Debarkle Chapter 70: Life After Campbell

A perennial question about the Sad Puppy campaign and the Rabid Puppy campaign is whether they were a single phenomenon with two flavours or two separate things that operated together for a while. There is not a single answer to the question. Even an attempt to sort the original Evil League of Evil into Sad and Rabid groups has ambiguities: where should Baen author Tom Kratman be placed or Castalia author John C. Wright? Post-2015 hostility between Vox Day and Sarah Hoyt made the political distinction a little clearer but even that became blurred when Hoyt endorsed Donald Trump.

Puppies, Pulp & Campbell

A difference arose that roughly corresponded with the two flavours of Puppies was the kind of past the reactionary campaigns wanted to return science fiction to. For the Rabid Puppies, this was not directly led by Vox Day but rather grew out of the blog of Castalia House and the bloggers that it promoted such as Jeffro Johnson and his Appendix N project. This was a renewed interest in the pre-WWII pulp era of science fiction and writers such as Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard. For Sad Puppy figures such as Sarah Hoyt and Brad Torgersen, the defining era/aesthetic of science fiction was that characterised by Robert A. Heinlein or more generally the influence of editor and author John W. Campbell[1].

In a more interesting world, there might have been a full-throated literary argument between these two perspectives between Sads and Rabids but in our world, it was more people stating set positions. Where they could agree was that the sharp decline in science fiction occurred sometime in the 1980/90s. For the Sad/Campbellian position, this was when the influence of Campbell’s approach finally waned. For the Rabid/Pulp analysis it was a little more complex. The decline had started post World War II but had been temporarily paused in the late 1970s with the arrival of Star Wars reintroducing the pulp aesthetic into the genre. Jasyn Jones (aka GamerGate’s Daddy Warpig) explained the thesis at the Castalia House blog.

“Post-WWII was the era of the Campbellian Silver Age, the era of “Men with Screwdrivers” SF. Action and adventure were childish and frankly embarrassing, as were purple prose and laser swords. Barsoom? Silly. Buck Rogers? Childish. Northwest Smith? A gunslinger, not a scientist. And this was the age of SCIENCE. Science was the focus, technology the touchstone. Stories had to be cerebral, intellectual. They had to be REALISTIC. Real science, none of this fuzzy-headed soft science stuff. SF had to shake off the wooly-headed thinking of Fantasy, the embarrassing antics of Space Opera, the adolescent focus on Adventure and Action. SF was serious business. Real Literature. It was time to grow up.

Folks, the audiences didn’t get smaller. The genre did. It threw away what had made it popular in the first place.

So when George Lucas came along, he found all the many various tropes and tools the Silver Age had discarded and derided, the laser swords and swashbuckling space battles, the roguish spaceman and his loyal sidekick, the space princesses and space magicians. The action and adventure and heroism. He found them buried in the dust, picked them up, dusted them off, and made F&SF fun again. Made it thrilling again. Made it inspiring again.”

The Rabid Puppy “pulp revival” like much of the broader Puppy engagement with genre history was not well connected with broader non-partisan critical engagement with science fiction’s pulp era. This is not to say that the far-right interest in the pulp era was insincere, multiple sites sprang up actively reading and reviewing pre-WWII science-fiction but with a modern culture-war spin on things. This adoption or co-option of a historical period as part of a far-right identity was not just in fandom, scholars of medieval history would also find themselves struggling with right-wing extremists taking an active, if confused, interest in pre-modern European history[2] as part of the far-right’s attempt to forge a broader cultural identity.

The Campbellian wing of the Puppy campaigns was equally inconsistent with its engagement with the past. The notable second volume of William Paterson’s biography of Robert A. Heinlein[3] drew little attention from the Sad Puppies in 2015 nor did the 2014 film Predestination, an adaptation of Heinlein’s time-looping story “—All You Zombies—”[4]. Of the Evil League of Evil, Sarah Hoyt was the biggest champion of Heinlein who she regarded as a formative figure for her approach to science-fiction and to politics. However, Hoyt’s view of Heinlein was almost religious in nature[5].

For Brad Torgersen, the engagement with the Campbellian legacy was both structural and aesthetical. Torgersen championed the idea of science-fiction as a genre of space-heroics and styled himself as a writer of “hard” science fiction[6] but more relevant to his pre-Puppy career was the role of two legacies of the earlier period of science-fiction.

One of Campbell’s strangest historical impacts was the promotion of the work and ideas of L. Ron Hubbard (see chapter 4). Hubbard would go on to form the Church of Scientology but as a science fiction writer, his work would not go on to be well regarded. However, one of Hubbard’s ongoing influences on science fiction was via the Writers of the Future contest (see chapters 4, 9 and 33). The contest for new writers had a genuine track record for finding promising talent and past winners included future Hugo Award finalists such as Karen Joy Fowler, Nnedi Okorafor and Aliette de Bodard[7]. Brad Torgersen’s first major publishing break into science fiction came via Writers of the Future and it was also from this program that he met his mentor Mike Resnick.

Torgersen’s second Campbellian connection was Analog Magazine. The long-standing platform for science fiction stories that John W. Campbell had renamed from Astounding, had been a seemingly permanent presence in the Hugo Awards from serialised novels to a plethora of short fiction[8]. After Torgersen’s Writers of the Future success, he had a large number of stories published in Analog and to this day he is listed as one of the most famous names to have been published in the magazine[9].

However, by the 2010s the influence of both these quite different venues was on the wane. Partly due to changing tastes and changing economic factors for print magazines, the more widely read and critically acclaimed short fiction was coming from online magazines that allowed people to read individual stories for free. Also, for Writers of the Future, the increasing concern among the writing community of the connections between Writers of the Future and the Church of Scientology[10] led to many questioning the ethics of being involved in the competition.

Torgersen’s Sad Puppies 3 slate had been something of a last hurrah for Analog at the Hugo Awards, with four Analog stories becoming finalists on the strength of the Puppy campaigns. Torgersen also included Kary English on the slate due to their common connection with Writers of the Future. No Writers of the Future from a year after 2015 would be a finalist again in the following years nor would any story from Analog make it onto the ballot[11].

Statues and Statuettes

Within the broader culture war raging across the US and the world, two deeply contrasting views of history were in conflict. On the one hand, viewing history as an active area of study where people can engage with the past through the lens of the present and on the other seeing history as a set of edifying symbols and territorial claims for a patriotic view of the world. In the US these perspectives ran hottest in recent years over the issue of monuments to Confederate figures from the US Civil War.

In the wake of the violent Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, Sarah Hoyt encapsulated the latter view of history with her perspective on the attempted alt-right takeover of the city.

“And no, to whom it may concern, a region not wanting their past or their regional heroes erased to appease a vocal minority does NOT make them white supremacists. This idiotic changing of names, removing of statues and erasing people from history is NOT the work of a free society. It is wholly Stalinist and is letting the rest of the world know you by your fruits as it were. I have nothing invested in the ACW, except for having studied it enough to know it was more complex than most people think, and I’m only “southern” by fiat of my friends, but even I get outraged at the erasing of the past of the region. And you know damn well they’re coming for Jefferson and Washington next. At which point they’ll have to go through me. It’s the left’s old bullshit of removing the giants of the past so their diminutive stature looks tall.”

The removal of symbolic elements such as monuments was regarded by Hoyt as the erasing of people from history even though the advocates of the removal of such monuments were motivated by their active understanding of the history behind those monuments and their role in rallying support for white supremacist movements [12].

This conflict of critical versus purely symbolic views of history had its own parallels within the world of literary awards. In 2015, during the peak of the Puppy campaigns, the World Fantasy Award announced they would be adopting a new design for their trophy. The trophy at the time was a caricature of the writer H.P.Lovecraft and while visually striking and distinctive it had two issues: firstly Lovecraft was not an obvious pick as a symbol for the genre of fantasy[13] and secondly Lovecraft as a person was deeply racist even by the standards of pre-war America. Writer Nnedi Okorafor described her own feelings about the trophy she had won in 2011.

“Do I want “The Howard” (the nickname for the World Fantasy Award statuette. Lovecraft’s full name is “Howard Phillips Lovecraft”) replaced with the head of some other great writer? Maybe. Maybe it’s about that time. Maybe not. What I know I want is to face the history of this leg of literature rather than put it aside or bury it. If this is how some of the great minds of speculative fiction felt, then let’s deal with that… as opposed to never mention it or explain it away. If Lovecraft’s likeness and name are to be used in connection to the World Fantasy Award, I think there should be some discourse about what it means to honor a talented racist.”

