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Thursday, April 09, 2015

Objectively superior

At File 770, David W. raises the point about the need for Sad Puppies to make the case that the works they have nominated are meritorious beyond the fact that many of them have sold rather well.
Hugo awards aren’t intended to recognize the skiffy equivalent of Kraft Mac & Cheese dinners. They’re intended to recognize works that are distinctive, not derivative, in the genre, and frankly we’re lucky if 10% of what’s written rises above the level of mediocrity. So the SP’s need to base their claim for Hugo recognition on something other than sales, such as, “what’s amazing and wonderful about this story” and “what new and interesting thing has someone done with science fiction lately”. Not “my story outsold yours, neener, neener, neener”.
Actually, we can do considerably better than appeal to subjective superlatives too. We can objectively prove the superiority of both the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies recommendations, as well as the 2015 shortlist, to the previous five Best Novel classes.


What year looks more like one representative of a true Best Novel class to you? While the averages are set, the winner in 2015 could actually be as high as Jim Butcher's 4.8-rated Skin Game, but the lowest ranking book nominated this year, Ann Leckie's Ancillary Sword, is still rated higher than any recent winner except for her own Ancillary Justice. In short fiction, consider the Amazon ratings and number of reviews for two of the Novella nominees in comparison with last year's winners of the Novella and Novelette categories.

4.6 (63) One Bright Star to Guide Them (2015 finalist)
4.3 (121) Big Boys Don’t Cry (2015 finalist)
4.4 (48) Lady Astronaut of Mars (2014 winner)
4.3 (152) Equoid (2014 winner)

The Sad Puppy nominees are objectively superior as rated by Amazon. They are, in fact, superior across the board in comparison with recent years. We are raising the bar, not lowering it.

At the Castalia House blog, Daniel has done some more research in this regard going back to 1986.

Labels:

127 Comments:

Blogger Joshua Dyal April 09, 2015 3:41 PM  

Just like an SJW to attempt to put forward some kind of nebulous credential that only they can, of course, bestow, because there's nothing at all empirical behind it.

And to call sci-fi "skiffy" or otherwise use precious and cute little twee nicknames.

Anonymous Paul April 09, 2015 3:43 PM  

"They’re intended to recognize works that are distinctive, not derivative"

Is Scalzi's work not self-admittedly derivative? Was this concern raised with regards to his nominations and wins? Do rabbits talk out of their ass?

Anonymous WinstonWebb April 09, 2015 3:55 PM  

"Lois Tilton on April 9, 2015 at 12:23 pm said:
VD – “objectively superior as rated by Amazon” is self-contradictory, just as “objectively factual as stated in Wikipedia”.

Amazon ratings are the product of self selection bias, they have no -objective- bearing on literary quality or excellence."


So you see, VD, you have to qualify them by crossing THIS line.
The one over here.
Not the one drawn previously...that's ludicrous.

Anonymous MrGreenMan April 09, 2015 3:56 PM  

“what’s amazing and wonderful about this story” and “what new and interesting thing has someone done with science fiction lately”

This seems to be an incredibly stupid idea for how to make a Sci Fi award, but it explains the dreck we have seen. You just have to be the first to a specific perversion - that keeps it fresh; number two is a gimmick.

First book to decide to only use the female pronoun? Award!

Reverse the gender pronouns? Award!

Make men give birth and women have penises? Award!

Talk about swapping blow jobs in the barracks? Award!

Inter-species love involving a were-seal? Award!

Inter-species love not involving a were-seal? Award!

Stream of consciousness first person spoken with some magic pronoun other than "I"? Award!

Take a classic tale, but introduce some lesbian sex angle? Award!

Take a classic tale, but reverse all the genders? Award!

Have a woman have to make a typical male career choice, and then choose to please herself first? Award!

Make the hero's love interest secretly a gay guy? Award!

Take a classic TV show, but redo it with a guy with different hair? Award!

Anonymous Mavwreck April 09, 2015 3:56 PM  

A few questions:

1. What does the "winner" data point mean for the 2015, Sad Puppy, and Rabid Puppy entries? I'm assuming in previous years it refers to the work that actually won, but unless you have a time machine you're not telling us about, VD... :)

2. How big are the review sets for the various slates? It's possible that small review counts distort some of the averages (say, that big dip in the 2011 winner), or that the # of reviews has changed over the years.

3. What's to stop the Other Side from claiming the Amazon ratings aren't subjective? I wouldn't be shocked if someone says "the Evil Vox Day has been pushing his minions to influence the Amazon ratings".

