Debarkle Chapter 31: The Hugos Go to London

[Content warning for discussion of sexual assault, misogyny and transphobic language]

2014 was a busy year in the history of the Debarkle, with Larry Correia’s Sad Puppy 2 campaign, Vox Day’s involvement in Gamergate and the rest of fandom having its own controversies. Day had already started the year with a different problem: the Christian publisher who was selling his epic fantasy Throne of Bones had been sold and the new owners were not interested in Day’s book which didn’t fit the mould of the Christian Booksellers Association[1]. Day explained:

“I have reacquired all the publishing rights to the Selenoth and Quantum Mortis books and will be re-releasing them through the publishing arm of Alpenwolf. Alpenwolf will continue to release hardcovers as well as ebooks and the books will continue to feature covers from the two artists who provided the six existing covers, JartStar and Kirk DuPounce.”

Alpenwolf was the Finnish game development company whose only work at the time appeared to be Vox Day’s gladiator-management game set in his fantasy world. The idea of the game company being involved in ebooks wasn’t new — Day had proposed in 2013 that the game would offer ebooks as in-game rewards[2].

By February, Day’s plans had coalesced into a publishing company called Castalia House, named after the fictional country in Herman Hesse’s novel The Glass Bead Game.

“We are working off the new publishing models which will provide authors better royalty rates than they can get anywhere without self-publishing, and we are encouraging the participation of the various readerships involved. We are intentionally keeping prices down with an eye to maximizing the ongoing technological disruption of the existing publishing companies; we do not view every free reader of one of our books as a lost potential customer, but rather, as a reader who has been rescued from the confining intellectual chains of the SF/F gatekeepers.”

Castalia was (and remains) a corporate section of the game development company and while Day was chief editor he has said that he is not the owner[3]. Castalia House as an entity would allow Day to publish sympathetic authors as well as provide an outlet for both fiction and non-fiction.

Meanwhile, as well as the Sad Puppy campaign, Larry Correia was in the thick of even more internet arguments with other science fiction & fantasy writers. As well as the previously discussed fight over non-binary genders [see chapter 26], in June 2014 Correia decided to weigh in on the topic of rape and self-defence. Correia’s argument was very much focused on the use of guns for self-defence and dismissive of the idea of education playing a role in reducing cases of rape and sexual assault, which Correia called in the title of his post “The Naive Idiocy of Teaching Rapists Not To Rape”. That led to John Scalzi saying on Twitter that Correia’s post title was:

“The Naive Idiocy of Writing a Headline That Makes You Look Like Rapist Excusing Asshole”

The resulting Twitter exchange[5] would later be summed up by Scalzi as:

“This evening, in sum: The Naive Idiocy Of Apparently Not Being Able To Understand the English Language Past the Fourth Grade Level.”

A more substantial response was written by author Jim C Hines at his own blog:

“Correia is right that there are a lot of different kinds of predators out there. When it comes to sexual assault, the majority of them are men, and they’re far more likely to be someone the victim knows. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, yet for as long as I’ve been working with rape survivors and speaking out about rape, there have been countless people insisting that the Only True Solution is to turn all women into gun-toting ninjas.

I don’t understand the fear some people — again, this seems to be primarily men — have when it comes to looking at other solutions. Instead of reading the research, they just proclaim that education will never work, because reasons. They ignore the pervasiveness of rape myths, the myriad approaches to things like bystander intervention, the utterly broken way our legal system treats rape, and all of the other factors that contribute to the prevalence of rape in our society.”

In a pattern that we have discussed before, Correia cast himself as being victimised because people criticised what he was saying and attempted to shift the whole argument on to the topic of Samuel Delany:

“So what was the horrible misogynistic thing that I did which was so terribly insulting and awful bad that it caused all these SFWA officer alumni to unite in my condemnation? I called Scalzi a “pussy”. So, the Word Police swooped in, declaring that this was the most hurtful misogynistic trigger outrage this week. (of course, these same people shower praise on, quote from, and give lifetime achievement awards to sci-fi author, Samuel Delany, who praises pedophile organization NAMBLA, so their outrage meter may need some calibration)”

Correia’s line of attack in June 2014 was very much in tune with the strategy Vox Day would employ against the SFWA in July of the same year (see Chapter 25) — that criticism from the establishment of the SFWA was invalidated by the taint of being insufficiently opposed to paedophilia[6] without really engaging with the claim.

Elsewhere back in March, the Hugo Awards categories were a matter of some debate for Mike Glyer at File 770. Reprising his argument from 2007 (see chapter 29) that established professional authors were distorting the Best Fan Writer category. This time Glyer pointed to the fact that neither John Scalzi’s website nor that of author Frederik Pohl acknowledged their fan writer Hugo awards[7]. The post received a lengthy comment from John Scalzi.

However, it was a different and very short-lived controversy that would capture more attention for the Hugo Awards.

Worldcon is a movable feast and while the majority of Worldcons have been American and the “world” moniker is misleading, the convention has been held outside of the US and outside of North America. In 2007, Worldcon had been held in Japan (see chapter 29) and in 2014 Worldcon was to be held in London for the third time (and in the UK for the seventh time)[8]. Eager to make a big splash, the co-chairs of the convention decided to invite UK TV celebrity, Jonathan Ross, to be the MC for the Hugo Awards.

On a superficial level, the idea had some merit. Ross was famous, witty and not unknowledgeable about science fiction. His role as MC would encourage more press coverage of the Hugo Awards. Loncon (as London based Worldcons are known) issued a press release when Ross’s role was confirmed:

“Ross has had a long career as a TV and radio host and is also a film critic, comics writer, and video game developer. He has been a champion of science fiction and fantasy in all its forms throughout his career, and is one of the genre’s most vocal enthusiasts Ross’ wife, screenwriter Jane Goldman, won a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) in 2008 with Matthew Vaughan for the screenplay for Stardust. Loncon 3 co-chair Steve Cooper said: “We’re thrilled to announce that Jonathan Ross will be our host for the 2014 Hugo Awards Ceremony. Ross loves science fiction and fantasy as much as any of the fans who will be nominating and voting for the awards.””

Loncon 3 press release cited at

However, “a long career as a TV and radio host” included a long career of disparaging jokes about women and cruel pranks, which had previously led to him being suspended from his radio show. Whatever superficial merit the idea had, Ross was a walking bundle of PR disaster risks who was as likely to bring as much negative publicity to the Hugo Awards as good publicity. Nor was this unknown, as File 770 reported, people within the team organising Loncon had raised multiple objections:

“Loncon 3 Exhibits Division head Farah Mendlesohn wrote on her LiveJournal  (in a post since taken private) that she spent all week arguing with co-chairs Steven Cooper and Alice Lawson against Ross’ selection because of his “public abuse of women.” The chairs made it clear this was not something for the committee to decide. Therefore on February 28 she resigned as division head so she could continue to criticize the decision. (For complex reasons she still intends to work as Project Manager for the Exhibit Hall.)”

British author Charles Stross also saw some of the obvious pitfalls:

“The problem I see is that while fandom is in the process of cleaning house, inviting him — or anyone with a controversial media profile — to be Hugo toastmaster is like rolling out a welcome mat at the Worldcon front door that says “muck-rakers welcome”. There’s a lot of muck to be raked, even before we get into Daily Mail photographers stalking cosplayers: just look at the recent SFWA fracas (plural), the Jim Frenkel/harassment scandal at Tor, and so on. Worldcon should be safe space for fans, and inviting a high profile media personality who has been targeted by the tabloids is going to cause collateral damage, even if nothing happens, simply by making many fans feel less safe.”

Hugo finalist Seanan McGuire expressed her concern, fears and anger at the decision on Twitter, although the UK/US time difference meant he had already withdrawn before she learned he was the proposed MC. Her fears were also reflected by many other fans.

