Weber & Correia on the mil-SF Dragon Award

Thanks to Doris for pointing out that David Weber had responded to the recent change in the Dragon Award categories. As with all things Dragon Awards, there are implied facts about the awards that are hard to establish. Weber speaks as if he has inside knowledge about the decision but cites no sources or places where more information can be found.

The tone is one of attempting to calm people down while accepting that the decision should be reversed with regard to the military science fiction category:

“I think it’s important for the people who are upset to understand that so far as I can tell, there is no malign intent involved in this decision. Like a lot of you, I intend to advocate to get it changed, to get our category restored to the awards, but angst and outrage are not the way to go about that.”

https://www.facebook.com/david.weber.5621/posts/pfbid0Ck68ytn6wqJxJdwKoRYKPf7CEjEBMQG23zCHo917xPTmxBLpobtU5E8L1LqfbyNCl

We then get into some history (of sorts):

“One, frankly, was the perception by a significant portion of fandom that existing awards — like the Hugo and the Nebula — had been politicized. That they were no longer voted on the merits of the work itself but because the work in question had checked off the proper boxes. DragonCon’s answer to that perception was to create a family of awards which were clearly voted upon by ALL fandom, not by a subset of it which might be agenda driven.”

ibid

OK but the people he is addressing now have the same impression about the Dragon Awards. I don’t think they are right this time either but if anything they have more cause with the Dragon Awards as there is no solid information on how the awards are actually run. There’s not even an official name attached to the awards as the person running it. I’ve assumed it was Dave Cody and Bill Fawcett (see https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2021/08/11/debarkle-chapter-55-the-dragon-award-begins/ ) but who knows!

“At the same time, DragonCon recognized that the award CEREMONY itself would not be a cost effective exercise on the convention’s part. And, finally, the decision to eliminate the award for military science-fiction/fantasy was made, according to DragonCon, because this was the “least-nominated, least-voted” category, so if something was going to be pruned, it made sense to prune the award which had had the least support.”

ibid

According to DragonCon? Where? Weber is quoting somebody or something but the phrase “least-nominated, least-voted” isn’t on the award change announcement. Maybe I’m not looking in the right place. However, what we do now get is a plausible explanation of the issue: the ceremony.

The Dragon Award Ceremony has been a part of the DragonCon program since 2016, with virtual versions for the pandemic. It’s always been a small affair and has had a slot crowded against all the other things going on at the con. Unlike the Hugos or Nebulas, it is not a tent-pole event of the whole convention. There in lies part of the structural problem I, among others, have been pointing out about the Dragons since their conception. Aside from the name, there’s not much of a relationship between the award and the convention.

“DragonCon’s answer to the acrimonious argument about merit versus ideologically correct was to say “If you think that a work deserves recognition, this is a place where YOU can nominate it and YOU can vote for it, and the SOLE CRITERION for the award will be the number of votes it receives from ALL OF FANDOM, not a smaller, select group with which you may or may not agree.” Think about that. Without condemning existing, older awards or telling people who were upset with those older awards processes to shut up and sit down, DragonCon offered a venue in which those on either side of that debate would find an open, transparent, even-handed, open-to-all forum in which to advocate for the works THEY loved.”

ibid

LOL. As far as I’m aware, this paragraph is a piece of fiction and the idea that the Dragons are in any way open and transparent is laughable. This is a diversion though, the meat of the argument lies elsewhere:

“Third, before people get bent out of shape over the “cost-effective” metric, think about it for a moment. DragonCon is huge, yet I would be surprised if more than 350 people have turned up for any of the Dragon Award presentation ceremonies. Those people who have turned out have been hugely supportive and very interested in and involved with the process, but they represent a fairly teeny subset of con’s total attendance. For that matter, the literary portion of DragonCon is only one of its multifaceted sides, and whether we want to admit it or not, the “literary” attendees clearly represent an absolute minority of total attendance. So even though the convention would be paying for the space the awards ceremony uses whether the ceremony used it or not, even though all of the audiovisual equipment would already be there, they are still diverting staff who might have been doing something else to managing it, and that same space could be programmed for a different function that might very well attract significantly more attendees. Given the fact that DragonCon has to pay the bills, that is neither a minor nor an unreasonable consideration.”

ibid

Now, this makes a lot of sense. Even so, it’s not like the changes announced are going to free up many resources. The ceremony will be shorter but not vastly shorter. Maybe it helps make the ceremony fit into a neater block of time?

“Fourth, DragonCon got fewer nominations and fewer total votes in this category than in the others.”

ibid

I would love to see these numbers or even just see where Weber was getting this information from.

Meanwhile, Larry Correia is also reacting defensively to the wingnuts cross about the change. That is interesting because Correia has often talked about the Dragons as if he has a personal connection with those running it. He didn’t react to the announced change and I didn’t see a general reaction in Baen arenas to the change. I can’t access Baen’s Bar anymore so I don’t know if there was any chatter there but it is interesting to me that the negative reaction has been from a section of the right-wing sci-fi community that are more outsiders than the inner circle of Baen.

