Category: Puppies

John C Wright is upset that people didn’t take his Left=Witches argument seriously

In a piece entitled “Rational and Magical Thinking”, Mr Wright attempts to deal with the criticism of his previous argument. Here’s a taste:

Here is the difference between arguing with a rational atheist and arguing with a Leftist: suppose for the sake of argument that you penned a column describing the psychology of Leftism as involving a neurotic (if not deliberate) confusion between symbol and object, commonly known as “magical thinking.”

Magical thinking is thinking where the believers believes that manipulating a symbol manipulates reality. By this definition, anyone who hopes to remove race hatred from among men by changing the words used by one race to refer to another is engaging in magical thinking.

Let us further suppose that when you list three or four examples of magical thinking about the Left, one of the groups mentioned is a coven of wicca who claim to be casting spells on Donald Trump. Let is finally suppose you call them by their traditional name, witches.

Now, a rational atheist will argue with you, and say that since the supernatural does not and cannot exist, therefore there are no witches, so your column errs in referring to these people by that term.

This argument is fallacious (it depends on the fallacy of ambiguity) but it can be addressed. Once you point out that the column is explicitly agnostic on the question of whether the witch’s spells actually are real, the question of whether the people calling themselves witches are real can be addressed. And that is a simple question of fact that the rational atheist can discover for himself.

Whether witchcraft is real or not is a question not addressed by the column. The people who think it is real are real.

Mr Wright gives a straw man example for a case of ‘magical thinking’: ‘anyone who hopes to remove race hatred from among men by changing the words used by one race to refer to another is engaging in magical thinking’. Ignore the straw man element here for a moment and consider the elements.

  • What are the symbols in this example? Words.
  • What is the ‘reality’ in this example? Racial hatred.
  • What kind of thing is that ‘reality’? A set of ideas and attitudes and emotional responses.

Put that all together and Wright’s example implies this: attempting to use words to change ideas, attitudes and emotional responses is magical thinking. Now, this is perhaps not far from his actual beliefs, in so far as he seems to believe in a kind of Platonistic spiritualism, but in this essay, he is ascribing this ‘magical thinking’ to the left, not to himself.

Looking back at his original essay you can see the same confusion. Aside from the actual examples of people overtly calling themselves witches, his other examples of people on the left engaged in supposedly magical rituals are all the same. In each case, it is people doing symbolic things in an attempt to effect how other people are thinking.

That is not ‘magical thinking’, that is ‘people communicating with other people’. In short, Wright is confusing cognitive psychology with magic.

‘Ah!’ Says an imaginary interlocuter, ‘You think minds are based in physical reality and so you do think physical entities are changing because of symbols being manipulated!’

Meh. We don’t even need intelligence or to delve into how minds might work to see that mechanical devices can exist which can effect physical change because of how I manipulate symbols. I’m doing that right now as I type on this laptop. That isn’t magic or magical thinking.

Mr Wright then complains that people on the left treated his argument with disdain:

But a Leftist does not argue in this way. Rather, his argument is that you are a stupid lunatic for being afraid of witchcraft, and for thinking that everyone on the Left is a practicing satanist.

Now, if you notice, there are three things wrong with this argument: first, you neither said nor implied what the Leftist accuses you of saying or implying. So it is a strawman argument, therefore irrelevant. Second, it does not address the argument you gave, merely mocks you as a person. So it is ad hominem, therefore irrelevant. Third, it is not an argument at all. An insult is not an argument.

One cannot argue with this for the same reason one cannot argue with poop flung by a monkey. The monkey poop is not attempting to discuss a difference of opinion nor come to a conclusion about the true answer to any questions being discussed.

Why would a Leftist in an argument make statements he knows or should know have no relevance to the argument?

The answer is as given above: the words uttered are merely symbolic. It is a verbal form of magical thinking.

He is correct here that the reaction to his claim was not a reasoned argument. He is incorrect that therefore the reaction was irrational or another example of ‘magical thinking’. Laughing at poorly constructed arguments with absurd conclusions is both reasonable and rational.

