So why not Tad Williams?

Not a Debarkle post as such, just an extended footnote.

One of the names that kept coming up from Brad Torgersen as an example of an author overlooked by the Hugo Awards was fantasy writer Tad Williams. It’s hard to say he didn’t have a point, after all Williams has been writing a lot of interesting and popular fiction for some time and he’s often hit that Hugo sweet spot of writing novels that fit within the expectations of the genre but which stretch the edges of what can be done. Having said that, I don’t think it is that mysterious. Williams has mainly written fantasy series and the bulk of his published list on ISFDB is covered by just five series over 31 years (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?203 ). That doesn’t quite add up to only 5 chances at a Best Novel Hugo but it does limit the chances. Even so, Tad Williams was a reasonable example for a critic of the Hugo Awards in 2014 and a good argument for the addition of a Best Series category. (Aaron Pound looked at this back in 2015 http://dreamingaboutotherworlds.blogspot.com/2015/03/biased-opinion-author-shows-everyone.html )

The question I have though (and I know people wondered about this at the time) is why Brad Torgersen didn’t nominate Tad Williams in Sad Puppies 3?

Did Williams have an eligible novel? I believe so. Sleeping Late on Judgement Day, the third in his urban fantasy Bobby Dollar series was published by DAW in 2014. That would also have meant SP3 would have included a book from DAW, another publisher like Baen that could claim to have been underrepresented in the Hugos. http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?1760436

Did William have eligible short fiction? This is less obvious but yes, he did. His short story collection The Very Best of Tad Williams was published in 2014. It was mainly fiction from earlier years but it contained two new stories A Fish Between Three Friends and Omnitron, What Ho! I haven’t read the collection and I don’t know if the stories are any good but as far as I can check, they look like stuff Brad could have included.

So why no Tad from Brad? The simplest answer is Brad didn’t look and only did the most minimal research in making his picks. Alternatively, Brad didn’t want to have a second magical-detective story on his slate given that he wanted Jim Butcher’s most recent Dresden Files on there.

The irony being, that whatever Brad’s reasons are, they also partly answer why Tad Williams has been overlooked by the Hugo Awards — people who might have nominated one of his books, nominated something else instead.

105 thoughts on “So why not Tad Williams?

  1. Tad Williams was Toastmaster of the 2002 Worldcon, which I note only to make the point that he was far from unknown in that circle of fandom. (It doesn’t indicate anything about Brad Torgersen’s knowledge about him.)

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  2. Actually, Sleeping Late on Judgment Day would have been a much worthier Hugo finalist than The Darkness Between the Covers or whatever that dull as dishwater Kevin J. Anderson novel was called.

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      1. Dresden Files is possibly the series I’ve moved the most on over the course of my life as a critic / online book person. I honestly thought that it had promise during the early 2000s. Dead Beat was a book I liked a lot. But as time went by and the books became increasingly explicitly misogynistic I found that it was harder to enjoy what had previously made them interesting. Changes in 2011 was something of a last straw for me. It’s a vile book. So it didn’t surprise me to see Butcher’s latest entry at the time on the Sad Puppy ballot in 2014.

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      2. I got as far as Summer Knight before I realised that Butcher had no idea where he was was going with this series. So I bailed at that point and never regretted my decision to do that. I think fantasy series as a rule are much more likely to outstay their welcome than science fiction series are. Indeed I can think of very few of the latter where I’ve given up on them even when they’ve gone on at great length. Dune being one of the very few where this was true as I stopped at Dune Messiah.

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    1. Simon, what was the misogynistic issue? I haven’t reread the books so I don’t remember anything in particular.
      I’m still enjoying the series, but Peace Talks was unmitigatedly awful. A lot of idiot plot and it cuts off so abruptly, I assume Butcher just chopped an overlarge manuscript in two (a lot of the idiot plot may be padding — I won’t know until I read Part Two). I’m very glad I didn’t shell out for it.

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      1. Peace Talks ends very abruptly and is clearly the first half of a “should’ve beet a fat book” book. It is somewhat telling that the next book in the series was published in the same year. Some of the idiot plot is setup for the next book. Other parts of the idiot plot may just be idiot plot, ot a setup for future books.