The growing backlash was rapidly cut short when Jonathan Ross withdrew from the role as MC via Twitter. The controversy lasted about seven hours, at least for the substantive aspects of it. What followed was the meta-controversy in which the manner of the announcement, the push back and then Ross’s withdrawal were debated and characterised. The ostensibly left-wing British magazine The New Statesman headlined their article on the issue as “Jonathan Ross and the Hugo awards: why was he forced out by science fiction’s self-appointed gatekeepers?”

“hurtful names were flung, people were “crying”, and the (vocal contingent of) the SFF community became a childish clubhouse hurling abuse from a crack in the door because they thought he would be mean to them if they let him in. They thought he would make fat jokes, be rude to women, disrespect the community and – as punishment not only for previous gaffes but for gaffes not yet made – he didn’t deserve the honour. Jonathan Ross resigned from his post after being called various words your office internet is likely to block and wished everybody a lovely convention. It was horrific to watch.”

The rest of the article framed the issue in terms of whether Ross was being excluded from fandom by American fans who perhaps didn’t understand British humour. What also became clear was the involvement of Hugo winning author and comic book writer Neil Gaiman. Gaiman was a friend of Ross and apparently had helped broker the invitation for Ross to be the MC of the Hugo Awards.

““What was peculiar about the attacks was they had constructed an ad hominem straw man to attack, who was sexist, sizeist, hates women and likes making everyone feel bad,” said Gaiman. “It doesn’t bear any resemblance to Jonathan. While he has occasionally said things that make you go ‘Oh god, your mouth opened and that thing came out’, he is a consummate professional.””


It is, looking back on it, a very odd defence. Even Ross’s defenders accepted that he had made many inappropriate remarks in the past and indeed, had a habit of doing so. However, anticipating that he might do so again and in the process cause controversy at the Hugo award ceremony was dismissed:

“Damning him for things he has allegedly done and might possibly be about to do but had not yet done? It’s all a bit Minority Report.


The ensuing controversy caused some delight for Vox Day who dismissed the Worldcon as a “freakshow” and used the incident to make more disparaging comments about John Scalzi and the Nielsen Haydens.

At Sarah Hoyt’s blog, a guest post tied together everything from the erosion of freedom caused by seatbelt laws to public healthcare as a deliberate attempt to secure power. The crowning example of this move being the Jonathan Ross case:

“But why the hell should we let that stand in the way of a good outrages and HooHaa Glitter Explosion? Look, Ross could have brought exposure to the genre like it hasn’t seen since the Golden Age. That exposure would likely have meant the Hugo would actually MEAN something like it hasn’t in decades. Instead a few people who are members of the International Coalition of the Perpetually Butthurt threw a collective hissy fit — not over anything he’s actually said, but over what he MIGHT have said. I mean WTF? Are we living in a freaking Phil Dick story?

It’s time those of us with a brain — and a sense of humor — told these idiots to STFU.

First, because they’re part of the problem, the self-inflicted wound that’s killing SF. Our demo is trending older and older, and these silly twits are doing everything they can to drive away younger readers.

Second because this kind of exclusionary crap is the same sort of stuff that was done to most of US when we were younger.”

Patrick Richardson at

In April, in his post explaining the controversy around the Sad Puppy 2 Hugo finalists, Larry Correia would also use a similar line about the Jonathan Ross case: “Jonathan Ross might say something in the future. Outrage.”[11] That using past behaviour to object to somebody taking on a future role is both typical and common across political divides (or indeed non-political ones) was ignored and instead portrayed as being a unique feature of left-wing censoriousness.

Meanwhile…aside from controversial hosts and Sad Puppy nominees, the rest of the Hugo finalists had their own newsworthy aspects. In the Astounding Award, Benjanun Sriduangkaew was a finalist, precipitating events that we covered in an earlier chapter. In Best Novel, the whole of the multi-volume Wheel of Time series had been nominated as a single work.

The Wheel of Time was an epic multi-book fantasy adventure following a band of friends as they prepare for an apocalyptic battle against the ultimate evil. The series had reached eleven books with the protagonists not much closer to the end, when the series author, Robert Jordan, died from a rare blood disease. To finish the series, Brandon Sanderson was given the task of completing the final book based on Jordan’s unpublished text[12]. With the series complete, fans made the argument that the series as a whole could be nominated as a single work for the Hugo Award.

The argument rested on a clause in the World Science Fiction Society’s constitution:

“Simply put, because no portion of The Wheel of Time has ever been nominated for a Hugo, the entire series became eligible as a single work when it was completed. I’ve contacted the Hugo Administrators for this year and they declined to rule on this interpretation, preferring to wait and see if the nominations received require one. So if more folks nominate just A Memory of Light, that will make the ballot. If more nominate for the entire series, then the series will be listed. If it doesn’t make a difference either way, then they won’t need to rule.”

The rule existed because, for much of the history of the Hugo Awards, novels were published serially in magazines. It was a novel but not wholly unprecedented interpretation to apply the rule to a work of the length of The Wheel of Time. However, for there to be a definitive ruling on the eligibility of the series, it would first need to be nominated.

At, Leigh Butler encouraged fans to nominate the series in January of 2014:

“Therefore, O my Peeps, I exhort you: if you can and will, please consider nominating the Wheel of Time series as a whole for the Hugo Award for Best Novel, and spread the word so that others might do the same.”

This was Butler’s personal opinion but Tor was also the publisher of The Wheel of Time.

The series was successful in becoming a finalist both in terms of votes and in terms of a ruling on its eligibility. Fans of the series would get another pleasant surprise later in the year.

“Ever since the announcement of the 2014 Hugo Finalists, we’ve been getting questions on all fronts about the Wheel of Time. Since 2006, the Worldcon has been making a collection of e-texts of the nominated works (subject to their authors’ and publishers’ willingness to make them available) available to Hugo voters, so that those voters can make informed choices. But no work as long as Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson’ Wheel of Time has previously been a finalist. In answer to many inquiries, we’re happy to be able to say that the entire Wheel of Time will be made available in the Hugo Voters’ Packet.”

This was quite literally a big deal, although in other ways the Hugo Packet was lacking in 2014. Orbit books which published the Hugo finalists Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, Parasite by Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire) and Neptune’s Brood by Charles Stross declined to allow these works to be included in the Hugo packet[13].

It would be wrong though to characterise as only looking at Tor-connected works for the Hugo Awards. In the final month of voting, published a glowing review of Larry Correia’s Warbound:

“I hope Warbound gets the Hugo—if for no other reason than maybe it’ll someday catch Hollywood’s eye so that Guillermo del Toro can make the film. But if not, Larry Correia will keep doing what he does: blowing things up with style. He’s as stubborn as his protagonists, and in the end, no, Correia absolutely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe that’s because he’s not tea—he’s Red Bull mixed with Pop Rocks and shaken real hard. But if you figure he’s all fights, big-muscled brutes, and gung-ho firepower—a reputation well earned, to be sure—you’ll still be surprised.”

Jeff LaSala

As voting drew to a close in July of 2014, Vox Day posted his voting intentions which he encouraged other’s to follow:

    1. Warbound by Larry Correia
    2. No Award
    3. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
  • Left off ballot: Ancillary Justice, Neptune’s Brood, and Parasite.
    1. The Chaplain’s Legacy by Brad Torgersen
    2. The Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells
    3. No Award
    4. Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
  • Left off ballot: Equoid and Wakulla Springs.
    1. “Opera Vita Aeterna” by Vox Day
    2. “The Exchange Officers” by Brad Torgersen
    3. “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling” by Ted Chiang
    4. No Award
  • Left off ballot: “The Waiting Stars” and “The Lady Astronaut of Mars”.
    1. No Award
  • I recommend leaving the ballot otherwise blank. This category is illustrative of how far the genre has fallen.
    1. Toni Weiskopf
    2. Sheila Gilbert
    3. Ginjer Buchanan
    4. No Award

Day called for people to vote ‘no award’ for the whole Short Story category. Elsewhere, people were recommending that people should vote ‘no award’ above Vox Day’s novelette.

