Debarkle Chapter 36: February Part 1 — the slates

As January came to an end, Vox Day’s followers, the so-called ‘Dread Ilk’, were chomping at the bit. With one day left for registration for the 2015 Worldcon, Day encouraged his followers to sign up to support the Sad Puppies 3 campaign.

“We have the momentum. Last year, the Dread Ilk showed up in respectable force without me doing anything more than putting up a single post with a modified version of Sad Puppies 2. This year, we’re locked, loaded, and ready to be all that we can be. Trust me on that. About which more soon….”

Matters were in hand, a process was underway. In the meantime, what Day needed was discipline from his followers. In the comments, Day spelt this out:

“There will be a lot of good works that are not on the slate, but I would encourage everyone to stick to it regardless. The closer everyone sticks to it, the more effective it is. Just a little more discipline last year, or to be precise, six of the 93 votes that supported Larry and did not also support Sarah Hoyt, would have had Sarah on the short story and novel ballots.”



Most libertarians aren’t [good at following orders]. But in this case, the orders are a massive force multiplier. That’s why it’s important to back the whole slate as is. Otherwise, what happens is things like last year when about half of those who supported Larry went off the reservation and ensured that neither Sarah [Hoyt] nor anyone they supported made it. And she would have had a good shot at winning in the story category too.


In the meantime, Day’s troop should just register, wait for orders and “keep their powder dry”.

Meanwhile, the Evil League of Evil had been busy carefully curating a slate…or maybe not…or maybe it was just Brad…actually we don’t know. What we do know is that on February 1, Brad Torgersen presented the Sad Puppies 3 slate.

“And here it is! After much combobulating, the official SAD PUPPIES 3 slate is assembled! As noted earlier in the year, the SAD PUPPIES 3 list is a recommendation. Not an absolute. Gathered here is the best list (we think!) of entirely deserving works, writers, and editors — all of whom would not otherwise find themselves on the Hugo ballot without some extra oomph received from beyond the rarefied, insular halls of 21st century Worldcon “fandom.””

The slate that appears on the archived post above is actually a revised version. There were numerous tweaks and changes. One of the first changes was the withdrawal of Juliette Wade’s novelette Mind Locker from the slate[1]. We will look at the fuller story of that in a later chapter but it was just one of several changes before a definitive version was established on March 2. Even so, the bulk of the slate remained unchanged. See below the footnotes for the slate.

Notable inclusions were Jim Butcher’s Skin Game, a novel in the popular urban fantasy series The Dresden Files. Larry Correia (apparently reluctantly) has been drafted in with Monster Hunter Nemesis. There was no overt media tie-in fiction in Best Novel but Kevin J. Anderson had been a prolific author of tie-in fiction. Marko Kloos was a carry-over from previous Sad Puppy campaigns but his novel Lines of Departure was notable for being published by 47 North, an imprint of Amazon — so while not quite self-published in a strict sense, it was a break from the traditional model of publishing.

Unlike Sad Puppies 2, Vox Day had not been included in the slate. However, Day’s publisher, Castalia House, had multiple nominees including works by fellow ELoE members John C Wright and Tom Kratman. Some of these had been suggested as comments in the original Sad Puppies 3 post, such as Ken Burnside’s The Hot Equations, an essay on the science of military science fiction that had been published in the anthology Riding the Red Horse edited by Vox Day & Tom Kratman.

What was less clear was the overall rationale for the selection. Torgersen has explained the objectives of Sad Puppies 3 but it was not immediately clear how those objectives translated into this slate. The named nominees were largely men but not exclusively and in the short story category, three out of five of the authors were women. Tom Kratman, Larry Correia and John C Wright each had outspoken right-wing views but it was not overtly a slate dedicated to a narrow ideology (aside from the implied conservatism of the whole project). Torgersen had also included stories from his favourite magazine, Analog, as well as promoting his “writing dad” Mike Resnick and his magazine, Galaxy’s Edge.

The slate also was unclear about the distinction between the supposed Hugo bias towards the literary rather than classic science fiction action. The headline Best Novel category had an emphasis on populist fiction but the shorter fiction included some stories with a more literary bent. The graphic story entry was a single independent webcomic whose inclusion was something of a mystery. The movie choices were all popular movies but then again none of them was an unlikely pick for the Hugo Award.

The relative quality of the picks is an issue that would become a topic later in the year. In the meantime, the Sad Puppies 3 campaign was about to have the biggest surprise twist the very next day.

On February 2, beneath a new logo drawn by the same artist as the Sad Puppies 3 logo, Vox Day announced, Rabid Puppies 2015.

“What follows is the list of Hugo recommendations known as Rabid Puppies. They are my recommendations for the 2015 nominations, and I encourage those who value my opinion on matters related to science fiction and fantasy to nominate them precisely as they are. I believe these various and meritorious works put not only last year’s nominations, but last year’s winners, to shame.”

Day’s slate was very similar to Torgersen’s and clearly based on it. Day had changed the order in which some nominees were presented but the main change was additions. Categories, such as Short Story which had only four Sad Puppy nominees, had an additions to make up the numbers to five.

