Debarkle Chapter 38: March

The late February death of actor Leonard Nimoy was greeted with sadness by science-fiction fans. The actor whose iconic performances as Spock in Star Trek had stretched from the show’s initial pilot episode in 1964 to the reboot of the film franchise in 2013[1]. On March 12, Sir Terry Pratchett died at the age of 66. The acclaimed fantasy writer and humorist died of early-onset Alzheimer’s. Although Pratchett’s novels and he himself had received many awards in his long career, he had not won a Hugo Award — although his novel Going Postal had received enough votes to be a finalist in 2005, he had declined the nomination[2].

With Hugo Award nominations set to close on March 10, Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia were still looking for ways to promote the Sad Puppies 3 slate. On March 8, two days before Hugo nominations would close, the pair of Sad Puppy leaders appeared on The Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing podcast[3]. The tone was generally light-hearted, with Correia emphasising that the campaign had a humorous element and a sense of fun. The political aspect was downplayed. The podcast itself was one of the few ‘neutral’ venues to give the Sad Puppy campaign much publicity and a couple of episodes later they had a counter-balancing interview with fan-writer Paul Weimer from the Skiffy and Fanty podcast[4]. While acknowledging many of the flaws with the Hugo Awards, Weimer politely pulled apart many of the claims that Torgersen and Correia had made in the earlier episode.

Despite their controversial nature, at this stage, the twin Sad & Rabid Puppy campaigns had not received a great deal of third party coverage. Ever conspiracy-minded, Vox Day was concerned that the lack of reaction pointed to the possibility of secret shenanigans. In the comments to his own post reminding his followers to nominate, Day stated:

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we did well, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we were shut out entirely. There hasn’t been nearly enough whining and crying and gnashing of teeth, which makes me suspect the existence of a stealth SJW slate.”

Vox Day [5]

At his blog Chaos Horizon, Brandon Kempner made a stab at predicting the Hugo Best Novel finalists[6] which drew an analysis from Vox Day. Kempner had used 2014 data to estimate the likely impact of the Puppy slates, but Day pointed out that in 2014 his so-called “Dread Ilk” (a cadre of Day’s online followers) had not got involved in the Sad Puppy 2 slate until after nominations had closed.

“First, he probably isn’t aware that the Dread Ilk did not get involved until AFTER the nominations were closed. So he’s probably missing about 120 votes right there. Furthermore, we know that an unknown number of Dread Ilk, and an equally unknown number of new Sad Puppies, got involved this year. So, my guess is that his 330 estimate should be at least 500 for the combined Puppies and could be even higher. If we assume his 2,350 estimate is correct, and I find his reasoning to be perfectly plausible there, then the Puppies will represent between 20 and 25 percent of the 2015 nominating vote.”

Day wasn’t claiming a Puppy sweep was inevitable. He was still concerned that there could be a “650-strong stealth SJW slate that will lock out the Puppies entirely across the board” but he had not seen any evidence of one[7].

The dual slate approach of Sad and Rabid Puppies also meant that the broader campaign really could include nominees with different perspectives on the Hugo Award. Sad Puppies 3 semiprozine nominee Abyss & Apex (not included on the Rabid Puppies slate) ran a positive editorial endorsing Torgersen’s campaign but projecting the editor Wendy S. Delmater’s views about the award:

“I’d like to close this editorial with a comment from “the SAD PUPPIES: some responses to the fallout” post on Brad R. Torgersen’s blog. It addresses the concern of some that SP3 is “vote buying” or bad motives like squashing diversity of any kind. No, the Hugos are The People’s Choice Award of the genre. Thanks to SP3, people are realizing they can vote. If that makes the usual suspects a little concerned (most of whom I know and love and have voted for in the past, like fellow editors Ellen Datlow, Neil Clarke, Gardner Dozois, Sheila Williams, and John Joseph Adams), I say bring it on. Authors and publishing houses who have campaigned in the past, however quietly, must feel like the Redcoats did during the American Revolutionary War. They may have done things the old fashioned way, and thought the revolutionaries guerrilla tactics uncouth. But, if I recall correctly, the revolutionaries won. And today, we’re allies with England.”

Delmater saw the Sad Puppy campaign as at worse “uncouth” and potentially a force for good that would shake up the awards. On the topic of the closely related Rabid Puppy campaign, her editorial was silent.

Elsewhere a different Hugo-related conflict entered a new phase and in doing so brought a new player into our narrative. In 2015, George R.R. Martin was one of the most notable fantasy authors in the world. The HBO television series Game of Thrones (based on Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice books) was a pop-culture phenomenon and a few weeks away from starting its fifth season, while Martin’s fans were desperately hoping that he was close to finishing the next book in the series entitled The Winds of Winter[8]. However, Martin’s fame was a relatively recent aspect of a long and successful career in writing. That career included a long connection with Worldcon and the Hugo Awards including several wins for shorter fiction and nominations for his novels[9]. So it was not out of character for Martin to discuss likely contenders on his blog.

On March 8, a few days short of nominations closing, Martin posted on his blog some recommendations for different categories. Most were unremarkable but Martin’s choice for Best Fan writer was both more notable and controversial:

“BEST FAN WRITER. There have been arguments in the past about what, precisely, constitutes fan writing, and who should or should not be eligible for this award. LAURA J. MIXON is a professional writer, and a very talented one, with half a dozen strong novels under her own name and her pseudonym of M.J. Locke… but this year she published online, in a non-professional and unpaid capacity, ‘A Report on Damage Done by One Individual Under Several Names,’ a detailed, eloquent, and devastating expose of the venomous internet troll best known as ‘Requires Hate’ and ‘Winterfox.’ It’s not your usual sort of fan writing, admittedly… but it wasn’t done for money, and it wasn’t published professionally, and it’s a terrific piece of journalism, an important piece that speaks to issues of growing importance to fandom in this internet age. So I’m nominating Mixon for Best Fan Writer, and I urge you to do the same.”

While much of the coverage around the Requires Hate controversy (including Mixon’s own report) had discussed some of the issues around singling out one person within a fandom for formal criticism of their behaviour, Martin’s endorsement was more direct. As Mike Glyer would point out[10], Martin’s Hugo recommendations had generally not been influential in the recent past but nevertheless, in the anarchic and leaderless world of Worldcon fandom, it was a close to an official endorsement of Mixon’s report as possible. If Laura Mixon became a finalist for best fan writer on the strength of her report on Requires Hate then it might turn the category into a kind of referendum on the contents. There was no capacity for the Hugo Awards to censure an individual but for better or worse George R. R. Martin was pointing to a way of doing so.

