Category Archives: F/SF

Representation and Advocacy for same–Women and minorities in SFF

So, the newest SF Signal Irregular, James Wallace Harris had a post on staying on the Cutting Edge of SF. Go read it, I’ll wait.

The list of works that he cites has, become, rightly, something that Juliet McKenna has pointed at for a large and fatal flaw: There are no works by women in it.

“erasing women authors impoverishes SF&Fantasy for everyone by limiting readers’ awareness and choices today and by discouraging potential future writers”

She’s right. But here comes my small dilemma. I see this, I see the issue but what should I do, and what shouldn’t I do about it? I don’t want to come off as White Knighting. Women like Juliet McKenna, and Aliette de Bodard, and Elizabeth Bear and many others are perfectly capable of defending themselves, and advocating for us all doing better. I don’t want to be seen as trying to horn in and speaking louder than they are. I don’t want a problem addressed only because a man is talking about it–I want their voices to make the change. But I also want to show my support for their position at the same time. Its a balancing act I am still learning about.

It’s not a matter of diversity for the sake of diversity, its a matter of avoiding the deliberate or unconscious erasure of works by women and other minorities.

Award Eligibility, 2015 edition

Here’s what I did in 2015, and how it would qualify in award categories – Hugo, Nebula, Locus, World Fantasy Award, etc.


Skiffy & Fanty

Mad Max: Fury Road
Space and its Discontents (Gravity and Contact)
With Kameron Hurley (author) on Empire Ascendant

SFF Audio
A Voyage to Arcturus
The Man in the High Castle
Brave New World

Best Fan Writer
Reviews and articles at SF Signal (including Mind Melds and interviews!)
Reviews and articles at Skiffy and Fanty

Special Award – Special Award—Non-professional (World Fantasy)

I would be eligible for my podcasting and reviewing work.

Gender Discrimination in SFF Awards

Renay of Lady Business (and her aarmy of helpers) has done a really good job in getting this information today.

These graphs and this information are irrefutable evidence that there IS an issue of bias in SFF awards:

SFF Awards have a problem. Despite some gains towards diversity in recent years, books by and about cis men still dominate nearly all the major awards. The gains in recent years have been encouraging, but they’re offset by long histories of privileging cis men and their writing over cis women and trans and nonbinary individuals. Most of the longest-running awards have heavily male-dominated histories. Let us be clear that this is not because cis men produce superior work. Despite their difficulty in getting published and publicized, cis women and trans and nonbinary individuals have been putting out quality work for as long as they’ve been getting published. But the SFF field by and large prefers to recognize and award books by and about cis men.



The tides of publishing are changing rapidly and Angry Robot remains right at the forefront, surfing through the storms on an insulated circuit board. Another wave is coming down the pipe, this time of our own creation. That’s right, it’s time for another Open Door period!
As you may have noticed, we normally only accept submissions for new Angry Robot books from literary agents or people known to us. But for a couple of months every year we are delighted to open our doors wide and encourage proposals from one and all.

In fact, several of our most notable novels over the years have come to us through our Open Door periods. If you know Angry Robot, you surely know Wesley Chu’s award-winning Tao series – The Lives of Tao, The Deaths of Tao, The Rebirths of Tao. Wesley’s debut came to us as an Open Door discovery, as did Philip K Dick Award-nominated Cassandra Rose Clarke, Lee Collins, Lee Battersby, and the upcoming Drake by Peter McLean. Why not join them?

When when when?!?
The Open Door period will last from 1 December 15 to 31 January 2016. Yes, that does coincidentally mean that you could take advantage of this year’s NaNoWriMo to finish that manuscript in time to get it in to us. You clever thing.

What are you looking for?
A book that will fit with the Angry Robot range – which as you surely know includes SF, F and a little pinch of WTF. Note that we are looking for full-length novels, not short stories, novellas, epic poems, comic book scripts, etc etc. Angry Robot books are aimed at adults, so no middle grade or young adult themes this time.

Who are you looking for?
Anyone who has written a thoroughly entertaining, full-length science fiction or fantasy novel. Our Open Door is open to all.

We did want to say the following though. We appreciate diversity at Angry Robot. Our track record at AR speaks for itself, but we can do even better. We also know that writers from diverse backgrounds are sometimes hesitant to submit. So we’re saying this in big letters:

We want to explicitly invite writers from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences to submit to this Open Door.

Several of our most commercially and critically-successful books have come from writers speaking from diverse backgrounds and/or about diverse characters.

This genre belongs to everyone, and we at Angry Robot want to be a part of making that maxim true in practice by championing diverse voices and helping them reach a wide audience.

So everyone, send us your best work. Show us worlds real and imagined with all their glorious complexity and diversity, that reflects the reality of today’s culture. We can’t wait to see what stories you all have to share.

Tell us more!

Patience, padawan. More detailed notes are coming soon. For now, the message is simple:

• The next Angry Robot Open Door opens December 1st 2015
• It will close on January 31st 2016
• It will be open to full-length science fiction and fantasy novels
• We want to buy and publish the best of these books on the Angry Robot list
• Angry Robot have found a notable clutch of fabulous writers from Open Door in past – this time, it could be you.