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  3. Applying Occam’s Razor here is probably the best solution. A lot of Hugo voters are present at File 770 and I rarely if ever hear Tad Williams coming up in discussion there, so the most likely answer is that he’s just not popular with Hugo voters. Certain authors and I’ll single out Jane Yolen here whom I adore have never won a Hugo either (though she’s been nominated at least). Some authors will never win a Hugo simply because not enough people care about their fiction passionately and Tad I think is one of them.

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  4. Did Torgersen nominate anything that wasn’t either an attempt to poke at “SJWs” or an attempt to elevate a presumed ally’s status? I say “presumed ally” because a couple of people he nominated vehemently disavowed their nominations.

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  5. I think there is a bunch of reasons. Tad has an already long carrier. I am not sure if the antifantasybias is still as strong in the Hugos as it was before, but at the beginning of his carrier it probably was. Tad is also writing a lot in series and he is probably over the sweetspot in his carrear for Hugonominations.
    As I said before he hasn’t written a book that you can point at and scream how the voters could have overlocked it. Perhaps he is also a writer where the sum of his work is more than a single novel. (Nothink of this is meaned negative of Tad Williams)

    For Brad, Tad Williams was not one of his buddies. I think that it was probably an after the fact taught like The Martian. Somethink to critisize the Hugovoters with, not somethink that he taught about while starting his slate.
    Sleeping Late on Judgement Day would definitly be an interesting nominee for best novel, in short fiction I say that even unread probably every Tad Williamsstory would have been an improvment over what Brad slated.
    Now I don’t know how Tad Williams would have reacted (I think there were a stament or two that were not very propuppy from him).
    It would have been more in touch with the Missionstatment by Brad (overlooked writers, which was a last one of them), but we all know what that was worth.
    (I am in the opinion that a nomination for the Dresden Filesbook would be forgivable from a fan, if it was his weakest nom, but it should not have been one of their strongest nominations)

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    1. You’re probably right that Tad Williams suffered from the anti-fantasy bias of the Hugos earlier in his career (even as late as 2000, there were people upset that Harry Potter dared to win a Hugo, because clearly this was the end of western civilisation) and later on also suffered from the anti-urban-fantasy bias. Besides, Tad Williams’ works don’t stand alone very well. He’s one of those authors for whom the Best Series category was made, only that in practice that sort of series doesn’t get nominated, unless written by Seanan McGuire.

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      1. We always give the technically correct answer that of course the Hugo is for both science fiction and fantasy, until somebody tries to give one to a work of fantasy. 🙂

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      2. I tried reading Harry Potter, I really did. I got a hundred or so pages into the first novel and found it terribly boring. I think I picked up something by McKillip or perhaps Yolen instead and was quite happy that I did.

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      3. I inhaled the first 3 Harry Potter books, but by the time Goblet of Fire came out and I’d had some breathing room to actually think a bit about the books (and in the context of other things I’d been reading at the same time, including Wheel of Time, Discworld and Earthsea) I realised that Harry Potter just… wasn’t that good, and JKR’s understanding of the folklore and mythology she was drawing from felt superficial.

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      4. My problem was that what I read was just plain boring. I’ve read a lot of fantasy down the decades including Beagle, Tolkien, Yolen, McKillip and Holdstock to name just several of my favorite writers. I found her style really, really unappealing.

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      5. I was a bit slow on the uptake (in fairness at the time I was around 12 years old) but I agree. Compared to the rest of the field of fantasy writing, she just isn’t particularly interesting.

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      6. I read the first few Harry Potter books, as they turned up in libraries, to see what the fuss was about. I thought that they were better than I would have expected, but nothing to shout about.

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      7. I reread the Harry Potter books a couple of years ago and I rate her higher as a writer than a lot of people do. But that’s why phrases like YMMV exist.
        Conversely I tried Williams’ first book, put it back down and never picked up another. Not that it was horrible, but I need more than “adequate” to keep me reading.

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      8. I think her first three books had a lot of readability – they were breezy, they were clever, and the third one even started to have depth. The later books had more depth but lost out on some of the readability, and as she started to show the cracks she intended in the world, the cracks she didn’t intend where she had been blithe and shallow also showed up more.

        I liked them to the end, and I do think she did some specific things better than the movies, but by the end I also think the movies overall did her story more service than she did (Definitely the Book 5 battle in the Ministry of Magic and Sirius’ death are *Much* better in the film.) but I must admit my heart was really lost to a fabulous RPG/fanfiction in a slight alternate universe, which fixed a whole lot of her mistakes.