Mr Wright is capable of structuring argument but he often fails to do so and he has great difficulty in continuing a rational dialogue in good faith. Why, in such circumstance, should anybody on the left treat his argument with any kind of depth of analysis? His conclusion was false and easily refuted – the tortured root by which he reached a false conclusion (replete with much-overblown language) is of interest only from an educational perspective.

So what is magical thinking? Magical thinking is when people confuse their desires with reality i.e. when people confuse what they would like with what actually *is*. That might involve rituals or manipulating words, but it is just as frequent when people use their own powers of thinking to bemuse and befuddle themselves – just as John C Wright is apt to do on a range of topics from history to climate science.

Put yet another way, when a person ceases to be able to distinguish between fact and fiction.

Tired Puppies 2017

A couple of significant notes of ‘meh’ today from the watchtowers looking over Puppydom.

tiredpupsFirstly Vox Day has announced his Rabid Puppy slate and it is a testament to just how tired the whole Rabid Puppy thing has become. There were no obvious upsides to the previous Rabid Puppy campaigns but at least there was something to talk about it. This time the brilliant strategy is to just nominate one or two things per category to defeat EPH (i.e. EPH provoking the behavioural change it was intended to provoke). Aside from that, it is the obvious hostages (Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, File 770 ), Castalia House self-promotion, some pals/hanger-on, and some people you haven’t heard of. Doesn’t seem to have bothered trying to nominate video games this year.No Chuck Tingle this year after that backfired spectacularly but there is a dodgy Tingle imitator in the mix.

YES – some things/people there might be ineligible PLEASE DON’T POINT THEM OUT. Wait until nominations close.

Will this impact nominations? Assuming the core Rabid Puppy votes stays as it has been (60 to 180 votes ) then yes, some of these nominations might make the ballot.

Link for the purposes of me finding it later

Meanwhile no overt signs on the Sad side but over at Mad Genius Club, Brad Torgersen is reprising his Nutty Nuggets argument here

It is in response to a N.K.Jemisin interview here

But, as usual, there is an odd coyness about not ever really mentioning who is being talked about. It then goes off on a tangent about New Coke and rather like the Nutty Nuggets argument is betrays both misconceptions and an aspiration:

  1. The misconception is that SF is sufficiently a single thing to be a marketable entity in its own right.
  2. That some small group actual does do that (and gets it wrong in Brad’s eyes)
  3. The aspiration that REALLY Brad wants somebody in charge, running science fiction in the way he thinks it should be run.

Point 3 being the now obvious truism that if you scratch the paintwork of libertarian-flavoured conservatism you find the colours of frustrated authoritarianism peeking out. The revealing ‘tell’ is that rather than the much trumped ‘diversity of ideas’, Brad sees other kinds of SF that he doesn’t like as a threat to SF overall.

Brad’s theory has two basic premises:

  1. People would love classic SF (although Brad remains vague as to what this is, other parts of Puppydom assert this would be the age of the pulps).
  2. People are turned off by all this ‘new SF’ (again vague as to what counts and where).

A conservative of say 10 years ago would have an easy answer to this problem: there is no problem! Anybody can publish anything (now even more so) and so the purveyors of the right kind of SF will make money hand-over-fist as people flock away from the ‘new SF’. Not only that, but the mega-corporations that run publishing will follow their bank balances and invest in the most nutty of nuggets.

Given that reality isn’t behaving that way then, Brad needs an extra theory. New SF somehow drives away fans. Ignore, for the moment, the huge volume of available SF of any stripe, from movie and game tie-ins to classic reprints to many big name SF authors pumping out space operas, no the decline somehow must be because the books Brad doesn’t like are doing bad things.

In the comments, Brad even manages to have his cake and eat it by complaining about more ‘literary’ SF *not* having traditional SF covers (his specific example is All the Birds in the Sky) because that is a bad thing too for some reason. Yes, yes, you’d think that he would WANT non-nuggety SF to have non-nuggety covers but that would be applying far too much logical consistency to what is a fundamental objection to wrongbooks having wrongfun in the bookshop.

I think the best, most recent example of this, is All The Birds In The Sky. It’s packaged deliberately as a lit book. It desperately wants to escape the SF/F shelves and go live on the mainstream shelves where the “important” books live. (chuckle) I blame Irene Gallo, who is very much responsible for this trend at TOR. She wants the field as a whole to stop looking like it did during the high period. Because making all that amazing money with space art that actually looks like space art, and swords’n’sorcery art that actually looks like swords’n’sorcery art, was just so gauche.