The change in trophy was characterised by some as appeasing social justice warriors and part of a slippery slope for further erasure of history. Historian of Lovecraft’s work S.T.Joshi publicly returned his previous World Fantasy awards in protest at the change[14], saying:

“Evidently this move was meant to placate the shrill whining of a handful of social justice warriors who believe that a “vicious racist” like Lovecraft has no business being honoured by such an award. (Let it pass that analogous accusations could be made about Bram Stoker and John W. Campbell, Jr., who also have awards named after them. These figures do not seem to elicit the outrage of the SJWs.) Accordingly, I have returned my two World Fantasy Awards to the co-chairman of the WFC board, David G. Hartwell.”

Far from erasing Lovecraft from history, the critical engagement with Lovecraft’s underlying and overt racism led to multiple critically acclaimed works by writers re-examining Lovecraft’s themes from new perspectives, including 2017 Hugo finalist works The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor La Valle and The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson, as well as the 2017 World Fantasy Award-winning novel Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff.

The End of an Era

2017 also saw the passing of science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle. A prolific and critically acclaimed science fiction writer as well as science and technology columnist, Pournelle’s first published science fiction was also one of the last works to be edited by John W. Campbell in Analog shortly before his death in 1971.

Pournelle had been arguably[15] the most influential figure in mainstream science fiction for right-wing perspectives in the genre and his work helped map out the sub-genre of military science fiction (aka MilSf) as well building direct bridges between science fiction writers and the US military. As an advocate of hard science fiction and libertarian/paleoconservative views, Pournelle was regarded as a mentor by both Sarah Hoyt and Vox Day but had also been an active member of the SFWA for many years.

In the aftermath of the victory of “no award” in the 2015 Hugo Awards, many Puppy supporters took to quoting Pournelle’s maxim “Money will get you through times of no Hugos better than Hugos will get you through times of no money.”[16] Despite his long career and professional impact on the genre, Pournelle had never won a Hugo Award. However, he had won the nearest thing to a Hugo: the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the not-a-Hugo presented at the Hugo Awards and sponsored by the owners of Analog Magazine. Indeed, Pournelle had been the inaugural winner of the award in 1973.

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer was an attempt to recognise new writers but by virtue of being officially not a Hugo Award, it could operate on its own eligibility criteria and avoid potential conflicts of people being Hugo finalists for the same work in two categories. However, by the 2010’s the appropriateness of the award being named after John W. Campbell was coming into question.

Alec Nevala-Lee’s biographic history of the height of Campbell’s influence, Astounding, had led to a renewed examination of some of science fiction’s “greats” (see the previous chapter). Robert Heinlein’s mercurial politics, Isaac Asimov’s sexual harassment and L. Ron Hubbard’s exploitation of people’s credulity were all part of the wider influence of the talent that Campbell had fostered, along with the undeniable wealth of ideas, themes and tropes that Campbell had promoted within the genre. Nevala-Lee had anticipated that his book might provoke a further re-examination of the name of the Campbell Award and in 2019 Astounding was a finalist in the Best Related Work category of the Hugo Awards.

Jeannette Ng was a British based, Hong Kong writer with a background in Medieval History. Her debut 2017 novel Under the Pendulum Sun was a gothic fantasy set in 19th century England and also made her eligible as a finalist for the 2018 and 2019 Campbell Awards.

In August 2019, Ng’s birthplace of Hong Kong was facing its own historical turning point. The former British colony had been officially returned to China in 1997 under an agreement that was characterised as “one country, two systems”[17] with Hong Kong retaining its capitalist economy and adopting a democratic system of government. However, by 2019 the influence and power of the Beijing government on Hong Kong’s government had grown substantially. Protests against a proposed bill that would allow protestors to be extradited to mainland China were met with harsh and violent crackdowns by the Hong Kong police[18].

Traditionally, the Hugo Award ceremony leads with the Campbell Award and finishes with the award for Best Novel. So the first winner’s speech of the 2019 Awards was that of Jeannette Ng. I’ll quote her edited version[19].

“John W. Campbell, for whom this award was named, was a fascist. Through his editorial control of Astounding Science Fiction, he is responsible for setting a tone of science fiction that still haunts the genre to this day. Sterile. Male. White. Exalting in the ambitions of imperialists and colonisers, settlers and industrialists”

However, this was just the introduction to her broader point as her speech moved from the past to the present:

“So I need say, I was born in Hong Kong. Right now, in the most cyberpunk in the city in the world, protesters struggle with the masked, anonymous stormtroopers of an autocratic Empire. They have literally just held her largest illegal gathering in their history. As we speak they are calling for a horological revolution in our time. They have held laser pointers to the skies and tried to to impossibly set alight the stars. I cannot help be proud of them, to cry for them, and to lament their pain.”


In a later Tweet about the subsequent controversy around her speech, Ng made a more direct connection between the themes.

“The list of awful things Campbell did is long, but the one that I can’t stop thinking abt is his defence of the Kent State Shooting. His arguments in that editorial are not all that far off the ppl defending Hong Kong Police’s brutality against protestors right now.”

The reaction to Ng’s speech was varied with many people calling for the Campbell Award to be renamed[20]. The reaction from the former Sad Puppies was inevitably more sceptical. On Facebook, Brad Torgersen described himself as “one of the very last Campbell Award nominees who actually respected the Campbell legacy” and:

“Now, the SF prognoscenti’s eternal ire is perhaps understandable—if you recognize that Campbell cannot be woke-erased. Any more than Heinlein can be woke-erased. Because Campbell (and Heinlein, and others) gave the audience what it wanted most from SF: idea-driven action and adventure stories, with bold heroics, real science, real scientific dilemmas, and a firm insistence that humanity (all of us on this blue ball called Earth) had a pioneering future in the Big Beyond.For his effort, Campbell has been labeled every unkind word in the dictionary. Going on six decades.Why?”

Why Campbell had been labelled with unkind words (such as “fascist” and “racist”) were not hard to discover given the coverage but Torgersen had a different answer:

“Campbellism has been a resounding crowd-pleaser and financial success story. Campbellism has its fingerprints on 85% of the money-making SF books, SF book series, SF stories, SF franchise spin-offs, and SF products created in the last half century. While the New Wave—entirely an anti-populist, anti-prole, very academic and woke-progressive project from its inception—has struggled in Campbellism’s mighty shadow.”


Dell Magazines (owners of Analog Magazine and sponsors of the Campbell Award) responded to the controversy in a measured way. Nevala-Lee’s book had already led to Dell considering a name change for the award but they had been waiting for the magazine’s 90th anniversary. A few days after Ng’s speech, the editor of Analog Trevor Quachri announced the name change.

“As we move into Analog’s 90th anniversary year, our goal is to keep the award as vital and distinguished as ever, so after much consideration, we have decided to change the award’s name to The Astounding Award for Best New Writer.”

Quachri concluded his editorial with some thoughts on history.

“Though Campbell’s impact on the field is undeniable, we hope that the conversation going forward is nuanced. George Santayana’s proverbial phrase remains as true today as when it was coined: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We neither want to paper over the flaws of those who have come before us, nor reduce them to caricatures. But we have reached a point where the conversation around the award is in danger of focusing more on its namesake than the writers it was intended to recognize and elevate, and that is something nobody—even Campbell himself—would want.”


A personal coda

Late in 2019, I was due to travel to Hong Kong for work. The police violence in the streets of the city and the looming threat of bushfires at home in Sydney, Australia meant that I had to cancel those plans. “Next year,” I said to the people I was due to visit, “when things are calmer.”

Next Time: The end of Part 5



156 responses to “Debarkle Chapter 70: Life After Campbell”

  1. The various strains of Puppys were united by what they disliked more than by what they liked – hence the various views of Campbell, Heinlein and others. If the SJWs criticized it, the Puppies must defend it, or risk not being noticed at all. If the Puppies had managed to win anything, the infighting over that win would have likely been epic (even worse than the post-humiliation sniping between the various subgroups, each trying to be more Puppish than Thou in a vain attempt to capture the majority of the small minority of vaguely Puppy sympathetic folk)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Tyops:

    multiple sites sprang up actively reading and reviewing pre-WWII science-ficition


    Nevala-Lee had anticipated that his book might provoke a further re-eximnation


    Also, it’s too bad Predestination got overlooked. That was a damn good movie.


