Recent Stuff by and with me 4/28

The Weimer’s been busy in your genresphere!

I have an interview of DAEDALUS trilogy author Mike J Martinez at SF Signal. I’ve been an early and often supporter of Mike’s work, and even managed to make the acknowledgements of the third book, coming soon.

Also at SF Signal, I review Mary Robinette Kowal’s OF NOBLE FAMILY. The end to her GLAMOURIST HISTORIES series! A rare 5 star review from me, well deserved.

At SFF Audio, I join Jesse and Jenny on their newest podcast episode to talk about PACIFIC EDGE by Kim Stanley Robinson..

S.C. Flynn has a written interview with the Skiffy and Fanty crew, including me.

I’ve been doing about a review a week at Skiffy and Fanty. My latest is Genevieve Cogman’s THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY.

Beale and Gamergate

“what Gamergate is fundamentally about is the right of people to design, develop and play games that they want to design, develop and play without being criticized for it.”
— Theodore Beale

You have the right to play “Hunt the Clinton!” all you like, but I have the right to call you out on that asshattery. You have the right to play sexist games all you right, but I have the right to point out that they are sexist.

No one wants to stop you from playing those games, Mr. Beale. However, you’re wrong if you can be immune from criticism of same. You don’t have to listen to that criticism, of course, but you can’t say it shouldn’t exist.

And guess what? That applies to science fiction, too. You can write Bourbon science fiction all you like, when men are men, women are women, and all that, but certainly my review of said fiction is going to point out just how pants your world is. You can have your medieval European fantasy with no POC, but I can point out just how awfully wrong and inaccurate that is. You can write a story that thematically is a bit of a steal from Judith Tarr’s Isle of Glass, but I can point out how awful it is as a story.

2 Corinthians 6:14 and othering: Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies and SJWs

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 (KJV)

This Story on Hullabaloo got me thinking about the conflict in SFF Fandom lately regarding the Hugos and all sides.

There is a hell of a lot of “othering” going on, and yes, its not limited to one side, or even predominantly one side. There is also the perception of othering on BOTH sides that probably exceeds the actual amount going on.

Larry, Brad and Sad Puppies see themselves as being treated as pariahs and outsiders by the Worldcon crowd. Part of that perception, whether its ex post facto, perception only, or really there just amplifies itself on the Internet. Similarly, the other side (which I am going to call SJW, just because its easier) sees many right wing authors and people as being beyond the pale, unworthy or impossible to engage with, and sparks fly on that side.

Mike Glyer’s File 770 has been one of the few places where both sides have come to meet, mainly due to Mike’s attempts to document this entire affair. and even there, conversations often devolve into name calling, and labeling. There appears to be an interest in keeping people on the “other side” as Other.

I am not perfect even as I’ve tried to maintain decorum and contact with people on all sides. That has made my position complicated when it works, but I’ve mostly gotten a lot of grief for my attempts. Dogpiling, personal attacks, a lack of civility and dismissal, rather than actually wanting to engage in a dialogue seem to be easier than facing the “Other”. This amplifies with self-reinforcement that the other side can’t be reasoned with, and it goes on and on and on.

And sad to say, my quote of scripture above itself will be seen thusly by some:

Mark you this, Bassanio,
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

-Merchant of Venice, Act I Scene III

A question I pose to the Sad Puppies about the future of the Hugos

I’ve a question for the Sad Puppies. I crossposted this as a comment on Brad’s Blog, too.

What is the middle game (much less the endgame) here?

Is all this the idea that with enough slates narrowly voted on by Sad Puppies in enough years, all the SJWs are going to dry up and blow away? That, now that everyone has seen that authors like Jim Butcher and Marko Kloos and Tom Kratman can make the Hugo ballot, no one is going to vote for the SJWs blindly because of ‘nomination lock’, and you can declare victory?

Is that what you think is going to happen? Is that what you want to happen?

Is there ever a time that, to stop Rat-faced little Gits and the feminists they support from ever ruining the Hugos again, the Sad Puppies will put up slates and voting them in perpetuity each and every year?

Could a ballot, without a sad puppy slate that had, for example, Brad Torgersen, Larry Correia, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ann Leckie and John Scalzi up for best novels be seen as legitimate by you because, Kowal and Leckie and Scalzi were “surely” logrolled onto there behind the scenes and thus the SJW cabal is back to their old tricks.

Is an annual Sad Puppy slate therefore the “new normal?” to prevent this?

Bourbons and Bakunins: The Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies

I’ve been inspired by people like Mike Glyer at File 770 in keeping up with the Hugo conversation.The “Big Guy” George R R Martin is weighing in too, now.

I have some further thoughts myself, now. Thanks go to Kari Sperring and Charles Stross, too, for urging me to talk this out. They’re smarter than me. You should listen to what they say.

