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!

Sympathy for the Puppy: Brad Responds

At Hoyt’s blog, Brad Torgersen has responded to my comment in response to his Boxcar Comment. I reproduce it here in full:

Paul, I don’t think you and I have ever specifically had a “face-to-face,” either on the internet or in person. Perhaps I can put it like this:

Since the release of the Hugo final ballot in April, I’ve had the following happen to me:

– I’ve been called a liar.
– I’ve been called a cheater.
– I’ve been called a coward.
– I’ve had my career as an author threatened.
– I’ve had my military career threatened.
– I’ve had my civilian career threatened.
– I’ve been called a racist.
– I’ve been called a sexist.
– I’ve been called a homophobe.
– I’ve had a small press get bullied into removing me from a project.
– And, I’ve been sent death threats. To include threats against my family.

Now, I don’t blame Worldcon fandom specifically for the death threats. Those happened about the time Arthur Chu was attacking me, and since Arthur’s fans are into that kind of thing, I chalked it up to Arthur’s fans just doing what they do best. Arthur doesn’t give a damn about science fiction or the Hugos, and neither do his fans. Arthur is in it for Arthur — the runaway ego who thinks he can call the whole world names.

Still, my wife’s been taking shooting classes, is getting a weapon, and also a concealed-carry permit. Anyone who tries to hurt her or our daughter while I am away on deployment, is going to get properly capped.

Hopefully you’ve not been involved in any of the items I listed. If you were, I hope perhaps you’ve had second thoughts about it?

It’s difficult for me to remain civil, when some of the people who compose the opposition resort to smear campaigns, slander, and threats — in order to try to make me go away.

As for slating, it’s not like this hasn’t been happening forever anyway — the direct application of “methods” to get things onto the ballot.

Locus does it every year with their own list, and nobody bats an eyelash. Bloggers aplenty also do their own lists. TOR has been very actively pushing to get its overtly political authors — Leckie, Scalzi, Hurley — rocketships. Seanan McGuire got on the ballot five times in a single season and nobody said shit about it. Or if they did, nobody pitched the kind of fit they’ve pitched this year.

So far as I can tell, the only real difference between what Sad Puppies 3 has done, and what TOR or the McGuire lobby have done, is that Sad Puppies 3 was a fully transparent effort operated completely above-board with ample lead time and fully within the rules. We didn’t want to be a “quiet manipulation” as most other Hugo logrolling efforts are. In fact, Sad Puppies 3 didn’t want to be a “manipulation” at all. We wanted to be in broad daylight. No hiding. No pretending.

And we succeeded precisely because of that transparency. We threw the tent flap wide, yelled, “Come one, come all,” and we didn’t do sniff tests, and we didn’t give a damn if anyone was the “right” kind of fan.

I’ve said it elsewhere: Sad Puppies 3 demanded nothing, and threatened nothing. We invited people to vote. We suggested what we thought would be good for the ballot. Nothing was commanded.

The opponents of Sad Puppies 3 have demanded and commanded a great deal. Lies and slander and threats, and much worse, have been directed at Larry Correia, myself, and most other notable Sad Puppies players, for months. Make it years, if we go back to the hatred directed at Correia specifically in 2014 — when Larry got death mail too.

If the response of some Sad Puppies opponents is to make death threats — because a democracy was exercised democratically — this says far, far more about the hearts of those opponents, than it does about us. We’re having fun. The “wrong” fun if you ask many sourfaced Trufen. But it’s still fun.

People who make threats? Against life, limb, property, and profession?

There is nothing “fun” in that mentality. Just the opposite.

If you’re spending a lot of time with the anti-Puppies — with the people who are committed to stopping Sad Puppies at all costs — Tend to your own house, sir. There are some dark souls dwelling there. Maybe not you specifically, but those who walk around you and mutter, “Something must be done.”

Because If you think Sad Puppies 3 was bad for the well-meant (but ultimately naïve) reliance on a tacit understanding of the hands-off traditions and expectations of the Hugos, just wait until the Social Justice crowd really gets their legs under them. Sad Puppies could go away forever. The rules could be changed to get rid of us — many want that. But the Social Justice wing of SF won’t be satisfied. Kicking puppies is just their warm-up act. They learned all the worst lessons of Marxism and Marxist tactics, and they’re determined to take over.