Meanwhile, meanwhile…Worldcon in its 2015 regeneration as Sasquan, had announced that it would have a genuine spaceman at the convention[11]. While a different convention, gaming convention Gen Con, found itself at odds with the governor of Indiana over so-called “religious freedom” legislation that would allow businesses to discriminate against LGTBQI+ people[12]. The governor, a Republican by name of Mike Pence, would ignore their plea. While from the spiralling abuse vortex that was now Gamergate, Milo Yiannopoulos attempts to find a third culture war front by targeting comics books, after Marvel releases a story arc for Thor in which the position of God of Thunder is held by a woman[13].

The Hugo Awards themselves fell into a scheduled period of silent activity. Nominations closed on March 10 and the finalists were set to be announced on April 4. In between time, nominating votes had to be collected from the online submissions and from postal votes. Because the nomination stage is an open process in which members might vote for anything (eligible or not), there is significant work to be done to count the votes. Worldcon members may have misspelt names and some works go by multiple titles. The eligibility of works is also a thorny question and even prior to the nominations closing some potential finalists had tricky eligibility questions. Andy Weir’s popular near-future space adventure The Martian had been a New York Times bestseller in 2014 and its mix of heroic impromptu engineering and engaging writing would have made it a potential Hugo winner that would be popular with both the Sad Puppy audience and broader science fiction fans. However, the book had already been published by Weir first as a blog serial and then as a self-published ebook in 2011[14] making The Martian ineligible for the 2015 Hugo Awards. Confusingly Weir himself was still eligible for the Astounding/Campbell Award for Best New Writer for 2015.

A more subtle eligibility question had also become apparent before nominations closed. One of the crowd-sourced picks for the Sad Puppies 3 slate had been “Tuesdays With Molakesh the Destroyer” by Megan Grey in Fireside Fiction magazine. The story had been published in late 2014 but in an edition that was dated January 2015. It was on this official publication date that awards like the Hugos and the Nebulas typically judged eligibility and the story had already been deemed ineligible for the Nebulas awards that year. It was going to have to wait until the 2016 award season to be eligible.

With more stories having complex and unconventional publishing histories, determining the eligibility of nominees was becoming a difficult task for the volunteers who worked as Hugo administrators. In addition, not everybody with enough votes to be a finalist actually wants to be a finalist. As mentioned above, Sir Terry Pratchett had turned down a Hugo nomination in 2005. Consequently, the announcement of Hugo finalists takes place in two stages. First, the finalists are notified confidentially. If some finalists decline the nomination (for various reasons) then a new finalist is included based on the votes. Only when the complete set of finalists is confirmed is there a public announcement. As a consequence, nominees are asked to not make public statements about being a Hugo finalist until the official announcement is made.

In late March of 2015, the Hugo Awards were in a twilight state of rumours. Finalists were being notified and while people largely kept their new-found status quiet, inevitably there was gossip and hints circulating through fannish and professional networks.

On March 24 at her blog, editor and long-time fan Teresa Nielsen Hayden made a post entitled “Distant thunder, and the smell of ozone”:

“I’ve been keeping an ear on the SF community’s gossip, and I think the subject of this year’s Hugo nominations is about to explode.

Let me make this clear: my apprehensions are not based on insider information. I’m just correlating bits of gossip. It may help that I’ve been a member of the SF community for decades.

If the subject does blow up, I may write about it in this space. In any event, watch that space.”

Nielsen Hayden did not have any details to give and in some ways fannish controversies are the norm in an expect the unexpected sort of way. In the comments, people picked out two likely possibilities for 2015 Hugo controversies: Requires Hate/Mixon report on the one hand and the Sad/Rabid Puppies on the other. If it was the latter, then either notable Sad Puppies being finalist or them NOT being finalists because of eligibility reasons could both be sources of extended controversy. On March 25 in the comments to the post, Teresa Nielsen Hayden expanded on her expectations:

“Less callout culture; more sad puppies and identity politics. And I’m pretty sure it isn’t limited to the novel category. It may affect the entire ballot.

You know what? I find myself missing Jim Baen. His aesthetics were not my aesthetics, but he had a real understanding of fandom and the greater SF community. I like to think he’d have seen the danger in associating with a semi-anonymous bunch of irresponsible, resentment-driven malfeasants who have no stake in the well-being of the SF world. Larry Correia and the other sad puppies might have listened to him.

The hardcore Gamergate contingent favors tactics like verbal abuse and intimidation (including death threats), doxing, identity spoofing, and a wide range of dirty tricks. Some of them find it amusing to call down SWAT teams on their targets. This is not just your everyday People Behaving Badly on the Internet.

When you invite thugs into your argument, you’re not using them as shock troops; they’re using you as cover. And you’re pretty much guaranteeing that at some point in the future, you’ll wind up feebly protesting that you had no idea they’d do that. And maybe you didn’t; but you did know they were thugs.

[…]That’s how it tends to happen inside the community. From what I’m hearing now (but haven’t been hearing about earlier), we either have outside involvement, or there’s been a depth of conspiracy within the community that’s a scandal in its own right. It’s possible we have both.”

Her speculation would be quickly (if partially) confirmed. Baen author Michael Z Williamson announced on Twitter that his self-published book of jokes and anecdotes “Wisdom from my Internet” was a Hugo finalist for the Best Related Work category. He quickly withdrew his announcement when he was told that he was supposed to wait until the official announcement of the finalists[15].

