Nebula Shorts: Summing Up

Six short stories which together were entertaining and some of which were exceptional. ‘Exceptional’ though, is the more relevant word for an award. A story can have many positive qualities, entertaining, engaging, readable but if it isn’t in some way exceptional why single that story out for special recognition from all the other stories that are entertaining, engaging, and readable.

There really isn’t a way past this point. There are some excellent arguments against exceptionality as a quality of works but those arguments all point to rejecting the idea of literary awards. There are excellent arguments against literary awards and the recent emotional pain generated around the Nebulas can’t be ignored when considering if awards do more harm than good. However, EVERY literary award by necessity divides works into two camps: a huge camp of works that don’t get recognised and a proportionally tiny camp of works that do. Rationally, every award nomination and finalist is making a claim of some degree of exceptionality about the nominated work. So every award finalist raises a question ‘why this one and not that one?’ There are many legitimate answers to that question but the validity of the answer depends on the nature of the award.

I’d contend that there are three clearly exceptional short stories in the Nebula short story finalists. There is a fourth I can see an argument for, there is another that I don’t get but others clearly did and there’s a sixth which, while having many positive qualities, probably shouldn’t be a finalist.

The top three, I think are clear (in order I reviewed them):

Of those three I enjoyed the first one the most but if I had to rank them we’d be getting much deeper into how I felt at the time or about personal quirks (e.g. I love structural play in prose but its not everybody’s cup of tea).

Looking at the others:

This didn’t really work for me but I can see how others found it notable. It has an interesting premise and the use of contrasting genre conventions is clever.

Then we have:

Technically a movie trailer is a short film but it would have to be a particularly special trailer to win a generic short film award. Going Dark is essentially a taster for Fox’s novel series. That’s a more than legitimate and reasonable reason to write an enjoyable story and it’s also a reason why a story may have fans. It’s hard to see how this story stands out on its own though. Having said that, the story was picked out for the notable Baen anthology The Year’s Best Military & Adventure SF, Volume 5. So within that space, it did stand out from the crowd for some people. I’m not seeing it though, and it didn’t strike me as being as good as some of the other stories in the anthology it was published in. I’m not infallible, I miss stuff.

I know the standard advice would be for authors not to comment on reviews (e.g. see ‘Going Dark’ comments…) but Rhett Bruno gave me some useful insights into his story that I had missed or misunderstood. In the end though, this story just doesn’t work in isolation. I get why fans of Bruno’s other books would enjoy a glimpse into the back story of a longer narrative but for an award a story needs to be able to stand in isolation. Again, I don’t see how this story is particularly notable or exceptional.


103 thoughts on “Nebula Shorts: Summing Up

  1. I’ve read more than a few series installments that seemed tailored to established readers, not newbies. One which was third or fourth in the series, for instance, has nothing going on for the first couple of chapters but the protagonists discussing their relationship. Maybe that would have worked for me if I were a fan, though I doubt it.

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  2. What Is find interesting is that although I think there was broad agreement on the top four among people commenting, there was no real consensus on the order, and many people would drop one or two into a lower category.
    Which is great, I think – four very different stories, all hitting different people’s sweetspots, but that generally were written with skill and craft.

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      1. Oh, I didn’t recognise that one on the list but I actually have read it as well. Rather a fun idea, I thought.

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  3. I did a first impresion ranking, but I don’t know if I wouldn’t chance the order of the first 3. To say it again, congratulations to Phenderson Djèlí Clark, Alix E. Harrow, Sarah Pinsker and also A.T. Greenblatt for writting that story.
    I see the Bruno as the better story than the Fox, while Fox may be the better writer for style his story fell imho apart (exspecially if you take his comments at facevalue), while Bruno managed to at last do what was his gool. So if that were the Hugo the Bruno would get the last place from me behind no award.

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    1. I think everyone has a different combination of sweet spots. My favorite was Harrow, followed by Clark, Greenblatt, then Pinsker.
      In my opinion, the other two don’t work as stand-alones.

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  4. I can’t help but feel that, if a writer has to explain afterwards how their story is meant to be understood, then they haven’t written the story very well. Stories are supposed to be, well, self-decoding in that respect. (I mean, the other way is impractical, for one thing – well, unless the writer has a really small readership, or a lot of spare time on their hands.)