One of the developments as the Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy Axis managed to garner most of the slots on the Hugo ballot by slate voting that Tammany Hall would be proud of is the insistence, especially on the Sad Puppies front, that they are aren’t affiliated with the Rabid Puppies at all. There is a strong decrying of any calls that *they* are racist, although they don’t quite throw Theodore Beale under any buses. Similarly, Theodore Beale has stated he is “not affiliated” with the Sad Puppies.

I think this is a facile and deeply misleading attempt at a difference, since the two slates clearly are connected together. Its akin to insisting the Tea Party is not part of the Republican Party. It just isn’t believable. And people like James May is more seen in Sad Puppy land, but acts in a very Rabid Puppy manner. Sarah Hoyt’s Mad Genius Club appear to partake of both types.

So what I observe, and think, is that the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies are overlapping (oh no, a Venn Diagram again!) but distinct portions of groups I am going to call Bourbons and Bakunins. Both groups seek to change the Hugo awards, in different ways.
I name the Bourbons after the Bourbon Restoration (1814-1830). The Bourbon Restoration, in France, was a recapitulation of the Ancien Regime monarchy that had gotten throw over in the French revolution and Napoleon’s rise to power. It was an attempt to turn back the clock to the way things were as much as possible. It wasn’t a complete restoration and, in the end, it could not succeed or last. The world, and the people of France, had changed too much, and France convulsed as a result.

The Bourbons in science fiction, like Brad and Larry, want the Hugo awards to reward the things they used to, and what Brad and Larry like and value and write in their own fiction:

“That’s what’s happened to Science Fiction & Fantasy literature. A few decades ago, if you saw a lovely spaceship on a book cover, with a gorgeous planet in the background, you could be pretty sure you were going to get a rousing space adventure featuring starships and distant, amazing worlds. If you saw a barbarian swinging an axe? You were going to get a rousing fantasy epic with broad-chested heroes who slay monsters, and run off with beautiful women. Battle-armored interstellar jump troops shooting up alien invaders? Yup. A gritty military SF war story, where the humans defeat the odds and save the Earth. And so on, and so forth.
These days, you can’t be sure.

It’s a clear call and wish for the way things were. Ancillary Justice has Space Opera, but it does interesting things with gender. The Mirror Empire is big epic fantasy, but with all sorts of interesting societies and female characters in power. These books have an audience and reflect the diversity of SF readership, but not Brad and Larry’s tastes. To them, these books are “Social Justice fiction” and see them in terms of politics they don’t like. This must be turned back, and they’ve decided to turn the Hugos back. I think this is part of Brad’s admonition and hope that the nuclear No Award option doesn’t win categories this year. The No Award option IS a nuclear one, and they know it. It would hurt the Hugos, and that is not the Bourbons’ Goal.

The Bakunins are another matter. I name these after Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin a 19th century Russian revolutionary anarchist. The Bakunins, people like Theodore Beale and his crowd, and the more vile members of Gamergate, are vandals of the first order. They hate the “Social justice warriors” with even more fervor than the Bourbons, but their goals are different. Their goals, to my observation, aren’t to reform the Hugos, but to destroy them. The reason why they want to destroy the Hugos is simple—their political opponents value them, and so to destroy them redounds to their advantage. Some of the dark corners of the Rabid Puppies are truly dark, with Mens Right’s Activists, virulent sexism, racism, and homophobia on full display. The Bourbons can and do vehemently deny their racism (despite strong evidence to the contrary). The Rabid Puppies revel in the anarchical chaos and personal destruction they cause. A No Award Hugo night is no skin off of their nose.

“Revolution requires extensive and widespread destruction, a fecund and renovating destruction, since in this way and only this way are new worlds born” –Bakunin.

The Bourbons can sometimes be talked with and debated, even if I disagree with their agenda. Although, with politics hardening on all sides, I have seen that to become more and more difficult this year.

The Bakunins, however, seek only to ‘win’, especially if it means the Hugos are crippled or destroyed. There is no rational debating with them, as far as I have ever managed.

LeGuin news from Gollancz

Gollancz reveals extensive new publishing plans for Ursula K. Le Guin.

Gollancz, an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, is thrilled to announce a far-reaching new publishing project for Ursula K. Le Guin. Gollancz has acquired UK and Commonwealth Rights to five significant novels, two short story collections, a volume of selected non-fiction, as well as eBook rights to twelve widely-acclaimed novels including A Wizard of Earthsea and The Dispossessed amongst others.

Gollancz’s announcement coincides with the initial broadcast of a BBC Radio 4 Ursula K. Le Guin documentary (today, 11.30am, BBC Radio 4) where Naomi Alderman talks to Ursula K. Le Guin about her life and work and hears from literary fans such as David Mitchell. The documentary will be followed by two BBC Radio 4 dramatizations of Left Hand of Darkness (starts 12 April, BBC Radio 4) and Earthsea (starts 27 April, BBC Radio 4 Extra)

Deputy CEO of the Orion Publishing Group, Malcolm Edwards, bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Susan Smith of MBA acting for Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown in New York.

