Debarkle: Draft outline

Coming this month (and probably for most of the year) is “Debarkle”, a history of the Puppy Kerfuffle of 2015, the events that preceded it, the political context and how it presaged events in US politics that followed it.

What follows is the draft section and chapter order. Naturally, what will actually happen is something different from this but this is the outline I’m working to.

Roughly it is in chronological order but with various chapters flashing forward or flashing backwards to keep themes together. External politics events are also a key part of this story, some of which will get their own chapters but in other cases they will be referenced in more fannish chapters to give context and establish time periods. Sadly, a lot of those external political events are violent ones but they are ones relevant to the times and also the discussions and the political atmosphere.

There are some special recurring chapters:

  • Dramatis Personae: these chapters look at backstories to some recurring names or groups in the story. I’ve tried to keep these to a minimum but if I find that I’m writing longer paragraphs about the background to given person, I may split that off into an extra one of these. Generally, they’ll cover the ‘story so far’ up to that point. So, John Scalzi and Vox Day (and maybe the Nielsen Hayden’s) get early chapters before the opening act of this http://nielsenhayden.com/electrolite/archives/006122.html. So these chapters don’t all end up in section 1, many people will appear in the main narrative before they get one of these chapters but with a briefer introduction.
  • Meanwhile: these chapters cover things away from the main Puppy story but which, again, would otherwise become long intruding paragraphs of context. An obvious example is RaceFail 2009, which involved no puppies but did involve notable people in fandom. Likewise, a discussion of the 2015 Hugo awards can’t avoid discussion of RequiresHate and the Mixon report. You can skip these if you want to stick to the main plot. Part 6, covering 2020, is all Meanwhile.
  • Some book reviews: With the Hugosauriad I was pleased with how the two chapters looking at If You Were a Dinosaur My Love and the right-wing reaction to it worked out. The Debarkle is about many things but one of those things is stories. Currently these reviews will include Monster Hunter International, Redshirts, Ancillary Justice and the Broken Earth Trilogy, as well as some selected shorter fiction.

Speaking of the Hugosauriad, because that project contains chapters on Rachel Swirsky’s story and on Chuck Tingle, neither will get their own chapter in Debarkle. Obviously, both will get discussed but the longer coverage is in the Hugosauriad.

Currently, the plan is 6 sections.

  1. Beginnings 1880 to 2010. All the background and setting the scene.
  2. 2011 to 2014. This covers the SFWA conflicts and the first two Sad Puppy campaigns but also looks at Gamergate.
  3. 2015. This section is the most chronological and most chapters cover events in a given month up to the smoky skies of Sasquan. “Phew!” we all say in August, “Looks like we defeated fascism for good this time!” and Donald Trump enters stage right.
  4. 2016-2017. Two parallel stories – the political story with the alt-right and Donald Trump and also the story of how the Puppy campaigns fizzled out. SP4, the non-event of SP5, the Dragon Awards and how Larry finally gets his participation prize.
  5. 2018-2019. Follows the political story with some delves back into fandom. Specifically this is the politics of Sad and Rabid versions of the right in the age of Trump. The crappiest gate aka ‘Comicsgate’ will get a look in, as will the 2019 Nebulas, as ‘compare and contrast’ with the Puppy campaigns.
  6. Meanwhile 2020: Aside from an initial dive into the RWA’s meltdown, this section looks at the hell year in terms of the perspectives of the Puppy Protagonists. Dominating it are three major elements of the year, Qanon (particularly with Vox Day), Covid (Sarah Hoyt) and ‘Stop the Steal’ (Larry Correia but also Day and Hoyt).

Section 3 (i.e. the actual plot) is likely to blow-out. Three sections of aftermath may look like a lot but as the main thesis of the project is that the themes and cognitive style of the “crazy” behaviour of the US right in 2020 were already overt and apparent in 2015, just at a different scale and context. Note, the thesis isn’t that the Puppies caused later events (they are all minor bit players in bigger story, if that) but rather that the same underlying cultures and attitudes on the right that erupted as the Puppies in fandom, later erupted at a bigger scale (and at greater human cost) in US politics. Sections won’t be of equal length.

As always, suggestions, comments etc are welcome but it will also end up being whatever gets written at the time!

