Category: Rabids

Rise of the Scrappy Doos


*I prefer to name groups by how they name themselves but the latest version of Puppyness arising out of the fading away of the Sad Puppy brand doesn’t have a name of their own. Based on my earlier post on recent events, I think “The Scrappy Doos” is a decent moniker to cover a more disperate phenomanon.

scrappydooFirstly it carries on the puppy theme, secondly it encapsulates the relative threat level compared to other incarnations and thirdly it is a handy metaphor for the disconnect between how cool Scrappy thinks he is compared to how annoying he actually is.

Anyway, some people like Scrappy, so I hope it isn’t too demeaning a name and currently I don’t have a better label.

Compared with the Sads and Rabids, the Scrappy Doos are not a coordinated group, they may or may not have been involved with either Sad or Rabids campaigns in the past but if they were they would have been on the periphery. They tend not to make strong distinctions between the Sad and Rabid campaigns and can be seen as ‘monopuppists’ (i.e. the idea that really the two campaigns were one campaign in different forms). They tend to be more overt in their self-promotion. Just as the Sad Puppies were incorrectly described as being a group of Mormon men, the Scrappy Doos may be incorrectly decsribed as Catholic men.

In terms of existing movements they are closest to the Superversive movement and the Pulp Revolutions movement. Those two movements* can be seen as offshoots of the Rabid Puppies but this can be misleading. The Rabids had a core of straight Alt-Right griefers willing to do exactly what Vox Day told them to do for the lulz. Superversive began independently of the Rabids but has attached itself to Castalia for promotion and is focused on literary works (although of a right leaning nature). Pulp Revolution arose from the Castalia House blog and hence is more closely connected to Rabid Puppies but again is not the same as the griefing group.

[eta – paragraph went astray] Whereas the Rabids collectively were not particularly interested in the field of SFF, the Scrappy-Doos have more in common with the Sad Puppies in so far as they tend to be actively involved in writing, publishing and books. In this sense they are more like other groupings in fandom. However, where significant voices in Sad Puppies (Correia, Torgersen, Hoyt, Freer) had had some success in trad-publishing (mainly centred around Baen Books), the Scrappy Doos are involved with small publishing groups or self-published.

Time for an info-graphic.


Names at the top indicate people who helped establish entities below. Dotted lines imply some degree of association. Arrowed lines imply on-going activity. Pink boxes are websites around which quasi-groups have formed organically to some degree. [eta: graphic tweaked a bit]

*[I’m using the word ‘movement’ generously here – we aren’t talking about huge numbers of people. ‘Tens’ rather than ‘hundreds’ I think]


TFW Somebody Tries to Insult You and Accidentally Makes You Sound More Interesting Than You Actually Are

{Strums G, E-minor, F and C on my banjolele]* So the latest in revisionist far-right history is folk music. Despite having the word “folk” in its name, there’s this association with leftwing politics and intellectuals with beards and a whole “we hate fascists” thing going on.

And, of course, this guy:

Woody Guthrie whose guitar famously took a hard line on the alt-right of his day.

Now over at Castalia House Blog there is a paradigmatic example of how the far right likes to recast cultural history. The script goes like this: X is now leftwing and X is now not very good and that’s because X used to be rightwing and then leftists took over and made it bad. You’ve seen the story before and seen it applied premeptively by Gamergate to video games.

Now, we need to make a small diversion about the author. There are TWO pseudonymous Fenris’s at Castalia. One Fenris is a pseudonym for Vox Day/Theodore Beale (e.g. on Voxopedia the user called “Fenris” is Vox Day). The second Fenris is a guy who authored a book called Loki’s Child and who is apparently a record producer. Maybe both people are actually Vox but if so, he plays them as different people. This article on folk music is by the second Fenris i.e. the one who claims not to be Vox as opposed to the other Fenris who claims to be Vox. Basically Nazis etc like the whole Gotterdamerung thing of the monstorous wolf Fenris and are also into their whole stereotype of wolves as alpha-male predators. That wolves are matriachical and community minded is a whole other thing.