Thus, the actual evil is coming in the future. And I mean the actual evil. And it won’t be us. We’ll have long since been evicted from the space — we ultimately don’t care who calls us bad. It’ll be the people who hate you, Paul, for not being a good enough “ally” according to the solipsistic rules of the Victim Heirarchy, so they will invent all kinds of bogeyman bullshit about why you’re a secretly horrible person, and an oppressor, and they will start the threats and the slander all over again. And no matter how much you try to appease them, they won’t be happy with you. Until you’re shut out and erased from the equation.

Messages and Escapism in Fiction

Via File 770, I came across this blog post from Puppy T.L. Knighton: “Why I no longer Care”

In this post, Tom posits that he doesn’t want to read message fiction, and wants to read purely for escapism.

I read for fun. If I want to challenge myself, I read non-fiction. I’m a damn political writer. I challenge myself daily. I read fiction for fun, and it’s not your place to suggest I challenge myself in what I do for pleasure. It’s not anyone’s place.

And that’s your place, Tom. It’s not Wrongfun at all. Its not even really limiting, since there is so much out there TO read. You could make your fiction diet entirely
composed of Popcorn Fiction and never come close to running out. That’s your business. Godspeed.

Don’t be fooled, though, to think that the Puppies are entirely escapism fiction. Some of it is (c.f. Larry Correia), and some of it (c.f. John C Wright) most certainly is not. And guess what? That’s true of non-Puppies as well! Try reading Leviathan Wakes, for example, if you don’t think non-Puppies can write fiction with a large dose of tasty escapism.

I’ve been one of those trying to argue that message fiction was a bad idea. I still think it is. But now, I just don’t care what those folks do.

I believe in free markets, and I think the market will slap some of these publishers hard. They’ll either learn from it, or not. Either way, new publishers will rise. Baen can’t publish everything, after all.

My point here, Mr. Knighton, is this: Every piece of fiction, even Popcorn Fiction, has messages in it, explicit or implicit. The puppies definition of message fiction, as far as I have ever been able to make out, is “fiction with messages that I don’t like”.

Let me illustrate two possible scenarios of a classic scenario and show you the messages within

1. Aliens secretly exist in the world all around us. The US government knows about this, and has an agency tasked with keeping tabs on them. The protagonist is recruited into this organization. There are comments dropped here how the public is not ready to know about the aliens.

2. Aliens secretly exist in the world all around us. A private organization knows about this, and manages their existence and keeps that from the US Government as well as the general public. The protagonist is recruited into this organization. There are comments dropped here and there about the fecklessness of the government and how the public is not ready to know about the aliens.

Fiction #1’s message is:The Government is not incompetent, and the public needs to be managed.
Fiction #2’s message is: The Government can’t be trusted AND the public needs to be managed.

Both are message fiction. I suspect that scenario #2, for a spectrum of the Puppies, is Not a message or seen as such, since it agrees with their politics.

Spoilers, Sweetie

Based on a tweet that I made to him about not wanting to spoil a book from 1920, Jesse Willis of SFF Audio wrote a post about spoilers and how he hates the whole notion of spoilers.

Go read it. I’ll wait.

Okay, back, good?

So, Jesse’s thesis is that he is annoyed by the rise and use of the term and the idea of spoilers. He considers it self-censoring to limit discussion in this fashion, especially when there is so many more books, movies, TV shows than anyone can consume in their lives. And yet spoilers are something that a lot of people are upset if they get in casual conversation, in blog posts, in reviews. Why?

I think its the problem of novelty in modern culture. Sure, there are more things than ever to consume–and there is a LOT of the “same old same old”. Reboots, reimaginings, reinventions. Let’s show the origin of the Fantastic Four AGAIN. Let’s write yet another epic fantasy series with no real invention. Let’s do another procedural TV show. There is a lot of sameness in culture. Surprise, and novelty are sometimes lacking. I can see how people eschew having that novelty prefigured for them, and not allowed to learn that, yes, it was his sled. Or that the Planet of the Apes had been Earth all along. Or that badass grandpa Obi-Wan was never getting off the Death Star.