The results were announced at the Hugo ceremony on the 17th of August and the results were not good for the Sad Puppy campaign:

“Meanwhile at Monster Hunter Nation HQ, it’s time to lie back and stop thinking of England. No matter what people hoped or feared would happen as the Hugo Awards were announced, only one of the 7 shortlisted nominees endorsed by Larry Correia finished ahead of another nominee in their category – basically, they ran last.”

Vox Day’s novelette did particularly badly, coming sixth out of a set of five finalists by beaten in the run-offs by ‘no award’. In Best Novel, Larry Correia finished better, coming fifth in the run-off against ‘no award’ and beating it by 1161 to 1052. The winner of Best Novel was Ann Leckie’s space opera Ancillary Justice, which we’ll look at in the next chapter. The only one of Correia’s picks that did better than coming fifth or lower was Toni Weisskopf who came fourth in the Best Editor Long Form category[14].

Correia’s reaction was mixed. He did make an honest attempt to reassure his followers that he believed there had been no fraud. He went on to claim that he had proved his point:

“I do enjoy the constantly moving goal posts of the perpetually outraged, like how Sad Puppies somehow turned into a crusade for racism/sexism/homophobia in their heads. I never expected to win the Hugo. My stated goals this entire time was to get some political untouchables onto their sainted slate, so that they would demonstrate that there was serious political bias in the awards.”

Correia’s stated goals had not ‘the entire time” been to get political untouchables onto the ballot nor had he ever explained how that would demonstrate a more general bias. Nor had Correia included on his list more obvious writers with a better track record of writing success than Vox Day, controversial political views and eligible works — in particular Michael Z Williamson in short story and Tom Kratman in Best Related Work. Both those authors were afterthoughts on Vox Day’s additional slate and hence didn’t get enough votes to be finalists.

Elsewhere, other supporters of Correia’s Sad Puppy campaign had thoughts on the significance of the results. At Mad Genius Club one of the authors included in Vox Day’s additional Sad Puppy slate, Dave Freer, had his own theory about the results:

“As the reading population, logic states, is a reflection of the demographics of the total population, and maybe 10-15% of that group could count as left wing. Stretch to 25% who will put up with it… still leaves 75% who are unrepresented, for whom the Hugo Award was at best meaningless or actively signaled a book they would not want to read. Now, obviously, even if you personally are further left than Pol Pot or Kim il from-too-much-caviar or Stalin, as an author signalling that 75% do not want to read your book is not a win. By Larry making this bias obvious, by having to recruit nominations, despite being a very very popular author… The previous Hugo winners, the current nominees, the normal greying crew of voters, the WorldCon organizers and the Hugo organizers were caught in a trap. The only way to win (to establish that this was NOT true, there was no left wing bias) was to LOSE. To have a right wing, (or several of them) author (or editor) win (no matter how good the various proponents were. It was like an international road-race which somehow only Germans won… once this was publicized, even if the best runner was German – if he won, your race’s credibility was in the toilet, now and always) That would re-establish the credibility of the award as essentially picking ‘best’ rather than left wing flavor of the month lose and 75% of your sales. It was kind of a lose or lose badly equation for the left wing of sf/fantasy, lose and have a Damian in tears surrounded by exploding heads, or ‘win’ and lose badly by destroying your credibility. The best option would have been to divide and rule and get behind say Toni Weisskopf and Brad Torgersen. But that would take brains.”

The mechanics of Dave Freer’s suggestion are hard to fathom. Was he suggesting that voters not vote for the works they liked but instead vote for right-leaning finalists for the sake of appearances? Did he think there was some sort of centralised decision made on how people voted?

Brad Torgersen was more keen to lay the problem at the feet of what he called “affirmative action”.

“But at what point does the affirmative action go too far? Almost becoming a mockery of itself?

I noted with unhappiness the “squee” that erupted from some individuals when an all-female Nebula list hit the internet airwaves earlier in the season. As if merely ensuring all the winners had vaginas was a triumph unto itself? So, do we oscillate? For fairness? One year, it’s all penises, the next, back to all vaginas again? But wait, what about trans people who have neither penises nor vaginas? Clearly the frontier needs to be pushed again. And so on, and so forth.

One might get the sense that in this kind of affirmative action environment, the merits of the story proper are definitely riding in the back seat. One might be correct about that, too.”

For Brad, a set of Nebula finalists that were all women (and that some people were happy about it) was ipso facto proof of “affirmative action”. He also claimed that Larry Correia wouldn’t care if a Tongan gay socialist Democrat won a Hugo, just as long as being Tongan, gay, socialist, or Democrat, weren’t the main reason why they won. Yet, the primary evidence offered by Correia, Torgersen and Freer for the supposed bias in the Hugos was the kind of people who were winning it. There was a vague claim that unworthy books had been winning for some time but these dates preceded the very recent trend towards more demographically diverse finalists[15].

A missing piece of the argument from Correia et al was some analysis of the works that were being nominated instead of their choices. Correia had talked vaguely about polar bears and robots being raped as examples of where the Hugos were going awry but there was initially no serious critique of current finalists or winners. Vox Day had been doing this for some time with his model of “pink” versus “blue” science fiction, which was essentially about stereotypical feminine or masculine values[16] (which Day summed up as “women ruin everything”). Correia had no model of his own but in 2014 supporters of his campaign did identify a core trio of works that were 2014 Hugo finalists as exemplifying what was wrong with the Hugo Awards. We will look at those next chapter.

Brad Torgersen also made clear in the same essay that Sad Puppies would continue but that Larry Correia wouldn’t be running it. Torgersen couldn’t say who would “pick up the torch” next but acknowledged that it could be him.

Next Time: Dinosaurs, Justice and the Water that Falls on you from Nowhere…



125 responses to “Debarkle Chapter 31: The Hugos Go to London”

  1. Typo patrol:

    It’s Samuel R. Delany, not Delaney.

    “Ross was famous, witty and not unknowledgeable science fiction.”

    There’s an “about” in there, though it is true that Jonathan Ross is not unknowledgable science fiction either.

    “A missing piece of the argument from Correia et al was some analysis of the works that where being nominated instead of their choices.”

    That should be “were being nominated”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I *keep* making that mistake and it is aggrivating me more than other spelling errors because I don’t know why I do that one! Vowel reversal? Sure. Adding an extra ‘e’ for no reason? Can’t explain it


      • Delaney is the more common form of the Irish surname. That would lead some people astray; on the other hand Delany’s prominence in the field should encourage the reverse error among fen.


      • I think that this sort of thing is not uncommon. I’ve noticed transient but consistent tendencies to mis-spell particular words in my own writing – “popualtion” is the current leader – that persist for a while and then fade away. “Taht”, on the other hand, will probably be incised on my tombstone.


      • I tend to misspell Samuel R. Delany, too, but since I’m currently reviewing one of his novels for Galactic Journey, I’ve spelled his name several times and know how it’s spelled now.

        One thing that’s a big problem for me is middle initials, because I keep getting them mixed up.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “in 2014 supporters of his campaign did identify a core trio of works that were 2021 Hugo finalists as exemplifying what was wrong with the Hugo Awards”


    (also, “Was he suggesting that votes not vote for the works they liked” – clearly that first ‘votes’ should be ‘voters’)


  3. Are you going to call the Campbell Award for Best New Writer the Astounding Award in these pre-name-change years? I suppose you may have been doing it all along, but we made it to Chapter 31 before I noticed.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I’ll note that the Astounding Award (what was then the Campbell Award) is not a Hugo Category, it’s a separate award, so you don’t have to follow identical naming protocols for it vs a Hugo category.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is, famously (and often prefaced/announced as) “NotAHugo”.

        I agree it should still be called the Campbell in these years, otherwise there’s no context for why it suddenly wasn’t after a certain Hugo ceremony. There had been grumblings against it and in favor of a change for quite some time, but it took one very plain statement to get it done. Which has to be coming up in a later chapter. Or at least a footnote.