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  6. So has anyone actually counted how often the Hugo for Best Novel has gone to works of fantasy versus science fiction?

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    1. There’s a question of taxonomy, but you could argue that before 2001, no fantasy novels won, and since Harry Potter won in 2001 another five winners have been fantasy — could be even more, depending on how you classify Jemisin’s winners.

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      1. There have been a handful of fantasy winners in the short fiction categories before 2001, e.g. “That Hell-Bound Train” by Robert Bloch in 1959 and “Ill Met in Lankhmar” by Fritz Leiber in 1971. But for novels, Harry Potter was the first

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    2. Cat Eldridge> So has anyone actually counted how often the Hugo for Best Novel has gone to works of fantasy versus science fiction?

      Further to Mike’s reply, here’s a crude analysis I did last year based on ISFDB tagging: https://twitter.com/ErsatzCulture/status/1291425463584333825

      Not all winners are/were tagged as SF and/or fantasy though – for example, at the time I ran that, Lord of Light wasn’t tagged as either, although on rechecking, it’s now tagged as both.

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  7. So virtually no fantasy novels have won is the answer. It’s particularly interesting that the winners happened in a cluster of years. And I see that Gaiman has won only once for American Gods even though I’d have thought Neverwhere would’ve at least got nominated which it didn’t.

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    1. Gaiman declined at least one Best Novel nomination. (And I’ll say that while I yield to nobody in my fanboyness towards him, I think Neverwhere is one of his lesser works, and not really Hugo-worthy — in any case, it was his first published novel, before anyone had really heard of him, so very unlikely to get a nod.)

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      1. I really, really like Neverwhere but in Puppeteer style hindsight I’ll admit that you’re right. It’s one of favorite works to listen to as it’s just the right length to get through in a day.

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      2. Yes, the TV series came first. Part of the reason the novel exists is that the BBC kept cutting bits from the script that Gaiman liked for technology/budget reasons, so he wrote the novel as a director’s cut version.

        I have three copies of Neverwhere. The original, chunky BBC publication, a kindle version that Gaiman rewrote a few years back and a beautiful illustrated copy the I was given as a birthday gift.

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      3. There’s an author’s preferred text version of Neverwhere that Neal wrote later that he claims is the definitive version. I was supposed to come out on High House first but that publisher wears tits up from bad management before it could be published so it came out on William Morrow instead. It wasn’t cheap — I think it was $180.

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      4. The Jim Henson Henson Company had an option some twenty years back on the novel but didn’t follow through on it. Pity that has they would’ve been spot on as a production company.

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      5. I believe the TV show and novelization of Neverwhere were roughly released simultaneous. Gaiman wrote his script first and then turned it into a novel whilst keeping the bits the BBC couldn’t afford to film in the series. (Though I honestly don’t remember what would have been left out of the series.) The book was released (in three formats) by the BBC as the series started to air and the trade dress is the same as used by the series and in the advertisements for the series. (According to people in London at the time, you couldn’t ride in the Underground without seeing a Neverwhere poster in your journeys.) I just noticed recently Neverwhere was on one of the free streaming services (probably Tubi or Pluto) but heck if I can find it now.

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      6. “According to people in London at the time, you couldn’t ride in the Underground without seeing a Neverwhere poster in your journeys”

        Very true. I suspect the marketing budget exceeded the set budget!

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      7. Neverwhere must have come out after I finished my semester in London then, because I don’t recall seeing ads for it all over the Tube. Though I recall seeing ads for the Trainspotting movie everywhere, after seeing the bloody book everywhere, which made me dislike the Trainspotting even more.

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      8. Because of licensing, I read the book before I saw the show, and The Beast was a MASSIVE disappointment. Years of “Dr. Who” had inured me to cheap sets, but a vicious charging spiky porcine horror being played by an out-of-focus stationary placid Highland cow did cause me to laugh.

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      9. Yeah that was a major disappointment of the video series. It works much better as a Theater of the Mind experience in the full cast BBC adaptation of the novel that was done a few years back.

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  8. As I go into in the 2015 post Cam linked, a lot of the explanations for why a particular author or work has not won a Hugo basically boil down to two related things:

    1. People tend to underestimate how much good fiction is published, and thus don’t realize the level of competition there is out there; and

    2. Some years are stronger than others.

    Most regular readers here know these facts, but the Sad Pups seem to have had (and in most cases, still have), a limited amount of knowledge about the history of the genre, and thus did (and still do) not.