“Man, I sure am glad I went through all that effort and put up with years and years of bullshit and abuse, mostly alone, and then only with a tiny handful of us, all so that years later the masses on my side after being given amazing opportunities could immediately cry doom and spread black pills and defeat without ever doing a fucking thing themselves the instant something seems to go sideways.”

https://www.facebook.com/larry.correia/posts/pfbid02QXCQxMkETyXixdnXq9yQHngnsNFvjRpeHrdcKSNK63Bdtja71u6Q6AqKqCqqPMPLl

This, I would suggest, is very unfair to Declan Finn. He may be incoherently right-wing and a shameless self-promoter and have a very poor understanding of Italian airport security but he is not somebody who has never done “a fucking thing themselves” regarding the Dragon Awards. Nobody, and I mean this in all seriousness, has been more consistent in encouraging people to vote in the Dragons than Declan Finn. True, mainly that has been him encouraging people to vote for him, without much success but he has every year been putting up eligibility lists and raising the issue in multiple places on online. Quixotically perhaps, but he’s definitely been doing it.

“I’m pretty fucking annoying by the people who are nominally supposed to be on my side crying about how this is just like the Hugos, only I’m the dude who started all of that, and I’m calling bullshit on this black pilled doom nonsense.
It is a straight up popularity contest with zero barrier to entry.
It actively encourages authors to tell their fan bases to go vote.
We did for a while, then our side got LAZY.
We had huge turn out for a while, then guys like me with huge fan bases got tired of winning over and over (4x for me) so we asked our fans to spread the love and vote for other deserving authors… and the numbers plummeted.”

ibid

Rhetoric aside, this almost works as a broader description of Sad Puppies as well. Correia really does have a big fan base and that fan base will turn out for him loyally and dependably. However, this really is a Correia-specific phenomenon. Other authors have big sets of fans (Weber has a whole quasi-Navy of them) but really only Correia has a fanbase that will reliably brigade a poll. When Correia directs his energy to an award he has demonstrated that he can exert some influence on it but even he sees that continually winning the Dragon Awards is no good for the reputation of the awards and hence diminishes the victories that he gets. Correia (and Baen) don’t want to keep defeating a bunch of self-published Kindle Unlimited authors, they want to occasionally beat big famous best-selling authors. Put another way, Correia wants to win awards that John Scalzi wins, not awards that Brian Nieimeimer wins.

“If you can motivate a few hundred fans to nominate you, you’ll probably get nominated. If you can motivate a few thousand fans to vote for you, you’ll probably win. If you can’t motivate fans to do either, why do you expect to win something that’s a literal POPULARITY contest?”

ibid

I don’t know if Correia is just pulling numbers from thin air or has some inside knowledge here, but those magnitudes fit with my guesstimate of what you’d need.

Here’s Correia’s penultimate conclusion:

“Seriously, it ain’t that big. What you indy Mil-SF guys should do, rather than being butt hurt, is pick a fucking champion, and crush the regular Sci-fi big tent genre award. There you go. I keep hearing all the indy guys talk about how huge their sales are, awesome. Then get your shit together and crush your enemies.”

ibid

“Pick a champion” – well yes, that would work. Pick a contender for a bunch of categories and concentrate the wingnut vote on those contenders, thus amplifying your vote rather than splitting it. You could call it a “slate”. You could give the whole campaign a cute name after some animal. Upset kittens? Dolorous Bunnies? But here’s the thing. Unlike the Hugo Awards, you’d have no idea whether your votes would just get chucked away. As Dave Cody stated back in 2016:

“Also, for nominations, it won’t be possible to slate or overload the nominations for each category. We’re going to use experts in the various disciplines to create the final nomination lists after examining all the nominations.”

https://file770.com/dragon-awards-updates/

Did they ever set up this panel of experts? Who knows! But the Dragon Awards have stated that they can do this. A Dragon version of Sad Puppies might work but only if the shadowy organisers of the Dragons LET it work and if they did that…would legit authors agree to play along or would they withdraw? Who knows.


103 responses to “Weber & Correia on the mil-SF Dragon Award”

  1. “Unlike the Hugos or Nebulas, it is a tent-pole event of the whole convention.” I think there’s a ‘not’ missing in this sentence

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  2. “have a very poor understanding of Italian airport security”

    “You could call it a “slate”. You could give the whole campaign a cute name after some animal. Upset kittens? Dolorous Bunnies?”

    It’s gotten to the point where you just gotta laugh. They’re only around for the amusement factor, anymore. 😃

    Liked by 5 people

    • “Upset” something else… bedbugs or some other loathsome parasite, irritating the body public. No mammals, for sure. Whiny Cockroaches. Blathering Blobfish… considering what prudes they all are and how much they project, maybe pubic lice.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Can we tattoo Weber’s wise advice “angst and outrage are not the way to go about that” on Puppies’ foreheads? (and then move onto MAGAts)

    Although he’s completely wrong that it was a “significant portion of fandom” who was upset. It was a small whiny group of fascists and their fellow travelers/useful idiots.