        Maybe “Campbell (now Astounding)”.


  4. suggesting that votes not vote -> suggesting that voters not vote

    Just weird to suggest that a public figure’s well documented previous behavior is no guide to their future behavior.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. Just for accuracy, by the time Seanan McGuire woke up on the U.S. side of the pond and weighed in on Twitter, Ross had already withdrawn as Toastmaster.

    Also, I’m not sure whether it matters, but Leigh Butler was one of a group of Wheel of Time fans who called themselves “Darkfriends” from the Usenet group rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan (RASFWRJ) which went back as least to 1994, and was one of the co-editors of the Wheel of Time FAQ which went back even further. Butler’s fandom of WoT precedes by decades.

    Liked by 2 people

    • //Just for accuracy, by the time Seanan McGuire woke up on the U.S. side of the pond and weighed in on Twitter, Ross had already withdrawn as Toastmaster.//

      I thought that was the case but it got confusing


    • I found it bewildering that McGuire copped quite a lot of flak for causing Jonathan Ross to withdraw even though he already withdrew before McGuire started commenting. But that didn’t stop people from piling on.

      I think of it as an important example of how spectacularly wrong online discussions get especially on a heated topic. Sadly we can’t break the habit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know if this was ever really true, and it’s been seven years, and I wasn’t very tuned into WorldCon’s specific fandoms at the time, but there was a sense that McGuire charged into a situation that was dying down, poured petrol on the embers and made a small incident much bigger.
        For all his faults, Ross would almost certainly have done a good job. Massive comics fan, married to a Hugo Award winner. The narrative that he was some obscure shock jock with no connection to fandom was


        • nickpheas: there was a sense that McGuire charged into a situation that was dying down, poured petrol on the embers and made a small incident much bigger. For all his faults, Ross would almost certainly have done a good job. Massive comics fan, married to a Hugo Award winner. The narrative that he was some obscure shock jock with no connection to fandom was entirely false.

          I don’t think there was ever any such narrative that he was an “obscure shock jock with no connection to fandom”. The objections were that he was extremely well known – especially in the UK – for behavior that was misogynistic and offensive. Because of that, his selection sent the message “We don’t care about offensive misogynistic behavior, all we care about is having someone famous to present the Hugo Awards.”

          I agree that a lot of people portrayed McGuire as being a huge factor in the online uproar, but honestly that’s mostly after-the-fact retconning. The big storm took place in the UK. Afterwards, McGuire was placed in the role of Bad Guy by people who were looking for someone to blame (and as a queer author, she made a perfect target for misogynists and homophobes).

          It did not help that Ross’ wife made a huge public accusation that McGuire, with 12K Twitter followers, had “bullied” her daughter by not responding to her tweet, bringing a further Twitter storm down on McGuire’s head. (And that was a seriously privileged, wealthy, famous, straight white woman WTF on her part, I still can’t believe she actually did that.) 🙄 Gaiman’s clueless wealthy famous white man response, “Well, Rossy has never done anything awful to me” defense was just icing on the cake.

          The question wasn’t whether Ross would have done a good job. He… probably… would have done so. But I do think that the ceremony runners would have had to have a serious conversation with him ahead of time about what would and would not be acceptable “humor”. They would probably have had to ask him for a copy of his remarks ahead of time to ensure that he did not say anything that would have been awful. And right there, the fact that they would have needed to do that, is a huge indicator of why his selection was a problem.

          The con chairs were so intent on having him as Toastmaster, despite numerous objections by other committee members, that they went around the established protocol and invited him anyway. If you’re circumventing the rules to do something to which a lot of your committee has seriously objected, it’s a good indicator that you’re making a wrong choice.

          The whole shitstorm was absolutely predictable, and the selfishness and stubbornness (and star-struckness) of the co-chairs prevented them from evaluating the situation rationally – or they would have realized that they were making a bad decision.

          Liked by 5 people

      • Back in 2014, I knew who Jonathan Ross was, but I only knew him as “that British TV/radio show host who always says shocking things and insults people”. I had no idea that he was longtime fan, that his wife was a Hugo winner or that he was even married. And a lot of Worldcon members would have been in the same situation or they would have googled him and only gotten a list of “Jonathan Ross did something shocking” incidents.

        But the main issue here isn’t Jonathan Ross, who probably would have done a good job (a better job than GRRM, at any rate), but the fact that Loncon didn’t even expect the backlash, even though it was very predictable. It would have helped, if Loncon had added something along the lines of “Yes, we know Jonathan Ross has a certain reputation, but he’s also a fan and genuinely loves the genre and has promised to behave himself” to the initial announcement.

        Also, as I blogged at the time, the UK news media who normally missed no chance to rake Jonathan Ross over the coals for pretty much anything he ever did and who created his reputation as “that guy who says shocking things” in the first place, suddenly decided that Worldcon and Seanan McGuire were at fault and that it was an outrage that Worldcon members didn’t want Jonathan Ross hosting their biggest ceremony.Duh, if all you know about Jonathan Ross was what the UK news media said, then you wouldn’t want him anywhere near any party you throw either, unless you hate your guests.

        Liked by 2 people

        • To be slightly fair to the UK press, Ross also helped create his reputation as ‘that guy who says shocking things’ but yes, there was a lot of little-Englanding going on there with a tone of how-dare-Americans-attack-our-national-treasure-Wossy-(that’s-our-job)

          Liked by 1 person

      • JJ said “They would probably have had to ask him for a copy of his remarks ahead of time to ensure that he did not say anything that would have been awful.”

        I kinda wish they’d done that to GRRM’s remarks for the Hugo ceremonies last year.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That was exactly what I was thinking when I wrote that, Soon Lee.

          The thing is, with Ross’ history, you would know that you needed to do so. Before last year’s fiasco, I don’t know how many people would have known it was needed with GRRM.

          CoNZealand had three big problems: 1) not having a pre-defined, clear vision of what the awards ceremony should (and should not) be, 2) scrambling to put together the Hugo Award ceremony at the last minute without making the time to preview and edit or re-record the recorded footage, and 3) star-struck committee members who were not willing to provide clear guidance for the toastmaster, and then enforce it.

          Liked by 3 people

  6. Someone in 2014, I can’t remember at this late date who it was, posted an article which could be summarized as “they should have let us have just one” — it excoriated the poor tactics of the Hugo Award for denying the Sad Puppies even one award, thus ensuring that they’d be back in more force next year. It struck me at the time how the author seemed to take it as a given that there was some central cabal deciding who’d get awarded in each category; as opposed to the voters voting their preferences and the Puppies’ stuff just not being very popular with them, which certainly was consistent with the data available. I considered commenting on the blog and decided not to try to get into it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • As various folks have pointed out, astroturfing is routine in right-wing politics and society, along with overt centralized leadership. The Tea Party movement, so beloved of a bunch of the folks Camestros is writing about, for instance, was conceived, funded, and directed from the outset by lobbying group FreedomWorks (and former employees of it). They don’t get much experience of actual democracy, or popular decision-making and consensus-building.

      Liked by 7 people

    • You can get a hugo, if your work is better than the other work on the ballot and you convince enough of the voters that it is.
      Nearly none of the puppienominees manage that. And it is not true 2013 one of the nominees that Larry put his support behind, was Writting Excuses the winner of best related, several people on the slates won in 2016 and Guardians of the Galaxy won 2015, didn’t stop the anger. (yes none of the examples are core puppies and nothing was wrong with those wins)
      And one of the goals (that I even believed Larry and Brad) was making voters aware of “the overlooked writers” (aka their friends). While they are some successtorys (Annie Bellet, Marco Kloos) wins were mostly for hostages and I don’t think any of the successes were very conservative like Freer wanted to see.
      The problem is that Larry and Brad suck at finding good material (often they nominate a writer for the worst stuff of the year) and Voy who Larry used as gotcha is usless for any proof.