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    1. I think people also tend to overlook that the Hugo is awarded for specific works, it’s not a lifetime career award. And there’s only one award in each category each year.

      (And by “tend to overlook” I mean that people may know this if you ask them about it, but they don’t really take it into account when they make complaints.)

      You can’t really say “this writer should have won a Hugo”. You have to say “this novel should have won a Hugo.” And to say the latter, you have to compare that novel to the actual winner that year, and to some extent also to the other finalists, and argue why your favourite should have won instead.

      But of course “my favourite author have been overlooked!” makes for a better complaint than “my favourite novel was published the same year as Neuromancer so it didn’t win any awards”.

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      1. Regarding Neverwhere mentioned above, I checked what it would have been up against in 1997 and that year’s winner was Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, so it wouldn’t have stood a chance.

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      2. Yeah you’re right. I tend to forget when novels were published unless I check on ISFDB. I still like Neverwhere as it has an innocence that his later novels don’t have.

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      3. Also the Tony Awards: when Chicago was revived on Broadway, people were wondering “why didn’t this win a Tony?” and the answer is that you don’t get a Tony (or a Hugo, etc.) for being the second-best musical of the year, even in a superlative year, and Chicago and A Chorus Line opened in the same year.

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      4. I love Neverwhere, too, and have never much cared for Kim Stanley Robinson, but the Mars trilogy was incredibly influential. And some books just are unlucky to be released in the same year as a huge success or instant classic.

        See Yoon Ha Lee’s excellent Machineries of Empire trilogy never winning a Hugo due to having the misfortune of being published at the same time as the Broken Earth trilogy.

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      5. That was a fundamental reality that the Pups never seemed to cotton on to in their complaints about why one book or another didn’t win a Hugo: Context matters. What else was published in a particular year has as much or more influence as the actual quality of the work on whether that particular work wins a Hugo or not.

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  9. I think the Puppies have always had no idea how vast the field is terms of the number of published books. It’s easily five hundred each and every year. Of that, there has to be at least several hundred genre novels. What the Puppies like isn’t what the mainstream readers are reading and that means they don’t get that what they like simply isn’t going to get nominated for a Hugo. Occam’s Razor prevails once again.

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    1. Cat Eldridge: I think the Puppies have always had no idea how vast the field is terms of the number of published books. It’s easily five hundred each and every year.

      I think the number I read (I don’t remember where) was 1,000 to 1,100 SFF novels from mainstream publishers each year, plus approximately another 10,000 which are self-published (the self-pub number probably includes works which are not actually novel length, and works which are re-labeled/re-published churns done in order to take advantage of the Kindle Unlimited payment-by-page scheme).

      But yes, a thousand or even five hundred novels in a year is an impossible number for most people; I read 150 to 200 a year, and I’m probably one of the more prolific Hugo readers. There are undoubtedly dozens of SFF novels each year for which someone could make a legitimate justification as being worthy of a Hugo nomination. It’s very much a matter of which works catch the attention of Hugo voters and get promoted by them to other Hugo voters.

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      1. I was using the Locus number from March 2021 LOCUS of the novels published in the previous year which was around .five hundred but I think they based that on what they get for review hardcover and digitally. But yes, even five hundred novels is way more than even the most avid reader can tackle.

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      2. And you really need a community like File 770 in order to know what’s out there for Hugo worthy novels. I had no idea that A Memory Called Empire even existed before it discussed there. There’s just no way to filter down that vast number of novels to a reasonable pool of books to consider reading. I’d say nine out ten novels i now read come from recommendations made there.

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      3. bloody hell A Memory Called Empire is on my Kindle to read, but I think it’s going to have to wait a little while longer as I’m going through RF Kuang’s Poppy War at the moment, Jeff Noon has too many new books out and I have some Korean fiction lined up as well.

        I used to think I was a prolific reader, but at most I manage around 80 books per year these days, often less.

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  10. Tad Williams isn’t an author that Hugo voters missed. From 1988 to Shadowmarch in 2004, he was one of the biggest selling names in SFF and still does pretty well. His first novel, Tailchaser, was a Campbell/Astounding nominee — he was on Hugo voters radar.