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  5. Of the four I’ve read, my favorite was Witch’s Guide. It’s on my Hugo short story longlist which I really need to narrow down already.

    As I said at File770, I was surprised to see I’d read 5 of The Year’s Best Military & Adventure SF stories. Two were from F&SF which I subscribe to. One was from Jonathan Strahan’s Infinity’s End, the final volume of what’s been a great series of anthologies. Then the Clarkesworld and Lightspeed stories. Suzanne Palmer’s novelette is on my Hugo ballot.

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  6. I wouldn’t be surprised to find at least one (and hopefully more) of the Top 3 on the Hugo ballot. Two of them are already on mine.

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    1. Novellas take longer to read and are less likely to be free to access, so although I’d also be interested in Camestros’ take, I’d understand if he decided it were an impractical project in ways that this one wasn’t.

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      1. Ditto to Laura’s q – there was only one not-a-slate entry in novella, the one which the author has subsequently asked to withdraw.

        (Of course, the actual answer is that you’re peddling a Torspiracy theory on your own blog…)

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  7. >Novellas take longer to read and are less likely to be free to access, so although I’d also be interested in Camestros’ take, I’d understand if he decided it were an impractical project in ways that this one wasn’t.

    Oops, I’ve referred to the wrong category. The novelette category is the one where cheating by a POC writer was alleged that led to all the conflict. There was a huge fight about it on Twitter, and I’d be interested in reading opinions of whether this was justified based on the other entries.

    The novelettes are all available free from the Nebula reading list except Brooke Bolander’s story, which should be easily available from a library.

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    1. I’m not sure how that would shed any light on the back and forth between Bellet and Wijeratne. Bellet was initially talking broadly (i.e. even if your work is good ‘slates’ amount to cheating) and Wijeratne reacted to that. They’ve both moved past that and as I understand settled their differences. Bellet didn’t contend that Wijeratne wasn’t award worthy.
      The other relevant work in Novellette is Schoen’s. But that’s not very useful for testing a hypothesis about slates either. Schoen was on the 20books list but he’s also got substantial trad-pub and SWFA connections and name recognition.

      The Bolander story I already reviewed last year.

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      1. As to Schoen, he’s also been nominated prior to this year. He’s had five Nebula nominations before this one, a Hugo nod and was also nominated for the Campbell Award. Additionally, he won the Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service To SFWA award. His nomination likely didn’t need any boost from anyone.

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    2. Any allegations have been based on the well-established facts that a list was publicised and people were encouraged to vote for it for reasons other than quality. The writer of the list has accepted he went too far, so I don’t see anything controversial about this.
      Of course, we all know one of the nominees got into it with Annie Bellett, but as far as I know this was due to arguments about whether the list was acceptable (see above: no it wasn’t) and subsequent remarks that the various sides took to heart, not about any allegations about quality or lack thereof.

      (To be clear on where I stand, if a story I thought was brilliant got nominated entirely due to slating or slating-adjacent tactics, I would still consider that cheating. Of course, I’m not aware of any circumstances where that’s the case, as brilliant stories compete on their own terms and don’t need slates)

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      1. Apparently part of what got the nominee in question to go into it were some bits of racist nonsense happening prior to (and unrelated to) Bellet’s remarks, claiming that his co-authored story was only there for PC reasons. So at first he thought she was doing more of the same, and accusing him of cheating besides (When what he was actually getting were two reactions – idiot racists on one hand, and a blanket, not-PoC-focused, reaction to slating on the other). This is part of why the “controversy” fizzled once the situation was clarified and the two talked to one another. (Some oversimiplification in my comment, I know, but the gist is there).

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      1. I’ve got the Duncan collection from my library, so I’ll report back once I’ve had a chance to read his nominated novelette.

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      2. Found it through my library too (ebook). I read the two original stories (which were both on the Locus List). I liked them, but not enough to make my Hugo ballot.

