Coming this month (and probably for most of the year) is “Debarkle”, a history of the Puppy Kerfuffle of 2015, the events that preceded it, the political context and how it presaged events in US politics that followed it.
What follows is the draft section and chapter order. Naturally, what will actually happen is something different from this but this is the outline I’m working to.
Roughly it is in chronological order but with various chapters flashing forward or flashing backwards to keep themes together. External politics events are also a key part of this story, some of which will get their own chapters but in other cases they will be referenced in more fannish chapters to give context and establish time periods. Sadly, a lot of those external political events are violent ones but they are ones relevant to the times and also the discussions and the political atmosphere.
There are some special recurring chapters:
- Dramatis Personae: these chapters look at backstories to some recurring names or groups in the story. I’ve tried to keep these to a minimum but if I find that I’m writing longer paragraphs about the background to given person, I may split that off into an extra one of these. Generally, they’ll cover the ‘story so far’ up to that point. So, John Scalzi and Vox Day (and maybe the Nielsen Hayden’s) get early chapters before the opening act of this http://nielsenhayden.com/electrolite/archives/006122.html. So these chapters don’t all end up in section 1, many people will appear in the main narrative before they get one of these chapters but with a briefer introduction.
- Meanwhile: these chapters cover things away from the main Puppy story but which, again, would otherwise become long intruding paragraphs of context. An obvious example is RaceFail 2009, which involved no puppies but did involve notable people in fandom. Likewise, a discussion of the 2015 Hugo awards can’t avoid discussion of RequiresHate and the Mixon report. You can skip these if you want to stick to the main plot. Part 6, covering 2020, is all Meanwhile.
- Some book reviews: With the Hugosauriad I was pleased with how the two chapters looking at If You Were a Dinosaur My Love and the right-wing reaction to it worked out. The Debarkle is about many things but one of those things is stories. Currently these reviews will include Monster Hunter International, Redshirts, Ancillary Justice and the Broken Earth Trilogy, as well as some selected shorter fiction.
Speaking of the Hugosauriad, because that project contains chapters on Rachel Swirsky’s story and on Chuck Tingle, neither will get their own chapter in Debarkle. Obviously, both will get discussed but the longer coverage is in the Hugosauriad.
Currently, the plan is 6 sections.
- Beginnings 1880 to 2010. All the background and setting the scene.
- 2011 to 2014. This covers the SFWA conflicts and the first two Sad Puppy campaigns but also looks at Gamergate.
- 2015. This section is the most chronological and most chapters cover events in a given month up to the smoky skies of Sasquan. “Phew!” we all say in August, “Looks like we defeated fascism for good this time!” and Donald Trump enters stage right.
- 2016-2017. Two parallel stories – the political story with the alt-right and Donald Trump and also the story of how the Puppy campaigns fizzled out. SP4, the non-event of SP5, the Dragon Awards and how Larry finally gets his participation prize.
- 2018-2019. Follows the political story with some delves back into fandom. Specifically this is the politics of Sad and Rabid versions of the right in the age of Trump. The crappiest gate aka ‘Comicsgate’ will get a look in, as will the 2019 Nebulas, as ‘compare and contrast’ with the Puppy campaigns.
- Meanwhile 2020: Aside from an initial dive into the RWA’s meltdown, this section looks at the hell year in terms of the perspectives of the Puppy Protagonists. Dominating it are three major elements of the year, Qanon (particularly with Vox Day), Covid (Sarah Hoyt) and ‘Stop the Steal’ (Larry Correia but also Day and Hoyt).
Section 3 (i.e. the actual plot) is likely to blow-out. Three sections of aftermath may look like a lot but as the main thesis of the project is that the themes and cognitive style of the “crazy” behaviour of the US right in 2020 were already overt and apparent in 2015, just at a different scale and context. Note, the thesis isn’t that the Puppies caused later events (they are all minor bit players in bigger story, if that) but rather that the same underlying cultures and attitudes on the right that erupted as the Puppies in fandom, later erupted at a bigger scale (and at greater human cost) in US politics. Sections won’t be of equal length.
As always, suggestions, comments etc are welcome but it will also end up being whatever gets written at the time!
- Intro: Jan 6 2021
- Part 1: Beginnings 1880 to 2010
A short history of the Hugo Awards 1953 to 2000
Dramatis Personae 1: John Scalzi
Dramatis Personae 2: Theodore Beale
Tor, Baen and Amazon 1990 -2011
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America 1965 to 2010
March 1, 2005: Electrolyte
Dramatis Personae 3: Larry Correia
2007: Monster Hunter International
Meanwhile: Barack Obama
Meanwhile: Racefail 2009
2010 Hugos and the SFWA
- Part 2: 2011 to 2014
2011: Larry Goes to Worldcon
2012-13: The Day-Scalzi Feud
Meanwhile: Mitt Romney
2013 “How to get Correia nominated for a Hugo”
Dramatis Personae 4: N.K.Jemisin
2013: Trouble at the SFWA
Dramatis Personae 5: Sarah Hoyt and the Mad Geniuses
Opera Vita Aeterna
2014: Sad Puppies 2
2014: Ancillary Justice
2014: Vox Gets the Boot
Dramatis Personae 6: John C wright and the Evil League of Evil
Dramatis Personae 7: George R R Martin
2014: The Hugos go to London
Meanwhile: Requires Hate
Dramatis Personae 8: Brad Torgersen
- Part 3: 2015
January: Announcing SAD PUPPIES 3!
February: Rabid Puppies 2015
April Part 1: TSHTF
April Part 2: Hugos Hit the News
Dramatis Personae 9: Mike Glyer and File 770
May: Planning Ahead
E Pluribus Hugo
June Part 1: The Tor Boycott
June Part 2: The Human Toll
September-December: Taking Stock
Meanwhile: Donald Trump
- Part 4: Fall of the Puppies 2016-2017
The Broken Earth Trilogy
Quarter 1 2016 Part 1: Sad Puppies 4
Quarter 1 2016 Part 2: Rabid Puppies
Meanwhile: The Rise of the Alt Right
Dramatis Personae 10: Jon Del Arroz
Enter the Dragon
Quarter 2: Reactions
Meanwhile: GOP goes Trump
September: Dragon Awards 2016
Meanwhile: Me Too
Meanwhile: President Donald Trump
The Sad Demise of SP5
Rabid Puppies 2017
Worldcon 75 – Finland
- Part 5: The Trump Years 2018-2019
Changing fortunes at the Dragon Awards
Meanwhile: Black Lives Matter
Gender at the Hugo Awards
Meanwhile: 20booksto50 and the Nebulas
Dramatis Personae: Mixed Fortunes
The Hugos and the Campbell Legacy
- Part 6: Meanwhile 2020
Trouble in Romance
Black Lives Matter
US Presidential Election
“Stop the Steal”
- Conclusion: Reality and the Imagination
Bonus! Here is a Rabid version of the cover art.