Where was I? Folk music. I’m far from an expert on folk music and I know many people in the Science Fiction community have much deeper connections to it than I do. However, I know enough to spot a bullshit analysis when I see it. Now, sure, like any broad expression of a culture there are left and right elements to folk music. In the case of the folk music of Britain, Ireland and North America the rightwing regressive elements include nationalism and traditionalism and religion. The leftwing elements though are pervasive with its roots in the experiences of ordinary people including the long tradition of protest music.

Irish folk music, for example, has a deep connection with the long struggle against British occupation of Ireland. Folk music from the North of England includes themes about poverty, industrialisation, social conflict and industrial accidents. Likewise, folk traditions in the US drew on the experiences of multiple immigrant communities as well the experiences of African-Americans.

As an overt expression of the labour movement both in Europe and North America, folk music played a significant role in the 19th and early 20th centuries – long before the commercial revival of folk music in the 1950s and 60s. Perhaps the most iconic example being Joe Hill

So, I left a short comment. Basically pointing out how deep the leftwing tradition was in folk music and citing Joe Hill as an example of a pre-1940s US example.

The comment, perhaps unsurprisingly was spammed but “Fenris” explains himself thusly:

“Fenris Wulf says:

Gmail is telling me that Camestros Felapton’s post contains a suspicious link that was used to steal people’s personal information, so I spammed it.

This creature of unknown gender and species points out that leftists were involved in folk music well before 1940. This is true. But even back then, most of their songs were uncredited rewrites of older and better songs.”

🙂 “creature of unknown gender and species” is kind of cool. I’d adopt the whole thing as a moniker but it would be partly appropriating a trans identity which I can’t claim. Oh, and seriously? The actual mythological Fenris was the wolf child of Loki, a being whose very essence was fluid in terms of both species and gender (he was the father of a wolf but also the mother of Odin’s six-legged horse).

Oh and “rewrites of older and better songs” – fer goodness sake. New lyrics to old tunes was the norm for music in the English speaking world (and beyond I assume) until the 20th century – not just folk music and certainly not just leftwing folk music.

Meanwhile, as with wandered far off topic anyway, there’s trouble at the mill at Castalia House as a consequence. CH author, David Van Dyke ( ) took exception to Fenris Wulf’s post but not for its overall cluelessness:

You’re right. This has nothing to do with gaming or science fiction or anything remotely like it.

Even though I happen to agree with you, I dislike that you have co-opted this blog purely for political purposes without even the veneer of relation to its purpose. You’ve hijacked it.

Message fiction–or nonfiction–is still weak and lame when it’s a message we agree with, in an inappropriate place.

How about no more posts like this.”

I can’t work up much sympathy for David Van Dyke, he’s chosen to have his books published by a guy who promotes terrorism and the murder of children. The politics of folk music seems like an odd place to draw a line in the sand.

After being chastised by others in the thread, Van Dyke explains himself further (quoted in full at the end). He thinks that the politics might scare off the punters. Good point David but again, you are doing business with a company that is an arm of a guy who thinks it is OK to murder teenagers who are members of mainstream leftwing parties. Would he be OK with the politics just being a “subtext” if the owner/publisher/editor frequently praised ISIS or Al Qaeda?

It is a microcosm of the sad ballad of the alt-right: take the ‘stab in the back’ mythology of fascism and apply it any cultural phenomanon (Science Fiction, folk music, probably basket weaving next), meanwhile sucker in “libertarians” and “conservatives” who lap up the anti-leftism and ignore the real subtext which is violent and authoritarian ethno-nationalism with a hefty heaping of misogyny.

Perhaps I should have expanded on my original concern with the post, and explained my reasoning, since I seem to have ruffled some feathers.

In past conversations with Vox, he’s said the that the CH blog, as opposed to his personal one, should not be primarily political. Sure, Castalia is conservative, and that will color the subtext. That’s expected.

But there are a lot of people who are less conservative who nevertheless follow this blog. In fact, my own fan base, my author newsletter list of over 10K subscribers, probably run the gamut from far right to center left, because my books, broadly speaking, are written from a center right perspective with a lot of anti-tyranny libertarianism thrown in.