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    3. “What led to all the conflict” is several mediocre works by 20BooksTo50K authors being cheated onto the Nebula ballot. Stop trying to pretend that it’s about race, or that it’s about only one of the authors of the slated works. 🙄

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    1. What novellete? There is nothink from a person called Day on the final ballot. (If me means the same Day than we are lucky, that not)

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    2. I’m guessing you meant Andy Duncan’s novelette. The works on the Nebula Reading List are not available to non-SFWA members.

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  8. >”What led to all the conflict” is several mediocre works by 20BooksTo50K authors being cheated onto the Nebula ballot

    JJ, What did you think about the work of the SFWA board?

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    1. Lela E. Buis: What did you think about the work of the SFWA board?

      Can you be more specific about to which work you are referring?

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  9. Board members:
    Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson (Tor.com Publishing)
    “An Agent of Utopia” by Andy Duncan (An Agent of Utopia)
    “The Rule of Three” by Lawrence M. Schoen (Future Science Fiction Digest 12/18)
    “The Court Magician” by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed 1/18)

    Incoming president:
    The Calculating Stars, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)

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      1. Oh, Lela just mistakenly thought she was being clever, and that she would catch me out as someone who’s not qualified to call works “mediocre”. But she hasn’t been paying attention, or she would know that I’m far more widely-read in current SFF than she is. At this point, I’ve read around 65 Novels from 2018 and at least 36 Novellas from 2018 along with assorted short fiction, and I am Entitled To Have Opinions. 😀

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      2. I mean, going back to an earlier post about conflicts of interest there is certainly an argument that board members should be ineligible but as the award is not run directly by the board and *its an established aspect of the culture of the award* that they are eligible doesn’t appear to have created any actual issues.

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      3. I haven’t read Schoen’s story, but the others definitely do not seem out-of-place as finalists.

        Robson’s story is on my Hugo longlist. Loved it up to the abrupt ending and that’s the only thing that has me on the fence about putting it on my ballot. Enjoyed Duncan’s and Pinkser’s stories. Kowal’s novel is on my Hugo ballot.

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      4. Lela E. Buis: Laura, it does make you wonder, doesn’t it?

        Not really. The membership of SFWA is relatively small, and it’s hardly surprising that a number of people who hold positions have fairly successful careers already established at this point. Having an established career and decent sales not only puts people in a better position to give some time and effort serving in volunteer roles, it’s generally those people who want to pay forward the help that they themselves got when they were first starting out.

        Considering that the Nebulas are not juried, and that the entire membership is able to nominate, I don’t see what it is you find the slightest bit suspicious about experienced authors who put out quality SFF making the ballot.

        But then you’re still just being a troll, aren’t you, and trying to distract from the fact that the 20BooksTo50K nominating slate conferred an unfair advantage (a.k.a. cheating) to the works on the slate.

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      5. Lela E. Buis: Have you been following the awards at all? There’s been a huge push for diversity in the last few years.

        By all means, please provide links to posts which explain how “diverse” equals “merit”. I eagerly await your response.

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      6. Lela, you’re the only one “wondering.” As I said, the board finalists don’t seem out-of-place at all. (I haven’t read Schoen’s story.)

        Robson is a past finalist for the World Fantasy, Sturgeon, Campbell, and Nebula. As well as winning a Nebula last year. Duncan has won Nebula, World Fantasy, and Sturgeon awards. And was a Campbell finalist. Schoen has been a Hugo, Nebula, and Campbell finalist. Pinsker is a past Nebula and Sturgeon winner. And a Hugo finalist. Kowal is a past Hugo and Campbell winner. And past Nebula nominee.