Note how there is no ground for compromise here. If publisher markets SF to a less-SFie audience then for Brad this is bad, if they market the same SF to an SF audience then to Brad this is also bad. Would Brad *seriously* be happy if All the Birds in the Sky had a cover featuring space rockets (in the book), people descending from ropes from helicopters (in the book) and magical people casting spells (in the book)? Goodness no! That would be the other evil of somehow tricking the honest-SF-reader into reading a book with cooties.

We are back to the unspoken logic of much of what has consumed the right for decades. It is unspoken and avoided, an incomplete argument that would lead people to a conclusion that they would reject if spoken out loud. By not following the logic they can retain a belief that they are moderate and reasonable. However, their argument always leads to the same spot. Brad would just rather these wrong books DID NOT EXIST. He doesn’t want to ban them or burn them or imprison their authors (although how else can his wish come true?) he just wants them to magically not be there.

The cosplay of oppression: yet another milo post

Kate Paulk has now written a post at Sarah Hoyt’s blog which, well is not a shining example of coherent argument

The ‘je suis’ bit isn’t the most OTT bit, that’s just the first mangled reference.

Because people like them doing everything from looking the other way from the thick smoke rising from crematoriums near the “work camps” with the skeletal workers to joining in the “kick ‘em in the goolies while they’re down” party are the people evil regimes like the Nazis and the Communists need to stay in power. As long as the self-styled good people will look the other way when the fuckers target someone, they can consolidate their hold until they’ve got control of all the levers of power – the media, education, bureaucracy, government…

I’m torn between the absurdity of that paragraph and the mix of horror & outrage. The absurdity is clear and while the readership here don’t need reminding, in the US right now there is a spate of anti-semitic violence, continuing far-right terrorism, anti-semitic dog-whistles (and worse) from the Whitehouse, draconian action from the government targeting Muslims and immigrants, attacks against the independence of the judiciary. ‘When the fuckers target someone’ the fuckers are targeting people – literally with all the power of the state with nary a word of objection from puppy-quarters and a ‘guardedly optimistic‘ from the supposedly anti-state-power Hoyt.

Note: I don’t want to highlight Kate Paulk as an individual here, so much as the broader group whose ideas she is voicing.

But we get to see the mechanics of self-deception at work here. A successful white man loses a speaking gig and a book contract and this is what causes Paulk to bring out the Holocaust references. Not the militarised round-ups of immigrants, not the terror attacks from rightwing nationalists, not an increasingly authoritarian federal government. No, on these topics we get a ‘guardedly optimistic’.

Of course, we’ve seen this before in Puppydom – a predilection to clothe themselves in a theatre of horrors from Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany or Mao’s China, when faced with people simply disagreeing with them. And as always it has both been absurd to the point of being laughable AND horrific in the way they basically steal other people’s suffering and claim that is what is happening to them because…, well usually because somebody disagreed with them.

Paulk gets one aspect right: there are people who evil regimes need to stay in power. They are people who not only ignore what those regimes are doing but shout loudly about other things. They are the people who not only look the other way when the fuckers target someone but demand everybody pay attention to something else and demand that everybody acknowledge that they, because of some small or imagined slight, are the real victims while around them thuggery goes on ignored.

There is a point where Kate Paulk wanders near the truth but by this point, she is so turned around that she doesn’t see how her words apply:

I don’t care whether the target is a nice person or not. I don’t care if the target is the fucking Grand Poo-Bah of the KKK, the Big Wahoonie of the Black Panthers, or the fucking Biggest Bag of the Daeshbags. If you lie to destroy him, you are worse than he is. If you accept those lies, knowing that they are lies, because you disapprove of him, you are worse than he is.

It’s not just lies – it is disdain for the truth. If you accept what you are told and repeat what you are told JUST OUT OF PARTISANSHIP then you are no different than a liar. People have longer memories than a week, we KNOW how Sad Puppies would react if it had been a non-ingroup SF author who had said a fraction of what Milo said.

