just isn’t considered an academic credential of any kind. The Hugos are not prestigious awards in academia, though they are known in spots in academia and authors who have won them are sometimes studied as literature in universities (but not because of winning the Hugos.) The Hugos are prestigious in the SFFH field/marketplace. They are prestigious among fans who pay attention to fandom communities and in SFFH specialty media, because in general, the winners and the nominees have been found to be interesting to a large group of SFFH fans. And because they and WorldCon are old and established.

        The Hugo Awards were often desired by SFFH authors for the respect of the most dedicated fans and of their peers. But they weren’t a big selling tool beyond a small subset of influencers, none of the lit awards were except the Pulitzer and Nobel with the big cash prizes. The SFF awards were more of an inside baseball sort of thing. There was a short period in the late 1980’s and the 1990’s when all public lit awards became more visible, more covered by general media and more useful as a selling tool and that was because of the bookies. The bookies in Vegas and elsewhere were looking for more things to have people bet on, and they started taking bets on who would win the National Book Award, the Pulitzers, etc. And that included some of the best known specialty awards like the Nebula and the Hugo. The bookies’ coverage led the media to report more on various awards, like sports, so more people heard about awards and bought the winners. Starting in the late 1980’s, the National Book Award could make the winner a bestseller if the author wasn’t one already. Before that, it did not.

        For Hugos and such, winners got a marketing boost from it and publishers did go hunting among the nominees of short fiction (though they always did that.) But over the course of the 1990’s, the wholesale market, due to a number of media business factors, shrunk, which impacted mass market paperbacks hugely. And mass market paperbacks was 70% of genre fiction’s stock. And that wholesale collapse also shrunk and smushed the SFF magazine market, (and all magazines in general,) the main market for short fiction, though the magazine market would eventually partially rebound online, (and subsequently those online magazines would start getting award nominations.) So by the end of the 1990’s, SFF awards like the Hugos did not have as much of a sales boost and other book-selling factors were changing like the expansion of YA and its hardcovers in bookstores instead of wholesale racks in the wake of Harry Potter.

        When Amazon juiced the e-book retail market in 2008, the e-book sales helped replace some of the lost mass market paperback market. But e-book buyers of SFF tended to be either dedicated fans who bought irrespective of awards and casual fans who were playing with their Kindles and didn’t know or care much about things like Hugo Awards. The e-book boost also created a bigger market for single short fiction, but there again, awards weren’t really a marketing factor.

        So what the Puppies did was take the aberrant marketing factor of the Hugos in the 1990’s when the wholesale market was still operating in full and the bookies made awards a thing inadvertently, compared it to publications in the considerably different book-selling markets twenty years later, and ignored all those differences and instead declared that it was the choices of Hugo award voters that caused the Hugo to be less of a selling tool (though still perfectly prestigious SFF award,) than business issues. They also tried to blame the differences in individual author sales patterns in the wake of the wholesale market collapse on the content of books rather than again book-selling distribution issues.

        That’s not an unusual thing for fans and authors of SFF to do actually. It’s why there is the regular pronouncements that SF is dying for the last eighty years, for instance. But all of it has utterly nothing to do with academia. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  8. The puppies have been taking the strawman argument to new and breathtaking heights. Traditionally, one would propose a drinking game, but I suspect any such game would leave a lot of people incapacitated. Instead, it seems like it might make sense to judge the genre in the same way that figure skating is judged, with a mixture of technical and artistic categories, I have no idea what those categories would be though, but I think it could work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Suggested categories:
      1) Leaping to conclusions;
      2) Veiled racism (points awarded for the thickness of the veil and how closely the racism skirts being actionable);
      3) Magical thinking;
      4) Creative fiction;
      4a) conspiracy theories, Left Wing division;
      4b) conspiracy theories, Right Wing division;
      4c) persecution complex-related theories (the more spun-out and far-fetched, the more points awarded);
      5) Sexism;
      6) Homophobia, transphobia and all other forms of persecution of sexual minorities;
      7) Claiming that push-back from victims of any and all of the above is the “true hatred”. Points are granted based upon the amount of froth at the corners of the ranter’s mouth as measured by a vernier caliper.