Best Novel also had an interesting change, Trial by Fire by Charles Gannon was replaced on the Rabid Puppies slate by The Chaplain’s War by Brad Torgersen. On his own blog, Torgersen had recused himself from the Sad Puppies slate but had not withdrawn from the Hugo Awards in general. Was he happy to be on the Rabid Puppies’ slate? As far as I am aware he had no objection to it. A comment on the post under the name “The artist, also known as Brad” appears to be from Brad Torgersen[2] but do not comment on his inclusion.

Across the two slates, the only member of the Evil League of Evil not included somewhere was Sarah A Hoyt, although her three fellow bloggers at Mad Genius Club (Amanda Green, Cedar Sanderson and Dave Freer[3]) were included in Best Fan Writer. Day had included himself in two categories, Best Editor Long Form and Best Editor Short Form.

What was not clear from either Torgersen’s or Day’s posts, was to what extent these were two collaborating campaigns or two rival campaigns. To what extent had the so-called Evil League of Evil developed the slates together?

Also on February 2, Larry Correia promoted the Sad Puppies 3 slate.

“Slate-ening? Oh well, run with it. Here is our suggested slate!

Brad Torgersen is this year’s banner carrier in our ongoing war against Puppy Related Sadness. Now that the registrations for memberships to nominate for the Hugo are closed, here is what the Evil League of Evil authors came up with in discussion.”

Correia provided more reasoning behind the picks by talking about each of the Best Novel choices

“So this year we are expanding the slate to encompass an even wider cross section of people who would normally be shunned. A lot of thought went into this, and I’ve got stuff to do, so today I’ll illustrate our thought process by going over just one category. Let’s start with the big category of best novel:”


Aside from a generic comment about the books, his details all focused on the worthiness of the authors. What was notable, was that he described this as “our thought process” and when discussing his own inclusion in the slate, he had this to say:

“I actually told Brad and the rest of the ELoE that I was perfectly fine with Monster Hunter Nemesis not being on the ballot. Because when the SJWs aren’t blaming my motivations on homophobia or racism or something, then obviously SP was all about me trying to buy myself a Hugo Award (seriously that’s dumb, I did statistical analysis most of my life, so knew going in the odds of winning were nil).  Plus, believe it or not, I really don’t enjoy having mobs of angry SJWs telling tens of thousands of complete strangers that I’m a wife beating, rape apologist. I’m perfectly happy to bow out and screw with them from the sidelines.

Then the ELoE told me tough luck, and that if I dropped out, my fans (who make up the back bone of the growing Sad Puppies contingent) would get mad at me. Plus, John Wright said that MHN was my best book, and his vote for best book of 2014. And you really can’t argue with somebody who writes like John.”

ibid [4]

While much of Correia’s statement there is dubious, the idea that it was Correia’s fans who were the backbone of the Sad Puppy voters made a lot of sense. This would actually be the fifth year Correia had encouraged his readers to participate in the Hugo Awards to promote his work.

Correia finished his post with a dig at the number of Hugo nominations Mike Glyer had received over his decades as a fan writer and fanzine editor. In the comments, Correia elaborated more on the involvement of the Evil League of Evil.

Asked why Sarah Hoyt wasn’t included, Correia replied:

“Sarah is part of the ELoE, so you’ve got to take it up with her. All of us tried to veto ourselves, but some were not allowed. (like Kratman pretty much got drafted).”

And later he explained:

“Which is one reason we did the whole big suggested slate. The ELoE has been talking about this for a while. Nobody can know of everything, but between us, we were able to argue about a whole bunch of interesting things for you guys to look at.”

Further down he expanded on his reasoning:

Greg, we get 5 slots, and we cast a wide net. (you can read the basic reasoning here). If we loaded the whole thing with Baen authors, then we’re right back to where we were before, with the SJW assholes denying there is any problem with the awards, and anybody who is standing against them is just trying to make it a “Baen” thing. Believe it or not, we’re not just Evil, we’re Clever. 🙂

Instead, I’m proving the same point, only have guys from other places, including indy, so now they can’t say that. (or they will, and they’ll just look like assholes to all the undecideds, which is kind of my whole goal)

And Kratman is on there. He really didn’t want to be, but he is. He wrote a fantastic, deserving novella.

Believe me, I’m perfectly happy to not be on there. And the way this is looking, we’re going to be growing this in the future. There are dozens of worthy authors who’ve been ignored for way too long. Basically the ELoE told me tough crap. It was my fans who started it, and just logistically I can’t afford to piss them off by dropping out. Once we get enough people to consistently mess with the SJW’s owning the noms, I’ll be glad to drop off, and I’d love to see Ringo and Weber get nominated. Hell, I’d also like to see Flint, Williamson, and Hoyt among others. Not to mention I’d like to see greats like Zahn or Stackpole get some love.

Of course, there was nothing stopping the Sad Puppy slate from recommending six, seven or tens of possible choices. What was restricted to five slots was the choices of the people voting and restricting it to no more than five would reduce the impact of split votes. Correia was being a little coyer about slate voting discipline than Day had been. When asked specifically about including more works than available slots, Correia described that as “diluting your fire”[5].

Correia never explicitly stated who he regarded as the “Evil League of Evil” in this context but at this point, the term typically included Vox Day. As we will see later, there were some attempts to distance the Sad Puppies 3 campaign from the Rabid Puppies campaign but at no point was it stated that Day had zero input into the original Sad Puppies 3 slate. It is an unproven but reasonable hypothesis to assume that Day was consulted on the specifics.