    And “YOU can vote for it” as many times as you want, depending on if you care enough to generate fake email addresses. Which nobody seems to do, because the award’s gone to recognizing good and popular works, not badly-written overly-political fashie hate screeds. YOU will never know if your vote(s) counted, since the admins reserve the right to pick whatever the hell they want. It wouldn’t be hard to look at the computer and show the totals of the final winners, but I guess that would embarrass the fashies even more.

    And, yes, Declan, while incapable of understanding basic air travel concepts (not only security doors, but the whole “don’t fly into a pandemic area” thing), has consistently been a tireless advocate for the Dragons. He’s always urged the indies to get together. In short, he’s done what Larry claims to have. A sentence I thought I’d never type: Declan doesn’t deserve to have this stolen from him by Larry the Blowhard, and I entirely sympathize if he’s rightly upset. You wuz robbed, Finn.

    And hey, Larry, you wouldn’t have become widely hated if you hadn’t started Puppies. Sure, Teddy quickly and thoroughly made you his bitch on it, but you and Bwaddles were popular enough to be nominated at the Hugos, till you turned on them. And now the other fashies have turned on you and your pet award, which neither you nor any of them will ever win again. Boo fucking hoo.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. A Baen editor talked a bit about the Dragons eliminating the military SF category and was mostly sad about it – no conspiracy theories. And frankly, he has the right to be sad, because Baen dominated the military SFF category.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Weber’s response is one of the silliest bits of fan fiction I’ve seen. I particularly like the rant that the Nebulas and the Hugos “became” decided on by a small sub-set of fandom, as if that were some new thing that developed. The Nebulas have always been decided on by the small sub-set of fandom who are pro author members of the SFWA, a number that got bigger, not smaller, over time. And the Hugos were always decided by the small sub-set of fans of WorldCon, a different if overlapping set of fans each time and their results are actually transparent, unlike the Dragons. Weber knows that well, having gotten noms himself. All awards, including popular online vote awards like the Dragons and the Gemmell, are decided by a small sub-set of fandom — the people who want to sponsor and support the awards as recognition for works they like.

    What the increasingly right wing whining Weber and the Puppies objected to is that times changed, people are less conservative, especially the young ones, and the sub-sets voted in ways they consider “wrongthink” — not right wing, reactionary and bigoted preferences. And instead of trying to set up their own awards to reward the conservative authors they wanted to reward, they talked DragonCon into letting them make a “Dragon” award in the literary tracks of the con. And then they tried to make it a clubhouse. Then they got bored. And DragonCon is pressuring the awards to get more respectable, which means not even a shred of the clubhouse. But Weber, in typical right wing fashion, must put a mythic gloss of heroic struggle against oppression and conspiracy instead of the truth that a lot of SFF fans reject their vision and politics and like other stuff.

    Larry, the pragmatist that he is, doesn’t even bother with the heroic crusader against “politics” bit anymore. He lambasts his fellow whiners for not being good enough schemers like him and crushing their perceived enemies with voting slates. The whole idea of an award being a recognition for works fans really like is anathema to him. Instead, awards are something to be gamed and win over your rivals, getting PR value and showing you’re cleverer than them. For him, his losing the Campbell to Grossman wasn’t due to Grossman’s book being way more popular that year but to Grossman somehow out-gaming him by having a liberal cabal more effective than Larry’s cabal at the time. Having now helped set up the Dragons so he could easily game them as he pleased to win and gamed the Hugos to get a nom, Larry doesn’t feel like he needs to lead an army of smaller authors who want to game the system too, as the system gets more respectable. They helped him get his, now they are on their own.

    But because these two do still have an in talking with the Dragon admins, we do get to confirm that DragonCon wanted to make/pay for fewer awards and told the admins to reduce and consolidate awards. I do indeed hope the Pups follow Weber’s advice and complain to DragonCon about the changes because it’s going to piss the conrunners off. They won’t dump the Dragons, but they are likely to clean up the awards further to make them more legitimate and less having to deal with right wing whiners who think awards are a matter of who is the best schemer.

    But of course in typical Dragon Awards fashion, they’re going to make it hard for the complaints to be filed, just like they make it hard to find out about the awards and vote in them. The Dragons aren’t a popularity contest because only a small sub-set of fans know they exist at all, much less vote. But they could be a perfectly nice set of SFFH awards if the Pups can be discouraged to go scheme elsewhere and the dratted award admin gets changed.

    Liked by 5 people

    • “But they could be a perfectly nice set of SFFH awards if the Pups can be discouraged to go scheme elsewhere”.

      I’ve just come up with a solution! How about a Hugo award for Best Scheming? Literary merit and/or popularity wouldn’t enter into it at all. Voting should be solely on the basis of whose scheming about the awards processes in the main SFF awards was the strongest, or most bombastic, or crazy or, honestly, most underhanded. It’s a win/win!