We saw the pile on of hate against individuals from Puppyland – including attempts to get individuals sacked – simply for the crime of NOT AGREEING with the Puppies or for political comments about them.

No. I can recognise an element of injustice in Milo’s current troubles but it is tiny and essentially the professional hazard that comes with being a professional controversialist. Even in the world of public-figures getting a hard time because of what they said, he’s got off lightly. And even that element of injustice that can be seen is instantly overshadowed by Milo’s own modus-operandi: this kind of shame and humiliation by manipulating public and social media IS WHAT MILO DOES – except his targets are often not people with the same kinds of support systems (or money) that Milo has. You can’t take a principled stand against those who deceive to destroy AND support Milo because HE IS the epitome of those who deceive to destroy.

In the meantime, but I regret to say not the last time, no dear conservatives, you are not somehow the modern day equivalent of the people who died in the Holocaust or the Holdomor or the Cultural Revolution or Cambodia’s Killing Fields. That isn’t the question of the day or the question of the year. The question is are you going to be the people who not only stood by while Jewish cemeteries were vandalised & white supremacists murdered people & while your government militarised your law enforcement, but cried ‘we are the real victims here!’ because the guy you wanted to speak at a conference didn’t get to go? Or, are you going to be the people who when asked afterwards ‘Did you fight this evil’ can say ‘yes’?

I’ll borrow Kate Paulk’s words to end: If you are truly conservative and you care at all about Western civilisation, the United States, or even looking at your festering vile mug in the mirror every morning, why in the fuck are you helping to destroy what you care about? Are you that much of a useless drongo?



A Voyage Around the Puppy Seas to See How the Milomeltdown goes

This is largely presented without commentary but mainly to document that assorted pretzel shapes emerging from some quarters. I’m always interested in where fault lines lie between people with similar ideas.

Very short background. Professional troll-like speaker/Breitbart ‘journalist’ Milo Yianoppolis was riding high a few days ago after protests he had provoked and after appearing on Bill Maher’s show. Peak Milo arrived with an announcement that he would be a speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Milo as I’m-not-alt-right-really gay British man speaking at this venue was seen as a bit of a coup. In the subsequent backlash from sections of the right and sections of the alt-right/no-no-we-arent-nazis/krypto-fascists (e.g. the man famous for being punched Richard Spencer), video of Milo discussing his teenage sexual experiences and his views on under-aged sex was pointed at by people on the right. Cue meltdown. While fans of Milo defended him, others were unsurprisingly unsympathetic in a confused conservative mix of legitimate concerns about his apparent pro-pedophile sympathies lumped together with regrettably-standard right-wing homophobia. CPAC invite cancelled, book deal withdrawn, Milo resigns from Breitbart, infighting on the right, schadenfreude on the left.

But what about the Puppies? Our pals in Puppydom kindly volunteered in 2015 as a kind of bellwether of vehement anti-leftism opinion from a weird sample of people who like SF/F. Let’s see how it’s all melting down.

Firstly from far across the sea from the isles of puppies comes John Scalzi:

From beyond the worlds of kerfuffles, I think this piece is worth reading but for a kerfuffle connection, on Twitter Philip Sandifer has positive views on Laurie Penny’s coverage and Alexandra Erin has an interesting critique of it that is less positive.

Sailing out of those calmer seas to towards the darkening horizon where storm clouds roil and sinister figures scowl. I’m using Internet Archive for links because I think some of these positions may change in the future.

I won’t bother posting the multiple defences of Milo from Vox Day -they are both dull and deeply hypocritical and then for extra ick tend to circle back to Vox Day praising himself for how loyal he is.

John C Wright? Follows Vox’s lead   There’s a point where somebody like Wright has taken on so many vices in the name of virtue that he has walled himself in. Like Vox the only virtue he can appeal to is a kind of loyalty.

But what about the world of Sad Puppies? Well, we can usually rely on Sarah Hoyt to angrily be vehemently confused about things amid the various rationalisations the key message from Sarah is that Milo is an ally in their fight against the left and that really is the only thing that matters. Putting the specific topic aside for the moment, it is close to summing up where right wing politics is at the moment: there is no substance left except hatred of the left.

Neither Brad Torgersen nor Larry Correia are discussing Milo’s fall from (what? not ‘grace’ exactly?) on their blogs.