Two days into February and the Hugo Awards were facing not one but two right-wing campaigns (in intent if not consistently in content) and people had begun to notice…

Next time: February Part 2 — Reactions


The Slates

Sad Puppies 3 (March 2 version)

  • Best Novel
    The Dark Between the Stars – Kevin J. Anderson – Tor
    Trial by Fire – Charles E. Gannon – BAEN
    Skin Game – Jim Butcher – ROC
    Monster Hunter Nemesis – Larry Correia – BAEN
    Lines of Departure – Marko Kloos – 47 North (Amazon)
  • Best Novella
    “Flow” – Arlan Andrews Sr. – Analog magazine November 2014
    One Bright Star to Guide Them – John C. Wright – Castalia House
    Big Boys Don’t Cry – Tom Kratman – Castalia House
  • Best Novelette
    “The Journeyman: In the Stone House” – Michael F. Flynn – Analog magazine June 2014
    “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” – Rajnar Vajra – Analog magazine July/Aug 2014
    “Championship B’tok” – Edward M. Lerner – Analog magazine Sept 2014
    “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” – Gray Rinehart – Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show
  • Best Short Story
    “Goodnight Stars” – Annie Bellet – The Apocalypse Triptych
    “Tuesdays With Molakesh the Destroyer” – Megan Grey – Fireside Fiction
    “Totaled” – Kary English – Galaxy’s Edge magazine, July 2014
    “On A Spiritual Plain” – Lou Antonelli – Sci Phi Journal #2
    “A Single Samurai” – Steve Diamond – Baen Big Book of Monsters
  • Best Related Work
    Letters from Gardner – Lou Antonelli – Merry Blacksmith Press
    Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth – John C. Wright – Castalia House
    Wisdom From My Internet – Michael Z. Williamson
    “Why Science is Never Settled” Part 1, Part 2 – Tedd Roberts – BAEN
  • Best Graphic Story
    Reduce Reuse Reanimate (Zombie Nation book #2) – Carter Reid – (independent)
  • Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
    “The Lego Movie” – Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
    “Guardians of the Galaxy” – James Gunn
    “Interstellar” – Christopher Nolan
    “The Maze Runner” – Wes Ball
  • Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
    Grimm – ” Once We Were Gods” – NBC
    The Flash – “The Flash (pilot)” – The CW
    Adventure Time – “The Prince Who Wanted Everything” – Cartoon Network
    Regular Show – “Saving Time” – Cartoon Network
  • Best Editor (Long Form)
    Toni Weisskopf – BAEN
    Jim Minz – BAEN
    Anne Sowards – ACE/ROC
    Sheila Gilbert – DAW
  • Best Editor (Short Form)
    Mike Resnick – Galaxy’s Edge magazine
    Edmund R. Schubert – Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show
    Jennifer Brozek (for Shattered Shields)
    Bryan Thomas Schmidt (for Shattered Shields)
  • Best Professional Artist
    Carter Reid
    Jon Eno
    Alan Pollack
    Nick Greenwood
  • Best Semiprozine
    Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show
    Abyss & Apex
    Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine
  • Best Fanzine
    Tangent SF On-line – Dave Truesdale
    Elitist Book Reviews – Steve Diamond
    The Revenge of Hump Day – Tim Bolgeo
  • Best Fancast
    “The Sci Phi Show” – Jason Rennie
    Dungeon Crawlers Radio
    Adventures in SF Publishing
  • Best Fan Writer
    Matthew David Surridge (Black Gate)
    Jeffro Johnson
    Amanda Green
    Cedar Sanderson
    Dave Freer
  • The John W. Campbell Award
    Jason Cordova
    Kary English
    Eric S. Raymond

Rabid Puppies (final version)