      The floor is open for additions.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. 4d) conspiracy theories unconnected from left/right politics and consensus reality: this is for convoluted plots involving, say, aliens from Zeta Reticuli, Linear A, and the plot to conceal the role of the platypus in Medieval European history. Points for originality and grammatical structure, but not for logical coherence.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Following up to myself because I just saw a candidate for my proposed 4d), in the comments on Ask A Manager: “Yesterday it was the customer who wanted to file a complaint about Patsy Cline and President Obama coming over and raiding her refrigerator.”

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Besides projection, the other Puppy characteristic is deep, deeeeep insecurity. It’s on full display now in the ConCarolinas debacle.

    I think much of their projected insistence that women/PoC/LGBT can’t possibly win without help is that PUPPIES can’t win without cheating. They can’t admit that their work just isn’t much good (any of: infodumpy, didactic, dull, possessed of terrible writing mechanics), so OF COURSE the “lesser breeds without the law” must be cheating. It can’t possibly be that Ann Leckie is an amazing writer, and NK Jemisin is gobsmackingly, breathtakingly good at both writing and plot, and Sam J. Miller can break your heart in one sentence, then do it again the next. Or that versatility is good; Sarah Pinsker can write a murder mystery set in the present that explores the nature of identity the same year she wrote about hard decisions to be made on a generation ship.

    Look at the variety in Fan Writer: a guy who collects up news items, a guy who takes dictation from a purple cat and blathers on about logic, and a woman who invented cowboys and capers on hippo-back.

    I guess Puppies have decided that their time is better spent online rehashing old false screeds than buckling down and improving their ability and producing new work. Despite the fact that producing new and impressive work would bring them a lot more acclaim, awards, and money than the rehashing.

    And regardless of their alleged new-found lurve for self-publishing, I don’t see the head Sads rushing to do that either — they seem perfectly happy to stick with Baen and 66.7% of the remaining paper magazines. Rabids are under Teddy’s imprimatur; much as he sucks and blows, he IS a small publishing house, not just self-pub. Only Scrappies are completely self-pub, and they’re self-destructing, plus not producing enough work to even make decent pin money.

    Why people who are so passionately invested in the status quo and the past are trying to write in the genre that most embraces change and the future is a puzzle for the ages.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good point – the only recent example of ‘affirmative action’ applied to the Hugos was the Puppy campaign itself – indeed Dave Freer’s Petunia argument was a model of a defence for action to redress a (perceived) systemic bias against right leaning authors.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly! No way does anything published by Teddy make the ballot other than with a massive thumb on the scale.

        Pup nominees were on the ballot through artificial means because of their identity. The definition of affirmative action.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. (Coming in late)

    I think one of the things which is interesting in all of this is Ms Hoyt appears to have a narrative of “We are doing SFF for All The Right Reasons; They are doing SFF for All The Wrong Reasons”, and I suspect this is part of where the whole “Hugos as an academic Thing” is coming from – a way of discrediting the motives of the other “side” in this argument. It’s the glorification of the amateur over the professional, of the “maverick” over the orthodox, and I’ve noticed it’s a regular thing in right-wing arguments. Possibly because respectable professional persons in all kinds of fields (biology, meteorology, climate studies, cultural studies etc) are required to take note of the actual facts of the matter as accumulated and draw conclusions from ALL of those facts (and therefore keep noticing the profound left-wing bias of reality) rather than picking and choosing only those facts which will support the conclusion which fits their ideological bias.

    Incidentally, I tend to point to Margaret Atwood (who is an academic and literary author if ever there was one – she said the best thing about making it big as a writer was she didn’t have to teach any more) and her rather blunt refusal to accept the label of “Science fiction and fantasy” for “The Handmaid’s Tale” when it first came out. She eventually compromised enough to accept the more broad label of “speculative fiction”, but she was absolutely NOT going to believe that she wrote any form of “genre” fiction – because that would have harmed her academic and literary credentials.

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    1. Frankly, it seems to be that Baen books is slowly turning from a publisher of SFF books, some of which were by right-leaning authors, into a cult whose mantra is “We are the one true science fiction”. And a lot of the former sad puppies are either published by Baen or hang out at Baen’s bar. It’s also notable that Baen authors who kept out of previous rounds of the puppy wars (e.g. John Ringo and David Weber) are now spouting similar rhetoric.