    But he doesn’t write a lot of short fiction, at least not in the magazines. And on novels in 1988, when Dragonbone Chair came out and went up the charts, there were also a ton of other major bestselling works coming out, including the height of the cyberpunk movement. (The nominees for 1989 Hugo Best Novel were C.J. Cherryh’s Cyteen which won, Orson Scott Card riding high with his alt history fantasy series, Bujold with her series, and Bruce Sterling and William Gibson with Mona Lisa Overdrive.) At that time, secondary world fantasy novels were not getting the t.v./film adaptation potential boost that they have for the last twenty years since they were considered unfilmable. Basically there was an embarrassment of riches and lots of big names did not get award noms. The last novel in that trilogy, the most anticipated one, was so huge that it got split into two books in the States, coming out a year later than the British one volume edition. And that probably messed stuff up in it getting enough voting nominations.

    Williams’ SF Otherland series also was a big bestseller and got him award murmurings, but the first book did not make the final cuts. If there had been a Hugo Award for best series, he would have had a good shot at it in 2001 when he finished the quartet. Shadowmarch, the first of his new epic fantasy series in 2004, got a lot of attention and got a nomination for the British Fantasy Society Best Novel Award. But that was another strong year and books like Susannah Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Iain Banks’ The Algebraist and China Mieville’s Iron Council got more attention for daring premises and Hugo noms.

    As for why Brad didn’t bother to nominate Williams, part of that might be that Williams is a liberal lefty who went to UC Berkeley. He might have liked Williams but it is unlikely that the other Puppies and certainly Beale did and Beale was quite clearly running most of the show. While Brad tried to drag in some liberals he knew like Bellett when it came to short fiction, the Best Novel Award was the only one that really mattered to the Puppies and their point was that conservatives should be the nominees. So putting a Bobby Dollar novel on the slate in a precious slot for that award would not have been well received. And though Brad likes some of Williams’ work, that particular series tackles Christian/religious heaven and hell in a way that Brad (and/or Beale) might not have liked.

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    1. Yes, Tad Williams wouldn’t have stood a chance in 1989 against Cyteen, Mona Lisa Overdrive and Bujold. And he is one of the many authors whose series were at the height of their popularity before there was a Best Series Hugo.

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      1. Yes, and just simply as we know from looking at the history of the Hugo Awards, particularly when it comes to Best Novel, the Hugo voters aren’t interested in representing a wide swath of titles and authors in the awards. They pick what they like and this regularly results in clusters of authors getting repeated finalist nominations over a five-six year period or so. New names creep into the nominations, the authors in the older cluster drop out and the new authors form a new cluster of repeated names for the next five years or so. The cluster pattern is an obvious result of core fan attendees supporting favorites and then aging out as newer fans take over and support theirs. In the Best Novel category, the authors are always popular bestsellers, either established and well known to fans and thus likely to be read or newcomers who got tons of buzz for a particular novel and thus are likely to be read. But not all big names float Hugo voters’ boats.

        This cluster pattern the voters fall into helped authors like Heinlein and more recently helped Jemisin. The Puppies tried to claim that more recent examples of this normal phenomena, like Seanan McGuire being a favorite, was evidence of sinister collusion. When it was pointed out to them that the same thing happened with authors like Heinlein, Asimov, Bujold, etc., they simply ignored it. It did not fit the narrative of the Hugos being recently hijacked by a liberal cabal. For the Puppies, it was simply about power to control the Hugos and thus show that they were more important in the field than marginalized authors getting nominations for non-cishet white guy works and Hugo voters. They saw it as an economic competition for dominance rather than convention fans celebrating what most appealed to them. The status of the awards was the only thing that mattered to them.

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  11. I seem to remember that Brad’s original idea for SP3 was that people would nominate different works and he’d put the most popular ones into a list. He’s hardly the only person to be under the illusion that this can be done. It barely works for the Hugos, with thousands of people participating.

    When that failed, he did the obvious thing and convened a nominating committee. Based on the resulting slates, that committee seems to have consisted of Brad, Larry, and Vox Day. Between the three of them, they produced the SP3 and RP3 slates. I suspect the reason Vox broke with the other two was that they baulked at him using the slates to promote so many books from his own publishing house.

    I do know at least one author who told me in (a private conversation) that Brad used to be a friend of hers, and that he called her one the phone during this period, asking if she’d agree to be on the slate. She said he told her, “We need a woman. Do you have a book we could nominate?” This reinforces the idea that a) there was a nominating committee and b) they picked the authors first and then picked the books c) where possible, they picked authors who were their friends.