On Facebook Brad is trying to talk about without talking about so that he can follow Sarah’s lead and attack the left:

Apropos of today’s hot publishing scandal, I said it on my blog a couple of weeks ago: gays and lesbians and ethnic minorities and women, who “come out” against the ctrl-Left, are branded as traitors. I also said in the same piece that the ctrl-left believe absolutely in one maxim above all: the ends justify the means. If they therefore have to lie to get what they want, they will lie. If winning means maligning and hurting people, they will malign and hurt. With a clear conscience, too. This is what the ctrl-Left does. This is who the ctrl-Left are. It’s not about fairness, nor compassion. It’s about having their way. No matter what.

It seems to be Milo-as-Martyr time for Brad but he avoids mentioning him by name. It’s classic Brad, a hot-take based in some alternate reality. The left attacked Milo previously BECAUSE he went around maligning and hurting people not because he was gay. The people throwing conniptions right now are Brad’s pals on the RIGHT. Ho hum.

Larry Correia isn’t saying anything on Facebook either. I’m guessing this is because Larry is the smartest of the bunch.




Has the Tor Boycott Ended?

The answer is probably not because a Puppy of one kind or another will read this post and insist that actually the boycott is going full strength and even now they have enlisted the power of the heat death of the universe to destroy Tor books using the inevitable outcomes of thermodynamics.

However, has it ended as a ‘thing’? Apparently so. There is no fixed date and I doubt we’ll be seeing any gushing reviews of a Tor published book or story from a major Puppy outlet anytime soon but it does seem like the Tor Boycott has been quietly retired.

For example: Look at the masthead here August13 2016

and then here on August 26 :

The other major promoter of the Tor Boycott was Peter Grant, a Sad Puppy supporter and now Castalia House/Vox Day published author. His last mention of the Tor Boycott was in September while spruiking Declan Finn

Aside from that, it would seem that the mighty Tor boycott fell victim to a lack of steam and short attention spans. That isn’t news, of course. I think everybody but Peter Grant knew that it would fizzle away into nothing.


I was considering doing a round-up of various reactions to the Trump election from the puppy-sphere but one in particular out-did itself in terms of an utter lack of self awareness.

Here is Brad Torgersen (you guessed it would be Brad didn’t you?) thinking about the children:

And now I am reading all these stories from parents, supposedly screaming about how their children are living in Trump Terror, and I just shake my head—dummies, your kids are having a cow because *you* are having a cow.

And if you are thinking “but wait…didn’t Brad freak out after the 2015 Hugo Awards?” then you would be right:

So lets be clear:

  • A corrupt authoritarian sexual predator becomes most powerful man in the world with a minority of the vote and starts surrounding himself with white supremacist sympathisers? Brad’s advice: calm down and respect the vote and don’t let the kids get upset.
  • A shonky plan to rig a science fiction award (with the bonus help of a very similar group of white supremacist sympathisers) loses big time in a vote? Brad’s advice: FREAK THE FUCK OUT PEOPLE!!!! VOTERS ARE ABUSERS, CHILDREN ARE UPSET!!!


The Obligatory Dragon Awards Post


The Dragon Awards! My interest in these was mild curiosity and that maybe they would be a nice outlet for the Sad Puppies but things have got more odd of late.


To recap: Dragon*Con, the sprawling pop-culture expo/con in Atlanta (obligatory Wikipedia entry here) announced in late March that they would be running their own SF/F awards. Some general ‘OK’s from non-Puppies of various kinds and some excitement from actual Puppies. A website was created and various details were posted.

Because the award was new, the nomination period was going to be fairly short. I don’t know how much interest there was initially in nominating but in July Larry Correia posted a longer post about them

This weekend I was at LibertyCon, and I ran into one of the organizers of the Dragon Awards. He said that he was kind of surprised that he hadn’t seen me talk about them online much. I told him that was because of Sad Puppies, I’m a controversial figure, there are just too many bitter harpies and poo flingers from fandom’s inbred pustulent under-choad who automatically flip out about anything I do, so I didn’t want to rock the boat for them.

But his response? Screw that. This award is for ALL FANS. And you have fans. So GO BUG THEM! We want so many people voting in this thing that no little clique or faction can sway it. The more fans involved, the better.