  • Intro: Jan 6 2021
  • Part 1: Beginnings 1880 to 2010
    A short history of the Hugo Awards 1953 to 2000
    Dramatis Personae 1: John Scalzi
    Dramatis Personae 2: Theodore Beale
    Tor, Baen and Amazon 1990 -2011
    Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America 1965 to 2010
    March 1, 2005: Electrolyte
    Dramatis Personae 3: Larry Correia
    2007: Monster Hunter International
    Meanwhile: Barack Obama
    Meanwhile: Racefail 2009
    2010 Hugos and the SFWA
  • Part 2: 2011 to 2014
    2011: Larry Goes to Worldcon
    2012-13: The Day-Scalzi Feud
    Meanwhile: Mitt Romney
    2013 “How to get Correia nominated for a Hugo”
    2013: Redshirts
    Dramatis Personae 4: N.K.Jemisin
    2013: Trouble at the SFWA
    Dramatis Personae 5: Sarah Hoyt and the Mad Geniuses
    Opera Vita Aeterna
    2014: Sad Puppies 2
    2014: Ancillary Justice
    2014: Vox Gets the Boot
    Dramatis Personae 6: John C wright and the Evil League of Evil
    Dramatis Personae 7: George R R Martin
    2014: The Hugos go to London
    Meanwhile: Requires Hate
    Meanwhile: GamerGate
    Dramatis Personae 8: Brad Torgersen
  • Part 3: 2015
    January: Announcing SAD PUPPIES 3!
    February: Rabid Puppies 2015
    March: Warnings
    April Part 1: TSHTF
    April Part 2: Hugos Hit the News
    Dramatis Personae 9: Mike Glyer and File 770
    May: Planning Ahead
    E Pluribus Hugo
    June Part 1: The Tor Boycott
    Totaled
    June Part 2: The Human Toll
    July: Crescendo
    August: Sasquan
    September-December: Taking Stock
    Meanwhile: Donald Trump
  • Part 4: Fall of the Puppies 2016-2017
    The Broken Earth Trilogy
    Quarter 1 2016 Part 1: Sad Puppies 4
    Quarter 1 2016 Part 2: Rabid Puppies
    Meanwhile: The Rise of the Alt Right
    Dramatis Personae 10: Jon Del Arroz
    Enter the Dragon
    Quarter 2: Reactions
    Meanwhile: GOP goes Trump
    August: Midamericon
    September: Dragon Awards 2016
    Meanwhile: Me Too
    Meanwhile: President Donald Trump
    The Sad Demise of SP5
    Rabid Puppies 2017
    Worldcon 75 – Finland
  • Part 5: The Trump Years 2018-2019
    Overview
    Comicsgate
    Meanwhile: Qanon
    Changing fortunes at the Dragon Awards
    Meanwhile: Black Lives Matter
    Gender at the Hugo Awards
    Meanwhile: 20booksto50 and the Nebulas
    Dramatis Personae: Mixed Fortunes
    The Hugos and the Campbell Legacy
  • Part 6: Meanwhile 2020
    Trouble in Romance
    Covid 19
    Black Lives Matter
    US Presidential Election
    “Stop the Steal”
  • Conclusion: Reality and the Imagination

Bonus! Here is a Rabid version of the cover art.

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80 responses to “Debarkle: Draft outline”

  1. Can I just say that I LOVE that this explanation starts in 1880 …alongside the Boer Wars and Oliver Heaviside’s patent for coaxial cable. I just wish Heaviside had been based in Barrow-on-Furness or Aberdeen instead of Camden Town.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. To be fair, “Science fiction has been going downhill since 1880” is a new one to me. The earliest “It’s been all downhill from here on” date I’ve heard someone throw out is 1937, when that well known Social Justice Warrior John W. Campbell took over Astounding Science Fiction.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Are you sure you want it to be this linear? That works for people who already know most of this stuff, but if you want a broader audience, I think you’d want to start with stories of some of the people involved.

    For example, one way I sometimes think of the whole thing is that there was a critical meeting which I believe occurred between Larry, Brad, and Vox to make the final picks for SP3. Brad’s idea of getting nominations from the public had failed, so they simply dictated a list. Vox wanted to use it to promote his publishing house, and when they wouldn’t go for that, he split away and started his own group, the Rabid Puppies.

