Debarkle Update

Not another chapter today. There will be a short pause, which I’ll explain shortly. First though, I’ll give you all a sense of what’s coming up.

We are about mid-way through Part 1: Beginnings. There are six chapters go and the finally chapter brings things to 2010 and catches up with all the players we’ve met at the end of the first decade (or start of the second depending). The chapter after next one, will be the Larry Correia origin story, followed by the first book review chapter looking at Monster Hunter International. I’ll then swerve off course into our first Meanwhile chapter which will look at the Iraq War, Marriage Equality fights and the election of Barack Obama with comments and perspectives from the characters we’ve met so far (also the flippin’ Global Financial Crisis which, oddly, was less talked about). From there, an even more huge diversion into RaceFail2009 in the second Meanwhile chapter. Diversions all done, we close with 2010 with the boards all set up and all the pieces in place [for Wagner fans, Part 1 is like Das Rheingold, all the best tunes are in the next opera].

If you read the outline I posted on February 2, you will notice that a chapter got skipped between the Vox Day chapter and the SFWA chapter. So a couple of things about that chapter:

  1. Everything
  2. Everything else

The plan was to have a chapter looking at Tor and Baen up to mid-2000s along with ebooks and Amazon etc. As soon as I started pulling notes together for that chapter it was obvious that the right story to write was a biography of Jim Baen. It covers Tor, Baen Books, Tom Doherty, Hugo Awards and innovations like ebooks, fan engagement and (sadly) has a distinct conclusion in 2006 with Jim Baen’s untimely death. Of course Jim Baen himself had zero to do with the Puppy Kerfuffle but the nature of influential figures is that they cast a long shadow.

Now, as it stands, it is definitely not a hit piece or an attack on Jim Baen but…yeah, I’m going to give it a week. I will add a disclaimer and I don’t think somebody reading it in good faith will see it as an attempt to malign him. However, in the circumstance and given how certain former Puppies regard me, I’ll wait until next week before posting it.

24 thoughts on “Debarkle Update

  1. If it’s anything short of an unabashed hagiography, some Puppies will take it as a hit piece and respond accordingly.

    If by chance it *is* an unabashed hagiography, some Puppies will think you are taking the mickey and it is secretly a hit piece, and they will respond accordingly.

    Basically, you can’t win, I fear.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The important people aren’t the puppys, just make it as fair as you can and there are some other chapters were it could be harder to not see them as a hitpeace.
    On the other hand from what I heared about Jim Baen, a lot of people have said positive thinks about him, so that should really not be a hitpeace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I’d wanted to write something bad it would be very difficult to find any sources to back it up.

      The ‘bad’ bit really is simply having the chapter and having it point to the roots of later events can superficially be taken as “the puppies were Jim Baen’s fault”.

      Like

      1. Knowing the general level of puppy reading comprehension, they’ll probably take it that way. However, it’s notable that the noisy minority of Baen authors that eventually became Sad Puppies only started acting up and attacking Worldcon, the Hugos and the rest of the genre community after Jim Baen was gone, so if anything he held the more aggressive among his authors in check in ways that no one else could.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I imagine there’s going to be a lot of third-hand criticism based on what somebody said Cameltoes Fappin’ said. I hope no-one gets drawn into that – if replying to any criticism, *insist* that the opposition refer directly to what Camestros actually wrote.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jim Baen was, by most accounts, a decent guy.
    (I say “accounts” deliberately — at least one person had a, uh, financial difference of opinion with him, which is documented online. I *think* it was Walter Jon Williams but wouldn’t swear to it.)

    But he was generally very well-liked by people of all political persuasions.

    Pups all came into the field after he was dead, so their opinions on him matter even less than their opinions usually do.

    So Jim wasn’t their fault at all.

    (If anyone’s fault, I think they’re Toni’s, as she was in charge when they started selling and the house began moving farther right, which brings us up to last week.)

    Liked by 2 people

      1. While I have been trying not to make jokes about typos and editing, I cannot resist pointing out this:

        “In my case he [Jim Baen] passed it on to his assistant, Betsy Mitchell, who then passed it on to the copy editor, who never noticed a grammatical fault in the first paragraph. I have groaned over that flaw in the years since.”

        Liked by 3 people

    1. “Pups all came into the field after he was dead”

      Kratman was a Jim Baen discovery, I thought?

      Like

      1. Kratman, Ringo and Mike Williamson all started with Baen Books before Jim Baen’s death. (Larry and Brad were after.) As a trio, I think they helped define that specific formula of military-themed pseudo-libertarian right-wing fiction that’s not the ONLY thing Baen produces (mandatory ‘not all Baen’ disclaimer) but which prior to the Kindle-self-publish explosion, was a Baen speciality. So, yes, that started before Jim Baen’s death and was indeed well under way (Kratman’s Caliphate, Kratman/Ringo’s Watch on the Rhine) in the mid 2000s.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Ringo, too. Apparently, one of the Baen slush readers rejected his first novel, but Ringo so impressed Jim Baen in the Baen’s Bar forums that he asked Ringo to resubmit, bought the book and fired the slugh reader.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The simple fact that at different times some of the puppies were characterizing their beef as Baen vs Tor means that you have to talk about Baen the publishing company. And you can’t talk about that without explaining who Jim Baen was.

    But, yes, I understand the caution.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Well, yes. Let’s be honest, the SF publishing field is still not exactly a large space, and it was even less so then. All the publishers knew each other. And that’s even before we get into the more direct relationships, sub-imprints, and personal rivalries.

        Liked by 2 people

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