      Liked by 4 people

  7. “As the reading population, logic states, is a reflection of the demographics of the total population….” sez Dave Freer. If only he’d pondered his opening phrase a little more, he might have realised what nonsense it is and saved himself the trouble of writing the rest of that confused mess.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Not to mention that, contrary to his claims that “maybe 10-15% of that group could count as left wing”, in fact, 26% of Americans identify as liberal, another 36% identify as moderate, and only 34% identify as conservative. When questioned on their beliefs, most moderates support stances which would be considered liberal.

      At best, he’s talking about only 1/3 of the population who support his views.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think that has to do a lot with Freers worldview. There is group a(left) and group b(right) and which group turns out more to a vote wins. The Hugos are more a contest of ideas that fight for an independent voter. It is us vs them, that doesn’t work well in the Hugos.
        Also the old stuff that you allready know:
        1. The membership of a worldcon don’t necesary fit the democraphics of the USA.

        2. Don’t forget the rest of the world. Last year People of the US were 1970 of 3771 (ignoring the 40 kids included in the number) worldconmembers and what is conservative in the USA is not the same as in another country (I know a very special worldcon but that were the numbers I could get fast).

        3. What the argument completly ignores is that in the Hugos you have to get support from the other voters were you are not the first choice (somethink the puppyleaders did never seem to get).
        And conservative is not a monolith. Let’s take Vox Day a story that was from what I heared deserving of last place. Now even ignoring the quality, Vox is a person that is on the right of the spectrum of conservative. Even other conservatives are not very found of him (let’s take the words of Mike Resnick from 2015 or Brandon Sanderson on 2016 as example of that, both have been identified as conservatives, who are Hugowinners) So the far right has problem that go far into the 1/3 of the population. And even if Hugovoting it is hard to ignore it, when the nominees are people that want to hurt as or our friends. I think it is a bit much to hope for a vote from someone that you want dead (Day has probably an example for everyone).

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Typo

    “This time Glyer pointed to the fact that neither John Sclazi’s website” – Scalzi’s


  9. /quote The Wheel of Time was an epic multi-book fantasy adventure following a band of friends as they prepare for an apocalyptic battle against the ultimate evil. The series had reached eleven books with the protagonists not much closer to the end, when the series author, Robert Jordan, died from a rare blood disease. To finish the series, Brandon Sanderson was given the task of completing the final book based on Jordan’s unpublished text[12]. With the series complete, fans made the argument that the series as a whole could be nominated as a single work for the Hugo Award. /quote

    Not really, Jordan was working on the for his plan last book (even if he had to find a new way to bind it) when he died, so in his my opinion there was a way closer to the end than you see it. (Yes I have read and enjoyed The Wheel of Time it was my way as a teenanger into books in english, because the germans made the series look small in comparision and waiting…)
    Note that we had a Hugowinner a few years before the nomination that was to books (and there was a trilogy on the longlist in 2015) so general speaking, we can say that the interpretation of the rules by the Wheel of Timefans(and from what I see that was fandriven) was not that out of line. Yes that ignores the fact, that there were 14 dorstoppers. 🙂
    Even if I wouldn’t have been reading the series for a long time, the diference is malice that I don’t see here. The alternative would have been to nominate A Memory of Light which would have been problems as book 14 of 14. And about Sanderson he was a fan of the Wheel of Time and to finish the story was a difficult job which needed a lot of rewrites.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You sort of allude to it, but you might want to be more explicit that this was part of the larger pattern of the Puppies: they saw awards as a way to reward authors, not as a way to celebrate excellent writing. Some regular fans may have inadvertently reinforced that view, e.g. people who advocated only nominating women, but the overwhelming majority of Hugo voters talk about the works, not the authors. In many ways, I think this was the central conflict–the one that couldn’t be worked around.

    What baffles me is that the Puppies kept denying that it was all about the authors. It was my first taste of the phenomenon where the far-right would do something bad, deny they were doing, and then accuse the other side of doing what they themselves did.

    Liked by 7 people

    • they saw awards as a way to reward authors, not as a way to celebrate excellent writing.

      This plays into the fact that both Larry and Brad felt they were entitled to receive a Hugo–because they were good guys writing gun porn pulp? Who knows? But the sense that a Hugo was OWED them is strong, especially in Correia’s case. The idea that he might actually have to improve his craft (he’s a middling writer at best) to win awards seems to be foreign to him.

      Liked by 3 people

    • That’s a good point and actually Brad does that very thing in the essay I quote from near the end, listing people who never won a Hugo rather than pointing at work that they should have won a Hugo for. eg Tad Williams – I like a lot of what I’ve read by Tad Williams but it’s hard to point at a single stand alone book that absolutely nails it. Book 1 of Tad W series is usually engaging enough to make you want to read book 2 (IMHO) but the innovative part of often doesn’t become clear until book 2.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tad Williams is a better case than every writer Brad did nominate the year he was in controll. I could see a work of his as a nominee for the Hugo, wouldn’t be out of place. On the other hand I can’t point to a work that I would say it is an outrage that it wasn’t nominated. War of the Flowers probably a standalone would be have been a posibility, but from what I think, the winners were Harry Potter 4 or American Gods (I think the Potter).
        What neither Brad nor Larry seems to get there is no garantie to get a Hugo. You are one of at that time 5 or today 6 candidates, you have to try to bring your absolute A-list. Both Brad and Larry were relativly new writers who trew their tandrum when they lost their first time.
        We have a lot of losers each year. A question that would have been interesting, has any of those two ever voted? I mean there are (and I voted ones) situation where you have if you vote make dificult joices, you have to rank the works on the ballot. There can be a situation where this is hard. (There should be) A work that you may have nominated (which is per definition somethink that you belive was Hugoworthy) is not garantied to be your first place. There are some easy choices (Tenet will not get my first vote this year in longform) but not all are. (I think there are people who switched some iteams quite a lot)

        Liked by 2 people

      • One year, I kept changing the order of the first three places in Best Novel, because I liked all three books so much that I found it incredibly difficult to rank them, If I could have ranked all three novels number 1, I would have done that. The winner that year BTW was the novel I ranked in 6th place.

        Also, there are many excellent works and authors who have never gotten a Hugo nomination, let alone won. And sometimes, a great work is eclipsed by an even greater work, which unfortunately came out in the same year. See Yoon Ha Lee’s excellent Machineries of Empire trilogy, which had the misfortune of getting trounced by N.K. Jemisin and Mary Robinette Kowal in the year’s it came out (and getting trounced by Becky Chambers in Best Series). But does failing to have won a Hugo make those books any less good?

        Liked by 3 people

    • See also the Puppies Best Editor nomination, who would not admit to having edited a book during the year in question.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I would have seriously thought of voting for Weisskopf for best editor long, but there was absoutely nothing on what she’s done. Even just a few sentences about her value to Baen, both in acquisitions and a few books/authors she was proud to have ran through the process. That’s all it would have taken, but the lack of this at the time felt as if, much like the Puppies that nominated her, she was thumbing her nose at the award. Between that and the whole Puppy campaign’s choices for the ballot being less than par, I’m not surprised she did badly.

        Liked by 2 people

        • katster: Between that and the whole Puppy campaign’s choices for the ballot being less than par, I’m not surprised she did badly.

          As well as the fact that her 2014 “they’re not real fans” post on Hoyt’s blog was pretty fresh in a lot of peoples’ memories, including mine.

          Liked by 3 people

      • I had some sympathy to some of the editors on short and long form because I thaught that they wore worthy nominees. I am not a fan of best editor long, so I understand not voting there (I didn’t vote in editor short or long last year), I think we had some people who were tainted by the association with the puppys there.
        I don’t count Tony Weiskopf amoung the blamless victims here. (See Vronsky and JJ for reasons) I still think for editor the best idea is to give snippets of the work you edited, (Not knowing how much work this is) because voting or not, many people will read them and you can get them interested in books.
        Of course voters wanted to make sure that there wasn’t a Hugo going to Vox Day, a very hard catagory to judge and anger on the slates are pretty good reasons even for competent editors to get under no award (and those who were nominated by the pubs but not personally involved in the slate)

        Liked by 2 people

      • I am very confused why the puppies kept putting Sheila Gilbert on their editor lists, as she’s decidedly not of their political mindset whatsoever. Nor is she publishing authors that appeal to their base, I don’t think?