    I think I can argue that all the events that led up to the disaster flowed into that one meeting, and all the trouble that followed flowed out of it. You mileage may vary, of course, but if I were writing something, I’d be disposed to start with a description of that meeting as I imagine it occurred, with an eye toward getting the reader interested in my three protagonists. The next chapter might jump back to define some things that got mentioned in chapter 1, and each “protagonist” might get his own chapter.

    I’m not really suggesting this particular organization so much as suggesting you look for ways to avoid telling the reader a lot of things that he/she may not be interested in hearing yet.

    Of course if you’re trying to create a historical document, that’s not the way to go. And if you sensationalize it too much, you’d end up needing pseudonyms. e.g. “The story of how Nox Knight and his friends gamed the Gernie Awards.”

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    • I like the ‘in media res’ approach.

      But which event would make a good opening chapter?

      What about the announcement of the 2014 Hugo finalists? From there you can go back to the past to detail the background (how we got there), then you can follow the story as it progresses?

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      • You can always really treat the blog posts as a kind of draft (after all it is) and reorganize and edit them later into a single document though this of course more labor intensive after all and also incorporate feedback if you want. I think most of us know or remember a potential relevant bit of information of the whole sordid saga others don’t.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Then why are there still so many typos? 🙂 Anyway, just to reiterate: going the extra mile and putting out a singular doc, book whatever might be worth it and there’s also plenty of relevant stuff that wasn’t at least on my radar in this thread.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Greg Hullender: a critical meeting which I believe occurred between Larry, Brad, and Vox

      We know that this meeting actually occurred, because farther down the line both Torgersen and Hoyt told Worldcon members they should be thankful that Correia talked VD out of making his slate even more toxic than what was actually released.

      And certainly there’s backup of evidence of that coordination, too, since the SP slate left one slot open in several categories, which VD then filled with himself and his pub house’s works, and the RP slate was published a mere 5 hours after the SP slate, but had a complex companion logo designed by the same artist who did the SP logo.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I am a bit skeptical to go there, because while I am sure that their was a meeting. “The Evil League of (I don’t remember) … did build the Sad Pupieslate.
      I for example don’t believe in a physical meeting. I believe that their were a lot of Emails going around.
      My problem is that Cam would have to make the details completly up. And I don’t he should do it.
      Of course we could try to find out, what did likly happen on that meeting, but we are counting on very unreliable narators.
      On account was that Sad Puppies and rapid Puppies did exist because some of the writers, who were okay with the Sad Puppies wanted nothink to do with Vox Day (I haven’t got a link but I am sure Jim Butcher was mentioned)
      Another questionmarks are the role of Mike Resnick.
      The tried to recruit Brandon Sanderson (per his own blockpost, and I count him as belivable) and he declined.

      Shorter me: I would be a bit careful with the details here, because we don’t know them. We have enough to know that it happened but I would not fabricate anythink here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • StefanB: I for example don’t believe in a physical meeting. I believe that their were a lot of Emails going around.

        No, they were widely-distributed in terms of geography. It would have been a meeting by rounds of e-mails (or perhaps by phone or video conference). But it was still a “meeting” in the sense that a bunch of correspondence was exchanged among them discussing the plans.

        And I don’t think Cam has to make anything up. We know the meeting occurred (in whatever form) because of what Torgersen and Hoyt said, and because the RP slate was posted a mere 5 hours after the SP slate, with a companion logo that would have taken more than 5 hours to create. And we know that one result of it was that a slot was left open in a bunch of categories on the SP slate so that VD could slot in himself and works from his “publishing house”.

         
        StefanB: Another question marks are the role of Mike Resnick.

        Resnick wasn’t a question mark. He was disgusted by what the Puppies did and wanted nothing to do with it. I know this for a fact.

        Liked by 2 people

      • @JJ: I am very happy to hear that about Resnick.
        About the meeting, I don’t disagree with anythink you have written, another imho good quote for this was done by Naomi Kritzer (if my memory is correct) but Greg was talking about opening the text with the meeting.
        I would very much like to see the puppys condemed with the facts, that are plenty.
        It is interesting to conect what every fan remembers, the 5 hours were somethink I didn’t remember for example.