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  10. Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson (Tor.com Publishing)
    from my 2018 Novellapalooza post:
    I really wasn’t sure from the synopsis whether this would be my “thing”, but was surprised to find myself becoming more deeply absorbed as I read. A post-apocalyptic time-travel story of the survivors whose bodies have been damaged in various ways, coexisting with the subsequent generations who grew up healthy, it poses some interesting questions about what constitutes physical disability, the effects of inter-generational legacies and resentments, and questions about humans’ moral obligations to sentient beings. However, be warned: it seems pretty apparent that this is an excerpt from a larger novel, because it ends so abruptly that my tablet damn near met the wall in frustration. (And yes, when that novel comes out, I will be reading it.)
    ——————————————————–
    “An Agent of Utopia” by Andy Duncan (An Agent of Utopia)
    I’ve gotten the collection from my library, but haven’t read the story yet.
    ——————————————————–
    “The Rule of Three” by Lawrence M. Schoen (Future Science Fiction Digest 12/18)
    from my comment on the 2018 Recommended SF/F post:
    This is a beautiful little story about reconnecting with the basic and essential things in life, crossed with an encounter with a visiting alien who may not be as kind and benign as they seem. It’s full of wonderful cultural insights — leavened with some home truths — and has some darkness, but also some hopefulness. Strongly recommended.
    ——————————————————–
    “The Court Magician” by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed 1/18)
    from my comment on Camestros Felapton’s review:
    I do have to admire the skill with which the author inserts random unimportant details (the crippled, elderly magicians in the marketplace, a woman wailing a list of grievances under the Regent’s window every night so that he can’t sleep) which later turn out to have a horrifying significance.

    Camestros Felapton: Instead, this is a story about being morally compromised. It’s a story of only obeying orders. It is a story of how the powerful exploit the talented. It’s also a story of literal sacrifice and loss. It’s also a story about being trapped in your career and how even though you can literally leave your place of employment at any time, somehow you can’t.

    This captures the theme so well. It’s also about how people who are essentially kind and good can still find themselves doing cruel and bad things — and rationalizing those harmful acts in order to be able to live with themselves.

    I absolutely agree that there’s a huge amount of skill demonstrated in this story, and that it makes the reader think about how easy and innocuous it can be to take that first step toward what eventually becomes a long slide into being a person who does terrible things.That doesn’t mean I enjoyed reading it.

    But then, it is a horror story, after all.

    I would probably rank it third, because I think that the Harrow and Clark stories also show great skill, but the other two stories didn’t remind me so much of the real world right now or make me feel such despair.
    ——————————————————–
    The Calculating Stars, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)

    I haven’t posted my 2018 Novel Reading roundup yet, but this is what my notes say:
    Despite my lifelong allergies to the standard oppressive cultural tool of demanding that women conform to “ladylike” behavior by stifling their own opinions and always deferring to men, as well as the fact that I completely bounced off Shades of Milk and Honey, I was surprised to find that enjoyed The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky — which are set in an alternate 1950s U.S. — way, way more than I expected.

    The science of just about everything in the book is backed up by extensive research (a nice change, given the number of science fiction novels where the science is just laughably bad). I do question whether human beings in general would react to the circumstances in as organized and sensible manner as they do in these books, but I was willing to roll with that one. I’m not a huge fan of alt-history novels, but this one was both plausible and interesting, and went in directions that I was not expecting.

    Like Cora, I found the Elon Musk character element annoying (though unfortunately realistic). However, the character development of numerous main characters is excellent (a nice change, given the number of science fiction novels where characterization is appallingly-bad — I’m looking at you, Liu Cixin). I especially appreciated the portrayal of everyone as complex human beings: the “good” characters also had flaws and weaknesses on display, and the “bad” characters had their decent human sides surfaced along with their reprehensible aspects. The author has the courage to repeatedly show the main character being slapped in the face with her own obliviousness to the myriad ways she experiences privileges due to being white without noticing it, and the way that her black colleagues are treated far worse than she is herself.

    I really enjoyed both these novels, and am looking forward to the next one.

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  11. JJ, Do you think any of these Board works might have displaced any more “deserving” or more diverse voices from the ballot? Have you read the “mediocre” indie works, too? Will you be reviewing those?

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    1. Do you really think the board authors twisted arms to get their stories voted in? Do you have proof? There’s none in the public sphere.

      I mean, as one example, Sarah Pinkser’s public “What I did this last year” actually focuses much more on the sales of forthcoming works rather than jumping up and down to vote for any of her five possible stories, much less asking people to rally behind that particular one. Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog spends far far more wordage promoting other authors’ favourite bits, and even her 2018 summary includes a “let me recommend (someone else’s) book to you!” link.