    • Monster Hunter Nemesis by Larry Correia, Baen Books
    • The Chaplain’s War by Brad Torgersen, Baen Books
    • Skin Game by Jim Butcher, ROC
    • Lines of Departure, by Marko Kloos, self-published
    • The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson, Tor Books
    • “One Bright Star to Guide Them” by John C. Wright, Castalia House
    • “Big Boys Don’t Cry” by Tom Kratman, Castalia House
    • “The Plural of Helen of Troy” by John C. Wright, City Beyond Time / Castalia House
    • “Pale Realms of Shade” by John C. Wright, , The Book of Feasts & Seasons / Castalia House
    • “Flow” by Arlan Andrews Sr., Analog November 2014
    • “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” by John C. Wright, The Book of Feasts & Seasons/ Castalia House
    • “The Journeyman: In the Stone House” by Michael F. Flynn, Analog June 2014
    • “Championship B’tok” by Edward M. Lerner, Analog Sept 2014
    • “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”, by Rajnar Vajra, Analog July/Aug 2014
    • “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” by Gray Rinehart, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show
    • “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa, Riding the Red Horse
    • “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” by John C. Wright, The Book of Feasts & Seasons
    • “Goodnight Stars” by Annie Bellet, The Apocalypse Triptych
    • “Totaled” by Kary English, Galaxy’s Edge
    • “On A Spiritual Plain”, Lou Antonelli, Sci Phi Journal #2
    • Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth, by John C. Wright, Castalia House
    • “The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF” by Ken Burnside, Riding the Red Horse / Castalia House
    • “Wisdom From My Internet” by Michael Z. Williamson, self-published
    • “The Science is Never Settled” by Tedd Roberts, Baen Free Library
    • “Letters from Gardner” by Lou Antonelli, Sci Phi Journal #3
    • Reduce Reuse Reanimate by Carter Reid, (independent)
    • Coherence, James Ward Byrkit
    • Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn
    • Interstellar, Christopher Nolan
    • The Maze Runner, Wes Ball
    • The Lego Movie, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
    • Supernatural: “Dog Dean Afternoon”
    • Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper”
    • Grimm: “Once We Were Gods”
    • The Flash – “The Flash (pilot)”
  • BEST EDITOR (Short Form)
    • Vox Day, Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House
    • Jennifer Brozek, Shattered Shields
    • Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Shattered Shields
    • Mike Resnick, Galaxy’s Edge
    • Edmund R. Schubert, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show
  • BEST EDITOR (Long Form)
    • Vox Day, Castalia House
    • Toni Weisskopf, Baen Books
    • Jim Minz, Baen Books
    • Anne Sowards, ACE/ROC
    • Sheila Gilbert, DAW
    • Kirk DouPonce
    • Carter Reid
    • Jon Eno
    • Alan Pollack
    • Nick Greenwood
    • Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, Edmund Schubert
    • Black Gate, John O’Neill
    • Tangent SF On-line, Dave Truesdale
    • Elitist Book Reviews,  Steve Diamond
    • The Revenge of Hump Day, Tim Bolgeo
    • “The Sci Phi Show”, Jason Rennie
    • Dungeon Crawlers Radio
    • Adventures in SF Publishing
    • Jeffro Johnson
    • Matthew David Surridge
    • Amanda Green
    • Cedar Sanderson
    • Daniel Enness
    • Eric S. Raymond, “Sucker Punch”, Riding the Red Horse
    • Rolf Nelson, The Stars Came Back
    • Jason Cordova, Kaiju Apocalypse
    • Kary English, Flight of the Kikayon

95 responses to “Debarkle Chapter 36: February Part 1 — the slates”

  1. God, the fiction in those slates were mostly piles of shit. I mean, I knew that, but seeing it laid out like that again just highlights what complete shit the ELoE “braintrust” touted.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mostly piles of shit but here is an interesting exercise. Without thinking about author names, I was considering what was the least worst of that lot was – serviceable stories that weren’t dull or just plain bad.
      I’d contend it is these three:
      “Goodnight Stars”
      “Tuesdays With Molakesh the Destroyer”

      And possibly one more that I haven’t read which coincidentally shares a similar characteristic.

      Did the Sad Puppies actually PROVE that women are better writers?

      Liked by 1 person

      • One could argue that, although being the best out of this lot is kind of damning with faint praise. I thought Totaled was passable, but nothing special, and Goodnight Stars was decent. I never read Tuesdays.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “The Triple Sun” by Rajnar Vajra was also decent. In fact, I ranked it above Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s novelette, which I didn’t care for at all.

        “Skin Game” was okay as well, though one of the weaker Dresden Files novels and not a good introduction to the series.


      • The appeal of “The Triple Sun” rather passed me by, I’m afraid – I thought the main characters were insufferable, and the way one of them kept on saying, in effect, “Ah, I have the solution to this puzzle, but I’m not going to reveal it until the author lets me” rather got on my nerves. But to each their own, I guess.

        I didn’t think much of the Thomas Olde Heuvelt story, either. (I felt a little bit bad about that, seeing his little happy smiley face after the results came in. But not bad enough to, y’know, take down my review or anything.)

        I thought “Totaled” was more or less OK, if a bit downbeat and low in energy. I do remember reading “Molakesh” and quite liking it (probably not enough to give it first place in a normal year, though), and “Goodnight Stars” was another one that was OK, barring a few quibbles. Certainly, all three stories looked good compared to the rest of the fiction slate.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Did the Sad Puppies actually PROVE that women are better writers?

        They proved that women write better than they do. Oops.

        Liked by 6 people

      • Juliette Wade is someone I wished was remembered more.
        I think it proves somethink else, that they didn’t nominate women for everythink no matter what, in difference to the men. Also it may be that we see a trend here, that was established before (Taylor imho) and ended in the shilds next year. I have the suspision that some people were nominated to give the slate more respect and to attack the “SJW” for voting them down. Also a case of point editors.
        Because of the bad taste of Brad and Friends it just didn’t work.
        What I found interesting is that none of the 3 did type the partyline. Okay, “Tuesdays with Molakesh the Destroyer” was not eligatable but “Goodnight Stars” was withdrawn and Kary English did distance herself from at last Day and was unpersoned by him as result. (Your milage may very if that excuses here but it was more than a lot of more established writers did)
        Also none of them were that close to the organisers as far as I know. Annie Bellet was a friend of Torgerson, she came up with the great picture of him sitting in a car with Beale and Beale is driving.

        On the other hand fanwriters. Here the better writers didn’t quite match.

        Liked by 2 people

        • StefanB: On the other hand fanwriters. Here the better writers didn’t quite match.