      Think of it like a quarantine ward: all of the bombastic whiners still competing furiously against each other, and leaving the rest of us alone. And, if Scalzi or one of the better writers wants to compete in that forum, let them go ahead. If nothing else it’ll be amusing to watch the Pup remnants complain that ‘lamestream’ authors are stealing their awards.

      Liked by 3 people

      • No, no. Let’s have an Award which we give it to them for cutting each other to pieces with their nasty comments about how each other is not worth of getting the Award but they are. After all, there is no honor among Puppies.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Love it, but sadly, we’d then get whining that Tor has gamed the Best Schemer award for their authors with underhanded PR giveaway stunts that the indies can’t match, etc.

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        • I say give a *Dragon* for Best Schemer instead (Maybe not the pretty statue, maybe a plaque).

          Of course Teddy would probably win one or more, as would the Lemmings Must Be Publishing Nightly.

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  6. Hmmm. In Sweden, younger people are actually more conservative with more sexist attitudes than their parents. We have had a sad generational shift here. On the other hand, there is sadly also a shift in reading habits where younger people read much less and this is also connected to political leanings. So while the younger generation might be more conservative, most likely the reading class isn’t.

    And I’m not sure that political conservatism necessarily maps to conservative tastes in books, films and music. Except among the blowhards that is.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hampus, it absolutely does in the US. Which, of course is where DC is. Atlanta is a rare example of sanity in the South — at least the city proper is, though the suburbs are still heavily white flight jerks.

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  7. >>>Man, I sure am glad I went through all that effort and put up with years and years of bullshit and abuse, mostly alone, and then only with a tiny handful of us…<<<

    Leaving aside Correia's self-pity party, what does he mean by "a tiny handful of us"? Wasn't all his scheming supposed to prove that there were so many of them they could take over the Hugos? And didn't they in fact take over the Hugos, accompanied by many snide remarks and copious drinking of libs' tears?

    They can never seem to make up their minds about this. Are they a persecuted minority, just one liberal administration away from being locked in boxcars and taken to the gulag? Or are there so many of them they'll take over the world, any day now?

    It's sad that even when he wins Correia can't enjoy it, that he remembers his supporters as a tiny handful instead of the numbers that pushed the Sad Puppies onto the ballot. He seems like a mass of spite and whinging, happy only when he thinks he's made someone else unhappy. Geez, lighten up, Francis!

    Liked by 5 people

    • I have become increasingly convinced that nothing makes LC happy, not even his continued employment as a hack author, nor his mountain.

      Frankly, his supporters didn’t do much — it was Teddy’s, mainly. He’s a better grifter than LC. Which undoubtedly gives him the sads as well.

      Liked by 4 people

    • The enemy is both weak, pitiful and insignificant and immensely powerful and controlling at the same time. For autocrat lordlings, they are way better and more important than the peasants, but the peasants are trying to be uppity and overwhelm the lordlings and scheme to take their place and all their stuff, which clearly means the dominating lordlings are also the heroic defenders of true civilizations from the destroying hordes. It would be funny if these fantasies didn’t get a lot of people terrorized and killed.

      And no they can’t be happy because they’re never secure. Someone is always going to come along and challenge their status by pointing out things like systemic racism and other inconvenient facts, and that someone must be made unreasonable, illegitimate and threatening in society.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I am struck by how the Puppy explanations in these Dragon Award apologetics simply don’t match the rhetoric they used for years about how they represented real fans, and how they all went to DragonCon because that’s where all the fans they wanted to reach were. Now Weber admits that that DragonCon doesn’t have all that many bookish science fiction fans and Larry admits that the whole Puppy thing was just him and a tiny handful of whiny authors.

      Liked by 2 people

        • One might note that, despite weber’s claims about “transparency” and appeals to the masses, the Dragon awards are exactly what they imagined the Hugo awards were: An opaque award controlled by a secretive cabal of tastemakers who run the award to benefit their friends and ideological allies.

          Liked by 2 people

  8. It’s interesting that Correia is almost acting as the voice of reason here.

    Granted, it makes a certain amount of sense; unlike some of the others, he was always a competent if not spectacular author, still has a fanbase outside of the core Puppies, and was even nominated for awards before going all-in on resentment politics. He actually had and continues to have a writing career, even if it’s not necessarily doing as well as he might like, particularly against the KU folks out-producing him with generic extruded manly fiction.

    He can actually afford to play the ‘get off my lawn/get a job you whippersnappers’ card, which is pretty much what he’s doing here.

    Liked by 1 person

        • Obviously you can, but you shouldn’t. Consistency isn’t the strong suit of any RWNJ, though.

          Sorry, Lar, you trained ’em into it for your own petty self-aggrandizement (though of course Teddy was better at it), you get to live with it now even if it hurts your friends’ fee-fees.

          You knew what they were before you asked for a ride across the river.