        Liked by 1 person

        • In 2014, Day did a post for each category. He was dismissive of Gilbert (“a longtime gatekeeper and likely responsible in part for the decline of the genre”) but then put her second in his choices. He didn’t explain why.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Sheila was also on the SP3 slate, even though she likely would have been nominated despite that endorsement (she’s had nine consecutive nominations since 2013), and that’s something I never really figured out the motivation behind, except possibly as some form of “how could we be sexist?” cover.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Sheila Gilbert’s place on the slate might relate to her role with DAW Books, which was still publishing works with Marion Zimmer Bradley listed as co-author.

          Liked by 1 person

            • I guess I was just spitballing.

              Thinking about it some more…. Sheila Gilbert was not one of the handful pushed by Larry Correia in 2014. In 2015 she was on both the Sad and Rabid Puppy slates. So either she was there as a Correia pick (remember, the Sads had four picks, leaving the blank to be filled in by Vox’s Dread Ilk), or as a human shield. I haven’t solved the riddle of why she would have been picked for a positive reason, if that is the case.

              Liked by 2 people

      • @Marshall Ryan Maresca:

        This is one question that will probably never be answered. Although one of the links above talks about a writer that Brad taught was overlocked by the Hugos and that is currently edited by Sheila E. Gilbert. Some nominations are just baffeling. (Supernatural is another example)
        We know from DAWwriters that Gilbert was not aware of the puppiecampaign. I think (and this is pure speculation) they wanted to use here to get the publisher on board (some of the discusion did try to play DAW against Tor) or to give their slate more prestige (similar to the Kingnomination 2016).

        Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with Greg; everything he says in this comment can’t be mentioned enough, or clearly enough.

      It’s the core of the whole Debarkle.

      Emphasize it. Or emphasise it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ironically, I think that New Statesman piece got published in part because Helen Lewis was looking for articles against “cancel culture” after a long series of bitter arguments with younger internet feminists. And it was the effect of those arguments on a generation of established media feminists that gave us “TERF Island” and the current transphobic backlash… All of which is a bit out of scope even for the Debarkle, but it’s interesting to see these patterns of generational conflict and reaction all arising at around the same time.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. >Ross was famous, witty and not unknowledgeable science fiction.

    Should probably have an “of” after unknoledgeable.

    >Whatever superficial merit the idea had, Ross was a walking bundle of PR disaster risks who was as likely to bring negative publicity to the Hugo Awards as good publicity.

    Maybe an “as much” before negative?


  13. Ah, the entry of Castalia House. I was sitting in my office one day procrastinating by looking at Castalia House’s portfolio, only to discover that it published a textbook on a Christian scientist’s history of the universe that was authored by a department member sitting three doors down from me!

    (My second weirdest overlap moment was when I read on File770 about the death of Catherine Asaro’s husband, John Cannizzo. I had not known that my old colleague John was Catherine’s husband nor that he had died. He was a mensch.)

    Liked by 3 people

    • To be fair to them, they doubtless thought they were getting an American fundy slant on a CS Lewis sort of story, or perhaps a Tolken for the Born-Again set. What they got was bad fanfic from Beale’s homebrew campaign world, with increasingly weird undertones. While the first novella got accepted, the gap between its coming out and the publishing of further works suggests that Beale was getting quietly pushed away until Marcher Lord Press’s final death spiral where they were desperate for material, especially as many of the stories published later show clear signs of having been written before A Throne of Bones.


      • I was referring to the Christian Fiction Association, not the publisher. Check out the references on the Wiki article.

        Though your point is extremely valid as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. “Consummate professionals” do NOT say things that come across as “oh god your mouth opened and that came out.” And get them fired.

    Kind of the opposite, in fact. Sorry Neil.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have this nagging feeling that “saying inappropriate things” was actually in the script brief for Ross in more than one program. So actually dropping those bombs would be the point, as it were- I guess a truly consummate professional would look at that and go “um, no, that won’t fly”.

      When I heard the news, my immediate thought was “that’d be cool, but there’s also so many ways it could go
      horribly wrong” and not long after that, he stepped down.


      • Ross was not fired. And his current show on ITV is very staid by comparison. Whilst his replacement at the BBC, Graham Norton’s, show is just as edgy as Ross’s used to be. So I think it was indeed an editorial choice.

        In contrast he spent over ten years doing the BBC Film review show giving genre films a fair hearing finally. Championing Studio Ghbli for example.Along with series on manga/manga, Japanese culture in general and the In Search of Steve Ditko special.


  15. I remember my reaction at the time being that if you got the Ross from his TV show, he’d be a great Hugo host, and if you got the one from his radio show, he’d be a terrible one.

    Basically, if he’d treat the award-winners and nominees as famous celebrities, he’d suck up to them and he’d be brilliant. If he treated them as targets for his sense of “humour” then he’d be a disaster.

    I think that there were two problems; one was that the only Ross that got widely reported was the radio one, so people who were reading the clippings rather than watching Ross’ TV show every week for many years (as I had) only knew that one. The second was that you couldn’t be entirely certain which Ross you would get. I’d expect to get the TV Ross, whose reaction to Seanan McGuire would be to tell her how great the books he’d read were – but she had no reason to believe or expect that. But also, he’d done both versions when hosting other awards in the past and we certainly couldn’t be 100% sure of getting the good Ross.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Yeah, and that’s entirely possible. His “consummate professional”ism was (is) when he was (is) “on”. He’d be a complete pro at the pre-ceremony dinner or at a press conference or whatever. But yakking away on social media or a casual remark at a party or something? Different story.

        Liked by 2 people

        • As Stross pointed out at the time, he was also a UK tabloid press target. So he could have been as good as gold in 2014 and STILL been the focus of a scandal not of his own (immediate) making.

          Liked by 1 person

    • You mean the t.v. show where Ross assaulted an actress on his couch in front of cameras as a “joke” and got into serious trouble for it, one of several incidents where he got into trouble for his behavior towards women on his t.v. show?

      Again, as we’ve said repeatedly, the issue was NEVER what Ross’ behavior was going to be as Toastmaster of the Hugo ceremony. That’s what men tried to make the issue be because they could call all the women silly hysterics about it and affect outrage on Ross’ behalf. Just because he used not controlling himself as a career advantage his whole career didn’t mean he couldn’t control himself at a little award ceremony, so why the fuss little ladies.

      The issue was that Ross was CHOSEN as the Toastmaster of the Hugos, by men, in violations of the regulations and over the protest of women running the convention too, in a year when women had done very well in the nominations and after several sexist conflicts in fandom and SFF organizations where women had to point out that they were still facing massive systemic sexism in the business. It was an attack on those women, to mock them, and to remind them that they weren’t important, that men’s status was the only thing that was important. Ross was ever so much more important and famous a celebrity than these women so they should shut up and, this is the important part, be grateful.

      Women aren’t supposed to criticize men, according to these men and their supporters, unless it is to criticize those men who support women’s rights and equality. It is a status issue of our societies. Women authors aren’t supposed to beat men at awards because awards are status and men are supposed to get the status. If women have to sometimes make it into the nominations and occasionally win, so that it seems “fair” to the masses, it’s because they were approved by the real men (who deserve status) to win (by agreeing that men should always have high status) or because they ganged up and cheated.