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  4. A precursor event you might want to examine is the SFWA copyright crisis of 2008, which divided up the universe of SF writers in ways that paralleled but didn’t entirely match the later Debarke – certainly Stross/Doctorow/Scalzi versus Burt/Pournelle matches later events, but Vox was interested in being on Stross’s side (but not vice versa http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2007/11/sfwa_attempts_to_commit_public.html), and Baen’s Flint (and others) were on the side of Stross/Scalzi/Burt. This event also pushed Scalzi into SFWA leadership a few years later (https://whatever.scalzi.com/2008/02/18/a-gut-check-moment-for-sfwa/).

    Liked by 1 person

      • No problem. Looking forward to reading your work.

        P.S. Obvious typo above – I accidentally put Burt on the Stross/Scalzi side once – I meant to write Doctorow again.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Andrew, that was interesting, (Vox arguing for a war in the tread which reads as a bad joke on the second world war is a WTF moment, even for Vox)
      And it is a rule that Vox joining your movement, makes it look worse, so Kudos for Stross and the commentors on the tread.
      Flint beeing on Stross/Doctorow/Scalzis side is not suprising, he is the architekt of Beans Free Libery. I don’t think Flint made that many enemies from fans during puppygate.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. One think that we shouldn’t forget is the fans.
    Sorry Cam, you are focosing on the writers, and for the puppies that is okay, for the rest we should perhaps not forget the non-profesonals.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Richard Gadsden: One person who might be worth think about is Jameson Quinn, the guy who invented the new nomination system.

      Um, no. I know that’s the narrative he’s been putting out the last few years (and he tried to get himself a Hugo nomination for the case study he wrote about it), but he was only one of several people who contributed significantly to EPH, and he wasn’t in on the beginning of it. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m impressed. From the outline it looks like it’ll feature pretty much everything, sort of a Decline and Fall of the Sad Puppies, Volumes 1 – 10. I’d read it..

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I don’t think Johnny the Rice is important enough as a Puppy (or even a Scrappy), a writer, or ANYTHING to get his own section. Not mentioning him at all would be the greatest thing ever. 🙂 Maybe “Dramatis Personae: The Scrappy Doos” instead. In which case, Mr. “Why did they want to arrest me for breaking international law during a worldwide plague?” should get a look in.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Nobody gives a flying F about Comicsgate, and didn’t much at the time. JDA *thought* he was a major player in that, but as usual he was wrong.

        So leave him out entirely, I say. The Puppies, be they Sad, Rabid, or Scrappy, certainly did.

        Maybe a section of “people who wish they were important in the Debarkle and aren’t, and by the way my friend Lurkertype has some amusing anecdotes about one of them”.

        But ignoring him is bestest.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I assumed that JDA was getting a section because of his tiff with and lawsuit against WorldCon, which was cheered on by the Puppies and which several Alt Right political figures essentially tried to crash/ride on the same wings of outrage at WorldCon, with the anti-pedophilia demonstration outside it, drawing more media attention than JDA would have otherwise gotten by himself.

        On Comicsgate, JDA was more of a minor functionary playing emissary for Beale which then turned around and bit him in the ass when Beale tried to take over Comicsgate like he had with the Puppies and promptly was denounced by the other major grifters. JDA was burned by association.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Lurkertype: “Nobody gives a flying F about Comicsgate, and didn’t much at the time”

        If you just mean that it was a bunch of pathetic BS with no coherent complaints or agenda, then sure, that’s accurate. Unfortunately it didn’t only take place in the perpetrators’ minds; there was real harassment of real people. It also had the unfortunate effect of slightly raising general awareness of Ethan van Sciver’s opinions and personality issues, to the degree that his brother Noah—a brilliant cartoonist and total mensch whom I know slightly—has had to field a ton of “are you OK with Ethan’s crap and if not, why don’t you feel like spending all your time denouncing it?” type stuff, which sucks.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Steve Bannon apparently saw Gamergate and thought, Hey, these are my people!, and used a lot of the same people and methods of organizing for the trump campaign. In that sense, though it’s out of Cam’s scope here, it seems very important to the rise of the neo-Nazis in the US. It’s an instance of the outer world taking notice of fandom, but unfortunately of its very worst ideas.