Gillian Redfearn, Publishing Director of Gollancz, said: ‘Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the world’s finest writers, in or out of genre, and we’re delighted to have concluded this deal to add more of her novels to our SF Masterworks list and to publish eBooks of so many of her great SF and Fantasy works. It’s particularly pleasing to welcome the Earthsea books back to Gollancz, where we first published them in hardback over four decades ago.’

The deal includes rights to publish Hugo Award-winner The Word for World is Forest and the ground-breaking Always Coming Home in paperback and eBook.

Gollancz will also publish a paperback omnibus edition of the early “Hainish” novels – Rocannon’s World, Planet of Exile, and City of Illusions – and an omnibus volume of selected non-fiction to be compiled by the author and drawn from previous ground-breaking works including The Language of the Night, The Wave in the Mind and Dancing at the End of the World.

Two important short story collections, The Wind’s Twelve Quarters and The Compass Rose, will also be published in a paperback omnibus.

The “Hainish” novels, non-fiction titles and short story collections mentioned above will also be published individually as eBooks.

Most excitingly, Gollancz will also publish eBooks of the widely acclaimed Earthsea series, comprising A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, Tales From Earthsea and The Other Wind. Other titles to be published as eBooks include A Very Long Way from Anywhere Else, The Eye of the Heron and Unlocking the Air, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (please see overleaf for a full list of titles). The eBooks will be published as part of an on-going programme over the coming years.

The books will be published as part of Gollancz’s popular SF Masterworks and Fantasy Masterworks list that aims to showcase landmark works of science fiction and fantasy from the 20th century. Current SF Masterworks By Ursula K. Le Guin – The Dispossessed and The Lathe of Heaven – will also receive eBook editions for the first time in the UK.

Ursula K. Le Guin was the winner of the 2014 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the National Book Awards. Her books have won many awards including the National Book Award, the Hugo and Nebula Awards and a Newbery Honour. Her recent series, the Annals of the Western Shore, has won her the PEN Center USA Children’s literature award and the Nebula Award for best novel. She has been recognised for almost fifty years as one of the most important writers in the SF field – and is likewise feted beyond the confines of the genre. Her books have attracted millions of devoted readers and won many awards. Among her novels, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed and the six books of Earthsea have attained undisputed classic status. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

About Gollancz: Gollancz is the oldest specialist SF & Fantasy publisher in the UK. Founded in 1927 and with a continuous SF publishing programme dating back to 1961, the imprint of the Orion Publishing Group is home to a galaxy of award-winning and bestselling authors. Through our long-running SF and Fantasy Masterworks programme, and major digital initiative the SF Gateway, Gollancz has one of the largest ranges of SF and Fantasy of any publisher in the world.

Advocati Diaboli: The Sad Puppies and the 2015 Hugo Award Nominations.

The 2015 Hugo Nominee list is up.

More than anyone could have expected, the voting bloc of the Sad Puppies has made the vast majority of the
nomination slots, and indeed, of their proposed slate, to BE the nomination slate this year.

Brad and his friends are crowing about ‘stealing the Enterprise.’. Jason Sanford
has some analysis of the nominees and book sales, concluding that the Non Puppy nominees, despite what has been asserted, do sell significant numbers of books.. Mike Glyer at File 770 looks at the slate in detail. An interesting note: Larry Correia declined a Hugo nomination for his book. I wonder who got on the final nominee list as a result.

Also of interest, Matthew David Surridge, who also gotten a nomination thanks to the Sad Puppies slate, declined it. At long length, he talks about it at Black Gate.

John Scalzi, who is a Bete Noire to the Sad Puppies, has some good thoughts too.

I do not believe that all of the Sad Puppies nominators read the entire slate of Sad Puppies and found those works to be the only Hugo nominateable ones, and nominated on that basis. Of course that is true of more nominators than just the Sad Puppies, but the practical upshot of a slate of nominees and an active set of fans nominating solely on that basis is the results today.

I know there has always been logrolling behind the scenes for a particular author, or a particular book, but the Sad Puppies have, in the modern internet age, proved that they can and did logroll nearly an entire year’s Hugo slate. There is work on this ballot that has nothing to do with the Puppies, and there are Puppies nominees who are worth consideration. But by and large, they have made this year’s Hugo’s all about the politics, as Charlie Jane Anders says.

If you compare the nominating ballot numbers from this year, and last year, you can see the Puppies activism. I’m not against lots of new voters, I’m on the record
as saying the Hugos need to expand. What I am against is bringing in hundreds of new voters voting a party slate. The results speak for themselves.

Further, here’s the thing. This Sad Puppies ballot voting and their political motivations makes the Hugo Award look like a parochial US only thing. What about fans in Britain? Germany? Australia? Pakistan? Their voices are only slowly being heard in SF awards, and with this slate, those voices are silenced completely this year.