This one public leak was a minor mishap in terms of etiquette but was a canary in a coal mine for the potential shape of the 2015 Hugo Awards. Williamson’s book was on both the Sad and Rabid Puppy slates and while Williamson did have his own fanbase, it was a very improbable finalist for the Hugo Awards. The book was little more than snark and jokes culled from Facebook and other social media and only vaguely related to science fiction. The joke name of the publisher was “Patriarchy Press” and the whole enterprise looked an awful lot like trolling. It was, by most measures, one of the weakest entries on the Sad Puppy slate and an odd choice given that Williamson had written creditable eligible science fiction stories in 2014. In addition, the Sad Puppy slate for Best Related Work had included four other works, each of which was at least superficially more plausible contenders for the category than Williamson’s book of second-hand jokes. If Williamson was a finalist, then it was likely the other four works from the slates were also finalists! And if the Sad/Rabid Puppies had swept all the nominations for one category then what about the other categories…

Rumours of Sad Puppy victories were appearing closer to the source as well. At Mad Genius Club, Kate Paulk led her March 26 post with this statement:

“There are… interesting whispers and things floating around the Internets in places that are rightfully private. I’m not at liberty to reveal what those whispers are saying, but I can say this much: the announcement of the Hugo nominations on April 4 should be interesting indeed, and will potentially kick Sad Puppies Three into the final phase of encouraging everyone who’s eligible to read the nominated works if they haven’t already read them, and then make sure they vote. Word is that the Hugo committee had to sort through more nomination ballots than ever before, which means that competition for the actual award is likely to be stiff.”

And if Sad Puppies 3 was a success then what about another sequel? Paulk had an answer for that as well:

“Because in a fit of even greater insanity than usual, yours truly, Kate the Impaler of the Evil Legion of Evil, will be picking up the banner for Sad Puppies 4 and running with it. I even promised not to impale anyone with it (it’s such a pretty flag, and getting blood and… stuff… all over it would make those poor sad puppies even more sad. Even the Evil Legion of Evil has standards, you know. We’re completely against letting Sad Puppies stay sad. We want them to be happy).”


Brad Torgersen was also in a combative mood, showing up on author Pat Cadigan’s page after she speculated on March 25 that the Sad Puppies were likely to be complaining about losing. Cadigan had said posted:

“So I’ve heard there’s this group calling themselves Sad Puppies who are complaining about not getting on the Hugo ballot. Memo to Sad Puppies: Man up and stop whining. I was a pro for thirty-four years before I won my first Hugo and I didn’t go around crying about it. Here’s a clue about Real Life: you got *nothing* coming. Better writers than you have come and gone without getting a single trophy. Put on your big boy/girl pants and work harder at your writing. If you write better stories, maybe someone will want to put them on an awards ballot.P. S. Nobody likes a crybaby.”

Cadigan’s statement had not been a prediction about the results but rather a statement about the general attitude of the Sad Puppy campaign but Torgersen took exception to it.

“Administrative note: Sad Puppies 3 is not a vanity project, it is a deliberate attempt to do openly what has been done for a long time now behind closed doors. Ergo, rally people to vote for deserving works and authors. In our estimation, the SP3 slate contains numerous established and new writers (across the spectrum) who’d otherwise struggle to find recognition. Likewise, we’re hoping to change the short televised category so that it contains something other than Dr. Who. Sometimes, when a thing seems stuck in a rut, you have to nudge it out. Or, in our case, blast it out with dynamite.”

Brad Torgersen comment on Facebook

The comments quickly filled with many people supporting Torgersen’s campaign including Sad Puppy nominees Tom Kratman, Lou Antonelli, and author/editor L. Jagi Lamplighter, the wife of Sad Puppy nominee John C Wright. Among the kinds of negative comments were people questioning who Pat Cadigan was (on her own Facebook page) or stating that they had never heard of her. This style of comments was an approach used in a set of comments used by Evil League of Evil members to attack Mike Glyer at his File 770 blog after he had made negative comments about the Sad Puppy slates (see chapter 37) and was similar to the “literally who” style of harassment used by Gamergate towards critics.

Author and SFWA Vice-President[16] Cat Rambo took some of the commenters to task for their behaviour in the comments:

“I gotta say. Dogpiling someone who’s going through cancer is not the best way to convince anyone your group has any sort of human kindness on your side. In my opinion, a lot of you should be heartily ashamed of yourselves.”

Cat Rambo comment on Facebook, ibid

Torgersen and Kratman responded in ways that reflected their personalities:

“It was Cadigan who decided to unload some rhetorical buckshot, at a target she clearly misunderstood. Myself and the others have posted corrections. I am sensitive to the fact Cadigan’s going through the nine oncological hells. But just because Pat is sick, doesn’t mean Pat can’t get the facts wrong.”

Brad Torgersen comment on Facebook, ibid

“Her own facebook page or the front page of the New York Times, Cat, wrong is wrong and – for her sake, if for no one else’s, and _precisely_ because she’s ill – she deserves the boon of having her errors corrected.”

Tom Kratman comment on Facebook, ibid

There were no factual errors in Cadigan’s post, just her opinion of the Sad Puppies but the relative lack of pushback against the Sad Puppies meant that this one short Facebook post was quickly targetted with hundreds of comments.

On his own blog, Torgersen cited both Teresa Nielsen Hayden and Pat Cadigan as examples of people attempting to delegitimize the Sad Puppies or of misunderstanding the campaign. Torgersen would go on to say:

“There are people who find the very existence of Sad Puppies 3 to be an affront to their personhoods. A sinister outside force come to trouble their precious genre and its establishment. For the people deliberately misconstruing the purpose and thrust of Sad Puppies 3, it’s all about getting out in front and shaping a narrative. They’re smart. They know that truth can be overwhelmed with lies if you just spin your narrative adroitly, and with enough volume.”

Torgersen literally only cited the Making Light post and Pat Cadigan’s Facebook as evidence of a counter-campaign to the Sad Puppies and as noted above, even Vox Day and the denizens of the Mad Genius Club had overtly stated how little counter-reaction there had been.

On March 30, Torgersen followed up with a post specifically attacking Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s comments at Making Light. Taking much the same tone, it attacked the “SMOFs”[17] in much the same way that Larry Correia had done in previous campaigns. In the comments, Sad Puppies 3 nominee and editor of Abyss & Apex Magazine Wendy S. Delmater corrected Torgersen’s usage:

“My understanding the term SMOF is that these are the people who RUN conventions. They do the work behind the scenes. Just so you understand that an entire network of hard-working volunteer fans should not be lumped together with mud-slingers.”

Wendy S. Delmater , ibid

Torgersen would later devise a new term “CHORF” for “Cliquish, Holier-than-thou, Obnoxious, Reactionary, Fanatics”[18] and replace the term “SMOF” throughout.