    So why wasn’t Tad Williams one of the authors they picked? Ultimately you’d have to ask Brad, but I think the obvious answer is that they simply didn’t think of him at the time. He must not have been friends with any of them, and none of them happened to read any of his work that year.

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    1. I wonder too if they realised that a work had to have been published within a specific time frame in order to eligible to be nominated. Being author centered, I doubt they were. They always were not very smart on understanding rules.

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      1. Well, one of the stories on the Puppy Slate, “Tuesday with Molakesh, the Destroyer” by Megan Grey, would have made the ballot, but was ineligible due to coming out in 2015, so they clearly had no idea.

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      2. At last “Tuesday with Molakesh, the Destroyer” was a case of a work that was released so close to the line, that people could be confused if it was an 2014 story or a 2015 story. There were a lot of more embarasing mistakes.
        The Supernaturalepisode that came out in the wrong year, the two games that weren’t short enough in best dramatic short form (2,5 hours was one I think), the fanartistnominees who only produced professonel arts, the story that were allready posted an websites…
        That was all far more embarasing

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    2. Brad was definitely think of Tad Williams at the general time of SP3 kicking off https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/why-sad-puppies-3-is-going-to-destroy-science-fiction/
      “There are lots of deserving authors — Tad Williams? Steven Barnes? Chuck Gannon? Kevin J. Anderson? L.E. Modesitt, Jr? ” (Jan 16 2015)

      L.E. Modesitt is another interesting absence. He did the intro to Brad’s 2014 collection of short stories and had eligible novels. So an author with a personal connection to Brad. I suspect the issue here is that they didn’t want two Tor books on their list (or Modesitt said no)

      Steven Barnes I don’t think had eligible work.
      Gannon and Anderson made Brad’s list.

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      1. I’m pretty sure the main reason they wanted Steven Barnes on the list was because he’s black, so they couldn’t be accused of being racist. Barnes would have been used as a shield, just like Annie Bellett and Kari English.

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      2. Based on something Modesitt once said, I doubt very much that he turned down a spot on the SP slate.

        BT admitted on numerous occasions that he hadn’t actually read works that he was praising or criticizing. I don’t think he reads very much at all. I’m not sure he even knew that ISFDB existed – instead of looking there for works by his buddies, he called them up and asked if they’d published anything in the previous year. As you’ve documented in the past, the 2015 slate was very much BT first thinking of authors he’d worked with or wanted to work with, and then finding out if they had anything eligible, and if so, sticking it on the slate. I think he just filled up his slate before he got around to considering Modesitt.

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      3. I doubt hardly any of the Puppies really knew that the ISFDB existed. They’re not the most knowledgeable group of writers that existed and that in large part explains why they really, really never understood how the Hugos are conducted.

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      4. You would think they’d ego-google themselves occasionally and then the ISFDB will pop up. That’s how I first found it years ago, because I did a Google search for my name and came across my ISFDB entry.

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    3. They didn’t break with Beale though. Beale went and made his Rabid Puppies as a pretty obvious ploy and chance to push his stuff, but if it had been an actual break, then their voting slate lists would have had less similarity than just a difference of Beale’s publishing house titles. If they had actually been going to find authors separate from Beale, then the authors they were dragging in would not have appeared so often also on Beale’s list. The SP committee was run by Beale and only a few authors/works were allowed to be different on either list. And none of the ones on the Sad Puppy list that were different from the Rabids got nominations. That Brad was allowed to go canvas some of his acquaintances doesn’t mean he was driving the bus.

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  12. And I think Williams also has had the bad luck of his best books coming out in years where there was an obvious favourite. War Of The Flowers (his best work by far) was a 2004 book, so up against a whole host of great books in a year where Worldcon was in Scotland and so had a UK-only shortlist and a worthy winner in Susanna Clarke.

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      1. ‘I like my sci-fi trad’, said Brad!
        ‘The girly stuff makes me so mad,
        and what about poor old Tad!
        Not a hugo to be had’, said Brad.
        ‘I hate the left-wing fad,
        they think white men are bad,
        Kids with two mums and no dad,
        Gay dinosaurs go mad,
        I think we’ve all been had!
        A baen ballot would make me glad,
        And if I must, I’ll play the cad,
        And make a slate so rad,
        To counter the politically correct jihad,

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      2. I really like woke as a term. Despite the Right using it as a derision, it should used as a badge of honor.