Because Vox and Castalia recently made a push to get authors with newsletters like mine to pitch the CH blog to their fans, by offering some free ebooks, I did it. Vox said there were more than 400 new subscriptions on the day of my newsletter pitch.

I pitched the CH blog with confidence because of what I’d seen in the past from Jeffro and others. In essence, I vouched for it to my fan base. I’m therefore invested in it even more directly than simply being a Castalia author.

Posts like this one are great in the right venue. I enjoyed the post. I disagreed with nothing except its placement here in the CH blog.

But when posts like this end up in my fan base’s inboxes, and can be viewed as inappropriate to the expected topic matter–in essence, a bait and switch that may make me look like a dupe–I want to make sure to express my viewpoint early.

Vox gives us a lot of leeway, and I appreciate that, but I’m first and foremost a businessman making a living. I’m associated with the Castalia name and so I have a stake in its brand. I’ve recommended and shared many of its posts, especially to some of my friends who are more left-leaning, specifically to try to introduce them to SFF viewpoints different from their own.

They’ll happily read things that Venn across via the commonality of SFF and geek culture. There are geeks on the left and geeks on the right. It behooves us to educate them and woo them to our viewpoints, not drive them away.

That means not having posts that are both off topic, and which appear to be directly attacking the very people we’d like to convince of our viewpoint. That double whammy is counterproductive, both to a reasonable discussion, and to maintaining good business relationships with people who put money in our pockets.

The best way to destroy your opponents is to make them your friends–or at least your customers–and keep them that way. IMO posts like this which merely play to the base, especially if more of them keep coming, risk losing customers and/or those friends who have not yet been radicalized by the extreme left.”


*[I’ve no idea what that sounds like]

Where is Sad Puppies 5?

Cast your minds back to January 2017, Mad Genius Club writer Amanda S Green announced on the Sad Puppies 4 website that:

“In the near future, this site will be shut down and a new site for Sad Puppies 5 will go live. In the meantime, if you have any books, movies, etc., you think award-worthy, please list them in the comment section. Your recommendations will be migrated to the new site when it is ready.”

The Sad Puppies had already made it clear that they regarded their point proven about the Hugo Awards (whatever that point may have been) but that Sad Puppies would live on as a place to aggregate reccomendations.

In a longer post at Mad Genius at the same time, Amanda S Green had written in response to Declan Finn posting his “Sad Puppies 5” recommendations:

“So, let’s be very clear. The New Year is here and with it comes the time when we need to start thinking about the books we read and whether we feel they are worthy of being nominated for any of the various awards being offered this year. Be it the Hugo, the Dragon, the Rita or whatever, it is something we need to keep in mind and, if we are so moved, we need to nominate them for the appropriate award(s).”

Well the Hugo nomination period came and went and to the Sad Pups credit, they didn’t get involved. Surprisingly though, it now looks like the Dragon Award may slip by without an official Puppy involvement. The SP4 site is unchanged.

Deadline for the Dragon Awards is July 24 and as of today there is no movement at the station for Sad Pups the Fifth. I’ve some mixed feelings about that. Obviously, it is nice that the petering out may have finally petered out for a campaign that caused a lot of angst, anger and division and achieved nothing positive except among its opponents. On the other hand, there was a moment when the whole debarkle could have morphed into a venue where like minded people could recommend books whose nuggets were sufficiently nutty. Time is running out for the Sads to get something together that people will be sufficiently motivated to make contributions/suggestions.

Meanwhile Rabid krypto-facsist/praiser of terrorists Vox Day has announced his Dragon Award nominations:

Timothy also asserts that “Bortsworth Quest” surely counts as a PC game and that traditionalists everywhere should vote for the nuttiest of nuggets of computer games: the classic text adventure.


Today in unintended irony: Vox Day finds his own comment section far too rude

In a piece on his blog entitled ‘On Vulgarity’, Vox Day discovers that there are too many rude words in his comment section. Those gosh-darn internet yahoos are saying all the swears.