  3. You’re conclusion is right that it’s unprofitable to try and separate the Sad and Rabid Puppies. In any case, the answer is in which leader people take their cue from — are they coughing up bucks push Larry Correia towards winning a Hugo (and “making heads explode”) or to vote Vox Day’s slate to show the alt-right’s behind-the-scenes organizing power by wrecking a cultural target?

    And for further nuance, I visualize each of those groups as a kind of comet, trailing a long tail of people who are only following close enough to be entertained, vicariously see a grudge played out, or thrill to the sensation of being temporarily relevant to a headline-collecting activity.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Typos:

    “Within the broader culture war raging across the US and the world, two deeply contrasting views of history where in conflict.”
    “Why Campbell had been labeled with unkind words (such as “fascist” and “racist”) where not hard to discover…”


  5. A couple of masterly quotes in this Chapter.

    Hoyt: “I have nothing invested in the ACW, except for having studied it enough to know it was more complex than most people think.” who are these ‘most people’ you’re citing Sarah? Members of the Daughters of the Confederacy, who paid for most of those statues to be erected? Or perhaps the large numbers of professional historians, who have studied these issues for years? Or perhaps the members of the African-American community, who have been oppressed by EXACTLY the people represented by those statues and their descendants?

    And Torgerson: “For his effort, Campbell has been labeled every unkind word in the dictionary. Going on six decades. Why?” Umm, because he was a racist patriarchal piece of shit who promoted various hair-brained and anti-social theories for years in the editorial pages of the magazine he ran. Remember Dianetics and the Dean drive? If you don’t it’s because society has progressed and/or Campbell died.

    Suddenly, I have this mental image of Campbell still being around, wearing cardboard boxes for shoes like Howard Hughes, and ranting like Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd., waving around a cigarette holder while declaiming about how government regulation stifles innovation. He’d probably have been a big proponent of both hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Well said. How I wish that removing every statue of Lee or Davis (there are more than a thousand) would really erase them – cause them never to have been – and all the harm they did. Unfortunately, “you’re erasing history” is just a convenient political lie.


      • Even Hurricane Katrina did not manage to take down Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis’ retirement home in Biloxi, Mississippi, directly on the Gulf Coast, even though Katrina flattened everything else around it.

        When I was five, my Dad worked in Mississippi and we lived in Biloxi within walking distance of Beauvoir, so I’ve visited it. Even at five, it was very underwhelming and the worship pretty creepy.


        • I had the odd experience of not being up to date on the local news when I found myself walking through New Orleans shortly after the stature of Robert E. Lee was removed from Lee Circle. It was surreal to look up and see that pedestal empty.

          Surreal, and very, very pleasant. I can only imagine the relief his removal brought to those who had to look up every day at the visage of a man who led armies for the sake of keeping their great-great-grandparents enslaved.

          On the brighter side, there is a statue of Joan of Arc on Decatur Street that makes me happy every time I visit her.

          Liked by 4 people

  6. Some context for Pournelle’s quote about no Hugos (don’t know if it’s worth mentioning in the footnote, but at least you may be amused): the title characters of the late-60’s/70’s underground comic book The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers had a saying that “Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.” I’m not sure if they were both referencing some earlier maxim or if Pournelle had the comic in mind, but if the latter, I feel it was typical of him to riff on a counterculture thing while adding a conservative thing and entirely missing the joke.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I think it was about this time Brian Niemeier discovered the Futurians, many of whom became editors and writers, some of whom were left wing. Although I think Niemeier lumped all Futurians, from John B. Michel to James Blish, as Marxists.

    Liked by 1 person

    • John B. Michel was involved in the Young Communists, so it’s not esp unfair to call him a Marxist. Blish on the other hand identified as a fascist, or so I recall reading in either Pohl or Knight. In any case, Blish co-wrote a Fascist utopia in the 1960s, A Torrent of Faces. It had to be a Utopia because the setting accomodated a trillion people on Earth and Blish felt only a utopian government would bother. As to the form of the Utopia:

      “It will surprise some readers, and perhaps horrify a few, that the economic system we settled upon for our Utopia is a form of the corporate state, or what was once called fascism. We were interested in the fact that this kind of economic system has actually never been tried (Mussolini’s version was a clumsy and indifferent fake, and that of Jerry Voorhis, though eminently sensible, suffered the usual fate of any political notion born in California). We thought it might be workable, and perhaps even inevitable, in a high-energy economy; and while we would agree that the notion of an even quasi-democratic fascism is unlikely, we don’t view the possibility of a democratic socialism as likely either.”

      Anyway, Blish does not seem to have been a Marxist.

      Liked by 1 person

      • By Niemeier’s standards, “Some Futurians were Marxist, so all of them were” is an almost coherent argument, though still wrong. Nowadays, it would go something like “The Futurians were Satanic witches sacrificing little children and old pulp magazines to the death pop cult. Only Catholicism and mecha anime can save us.”

        Liked by 3 people

  8. This chapter illustrates that the various flavours of puppies are not only divided on when their personal golden age of science fiction actually was (sometime before 1985, 1998, if you’re Brian Niemeier), but among a few kernels of truth they are also completely wrong about the vintage SFF they claim to champion.

    Take that Daddy Warpig quote for example. He is right that pre-1940, the division between science fiction, fantasy and horror was much more fluid than it is now and that many magazines, most notably Weird Tales, published all three. Also, the origin of SFF in the US pulp magazine market is not the founding of Amazing Stories in 1926, but the founding of Weird Tales in 1923.

    He’s also correct that after WWII and in the 1950s, there was a shift away from fantasy towards SF, but that was not due to some nefarious plot but due to the duelling “technology can solve anything” optimism and “technology will destroy us” pessimism of the postwar era. And while Campbell did have a part in that shift by pushing for more scientifically accurate stories (even though a lot of what was published in Astounding was as much scientific nonsense in the 1940s as it is today), Campbell also edited and published a fantasy magazine in Unknown. Nor did Campbell only publish Campbellien SF, but he also published a lot of very atypical stories. Finally, Campbell wasn’t the only one who pushed back against the more adventure driven stories found in mags like Planet Stories, Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories. Horace Gold, editor of Galaxy, explicitly spoke out against “Bat Durston” type space adventures that might just as well be a rewritten western.

    Besides, Jones/Warpig completely misses the sword and sorcery revival and the general fantasy boom of the 1960s and early 1970s. Pretty much everything by Edgar Rice Burroughs was being reprinted in the 1960s and was hugely popular. A Burroughs fanzine won the fanzine Hugo in 1966. In the UK, Science Fantasy published Michael Moorcock’s Elric stories and in the US, Cele Goldsmith-Lalli, editor of Fantastic and Amazing, rescued Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and Grey Mouser series from oblivion, published the Brak the Barbarian stories by John Jakes and discovered Roger Zelazny (who started out writing sword and sorcery) and Ursula K. Le Guin. The twin success of Lord of the Rings in paperback in 1965 and the Lancer Conan reprints beginning in 1966 threw open the gates for the fantasy boom and led to all sorts of long out of print stories from old pulp magazines as well as to new stories in the style of the old being published. Fantasy and adventure SF were not forgotten and buried in the 1960s, they were everywhere. As for the much derided New Wave, not only did the sword and sorcery and adventure SF boom coincide with the rise of the New Wave, but the same authors like Moorcock and Zelazny wrote both.

    It is true that Star Wars draws a lot on vintage pulp SF, though George Lucas, who was born in 1944, didn’t discover those stories in pulp magazines published before he was born. He discovered them through the 1960s paperback reprints. Plus, Star Wars also borrows a lot from 1960s and early 1970s SFF. Tatooine is largely borrowed from Dune (published in 1965) with a bit of Mars as described by Leigh Brackett and others thrown in. The Ewoks are borrowed wholesale from H. Beam Piper’s Little Fuzzy (published in 1962), while the whole Endor sequence is also reminiscent of Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Word for World is Forest from 1972.

    Liked by 8 people

    • The SFBC asked me to review an Edmond Hamilton and the first copy I found was a 1965 Ace reprint with a Donald Wollheim into note firmly asserting that “today’s slide rule writers are too brainwashed to attempt” stories with “color, excitement and adventure.” I have no idea who DAW had in mind.