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      1. Also rather fatal to this conspiracy theory: A certain Mr J Scalzi Esq was good enough for a couple of Nebula noms *before* becoming SFWA president, but not during his three year tenure? Despite being a notorious online loudmouth and alleged main beneficiary of the Torspiracy? Where does that fit in?

        Now, I have a perfectly good made up conspiracy theory about the colour of book covers that’s got *at least* as much evidence behind it as this, I insist that everyone should talk about the topic that *I* want.

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      2. >Do you really think the board authors twisted arms to get their stories voted in? Do you have proof? There’s none in the public sphere.

        Lenora, since you ask, I have to admit that I’m troubled by the apparent pattern of these nominations (SFWA board and incoming officers) going backward and the possibility that they might be operating somehow as a kind of slate, displacing more diverse authors and authentic “own voices” works. I was also concerned that officials of the SFWA, when asked about it, responded that the issue was inconsequential, and that board members needed to preserve this eligibility as incentive to serve. Appearance of SFWA insiders as Nebula finalists seems a conflict of interest to me, at the very least.

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      3. So you actually have no substantive response to Lenora, but rather are engaged in a nonsense conspiracy theory. You’re nothing but a troll Lela, and with every comment you make it becomes more and more apparent that you have nothing worthwhile to add to any conversation.

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    2. Re: Lela E. Buis
      About the question for JJ:
      Well one of the “medicore” indie works, if we go by the 20booksto50Klist, is allready reviewed above.
      There has been discusion about the 2 short storys here on the blog, so you have reviews without any search to do. (JJ has coments on both that should tell you, that she did read them)
      Fireant has allready be taken out of consideration, so that leaves 2 slateworks.
      Do your homework…

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    3. Gee, Lela, maybe instead of whining about JJ’s opinion, it might be more productive for you to read the stories and tell people what you thought of them.

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      1. Lela, as well as being factually wrong (you can look up the rules, you know?), that directly contradicts what you’ve just been saying about them getting nominated. Could you at least maintain the consistency of your conspiracy theory for the same page of comments?
        Also, I congratulate you on getting round to reading some of the finalists instead of just telling other people to do so. Regrettably, I have to point out that your review of And Yet only takes two words to make such an obvious and egregious comprehension error that it really demonstrates how sloppy your reading and reviewing is. I don’t see any need to pay you further attention.

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      2. Lela: …the serving SFWA officers are ineligible for nomination for the Nebula.

        When did that happen? I remember Cat Rambo was on the ballot during her presidency in 2017. And only withdrew because of a mix up with her story’s word count.

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      3. Mark and Laura, I’m going by statements by the officers on the SFWA forum, to wit: the board is eligible but the serving officers are not because they have administrative access to the Nebula records. I agree that this is not covered in the published rules–only that nominees on the board should recuse themselves from voting on certain matters. I have no further info on Rambo’s withdrawal. Was the word count on her story off?

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      4. Lela E. Buis: the serving SFWA officers are ineligible for nomination for the Nebula.

        Please provide link(s) to the Nebula rules stating this. I’ve never seen such a claim made — and in fact, the appearance of Board members on the Nebula ballot in past years directly contradicts your claim.

         
        Lela E. Buis: I have no further info on Rambo’s withdrawal. Was the word count on her story off?

        If you “have no further information”, it’s because you weren’t paying attention to the Nebulas a year ago, and haven’t bothered to look now.

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      5. Lela: I seem to recall Scalzi and Kowal saying they wouldn’t accept Nebula nominations when they were serving as SFWA officers in the past, but it seems this is a choice, not a requirement.

        Yes, the issue with Cat’s story was word count. Her story never would have appeared in the first place if SFWA officers weren’t allowed to be finalists. Here’s SFWA’s note on the revised finalist list:

        Due to an unfortunate error in word-count verification, SFWA has to regretfully make a few changes to our final Nebula ballot. Cat Rambo’s work, “Red in Tooth and Cog” has been deemed ineligible for the category of Novelette for a word count of 7,070. Novelette consideration starts at 7,500 words. Cat Rambo has withdrawn the work completely as not to displace a three-way tie in the short story category. The work has been replaced with “The Orangery” by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Beneath Ceaseless Skies).