Fair enough I say. The people running the award (not sure who they are but then it isn’t like I know who anybody is) are OK with an award in which authors mobilise fans that is their business. Also, Larry is clearly somebody who can mobilise a fan base. It is a smart way of kick starting some interest. Maybe they also hoped for some Puppy-kerfuffle like action i.e. counter-sads running some sort of stop Larry campaign? Who knows! If they did, it didn’t happen.

Fast forward. Time went on and in early August there was no sign of any nominees and the Dragon Con awards website hadn’t been updated in months. Eventually on August 10 people who had signed up to nominate started getting notifications of how to vote. Declan Finn was one of the first to post the news here He also posted how he had voted.

Larry Correia also posted a list of finalists and while he did mention people on the list who were his friends, he didn’t publish any kind of slate or suggest how people should vote:

Oddly, the list I saw and that was on Larry’s blog had a few extra nominees compared with the list Declan Finn published. Possibly he miscopied a few from the survey?

It is worth noting that Declan Finn’s “Honor at Stake” was a nominee in the Best Horror category. No offence intended towards Mr Finn but Honor at Stake was probably neither one of the best nor most popular horror novels in the eligibility period. The book itself is currently between publishers and despite what Timothy might say it is not currently set the horror fiction world alight. The upside is that it is a good marker for how people may have voted.

We know the size of Declan Finn’s online voting fan base from Sad Puppies 4. He got about 25 votes in SP4. Maybe the publicity from SP4 got him some more and maybe Larry’s fans looking for things to nominate in horror decided to vote for Finn? I don’t know but I’m guessing that 25 to 30 votes could get you a nomination on some of the less popular categories.

Moving on. August 11, Vox Day publishes his voting list here

Then, in the aftermath of the Hugos, Sad Puppy and Rabid Puppy commentary would touch upon the Hugos as an alternative. So it is fair to say that there was some degree of interest in the Dragon Awards from both Sad and Rabid Puppies.

Other people? Not so much. John Scalzi had already stated a blanket opt-out for all awards and specifically withdrew from the Dargon Awards. Ann Beckie, N.K. Jemisin didn’t express an interest. Jim Butcher (who was a guest of honour at Dragon Con) stated that he thought Larry Coreia’s book was better [I think – can’t find the quote now, so maybe I imagined it].

Baen books posted some promotion of the awards on its Facebook page. There was also some discussion of them on its community forum Baen’s Bar.

Maybe some of the other non-Puppy aligned authors did some campaigning among their fans – I don’t know but there doesn’t seem to be much sign of it.

The Results

Voting itself was in three stages
1. register your email address (if you had already done this nominate you didn’t need to do it again)
2. Get an email to a Survey Monkey ballot
3. Fill it in
The results were announced in a smallish ceremony at Dragon*Con. Declined Finn videoed proceedings. Other notable people present were Eric Flint and Toni Weisskopf.

[see table at the end for full results]

The Numbers

There aren’t any 🙂 Whether they will release any I don’t know. The only vague figure we have is a comment in the award ceremony that there had been “thousands and thousands of votes”. I guess that means at least 2 thousand and less then 10 thousand. However, the quote was “votes” not “voters” and so it is possible that the number counts each category separately.

Jim Henley treated the numbers as a Fermi problem here: I’ll carry on in a similar vein.

If we assume each category counter separately and then totalled and take the upper estimate of 10 thousand votes we get an average of 666.67 votes per category. That certainly sounds plausible or if anything too small.

If we assume thousands of voters then we don’t have much to go on. However, we can work backwards.

Let’s assume Vox Day’s post mobilised his voters. He claims 400 vile faceless minion and a couple of hundred dread ilk. My magic number for an inner cadre of Vox supporters is 160. Given all that 600+ votes for Vox Day’s pick is a conservative estimate.

Larry Correia’s post probably mobilised at least that many people but with more variety in the way they voted. The Baen presence in the nominations and at the award would suggest a Baen vote as well but this would have some overlap with the Larry vote and the Vox vote.