      Women are not supposed to have the status to be able to criticize men’s discriminatory behavior and demand that it change. Instead, if women are going to whine about say sexual assault, then they should have a gun and take care of it themselves. That’s the effective way supposedly, except if they do that, or even just fire a warning shot or try to get away and accidentally harm their rapist, the women go to jail for it. Which is what nearly every woman knows and what every sexual assaulter, including Ross, knows. Because women aren’t supposed to do what is also the only real way sexual assault should be stopped rather than educating (criticizing) men and boys. (And same for other low status victims like gay men as well.) So assaulters can get away with it, even on a couch in front of a live audience and t.v. cameras and certainly in private when it’s a woman they know — and know that she can’t fight back unless she wants to risk ruining her whole life and losing her freedom. Pointing out Correia’s ideas on sexual assault are ludicrous isn’t allowed. It’s a conspiracy to lower his status, etc. It’s exhausting how much posturing it takes to maintain bigoted hierarchies and have people feel secure in identities they got from that bigotry.

      I hadn’t know about Brad’s affirmative action tripe, but it does not surprise me. He is either constantly insecure in his status or projecting a pretend insecurity as a way of getting ahead in right wing spheres. Nothing in that entry surprises me — it’s all textbook status whining. It’s all painting women as unreasonable, illegitimate and threatening for the supposed crime of raising objections about discrimination and criticizing men regarding women’s rights. And here we are seven years later and it hasn’t changed one little bit. Your Debarkle is tiring, Camestros.

      Liked by 4 people

  16. AFAIK Michael Z. Williamson was nominated for the Best Related Work. ‘Wisdom from my Internet’ which would mean that Marmot was nominated for the fiction category.


    • Yeah, I think Marmot was nominated for a story in one of Beale’s anthologies. Williams was most definitely the title you mentioned and it was putrid.

      (PS: I know we should call people by the name they want to be called, but I really hate Beale’s pseudonym. Since it’s a play on the Latin for ‘voice of God’, it’s a gigantic demonstration of Beale’s arrogance. It feels as if he’s almost saying he’s the voice of God. I absolutely despise that I have to feed his giant ego every time I mention his pen name. Thus, I tend to refer to him by his given/real name.)


      • It is, in fact, a double pun. Theodore reduces to Theo, which also means God. Thus “Vox Day” is the voice of God and also the voice of Theo. And possibly the voice of the day, but I can’t see wha the joke would be there.

        But I’m with you on not feeding his ego.


      • Quite. Referring to someone the way they want to be referred to is basic courtesy but it shouldn’t be extended to Beale because he doesn’t do it either and that’s the least of it. Foz Meadows refers to him as “the Voice Venereal” after all so he can be thankful.

        Liked by 3 people

      • The Marmot was nominated for a Bolostory (not fanfic as was saying). I remember a funny moment on File 770, were he was his usual self and another puppy (one of the ones who was a reader) was desperatly trying to tell the Fillers that the story was good, they just had to ignore the writer because it was unfair not to do.
        Williams was a good example of someone screwing himself over in the whole think and of the bad taste of Brad (he had a story that was not a contender for worst Hugonominee if I believe other people but zhe nominated the other thing.

        Re name: I will say that open psaudonyms are a difference for me. I don’t think it is that important which name you use here. (Yes I will normally be polite and use the name that they want) But this is a very bad pseudo, so I have no problem with using his real name.


      • I’m talking about 2014. Day had called for people to nominate:
        Port Call – Michael Z. Williamson in Short story
        On Training for War – Tom Kratman in BRW
        as addendums to SP2


      • It feels as if he’s almost saying he’s the voice of God.
        No almost about it. Teddy’s just that arrogant. Thus the reason I also never use his chosen nom de guerre.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I give Ted all the respect he deserves. Sometimes I throw a little extra his way and call him Theodore, as a treat.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, the nuanced story about how soldiers are abused by their command chain, and discarded when they are no longer useful, either because of physical or mental trauma, told through the point of view of an intelligent tank? Loved his indictment of the military industrial complex.


    • As a less facetious answer to Robin Whiskers’s question, yes, that’s the one.

      I’m an online acquaintance of the individual thus mocked–Marmot has a long-running feud with her because she dared write a Let’s Read of one of his works which treated it with all the contempt it deserved. And then debated him when he showed up in it to threadcrap.

      Hell, that story isn’t the first time he put an insulting version of her in a tale, though some of the earliest ones happened prior to her transition, and thus are male. Because the Tank Marmot, he is petty as hell.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Just a quote from Ann Somerville I found on Natalie Luhrs blog that I think is interesting:

    “I’m also raising an eyebrow because Vox Day linked MZB with Delany as part of ‘Pink SF’ and then linked them to Jim Hines, Mary Kowal, Rachel Swirsky, Marko Kloos, John Scalzi, Sheri Tepper, and Mercedes Lackey, in a very clear attempt to smear these upstanding and entirely non-criminal individuals by association.”

    It is from June 17 2014 and imho interesting because of the slating the next year. Also perhaps because of the question above, why slate X.

    I also ask myself what Ted Chiang has done to Beale that he would have voted his story above no award.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeffro and Declan have even been straining themselves on Twitter to try to connect Le Guin with MZB’s abuse, claiming on no evidence that she knew all about it and did nothing. Nauseating lickspittles.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m pretty sure Jeffro is not a member of the Church of St. RAH, considering he believes that the SFF genre went downhill after 1937. Heinlein is an example of the sort of SF he hates.

        Though Heinlein wouldn’t work nearly as well as Le Guin, because Le Guin is still a beloved figure of our genre, whereas the people those folks want to attack don’t particularly like Heinlein.

        Liked by 2 people

      • One SF figure who was a good friend of MZB was still alive when the story of Bradley’s crimes broke – Vox hired him to edit a book and put on him on the Rabid slate.

        Liked by 1 person

      • She’s the most prominent of all women SFF writers, the only woman who was considered a SF lion from the 1960’s-1990’s — her name included along with Bradbury, Asimov, Clarke, Vonnegut and Heinlein. She was also highly respected for her commentary on SFF literature and non-fiction work. If you’re trying to prove that women SFF authors are inferior unless they are very far right, anti-feminist ones, she would be the brass ring you’d want to go after. Bonus that a lot of her work involves humanism instead of “manly” imperialistic violence.

        Liked by 2 people

  18. Judging from the way he’s trashed her looks multiple times in the context of arguments supposedly proving she’s a bad writer and immoral, I’d guess it’s because he thinks his boner is a divining rod of what is and is not literary quality and morality. Which therefore implies that he prefers jerking it to the portrait of, say, Lovecraft, one of his idols. Which…fine, tastes differ, whatever floats your boat, but dragging what does and does not make you horny into your literary and ethical critique is neither germane nor tasteful.

    Seriously, though, he’s probably just being an eager toady for his puppy pals, attempting to draw more attention and kudos from them by making overtly gross attacks on one of their best-liked and admired preferred targets.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. It had somehow escaped my notice that Theo Beale very specifically urged voters in 2014 to rank all other Short Story finalists below No Award (or vote solely for No Award, in that category). That makes all his subsequent bloviation deploring regular Hugo voters employing that voting choice as somehow unthinkable pretty darned hypocritical, doesn’t it?

    @katster: Did Theo actually ask you (or anyone else) to not call him Theo, or specifically to call him something else? I’ve not seen that, and in my several perfectly cordial interactions Theo’s seemed to have no objection whatsoever to being addressed as Theo. If you know of some (any) competent and relevant data to the contrary, I’d appreciate seeing a link. Thank you.

    @JJ: Calling Leigh Butler the co-editor of the Wheel of Time FAQ is a pretty major exaggeration. The FAQ was originated by Erica Sadun and then taken over with Erica’s blessing and cooperation by Pam Korda, with very major substantive input over many years to their many FAQ revisions, by many rasfw-rj regulars including yrs. truly. When Pam got tired of the job of FAQueen, Leigh Butler took over, but the FAQ was by then (in my opinion) full-formed. Thus, “co-editor” strikes me as a very inapt description. “Inheritor” would be a carefully non-judgemental alternative term.

