The Puppy Kerfuffle: Winners and Losers

No, not a Hugo Awards reviewer but a reviewer of the extended art installation/interactive game/aesthetic stoush/book rebellion/fandom vandalisation known as the Puppy Kerfuffle.

My summation of the winners and losers in the whole thing – ignoring, of course, the actual winners and losers of the Hugo Awards.

Winners

Alexandra Erin: http://www.alexandraerin.com/ her playful and insightful parody puppy reviews of classic children’s books was one of the most entertaining part of what was an often bitter and unpleasant conflict. I am sure she has gained fans and it certainly lead me to read her published stories.

File 770: http://file770.com/ The daily Puppy Roundups were not only a must read for anybody following the kerfuffle but the comment section was both lively and creative – spawning its own subculture.

Philip Sandifer: http://www.philipsandifer.com/ Sandifer’s blog spawned the oddly friendly Sandifer-Vox Day debate http://www.philipsandifer.com/2015/06/the-vox-day-interview-transcript.html but also carried one of the strongest and most insightful accounts of the controversy: http://www.philipsandifer.com/2015/04/guided-by-beauty-of-their-weapons.html

Multiple bloggers: Spacefaring Kitten https://sfkittens.wordpress.com/, Lis Carey http://www.liscareyslibrary.com, Rebekah Golden http://rebekahgolden.com/ , Tegan Gjovagg http://realtegan.blogspot.com/2015/07/hugo-blatherings.html … and many others (apologies to people I’ve left off) who bravely read then reviewed multiple works of dubious quality.

Vox Day: sad to say. Day’s strategy (probably) was to help promote his vanity publishing house whilst trying to estbalish the niche market it was intended to serve. Day had already burnt all his bridges to wider fandom so all the negative publicity was simply net publicity. Whether his publishing enterprise will be a commercial success is another question but the Puppy Kerfuffle won’t have done it any harm.

Eric Flint: http://www.ericflint.net/ A series of insightful posts on the conflict enabled him to position himself both as an outsider to the supposed ‘establishment’ and a powerful critic of the Puppy campaign.

John Scalzi: http://whatever.scalzi.com/ as the key Puppy-Hate figure, Scalzi stayed classy (on the whole)

Worldcon: While it is unclear what the financial impact of all the additional supporting memberships is, and it is unclear who these new members are and how they may vote/nominate in 2016, the net gain in numbers is likely to be overall positive.

Marko Kloos, Annie Bellet: Gained kudos by withdrawing their work but gained publicity as well.

Mixed

Tor Publishing: http://www.tor.com/ The Gallo-Affair was a distraction and helped mobilize (briefly) the Puppy’s to Vox Day’s agenda. Tor’s reaction was initially very poor and looked very much like letting Gallo take the blame. The Puppy/not-Puppy-honestly boycott was ridiculous and probably helped Tor by making many people who felt let down by their initial response act more favorably towards the publisher.

Baen Publishing: http://www.baen.com/ All publicity is good publicity but much of what was Puppy nominated that was also Baen published was of poor quality. Putting your weaker publications out to a wide, influential and critical audience is unwise.

Larry Correia: http://monsterhunternation.com/ Correia had started the whole Sad Puppy process but stayed away from the fray (on the whole) in this most controversial cycle.

Kary English: Perhaps the strongest Puppy nominated author, English had a difficult time trying to steer a course between the multiple viewpoints. I think, on the whole, that she came up on top.

Losers

Mad Genius bloggers: http://madgeniusclub.com/ some of the oddest, least well thought through and overwrought posts appeared here. Perhaps the assorted group of writers solidified their fanbase but it is hard to see that they would have found a new audience.

John C Wright: http://www.scifiwright.com/ A talented writer but who used the Puppy process as a platform for some very odd views and whose slated works were notably weak and inconsistent.

Michael Z. Williamson: Williamson had written at least one decent short story in 2014 but any positive qualities he may have as a writer were overshadowed by the nomination of what is widely regard as the worst thing ever to be nominated for a Hugo Award. Wisdom from my Internet was so awful as to be the ultimate evidence of how appalling Sad Puppies 3 was as an exercise. Additionally the attention from this nomination just drew people’s attention to some of the nasty things he was posting on Facebook under the excuse of ‘humor’.

Peter Grant: http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com.au/ A man so keen on joining the Puppy campaign that he started his own side campaign – a quixotic boycott of Tor books. It is hard to see what, if anything, Grant has gained. As a principled stand it seemed to be deeply confused – it required him to assert that he was a puppy (so Gallo’s comments applied to him) but then assert that he wasn’t a puppy so that he could claim that the boycott was not a puppy campaign.

Brad Torgersen: https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/ The tragic protagonist of the whole tale. Torgersen repeatedly defended the Puppy campaign even when the criticism was aimed at Rabid Puppies. He then tried to make clear the distinction between the two campaigns but continued to conflate criticism of the Rabid Puppies (and Vox Day) with criticism of him and his campaign. Despite some later more insightful posts, he failed to acknowledge that there was any issue worth discussing with his actions. Unfortunately he will ever be associated with this strange period in the Hugo history – as a vandal of something people loved rather than as a writer.

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The Aslan, the warlock and the cupboard: more on One Bright Star: [Updated][Updated a bit more+]

miaow

[There is an interesting alternate view of Tybalt from a fan of Wright here]

[I’m putting some additional Tybalt opinions at the end]

It is a rule of blogging that a blog in search of hits must blog on the topics that have received hits. Such is the way of the blog.

The recent posts on the Sandifer-Day discussion received some nice slow-burn attention from directions other than File 770. Which was nice. So to break that winning streak I’m going to waffle on more about the Hugo puppy-nominated story “One Bright Star To Guide Them”. Specifically I am going to consider whether Tybalt the Talking Cat makes any allegorical sense whatsoever.

To recap “One Bright Star To Guide Them” is a story that looks at some characters in adulthood who, as children, went on a Narnia like adventure. The author is John C Wright and it was edited by Vox Day. It is one of several works by Wright that received a Hugo nomination this year (2015) because of the Rabid Puppy slate.

In the story the hero is Thomas and he has lived a somewhat successful,life since his childhood struggle against the forces of evil. His return to this supernatural struggle is heralded by the appearance of talking cat (yay!) called Tybalt. For most of the story Tybalt the Talking Cat guides Thomas through a series of conflicts and encounters with his former childhood companions. Continue reading

Puppy reaction to Sandifer v Day: [Updated]

[Update: surprisingly John C Wright has mentioned this post on his own blog. I have been anointed the rank of “Magic Morlock”: scifiwright.com. Yeah, MAGIC morlock.]

You may need to read this post first to understand the background.

Magic Morlock Nominated Post

El Sandifer has published the transcript to her pod-cast discussion with arch-Rabid Puppy Vox Day. The discussion was about two works; the puppy nominated “One Bright Star to Guide Them” by John C Wright and “The Wasp Factory” by Iain Banks.

Both Vox Day (voxday.blogspot.com.au) and John C Wright have posted on their blogs in reaction to the transcript.

Day doesn’t say much other than he thought he did well and post a section of the discussion on The Wasp Factory that he liked. Brilliantly, El Sandifer has joined in with the comments at Vox Day’s site and has discombulated the Day commentariat with a mercurial account of her views on a range of related subjects, including Platonism, Liebniz & Newton’s discovery of differential calculus and a host Continue reading