      Liked by 4 people

    • My guess would be he misses the 60s/70s sword and sorcery revival because it’s firmly associated with the hippies(*), who he thinks should all have been shot by the National Guard.

      (*) “…just give a lift to one of those people along the roads who own nothing but a backpack, a guitar, a fine head of hair, a smile and a thumb. Time and again, you will find that these waifs have read The Lord of the Rings some of them can practically recite it.” – Ursula Le Guin

      Liked by 3 people

      • Another thing I’ve noticed is that many of the more reactionary self-proclaimed sword and sorcery fans are not so much sword and sorcery fans but Conan fans and tend to ignore anything that doesn’t match their limited view of the genre.

        Besides, a lot of 1960s and 1970s sword and sorcery contains elements that puppies dislike. Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and Grey Mouser (predate the 1960s, but that was the high point of the series): too much humor, too much sex and critical of religion too. Michael Moorcock’s Elric: too depressed, plus he takes drugs. Charles R. Saunders’ Imaro: Too black. Joanna Russ’ Alyx: Too female. Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane: too amoral, plus he wants to take revenge on God. So that leaves a bunch of Clonans and Conan pastiches.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. Regarding Jeannette Ng, the interesting thing about her speech is that it was not universally well received at all. During the 2019 Hugo ceremony, my plus one and I were sitting in the front of the auditorium as accepter for Galactic Journey together with the other finalists, literally between an editor and a NASA astronaut.

    And the reaction in the front rows was polite clapping, but not exactly enthusiastic. A lot of people agreed with Jeannette Ng’s point, but took issue with her word choice or delivery (Jeannette Ng was clearly nervous and it showed) or felt it was not the time and place. The cheers you can hear in the video came from the audience behind us.

    And I’m still stunned that after a great many people from Michael Moorcock to Alec Nevala-Lee wrote a lot of words explaining in great detail why Campbell was a problematic figure, it took an objectively not very good 90 second speech to topple him as an icon and rename the Campbell Award.

    As for Lovecraft, younger Lovecraft scholars like Bobby Derie do address Lovecraft’s racism and his many other faults. IMO this is also the way we should deal with figures like Campbell and Lovecraft, They were immensely influential on the development of the genre, but also hugely problematic.

    Liked by 2 people

        • I think the response was different based on where you were sitting. I remember the applause and cheers above and behind me, but mostly polite clapping around me.


    • And I’m still stunned that after a great many people from Michael Moorcock to Alec Nevala-Lee wrote a lot of words explaining in great detail why Campbell was a problematic figure, it took an objectively not very good 90 second speech to topple him as an icon and rename the Campbell Award.

      I think that the topple was already beginning to happen and Ng’s speech was made just as it became obvious to the world. Dell had already decided to change the award’s name. At most, Ng’s speech influenced them to make the announcement before they wanted to.

      If a large number of people were given an axe and each allowed only one swing, who is it who chopped down the beanstalk? Was it the first, or was it the person who was left holding the axe when gravity finally triumphed? The trope which says only one person can slay the giant is at fault. In the real world, it takes large numbers of people working either together or at least toward the same ends to effect institutional change.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. No wonder “Daddy Warpig” took on that moniker. It’s ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as being named “Jasyn”. He should sue his parents. Everything about him is Not Even Wrong.

    I’m still a Unipuppist, frankly.

    Puppies of all sorts: Now you’ve got no Hugos and no money, so you failed Pournelle’s quote/advice entirely. Before Puppies, Larry was the most successful monetarily. After Puppies, Larry is the most successful monetarily. The others had regular sales, and now they don’t.

    @Cam: should there be a footnote about roping Pournelle into Teddy’s Hugo slate? Like him or not, it was a sad way for him to go out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies was a congame for the Sads to be able to say that they had nothing to do with the Rapids. Most of the fans who wanted to belive it, probably thought of the Sads as still savable. It failed because Brad and co never left out a posibility to defend Beale.
      If you look from the perspective of the followers and the nominees the “we are not with Beale” may have worked with some, others were in the con.
      It is different for 2016, there we had a large group of Puppies who followed Beale (if I am mean I would count Brad and Larry amoung them) and a small sad rest, that could be counted as seperated.

      Wasn’t at round about that time, the statement of Beale that SF was dead because a) the contract for Scalzi by Tor and b) The recent Hugowins of N.K. Jemisin (when both Tor and the Hugos would no longer exist, we would miss them, but SF is much larger than them)

      Liked by 2 people

      • I remember various people among the Sads, among the ringleaders and also among their followers (the “comet tail,” as Mike Glyer aptly describes it elsewhere in this discussion), insisting vehemently on a number of occasions in 2015 that the Sads were separate from the Rabids, a completely different group, and should Absolutely Not be lumped together with them.

        Which was unconvincing when you noticed their nearly identical logos, their simultaneous campaigns to dominate the exact same genre fiction award, their nearly identical voting slates for that award, the additional associations between VD and the Puppy ringleaders, the similarities in Sad/Rabid objections to which writers and what sort of fiction was getting attention in the genre in recent years, which people and institutions “both” Puppy groups viewed as their enemies, their coordinated campaign against Tor Books because of something Irene Gallo said on her personal FB page, etc., etc. etc.

        I saw various Saddies insisting they were NOT with Vox & the Rabids, there were miles and miles of daylight between the Sads & the Rabids, etc. But I always thought, well, all of you look like ducks, walk like ducks, and quack like ducks, so I’m going with: you’re all ducks.

        Liked by 4 people

  11. Where they could agree was that the sharp decline in science fiction occurred sometime in the 1980/90s.

    When the Puppies started out, it was this century.

    Then it was the 90s. Then, no, wait, it was the 80s. They kept moving it back until eventually it became “the last time Heinlein won a Hugo” – which was 1967. Then some of them moved it even further back to the Pulp Era.

    One of the things that made the Puppy nastiness bearable was that they were all so stupid, and their narratives were so incoherent and contradictory, that it was like shooting fish in a barrel to make fun of them. And Chuck Tingle masterfully turned that into Comedy Gold.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Puppy wisdom: “SFF went downhill – well, we’re not quite sure, but it was sometime between 1937 and 1998. But we do know the stuff that’s winning Hugos now is terrible, even though we have never read any of it nor heard of the authors.”

      Liked by 3 people

      • It’s essentially the Golden Age myth. Once upon a time everything was great but then it was great but not as great as it had been but then things got merely OK and now, now things are bad and only we can make things great again.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Everything was better before. The paster, the better. The only thing that is possibly not worse tomorrow is the past, because there is more before to be awesome, the further into the future we venture.

          Can’t say I agree, the rose-tinted memories of a glorious past are only so because we filter out the bad things. And the memory of a horrible past, probably because the minor highlights have been retouched into unrelenting misery.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Of course, the stories from thirty, fity, seventy, ninety years ago seem to be better, because the ones that have endured were usually the good stories of the era. Not always, there are a lot of overlooked gems and the occasional bad story that somehow endured (e.g. the absolutely terrible “Deadline” by Cleve Cartmill that had several reprints over the years, probably due to the handy primer on how to build an atom bomb courtesy of John W. Campbell), but mostly the dross has fallen by the wayside.

            Liked by 2 people

            • I actually find Astounding/Analog, edited by St. Campbell, more uneven than many of the supposedly lesser magazines of the era. A weak story in Weird Tales or Planet Stories or Thrilling Wonder Stories is usually at least entertaining, whereas a weak story in Astounding/Analog ranges from bad to unreadable.

              Liked by 1 person

      • I think it was for the 2020 Hugos, where a commenter on Nemeier’s website put a whole list of almost entirely dead SF writers he knew, but didn’t know any of these nominees, and it’s like, sir… were you expecting the dead fellows with no new work to still get nominated?

        Liked by 4 people

          • Jules Verne left behind a lot of unpublished material when he died. Think new stuff came out pretty steadily for decades after he died.

            Liked by 2 people

            • They were still publishing newly rediscovered Lovecraft and Howard works for decades after the deaths of both. And with Lovecraft and Howard, people were actively looking. There might actually be an unpublished Ray Cummings or Murray Leinster manuscript out there, only that no one is looking.


        • Niven and Barnes 2011 The Moon Maze Game is set in 2085 and provides in passing a list of Big Name SF authors and artists, most of whom would have been familiar to fans in 1981.