The Baen presence in the nominations and at the award would suggest a Baen vote as well but this would have some overlap with the Larry vote and the Vox vote. The win by Terry Pratchett for best YA novel was unsurprising but it is reasonable to assume that many Sad Puppy aligned voters would have voted for Dave Freer’s book and reasonable to assume many of Vox Day’s voters would have followed his lead. That Pratchett won suggests at least as many non-puppies voting as puppies of either stripe (but split between more works).

The win by Terry Pratchett for best YA novel was unsurprising but it is reasonable to assume that many Sad Puppy aligned voters would have voted for Dave Freer’s book and reasonable to assume many of Vox Day’s voters would have followed his lead. That Pratchett won suggests at least as many non-puppies voting as puppies of either stripe (but split between more works).

John C Wright’s Somewither won best SF novel beating Baen favourite Chuck Gannon amongst others. Wright does have a section of fans that are independent of the general puppydom but even so I think this win is suggestive of a significant vote following Vox’s guidance. (Again – not against the rules or spirit of the award).

So a 1000+ puppies of either stripe is plausible. It could be roughly 1K Rabidish voters and 1K Saddish voters without stretching credibility too much. Likewise, it could be as low as 500 Rabidish and 500 Saddish voters. I think less than that is implausible as both Larry and Vox could persuade over 100 people each to spend money on voting in the Hugos.

Non-puppies? As the voting system was a simple first past the post system, the winner need not have got 50% of the votes. For example, if 1001 people voted for Somewither and 3000 people didn’t but split their vote evenly across the other nominees then Somewither would win easily. A combined total of 2000 saddish and rabidish voters could produce the same results as the dragon’s had the non-puppyish vote was close to 10 thousand if the non-puppy vote split evenly between works.

So my guesstimate range? About 2000 to 5000 voters is plausible, substantially less would be only a bit remarkable. Possibly it could be more. I’d looked at the number with a screwed up sceptical face if the total number of voters was closer to 10 thousand.

So was the result dodgy?

The result is what it is. If somebody really wanted to vote multiple times, then the only thing that would stop them was that the process of receiving the ballot after registering was slow and probably manual. In theory, somebody could register with multiple addresses with only marginally more effort than it takes to register an extra Gmail etc account.

The results, overall, are consistent with what we know about how the award was publicised and who took an interest in it. I strongly doubt that Larry Correia would countenance supporters voting more than once. Vox Day probably wouldn’t do so either – not because of any deep moral qualms but because he didn’t need to bother and he is smart enough to know that if he won too easily then the value of victory would be diminished.

Could somebody have voted more than once? Probably, just on the grounds that people do stuff.

Having said all that, this was year one of an under-publicised award. It was an opt-in internet poll with only a limited connection between the con and the poll. It has all the flaws of an internet poll. In particular, if people begin to suspect that some faction/fandom/whoever is stuffing the ballot box, then this is likely to result in many voters walking away or other groups counter-stuffing in retaliation. But those are problems for the Dragon Awards next year.

Is it a particularly notable victory or vindication of the puppies? No, but I’m happy for them to think that it is. The winners went to those who could and did mobilise fans to vote. As currently set up this is an award for who can bring the most fans to come and vote. If you think about it that way, then the result are deserved. Prior to the awards, if I asked people “If there was an award for mobilising a distinct set of fans to go and vote in a particular way, who should win it?” then I think we’d probably hum and ha over whether Larry Correia or Vox Day should win and then probably pick Larry because who wants Vox to win anything? As it happens they get to share bragging rights 🙂