          I still laugh hilariously every time I think about the fact that Freer, Green and Sanderson deliberately put essays which insulted Worldcon members into their Hugo Voter Packet submissions. I mean, how goddamned stupid can you be to do that? 😀

          Liked by 5 people

      • I think JJs goddamned stupid is a good discription to a lot of stuff that was going on, not only the fanwriters. In my oppinion it began with the tantrum that Larry had, when he lost against Lev Grossman, nominating Beale (the proof of a bias), Brad leading Sad Puppies (there was no win for him and nearly anyone involved), the fact that the “Independent” Sad Puppies (I have heared that Beale not beeing on the slate was done because some nominees wanted nothing to do with him but have no proof) defending the rapids, when ever posible, the attacks against the SJWs (regardless the quality of your work, you don’t want to have people hate you, because humans do react worse to text from people they hate) and some of the nominees whent the extraround.
        The Tank for his attacks (he was one of the nominees who attacked a lot), Wrights selfdistructing support of the boycott of his publisher, Crazy Uncle Lou, Weiskopf not giving the nominators any help in decieding if she was Hugoworthy, Michael Z. Williamson little tantrum I no award everything(I have forgotten why), not reading the work that you nominated and basicly shaming yourself with the nominees (and I am sure that includes Brad), following Day…

        But for the fanwriters there is a certain logic to it. For them the people they insulted did not matter, the pups were the majority and the never had no award really on the radar if you go by puppyreactions afterwards (generel speaking the stuff that puppies are not getting about Worldcon and the Hugos is a lot, could be fixed if the tried to inform themselve)

        Another think that was painfully obvious, that Brad had no plan going forward after their win (which was neutral or a loss for most of them, I count amoung the puppynoms Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet as winners because of this, some others were not damaged)

        Liked by 2 people

      • “Totaled” would have been great in the 70s. Sadly, this was decades later.
        “Goodnight Stars” was nice, not bad.

        All were competently written and didn’t go out of their way to offend anyone.


  2. “ Tom Kratman, Larry Correia and Tom Kratman each had outspoken right-wing views…”

    I think you’re understating the right-wingedness of Kratman a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s really too bad that Black Gate hasn’t been nominated since (for Best Fanzine). I’ve tried, but it never seems to break through.

    But yeah, seeing those multiple piles of horse manure again–gah. (When you get to the reactions, I hope you include a few quotes from those of us who took our duty seriously and tried to shovel through, and review, those steaming piles of horse manure.)


    • Yes, a lot of the reviews were in May and June though, so I might save earlier ones for later chapters. February Part 2 will be more reactions to the slates in general


    • Black Gate cut its own throat with Hugo voters when it let Vox Day veto Foz Meadow referring to him as a neo-nazi, and put the post out for adoption by Amazing Stories. If Black Gate wasn”t going to back Meadows, why did they accept the post in the first place?

      Liked by 2 people

    • I like Black Gate, too, and have nominated them repeatedly, but I fear the association, even if it was largely unwittingly, with the puppies has burned them.


      • I’m with Laura. Regardless of content, it’s just such a literal pain to read. What I’ve read is pretty good, but it has to be outstanding and recommended by everyone I know before I will.

        It is NOT user friendly, particularly for users with visual issues. It couldn’t be THAT hard to set up a black text on white background alternate version.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Dear God, seeing it all together like this emphasizes that the Pups’ endless flow of self-serving false humility would have made Uriah Heep vomit in disgust.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. The graphic story entry was a single independent webcomic whose inclusion was something of a mystery.

    There was no mystery about that. That author and BT had collaborated on a novelette for a KJA anthology in 2012. It was yet another LDS nepotism nominee.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Correia never explicitly stated who he regarded as the “Evil League of Evil” in this context but at this point, the term typically included Vox Day. As we will see later, there were some attempts to distance the Sad Puppies 3 campaign from the Rabid Puppies campaign but at no point was it stated that Day had zero input into the original Sad Puppies 3 slate. It is an unproven but reasonable hypothesis to assume that Day was consulted on the specifics.

    This was confirmed later on by comments by both BT and Hoyt which were (paraphrasing slightly) “You [Worldcon members] should be thankful, VD wanted to make the slate a lot worse, but LC and BT talked him down.”

    It was also clear, when the Rabid Puppies slate was posted 5 hours after the Sad Puppy slate with a rabidized version of the SP logo created by the same artist, that at least one of the Sad Puppy leaders had shared details in advance with VD (since there was no way that second logo could have been produced within 5 hours).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, the coordination between VD and the others is admitted in public posts, in the nature of what you’re remembering.

      And I think the Evil League of Evil always referred to the canonical members that were announced in a post somewhere along the line.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I may have been too tricksy with my wording here but I’ll point out what I’m dancing around: “It is an unproven but reasonable hypothesis to assume that Day was consulted on the specifics”
        So Day definitely was spoken to about strategy, you have to put a few quotes together but it is undeniable. What I think is reasonable but not proven is whether Day was consulted on the specific picks of nominees on the SP3 slate. I think he was, i.e. Brad, Larry etc discussed some works specifically. Not all of them because we know Larry left somethings entirely to Brad (eg Campbell) but definitely some and I think that included whether or not Vox would be on the ballot.