        Disappointing mistake because that was a great story. Incidentally, Cat is a past World Fantasy, Locus, and Nebula finalist (not counting this time).

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      6. I agree that this is not covered in the published rules

        In other words, its not actually in the rules and you know it, but are simply making stuff up.

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      7. It’s a mystery to me, after the dozens of times Lela has made an embarrassment of herself on File 770 and here, that she keeps coming back to make more of an embarrassment of herself.

        I’ll bet that there’s a term for the sort of person who has a fetish for humiliating themselves — apart from the obvious terms, that is. 😀

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      8. JJ: She seems to have learned a few buzzwords and uses them like a Cargo Cultist, unaware of what they actually mean, but with the idea that if she uses them often enough she can score some sort of point. Like a Cargo Cultist, she doesn’t realize that she is just making herself look silly.

        Also, in her mantra of “diversity”, she seems to have failed to notice that two of the nominations she is harping on were written by gay women, which seems to me like a something of a nod towards representing diverse voices.

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    4. Lela E. Buis: Do you think any of these Board works might have displaced any more “deserving” or more diverse voices from the ballot?

      “Deserving” is always in the eye of the beholder. Do I think that the works by SFWA board members show enough merit that their place on the ballot does not appear strange or questionable? Absolutely.

      Do I think that the 20BooksTo50K works show enough merit that their place on the ballot can be explained by merit? No, I do not.

      I’m not sure why you keep bringing up “diverse” as if it’s a criterion for the merit of a story. It’s not. I guess that’s one of your ways to attempt to distract from the real issues.

       
      Lela E. Buis: Have you read the “mediocre” indie works, too? Will you be reviewing those?

      Of course I’ve read them (with the except of the Norton novel, for which I’ve read the excerpt). Why else would I weigh in with an opinion on the quality of them? Are you accustomed to weighing in on the quality of works without actually reading them, that you would assume that I would do so as well? (Edited to add: Obviously you are, since your review of “And Yet” includes an enormous error which indicates that you didn’t actually read the story.)

      My comments on the short stories are all available on Camestros’ reviews on this site. Since you obviously haven’t bothered to read those reviews, I’m not going to do your homework for you.

      Liked by 4 people

  12. Wow, so they’re back to wild conspiracy theories and trying to drag A. Bellet through the mud again. The woman is trying to help her fellow indie authors, but they’ve never stopped trying to abuse her since she refused to be used in their far right hate campaign on the Hugos. And they’re still dancing to Beale’s tune — going after SFWA, Kowal and Tor, all his targets that they adopted which led to them proclaiming that the Nebula was worthless anyway, while trying to claim now that they speak for most indie authors, an enormous field that the main Puppies are barely in.

    And they think this does what, exactly? Except try to harass Bellet into going offline, obviously. The enormous amount of time these people spend trying to gin up gotcha hypocrisy battles and making accusations, as if that somehow negates civil rights issues, just to keep up the social identity they think they must have — it boggles the mind. And that’s after their recent stint last year trying to dox Camestros and swat the Meadows over their child.

    It’s becoming a very easy way to find good authors I’ll enjoy — whoever the Puppies and Puppy adjacent are trying to hurt and denounce, check out their work.

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  13. >I’m not sure why you keep bringing up “diverse” as if it’s a criterion for the merit of a story. It’s not. I guess that’s one of your ways to attempt to distract from the real issues.

    Oh, dear, JJ. Have you been following the awards at all? There’s been a huge push for diversity in the last few years.

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    1. Oh dear Lela, have you been following reality at all? That’s not what a push for diversity means. Perhaps you should go an educate yourself before you try to comment any further. It will make you seem less like a troll.

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    2. Oh, dear, JJ. Have you been following the awards at all? There’s been a huge push for diversity in the last few years.

      Oh, dear, Lela. Could you make it any clearer that you’re being troll here? Has JJ been following the awards? Come out from under your bridge once in a while.

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      1. Remember that Lela is a Puppy, so she is doing that thing the Puppies do, making up rules and then throwing a tantrum when people don’t follow them:

        “You SJWs believe that women have been discriminated against in the past, so therefore you have to give a Hugo Award to Toni Weisskopf, who is a woman!”

