Category: Rabids

What if they had a culture war and nobody turned up?

File770 has a round-up of the Dragon Award antics from the Puppy and Scrappy quarters today:

The short version. Two authors have asked to withdraw:

  • Alison Littlewood – who was an unwilling nominee on the Rabid Puppy slate and doesn’t want her book or her name associated with it.
  • John Scalzi – who took one look at Brian Niemeier’s vote-against-SJWScalzi-by-voting-for-me tactic and gave a big ‘nope’ and walked away.

Alison Littlewood has published the response she received from Pat Henry –  the president of Dragon Con. There are three things of note.

Firstly, they aren’t going to withdraw either author from the ballot – this isn’t a surprise because logistically they really have no easy way of doing so. They have already sent out Survey Monkey ballots (prior to publically stating the nominees) and so to withdraw authors they would have to restart the process. Given the assumption that the whole award is being run by a couple of people with little support (hence the odd behaviour around the website) they probably don’t have the time or resources to do so. Note Dragon Con itself has the money and resources to do so – they just aren’t going to spend it on the Dragon Awards.

The second thing of note is this bizarre statement of false equivalence: “We are aware of the rabid puppies and justice warriors efforts to effect the voting and we go through a number of steps to avoid ballot stuffing or other vote rigging behaviors. ”  As others have pointed out not only is there no evidence of “justice warriors” trying to effect the vote with ‘ballot stuffing’ or ‘vote rigging’ there is ZERO evidence of any left-wing campaign to get any votes in the Dragon Awards. The SF-left, such that it is, has been dismissive of the awards. Meanwhile, the Rabid Puppy slate was there for all to see – just some basic commitment to facts would be nice.

The third thing has been less commented on: “The original purpose of the Dragon Awards was not so much as awards but as a quality reading list.” This original purpose has not been well stated before but there are aspects of the awards that point to it. For example, in the “Process” tab of the site, we have this:

“During the award nomination period, we will regularly send lists and information about your most popular choices.”

Of course, nothing remotely like this has happened. Also, the 2016 nominee list has been disappeared from the Dragon Award website entirely.

Update: The Verge has some good coverage and more Dragon Con response

Some More Sad Popcorn

Dragon Award winner and guy worried about demons, Brian Niemeier also has things to say about Sad Puppies V. It starts diplomatically enough:

“When Sad Puppies V leader Sarah Hoyt explained why SP didn’t release a list of recommendations in time for this year’s awards season, several folks in the Puppy scene voiced dissatisfaction with her rationale.

Me? I read both sides’ arguments, tried to see the issue from the major players’ perspectives, and was satisfied that I’d gotten a decent handle on the group dynamics at work. Even if I disagreed with a particular call, it was easy to understand where the party who made it was coming from.”

However, astute readers will have noted that in Hoyt’s earlier piece she made some comments about the Dragon Awards – essentially saying that they are an award for big writers and that some maybe less deserving people won in 2016 because the award was just starting. Of course Brian Niemmeier fits that discription (or at least a lot more so than Larry Correia whose success is undeniable). So Brian N has somethings to say about that:

“Full disclosure: I firmly believe that for any author, comparing yourself to another author is a sure path to insanity. I’m a live and let live kind of guy. You can take shots at me all day, and I’ll take it in stride.

But if this blog has established nothing else, it’s that no one gets to mess with my readers.

Remember: Sarah tried to DISQUALIFY! my readers who made Souldancer the first ever Dragon Award winner for Best Horror Novel. She implied that their choice was just a fluke–an early bug in the system that will surely be worked out in time.

Sarah thinks that you, dear reader, made a mistake. You gave a Dragon Award to an unworthy “small name” author. And don’t forget, she based her assessment on Amazon sales rankings.”

Of course Sarah Hoyt has thought this through a bit further than Brian. Mind you Brian isn’t neccesarily attached to the multiple layers of claims and ad-hoc rationales of the Sad Puppy movement.

Back with the Sad Pups, we had claims from wayyyy back that award votes were just subjective opinion (i.e. there is no broad sense of quality beyond an individual except maybe sales).

More recently, and from many quarters of puppydom, claims that the numbers who voted in the Dragon Awards must be huge because Dragon*Con is huge. Yes, that argument is innumerate as eligibility to vote in the Dragons isn’t connected to Dragon membership (in theory the number of voters could be much bigger than Dragon*Con membership) nor was the award well publicised to Dragon*Con attendees last time (i.e. theire is no reason to think many of them voted). However, *IF* the Dragons are meant to be a huge award with many people voting then regardless of how wonderful Brian’s readers are, or even how good his book might be, Hoyt’s right that it winning the award is a fluke. The answer is obviously that not many people voted in the awards which is why a relatively obscure (sorry Brian) science fiction story could win “Best Horror Novel”.

Hoyt’s comment is aspirational for the Dragon Awards: i.e. the hope and expectation (possibly misguided) that they will become big. Unfortunately wins like Brian Neimmeier’sare good for him but not particulalry good for the awards.

Some other anti-Hoyt comment are here:


and this one that Doris spotted earlier

Why yes, now that you mention it, all these anti-Hoyt pieces are coming from people of the mannish less-than-50% of humanity.

Ok I take that comment back: although this is less directed at Hoyt personally.


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]

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