Orwellian Unpersoning on the Sad/Rabid Puppies Part

You know, its rich that Sad Rabid Puppies would go so far as to unperson someone they accused of being a “Social Justice Warrior”


Sure, freedom of association and all that…but this looks awfully…Orwellian?

The actual thing that caused this seems to be that one of the former bloggers said something bad about someone and their association with super genius Theodore Beale.

Sad Puppies 4

And so it begins…

“To that end, this thread will be the first of several to collect recommendations. There will also be multiple permanent threads (one per category) on the SP4 website where people can make comments. The tireless, wonderful volunteer Puppy Pack will be collating recommendations.

Later – most likely somewhere around February or early March, I’ll be posting The List to multiple locations. The List will not be a slate – it will be a list of the ten or so most popular recommendations in each Hugo category, and a link to the full list in all its glory. Nothing more, nothing less.”

We’ll see how it works in practice, of course. It looks less like a slate at first glance, which heartens me. The proof will be in the pudding.

When you go full metal Godwin and reject every attempt at meeting of minds…

When you go full metal Godwin and reject every attempt at meeting of minds…

You finally lose all of my patient efforts at trying reconcilation, rapprochment, seeing your perspective, trying to make peace and build bridges. God knows, I tried every which way from Sunday. I channeled my inner Ingrey, Scipio and diplomats from every fiber of my being. I tried reason, persuasion, passion, and seeing the other side of the argument.

For what? To get compared to Hitler and Goebbels?

I am DONE with the Puppies shit. DONE.

Or, for fans of Babylon 5:


Conversation with Freer

On Mad Genius Club, Dave Freer and I have been having a conversation. I reprint it here in full.


“in the sea of sf fandom (by which I mean readers), 3500 is virtually irrelevant”

3500 voters is a lot of voters by Hugo standards, but compared to all the readers out there, its not much, no.

However, the ~1000 Puppies who voted is smaller still. I am reading a “We’re the real majority” argument here, Mr. Freer. (Correct me if I am wrong). However, I don’t buy it.

I am not certain that either side can claim that the larger sphere of fandom is Puppy or Anti-Puppy. It just is. The 16 year old anime fan? The 40 year old fan who just liked B-5? The 50 year old fan who read SF when he was a teen? They don’t care about Beale, Wright, Nielsen Hayden or any of us.

My objection, this entire time boils down to this: The use of overt slate voting tactics to dominate a nomination ballot. I read the nominees, and judged them on quality. I also bore in mind how a nominee got there. I voted accordingly.

And no, I am not backslapping or cheering. The fact that the Hugos, a world SF award, got pulled into a US cultural war is crap. I lament that this year’s results turned out as they did. However, would awarding things like “Wisdom from my Internets” reflect the best of SF?

Did good people with good work like Toni Weisskopf get caught up in this? Absolutely.

Slating hurts everyone. It hurts the people left off–and it hurts the people who are on.

Dave’s Response:

Paul Weimer I am very glad you bothered to read and vote accordingly. Unfortunately, it appears you missed reading my feeble efforts, or failed to understand them. Your ‘side’ is very narrowly defined – by it’s actions and nominations. At best it makes up 15% of the US Demographic, and probably nearer to 7%. It is intolerant, narrow little church, where doctrinal purity is essential -and, as was amply displayed by the consistent ‘No Award’ largely made of camp-followers who voted to order. It nominates and votes for the same every-narrowing clique. It is deeply, passionately invested in the Hugos. I can without effort find 50 references this year from your clique to the puppies ruining something they value enormously. I challenge you – in the years when everyone but this narrow clique was excluded – find 10 of anybody among the excluded for many years making impassioned comments about how the clique had ruined the enjoyment of something they enjoyed enormously, that they waited eagerly all year for. The best you’ll find is a little sadness, but mostly those outside your little clique DON’T CARE. That is my point – with reason to care, huge effort… and you managed 3500 supporters. On opposite extreme – the ‘slate’ you accuse the puppies of voting to is shown in the actual nomination numbers that it was precisely what it claimed to be 1)Not a dictate, any more than the Locus ‘slate’ is a dictate. Have you punished the authors and editors Locus put on their list? Or is that different because it is one set of rules for your clique (it’s OK if we do it) – and different rules for the untermensch? Our ‘slate’ has vastly more diversity of thought and socio-political variety than any clique slate (which, as PNH helped to establish was very much a thing in the private backrooms of the clique). Your side represents a small, narrow doctrinaire tight group. The other ‘side’ – the puppy ‘side’ isn’t truly a side at all. It’s anyone outside your clique – from moderate left (and some of them are pretty far ‘moderate’) to right. We have a spectrum of religious and ethnic origins who actually disagree. Your lot have no diversity that is more than skin deep – very visible in their voting. So yes, you are wrong. Your clique is outnumbered by everyone you have excluded. At the most conservative that is 85% of the US demographic. Most of them don’t care a damn about the Hugos and sadly don’t care much about sf either. We’ve been trying to turn that around. You’ve been fighting that all the way. But prove me wrong, by all means. But don’t tell me: show me. Get your little clique to stop nominating the same people, to nominate new people of different political viewpoints. Ones not ‘tainted’ by our ‘slate’. Ones popular with the audiences who are not part of your clique. Propose them to your friends. Show us that you aren’t a narrow little clique putting a white man up for his 52nd nomination, because he’s part of your clique. I would be delighted to see the proof, and would certainly consider their work.