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  11. She actually does accept that her SF novels are seen as SF now, actually. When she came out with Handmaid’s Tale, it was the mid-1980’s and it was published in general fiction, as a lot of SFF were and still are (the category market is not all of SFF — it’s a book-selling convenience that varies by country.) She was Canadian and first pub was in Canada where they have a category book-selling market but they did not at that time have a lot of Canadian specialty SFF imprints and publishers directly responsible for filling it. Everything was just published together. SFF has a long history in stylist (“literary”) contemporary fiction, but they did tend to separate it out from that category market, though less and less as it got into the seventies. This is again all trade retail stuff — it didn’t really have anything to do with academia. That was pretty much university publishers and university lit mags with a few additional mags.

    Part of the sixties and seventies was the feminist SF movement, of which Le Guin, who is a pal of Atwood’s, was considered a leading light, and I think that partly Atwood was trying to distinguish her work both from the category paperback market with which she wasn’t familiar and feminist SF, a movement with which she was familiar and which Handmaid’s Tale obviously followed from. But she wanted to carve a separate niche, seems like. At the same time, in the 1970’s into the 1980’s, a lot of people were trying to float the word speculative fiction as meaning a number of different possible things — SFF fiction, SF fiction alone, certain types of SF, a lit movement in SF, etc. And it was used often on non-category SF works. So Atwood basically plucked a definition that made sense to her — which fans and non-fans do — and used that. And since most of her work wasn’t fantasy or SF (and no one cared what she called her fantasy works of course,) it wasn’t a particularly big deal at the time. Basically, no one was particularly annoyed that she called her SF novel speculative, as again that word was tossed around to a lot of works during that period, in and out of the category market. It was her lack of interest in SFF awards she was awarded, and the one quote in one interview about space squid that got the hackles up in the SFF fandom area.

    When she marked Oryx & Crake in 2003 as speculative because it was near future SF, 18 years later, the term was out-dated and the definition she was using certainly didn’t make much sense to folk. So after fans told her she was all wet and pals like Le Guin and Stephen King put things in context, she threw up her hands and accepted that SF included some of her works. She herself has been a fan of both SF and fantasy work of others.

    But she wasn’t concerned about her academic career because, as noted, she stopped teaching as a writer in residence (she hadn’t completed her Ph.D. and was not following a full academic career in any event,) as soon as she didn’t need the income, basically in 1990 with several bestsellers under her belt — all “literary” bestsellers. She was not pursuing an academic career and The Handmaid’s Tale, a bestseller, was a finalist for the Booker in 1986 — an award that might have a small impact on an academic career if Atwood had interest in pursuing such a career, unlike the Hugo. She has been a best-selling, “literary” author for nearly 35 years with t.v./film adaptations.

    And this is why I find Stephenson’s anecdote a bit of an unreliable narrator unless it occurred in the early 1990’s perhaps. Because if you’re an acclaimed literary author and you don’t know that Atwood has been making bank for decades (and been an aspiring goal for many contemporary writers,) that’s a very weird level of ignorance. If you don’t know award-winning bestsellers who started out as journalists, social workers, lawyers, etc. and never were in academia, like Amis, Mantel, etc., the question becomes if that person has been living and writing in a bunker rather than actually knowing the field of contemporary literature they are in. And most of that field for the last decade and a half knows who Stephenson is. And Colson Whitehead, Jonathan Lethem, Michael Chabon, Cory Doctorow, Yann Martel, Salman Rushdie (Atwood’s contemporary,) etc.

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  12. Her husband works in IT or software. Something with computers. It appears that people here are (understandably) confusing her husband, whose middle initial is M, with a man of the same name (ah!), BUT whose middle initial is A (and who writes fiction and is a professor).

    I found her blog essay incoherent and hard to follow. But this sentence caught my attention:

    ‘I’m a mid-list author who frankly since she came out of the closet politically has no hope of getting published anywhere but Baen and even Baen might look askance at my “respectability.”’

    Actually, publishers rarely care about a novelist’s politics. They care primarily about whether your books make money. They also care, to a certain extent, about your behavior in social media and other public venues, because an author’s public behavior can create PR problems for the publisher and/or hurt an author’s book sales. (Although she’s an actress who lost a TV show, rather than a writer who lost a publisher, the recent example of Rosanne Arnold illustrates that point; her well-known far-right politics didn’t affect her employment at all, but her racist insult in social media got her fired.)