        “You SJWs believe that POC have been discriminated against in the past, so therefore you have to consider all stories by POC to be better than all stories by white people!”

        It’s that problem which Puppies have with only being capable of simple binary thinking. Concepts which are any more complex than this are utterly beyond their understanding.

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      2. @JJ —

        I disagree with your claim about Lela being a pup. Her “reasoning”, or lack thereof, very often leaves me scratching my head in bewilderment, and her everpresent eagerness to present false premises and then inevitably draw fantastical conclusions from them can be truly remarkable, but I wouldn’t call her a puppy.

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      3. Ehh. I probably wouldn’t argue with a Scrappy Doo label. But I think she comes from a different place than the pups do. They appear to be mostly rightwing nutjobs, while the closest I can come to figuring out Lela is that she seems to be a conspiracy nutjob — not so tethered to the specific ideology, but more to the steadfast belief that someone must be doing something underhanded in most circumstances.

        I know, I’m splitting hairs. It’s just that I find her specific psychological quirks very interesting — certainly more interesting than yer basic pup, who is just a bore.

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      4. Contrarius: I disagree with your claim about Lela being a pup.

        During the years of the Puppy attacks on the Hugo Awards and since then, she has continually defended the Puppies’ words and actions on both her blog and File 770, as well as repeating their words herself. She posted positive reviews of the slated Puppy works, even the most egregious pieces of shit like JCW’s abuse and torture porn “An Unimaginable Light” and “Safe Space as Rape Room” (for which she lauded the “integrity” of the author).

        She has continually repeated their talking points, just as she has done in this thread (it’s by a diverse author! therefore according to your SJW rules it must be award-worthy!) If someone is saying all the same things that get said at Mad Genius Club, then they’re a Puppy.

        I don’t know what your criteria are to consider someone a Puppy, but the things I’ve pointed out in this comment certainly meet mine. If you want to defend her, that’s your lookout, but it won’t keep me from accurately pointing out that she is a Puppy.

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      5. But I think she comes from a different place than the pups do.

        If I remember correctly, she comes from the same place as JDA, JCW, TB, and Jagi: Conservative Christianity. She’s been glommed on to the “superversive” group for a while, and seems to have drunk the same kool-aid that they have.

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  14. The funny think is if you look at the blog of Lela E. Buis she is reading and rating the shorts.
    She has reviewed every shortstory execpt the Harrow.
    At the moment the one she gave the highest mark to is the Pinsker, the own she gave the lovest marks to, are the Bruno and the Fox, so we need a conspiracytheory to get the best story (or second best) on the ballot in her opinion?

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    1. StefanB: The funny think is if you look at the blog of Lela E. Buis she is reading and rating the shorts.

      Well, she is rating them. But based on her profound problems with accurately stating what they’re about (especially in the case of “And Yet”), it seems very unlikely that she is actually reading them; more likely, she is skimming them and then projecting what she thinks they might be about. Either that, or she has severely impaired reading comprehension skills.

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      1. @JJ —

        “Either that, or she has severely impaired reading comprehension skills.”

        This.

        The first conversation I ever had with Lela was about her claim that the cover of A Taste of Honey by Wilson had been black-washed. She claimed, and continued to claim, that the text did not describe racial characteristics for the main characters. Even when I showed her specific passages that did exactly that, she continued to insist otherwise.

        Either she just doesn’t comprehend, or she starts with her conclusions and ignores every piece of evidence that might contradict it. I haven’t figured out whether she does that consciously, or whether it’s a true inability to see what’s in front of her.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. @JJ —

    “If you want to defend her, that’s your lookout, but it won’t keep me from accurately pointing out that she is a Puppy.”

    I’m not defending her at all. See my previous post in re Scrappy Doos.

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  16. @Aaron —

    “If I remember correctly, she comes from the same place as JDA, JCW, TB, and Jagi: Conservative Christianity.”

    But that’s just it — she doesn’t. I’ve had a lot of debates with her, and I’ve never seen conservative Christian dogma, racist or homophobic rhetoric, or any of that sort of thing come off her keyboard. And she actually reads and actively searches out minority authors and so on.