Of course, I can imagine a pretty solid defense against that - while I know you've asked readers to review CH works on Amazon, I don't remember you asking for good reviews.

Anonymous Mavwreck April 09, 2015 3:58 PM  

Heh...looks like someone beat me to #3, although they may have gotten spammed.

Anonymous Knarf April 09, 2015 4:00 PM  

> They’re intended to recognize works that are distinctive, not derivative,

Such as Redshirts.

Anonymous Fran April 09, 2015 4:00 PM  

They must be exhausted with all that back peddling and goal post moving. The exercise will do them good though.

Anonymous MrGreenMan April 09, 2015 4:07 PM  

“what’s amazing and wonderful about this story”

What happens when the answer is that it doesn't insult the reader by playing stupid gotcha games that you imagine a sophomore creative writing student gleefully playing while saying, "See! I stuck it to those bourgeois sensibilities! Let me fling some feces at the wall! Ooh, taboo sex!" and praying that she can give the TA a blow job in exchange for an A on this one, too?

The real crime of all the SJW-approved writing seems to be - it's just so boring, because every one of them thinks its thoughts are the first time anything has ever been thought. It's like the newly-minted college atheist who thinks something like, "Could your GOD make something so heavy even he can't lift it? Didn't think of that, didja? Let me kick out your crutch!" Then wets itself and says, "What if SHE could?"

Anonymous Steve April 09, 2015 4:07 PM  

Vox - I've already read several of the SP/RP nominated works, and I plan on reading everything else in the packet before voting.

I've also read many of the Hugo-nominated works of the past 15 years, from such authors as John Scalzi, Kim Stanley Robinson, James Corey, Robert Charles Wilson, Peter Watts, Connie Willis, Greg Bear, and Ken Macleod.

And during my misspent youth I read a ton of older science fiction from the likes of Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, and Heinlein, in addition to (what was then) newer stuff from Philip Jose Farmer, Philip K Dick, Ursula Le Guin, and basically anything I could get my hands on in the public or school library.

It is my informed opinion that all the authors on the SP/RP slates deserve to be considered for an award.

They are talented men and women, and their writing is at least as good as the other Hugo-nommed works I've seen over the past decade or so. In some cases markedly better. (*cough* Redshirts *cough*)

But regarding this smug comment:

So the SP’s need to base their claim for Hugo recognition on something other than sales, such as, “what’s amazing and wonderful about this story” and “what new and interesting thing has someone done with science fiction lately”. Not “my story outsold yours, neener, neener, neener”.

As a member of Worldcon 2015, I don't need to "base my claim" on a thing. I've paid my money and will vote for whoever I damn well please. David W. can go wipe his mouth.

Blogger Alexander April 09, 2015 4:09 PM  

I like the SJW talking point that Sad Puppies is bad because it's a group effort, whereas if it were an individual author offering up a slate of that individual author's work, then that's self-promotion, not a slate, and that's ok.

Then in the same breath, Vox Day's slate is super terrible because so much of it is Castalia House, plus Vox himself up for two awards.

I am unsure how best to respond though. On the other hand, the bait-and-switch going on in their heads is so blatant it's easy to point out; on the other hand, they are wrong with the premise that Vox is simply doing nothing more than nakedly pushing his own self, and I do not want to respond in a way that accepts their false premise.

Blogger IM2L844 April 09, 2015 4:17 PM  

Yeah, but VOX DAAAYYY!!! I mean c'mon, everybody knows he believes crazy stuff like character flaws are not limited to white men. That's fringe nut job territory right there.

Anonymous Daniel April 09, 2015 4:38 PM  

The thing I am most intrigued by is that these stats allow you to compare upsets. For example, it is interesting that Michael Chabon's Yiddish Policeman's Union (3.7 stars) beat Scalzi's The Last Colony (4.3) for the Hugo. Looks like HarperCollins may have some 'splaining to do...

Other upsets of note:

Redshirts (3.8 stars) upset a book that was better than it by nearly a star - Lois McMaster Bujold's Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (4.6)

Joe Haldeman's Forever Peace (3.4) beat a (4.2) Dan Simmons book

Blue Mars was a full 1.2 stars worse than another Bujold, but it won instead of her book.

Anonymous Heh April 09, 2015 4:40 PM  

"They’re intended to recognize works that are distinctive, not derivative"

Wait... Scalzi has won this thing how many times?