“Anyhow, the moderators and I are going to start deleting comments containing vulgarity on sight and spamming those who refuse to moderate their language. Nor am I interested in any discussion of what words are acceptable and what are not. If you’re going to play the childish game of “let’s see how close to the line I can dance”, I’m just going to delete your comment for being tedious and immature. If your comment is nothing but an insult directed at me or someone else, it’s instant spam. And remember, these are Google comments and any spamming will affect your account across all Google products.”

Sadly, it doesn’t seem that praising murder or cheerleading genocide are included in the list of ‘vulgarity’. The truth is though, that at its heart the alt-right is an attempt to ideologize trolls, bullies and sexual harassers in much the same way the far-right had more traditionally recruited from street thugs and football hooligans. Now that VD wants to appear more serious and respectable, the vulgarity looks off brand.

“I’d much rather have five intelligent comments than 400 comments when most of them consist of idiots escalating rhetorical hostilities and talking past each other. While it’s fine to criticize, disagree, and utilize rhetoric, you’re going to have to learn how to do so without resorting to the insults and vulgarities that many of you have been using in the recent past.”

Hmmm, FIVE intelligent comments? You may be setting the bar a little high for your minions there.

P.S. There is also a massive sulk in mid-post that his lackeys didn’t praise him enough for his analysis over the Syria attack something something China etc.

“So, next time, don’t ask me to make my predictions on this sort of thing public if I have chosen to withhold them for one reason or another. There is literally no reason for me to do so. When I get it wrong like everyone else, I hear about it for years. And when I am very nearly the only one to get it more or less right, everyone either ignores it or simply pretends it was obvious in retrospect”

Never mind that Vox, hands up everybody who is cool with our second favourite extreme right-wing SF editor NEVER making ANY of his opinions public about anything ever again? Wow, lots of hands. 😉

Weird Internet ideas: Are modern nazis imaginary? (spoiler: no, they’re real)

We’ve been busy watching Rabid shenanigans with books covers, but meanwhile over in Sad Puppy domains, Chris Chupik has decided that modern Nazis are largely imaginary. Chupik, for those who don’t know, is notable mainly as a regular commenter on Puppy blogs but sometimes he guest-posts at According to Hoyt.

[This get’s long so more below the fold…also ‘Spencer‘ is usually an external link but each time to a different article rather than peppering this piece with quotes]

Continue reading

Reading ‘Corrosion’ so you don’t have to

complqiningtrashfireOh, if only this WAS a parody:

“It was worrisome that the Human League had declared him “a traitor to Galactic Man” and was offering a bounty on his head. Still, this wasn’t the first time he’d been targeted by crackpots, though, and as a technocrat, he found it hard to be Praton as a sacrifice to his furious fellow council members.”

So with the tune of ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby’, running in my head I descend into ‘Corrosion: The Corroding Empire Part by Johan Kalsi and/or Harry Seldon Edited by Vox Day’.

Servo is a robot working in a cocktail bar, when we meet him. Again, if only this book was a pastiche of new-romantic pop lyrics but it isn’t – I mean how would it have been to have included a cocktail bar in the story?

Instead, we get a bunch of connected not-exactly awful stories set in a technological society run by ‘algorithms’. The style is one I shall now christen ‘Puppy Clunk’. If you read some of the less appalling slated works in 2015, you’ll recognise the style. It’s not illiterate or wholly unreadable but it just sort of goes ‘clunk’ in every sentence.

“It had been ten months since the first time Servo made contact with the First Technocrat, and since then, things had gotten increasingly out of hand. The drone’s behavior had arguably become more erratic than the theoretical algorithmic anomalies with which he was obsessed.”

The premise is that this high-tech space-faring human civilisation is totally dependent on ‘core algorithms’. The civilisation doesn’t depart much from a bog-standard space-future (robots and vid-screens) and the importance of the ‘algorithms’ is just waved around a lot.

For reason unknown, this advanced society has apparently no understanding of boundary conditions or chaos theory or any one of the many ways humans have known that deterministic computation will depart from empirical data without regular correction. As a consequence, humanity is suffering from ‘algorithmic decay’ and only ex-surgeon turned rogue robot ‘Servo’ (no not the one from MST3K) can see the truth.