    In any case, given the well-known political positions of any number of Baen writers, I’m puzzled Sarah Hoyt would think her politics “might” appear not-respectable to Baen.

    (Or doesn’t “respectability” refer to something else? Since it’s in the same sentence with her referring to her politics, I don’t see what else it could be referring to…. But, as I mentioned, i found the whole essay incoherent and hard to follow.)

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      1. Card can self-identify all he wants. What he acts like is a Nazi. A reasonably famous person, whom Card claims to be a fan of, once said “By their fruits shall ye know them.”

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    1. I don’t know whether there’s a reliable answer to whether Wright is still writing for Tor.

      On the one hand, he wrote a hysteria-laden rant on his blog several years ago in which he said he wouldn’t continue writing for Tor until/unless PNH (who has since been promoted) went to Confession and took Communion.

      But some time AFTER that, in reaction to comments speculating that his association with Tor was over, Wright wrote a post (I don’t remember where) saying that he had several books under contract at Tor and the association was still current.

      So who knows?

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      1. During the kerpupple Wright offered to send his book free to anyone who requested it, as a way to screw over Tor. I can’t imagine that went over well with the publisher. While they may still have a contract with him, they’re doing the absolute minimum in terms of promotion.

        You know how runs lots of cover reveals and excerpts for Tor Books prior to publication, and reviews afterward? They haven’t been doing that for Wright’s work. His latest book appears on with a bunch of other books in a “New Releases” post, and the same for his previous book in 2016 — and (apart from a “here are all the Hugo finalists” post) those are their only mentions of his work in the last 3 years.

        Supposedly last year’s book was the 6th and final in the series. I suspect whenever that contract runs out, they won’t be falling over themselves trying to renew it.

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      2. What I can’t figure out (other than why Wright is concerning himself with the state of PNH’s soul) is why he thinks “I won’t do $thing until PNH goes to confession and takes communion” is a demand that’s unlikely to be met. I mean, it’s entirely likely that PNH’s response to that would be “how long it’s been since I went to confession is none of anyone else’s business,” but that’s very different from “no, I don’t do that.”

        OK, I think I have it–he’s trying to imply “PNH has committed a mortal sin, something so bad that he couldn’t get absolution without turning himself in to the police,” while not actually saying so, because that way nobody can point out that he has no evidence of any such thing, or mention libel laws.

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  13. I just came across a post by Brian Niemeier, in which he and some of his commenters attack Sarah Hoyt for her alleged mishandling of Sad Puppies 5 in the greater context of a “women can’t do anything and only try to keep the poor widdle menz down) rant. So maybe that’s what prompted her reaction. Though I’m not sure why anybody should give a fart about what Brian Niemeier thinks.

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      1. Ugh. Every time I read something Niemeier’s written, I forget how horrible he is. Imagine having to deal with a bunch of manly false Christian crybabies like that in some “fraternal” organization. Nightmare.

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      1. It’s almost refreshing in its lack of ambiguity – OK “refreshing” is the wrong word. Whatever the word for the moment in a horror film where the monster is clearly revealed even though you’ve know what it was for a long time.

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      2. I still don’t understand the manly-man obsession with men-only zones/activities. do they really feel so threatened by the presence of women?

        Obviously, this is all speaking as a manly-man myself. I climb and do martial arts and stuff. Am I supposed to feel that women diminish my hobbies rather than improve them?

        Also to address another point, if you don’t want to have to look after kids, don’t fucking have kids.

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      3. He’s been spouting very aggressive Catholic fundamentalist rhetoric for a while now. That’s also why I occasionally check in on his blog, to see if he and his commenters ever decide to do more than whine about the horrible modern world and dream of a return to the Middle Ages.


  14. I read two of his posts, trying to figure out whether he’s for real or if he’s satirizing misogynists. Same reaction I had the first time I ever encountered VD’s blog: this guy’s “arguments” are so absurd that his blog comes across as unfunny parody.

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  15. As someone else pointed out in comments to your “are Hugo winners academics?” post a while back, one person who definitely is a recent Hugo (and other awards) winner and an academic is Nnedi Okorafor (professor of English at SUNY Buffalo). I think we can all guess why Okorafor might loom so large in the Puppy demonology…

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