    So as I said before — from what I’ve seen of her, she appears to be more focused on conspiracy-ness than on ideology. Perhaps it’s a sort of convergent evolution with the pups — she started out with conspiracies, they started out with rightwingery, and they met in the middle? I dunno, but I do find her more puzzling — and therefore more interesting — than them.

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    1. I would say that her numerous recent posts regarding diversity here and at File 770 at least border on racism, and perhaps actually go over the line into racism. Because what she’s been implying is that the only reason stories by diverse authors have been getting nominated for awards is because they are by diverse authors, and not because they are award-worthy.

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      1. That’s not really what she’s saying — but I don’t want to distract you too much from our agreement that she appears to be screwy in some way, so I’ll let that drop.

        I’ve only read one or two of her stories, and I had forgotten til I looked at her Goodreads page just now that in 2014 she put out an entire anthology of shorts with lesbian MCs. And she’s also had a story in some sort of Afromyth anthology. Very much not puppy-type behavior.

        Someone earlier — I forget who — made a comment about puppies tending to see things in black and white. Don’t fall into that trap. I do agree with you that Lela is nutty in some way — a way that I still haven’t quite figured out — but I’ll stand by my statement that she isn’t nutty in the same way pups are. There are many ways to be nutty in this world, after all.

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      1. @Aaron —

        “Go look up her reviews of things like Daredevil.”

        I just read through her Daredevil posts, and while I rolled my eyes a bit, I didn’t see anything particularly egregious. It’s true that Matt’s identity as an Irish Catholic is important in the series, and we made similar comments about Germanic characters here in our previous discussion of Richard Fox’s story.

        Cora took part in Lela’s Daredevil posts, and she didn’t seem to have strong objections to what Lela was saying, either.

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      2. I’ve a whole big bag of issues with this: . So, the Germanic tribes really like order, punctuality and world domination. The Celtic tribes, on the other hand, are known for passion, wit and ferocity. This means you want to put Germans in control of your transportation system and the Irish in as first responders—firefighters and police. If you don’t believe in racial characteristics and you want to do it the other way around, then fine, but the results are your problem. So this story is about Matt Murdock’s Irish fire against Wilson Fisk’s Germanic drive for order and world domination”
        It’s a giant ball of stereotypes and it doesn’t even make sense in terms of the show.

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      3. @Cam —

        “So, the Germanic tribes really like order, punctuality and world domination. The Celtic tribes, on the other hand, are known for passion, wit and ferocity.”

        Yeah, that’s the part I was rolling my eyes at. But it wasn’t really a big part of her reviews, and you know perfectly well that those stereotypes are widespread, commonplace, and often celebrated by those groups themselves. And, except for the “world domination” part, they aren’t derogatory.

        And again — Cora is German herself and took part in those posts, and I didn’t notice her raising objections.

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      4. Matt’s identity as Irish Catholic isn’t the issue. It’s her commentary about how the Irish “weren’t considered white” until recently, and how important Irish Catholic identity is to her that are relevant here.

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      5. @Aaron —

        “Matt’s identity as Irish Catholic isn’t the issue. It’s her commentary about how the Irish “weren’t considered white” until recently”

        Well, it’s absolutely true that Irish Catholics were discriminated against in the US. For instance:

        https: //www .history. com/news/when-america-despised-the-irish-the-19th-centurys-refugee-crisis

        “and how important Irish Catholic identity is to her that are relevant here.”

        Why should you care if Irish Catholic identity is important to Lela?

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      6. It’s more this part that makes me go…Aaaarrrrggghhh!:

        “It’s considered politically incorrect to discuss racial characteristics these days, but since the Irish and Germans are now both white, then they’re fair game, right?”

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      7. Well, it’s absolutely true that Irish Catholics were discriminated against in the US.

        The Irish were never considered “not white” in the U.S. The miscegenation laws that prevented members of “non-white” races from marrying whites, for example, never applied to the Irish.

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      8. @Aaron —

        You can look at that as a bit of hyperbole, but the Irish did suffer some of the same discrimination problems — like “help wanted, no Irish need apply” and indentured servitude and so on.

        As recently as Kennedy, it was a shock that a Catholic could get elected to the presidency.

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