Delmater also raised the issue of Gamergate in her comment, overtly attacking its worst aspects and attempting to distance the Sad Puppy campaign:

“The inflammatory label “gamergater” is almost impossible to prove or disprove. That and the suggestion that we are mostly interested in military SF were eventually shaped into a consensus that SP3 supporters may be physically dangerous (you know, like me, the 60-year-old grandmother). While most of the whole Gamergate thing is indeed an internet kerfuffle, the _worst_ of the trollish Gamergaters really are misogynist and criminally dangerous stalkers. Hey, look, we know that real people have been stalked and threatened over this and other issues and we (this should be obvious) do not support criminals . We are for ethical things like the rule of law.”

Wendy S. Delmater , ibid

Vox Day responded soon after with a stern warning:

“Wendy, you are casting false aspersions in ignorance. I strongly suggest you stop doing so. I am a GamerGater and I have been since before it was called GamerGate. What you are saying is absolutely false. You do not know anything of the kind. Look it up.”

Vox Day, ibid

Delmater had her own stern response for Day:

“Point of information: I am a personal friend of Frank Wu, Brianna’s husband, who I have published. I have no idea where you get your information, and apologies if you trusted your source(s), but mine is from the horses’ mouth. They actually had to leave for a while. Frank has no reason to lie to me.”

Wendy S. Delmater , ibid

Unfortunately for Delmater, she was already embroiled in a campaign with open ties to Gamergate, including Larry Correia’s overt endorsement of Gamergate and Vox Day’s active participation in it.

Naturally, John C Wright, Vox Day and Larry Correia each had their own posts attacking Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s comments at Making Light. Each of them framed the Making Light and the subsequent comments as part of a wider pushback against the Sad Puppies and yet…this single comment thread was the only primary evidence of any kind of Sad Puppy reaction presented. For Correia, the one post was one post too many and it had tipped Brad Torgersen over the edge:

“So the Powder Blue Care Bear of the Evil Legion of Evil has finally been pushed too far, and out comes the flame thrower.”

Correia also cited Nielsen Hayden’s speculation as proof positive that there was an inner cabal running things:

“So here we are now, a few days away and Teresa is worried. Why? Because as an insider, the people she already knew were SUPPOSED to get Hugo nominations haven’t been contacted… But if there wasn’t insider info and insider cliques, and most of the noms aren’t predestined forgone conclusions, how does she even know she’s supposed to be so worried and upset?
Whoops. “

Nielsen Hayden had directly stated that she was correlating gossip and rumours and in addition leaks were happening from the Sad Puppy camp. Her insights were vague but astute, yet they didn’t require any special “insider cliques” to draw from.

By March 30, less than a week after Nielsen Hayden’s speculation, posts by Sad Puppy leaders and people connected to the campaign were more than sufficient to draw a grim conclusion:

“The Hugo Award nominees won’t be announced until April 4, but you don’t need to be Nostradamus to see what’s coming. The Sad Puppies slate of nominees essentially swept all the Hugo Award categories with the exception of Best Novel.

Don’t believe me? Then wait until Saturday and find out. Or you can examine the evidence. Brad R. Torgersen and Larry Correia, who organized the campaign, have both written posts claiming a pending victory without actually stating that their slate won (since the nominations are technically sealed until the 4th). I’m sure they’ve received the same private messages I’ve had from people who either made the final ballot or know of people who made the list. Add in that some of the nominees from the Sad Puppies slate have outed themselves, and that Kate Paulk is already gearing up to run a Sad Puppies 4 campaign — and yeah, it’s obvious where all this is going.”

On March 24 Teresa Nielsen Hayden had predicted an explosion, Jason Sanford now had another prediction:

“I predict a backlash is about to wash over the Sad Puppies. And when it does, it’ll be interesting to see what happens next in our genre.”


They were both correct…

Next Time: April Part 1



96 responses to “Debarkle Chapter 38: March”

  1. Astute followers will notice that rather than do a Dramatis Personae chapter for GRRM, I’ve done a very short bio here. Casual readers will know why he is famous and regular readers already know how he is relevant to the Hugo awards.

    Liked by 3 people

    • “So the Powder Blue Care Bear of the Evil Legion of Evil has finally been pushed too far,”

      I’m genuinely not sure if I’m putting too much stock on vague memories, or what – but is phrases like this unusually common among the puppies?

      It’s not just the “you made me do it”, but the extra emphasis on how nice and care bear-cuddly he usually that strikes me as both unusual in general, but also something I think I’ve seen several puppies do.

      Liked by 4 people

      • It is language that mirrors how domestic abusers often talk. The “look what you made me do” and “I’m usually a nice guy until I get pushed too hard” kind of talk is so incredibly common among people who abuse their spouses. I suspect that among the reasons that a friend contacted Correia’s wife and asked if she was okay is that Correia uses this kind of linguistic styling a lot, and when what he wrote became more widely known, more people who know what that kind of language often signifies saw it.

        The fact that it is endemic to the various Pups is very telling. I couldn’t specify which ones, but based on the language they all use it is highly likely that some of them have been abusive towards those close to them.

        Liked by 6 people

      • I second Aaron’s observation that it is common abuser language. The only Puppy I have extensive experience with is Brad, who was heavily involved in an anti-gay initiative campaign in my state some years before the Puppy BS, and his line was always, “I don’t hate anyone. I love everyone and am a very caring person. But when you back loving people into a corner and shove your lifestyle down our throats, we have no choice but to defend ourselves.”

        So, yeah, it seems to be common in that crowd.

        Liked by 4 people

      • @Aaron: I’d put money on some of them having been abusive, at least at the school bully level if not to family/friends.

        I’d put more money on some of them having been abused themselves. Probably by toxic-masculinity-suffering relatives.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Considering that Brad’s been defending his friendship with Theo ever since 2014, claiming it was a Christian virtuous act of his to befriend the ‘untouchables’ of society like VD, as if his refusal to call a racist a racist was an act of charity akin to washing the feet of the leper.

        …and praising himself for nobly refusing to call a man who told a POC author “genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens sapiens” a racist, and assuring everyone that VD is just a ‘shock jock’, showing he was perfectly well aware of the stuff VD spouts, and minimized it by saying VD’s just ‘pushing the right buttons’ in praising the shooting of Malala Yousafzai and Breivik’s massacres…all while never mentioning the fact that he’s benefitting from VD’s support of his slate as a less noble reason for his faithful friendship…

        …all convinces me that SP’s depiction of Brad as the dear cuddly sweet ALMOST “liberal” teddy bear is the most elaborate and carefully spun work of Sad Puppy fantasy fiction that missed a Hugo nomination.