Now as to the backslapping and cheering. You say you’re not part of it. Well, as we’ve been told (in fact, you do so yourself in comment about how the nominee got there) guilt by association is still guilt even if the party concerned is purely there by accident, and has not supported the pups or even mentioned Vox Day ever. They didn’t condemn us, and recuse themselves abjectly apologizing? They’re guilty. So -sauce for the goose – you have OFTEN and vocally supported many of those cheering and backslapping, never mind simply being on the same side. Let’s hear it. Denounce them or we’ll have to hold you as guilty as them. Come on, Paul. Start by a nice rousing condemnation of the vileness of Patrick Neilsen-Hayden. We have a list, a long list, for you to go on with from there. We’d be delighted to see you holding to the rules your clique think we untermensch should follow. Show us.

“Did good people with good work like Toni Weisskopf get caught up in this? Absolutely.

Slating hurts everyone. It hurts the people left off–and it hurts the people who are on.”

Ah. The well-known ‘You made me hit you’ defense. Who uses that normally? Nice people, of course. Now tell me about these ‘left off’ – how did PNH know they’d been left off before the results were public. We didn’t (in fact couldn’t) tell him. But he knew. Now how did he do that without knowing who he expected to be on? Yes, slates hurt everyone. Secret ones, ones log-rolled in private for the benefit of a small clique who have done this for years in the nebs and plainly see no problem in this behavior (so long as the untermensch don’t) are far the worst for the whole genre. At least, in the open one can see and raise possible alternatives. That should open the field up, draw more people in, the way that the same people the same narrow clique cannot.

Paul, I have read your tweets and they’re pretty obnoxious. On the the other hand I have read some of your posts and they’re less so. 140 characters is not great for expression. I expect (and I’ve written about this for years) the rise of a new National-Socialist era, as a direct result of economics (something that seems closer every day). This does not appeal to me, but I see it coming like an express-train. When/if the future take this direction freedom and tolerance in writing will get the usual pounding. Those in your clique will want, desperately, support from the center. Take my advice, please, and start showing that you tolerate difference in others as you hope they will one tolerate you. I will, as I always have, stand for your right to be heard. But it does make my work easier if some of your side haven’t been the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

Show us.

I responded:

1)Not a dictate, any more than the Locus ‘slate’ is a dictate. Have you punished the authors and editors Locus put on their list?

I look at the Locus Recommended Reading List every year.

It’s NOT a slate. Why? It’s a LIST, not a Slate. Its far more than 5 novels or novellas or stories. If its a slate, Dave, which of the 30 novels are supposed to be the ones I’m slating?

There is a fundamental difference between putting 20 novels on a list and saying “These are great” and 5 novels, which tempts someone to just plug a nomination ballot with them.

I’ve said before–if Kate were to publish something like that next year, from suggestions from the people here, I’d *welcome* that–I’d find new stuff to read. There’s nothing wrong with longlists. You can’t use a longlist to slate anything, and even more, you find stuff to read.

A slate only pushes a nominating platform.

As far as my tweets–if you find them obnoxious–well, I apologize. That is not my intent.

Hugo Awards 2015, and free advice to Kate Paulk

And the 2015 Hugo Award winners are in the books, including a lot of No Awarding.

The full ballot statistics are here.

The Puppies are already upset by all the No Awarding. Brad Torgersen comments on his own blog.

The numbers in the end suggest that out of 6000 voters, about 10% each were Rabid and Sad Puppies. Enough that with slates they were able to dominate the nomination slates, but got trounced in the general election, as it were.

Here’s my free advice to Kate Paulk:

Forget the Slating. Go ahead and have your community put up a 10-15 item list of books you like. Books that people should read, and if they like, nominate.
Join the discussion, don’t try to dictate the discussion by a short list that gets used as a political talking point and football and weapon.
Slating is a way to dominate, not join, the SFF discussion. You and the Sad Puppies can’t stop or modify what Super Genius Theodore Beale will do–but you can be better actors. You’ll find a far more receptive audience for the books you bring forward, and a lot less hostility.

Roundup of stuff 8/20

I’ve had a busy week on the Internets!

–I was on SFF Audio talking Philip K Dick’s DR. Futurity

Three (count ’em) Reviews on SF Signal:

Kate Elliott’s Fabulous Court of Fives

Aliette de Bodard’s Amazing House of Shattered Wings

Jason Hough’s exciting thriller Zero World.

I was in Rob Bedford’s Mind Meld talking about Author Comebacks.

At Skiffy and Fanty, I talk about Ash: A Secret History by Mary Gentle.

So, like I said, tons of stuff from me this week!