So why not Tad Williams?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Debarkle update

So I’m calling part 1 and part 2, “volume 1”. There will be a short hiatus so I can catch up on reviews and other things before launching into part 3, which is a blow-by-blow account of 2015. There’s a lot to get through but I’m hoping it will move pretty quickly because the pieces are better documented.

I still have to go back and fix up the Requires Hate chapter. That will be an account of the facts/general understanding as of the end of 2014 for context, plus the Puppy reactions to events at the time and the creation of the mythological RH.

Overall, I’m still short of halfway through. After 2015, part 4 will look at the 2016 & 2017 Puppy campaigns and why they failed, plus the arrival of the Dragon Awards. Part 5 covers the politics of the Trump years and attempts to do the same-thing-but-different such as Comicsgate that failed, as well as the thing that looked utterly different (Qanon) but which was surprisingly like Gamergate. Part 6 is where all of this Saturn 5 rocket of stuff gets to a point as we reach 2020 with the former Puppies embroiled in Covid-denial and ‘stop the steal’ conspiracy-mongering.

The stuff in Parts 4-6 will be familiar to regular readers of this blog but less familiar to people who followed the 2015 kerfuffle and then sensibly got on with their lives.

Collected versions?

I’m going to do three “second draft” collections:

  • Volume 1: Beginnings to 2014. Collecting Part 1 and Part 2.
  • Volume 2: The Puppy Years 2015-2017. Collecting Part 3 and Part 4.
  • Volume 3: Future History 2018-2021. Collecting Part 5, Part 6 and appendices

After that, I’ll do a single volume “third draft” version, The Complete Debarkle β€” as the (hopefully) definitive version.

Volume 1 will be out as a collection on Smashwords before the end of the year. Maybe volume 2 if I type quickly (but unlikely). Volume 3 in 2022 and The Complete Debarkle when life allows it.

Debarkle Chapter 33: Dramatis Personae β€” Brad, John and the Evil League of Evil

[content warning for language and prejudice on race, gender and sexuality]

2014 had been a tumultuous year for science fiction: ructions at the SFWA had carried over from 2013, while in the adjacent world of video games Gamergate was in full swing, and meanwhile, Larry Correia’s Sad Puppies 2 campaigns had caused controversy at the Hugo Awards.

Continue reading “Debarkle Chapter 33: Dramatis Personae β€” Brad, John and the Evil League of Evil”

Susan’s Salon: 2021 May 16/17

Please use the comment section to just chat about whatever you want. Susan’s Salon is posted early Monday (Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is still Sunday in most other countries). It’s fine to be sad, worried, vaccinated, unvaccinated-yet, angry or maybe even happy (or all of those things at once).

Please feel free to post what you like (either troubling news or pleasant distractions) in the comments for this open thread. [However, no cranky conflicts between each other in the comments.] Links, videos, cat pictures 🐈 etc are fine! Whatever you like and be nice to one another πŸ˜‡

May the seventeenth be with you, damn missed the right day again

Debarkle Chapter 32: Justice, Dinosaurs and the Water that Falls on You from Nowhere

Larry Correia and Vox Day’s Sad Puppies 2 campaigns gained them some finalists spots but were trounced in the final voting. Correia’s writing friend and ally, Brad Torgersen blamed the results on “affirmative action”. Eight of the thirteen categories that had gone to a sole person had been won by women[1] but Torgersen had a very broad sense of what he meant by “affirmative action” (see chapter 31). The claim that deserving authors were not being sufficiently recognised by the Hugo Awards had a related claim that UNdeserving authors were being disproportionately recognised by the Hugo Awards because of “politics”.

The 2014 Hugo Award winners would provide the supporters of the Sad Puppy campaigns with some examples.

Continue reading “Debarkle Chapter 32: Justice, Dinosaurs and the Water that Falls on You from Nowhere”

Why I haven’t written about Israel

I’ll confess to cowardice and the frustrating paralysis I sometimes put myself in.