          Liked by 3 people

          • That’s the whole problem with riding the tiger: once it’s riled up, there’s no way to safely stop.

            Granted, when you’ve got ‘grifters riling up the mob for their own benefit’, and ‘members of the unthinking mob addicted to being riled up’… Correia strikes me as someone who’s in a bit of an intermediate stage. Already on the outrage train when he started, treated other people even more easily outraged as useful idiots, then got high off his own supply for a while. Retains enough connection to reality to understand this is a mess, but not enough to admit how much of it is his own fault.

            Liked by 3 people

      • That makes sense, yes. They’ve discovered that this could make them look bad to folks whose opinions they actually care about, and that becomes a problem in a way that pissing off significant chunks of the rest of the fandom didn’t (to them, at least).

        The sort of thinking where it’s fine to pour poison in someone’s well until you realize that it’s seeped through the water table and it’s coming up in your well, too.

        Liked by 4 people

  9. This elimination points up everything that’s wrong with these Awards. They’re so black boxed that no one except those that are responsible for this affair know what’s going on.

    That said, why did they have a MilSF award in the first place? Why was such a specialised Award there?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Most likely, the military SF and the post-apocapytic fiction category (which has been defunct for a few years now) were created because those were areas that Baen Books, who always have a strong presence at DragonCon, specialised in. Ditto for the alternate history category, which likely exists because of Eric Flint.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Good point. Now that brings up the question of why they eliminated the MilSF category. Was there falling out with Baen?

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        • Given that Weber, Correia and (see elsewhere in a comment) Chuck Gannon have come out in defence of the awards, I don’t think there’s a falling out. I think Baen are cool with Baen winning occasionally.

          Baen want to win awards that big publishers win and Milf-SF was a bit of a consolation prize that they’d also already won.

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          • I’ve never precisely figured who Bean sells sells their books to. They don’t show up in bookstores, large or small, in this market. (We have a Books-A-Milion and at lest six independent bookstores in this region.) do they sell mostly off their website? And how well do they sell?

            Simon R. Green signed a contract with them because his previous long time publisher, Roc, part of Random Penguins as I call it, terminated his contract, but they only offer him short-term contracts.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I suspect that Baen is popular in in certain parts of the US, mostly rural and landlocked places. Bookshops there probably also carry a lot of their books, though they were also e-book early adopters and probably still sell a lot of e-books via their website.

              Liked by 1 person

              • The last time I saw a lot of Baen in a (new) bookstore was at a B&N, but I don’t know how many of those are left. Also that was like 10 years ago?

                Second-hand bookstores tend to have them. Well, some of them anyway — the paper quality is so bad that they turn yellow about 5x as fast as other PBs, and the glue is so horrible that the covers often fall off and the pages fall out after one reading or after a few years so stores won’t take them.

                Literally, I picked 2 Baens from the 90s off the shelf last week to try to sell, and the covers fell off in my hand, plus one of them had pages that fell like autumn leaves. They had been in the same spot, out of the sun for 25 years, untouched. The paper was in worse shape than some of the MMPB from the 1950s we had. Which I was able to get the store to take.

                @Cam: Probably some uneducated US military low-ranker. They love that shit.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Hey Lurker, let’s not disparage the US military please. You’d be surprised how difficult it is get into these days with the tests required, the background checks, and so forth. The way Larry and friends portray the US military simply doesn’t exist.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • You won’t hear me disparaging the military! Dad carried shrapnel from a Nazi land mine in his leg for the rest of his life (he died at 90), and always had clean dry socks handy after Korea in the winter. Infantry all the way. Bro and I were both born on posts (actually Forts. Yes, I was born in a big Fort). Bro has the medals (campaign theaters, Bronze Star, Purple Hearts) and I have the ribbons and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

                    However, there are a bunch of dumbass privates who join because they like guns, hate furriners, can’t get a civilian job in their Hootervilles, and think the recruiters don’t lie. Those guys loooove Larry — he even went to a cushy European base; the Gomers were so excite, but not as much as LC was. Many adulation, so egoboo, wow. He was probably actually happy for once.

                    Sadly, there are also militia/fascists/etc. there to get the training so they can kill people at home. And during the Longest War Ever, they lowered the standards a LOT just to get enough warm bodies over there. I mean, they even took Brad! 😀 (Although he was only a REMF) Didn’t take the morbidly obese, though, at any time.

                    I do agree that Larry, like so many of the RWNJ, wouldn’t know an actual US military organization if it showed up at his door. Visiting a mess hall and signing books in the PX does not military experience make. Hell, my brother and I both did a little Army ROTC in college; I’m a puny guuurl, he’s a hippie, and we’re both sci-fi nerrrds. But we know protocol and I don’t know how long it took me to stop calling Dad “sir”. I mean, olive drab was a big color in our lives, and I still have Dad’s last footlocker. Which is olive drab.