So, I eschew giving spoilers, and *especially* when someone is consuming something new. Last night, Sunil Patel was watching Jupiter Ascending for the first time, and livetweeting. I resisted firmly discussing about what was “coming up” because I thought it wasn’t fair for me to not allow him to be surprised at first.

Now for older stuff, I do have a statute of limitations–unless you are consuming it. Case in point: Jesse is reading/listening to Voyage to Arcturus, a book from 1920. I don’t want to prefigure his experience before he has it himself. If he weren’t reading it, I’d be much more inclined to spoil it to him, since its not going to hurt a contemporary and co-temporaneous experience.

Boxcars, Marxists, and SJWs

You, know, I try so hard to see the other side. I try my damnest.

And, then a comment from Brad Torgersen at Sarah Hoyt’s blog makes me wonder–what the hell is the point. I am quoting the whole thing, andlinking to it:

Brad R. Torgersen | August 13, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Reply
Lately, I have thought this: if conservatives believe the purpose of government is to preserve liberty, liberals believe the purpose of government is to perfect the human condition. One of these goals is achievable. The other is a well-intended road to Hell.

The Futurians were an egg-headed bunch of ambitiously political chaps who thought the purpose of science fiction should be to proselytize Marxism, and extoll the virtues of a Marxist future. Many of them went on to be important writers and editors in the field. The consciousness of the field is therefore strongly shaped by these overtly politicized beginnings — to include the Marxist mindset that art should serve the project of improving society.

Now, these weren’t cynically malevolent Stalinists. Rather, they were starry-eyed Walter Duranty-type believers in the inevitability of the redistributive “scientific state” which would end poverty, end wars, end classism, and other “isms” as identified during the Long Struggle to make the world be “better.”

The Futurians — in 1939 — did not have our 20/20 hindsight of the Soviet Experiment, with its gulags and mass graves.

The rage-inducing part is that the great-grandchildren of the Futurians do have that 20/20 hindsight, and they learn absolutely nothing from it. They want to repeat the horror: the intrusive and omnipresent state control, the armies of Cheka police enforcing state-mandated doctrine, the unpersoning, the ritual Mao-style shamings and reeducation, the use of “fair game” tactics against designated targets; and the associates and families of same. Destroying businesses. Destroying lives. A mass chilling effect. And so much worse.

People think gulags can’t happen here.

Most of the Commissars of the new Cheka — the Political Correctness zealots — would happily see camps opened and filled to overflowing. They’ve already figured out how to manipulate campuses with political courts that operate in place of the actual law. They are actively working within the political framework of cities and states and the federal government, to get the laws perverted so that political courts can operate with full state authority. “Hatred” is the new enemy, and HATRED is the label that is applied to “Anything and anyone we don’t like,” according to the Commissars.

Columnist Cathy Young, who saw the Soviet system from the inside, recently excerpted a startlingly grotesque — and increasingly familiar — chapter from a novel, regarding the days of the Soviet world at its terrifying zenith.

This is the passage that caught my eye the most:

what sort of things was he saying before? No, comrades, expelling Shevchuk is easy, but it’s not enough. Not enough! We have to investigate the entire teaching staff and the school administrators, we need to find out how the school could have allowed an unhealthy environment to thrive in which this Shevchuk could operate with impunity. I think, comrades, that we need to send a Party commission to the school. And to identify all the unhealthy elements that may be present.

Let me re-fiddle that for you:

What sort of things were they saying before? No, expelling Correia or Torgersen is easy, but it’s not enough. Not enough! We have to investigate the entire science fiction field and the publishers, we need to find out how the field could have allowed an unsafe environment to thrive in which these cisnormative, sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic authors could operate with impunity. I think, comrades, that we need to send a Hate Crimes commission to Worldcon. And to identify all the unsafe elements that may be present.

So, the field is essentially returning to its Marxist roots. But the starry-eyedness is mostly gone. Now we’re down to the raw hate of the thing: the vengeance-minded outliers and weirdos, determined to punish wrongdoing and wrongthinking and wrongfeeling. Which means, of course, smoking out all the wrongfans having all the wrongfun with their wrongstuff.

If they could clap us in shackles, put us into the boxcars, and send us to the icy wastes to die, they would do it in a heartbeat.

Because — by golly! — somebody has to make things be safe!