    No, “Darkfriends” was not exactly a group. The text of lovable hack author Jordan’s logorrhoeic tomes had included scenes where major villains (the chief figures among what the books called “darkfriends”) met to discuss strategy, and who lately shivved whom. The newsgroup referred to those WoT book scenes as “darkfriend socials”, so it then by extension became a running gag to also call any off-Net, IRL gathering of Jordan fans a “darkfriend social”, e.g., I attended no few of those in California and Chicago. But the fans didn’t actually dub themselves “Darkfriends”. The typical demonym for us fans was actually “Jordanite”.

    I was pretty seriously unimpressed (or, should I saw, anti-impressed) by Ms. Butler’s 2014 “Let’s Brigade the Entire WoT Series into Getting a Best Novel Hugo” campaign on her personal blog at, but frankly she’d always been a loose cannon — IMO. I’ll be polite and not say more about what she did to Erica and Pam’s tireless work on the FAQ, which hasn’t overly impressed me, either.

    As a point of related interest, shortly after she started asserting that she was the new WoT FAQ maintainer, Ms. Butler tried to strong-arm me as the very-longtime primary hosting-site operator for the FAQ, and the several other official mirror sites, attempting to require that we take down our sites, so that the only remaining copy would be at commercial site, with whom she may have had some sort of sponsorship arrangement.[1] I considered the matter, and replied after a day that I would probably react to that request by reverting the FAQ to Pam’s final revision, eliding/reverting-out Ms. Butler’s few changes to date — to fully and very politely respect any copyright title Ms. Butler might have — and that the newsgroup’s regulars would then see about updating the FAQ independently without her further involvement. Ms. Butler, perceiving her losing hand, then backed down at high velocity, and withdrew her demand. I’ve continued to post all of Erica’s and Pam’s FAQ releases as part of the public record (on my Web site), in part so it will remain possible, prospectively to end-run the Butler problem, if that is ever (again) necessary.

    (I’m not saying it’s always a bad idea to try to strong-arm me with legalistic bluster, but Ms. Butler seems to have initially missed the point that my easiest way to deal with her challenge was — to borrow the late John Perry Barlow’s phrase about how the Internet deals with censorship — to consider her damage and route around her. Something I’d actually been famous for writing about, even)


    general speaking, we can say that the interpretation of the rules by the Wheel of Time fans (and from what I see that was fandriven) was not that out of line.

    As a longtime WoT fan (not as great literature, but rather as an epic mess that was fun to argue over and around which to make friends of worthwhile people — leading to my getting tuckerised into the famous Usenet parody piece “alt.Shrugged”), I considered it way out of line, FWIW, and ranked it below No Award as being neither fairly considered to be a novel, nor worthy of nomination in competition with the year’s best.

    And was that campaign “fan-driven”? Butler-driven, certainly, and she then scared up WoT enough nominating votes to make it a finalist. Call that fan-driven if you like, but IMO those were pretty low-to-the-ground grassroots smelling faintly of the plastics industry, and paradigmatically what should not be done.

    [1] I know nothing of any business arrangements Ms. Butler may or may not have contracted, but note that, at the time, stood out as being jarringly commercial and as proprietary-minded about all content, occupying about the same relationship to traditional fandom that CreationCons do to Worldcons.


    • Rick Moen: “Darkfriends” was not exactly a group. The typical demonym for us fans was actually “Jordanite”.

      I attended a couple of weekend Darkfriends socials (these were major bashes, with a houseful of people all there for a 3-day holiday weekend) in the Midwest in the early 2000s, invited by one of them who was a friend, and got to know several others (in fact, that’s why I ended up reading the books). I never heard any of them refer to themselves as Jordanites — something I surely would have remembered — but do vaguely remember them saying things like “… with the other Darkfriends”. So I suspect that there might have been a regional element in how the RASFRJs referred to themselves.


      • @JJ, fair enough, and it’s obvious that a regular at IRL “darkfriend socials” could, as a further elaboration of the gag, then get referred to as a “darkfriend” — even though, in the book, that term essentially meant “signed-up and sworn minion of the Big Bad”.


    • @Rick Moen:
      I will not comment on the FAQ and Ms. Butler or Dragonmount (I was reading Theoryland until the decieded Germany was no longer a welcome place or Bavaria I don’t know)
      I stand by nominating more than one novel if a story is longer was accepted at the Hugos. I still can see the argument that the whole WoT is a magastory told in a lot of instalments and fits the rule in contrast to the puppys slate. But there still is a difference between WoT and somethink like Discworld which some people wanted to nominate as best novel.
      Of course the pagecount made it pretty dificult or imposible to read before the deadline. The nomination should have never happened. But the question of how awardworthy it was in your opinion or in mine is irrelevant for bad faith arguments, there only the opinion of the nominator is important.
      The question is what is the difference between Black Out/All Clear or the Southern Reach Trilogie in contrast to the WoT. Okay the former cases are manageble to the voter.
      Questions of no award or not is in the eye of the beholder. (I am pretty sure that if it ever happened that it is very rare that a winner had no no awards votes against it) I have every sympathy to a reader who looks at the WoT, the deadline and just wents nope.
      It was for me pretty clear that the nomination ended like it should, but one the other hand it was a cool think for Tor to include the whole series in the Packet.
      I am pleased that WoT beat Larry and he was the one strugling the most against no award.


      • @StephanB: I not only have no problem with other people deciding that a multi-volume work qualifies under Hugo Award rules as a “novel”, but also I was really very explicit that I was merely stating my own view. If I got distraught every time I became aware another Hugo voter arrived at a conclusion different from my own, I’d be spending a whole lot of time being upset, and have nothing to show for it.

        About specifically the entirety of The Wheel of Time having been nominated as “Best Novel” in 2014: If nominators or voters seriously thought that this particular 14-volume series sprawling over 11,100 pages, and published in novel-type chunks over 29 years, can be fairly considered in its entirety as a “novel”, they were entitled to their opinion. They were even entitled to think it was worthy of competition with actual novels Ancillary Justice, Neptune’s Brood, and Parasite, they were even entitled to that opinion (even though I privately consider that viewpoint stark raving crazy).


    • Rick: I have no evidence that he has asked people not to be called Theo, but I suspect he prefers his pen name. And generally, I feel like it’s better to call people by the name they use in day to day interaction. For example, my given name is Katrina and I answer to it, but most of my friends call me Kat. I have a slight preference for the latter even if I don’t mind the former.

      Thus, given my feelings on the mater, I feel like I should call him by his pen name, but I can’t.


      • Well, @katster, I can only report, having had a number of both private and public cordial discussions with Theo, at no point did he express a preference to be addressed by his grandiose Internet-gag handle instead of his name. So, unless I see or hear something suggesting he does prefer one or another of his several noms-de-blog, I’m going to go with what is his fully public use name, if only because it errs on the side of being friendly and stresses a human connection (even though I’ve not met him, and we agree to disagree on rather a lot).

        Let me give you another example: Two decades ago, I co-wrote with Eric S. Raymond an Internet essay, that then become astonishingly popular, and linked to be literally many hundreds of public technical projects’ Web sites, called “How to Ask Questions the Smart Way”. Around the year 2000, we found out that each of us was trying to write such an essay, and joined forces to do it together. Eric is a rather famous and divisive public figure; let us just say that his politics and mine differ quite a lot (and I’m less inclined to automatically think my views interest others on arbitrary matters of public controversy in the first place; see “Law of Jante” for the ethnic-culture reasons why, in my case). And on the Internet he is very widely known as “ESR”. Over the years, I’ve noticed people getting really really angry at “ESR”. It’s not my job to rise to his defence, but on occasions when I enter those discussions and change the reference to “Eric”, I notice the emotional temperature often goes down by 10 degrees C or so — possibly because slagging an “ESR” as an abstraction is tempting for many people, because that seems more a symbol than a human, and talking about an “Eric”, even one they don’t know, re-stresses that he’s an actual warm-bodied person.

        When in doubt, I do what stresses personhood and lessons the temptation people have to treat each other as objects. Every time. Of course, if Eric ever says to me “Please refer to me in public as ESR”, that would be different.


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