                    OT: I read that one reason Russia’s doing so badly in Ukraine is that they have no NCO corps. Everything has to come from the generals, colonels, and Putin, like in Soviet days. When you’re fighting a war of attrition with draftees who have no training, you really need some veteran sergeants to read the current situation and get the guys deployed correctly.

                    (I apologize to non-North Americans for the surfeit of references to 60s sitcoms.)

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                    • I admit there were a lot of dumbasses in the lower ranks but I’ve heard from a lot of sources that it’s getting better over the past few decades as the NCOs under orders from the Pentagonnare getting much harder on making sure that any acting out behaviour is swiftly punished

                      Indeed that’s one reason the Army in particular is way down on those ranks. That and they’re competing with a truly competitive private economy that pays better than they can.

                      Conservative critics call it the Woke crisis and the new Republican House majority is planning on holding hearings on it. Mine you I bet they won’t touch on the fact that the Army has finally gotten to deal with severe sexual harassment problem included rape, not just male on female but male on male.

                      Yes I read the Army Times.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I read the Army Times for years b/c obviously Dad had a subscription. And it was always in the doctors’ waiting rooms.

                      Thrilled to hear they’re weeding out the losers better! They can go back to Podunk and live in Meemaw’s trailer and work at the KFC instead of screwing up our defense. And keep buying LC’s books from Walmart or Amazon, I guess. Just like Larry, they can live out their fantasy without actually doing anything or having an IQ above room temperature.

                      I took the ASVAB in high school and they said “Don’t enlist! You’re officer material!, go to college! Pick your specialty!” Except for the whole wimpy girl thing. You can imagine the look Mom gave the recruiter as she said, “She weighs 90 lbs. soaking wet, has allergies and a bad knee. Do you really think she’s going to be carrying a full pack on a 20 mile hike in the dark?”

                      “No ma’am,” he murmured. I refrained from giggling till after I left. Dad roared with laughter when we told him at dinner.

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                    • They’ve adjusted the requirements finally for women qualifying regarding the weight in those packs and other such matters. These adjustments also apply to males of slighter stature. The Pentagon replied that we don’t fight the way that we used to.

                      Of course traditionalists are bitterly kvetching that it’s another sign that the new Army is completely corrupt by those damn feminazis and the like.

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                    • Of course traditionalists are bitterly kvetching that it’s another sign that the new Army is completely corrupt by those damn feminazis and the like.

                      Meanwhile, in Ukraine, women are learning how to fight off an actual Russian invasion, by piloting drones.

                      I’m not sure I would be very good at that, but that’s for reasons that have nothing to do with how much I can, or can’t, lift.

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                    • Modern war isn’t about muscle mass, it about your intelligence.

                      Did you know that there are entire groups of female Kurds fighting off invaders in what they claim is their polity?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The U.S. military isn’t doing as well with sexual assault, discrimination against women, racial discrimination and religious freedom issues as we would like, but they are trying to fix stuff, though it was hard during the Trump years. After the long wars in the Middle East, the volunteer military desperately needs to be able to recruit more women. And immigrants, undocumented and documented, are an important backbone to the forces because it’s a better education, job and citizenship path than they can often get elsewhere. Ditto for poorer POC. So they are trying to improve prospects for POC and all women to build a modern military, which does involve a lot of tech, drones and peace-keeping duties over just combat. The world is more peaceful than it used to be, despite its appearance, and most uses of the military aren’t straight combat operations.

                      Of course that also continues a culture/society where there is incentive to keep white women and POC poor and unable to easily access higher education through discrimination, as that forces them into the military as the best option. And as the marginalized groups, they then can be exploited as disposable and often still blocked from the best opportunities in the military. But that situation again can depress recruitment, especially for potential specialists, so a lot of high command is trying to improve the conditions and they will bounce some toxic soldiers, at least in lower ranks, (which is how we end up with a lot of them in armed white supremacy militias sadly.) And they back the Dreamers, citizenship for more translators, etc.

                      But folks like the Pups are wedded to toxic masculinity and a Hollywood WWII movie view of the military. Or at least they like to pretend they are to rationalize political gambits.

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                    • You say, “The U.S. military isn’t doing as well with sexual assault, discrimination against women, racial discrimination and religious freedom issues as we would like.”

                      What in Hell are you talking about? Religious freedom issues? The US military has been one of the best institutions when it comes to this. It doesn’t care what your religion is, it really doesn’t. It accomodate all of them.

                      Discrimination against women? It has leaned over backwards in the last few decades, and no the Trump administration has not any influence on the Pentagon, to adapt training to the needs of women and it has attempted to increase the number of women successfully going through OCS.

                      Racial discrimination? You do know that the US military has more black officers as a proportion of its ranks than are blacks in the American population? It historically has been a great place blacks to become officers. My sister married the son of a black pilot who served in WW II. Yes, it was a segregated unit but they did see active service.

                      They’ve working, particularly the Army which acknowledges it has a much worst problem than the other branches, on getting its sexual assault problem under control. As I noted it’s noted just a male on female problem as they have a serious male on male problem as well. Homosexuality in military setting goes back centuries, well, millennia.

