Category: Straw Puppy

Just One Last Note on ex-Kerfuffles

As I already have one whateverhappenedtoo post up about those unhappy hounds of Hugo hostility, I’ll leave one more snippet: the domain name ownership of “” has expired. The website that hosted the fourth iteration of distempered doggedness that used to look like this:

Now looks like this:

While it was kind of tempting to buy the domain name, I have, in a stunning expression of will power, NOT DONE so. ‘Tis said to be haunted and whosoever claims the domain becomes consumed with hubris and claims of embiggingment that fall sadly flat and leave one having petty arguments with Declan Finn.



Season Final! The Book Club Roundtable Discussion Club Non-Audio Podcast Club

atomicavatar[FIRST WITCH] When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

strawpupavatar[SECOND WITCH] When the hurly-burly’s done, When the podcast’s lost and won.

timavatar[THIRD WITCH] That will be ere the set of sun.

atomicavatar[FIRST WITCH] Where the place?

strawpupavatar[SECOND WITCH] Upon this blog.

timavatar[THIRD WITCH] There to meet with Camestros.

atomicavatar[FIRST WITCH] I come, Graymalkin.

atomicavatarstrawpupavatartimavatar[ALL] Fair is foul, and foul is fair, Hover through the fog and filthy air.

camavatar[Camestros] OK people! Today we FINISH this. Susan – ready?

susanavatar[Susan] Ready!

camavatar[Camestros] Timothy – ready?

timavatar[Timothy] Locked and loaded.

camavatar[Camestros] OK viewers,

susanavatar[Susan] listeners

camavatar[Timothy] readers

strawpupavatar[Straw Puppy] Woof

atomicavatar[Mr Atomic] …cleaning…

camavatar[Camestros] welcome to the final episode of this season of the Book Club Roundtable Review Club Non-Audio Podcast Club!

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Pod the Third of The Book Club Roundtable Discussion Club Non-Audio Podcast Club

Der Untergang der Titanic

Live Podcast Coverage

camavatar[Camestros] Welcome back, loyal viewers!

timavatar[Timothy] (listeners)

strawpupavatar[Straw Puppy] (woof)

camavatar[Camestros] This is the exciting third episode of the Book Club Roundtable Review Club Non-Audio Podcast Club. A bit of a change in the roster this week. Susan can’t make it and Timothy’s long term collaborator and all-round trickster Straw Puppy is here to take her place. Welcome on board Straw Puppy.

strawpupavatar[Straw Puppy] woof

timavatar[Timothy] Ha, ha, great joke there Pups.

camavatar[Camestros] Sooooo, we still seem to be stuck reading Run Star: Realms Rescue…

timavatar[Timothy] Correction, Dragon Award Nominated Star Realms: Rescue Run.

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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.


You know what the problem with Jupiter Ascending was?

The plot and the dialogue? It looked nice and that was it. When I reviewed it I found there really wasn’t much to say but maybe it could have been more fun with either MORE wackiness or more jokes or in the other direction, a more serious plot or really anything to get it away from the point it landed that meant that it wasn’t serious enough or funny enough or quite enough enough.

So I was on the Castalia House blog – yes, yes, I shouldn’t do that to myself – and Jeffro apparently has discovered the answer:

“But the acting and the dialog is not what ultimately ruined this film. Structuring it around a female romantic lead did.”

mmmmmm, nope I’m pretty sure it was the dialogue and the plot that ruined the film but do carry on Jeffro.

“This is an inherently anti-pulp premise that is being grafted onto an otherwise pitch perfect expression of classical space opera. Granted, Tarzan was Lord Greystoke. Arthur was the son of Uther. And Luke Skywalker turned out to be part of a space dynasty. “Who you are” does matter in these things. But what these characters do matters more. And these characters proving their worth and their mettle matters even more.

I don’t know why it is, but for some reason… the moment a male lead is swapped out with a female one, all of this stuff seems to go out the window. Men and women are not interchangeable. The stories that spring up around them are qualitatively different.”

But, in the film what the lead character DOES is meant to matter more than who she IS. Jeffro’s objection is based on the plot element that the lead character turns out to be (unknown to her) a space princess. In Jeffro’s defence, it is hard to tell because the plot is a mess but that all points to the plot being a mess rather than an issue with the lead’s gender.

Jeffro goes on to identify why the film falls flat at the end (I think it fell flat from the start but I’ll let Jeffro explain)

“And when you get to the ending where she is rollerblading in the sky with her space boyfriend, it’s pretty clear why: No one cares if a girl gets the guy in the end.
It’s no accomplishment to speak of, honestly. It’s normal. It’s reality’s default setting, and thus… conveys no drama to speak of. If a young girl is as cute as Mila Kunis wants a guy, she can have her pick. They will line up for her whether she is available or not. And the guy that Jupiter Jones gets…? The filmmakers worked overtime to establish that he was really more interested in getting his wings back than anything else. This is an anti-climax unworthy of space opera, pure and simple.”