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    • I slightly disagreeing with Lurkertype here, re Comicgate. In my opinion it was interesting because it was so crappy, from the beginning to the highlights. It was clear that the persons on Comicsgate knew nearly nothink about Comics, and the infights, incompetence… So I am for a comicsgatechapter.
      Now Johnny the Rice, I also feel like Dramatis Personae Scrappy Doos would be the way to go, since I remember another guy whos antics should get a mention.
      I just hope the lawsuit against Worldcon ends, befor you get to the chapter if it ends as I exspect, it would be a perfect end to his story.

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      • Yes on the comicsgates relevance to the story being that it was so irrelevant. The formula doesn’t work in the same way when repeated. Gamergate was a disaster but they made many games companies dance to their tune. The puppies lost the narrative but made a splash. Comicsgate is the example of diminishing returns

        Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder how many times Cam will have to type WTF? about the fan responses.

      Not to forget MRK buying several random people supporting memberships. Literally random — one of them stated publicly he was in sympathy with getting more pew-pew rocketships with menz on the ballot.

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      • And, of course, at the same time that some puppy-adjacent people were taking advantage of her offer, it was standard narrative priming from the Puppy side that MRK was deliberately attempting to stack the deck. Another example of projection, given the stacking of the deck already happening from Vox’ side. (Which didn’t last long because Vox has never really had a project that he saw through to the end, and none of his followers saw anything from it anyway.)

        Liked by 1 person

  8. And please, please, please be sure to quote Brad about how he was furious he couldn’t judge a book by its cover any more. Adage FAIL. Profession FAIL.

    Hoyt’s hysterical conspiracies-mongering on her blog (ever-changing) fit in with the QAnon/Capitol riot stuff, of course. But what do you expect when someone who has a condition that makes them more vulnerable to serious complications from Covid is fervently anti-mask?

    Maybe — but it would probably be harder to track down actual facts on — a “Where are they (selling) now?” I mean, we have a feeling that the Sads aren’t, much, but you’d need to trawl through Locus or something to see where Brad, MGC, etc. are or aren’t being published. Which is probably more work than you want to do. Obviously Scalzi is doing fine (and winning Dragons), MRK and NKJ are still racking up awards and sales.

    And an entire chapter on Chuck Tingle, to prove love is real and lighten the heavy going. I was not the only person as late as 2018 Worldcon (San Jose) wearing a “Secretly Chuck Tingle” ribbon.

    But Brad’s quote about covers needs to be in there. It just sums up the Bizarro-World thinking so well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lurkertype: “Where are they (selling) now?” I mean, we have a feeling that the Sads aren’t, much, but you’d need to trawl through Locus or something to see where Brad, MGC, etc. are or aren’t being published.

      The Debarkle pretty much tanked BT’s career. According to ISFDB, in the last 4 years, he’s had short fiction in:
      3 Superversive anthologies
      4 Baen anthologies
      4 Chris Kennedy anthologies (self-pub imprint similar to LMBPN)
      WordFire anthology (KJA’s imprint)
      Rough Edges anthology (James Reasoner’s imprint)
      Victory Fiction anthology (puppy-type imprint which published one book, in 2017)
      Baen Free Press online
      and a novel with Baen, back in 2018.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah. Brad is like a cover band covering music that used to be popular. He got a lot of initial praise because he wrote stuff that an older audience liked. I don’t think he ever grasped that, even though a lot of his complaints get close to the idea (even the nutty nugget thing). I don’t know, if he’d first published in 1978 he might have had better story success

        Liked by 2 people

      • Middle of last year, I hacked up the code I made to chart award finalists vs the number of ratings they have on Goodreads, to instead display those stats for all the novels that a set of authors had written.

        This code was never properly finished – and given that Goodreads recently deprecated the API it depends on, never will be – but one of the author groups I ran the data for were some of the Sad Puppies, and Puppy-adjacent/sympathetic. I’ve just uploaded it here: https://sf.ersatzculture.com/temp/author_charts/puppy_aug2020.svg

        (The likes of VD and JCW weren’t included, because the aforementioned Goodreads API needs ISBNs to look up books, but I don’t think that most/all of their books ever had ISBNs.)

        Obviously popularity on GR != sales – and I could quite happily believe that the audience that buys Baen books might be less likely to use GR than, say, readers of Tor.com books – so how useful or relevant these charts might be is highly debatable; I offer them up mainly just for any possible mild entertainment value.