        Liked by 5 people

      • The thing I remember most about Brad is that he was so incredibly easy to rhetorically dunk on because he is a profoundly stupid man, and paradoxically, it was often difficult to rhetorically dunk on him because he is a profoundly stupid man and thus wouldn’t understand what you were saying.

        That doesn’t make Brad unique among the Pups though. Not all of them are as profoundly stupid as Brad is, but most of them are definitely below the median for people in the science fiction community. I mean, when Larry Correia is one of your intellectual “heavyweights”, your movement is definitely short on the intelligence scale.

        Even JCW falls into this category, proving that one can read a lot of books and have a supposedly high-quality education and still be kind of a dim bulb. He is smarter than his wife, who I have directly interacted with both online and in-person, and I am convinced that she is the stupidest human being I have ever met, and I have met Jason Chaffitz.

        Liked by 5 people

      • I’m just sitting here admiring Aaron’s last comment above this one. That is some excellent word-wrangling, and the last clause made me LOL.

        I remember Brad getting his ass handed to him on the regular at Whatever (by the commenters, not the proprietor), and him flouncing and coming back for more and re-flouncing. He was unable to stick the landing not only in logical discussion but in flouncing.

        I don’t remember if he finally huffed off for good, or if Scalzi was kind enough to put him out of his misery with the Banhammer so he wouldn’t come back for being shown up as a fool again and again.

        Liked by 1 person

    • @fontfolly: Super-ironic and super-projection that the Puppies were the ones *literally* shoving their lifestyles down the Hugo voters’ throats.

      Projection is all they’ve got.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I assumed it was a specific fantasy. Remember how often those who are most perturbed about the need to demonize a sexuality are closeted?

        Liked by 1 person

    • I have a few reasons why people missremember the awfulness of Brad
      1. We were often told how Brad was a friendly person, that may have made it for the brain more dificult to register it.
      2. The company. Brads awfulness is not as in the face as a lot of other puppys.
      3 (And this was perhabs only me). Brad was for me out of focus. I stopped paying attention to him, because he had the tendency to say nothink of importance. i pretty soon skipped him, never followed on his blook etc, in my opinion Larry was the better spokeperson for the puppys because he at last made clear in his posts what his point was meaned to be (false praise fully indended).

      There are the reasons that Brads awfulness was not so in my brain as that of Vox. I lost every interested in him and his opinion long before the votting results were anounced.
      It was funny how easily he became Beales bitch and how unaware he was. That the usful idiot was so awful himself was a detail.

      Liked by 4 people

    • I mean, I know at higher level of explanation (he doesn’t know what words mean or how they work) but yes, ‘radical’ is a more obvious choice and closer to the point he was trying to make.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Somewhere in the last… maybe ten years?, the word “reactionary” started getting pretty muddled in the US so that it’s now not uncommon to hear it used to mean “someone who reacts too much” or “someone who makes knee-jerk judgments. It’s the kind of thing that happens when a word hasn’t been in very common usage for a while so that when it suddenly becomes more popular by being used in some widely-read remark, a lot of people who pick it up and reuse it aren’t quite sure of its meaning and are thinking “I guess it has to do with reacting or being extreme… in a bad way.” And then others see them using it that way and so it goes.

      It makes me pointlessly grind my teeth and think “Yeah I know language evolves… but lots of mutations are for the worse, and even mutations that are OK in the long run still count as mistakes when they happen.”

      Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t know why there’s a comma between the last adjective and the noun. Maybe it’s just that Brad’s grammar is as weak as his logic.


      • Brad definitely does not understand English grammar. His (non-edited) writing makes me wince, as a sometime editor. For instance, he writes things like “My friend and myself went shooting today,” or “The monsters attacked Fred and I.”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. *I *keep* still, after EVERYTHING underestimating how awful Brad is.*

    And how much he PROJECTS. It’s exhausting. Every single thing he accuses others of doing, he has done or is doing himself.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Typo patrol: “It was, by most measures, one of the weakest entries on the Sad Puppy slate and an odd choice given that Williamson had written creditable eligible science fiction stories in 2014.”

    I think you meant “credible”.

    Also, one thing that Brad, Larry and Vox didn’t realise is that Teresa Nielsen Hayden is an editor and writers tend to notify their editors, when they get a Hugo nomination. And editors of different publishers tend to talk amongst each other. Never mind that two of the initial Best Novel finalists of 2015, including the highly unlikely “The Dark Between the Stars” by Kevin J. Anderson, were published by Tor, so the Nielsen-Haydens would have at least known about those. They would also have known that no published story made the ballot, which would be enough to deduce a Puppy sweep. No conspiracy needed..

    Finally, while few people are as stupid as Williamson in blurting out their Hugo nominations in public, while still under embargo, every finalist privately tells a few people. In 2020 and 2021, about seven or eight people knew that I was a Hugo finalist before the official announcement. Someone who is well connected in the SFF community like Teresa Nielsen-Hayden or Jason Sanford can probably reconstruct part of the ballot just based on what they’ve been told privately.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I disagree about “credible”. “Creditable” is a valid word in this context, and has a different connotation which I think works a little better.

      That is: you could say that Williams had “credible SF stories”, in either the sense that their premises are believable, or (more likely and relevant here) the sense that you can believe they are SF stories, unlike “Wisdom from My Internet” which isn’t a plausible entry in its category. But “credible eligible SF stories” would be odd, because the “eligible” is already doing part of what the “credible” does.

      “Creditable” instead has a connotation of “potentially deserving some degree of acknowledgment” (but, if read in a dry enough tone, can also imply the tiniest note of polite condescension like “these stories are certainly OK, one must give Williams credit for having made an effort at least”) while allowing “eligible” to convey the part about them actually being the sort of object one might nominate.


      • I did mean creditable. “Soft Casualty” was a dubious story in many ways but it was well put together and would have been a more interesting SP pick than other things. It was also in a Baen Best-of anthology.


    • Please substitute “Williamson” for “Williams” in my last. I think my brain wanted to delete the word “on”, because I had to spend much of my day chasing down a very frustrating problem at work that turned out to be related to unsafe use of the word “on”. (If that last part makes no sense to you, count yourself lucky that you don’t have to use YAML)


  4. I think Delmater’s comment (“But, if I recall correctly, the revolutionaries won”) underestimates one problem here but it is a relevant one. Which is that this particular cadre need to see themselves as the underdogs and the revolutionaries – but it is really, really important to them that they don’t “win” because they can leverage that into continuing to gripe about the system without actually having to face up to the problems of victory.