        I think that last question is what resolved the SP3 & RP dual strategy. Having two slates meant they could nominate Vox while not nominating Vox. The kind of reductive thinking Larry et al followed was that if the only objection to SP2 was Vox, then not having Vox would reveal the SJW hypocrisy BUT they really wanted Vox on the ballot…so Rabid Puppies. I’m guessing this was thrashed out in mid to late January.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Wasn’t there a cartoon, at some point, showing the ELoE membership? I’m sure I remember a cartoon. (From one of the Puppy group, so, well, as official as it gets.)


    • Yes to all that except the logo. The SP3 logo was revealed on January 21, so Day would have had time to get the artist to make a RP logo without collusion – although, obviously they were all in on it. For me the clincher is Brad’s comment on the RP slate announcement – not the content of the comment but that he posted a happy, jolly comment there. Brad is trivially easy to piss off and if RP had been a surprise he’d have been angry – he might not have been willing to take Vox to task but he wouldn’t have popped over to his blog to cheer him on. Brad wasn’t surprised by RP, neither was Correia (again easy to piss off and possessive of the ‘Puppy’ brand).

      Liked by 4 people

  7. “ ready to be all that we can be”. Not quite. They started as cultural and literary vandals, but exciting opportunities for sedition awaited.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Huh, I did not realize Trial by Fire by Gannon was on the slate. That series always seemed to me to be a counterpart to Puppy logic, as it earned multiple Nebula Nominations for Best Novel despite being what should have been what the Puppies loved – American centered in essence, Human Superiority over Aliens (although the series’ biggest antagonists would turn out to be an alternate branch of humans eventually), with at least two of the novels – this one Trial by Fire, and the fourth one Raising Caine, being pretty clearly MilSci (the other books were more sort of first contact type books, if that makes sense).

    I remember liking books 1 and 2, although the fridging of the love interest (almost literally!) in book 2 bothered me at the time, but when I read book 4 years after reading book 3, I found it unbearable incidentally. But either way, it’s exactly the type of series you’d figure the Puppies would love, and it has gotten multiple nominations from the SFWA, which you’d think would be impossible if you listened to them.

    Liked by 3 people

    • My experience with Gannon is that he is Mr. Congeniality – very bright and thoughtful, but also if you look at his bio –
      which gives absolutely no indication of such – his involvement with the Sigma project, and the content of his fiction (which is deeply MilSF-knowledgeable but so intellectual that Puppies had complained about it) made me strongly suspect that he was involved with the Military Intelligence community. So I think that his Nebula nominations, like Lawrence M. Schoen’s, stem from the Mr. Congeniality aspect – both of them are friends with a wide range of other authors – but his popularity with the Baen crowd stems from his MilSF writing and his conservative political and moral views.

      I really enjoyed the first two Caine novels and thought the third was good, but was utterly frustrated by some random sexism and – not one, but TWO – unplanned pregnancies – which were 1) utterly ridiculous for the tech level of his series and 2) played for fridging aspects, as you mention. I started to read the fourth novel, but it seemed to me that it had jumped the shark and I didn’t get very far.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. When Eric and I first started reading the stories that actually made the ballot, we were classing them as one to five stars (as we later did on Rocket Stack Rank), but when we reached “The Journeyman: In the Stone House” by Michael F. Flynn, we went back and rescored the rest of them to one or (maybe) two stars.

    Flynn–whatever his other problems (e.g. he’s a climate-change denier)–is a real writer. This is far from his best work, but his characters are relatable, his prose is transparent, there’s a plot, etc. It stands out from all the other Puppy nominations (except the Butcher novel, which is also competently written).

    And yet, “In the Stone House” is just a three-star story. (It’s part of a series, and I’d read the other stories, so I probably liked it more than I otherwise would have.) It’s well-written, but it’s forgettable, and there’s nothing outstanding about it. But it made it crystal clear (to us, anyway), that the rest of the stories were substandard. It was a surprise that they got published at all.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Flynn? Isn’t he the guy who together with Niven and Pournelle wrote that bonkers book about a world after “global cooling” with an US government run by anti-science postmodernist (there’s nothing new under the sun) featuring SF-fans as unwilling but capable heroes? “Fallen Angel” or something?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep. With a Mike Glyder (or some such as a character). Flynn has written some decent stuff, like The Country of the Blind and Eifelheim.


      • Not sure about that, but I will that that when I read Flynn’s blog, I lost interest in reading more of his stuff. That plus a book that was really substandard in terms of believability on several fronts.


      • Hunh. And I actually mostly liked The Nanotech Chronicles, though some of the political leanings were blatantly showing there and the one story about the guy who obsessed over his late wife was seriously disturbing.

        I’d forgotten that Fallen Angels was by him as well; I remember seeing that in the bookstore when it first came out, and despite having picked up almost everything previous by Larry Niven, just the blurb on the back was enough to turn me off.

        Granted, I’d already read Footfall by that time, too, and wasn’t in the mood for other Niven/Pournelle collaborations.