          “Complete sets of original Heinlein, Bradbury, Clarke, Le Guin, Butler, Kanazawa. Scotty recognized signatures on wall paintings from Kelly Freas, Frank Frazetta, Michael Whelan and Sue Tong.”

          It’s like a list of superlative pop songs that almost entirely refuses to acknowledge anything after George Gershwin. Which to be fair, I’ve seen people do.

          Liked by 2 people

          • I remember reading a piece talking about how one dark undercurrent of the Star Trek universe is that in the Federation, there seems to be almost none of its own modern pop culture. Almost everything they focus on is nostalgia: music and literature from the 20th century or earlier.

            Liked by 2 people

        • I sometimes think a lot of them actually haven’t read much of anything at all, and the reason they only bring up a handful of giants-of-old is because they simply aren’t familiar with them far beyond being the big names of nostalgia.

          Liked by 2 people

      • At one point, Torgersen admitted that he hadn’t read any of the works he put on the Puppy slate, or pretty much any other recent SF, either. He also admitted never having read any of Correia’s works.

        Liked by 2 people

          • From what I remember, he admitting to not having actually read much at all. I think he mainly watched Star Trek and ran that ST Wargaming fan website.

            Liked by 2 people

          • That’s a good question. I don’t think Brad or Larry are big readers and they both often talk about genre in terms of film & TV influences.

            That’s not a general Puppy trait. Hoyt obviously reads a lot of all sorts of books and genuinely loves Heinlein, Austen and Shakespeare. Wright is another voracious reader and possible fave sci-fi author would be A E van Vogt. Vox Day also clearly reads a lot – even he apparently badly misreads some of his fave books (ie Focault’s Pendulum).

            Liked by 1 person

            • That’s, right, good find. Most of what BT had read was tie-in fiction to SF movies and TV series. Which is why he wailed about media tie-in novels not ever getting nominated for the Hugo Awards – and then failed to put a single tie-in work on the Puppy slate. 😀

              Liked by 2 people

            • Also, I was wondering who TF Chris Bunch and Alan [sic] Cole are. Has anyone read anything by them?

              Ah, BT said in an interview that they had done “hundreds of television scripts, as well as bestselling novels” and he claimed that their novel A Reckoning for Kings was “Pulitzer-nominated” – but apparently that was a “nominated because someone submitted them and paid the submission fee” thing, because the book was not a Pulitzer finalist and there’s no mention of it on the Pulitzer website. 🙄

              Liked by 2 people

              • Bunch and Cole wrote the Sten series. Feel free to reply, “And what’s that?”


                • Oh, I’ve already admitted my ignorance of who they are. I looked them up on ISFDB. Nothing on either of their pages sounded familiar, but a lot of it seems to have been epic fantasy, and I was reading mostly SF when I was young.


            • @ JJ:

              I’ve read the first few Sten books. It’s all basically brain candy and while I have read at least some of the books, at least more than once, I don’t think I would’ve nominated them for a Hugo, there’s always been better, meatier, books to nominate.


            • Can I not reply to daughter posts or am I restricted to the parent comment?

              The Sten books are about the adventures of a futuristic special ops guy serving an eternal emperor and the most interesting aspect is the increasingly negative view of the political set-up from the perspective of anyone except his imperial majesty (Or majesties: it’s a serial incarnation using clones and brain tapes). His Majesty had somehow stumbled into total monopoly on stable antimatter. This was the means by which cheap power was generated so people wanted the lights on, they had to deal with him. Turns out being able to blackmail one’s way into power is not actually a great basis for a regime. Plus, I think one clone turned out to be seriously off-brand.

              (There was a weird bit about an alien race where each pair can parent one kid before dying; why they are not long extinct is not clear).

              Liked by 1 person

            • Looking at Bunch’s entry in ISFDB, it looks to me like he and Cole were part of Del Rey’s cohort of reliable mid-listers who were permitted to seek their fortunes elsewhere towards the middle of the 1990s. Seem to have ended up mostly with Roc, although I see an Orbit in there. Many of the mid-listers kicked off the back of the sleigh did not do as well. Michael McCollum formed his own self-publishing company and seems to have done reasonably well with it but there are bunch of authors whose careers basically stopped once Del Rey was done with them: Gilliland, for example, and Frezza.

              Liked by 1 person

            • I guess it is just as well: as it is, comments on longer threads are one letter wide towards the end.

              Liked by 1 person

            • One letter wide on my phone, I mean.

              Still sad Gilliland’s career does not have more than the seven books we got. I know there’s at least one book-length MS as yet unpublished. And a short story about what happens when a mid rank officer innocently lets two corrupt senior officers discover his hobby is forensic accounting.


            • I’m… even more confused.

              In his comparison, Harley Davidson was increasingly catering only to old guys with beards, and this was a problem, they were stagnating. So they boosted their sales by aiming to create a wider selection to appeal to a much broader demographic.

              And SF broadening its appeal and increasing different subgenres to appeal to even more demographics and NOT catering only to a bunch of old white guys with beards… is doing the *opposite* of HD, and stagnating?

              Liked by 2 people

            • You’d think I’d be used to the utter illogic of their logic by now, and yet…. I keep feeling like somehow, somewhere, they must see the corkscrewiness.

              Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m quite sure Hoyt wrote some angry letters when the statute of Saddam Hussein in Firdos Square was torn down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, I was opposed to taking down the Marx and Lenin statues (or anything that doesn’t have a swastika), because I do think those statues are part of our history. Besides, there are still plenty of Bismarck statues, statues of Kaiser Wilhelm I and II and Kaiser Friedrich, who generated a lot of statues for someone who only ruled for 99 days, statues of various local dukes, etc… all over Germany and no one wants the monarchy back either.

      Directly after WWII; American and Russian soldiers destroyed or took down some problematic statues, including some which actually dated back to the Second German Empire, well before the Nazis.

      Up to the 1970s, there were a few statues in Germany dedicated to genocidal colonial generals, which were removed. The colonial monument in Bremen (which is a giant brick elephant and actually has artistic merit) is still standing, now renamed into anti-colonial monument and flanked by two monuments to remember the Herero and Nama people in Namibia murdered by German soldiers, which is a good way to deal with problematic monuments.

      There also was a bust of a Nazi writer in Wuppertal, which was thrown into the river Wupper one night, probably by leftwing students. It’s still there, which is a good place for it, especially since it doesn’t endanger shipping.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, if it were up to me I’d keep statues and build new ones around them to recontextualise but then again the statues I see are never about people who set up ongoing injustices against me or my community


        • Most of the “Civil War” statues have basically no historical value. They were put up in the twentieth century, mostly at the behest of the Daughters of the Confederacy, in order to support their revisionist Lost Cause history of the Civil War, making Confederate leaders out to be heroic figures doomed to fight against impossible odds.

          For the most part, the statues were erected in the 1910s-1920s or the 1950s-1960s – basically when the Klan was at its zenith of political influence and when people were rallying against the civil rights movement. They aren’t just monuments to support a counterfactual revision of history, they are particularly pernicious about it as well, attempting to valorize people who were, for the most part, out and out white supremacists.

          The statues themselves are, by and large, cheap crap – many of them were mass produced and formed from the cheapest bronze available to reduce costs. Almost all of them have no historic or artistic value at all. No museum would take them.

          Liked by 5 people

          • Yep, the history that is supposedly being “erased” in the neo-Confederates’ view, if you remove the pro-Confederate statues, is the early 20th century history where white supremacists never had to bother with dog whistles or refrain from violence against BIPOC in running the country, before those pesky civil rights movements of the 1950’s-1070’s got major laws passed that were actually sometimes enforced. Laws that they’ve spent the last forty years gutting, ignoring or circumventing as much as they can.

            If the statues can be removed, then that says that white supremacy is weak versus BIPOC and anti-slavery people having a voice in what history is celebrated and represented through statues and memorials. Which means they are losing control and the ability to make bigoted myths remain majority social norms and historical folklore, even in the South. If the statues are taken down, it reduces their status, the status to terrorize black people and dictate their history. That’s the slippery slope they don’t want to slide down.

            Liked by 2 people

          • And ironically, they were all made in the North, and they’re basically identical to the generic Union soldier monuments put up at the same time. Because they came out of the same molds and none were painted.

            They should be melted down for their scrap value and become something useful.


            • In Belgium, every village has a generic soldier WWI memorial. I think there are about four or five different poses.