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                    • With regards to religious freedom, while officially the military treats all religions equally, the situation on the ground isn’t perfect. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation exists for a reason, and the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs is notorious for Evangelical overstep.

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                    • I just can’t imagine how anyone would not disparage the US military. I just… WTF? I know y’all were around for the entire 21st Century so far.

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                    • We’re talking about the internal culture pf the US military, not the actions undertaken of the behest of the political leaders of the United States. Two very, very different things.

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                    • Strange how different “Hooterville” sounds now–as though it evokes a sordid sports bar instead of the innocent sitcom village.

                      Then one remembers that Hooterville was neighbor to Petticoat Junction, a squeaky clean show that always liked to mention that the gals bathe in the water tower.

                      To me, though, Hooterville will be ‘ooterswille, as seen in Green Acres, where it would be the most meta, fourth-wall-breaking, self-referential gag nexus, memorable for characters discussing the on-screen credits or looking exasperated as they show up, one by one, on the town newspaper Drucker’s trying to print out.

                      (The outre humor, it strikes me, is often a characteristic of a property not created by the current team, and Green Acres was originally a radio show, staid by comparison.)

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                    • Like I said, they are trying to fix it; it’s one of the biggest issues in the military at the moment, and the military academies as well. Just not as fast and as well as we’d prefer, but that’s the case with any large institution. I’m married to a poli sci prof whose current research is civil-military relations — how different countries run and oversight or don’t their militaries. So I unfortunately know way more about these issues than I would prefer to. But the prospects of improvement in the military are much better than in a lot of other areas of the U.S. The top brass are taking it seriously, but then you have clashes with the dinosaurs in service. And sadly, interference from the Republicans like when the military was trying to get rid of the Confederate names on ships and such and they threw up a stink.

                      But they are trundling ahead to improve things and increase recruitment. They back the Dreamers program, which has helped a great deal. They are also working on smarter, not harder in terms of tech, strategies, placement, etc., post-wars. They’ve also been pretty good at advancing queer rights in the military; they backed getting rid of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell all the way back in 2010. But it is true that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is still very overworked against RW white evangelicalism, especially when it comes to the Airforce. And the big issue that they’ve been combatting the last several years within force are the white supremacists — and the fact that vets are being recruited and used by white supremacist groups.

                      So two steps forward, one step back, but at least it’s two steps forward. And the nice thing is, when the military leads the way in civil rights improvements, a lot of other government departments and institutions follow. But they also have to keep being pushed to address current problems. Luckily, most of the military has been responsive.

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                    • Speaking of Putin, I loved at how some summit of formerly-Soviet bits, nobody wanted to stand near him. Even his fellow autocrats have had enough of his shit, and he’s going to run out of ministers and kleptocrats to push out of windows eventually.

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            • I don’t know. They don’t get much distribution outside of the US. I’d never seen one in the wild until the other day – a second hand bookshop a quite a stock of Baen books and apparently they’d all come from one person selling off their collection.

              Liked by 2 people

              • Once ion a different reality, they advertised in Locus, but that has to be at a decade back if not a longer. Of no one’s advertising there these days, s story would dearly like to know the reason why.

                Speaker of Locus, they just did emergency appeal to keep them from going tits up. I’m not giving based on doing this good odds on being here long term.

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              • Over here Baen books regularly showed up in speciality sf/f bookstores (e.g. Forbidden Planet) that did imports, and very occasionally in larger bookstores that sometimes got imports (e.g. Waterstones).

                The rise of Amazon and ebooks have both made Baen publications more easily obtainable, but not that much more visible. They may even have reduced visibility- the specialised bookshops were – and I think still are – the place of greatest visibility.

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                • Does Forbidden Planet even exist anymore? I have warm memories of that one intersection on Broadway, with Forbidden Planet right across the street from the Strand. I always thought they lost a little bit of their shine when they moved across the street, but I still miss being able to visit the place when I lived in the greater NYC area.

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                  • Forbidden Planet still survives, with a number of stores across the UK. I used to go to the Denmark Street store, before that closed. These days books are just a part of their business, along with comics, collectables, DVDs and boardgames

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                  • The UK and Ireland still have Forbidden Planet stores. They’re no longer quite as amazing as they used to be, since you can get pretty much everything they sell online, but I still go inside whenever I see one.

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              • Baen books are difficult to find in Europe as well. You can get them at SFF specialty shops like Forbidden Planet (only the big ones) and you can order them online, but they’re not in regular bookshops.

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                  • I have a small handful of Baen authors that I actually like and whose books I will order online (and Bujold isn’t writing for Baen anymore), though they recently signed a couple of author I like such as Simon Green, so I suspect I may be ordering some more Baen books online.

                    However, the fact that they are not on the shelves means that there is not a whole lot of chance for random discoveries of other Baen authors I might like.