    Which, of course, is why 2016 was such a disaster at a national political level when two major campaigns that were being mounted by the self-styled revolutionaries: the Trump presidential bid in the US and the Brexit referendum in the UK were accidentally won by the slenderest of margins. And it turned out that they had no actual idea about what to do once they had won because their natural state of mind was as a resentful and/or oppressed minority; both groups have spent the last five years behaving as though they were still the losers (and even more resentful that the actual losers were behaving resentfully because that was their ‘schtick’.)

    Liked by 6 people

    • There’s also the fact that the revolutionaries didn’t really use radical tactics. For the most part, the continental forces in the American Revolution used conventional military tactics of the day, forming up as an incredibly conventional standing army for most of the conflict. Basically, the Pups, in addition to being ignorant of the history of science fiction and ignorant of the current state of science fiction, were, by and large, ignorant of actual history.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Honestly, you want radical tactics in that time period, look just a decade and a half earlier at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, where the ‘redcoats’ seized Quebec City… and part of their tactics involved dividing the musketeers into multiple lines and pre-loading muskets, so after the first musket volley hit the French forces (after having deliberately waited until the French got into close range), those French troops who knew the English would take another twenty seconds to reload were hit with the second volley a lot sooner than they expected, while they were trying to advance.

        Wolfe knew he had fewer forces and an untenable position for a stand-up fight against a heavily fortified location, and only unexpected tactics like climbing up the cliff face to get behind the French forces would allow him to succeed. ‘Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes’ was a tactic the American Revolutionaries had learned from the British just a generation earlier…

        Liked by 2 people

    • Actually the win for the slate is a good example of that as well, it was an epic desaster. Most of the nominees and none of the organisators were prepared for the case that they won the nominations and had to face the voters afterwards, The did nothink to prepare themselves for backlash.
      They weren’t prepared for no award and they weren’t prepared for losing at worldcon.
      The won the nominations but lost afterwards in every imaginable way. (Wright is for me the most prominent example)
      Here more those we can call Sads because they had somethink to loose, Beale didn’t.

      Liked by 4 people

      • I strongly suspect that they had no idea that “No Award” was even an option and one that Worldcon members are fully willing to deploy, if necessary.


        • Cora Buhlert: I strongly suspect that they had no idea that “No Award” was even an option and one that Worldcon members are fully willing to deploy, if necessary.

          Most of them didn’t, and mistakenly believed that their victory was assured, so it was doubly crushing for them when they found out they were very wrong.

          And of course the Puppies who did know, like VD and Correia, weren’t going to tell them the truth because if they had known it, a lot of them wouldn’t have been willing to drop $50 for an almost-certain smackdown.

          Liked by 1 person

      • As several people have already said, they’re not used to other people disagreeing with them. They would therefore not be prepared for people to act on their disagreement. Maybe they really expected “to be greeted as liberators”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know JCW was outraged over the “no awards”, and insisted after the results that he had been cheated out of the six Hugo Awards he believed himself to be due.

        (Never mind that some of his nominations were in overlapping categories, so he couldn’t possibly have won six even if everything had gone his way. Logic isn’t JCW’s strong suit).

        Liked by 2 people

      • I have the strong suspicion that prior to highjacking the award, they didn’t think about it. But Cam ist right, Vox did definitly know and was angry about it, Larry should have known.
        Did they not tell Brad about it? But even Brad had votingrights in one of the worldcons, so he could have known. No Award is not hidden.
        But the panic after their was some talk, and Brad saying that fans who voted no award were assholes and Vox treatening to burn catagories down, showns that they weren’t prepared. Now no award has normally a worse showing than it did in the puppyyears, last year every nominee beat no award but it shows that they weren’t prepared.
        I think they didn’t believe in no award beating any of them, before it was anounced. And everyone who was halfway paying attention on the fanssite was speculating how good no award would do.
        The no awards weren’t that suprising.

        Re Wright: I always believed that he imagined that the fans would have devided the votes, so his story just shared the honour and so he would have gotten a 3-waytie. In his case the no awards are a red herring btw. even if they hadn’t existed Wright wouldn’t have won a Hugo at this worldcon.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Of course JCW would not have won a Hugo even if “no award” didn’t exist, but JCW fervently believed he would. Remember, he has such an inflated ego that he has “modestly” described himself as the “finest science fiction writer writing today”.

        Liked by 3 people

      • As a data point: Even after Sasquan, in an April 2016 discussion on Eric Flint’s blog, the puppy types were still acting if they not only didn’t understand the role of No Award, but also had absolutely no understanding of ranked-choice voting. It really was the damnedest thing. It became obvious I was never able to reach going through the mechanics of multi-round elimination and the last-step No Award Test: They seemed to be still stuck on some sort of delusional thinking about FPtP voting (of all things), plus claims of some massive imaginary conspiracy of far-left voters making outrageous and illegitimate use of No Award to personally and angrily sanction canids.

        I patiently walked the participants through the classic and intended use-cases for No Award in the context of ranked voting choices, using real Hugo Award examples: (1) Listing some finalists beneath No Award because you deem them not among the year’s best, hence in your opinion they shouldn’t be on the final ballot. (I said The Dark Between the Stars was one of those to me, even though I like and admire Kevin J. Anderson a lot, and the same for Black Genesis in 1987, though I didn’t like L. Ron Hubbard at all). (2) Doing so because those finalists’ presence specifically prevented a clearly superior (in your view) nominee from making the ballot at all. (I cited VanderMeer’s Annihilation having been bumped, as another reason I ranked The Dark Between the Stars below No Award.) (3) you think the category as a whole is simply a bad idea, and ought not to exist, and therefore would name No Award as your sole voting choice, in that category. (I cited Best Editor Long Form as an example for me.)

        Those uses of No Award within rankings are logical, intended, and practically ancient, I pointed out — and are in no way based on anger or on anger against individuals, let alone ideological campaigning. They are entirely normal and obvious regular use-cases, that have been an inherent and well-documented part of the Hugo voting system for many decades.