“He had been allowed enough visitors in prison to gather that the Human League were planning to do through legal means what they had failed to do illegally: assassinate him. His only chance was to win over a Technocratic Council that was not only looking for a sacrificial lamb to throw to the frightened public, but would be presided over by Harraf, his would-be successor as First Technocrat.”

Civilisation is heading for a crash!

OK, that was gratuitous. I’ll let Caden Jarris, First Technocrat infodump a summary of the dangers of algorithmic decay:

“As far as I know, there is nothing that is going to halt this mysterious, gradual corrosion of both the galactic and planetary infrastructure on its own. The trend may be slow, one might even describe it as glacial, but even so, the long-term trend is clear. If algorithmic decay is not arrested, interstellar transportation will be the first sector to fall. That will doom dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of populated planets and colonies to stasis if they are fortunate, and extinction if they are not.”
“We know all this, Caden,” the Sixth Technocrat complained.

I think we all sympathise with the Sixth Technocrat – nobody likes a gratuitous infodump.  The decay is a handy wavy substitute for Hari Seldon’s prediction of galactic Empire collapse from Asimov’s seminal Foundation stories. ‘Corrosion’ is supposedly some sort of parody/pastiche/homage to Asimov but it fails to capture any of his magic. Nor does it compensate by addressing Asimov’s failings: the characters are as thinly drawn as the plot. The book is short and yet still mainly waffle. It’s a bit like eating packing material – if packing material could go ‘clunk’ (which it can’t by design).

[NOTE: starch based packing ‘peanuts’ can be digested but are not produced in conditions that are food-safe. Also, they are intentionally stripped of useful nutrients so as not to attract vermin. You can learn more about packing peanuts here: No, this isn’t the most interesting article on Wikipedia but yes, it’s less dull than reading this book]

Speaking of peanuts, after the trial of First Technocrat Caden Jaggis, we are whisked away to see more of this amazing future society. We meet a farmer, called The Farmer, sitting on his future tractor: “Ontanso-44 tractor-processor, manually correcting bad readings and attempting to factor a uniform set of correcting algorithms. ” See, this society is all based on ALGORITHMS and so the Farmer has an algorithm-tractor, possibly an algorithm-combine harvester as well and an algorithm-chicken coop.

Nah, that would be silly. Instead, he has his trusted Intrepid-Abundance Class biogenetic tractor-combinator. But things are going badly because of, you know, ALGORITHMS.

“It was that fragile moment in the growing season when blight or insectoid plagues still threatened, but the natural algorithmic defenses of the crops were not yet a full strength. Every class of every crop he mastered — polito, chomats, paradagas, corbolini, purple crone, zaim, yossa beans, and even the hardy gang roots — were going wrong. They were behind schedule, maturing poorly or in several cases, mutating inconsistently.”

The poor old farmer has a bad time of it and…well then we jump forward in time and the empire has collapsed.


Three stories in we meet another man with a vehicle, Scot Farmerson, who has a 00198 Burneck-made truck. That’s nice. You know what Foundation lacked? Trucks and tractors. Nothing says hard sci-fi like a decent agricultural vehicle.

Any Scot dies horribly because of bad algorithms. Not even his truck could save.

Then things go a bit milSF but we are still in the same story because they have gadgets and complain about ‘algodecay’. Then we wander. Things get dull. I can’t even make Human League jokes anymore. People don’t want jokes, people love action.

human20league20love20action See?

Skip, skip, skip, oops I’m at the epilogue. This starts with a binary code because ROBOTS! Robots that communicate in ASCII (not Unicode? darn – no emojis). The super secret messages in binary says:

The machines have developed a sense of morality. The galaxy is ours.

Morality? Perhaps but the book still hasn’t developed a sense of humour.

Yeah, anyways, war is good, robots plotting stuff etc. You know the drill. If you read the Castalia MilSF compilation in the Hugo Packet it’s basically the same stuff.

What can I say? The opening chapters were clunky and the rest were formulaic. It is almost like output generated from some deterministic sequence of rules and operations – why, it is almost ALGORITHMIC…

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.