              The German WWI memorials are a bit more creative, since they’re several variations. The most common is a very big rock with names engraved, followed by several big rocks piled up and topped by an eagle, cross or helmet. Sometimes, you also get an obelisk or something with columns.


  13. I’ve been vaguely speculating that some of the memorialization of John W. Campbell was due to his early death at age 61. Pohl and Wollheim lived far beyond that age, and far beyond 1971.

    (Pohl and Wollheim are the editors who disappear in the Puppy views of science fiction history.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Plus, they were Futurians and probably Communists in the puppies’ limited worldview. Even though particularly Donald Wollheim published more of the sort of action and adventure oriented SFF the puppies claim to want than Campbell ever did.

      On the other hand, maybe they simply don’t mention Wollheim and Pohl, because they’ve never heard of them. After all, puppies are not exactly smart.

      Liked by 1 person

    • And Fred Pohl won a Hugo in this century even!

      Sure, it was for his blog about the old days, but nevertheless, the man was still writing and engaging with the field.

      I wonder who Puppies think DAW books is named for? His “Best of” yearly anthologies were *the* thing for many years; we have a bunch of the 70s-80s in SFBC editions. We’d just order them sight unseen. I recall being annoyed when one had a green spine and thus doesn’t match the many years of orange spine. I recall it because I can see them from my bed.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. “Where they could agree was that the sharp decline in science fiction occurred sometime in the 1980/90s.”

    A number of the Puppies nursed the delusion that my father sided with them. He didn’t; he was firm and public in his refusal to take sides in the Puppy debacle.

    And because of that delusion, some of them also fabricated a non-existent familial rift wherein I was “betraying” my father and “selling him down the river” by opposing the Puppies for pissing all over the Hugo Award.

    (I don’t share what my father said to me privately about the Puppies, because it was private. Suffice it to say they were never a subject of discord between us.)

    I found the Puppy delusion about my father mystifying. Nearly all of his science fiction was published from the 1980s and onward; the exact same era the Puppies declared science fiction was becoming so disappointing to them.

    All of his Hugo nominations and wins occurred 1989 onward; the same era in which the Puppies declared the quality of Hugo nominees and winners was increasingly disappointing. My dad’s name appeared *36 times* on the Hugo ballot, an achievement that can realistically be viewed as the keystone of his professional reputation, in the exact same era that the Puppies claim the relevance of the award and quality of the nominees and winners (he won 5 times) was in decline.

    Yet in their sad/mad/rabid delusions….*I* was betraying him by opposing, criticizing, and (indeed) despising the things they said and did.

    (Part & parcel, no doubt, with their delusion that a writer with 36 Hugo nominations and 5 wins—as well as a groaning bookcase chock full of other awards, US & international—needed their help to get on the Hugo ballot in 2015.)

    Quite apart from any of that, I overall thought the Puppies’ arguments were ignorant and idiotic, their positions almost comically irrational and inconsistent, their rhetoric toxic and self-pitying, and their behavior entitled, trolling, delinquent, snide, unstable, and repellant.

    But how they could possibly have convinced themselves that loyalty to my father would ever cause anyone to side WITH them rather than AGAINST them… I thought that was just as delusional as their rhetoric comparing themselves to Civil War generals, WWII Allied leaders, and Holocaust victims.

    Liked by 7 people

      • Plus she also WON the as-was Campbell, but then became successful writing (shudder) urban fantasy and (double shudder) romance.

        Uppity! Cooties! Uncleeeeeaaaaan!

        Liked by 1 person

        • And speaking as a Campbell winner, here’s my two cents on the name change “controversy.”

          1. FAR & AWAY the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of that award is that it’s for being “best new writer” in the genre. Who it’s named after or what it’s called is frankly irrelevant. The POINT is that you’re being recognized as the BEST NEW WRITER in the genre. Anything else is window dressing and unimportant. (HOW unimportant? For the rest of your life, any time you say “I won the John W. Campbell Award,” you have to explain what it is. Almost no one knows. Including readers, editors, booksellers, and agents.)

          2. The award itself is nice, but you know what? Within weeks, it’s also irrelevant. I found it both pathetic and ironic that there were Puppy ringleaders who got their knickers into SUCH a TWIST over NOT winning the Campbell. Professionally, it would make far more sense to be upset about the letters wearing off your keyboard. Plenty of publishers rejected my work after I won the Campbell. And when I suggested to Tor Books that they add “Campbell winner” to their “about the author” materials for me, they told me it wasn’t important and no one cared. (This was, btw, when Tor’s whole author bio for me was, “The author is female in a traditionally male genre.” So you’d think “award winner” might have been worth adding, but they said it wasn’t.) And I’d bet real money that my current publisher, DAW Books, though they are very good to me, haven’t the faintest idea I was a Campbell winner. Because no one really cares. Winning an award is nice, it’s an honor to be recognized. And that’s about it. Not winning an award is an IDIOTIC thing to carry a grudge about—especially an award that no one in publishing cares about.

          3. Things change. The name of this award is one of those things. That’s life, move on, grow up, get a hobby, find a worthwhile pursuit, go ACCOMPLISH things, etc.

          Liked by 5 people

          • This tracks a little with what I’ve seen in the Swedish fandom as well. The Hugo and Nebula are what people talk about. But the loud and old parts of us seem to think that Campbell having an award is far more important than anyone who’s won it — because they seem genuinely upset still.


            • There still IS an award named for Campbell!

              Even if he wasn’t (all together now) a fucking fascist, the Not-a-Hugo being renamed is a really good idea to reduce confusion as to which award someone won. Possibly somebody’s won both and good for them, but LOL.

              Liked by 3 people

              • In theory there’s still an award named for Campbell. However, it hasn’t been presented since Ng’s acceptance speech occurred. I have followed up with the official contact, and privately with one of the jurors, without any definite statement about when the next winner would be announced.

                My personal theory is that the forces which caused the Best New Writer award to be renamed are magnified in the case of the other Campbell Award because it is given through a unit of a public university whose leaders are faculty members. So it’s risky to continue it under the current name, however, a lot of old guard types involved in one way or another will be loudly offended if Campbell’s name is taken off. There’s also some instability caused by the death of James Gunn, who founded the whole SF unit at KU which oversees the (no longer named Campbell Conference). Campbell and Sturgeon Awards.

                Liked by 4 people

          • They did actually put “Campbell Award winner” on books back in like the 1970’s and some of the 1980’s. And they put out anthologies with short stories from Campbell Award nominees called New Voices. I have a copy of New Voices III, 1980, edited by George Martin with an intro by Asimov, published by Berkley.

            But there were a lot of changes that happened in the late 1980’s through to the early oughts — the shrinkage in importance and size of the magazine market that was further imploded by the wholesale market collapse in the 1990’s, along with that tanking the mass market paperbacks; the increase of hardcover and trade paper publishing in category SFF as a result of the losses in mass market; the enormous growth of the SFF market throughout the whole time period and its increased globalized distribution; the increase in multi-media conventions rather than just print-centered ones; the development of online fiction and magazines, e-books, etc.

            So the fandom culture became much wider and dispersed, more online and less convention centered, less involving magazines and having them be the main source for new, exciting writers. And the Campbell Award, being just one award and passed out with the Hugos, became less known and less useful as sales currency. But it has still been, under any name, considered a prestigious award for a writer starting off to get a nomination for, much less a win. And it can make your name known to Hugo voters who then may follow your career. Cam would have to run the stats on it, but I’d imagine a fair number of Campbell (now Astounding) noms also eventually got Hugo noms.

            But it certainly isn’t that critical in any author’s career and it was not started by Campbell and so didn’t have to have his name on it forever. I basically agree with the idea that the awards shouldn’t use people’s names for their names, but even when they do, it’s not unusual for there to sometimes be a name change on an award. (Corporate sponsors do it all the time.) People have been complaining about the award being named after Campbell since at least the 1980’s.

            But again, changing an award name or image from a white supremacist like Lovecraft or Campbell shows that white supremacy’s power and influence are waning and there are a lot of people who don’t like that and insist that those figures not only be part of the history but celebrated, in spite of and because of their bigoted views. They don’t like that others can say, “no, we don’t want to do that anymore with that person whatever their contributions” and be heard. BIPOC authors knew exactly what the Puppies were after and why, even before Beale ran the show.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Your Dad mentored a lot of writers, which is a great legacy. Unfortunately, one of them was Brad Torgersen who subsequently went off the deep end.