The last time I discussed a piece from the Castalia House blog I was forced to wonder if the reviewer had ever seen any movies. This time I’m forced to wonder if the writer actually knows any women or people in general? Now, in Jeffro’s defence, I will note he has a point about the film: specifically in that the crappy dialogue and mess of a plot meant there really was no romantic tension – but that wasn’t due to some weird default reality in which stories about women finding love ‘conveys no drama to speak of’. I’m pretty sure that we could all name the odd story here or there or maybe THE BIGGEST SELLING GENRE IN FICTION which from time to time manages to somehow get drama out of women looking for love.

On the list of ‘things wrong with misogyny’, this kind of cluelessness is pretty low down but it aptly demonstrates a key element of it. If your understanding of 50%+ of humanity is so confused on such a basic level that you can’t even understand how there could possibly be drama in whether the ‘girls gets the guy in the end of not’ then your capacity to understand any human relationships are going to be seriously confused. It’s like trying to study mathematics while believing that numbers are a kind of gelatine desert – none of it will make sense and your kitchen will be a mess when you attempt calculus.

More daft Star Wars Mary Sue claims


Some nonsense from the Castalia House Blog about The Force Awakens. Can you guess the character that upsets them the most? Ok that was almost too easy to guess: it’s Rey of course because she’s a girl – oops sorry because she’s a “Mary sue” (fair enough if you guessed Finn).

The writer, Jasyn Jones aka Gamergate’s ‘Daddy Warpig’, says they’ve watched the film twice yet oddly they seem confused about multiple details. Oddly it is the same details you’ll find in similar pieces around the internet. I can imagine somebody making a coherent argument that Rey is a Mary-Sue of one kind or another but, this isn’t it:

“When first she meets another primary character, Rey saves both their lives, even in the face of his bumbling machismo which threatens to get them both killed.”

Rey has grown up in a rough barter town and can surprisingly look after herself. OK, not actually surprisingly. As for ‘saving their lives’, she knocks over a couple of people with her staff and then helps Finn runaway when the town gets attacked.

“Then she flies a starship for the very first time (completely untrained)”

Huh? We know Rey is a pilot from the complex plot device where she says “I’m a pilot”. Why does he think she is completely untrained? Yes, when Finn asks if she has ‘ever flown this thing?’ about the Millennium Falcon that she hasn’t but that’s because ‘no one has flown this thing in years’. She clearly knows the ship and has been on the ship before and is very familiar with the layout of the ship. Nor is her flying faultless, she struggles initially, damaging buildings as she takes off.

Oh just watch the film:

“and—though a rank amateur—she pulls off several maneuvers Han Solo would have had trouble duplicating even on his very best day as a pilot.”

Yeah because Han would struggle because…, oh yeah we have no idea whether Han Solo would have trouble duplicating those moves because we have never seen any equivalent in-atmosphere chase in the original films. The most spectacular moves are when she pilots the ship through the remains of the ruined star destroyers – presumably very difficult but they are ruins that she knows well. Quite why he thinks Rey is a rank amateur is anybody’s guess (but probably because she is a woman).

 “Then she goes to repair the ship—no mention how an untutored scavenger from the back of the back of beyond knows how to service a damned starship, “

Good point. I can’t imagine where somebody who grew up surrounded by wrecked starships and who we meet finding salvage in a Star Destroyer and who sells parts of ruined starships to make ends meet and who knows the various parked ships in her town well, could possibly learn about the mechanics of starships. Seriously, has he even watched the TRAILER? What do we see Rey doing even before the movie was released? (Hint: it’s climbing through spaceships).

” gets to yell at Finn because he’s so damn incompetent.”

Finn who we know isn’t a mechanic or pilot.

“And she speaks droid,”

Again – hardly odd given her background.

 “AND she speaks Wookie. “

Lots of people speak Wookiee. I guess in the US, speaking multiple languages may seem like a freaky superpower but it really isn’t.

“And she releases monsters to kill bad guys (which she thought was the wrong thing to do, but turns out she was mistaken as the monsters eat up all the bad guys.”

So now messing up also counts against her?

 “(This is the only time she’s ever wrong, in the entire movie.) “

Aside from all the other times, like running towards the wrong ship when trying to get away from the tie-fighter attack (see above), getting captured after running away, or the whole staying on Jakku because her parents are going to be back for her soon – something which she has been wrong about ALL HER LIFE.