        Even after all that, I’m not sure the various Puppy-leaning participants in that conversation “got” it. A couple of them, for example, kept nattering on about how you can too judge the merits of Best Editor Long Form finalists, by simply comparing the quality of copy-editing — implying they really have zero idea what a publishing house book editor even does. (One also notes the biting irony of admiring Baen if one values copy-editing.)

        So, in conclusion, it appears that no only did sundry Puppy types fail to understand No Award, and weren’t prepared for the possibility of losing, before Sasquan, but utterly failed to grapple with those things afterwards, too.


  5. I read most of this during a break at work, and was absolutely certain I saw two typos that I can’t find now, so I can only assume someone else pointed them out already.

    Copy editing aside, this is for me a very hard chapter to read, because they are just so very, very bad and delusional and it’s just infuriating…

    Which I think means that you have done a great job of pulling out representative quotes.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Kate Paulk’s comment about encouraging everyone who hadn’t read the Sad Puppy nominees was an example of a complete lack of self-awareness on the part of the Pups. As I have said many times before, the worst thing that happened to the Sad Puppies is that people did actually read the mediocre to miserable stuff they gamed onto the ballot, and realized that the reason those authors had been overlooked is that their work product is simply not very good.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I’m pretty sure Pat Cadigan could kick most or all the Puppies’ butts physically, despite her age and record of illness. I KNOW she could kick their asses in all other ways. She is amazing, and fun to be around, along with being a swell writer.

    I will not stand for anyone bad-mouthing her, though of course she can and does stand up for herself.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Torgersen would later devise a new term “CHORF” for “Cliquish, Holier-than-thou, Obnoxious, Reactionary, Fanatics”
    It’s telling that Brad’s creation more exactly describes himself and his friends. But as noted above, Conservatives love their projection.

    Delmater also raised the issue of Gamergate in her comment, overtly attacking its worst aspects ad attempting to distance the Sad Puppy campaign:

    Missing the ‘n’ in ‘and’.

    Footnote 17 is missing from the text.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I think you’re too generous about Delmater’s post about the Puppy campaign. She was an enthusiastic supporter of the unfair advantage they (and she) gained by cheating, and then had the absolute nerve later to pretend “We are for ethical things like the rule of law.”

    Liked by 4 people

    • Maybe, I’m giving her a bonus point for at least attempting to stand up to VD over Gamergate, which was way more than I saw any Sad Puppy do. Even so, it was hedged and limited and only because she knew people impacted.


    • I think that it is interesting that Delmater was one of the few people who were involved in the campaign but did stand up to TB. She was also one of the few Sad Puppies who supported the rulechances.
      The other person who can be counted as puppy who did stand up to Beale was Kary English and he took his retribution.
      There was support mostly for everythink Beale did. So in this point it is remarkable when someone stands up the Beale and he doesn’t do somethink against it.
      But she suppoerted the slate without questening it. We have someone who should know better(had some knowledge of fandom), seems to have some standards but did buy into Larry and Brads crap. (I did not get the reading that it was only in for the advantage, but I may be wrong)
      Thinking about is Delmater is scary.

      Liked by 2 people

      • English made the mistake of going to the various blogs of Worldcon members and Puppies and trying to suck up to everyone of any persuasion. I think she ended up giving a lot of disparate people a poor opinion of her because of that. I know she really went down in my estimation because of it.

        Liked by 3 people

      • I think her reason for standing up on the issue of Gamergate is also interesting. She knew people personally impacted by it. So much of the modern rightwing ideology runs on personal-trust networks, that’s why Facebook in particular is such a vector for nonsense.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Kary English is, by the way, a she. I had the pleasure of running across her at Sasquan as I was starting to walk back to the convention centre from the Filers’ dinner at a pub a few blocks southwest of there. I greeted her in a friendly manner, expressing how much I admired “Totalled”, and started chatting with her:

        Among other things, she said she was a bit worried about encountering fans enduringly angry at the Sad Puppies, and was a bit concerned about personal safety, (She’s a bit short, maybe 1.5 metres, and slight.) I volunteered to walk with her as I’m pretty tall and athletic, which help she appreciated. I expressed my dismay at her not feeling welcome, stressed that in my view she is very welcome, and gave my hopes that she’ll be accepted and (most important) will keep writing and further develop her craft.

        Sadly, to my knowledge she has not written any more SFF.


        • Rick Moen: Among other things, she said she was a bit worried about encountering fans enduringly angry at the Sad Puppies, and was a bit concerned about personal safety,

          I can’t help but find this rather offensive. She may have gotten private e-mails we don’t know about, but there was nothing in the public response which would have indicated she might have to fear for her safety from non-Puppies, who weren’t doing things like trying to SWAT the Worldcon and its GoH, or making threats of physical harm to Puppies.


      • This, I’m sad to say, is typical. English bought into the Puppies’ hype that the evil SJW’s were coming after them and extinguishing conservative voices even while she pushed back on the Puppies’ claims that the Gamergaters they were bringing in were no danger to those SJW authors. How you can be friends with Wu’s husband and know what they went through and then ally yourself with the people who are eagerly bringing in those people who threatened your friend’s life to scare their competition and advance a voting slate, I don’t get. And even more to then think that the people the Puppies victimized might physically hurt you after you helped threaten their lives or be perturbed that maybe they weren’t thrilled with you at a convention because of that.

        For people like English, nice as they may sometimes be, they are happy to help harm people and then declare anyone who speaks out about that as unreasonable or even a threat to them. And yet when English did this herself — speak out to the Puppies about their behavior regarding the Gamergaters and got angry responses with them declaring her a backstabbing threat, it’s still the SJWs she worries about, not the Puppies and their Gamergate allies (the gun enthusiast sexists.) It’s the SJW’s who are unreasonable and the problem.

        And this was the position of so many centrists in SFF, even those who weren’t happy about the Puppies but urged others not to condemn them. It’s the authoritarians who get to be loud, angry and threatening all they like and must be coddled (usually because they are mainly white and cishet men.) And it’s the marginalized people and their allies who are told to be quiet, not show anger and are painted as violent and threatening for not accepting abuse, accusations and discrimination or for not instantly offering forgiveness for people actively trying to hurt them, as English did.