                    BTW, the only times I saw books by Larry Correia physically on shelves was at the Birmingham Forbidden Planet (they had Sarah Hoyt, too) and at Hodges Figgis in Dublin, i.e. a famous and traditional bookstore that was even mentioned by James Joyce in Ulysses.

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                    • If you’ve not read Green’s Ismael Jones series, I highly recommend it. It’s not on Baen as his long time UK publisher pays him way more than Baen was willing to give him so he’s locked in there according to his publicist but is available in the USA on the Kindle and two different audio formats, one just straight narration and one full cast.

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                    • And they are selling exceedingly well so we be seeing them for quite time to come.

                      His new Gideon Sable, master thief series of which there are now three novels is quite excellent. The Jekyll & Hyde Inc. series of which there is but one novel so far is also on Baen is pretty blah.

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              • In the US Baen have a distribution arrangement with Simon & Schuster but that doesn’t extend to other countries. S&S Australia will look at you blankly if you ask them about Baen. So there’s no marketing effort to sell Baen into the Australian market. There are no sales reps or marketing people bringing Baen books to the attention of an Australian bookseller through any of their usual channels.
                If a bookseller in Australia wants to stock Baen titles they have to look for them. Ingram (the Amazon of the book wholesale world) will supply them and that’s where I get my stock. Frankly, the last few years I wonder if it has been worth the effort. The sales have dropped from small to minuscule as their target audience ages away and Baen’s focus seems to narrow even further. The kids these days don’t want what Baen are selling.

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                • Pre-Pandemic, the local Books-A-Millon that over the Borders space used to *a lot* of Baen stock but over they not so gradually stopped carrying more than a few dozen books, not titles. I visited them last them maybe a year ago, they had barely any Baen stock. They’d gone mainstream — you could get everything from those publishers and an impressive number of titles from Tachyon and such.

                  Older authors such as Niven and Heinlein were barely there, though Bradbury was. But the newer authors, particularly female and ethnic ones, were very well stocked.

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                  • I also don’t sell a lot of Niven and Heinlein these days. I still keep a copy of each of the Hugo and Nebula winners and they do turn over (especially Starship Troopers but more because of the movie than the prize). Bradbury barely moves. I can do a few Fahrenheit 451s per year but not much else. Clarke sells a 2001 or two every so often but the only consistent seller of his is the single-volume complete short stories. Apart from those few exceptions none of the non-award-winning backlist moves and I hate doing returns so I only order them in to fill customer orders. Nobody seems to miss them. The younger readers don’t care and the older readers have already read them.

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                • ISTM the margins of bookselling are so slim these days that you might as well give up entirely. Australia doesn’t care, so why put yourself out? Give the people what they want and save yourself the returns; invest more in what the young people and the more … uh… careful older readers want.

                  In the US (and here we’re back on topic!), people looking for Generic Extruded Manly Pew-Pew SF Product can read all they want on KU for the price of about a paperback per month.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Indeed they can.

                    I review at Green Man (agreenmanreview.com) so I admittedly get more review material than I can possibly read sompurchasing more epubs, my favored format isn’t usually high on my list of things to do.

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                  • I’m not really putting myself out. I need stuff that only Ingram can supply so adding a couple of copies of Larry’s latest and whatever other Baeners still sell to the cart at the same time doesn’t hurt. The Monster Hunter books still do a few copies when they’re new as do some of the 163x series. The Bujold Penric omnibuses even move some hardcovers. But Brad (career total sales = 1 copy) and Sarah (was doing OK then her sales stopped abruptly around the time of A Few Good Men)… nah.

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                    • Probably when Brad and Sarah fell off into the deep end and decided whiny paranoid grievance was their brand instead of actually producing readable fiction.

                      I’m not even sure either of them have contracts anywhere any more.

                      Even Teddy’s got no need for them now, he’s too busy fleecing the Dead Elk out of money which he’ll subsequently be scammed out of. Other people are just NPCs/game pieces to him; when he gets bored with them, they’re discarded. Like in an RPG where you dump all the old gear as you go. They are sooo 2014.

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          • IIRC, the only Hugos Baen won anything like recently was for Bujold.

            And she isn’t propping them up any more with Vor books, yet she still gets nominated for the Penric and Desdemona books, which are published by someone else.

            Liked by 1 person

            • As I understand the digital versions of the Penric novellas are effectively self-published, but the book collections of threes of them are published (or at least distibuted) by Baen.

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              • Or rather by S&S. But yeah, I think the digital versions are through her agent.

                The kids these days are all about ebooks since they can’t afford places big enough to have shelves. Us old farts want to read them NOW, so we aren’t going to wait for Baen to cobble together some crappy paper version.

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  10. Larry is so often wrong/lying about things that if he announced “Gravity is completely normal today” I’d grab a tree and hold on for dear life.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Larry lies like a cat licks its fur — reflexively and without thinking. And all in all, I prefer the cat every time. Not to mention the cat is a damn sight cuter, isn’t it?

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