Nominee List [MHI] Vox Day’s Picks Winners
1. Best Science Fiction Novel The Life Engineered by J-F Dubeau
1. Best Science Fiction Novel Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
1. Best Science Fiction Novel Agent of the Imperium by Marc Miller
1. Best Science Fiction Novel Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwitheriing Realm by John C. Wright Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm by John C. Wright w
1. Best Science Fiction Novel Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
1. Best Science Fiction Novel Raising Caine by Charles E. Gannon
2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal) Blood Hound by James Osiris Baldwin
2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal) The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal) Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia w
2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal) Asteroid Made of Dragons by G. Derek Adams
2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal) Changeling’s Island by Dave Freer
2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal) Grave Measures by R.R. Virdi
2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal) The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel Changeling’s Island by Dave Freer Changeling’s Island by Dave Freer
3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley
3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel Trix and the Faerie Queen by Alethea Kontis
3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett w
3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel Updraft by Fran Wilde
4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel Chains of Command by Marko Kloos
4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel The End of All Things by John Scalzi
4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel The Price of Valor by Django Wexler
4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel Hell’s Foundations Quiver by David Weber Hell’s Foundations Quiver by David Weber w
4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel Wrath of an Angry God: A Military Space Opera by Gibson Michaels
4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel Allies and Enemies: Fallen by Amy J. Murphy
4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel Blood in the Water by Taylor Anderson
5. Best Alternate History Novel Germanica by Robert Conroy
5. Best Alternate History Novel Bombs Away: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove
5. Best Alternate History Novel 1635: A Parcel of Rogues by Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis
5. Best Alternate History Novel League of Dragons by Naomi Novik League of Dragons by Naomi Novik w
5. Best Alternate History Novel 1636: The Cardinal Virtues by Eric Flint & Walter H. Hunt
5. Best Alternate History Novel Deadlands: Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Maberry
6. Best Apocalyptic Novel Dark Age by Felix O. Hartmann
6. Best Apocalyptic Novel The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
6. Best Apocalyptic Novel The Desert and the Blade by S.M. Stirling
6. Best Apocalyptic Novel Chasing Freedom by Marina Fontaine
6. Best Apocalyptic Novel Ctrl Alt Revolt! by Nick Cole Ctrl Alt Revolt! by Nick Cole w
6. Best Apocalyptic Novel A Time to Die by Mark Wandrey
7. Best Horror Novel Honor at Stake by Declan Finn
7. Best Horror Novel Souldancer by Brian Niemeier Souldancer by Brian Niemeier w
7. Best Horror Novel Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay
7. Best Horror Novel Chapelwood by Cherie Priest
7. Best Horror Novel An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel
7. Best Horror Novel Alice by Christina Henry
8. Best Comic Book Civil War II don’t know, don’t care’
8. Best Comic Book Ms. Marvel w
8. Best Comic Book Providence
8. Best Comic Book Saga
8. Best Comic Book Astro City
8. Best Comic Book Daredevil
8. Best Comic Book DC Universe: Rebirth
9. Best Graphic Novel The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman w
9. Best Graphic Novel Virgil by Steve Orlando
9. Best Graphic Novel Chicago by Glenn Head
9. Best Graphic Novel Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia
9. Best Graphic Novel Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine
9. Best Graphic Novel March: Book Two by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin
10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series The Expanse – Syfy
10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series Jessica Jones – Netflix
10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series Daredevil – Netflix
10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series Outlander – Starz
10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series Doctor Who – BBC
10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series Game of Thrones – HBO Game of Thrones – HBO w
10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series The Flash – CW
11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie Deadpool Deadpool
11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie Captain America: Civil War
11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens
11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie Crimson Peak
11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie Ant-Man
11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie The Martian w
12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game Undertale by Toby Fox
12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment
12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game Fallout 4 by Bethesda Softworks w
12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game Metal Gear Solid V by Konami Digital Entertainment Metal Gear Solid V by Konami Digital Entertainment
12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game Darkest Dungeon by Red Hook Studios
12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game XCOM 2 by 2k Games
13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks w
13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game Hyper Burner by Patrick Cook
13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game Quaser One by Emre Taskin
13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes by Electronic Arts
13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist by Outerminds Inc.
14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game Codenames by Vlaada Chvatil
14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game Star Wars: Rebellion by Fantasy Flight Games
14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game Monopoly: CTHULHU by USAopoly
14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game Talon by GMT Games Talon by GMT Games
14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game Blood Rage by Cool Mini or Not
14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game Pandemic: Legacy by ZMan Games w
15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game Magic the Gathering: Shadows over Innistrad by Wizards of the Coast
15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls by Flying Buffalo
15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game Mousguard 2nd Edition by David Petersen & Luke Crane
15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game Star Wars: Armada by Fantasy Flight Games
15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game Magic the Gathering: Battle of Zendikar by Wizards of the Coast
15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game (7th Edition) by Chaosium Inc. Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game (7th Edition) by Chaosium Inc. w