        Whilst there’s a general downward trend over time, this seems less down to a decline in popularity, and far more of a function of newer books not having had time to build up as big an audience. You see much the same sort of trend on a chart I made of authors who seemed to be the focus of Puppy upset, for example: https://sf.ersatzculture.com/temp/author_charts/antipuppy.svg – although note that the scales on those two charts differ quite a lot in magnitude 😉

        Liked by 3 people

      • That’s…quite a downfall.

        I used to buy Analog monthly (the book shop had it, and it was just as cheap/expensive as getting an overseas subscription), and I remember Brad being a regular appearance.

        Liked by 3 people

      • I can’t bear too look but how many of these anthologies were MAGA / Trump themed?

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        • ding ding ding! You win the prize!

          The Superversive titles were (quelle suprise):

          MAGA 2020 & Beyond

          To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity

          Forbidden Thoughts — which includes stories entitled:
          “The Social Construct” by David Hallquist
          “If You Were a Hamburger, My Love” by Ray Blank
          “The Rules of Racism” by Tom Kratman
          and an especially creative piece of fiction entitled:
          “A History of Sad Puppies: essay by Larry Correia and Brad R. Torgersen”

          The Victory Fiction anthology (put out by, unsurprisingly, CLFA) is:

          Freedom’s Light: Short Stories

          An Amazon review says of BT’s contribution:
          “Furthermore, for a libertarian-themed anthology, it handled the subject of war like you’d expect from the media, government, or institutionalized education system, namely: we’re in the Middle East to “help those damned countries.” If anyone believes that that’s why we’re there, they’re gravely misinformed, and it makes me really have to question why this pro-war story (touting the same worn out propaganda) made it into a libertarian anthology.”

          Liked by 1 person

        • It’s the Benghazi of the Puppies.

          I mean, Rachel Swirksy literally melted their brains. If she never had wrote anything else ever again she’s forever be able to say ‘I wrote a story so powerful that it traumatized bigots and fried their synapses’

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      • If Brad has first published in 1978, he would have been writing stories reminiscent of stories that were popular in 1948. Brad’s not so much a writer as he is a mimic. He apes what has gone before. Even the thing he is most famous for now – Sad Puppies 3 – was just a replication of an idea someone else had first.

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    • Where are they now would be very interesting for not the most important players, mostly for the nominees, and here more positive for those who didn’t go as planned fot the puppys.
      There are some people who did survive their nomination just fine (Dan Wells for example), and a few positive examples about people who didn’t go the rabbithole would be cool.
      And I agree Chuck deserves his own chapter not Dramatic Personae, because that would be very dificult to write, but he was imho the greatest failure of Day in the whole think.
      And a person nominated to piss of fans than becoming such a fan favorite, that he became a nominee for the fans next year is a spectacal. And the fact that what Day thought would be the most embarasing think on the ballot, finished 3rd in its catagory, after Cat Pictures Please and No Award, so it was in this catagory the last embarasing think on the slate. (Not counting hostage or people that could be legitimate thought as hostages it was one of the better rapidpics)

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      • Dan Wells was independently popular because of the Writing Excuses podcast. And while he didn’t withdraw, he also didn’t hang out with the puppies or spew vitriol.

        Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet, both of whom withdrew, also still have careers and Kevin J. Anderson is less ubiquitous than he used to be, because movie and TV tie-ins are less ubiquitous and audience tastes have changed. But he’s still doing okay and has his own press.

        Jim Butcher had a dry-spell for a few years after his puppy nominations, but apparently that was due to health issues. He did publish two new Dresden Files novels last year and has a decent slot at winning a Hugo nomination for Best Series under his own steam this year.

        Brad, on the other hand, had a decent career selling somewhat old-fashioned stories. IMo, he also got worse over time. I remember that the story for which he got his first Hugo nomination and the Campbell nomination under his own steam was at least decent. The two novellas slated onto the ballot via Sad Puppies in 2014 were just bad.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, Chuck nabbing the Rabid Puppies domain and leveraging it in favor of love, sending Zoe Quinn as his acceptor, finishing 3rd (2nd except for No Awarding the whole slate), and then getting on the ballot legitimately the next year (because SF love is real) is the best revenge.

        Plus he’s practically a household word now, I’m sure his sales have gone up, he got lots of good publicity and a podcast, etc.