      Also, your Dad is the perfect refutation of the puppies’ argument, since he was a regular on the Hugo ballot well into the early 2010s and certainly didn’t need any puppy help.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The puppies’ practice of engaging with woman SF writers only through reference to their fathers (or in the case of Elizabeth Bera through reference to the man the Pup assumed their father to be) continues to be weird and unpleasant.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Both husband and father. He assumed Elizabeth Bear was the wife of Greg Bear and since the real wife of Greg Bear is the daughter of Poul Anderson, whom the puppies like, that puppy jumped to the conclusion that Elizabeth Bear must be the daughter of Poul Anderson. Apparently, it escaped them that she is a multiple award winning author without any male interference.

        Liked by 3 people

        • “Poul Anderson, whom the puppies like”

          Is Poul Anderson one of those guys that Brad _didn’t_ like – one of those guys who used Hard Science in his stories? Or does he not count because…. something?

          P.S. The only prominent SF author who came out against “Star Wars” (as far as I know) was Ben Bova – because it wasn’t a serious work, and because it was a Western in space. Was Bova one of the people who ruined science fiction by focusing on dull stuff like missile defense systems?


            • David wasn’t a major SF writer when SW came out (I think his first work was in 1980 or so). David was merely an SF fan – who therefore must have loved SW until oppressed by Bova (I don’t create the Puppy logic, just try to follow it)


          • Poul Anderson is listed in Appendix N, mostly for The Broken Sword and Three Hearts and Three Lions, so he’s good in the puppies’ eyes. He also started out writing adventure SFF in Planet Stories. Plus, he was a libertarian, which is another win.

            Finally, Anderson was also very prolific, so even the puppies may actually have read something by him. I’m not even a huge Anderson fan, but I’ve read a lot by him, because he was prolific and his books were easy to find.


            • Yeah, but Poul was a gentleman first and foremost, something all the Puppies fail at. He had manners and was fun at parties.

              He wouldn’t have been caught dead at Writers of the Future, because he knew L. Ron before Dianetics. That story about “make money by starting a religion” I heard straight from him. While we were laughing about the abject failure of the “Battlefield Earth” movie over a beer.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Latching on to Appendix N as some sort of hallmark of great fiction was always an odd thing to do, since the list was basically nothing more than “what Gary Gygax had read and thought might make cool D&D inspirations” – and Gary was a weirdly idiosyncratic dude. It’s not a list of popular works, or a list of conservative works, or even a list of good works (which is readily apparent when one considers the rather notable omissions from the list, such as Lloyd Alexander, Terry Brooks, Patricia McKillip, and Ursula K. Le Guin). It is “Gary thought of these books and D&D”.

              I prefer the list published in the Fifth Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide in Appendix E, which at least shows that some people gave some thought to what constituted good works of fantasy fiction when making the list.

              Liked by 1 person

            • There are a lot of good works in Appendix N, but also some not so good ones and a lot of inexplicable omissions (C.L. Moore, Ursula K.Le Guin), probably because Gygax either hadn’t read them or just forgot about them.

              Never mind that there are a lot better explorations of Appendix N (shoutout to the excellent Appendix N Book Club podcast) than Jeffro Johnson’s.


            • The problem Appendix N has is much the same problem the Puppy Slate had: It is fundamentally the work of a single person, and its composition is limited by what that single person had read. There’s nothing wrong with Gygax’s choice of reading per se, but it is a very myopic view of fantasy fiction, even as it stood in the mid-1970s.


          • Harlan Ellison also hated Star Wars.

            Then again, he was part of the New Wave, and so writing that ‘literary’ stuff that no-one really likes anyway.

            But then, after the Connie Willis incident, he was presumably on the list of people ‘unfairly targeted by the SJWs’, so I have no idea what the Puppies thought of him.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Joanna Russ really hated it as well. Her critique can be found in her essay, “SF and Technology as Mystification”, which is available through the Science Fiction Studies back catalog website.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you. So hatred of Star Wars came from a wide spectrum of SF folks – and so did love of Star Wars. Almost like you can’t correlate affection or hatred of it with one particular political or philosophical group.


    • Well as you know, it had not much to do with your father’s writing, a legacy that is not in dispute by anyone. It had to do with the conflict over your father’s column in the SF Bulletin. As far as they were concerned, SJW’s had come for your father, whom Brad declared his mentor, which was a prime example of how they had way too much power and were destroying all of SFF and had to be stopped from controlling the Hugos. Therefore the Puppies were fighting your father’s enemies and naturally he would side with them, even if the evil SJW’s kept him from openly admitting it. And you as his daughter should blindly side with those fighting your father’s enemies or otherwise you were a SJW betrayer, etc. You wouldn’t help make them heroes, so you got to be a villain.

      Folks like the Puppies do this all the time. In the Comicsgate conflicts, the Comicsgators regularly declared that one or another dead famous comics writer/artist would have sided with their views (which were the same and with the same incoherence as the Puppies.) And if the relatives/spouses of the dead person disagreed with that pronouncement, they’d swarm that person online as a betrayer. They claim whoever they want to claim, they make up whatever beliefs they want to assign and if someone they want to hold up as their symbol on their side disputes it, like your dad did, they’ll just say the person is really on their side but it isn’t safe for them to admit it. The MAGA do this, the Gamergaters, the gun fanatics, etc. — it’s all a bunch of ego-pumping fairy tales.

      Liked by 3 people

      • It seemed so typical of Puppy cluelessness that they spent years revisiting the episode of my father’s SFWA Bulletin column controversy, whereas he moved on after the actual events in question. There were Puppies who publicly resigned from the organization at the time, citing treatment of my father as their reason or as the last straw…. evidently never noticing that HE did not resign. He had some discord with SFWA for a while over the column, but he’d been a member for decades and didn’t leave over that episode. Afterward, he also became friends and co-authors with the next SFWA pres (2015-2019), Cat Rambo.

        And the notion that evil SJWs or anyone else could possibly influence my father not to make public statements he wanted to make… Well, that’s hilarious. (And, indeed, like many daughters, I’d have PAID someone if they could control what my father did or didn’t say!) It’s another example of how little the Puppies knew him, despite some of them claiming or implying personal friendship with him.

        Additionally, a lot of Puppy activities including quarreling with and verbally attacking people who were -actually- his personal friends, as well as attacking various institutions he valued (including the Hugo Awards and WorldCon).

        Finally, as we saw in various other examples at the time, the Puppies frequently conflated SFWA with WorldCon and the Hugos. Their confusion led to them supposing that enmity with SFWA would mean enmity with the Hugo Awards. Which is like assuming that a passion for bicycling means you necessarily love salmon.

        Liked by 6 people

        • I know, right? Like someone was going to cow Mike Resnick. But if people they want to use don’t go along with them, that’s always the excuse — that they are the silent majority who secretly agree but have to pretend that they don’t for appearances or fear of retribution. The Puppies also did it with Gerrold, Flint, Silverberg, at least initially, and a number of others. And if those people continued to refute it, then they got to be one of the enemies instead.

          The conflict over the SF Bulletin was about way more than just your dad and his buddy’s column. And people weren’t trying to harm him, just get him to understand that he was being cluelessly sexist in the column and that this was part of a much bigger obstacle that women faced in the field. And I think he did eventually understand part of that, from what was said. Certainly no one was trying to boot him out of SFWA.

          But the fact that women and allies dared to criticize your dad and any of the others involved is seen as unacceptable by folks like the Puppies — or at least used that way. It means people with privilege are not getting their privilege; that the unworthy are speaking out of their proper place. And that’s a change they think destroys civilization and Hollywood and SFF. Or at least are willing to claim so in order to try to get an advantage. But the Puppies certainly did not understand a lot of the relationships and dialoging that went on among SFF authors, editors and fandom, that there were not two separate camps. And so a lot of their accusations made no sense to anyone, even those who had some sympathy for some of their views.

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          • “But the fact that women and allies dared to criticize your dad and any of the others involved is seen as unacceptable by folks like the Puppies ”

            And clearly another reason for the Puppies to loathe me. 🙃 I would now be rich beyond the dreams of avarice if I had a dollar for every time I said something to my dad along the lines of: “Do NOT touch anything in this car,” and “How can you not know what ‘basil’ is?” and “That is a friend of mine, so please don’t speak to them.”