        This is the sad reality — it’s the nice people who keep status quo systemic bigotry in place and defend it. Sometimes they realize it and apologize or partially apologize (and hey, we’ve almost all been there,) but most of them can’t get over the idea of regarding the marginalized as inferior and threatening and seeing civil rights issues as some kind of friendly debate that the marginalized aren’t being friendly enough (deferential) about. Every day in these new civil rights years, I get reminded of Dr. King’s letter from a Birmingham jail to moderate whites. I just had to deal recently with a white guy who thought cultural appropriation was just a person being influenced by other cultures and should be no big deal. Perfectly nice person; totally exhausting conversation.


  10. “Sad Puppies 3 semiprozine nominee (not included on the Rabid Puppies slate) ran a positive editorial endorsing Torgersen’s campaign but projecting the editor”
    I think this bit may be missing the name of the zine?

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Torgersen would later devise a new term “CHORF” for “Cliquish, Holier-than-thou, Obnoxious, Reactionary, Fanatics”

    Hard to find anything that explains Brad’s career as a marginal below D-list writer than this being the best he could come up with.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. TNH: “ When you invite thugs into your argument, you’re not using them as shock troops; they’re using you as cover. And you’re pretty much guaranteeing that at some point in the future, you’ll wind up feebly protesting that you had no idea they’d do that. And maybe you didn’t; but you did know they were thugs.”

    Bingo. Cue the Sads continually denying that Beale had stolen their car, their keys and all their pocket change.

    Liked by 6 people

    • You did an excellent job.

      Also, with benefit of a lot of hindsight, you can see that the Puppies were doomed. Brad & Larry put their best foot forward, toned down the nasty rhetoric & focused on some genuine problems with the Hugos. They did not do bad for them.

      Your counter-response interview was much better. Now, yes, you are smart & knowledgeable and now how to present on a podcast but also…you were an ordinary fan just speaking your mind. The top apex uber puppies were easily outmatched.

      They were never going to cope. They simply didn’t have the talent or the numbers to mount a war of ideas.

      Liked by 5 people

  13. So I was one of the (probably many) people who wasn’t really in the SF/F community or readership at that time who became aware of things due to GRRM’s blog, and I do remember his post on Mixon, albeit my reaction being “huh, well this is interesting” and then shrugging it off. GRRM’s direct commentary on the puppies, and his attempt at a dialogue to come however, would far more arouse my interest. I’m guessing that’ll be prominent in the next few chapters.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, I was another person who didn’t get into this until I read about it in George’s blog. Eric and I were big SF readers since childhood, but we’d never been involved in fandom at all before 2015. It helped that Sasquan was close enough for us to drive to, but we mainly signed up for WorldCon that year just because George asked all his fans to do so.

      I even had to go to Urban Dictionary to look up what “SJW” meant.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Typo in footnote [8]: “spoliers:” ⇒ “Spoilers:”

    “he [GRRM] wasn’t close to finishing it [The Winds of Winter]”

    It might be worth noting that as of 06-2021, a decade after the publication of the most recent book in the series, there is no sign yet that he is close to finishing it, either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was closing a whole bunch of tabs yesterday and there was some quasi news article I had open about hints that maybe The Winds of Winter was finished and without checking the date, I didn’t know if it was from now or 2015 (it was from now)


      • There was a hilarious recent tweet from Franck and Abraham (James S.A. Corey) at the time they submitted the finished concluding The Expanse volume Leviathan Falls (scheduled release date 2021-11-16; woot!) about how they’d thereby won a bet with GRRM by doing it before he turned in The Winds of Winter But then, of course, lots of readers pointed out that the co-authors had produced the entire Expanse series while ASoIaF readers wait on tenterhooks for just that one volume.

        Ten years, now — and still counting. (If you can’t write like the wind, George, maybe you can manage a gentle zephyr? A waft? A puff?)


  15. I think the footnotes need some tweaking. Footnote 14 is by Weir’s name, but the text of the footnote seems to be about Williamson’s announcement about his Hugo nomination, but the body text about that announcement has no footnote reference at all.


  16. 1) Note that here Brad talks about blowing up the Hugos with dynamite after claiming they weren’t trying to blow up the Hugos. He has the conservative technique of always being in the present and hoping no one notices what you said yesterday.

    2) You can see the defensive escalation here about the increasingly powerful and secretive imaginary cabal — the influence of them being tied to Gamergate and bringing in Gamergate voters and trying to generate more interest from that quarter around their supposed enemies. Any comment with any concern or negativity by someone prominent enough they tried to make as a clue in their own Deep State fantasy. And it was handy, since they could invoke it whether they got a lot on the finalists noms or didn’t. You can also see them turning on some people who had been sort of allies if they deviated from the campaign. It was again the standard tactic of claiming to want debate and discussion but not if you were in the least critical of them. Then you were attacking them and became part of the great conspiracy out to get them. Paranoia was rampant among them by March.


    • He said, he would have been too stressed to enjoy the con. Here’s the quote i found:
      When they told me I just thought: I can’t handle this, not after all this time, and asked to be let off. That meant I enjoyed the con hugely instead of being a bag of nerves with a blood pressure of 200/95, and when the fateful verdict was given on Sunday night I was eating sushi two miles away. Best worldcon ever!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. More edit suggestions:

    “the single comment thread was primary evidence of any kind of Sad Puppy reaction” should presumably be something like “the single comment thread was the only primary evidence of any kind of reaction to the Sad Puppies”.
    “for Martin to discuss on his blog likely contenders” could be restated as “for Martin to discuss likely contenders on his blog”.
    “author/editor L. Jagi Lamplighter the wife of Sad Puppy nominee John C Wright” should have a comma after Lamplighter.


  18. JJ wrote:

    I can’t help but find this rather offensive. She may have gotten private e-mails we don’t know about, but there was nothing in the public response which would have indicated she might have to fear for her safety from non-Puppies, who weren’t doing things like trying to SWAT the Worldcon and its GoH, or making threats of physical harm to Puppies.

    Yeah, I don’t know what/who exactly she was afraid of on the streets of Spokane other than wood-fire air pollution, and the notion of her being harassed seemed pretty far-fetched to me, but I figured a few gestures of help and friendship would not be amiss and might possibly help — particularly accompanied with my low-key mention of being a File770 regular yet notably lacking in enemy attitudes. (I was, FWIW, unaware at the time of her postings you and others describe sucking up to Puppy figures. I just knew that she was a new writer, that her finalist short story was at least promising work, and that I’d rather make a friend if that is reasonably possible.)


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