        His nominated story actually *was* much better than all the Puppy stuff. There was decent worldbuilding, characterization, proofreading, etc. The consensual butt sex happened out of the changes in the characters over time.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. ” So, John Scalzi and Vox Day (and maybe the Nielsen Hayden’s) get early chapters before the opening act of this http://nielsenhayden.com/electrolite/archives/006122.html.”

    That thread is interesting because Scalzi begins by defending Vox’s position on the Nebula judge quite emphatically – but later in the thread, thoroughly dissected Vox’s opinions on various subjects.

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    • That comment thread has the epitome of this story: how should liberalism (in its broadest sense that would have included mainstream conservatism i.e. participation in representative democracy, acceptance of the rule of law and norms of political discourse) respond to the extreme right?

      One stance is the quasi-tolerance/free speech approach. Another is to embrace the Popperian solution to the paradox of tolerance. You can see that journey in John’s comments in the thread.

      What if somebody DOESN’T take that step and instead sticks with initial approach (perhaps motivated by cynically liking the idea of having an ally against the liberal left?) Well, that’s the Sad Puppy story – you get gobble up and tossed aside or eaten by brain worms (or both). It’s also the GOP story and why I’m starting the debarkle story with the events of Jan 6 2021 🙂

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      • One of themes of Beale-Scalzi interactions. John always tried to be fair and inclusive, was way to amiable and things went downhill from there until in the end Beale began to call Scalzi “McRapey”.

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  10. This looks like the best place to note that the Dark Lord Gossage-Vardebedian Spode is presently asking if Q is a phony, why are Democrats so clearly worried about it?

    It brings to mind the old ‘If the Protocols are false, why do the Jews seek to suppress them’ “argument”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was just reading that while I was over there checking a reference for the Debarkle intro. It’s laughably sad given all his ‘wait 48 hours’ ‘trump has a plan’ stuff in January.

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      • First it was ‘wait 48 hours’. Then ‘maybe this is the ten days of darkness’. Now it’s this. As I’ve noted before, it’s the Hugos all over again.

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  11. It may be too far afield, but since the whole Sad Puppy movement is loosely tied to the Sovereign Citizen movement (mostly through Beale, but some other Pups have made noises in that direction), you may want to briefly explain the “1871” theory held by Sovereign Citizens that in that year the U.S. government was secretly abolished and replaced by a corporation using all of the labor of its citizens as assets.

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  12. This looks really good. A cultural history of the last decade through the lens of SFF. As a sometime reader of such (no involvement with fandom, but familiar with the various events), I will be following with interest.

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  13. (Sorry to comment on a long-dormant post, but this seemed like the most relevant one for this comment.)

    I’m sure you don’t need/want any more to add to your workload on this, but could you consider having some appendix that might make it easy to refer to what people did or didn’t say/claim at particular times?

    I’ve been following a thread about this year’s Nebula nominations on Reddit, and in places it has devolved into regurgitating Puppy history. That’s bad enough, but there are various claims being made, that others are refuting, about what (some) Puppies claimed or wanted, and then saying that they were successful or proven correct. e.g.

    * “I think they (Puppies) won a victory in discrediting the awards.” – Pretty sure LC wasn’t wanting the Hugos/Campbell/Astounding discredited when he was up for it, nor VD when he was involved in the Nebula judging – but the Rabids putting Chuck Tingle on their slate certainly was, even if it backfired on them. (And that’s before you get into trying to measure whether the awards are/were discredited or not, for anything other than the couple of years that the Puppies were able to mess them around.)

    * “They (Puppies) proved their point, the award was gameable, …” – Was that ever really their point? Even if it was, would it need to be proven – Black Genesis in 1987 showed that a motivated and/or funded block could get a book into the shortlist of finalists, even if getting anywhere in the voting for the winner is another matter entirely. (As an aside, did anything change in the rules between 1987 and the Puppies to actively prevent a repeat occurrence, similar to how EPH was brought in to counteract slates?)