      • Fallen Angels is best treated as an exercise in reading the absurdness which is right-wing America. It’s difficult to tell whether the authors are being witheringly sarcastic and lampooning right-wing thought, or being deadly serious. I like to think that they’re being sarcastic and then it’s mindless fluff for rainy weekends when there’s nothing better to do.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hey, I thought Fallen Angels worked fine when considered as a massive fannish Tuckerisation project, plus the science behind a “Snowball Earth” runaway-glaciation scenario was at least still plausible in 1991 when the authors wrote it. Sure, the book’s notion of a totalitarian anti-technology / anti-science government run by an alliance of Greens and fundies was pretty seriously whacked, but you just run with the wildly implausible premise, and enjoy where the tale takes you.

        Liked by 2 people

      • @Rick Moen

        Sorry but “Global Cooling” was not only always a minority position and only somewhat plausible until the ’70s. Also didn’t “Fallen Angels” argue that blasting Carbon into the atmosphere was necessary to prevent cooling, i. e. that there’s a Greenhouse effect? By now Niven and Flynn would have to admit that they have been thoroughly falsified.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Flynn also won a legitimate Hugo nomination for Eifelheim in 2007. Of course, I disliked Eifelheim, but then I disliked all the 2007 Hugo finalists for Best Novel except for His Majesty’s Dragon.

      Regarding The Journeyman in the Stone House, it struck me like a random excerpt from the not very good sword and sorcery story. And since it apparently was part of a serial (ditto for the Arlan Andrews novella and at least one other), that’s very likely exactly what it was.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. So despite their early claims that they weren’t doing a slate, just recommendations like everyone else, they were quite open here that they were making a slate. And I love the leaders going, well we didn’t want to be on there but we were just dragged into it, gosh darn it. Brad could leave himself off the Sads’ list, knowing that Beale would put him on the Rabid’s list and both main voting groups — Larry’s minions and Beale’s Gamergaters — would go for him. Hoyt obviously was not a favorite with Larry’s minions and was she fighting with Beale at that point or was it later? In any case, she was actually in that period one of the more mainstream of the Puppy writers, but clearly they decided they couldn’t get enough of the frothers to vote for her consistently so left her off. Or maybe she was the only one who sincerely asked not to be involved this time, who knows.

    We also see lots of people on the list who were never asked and gave consent to be on the political campaign of the voting slates, or who were lied to about it and would be withdrawing at some point in the process, with all the Puppies doing screaming about it. What’s truly remarkable here is how much Beale had taken over, probably because Larry had gotten his Hugo nomination and was happy to hand it off. Brad was allowed to go find some folk for the Sad Puppies slate but mostly it was a coordinated convergence. Except for Butcher and Anderson, both of whom had no idea that the Puppies had selected them, (and Larry who started it all,) none of the authors chosen were particularly well known or wildly successful. The very premise that Brad and others had been whining that the super successful, commercial, famous authors in SFF were being ignored by Hugo voters in favor of “obscure literary” works (that were actually bestselling novels or published in major magazine/anthology venues) was nowhere pursued in the Puppy slates.

    That’s not to say that none of them had chops, especially some who had been dragged in against their will, or that an Analog credit is nothing, but it was not a Heinlein-Asimov level list in the least. It was instead two nearly identical lists meant mainly to promote Baen Books and Beale’s small publisher. And it wasn’t that great a promotion for Baen. If Bujold or Flint, two of Baen’s biggest names, had books out in 2014, maybe they would have thrown those in to actually give Baen a better shot, though ideologically they didn’t fit. Since they were so obsessed with the financial success of novels, coming up with short fiction they seemed to have just grabbed a hodge podge and worked to promote Castalia House. The supposed problem that the Hugos were controlled by a not real SFF niche cabal and needed to be opened up to the popular world and “regular” fans was entirely not countered by their proposed list. Mostly it just made everybody scratch their heads in confusion. It was purely an operation to see if they could do it, rather than any real concern about the content they were trying to do it with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I found the earliest claim that Brad’s slate (that he expressly called “a slate”) was not a slate. It was Amanda Green on February 10 2015. It took less than 10 days for that particular bit of rewriting history.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, right here in real time is when Teddy made Brad and Larry his bitch.

      I still don’t think they’ve allowed themselves to realize it, though.


      • While Beale did take over the campaigns, I don’t think it was Beale who told them to call it openly a slate in the beginning. I think it was Larry and that started with Sad Puppies #2. They specifically wanted to group vote for a set of specific titles and Baen’s editor. And that worked and got Larry his nomination through SP2, but it wasn’t as extreme or powerful enough a showing as Larry liked (higher status). Beale had connections to Gamergate, so essentially with Beale fully on board, they could go for a bigger scope and Larry stepped back a little so that it wouldn’t seem like just a campaign for himself.

        So they all called Puppies #3 (and Rabids) a slate because they’d called it a slate before. It was when they started getting more attention as the “Hugos war” that they started backpedalling on it because they wanted to look like the “good” guys who weren’t trying anything considered underhanded or crass in Hugo traditions. But when Larry was telling them to all vote in lockstep to get the specific group of books on the ballot — that’s a voting slate campaign, not a rec list.

        And the Puppies were perfectly well aware of the difference, as witnessed by Sad Puppies 4, which announced that it would be different from Sad Puppies 3 by not being a slate of titles but instead a general rec list that anyone could give input on. The claims that they were doing a voting slate, while others they accused had clearly simply done self-promotion and/or rec lists, definitely stung them as it made them look like rigging conspirators, their main accusation against marginalized and other authors. It’s a regular strategy with right-wingers — get pushback on something, pretend you never said it and/or that those you’ve declared your threatening opponent are doing it instead. Your backers won’t care and media has the attention of a mayfly.