The cowardice comes from approx 20+ years online prior to this blog in which I engaged with the issue more deeply. When I say ‘more deeply’ regular readers may be familiar with the extent to which I will research a topic. So, I have opinions on the current situation that are deeply informed and I assume regular readers know where my sympathies lie and they aren’t with the only government in the region.

Anyway, a bit of personal history. I completely disengaged from politics and online political discussion in 2010. A series of arguments in multiple spaces had begun to take an emotional/psychological toll on me and I identified it as a genuine problem that was leaking out into meat space. So I stopped.

When I decided to weigh back into internet street-brawling in 2015 I set a limit on topics for my own personal mental health and I think people might be able to guess from the shape of the absence of specific topics that ‘Israel’ is one of them. The problem was two-fold:

  1. Finding myself in a situation where a Nazi endorsed something I said.
  2. A coordinated harassment campaign that leaked into physical existence (i.e. being contacted by physical mail by a person who was an avowed supporter of a particular country in the middle-east as well as quasi-doxxing threats)

So, I’ll put my hands up to cowardice. Both those points are minor compared to what large numbers of people experience both as everyday oppression and repeated acts of state violence. It’s cowardice in that I really have let bullies silence my opinions. Those bullies come into flavours but the nature of the bullies is fundamentally the same and rest upon the capacity to identify classes of people who the bullies believe can be treated as subhuman.

I wish I could be stronger.

A case study featuring Larry C and mad auditing skillz

At the Monster Hunter Nation blog, Larry Correia has a post on how authors should deal with being spammed with one star reviews or similar kinds of attacks: https://monsterhunternation.com/2021/05/12/writer-advice-how-to-deal-with-review-assassins/

As is not uncommon with what Larry writes, some of it is good advice, some of it is advice that obviously works for Larry but is very much tuned to his public personality and some of it is is confabulated nonsense. I wont pick out which bit is which because you are smart people and can read it for yourself if you feel like.

What caught my attention though, was a specific example he cites. This example interested me because of something I’ve been discussing within the Debarkle. The paradigmatic example of the issue is the oft-repeated claim by Larry that his Campbell nomination was greeted by lots of critics attack his work and specifically that a reviewer said β€œif Larry Correia wins the Campbell it will end literature forever”. Now, I’m more than satisfied that this quote was wholly made up and that this whole mythology was based on a bad-but-fair review of his book by Nicholas Whyte who said nothing like the quote above (or variations on it). However, that is nigh on impossible to prove because maybe somebody did write something like what Larry quotes but somehow 1. deleted it 2. Larry didn’t comment on it at the time 3. nobody archived it 4. nobody else commented on it, quoted it, repeated etc at the time either.

Continue reading “A case study featuring Larry C and mad auditing skillz”

Debarkle Chapter 31: The Hugos Go to London

[Content warning for discussion of sexual assault, misogyny and transphobic language]

2014 was a busy year in the history of the Debarkle, with Larry Correia’s Sad Puppy 2 campaign, Vox Day’s involvement in Gamergate and the rest of fandom having its own controversies. Day had already started the year with a different problem: the Christian publisher who was selling his epic fantasy Throne of Bones had been sold and the new owners were not interested in Day’s book which didn’t fit the mould of the Christian Booksellers Association[1]. Day explained:

Continue reading “Debarkle Chapter 31: The Hugos Go to London”

Susan’s Salon: 2021 May 9/10

Please use the comment section to just chat about whatever you want. Susan’s Salon is posted early Monday (Sydney time which is still Sunday in most countries). It’s fine to be sad, worried, vaccinated, unvaccinated-yet, angry or maybe even happy (or all of those things at once).

Please feel free to post what you like (either troubling news or pleasant distractions) in the comments for this open thread. [However, no cranky conflicts between each other in the comments.] Links, videos, cat pictures 🐈 etc are fine! Whatever you like and be nice to one another πŸ˜‡

May has the sweetest name of all the months