” Finn wants to flee like a coward, Rey wants to stand like a hero.”

Yeah guessed he missed the bit when Rey freaks out and runs off and then gets captured. Both the characters do this. Now, we know why – it’s because Star Wars has been obsessed with the whole hero’s journey thing since the original. So Finn has to turn away from the call and Rey has to as well and just as HAN FRICKIN‘ SOLO does in episode 4.

“She’s suddenly able to read people’s mind with The Force, as well as do that funky Jedi Mind Trick, all with absolutely no training. “

So not only has this guy somehow not seen episode 7, he seems not have seen episode 4. We all see the training Luke gets: a few swishes with a lightsabre in a blast helmet – that’s it. Yet before long, he uses the force to blow up the Death Star in an x-wing (something he has never flown before). And look – not only is Luke flying an unfamiliar spaceship but he is doing so as part of a formal military force on a life-or-death military operation based solely on his experience shooting wamp rats.

But how! Let’s ask Obi-wan: Use the force, let go.

Dippy hippy pseudo-Taoist claptrap it might be but Star Wars has always been clear about using the force: it is connected to feelings and emotional states. Luke’s training is even shown in episode 5 as a process of unlearning.

Rey doesn’t necessarily need much training to do what she does. Nor do the previous films imply that about the force.

“And then free-climbs an infinitely high wall without a HINT of vertigo or hesitation. “

You mean like the way she climbs through the innards of a wrecked Star destroyer IN THE TRAILER which apparently the author missed. Again, it’s right there – a fact established about the character (she can climb stuff and is used to climbing stuff) from BEFORE THE MOVIE WAS RELEASED.

Now I’m stuck with an image of Daddy Warpig standing at the bottom of the cliff face shouting ‘Mary-Sue’ at this woman as she climbs:

“And then she defeats the super-evil, super-competent, been-training-in-The-Force-for-over-ten-years evil Sith dude in a lightsaber battle.”

And then she… in the actual movie rather than the weird version Daddy Warpig appears to have watched (twice!) she defeats, by the skin of her teeth, an emotionally unstable Kylo Ren (with erratic powers) who has already just had one fight and who wants her alive AND the planet is falling to bits. She spends much of this fight sequence RUNNING AWAY from him.

“And, oh yes, the orange-nerf-football-headed alien they meet in the cantina has found Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber (last seen falling into the vast and unplumbed depths of the cloud giant Bespin), but the lightsaber of the famed and legendary LAST JEDI is psychically calling… FOR REY! And it gives her SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE STRONG WOMAN FATED TO BE BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE AND NEVER BE WRONG VISIONS! Just for her.”

Gosh a character in a Star Wars film having some sort of *destiny*? I mean the only possible reason is that she is a Mary-Sue and it can’t possibly be because that’s one of the major themes of all three of the original films and all three of the prequels (twice over with the prequels in that the destiny also carries over to the original three).

WOW! Obviously Rey is the bestest thing that has ever been. She’s never wrong, better than everyone at everything, and the most special, unique, coolio-awesomest person in the entire galaxy.

Nope. She is repeatedly wrong. She makes errors, other characters misjudge her, she doubts herself, she runs away, she gets captured and so on. She displays some remarkable abilities but not substantially more than Luke Skywalker and unlike young Anakin Skywalker, doesn’t accidentally fly a spaceship for the first time ever as a child and destroy the key spaceship in an orbital blockade thus ending a robot invasion.

[OK, yes I reckon R2 did all that but then I think BB-8 probably is running everything in Episode 7. Hey, let’s leave my delusions out of this]

“In other words, Rey is the Mary-Sueist Mary Sue to have ever Mary Sued. Ever.”

Aside from Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace you mean and only marginally (on points) ahead of Luke Skywalker in A New Hope, you mean? Why, it’s almost like there was some intangible quality to Luke and Anakin that makes Daddy Warpig OK with THEIR remarkable abilities (in a sci-fi fantasy film series based on magic-using chosen ones) but not OK with Rey’s. Oh what, oh what could it be?

She is the single best example of modern Hollywood’s “Strong Woman Character What Don’t Need No Mans” trope. The kind of strong, but sexy and quintessentially feminine characters played by the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Lauren Bacall are like, yesterday’s news daddio. Get with the times—today’s strong women are Rey all the way.

I also start to suspect Daddy Warpig hasn’t even watched any movies by this point – just heard about them via vague rumour, but also I now want to see a Star Wars film with Katherine Hepburn piloting the Millenium Falcon with Humphrey Bogart.

Some less typo ridden debunkings of Reyrysue


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!!!