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      3. For me it always sounds like “kids these days and their crazy slang” so I doubt I’ll use it until it’s a couple of decades out of fashion.

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      4. Often the true mark of a master is in making something look absolutely effortless.

        You’re close, but the rhythm scheme doesn’t quite scan. How about:

        Brad was sad.
        Sad Brad was mad.
        “Awards are bad; they had no Tad!”
        But Brad, the cad, too had no Tad.
        Too bad, poor lad.

        Some parts of it might almost work if you start getting into doge-speak: “So bad. Such sad.”

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      5. There really is a lot of material here: ad, bad, Baghdad, Brad, cad, Chad, egad, fad, glad, gonad, grad, had, jihad, lad, mad, nomad, pad, rad, sad, Tad, trad, Vlad. Any others?

        I do want to use, “But Brad–egad!–he had no Tad!”

        Liked by 4 people

      6. Someday, in the not too far future, there will be young SFF fans who won’t know that Brad actually had a semi-promising writing career once. To them, he will always be that Sad Puppies and Nutty Nuggets guy.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Other rhymes…

        Galahad.. somewhat appropriate for the fool’s quest.
        Carlsbad… maybe as a reference to the ‘owns a mountain’ bit…
        (not much fun in) Stalingrad…
        ironclad (beliefs)…

        Hmm, several three syllable words, but haven’t found a four-syllable word that has an internal rhyme for both the second and fourth syllable to get two iambic feet in the same word. Three syllable words with strong rhymes can work for anapestic meter (which Seuss used for ‘And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street‘)

        Hunh. Of course, the opposite of the anapest is the dactyl, and we could go for a classic ‘double dactyl’ rather than going for ‘Brad’ rhymes.

        Higgledy piggledy,
        Bradley R Torgerson

        That actually scans to start with. Granted, I don’t know if ‘Brad’ is actually short for ‘Bradley’ or not. (I had a friend in high school who went by ‘Rod’ who was annoyed when people called him ‘Rodney’ because ‘Rod’ was actually short for ‘Roderick’ in his case.) I think I’m getting too deep into this for now…

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Yeah, I gotta say, I’ve been a lifelong fan of SFF, and was nearly 40 during the first yippings of the Great Debarkle, and I had no idea who Correia or Torgersen was at that point, outside of maybe seeing Correia’s name in the online Baen catalog.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Cam, this is brilliant.

        Last line: “To counter that PC jihad”? (“that” instead of “the” gives it a slightly different rhythm). And “I’ll make” in the one before it.

        And of course Brad would write “two moms”. Heather has two mommies, famously.

        I’m not sure the RW knew the word “woke” at this time. Ironically, they’re the only ones who use it now.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Ted Cruz is now freaking out because the U.S. Army profiled a female soldier with two moms in a recent promotional video. Why can’t we have a manly military like Putin does?
        Shit ton of toxic masculinity in that sad, pathetic man.

        Like

      11. @Cora: In the not too distant future (like… next week?), they won’t even know him as that unless they are multi-generational fen or do deep dives into Hugo lore.

        Like

      12. @Cora: I think Brad will be famous as the it is unfair that you can’t judge books by their coverguy.
        And for me lets get to unpolitical SF like Star Trek guy.
        P.S.: In German TV the very unpolitical SF-Series from the 80s V ist on tomorrow. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      13. I saw the Russian army film on a site commenting on “Kremlin Cruz” and his promotion of Russian propaganda. The impression I got was that the Russian soldiers were being presented as orcs. Someone tell the right wing that elves and dwarves are better warriors than orcs.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I love Williams, but he’s also been unlucky. His strongest works – MEMORY, SORROW AND THORN, OTHERLAND, and WAR OF THE FLOWERS – came out during some monstrous competition for Best Novel. Add in to that the general lean towards SF over fantasy in Worldcon voters at the time and several strong works by long time Worldcon favourites in the novel category and he got squeezed out.

    BOBBY DOLLAR has been a wonderful romp but I wouldn’t put it in any reasonable Best Novel list.

    Like

    1. Yes, the Bobby Dollar books are a good read but there’s nothing that would make me say ‘this stands out above most other novels this year’. Nor should every book be at that level – reading would be exhausting!

      Like

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