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    • The last time I saw and talked to your father was Chicago 2012, wearing his necklace of Hugo rocket pins. The thought that he’d need the help of Puppies to get on the ballot is absurd, particularly given that he was GoH and had a big expensive hardback volume of stories in his honor as the official con publication.

      I got it signed by everyone who was there (totally thrilled by Janis Ian!), which sadly includes Brad. Who seemed like a pleasant guy. (Narrator: Turns out he wasn’t). I noted he signed it “Brad T. :)” which I thought was a little odd at the time for an adult man. By 2015, I wondered if Brad just had trouble spelling his own name.

      But I guess them never disagreeing with Daddy, or Daddy figures, plus putting down women who actually know their idol far better than they do is all part and parcel of the RWNJ worldview.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m really enjoying the idea of The Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and The Blob being cerebral, intellectual and realistic sf films in the 1950’s that were missing the fun adventure of Star Wars.

    That was one of the things that was a terrible, ever shifting dilemma for the Puppies — they kept having to move back the date of when everything fell apart in SFF because people kept pointing out the facts that what they were saying about various eras and Hugo nom lists made no sense. It was like an auction in reverse. Or more accurately maybe, a doomsday prophecy in reverse.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The real significance of the 1980s as when things started to go wrong (other than the amusing conclusion that one that draw – that Ronald Reagan ruined science fiction) is that they were 12 in 1985 or so, and had all of SF history up to then to draw on for reading pleasure (if they read). After that backlog is gone, SF starts arriving only in yearly doses of some good and some bad – a vast change from when all the cream from 1920 to 1980 was available for the choosing.

      It’s analogous with the feeling that a child born in 1940 might have – thinking that life was easy back then, unlike today – because in the 40s, there was no crime, no hunger and no war (because, surprisingly enough, parents don’t tell the really young kids about crime and war, and make sure that the kid gets the best food available). It’s only when the kid is old enough to read the papers, and earn some money for food himself, that he realizes that _now_ suddenly crime is rampant, war is all around and food costs money. Ah, if only we could get back to 1942!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Plus, the first time you encounter [insert SFF concept here], it’s cool and amazing and greatest thing you’ve ever read, because it’s brand new to you. The actual quality of the work doesn’t matter. For example, my introduction to the concept of time travel was the old Time Tunnel TV show, which objectively wasn’t very good, but I still loved it.

        But once you’ve been around the block a few times, you’ve encountered most concepts and idea before, so a generic story no longer cuts it and you actually demand something which puts a new spin on the old trope.

        There’s a reason that they say the golden age of SFF is 13.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s also why the first book in a series might be nominated for a Hugo, but less often the second — we’ve seen the bag of tricks that impressed the first time around. It might be done as well, but it’s no longer new.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I’ve been told this was the reason Eragon was a huge hit amongst tweens and teens while the rest of us thought it was derivative of, well, everything. For them, it was their first exposure.

          Liked by 3 people

    • I was puzzled by the Puppy claim that commercially popular works/writers were overlooked in favor of works/writing that was elitist, self-consciously diverse, worthy, woke, dull, virtual signaling, etc.

      Back in early 2015, after reading the SP3 manifesto, I did a quick survey of the Hugo nominees for the past decade in the fiction categories. The figure I wound up with was that over half the novels were commercial bestsellers, and about half of the short fiction was by bestselling writers. I pointed this out on FB to a Puppy ringleader, and when the reply was essentially “but they’re not the RIGHT SORT of commercial bestsellers,” I realized I was wasting my time and never again attempted to reason with a Puppy. (And I watched in pained sympathy as smarter, more experienced, more informed people than me tried over and over and always got nowhere, including GRRM and Eric Flint.)

      I mean, the Hugo winning novel that sparked sooooooooo much hysterical resentment among the Puppies was REDSHIRTS, a space opera comedy inspired by a popular 1960s TV show, a book that rose high on all national bestseller lists. It’s a book that checked ALL the boxes the Puppies claimed were not being checked by Hugo-recognized works. And yet its win launched the Puppies into a years-long tantrum.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, everybody pointed out to them that their initial claims made no sense factually, so then they kept changing it and of course they weren’t super organized about coordinating their rationales. At one point, they switched it to the SJWs just didn’t like particular sub-genres like military SF, at another point they were just trying to bring in new readers/Hugo voters because the Hugo was supposedly dying from lack of attention, a few times it was a supposed animus against conservative SFF authors, then Tor and other big publishers were rigging the election against Baen, then it was they were the plucky self-publishers against the giant corporate houses. Which was of course the exact opposite of where they had started out: that the SJW noms were obscure, non-commercial, unsuccessful, academic lit, overly woke, weird stories instead of rollicking, bestselling popcorn adventures. The only consistent running theme was that the people who were getting Hugo noms were bad, not conservative white men and out to get them.

        Scalzi was a major focus despite having a big bestseller based off of Star Trek and Star Wars and him being a cishet white man. And that was mostly because Beale fancied himself Scalzi’s nemesis and would periodically let Scalzi make a fool of him online while claiming victory. (And I guess Brad had a few resentments as well.) After years of Beale trying to push the idea that Scalzi wasn’t really a bestseller and Tor just bought up books and rigged the system to make it look that way (for no discernable reason,) Tor did that ten year, large advance multi-book deal with Scalzi. And they really, really tried to spin that, but it just wasn’t working, so they tried instead with the Puppy campaigns to say that Scalzi and Tor cheated to get him Hugos and this was evidence of rot, etc. People kept pointing out to them that this made no sense factually either, but it was a definite “we have always been at war with icelandia” vibe.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, it’s really been hard for everyone, hasn’t it? I’m hoping to get to see my family again next August; if I do, it will have been 4 years since the last time. My parents are elderly, and I’ve been living with the fear that one of them will pass away before I can see them again. Since I made the choice to go to Dublin in 2019 instead of seeing them, you can imagine how I’ve been beating myself up about that. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • I went back to my earliest blog post about the fires and it was November 11 2019. So on reflection it was kind of mad to be thinking about flying overseas at the time anyway and heading to a city on the edge of a revolution/invasion was maybe a bad idea in itself. But it is an idea stuck in my head like amber because it would have been my last overseas trip.

        Do you remember that whole late 1990s business about history ending? LOL

        Liked by 1 person

        • OMG, this is not the Oppression Olympics!

          There is not a single one of us here who has not faced some devastating consequences of the pandemic. I’m extremely fortunate. I have not lost any family members. I have friends who got sick, some of whom are still dealing with long COVID, but none of them died, thankfully. But some of my friends lost family members, even multiple family members.

          On the day that 9/11 happened, my ex and I had the day off work, because we were flying out the next day to California for my in-laws’ 50th anniversary celebration (which had been planned for months). I was still in bed, and my ex came up into the bedroom and turned on the TV, and said, “You have to see this”. As we watched, the plane hit the second tower. And I looked at my ex and said, “This is going to change all of our lives, forever.”

          A few years later, my ex told me that they thought I was being a huge Drama Queen when I said that, but that they’d come to realize that I had recognized the long-reaching implications of what had happened, and how it was going to impact all of our lives in terms of security measures (and in terms of personal feelings of insecurity and unsafeness).

          And the COVID-19 epidemic is 9/11 on fucking steroids. There isn’t anyone in the world who is going to come out of this unscathed. Some people are going to end up massively scathed. I wake up every day giving thanks for the fact that, so far, I am not one of them.

          COVID-19 is this generation’s Spanish Flu, or World War II, or Polio Epidemic. I give thanks every day that my personal consequences have thus far been minimal (knock on wood).

          Liked by 4 people

            • We spent every day after that, desperately trying to make arrangements to fly to California (they didn’t restart flights for several days) for this anniversary celebration which had been planned for a year. We finally made it out there a few hours before the dinner, and ended up coming back the next day because we both had to work on Monday. But we didn’t complain, because there were more than 3,000 people who never made it home. 😦


  16. Footnote (and tyop) patrol!

    footnote [1]: whereas Day’s novel have been his own
    either “Day’s novels” or “Day’s novel was”

    footnote [4]: a few people did recommend it in on the suggestion pages
    pick either “in” or “on”

    Up in the text you have the reference to footnote [9] appearing before [8].

    >Torgersen’s Sad Puppies 3 slate and been something of a last hurrah for Analog
    had been

    Need a [17] in the body for that footnote.

    >So the first winners speech


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