        Anyway, quite clearly the coordination and finalists on the slate lists indicated that Beale was running the actual campaigns with Brad as his assistant who was allowed to suggest some people. Beale had more voters he could rustle up and right-wing media connections. And they thought it was great at first, but then they realized how little control they had over everything. Especially when the people they dragged onto their slate without asking them started withdrawing themselves, showing that the political vote slate campaign was not an organized front within SF but a bunch of rampaging bigots feeling they were owed Hugo noms because they wanted their politics to seem in charge of the world.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. I don’t know if what I’m about to type proves that I am a glutton for punishment or just highly suggestable, but a couple of the comments up that had me wondering if I could find the 2015 Hugo Packet in my timemachine back up to remember what a couple of these stories were like…

    …and then I realized I could go to my own blog in June/July 2015 and read my reviews of the various categories.


    Liked by 2 people

    • I thought about seeing if I could dig up some of my notes on them. Then I decided I don’t care. Trying to vaguely recall them at all is bad enough.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The only thing that I remember about JCW is that godawful Narnia fanfic where there’s a tonne of stuff the characters reference from their past adventures but almost nothing happens in the present. A better writer might’ve been able to pull it off, but Wright gets so bogged down in blandly reciting old adventures he forgets to make the story he’s actually writing worth reading. Also the character whose name abruptly switches from Sarah to Sally or vice versa.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I will once again point out that having attended St. John’s College seems to have warped JCW’s view of the world such that he thinks people who read old books are the only people who are educated.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Even for Wright it’s a bizarre hill to die on. As far as I can tell, Sally has been a name in its own right for a couple of centuries at least.


      • My Mom was a Hugo voter in 2017 and I gave her the stories without pointing out which one were puppy finalists, because I wanted to give her the chance to come to an unbiassed decision. And when she read the JCW robot torture porn story, she exclaimed, “What sort of shit is this! This is absolutely terrible.”

        I said, “Well, I told you about those rightwingers who tried to take over the Hugos by swamping the ballot with crap? This is one of them.”

        She didn’t even hate the dinosaur porn as much as the JCW robot torture story.


      • Sally was popular as a name in the early to mid 1900s, and its history goes back at least a century before then as well. There are some people with the right circumstances who would know the Sarah/Sally connection but in modern English, to most people, it’s not obvious that one is a diminutive form of the other. A better writer would’ve signposted the connection better (or simply chosen a different name altogether), understanding that he has an audience who speak late 20th century/early 21st century versions of English where Sally as a diminutive has largely fallen out of use. What Wright did, though, was have his omniscient narrator call her one thing, then have his character call her by a completely different name entirely at random.

        The problem with Wright is that he’s stuck in this 18th century mode of English, which causes confusion for everyone who isn’t living centuries in the past, and which he also has a tendency to badly misunderstand.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Back in Ye Olden Dayes of Yore that JCW wishes he lived in (notwithstanding he’d never have survived his heart attack then), Sally started out as a nickname for Sarah.

        But they’ve been separate names for, I dunno… at least a century? Probably more?

        I know people named both, and they are never called by the other name. The big conflict now is Sara vs. Sarah.

        My Grandma Sarah was born in 1895, and she’d have cut you if you called her Sally. Red-haired Irish and the temper to match the cliche.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Greg –

    I suspect that your great-grandmother was also a woman who was married to a hat-wearing man. Coincidence? I think not.


    • 🙂 Only if you count the hat he wrote in World War I. My relatives were mostly simple country people. It was a big deal when my father went to college (n the 1950s) because “people like us don’t do that.” Hats were never part of the equation. Maybe before the Civil War . . .

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and it’s odd because I read a lot of what the Puppies wrote both then and in the intervening years but it really is just this last month that I’ve shifted to thinking that not only did they actively collaborate with Vox’s plan but they weren’t even subtle about the fact.

      The monopuppyists have won the argument I think.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Of course we had phases. Before the finalists were anounced they weren’t hidding it, then came the backlash and the Sad did weasel some distance between them, then after the screenshot that Beale published (a month later) the dance to his tune. Later exspecially Larry defended Beale whenever he could (may be that I just remember Larry more because Brad become so unimportant.
        I was not a monopuppyist at the begining. I say them more as Beales usful idiots, that tryed to use him, while he was using them, but that chanced. This sad if two people use the same tools and have different goals one to save it and the other to destroy it, one of them has no idea what he is doing or is more likly lying.
        I am not a strict monopuppyist, because I think the weaseling was done to get some nominees on board that weren’t neccesary okay with Beale and for them Brad was hidding the connection (and hoping that they weren’t getting it). I think there is a bunch who really believed the bullshit Brad had sold them.

        I never knew what to make of the puppysupporters, how much they sepperated Sads and Rabids. There were some who where obvious readers and some who had obviously no idea, about the genere and where only there for the fight. If I think more about it, I don’t know what is worse, because the readers had no excuse to nominate a lot of the stuff.
        There was more defense from the none-puppies about some of the storys (Skin Game and Totaled exspecially) and the editors then there was from the puppys.

        Liked by 1 person

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