    * “Both sides think they won, and both are correct. They both achieved their objectives. (Puppies: the awards are controllable by a clique, …” Did the Puppies claim that? I think you can argue that pretty much any organisation or entity is controll*able* by a clique, so it’d be a pretty weak claim. More useful would be proving that something is controll*ed* by a clique, but I don’t see that that was something they did. IIRC either LC and/or BT pointed out that Hugo nominations and voting numbers are/were much lower than most people might expect – but AFAIK the full breakdown of nomination & voting figures was being made available before the Puppies came along, so that’s hardly something they can claim as a victory. (Maybe they could claim to have increased visibility of that fact, but I’m dubious.)

    * etc

    Not sure how you might be able to present any fact checking of this – it almost feels like you’d need some sort of table for each statement/fact, with the various individuals and factions down one axis, and a timeline (to be able to capture changes of opinion) down the other.

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    • You are correct.

      It was never the Puppies’ claim that they wanted to discredit the Hugos or prove that the awards could be gamed. They insisted that the awards were already being gamed by a Tor cabal and the SJWs, and had already been discredited by that, and their purpose was to “take the Hugos back” (as if the Hugos had ever belonged to the Puppies in the first place. 🙄

      Subsequently the Puppies claimed that they’d proven the Hugo Awards were being run by a “clique” of Worldcon members rather than by SFF fans (to which the Worldcon members responded, “No duh, we’ve been telling you that all along, it’s right there in the Hugo rules in the WSFS Constitution”.

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      • It’s problematic to say things like “the puppies never said …”, because the puppies said so many different things. Partly they were, shall we say, less than truthful. Partly they legitimately changed their goals over time* And partly the various people involved didn’t all agree with each other all the time.**

        So there will be many cases where there are examples of someone saying “we puppies want [X]”, but where it’s also clear that none of the campaign organizers wanted [X] at that time.


        * But usually without acknowledging it – there was a lot of “we’ve always been at war with East-Asia.

        ** Again, usually without acknowledging it – meaning we got conversations like
        Puppy 1: “We want [A]”
        Non-puppy: “[A] is a stupid thing to want”.
        Puppy 2: “We want [B], we never said we want [A]. Non-puppy is just lying.”
        but never
        Puppy 1: “We want [A]”
        Puppy 2: “Ehm, no, that’s wrong, we want [B].”

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        • Yes and different puppies had different agendas. The anti-literary thing was Correia and Wright said the opposite and including Wright (or even Day who has literary pretensions) undermined Correia’s own point about literary sci-fi.

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      • Thanks for clarifying that my understanding/interpretation, but being both paranoid and pedantic, in an ideal world I’d really love a resource that has exact quotes from the horse’s mouth(s), backed up with hyperlinks, preferably to archive.org to circumvent the risk of the original pages being memory-holed or link-rotting.

        This is obviously a lot to expect – and I definitely don’t want to overload Cam, or distract him from the sterling work so far – but a comment from another user in a different Reddit thread about the Nebulas showed how even more recent events are subject to misremembering and/or misunderstanding.

        This particular poster confidently asserted that “Gideon (the Ninth) only barely lost (the Hugo) last time”. I pointed out that that didn’t match my recollection, and that I’d actually bothered to go check the stats PDF, which confirmed that in fact it placed third in the voting, quite a fair way behind the second placed book. They likely got confused with the nominations, where it indeed only got one nom less than AMCE – and actually scored higher on EPH points – but ultimately where you place within the nominated finalists is pretty meaningless, I’d have thought?

        If we’re already getting misleading narratives about things that happened less than a year ago, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the Puppy years suffer even worse from this…

        (Much as I’d like to be be part of the solution rather than the problem w.r.t. putting together a proper resource of quotes and links of Puppyish things, unfortunately for the foreseeable I’m likely to be tied up with my other SF related projects.)

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      • CamF/StefanB:

        Thanks, I did look at the Kerfuffle timeline, but I hadn’t seen the Potted Responses post. (Or rather, I think I saw it at the time, but it had slipped my mind.)

        I think what I’d like is something using that sort of data, but more hypertexty and lots of tags to identify (sub)topics. Probably something that’s not really feasible within the context of WordPress, more like the sort of experience you can get with Wikipedia or TVTropes, continually clicking on related links or drilling down.

        Even though I said I’m working on other things, this is starting to bug me enough that I think I’m going to start by pulling apart the content in those posts to see if I can reconstruct it in some sort of rough prototype of the sort of the thing I want. Don’t hold your breath waiting for me to deliver anything any time soon though…

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