Anonymous Heh April 09, 2015 4:43 PM  

" SP’s need to base their claim for Hugo recognition on something other than sales"

But they are! Like all such claimants, their claim for Hugo recognition is based on
1. Fans nominated it
2. Fans voted for it

Blogger Josh April 09, 2015 4:44 PM  

Those aren't real fans, Heh.

Duh.

Anonymous rubbermallet April 09, 2015 4:56 PM  

I don't read much fiction. I've pretty much read most of the npr sf/fan book list however and am a fan of the genre…I just find a happy place in continually reading tolkien over and over again. So I haven't really followed all this with much furvor. I enjoy vox's political, social, and apologetic posts and generally skip over the sfwa/hugo stuff.

But this has been to much fun to ignore. at every angle, they've tried to discredit it as if you guys are novices or did not understand any of the ramifications. you are all prepared quite consistently and send them back to regroup and bring on some other inept offensive. at this point, can you blame the ones who just claim you to be stupid and just move on? there isn't much left at this point.

Blogger Vox April 09, 2015 4:58 PM  

1. What does the "winner" data point mean for the 2015, Sad Puppy, and Rabid Puppy entries? I'm assuming in previous years it refers to the work that actually won, but unless you have a time machine you're not telling us about, VD... :)

The lowest possible rating.

Blogger Moor April 09, 2015 5:00 PM  

“what’s amazing and wonderful about this story” and “what new and interesting thing has someone done with science fiction lately”

equals

"Hugos should be based on standards that those of us who are rightly qualified to judge can wield as we please"


"Amazing", "Wonderful", and "Interesting" are all such subjective standards as to be wholly useless for the sake of the discussion.

"New" is clearly code for "forwarding the SJW agenda"

Anonymous Stickwick April 09, 2015 5:17 PM  

It seems to me there's a parallel between the lack of recognition for quality in SFF awards and the kind of movies that win Oscars these days. The latter used to be movies that mostly had broad appeal, because they were great stories beautifully told. Then they turned into weirdo avant-garde stuff that no one had even heard of, or enjoyed much. I wonder if the break with popular appeal in the Oscars coincided with the break with popular appeal in the Hugos? In other words, is this all part of some big cultural shift?

Anonymous Hugh April 09, 2015 5:40 PM  

Yeah this is getting weird... Anyway, what really cracks me up is that any legitimate complaints you guys may actually have, you guys shit it all out when you guys vote for YOURSELVES> The whole thing is very Kayne West "How DARE they not recognize MY genius". Maybe Wright will grab rush the stage and grab the mic when he loses.

Anonymous Steve April 09, 2015 5:40 PM  

Stickwick - Dunno about the Oscars cos, as a heterosexual man, I pay them no mind. But there's definitely an element of pretentious pseudointellectual wankery being going on in the Hugos at times.

E.g. anything by posh-boy communist and full-spectrum twat China Mieville.

Anonymous Steve April 09, 2015 5:47 PM  

Hugh - Imma let you finish, but SP and RP wouldn't have swept the nominations if it was authors voting for themselves.

It was their fans that did it. Loads of them.

I'm voting for Vox as Best Editor (short and long) because he's undeniably very talented, and Castalia House is the most interesting thing to happen in SF publishing for years. It would be good if he could scalp a couple of SJW's en route to picking up his awards.

Anonymous Gecko April 09, 2015 5:47 PM  

The Hugos are damaged beyond repair? I'd hate to see what an improvement looks like.

Blogger Student in Blue April 09, 2015 5:57 PM  

I believe it's gotten to the point (if it hasn't been there already) where they angrily gnash out "VOX DAAAAAAY" in the exact same way certain people do with "JOOOOS!"

Anonymous Anubis April 09, 2015 5:59 PM  

What if the left catches on and buys mass copies of Castilian House books off of Amazon just to down rate?

Anonymous NorthernHamlet April 09, 2015 6:00 PM  

VD,

By this criteria for distinctive works: Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises at 3.8 < Vox's A Throne of Bones 4.2 Also, you're also nearly tied there with Twilight at 4.1 for distinctive storyness.

Online ratings are no more an accurate measure of distinctive works than sales are. It's an extension of the same argument... consider: we could predict 1 million Big Mac sales might result in a large number of people saying they sure do like Big Macs. There's brand loyalty there among other things. While for Lima Beans, people might not report loving them as much. None of this has anything to do with healthiness in the same way that sales and ratings have nothing to do with distinctiveness.

Think of the NYC art world. When they award Jeff Koons or Damien Hirst with some award for their accomplishments in art, do you imagine that the average person would even understand anything about the pieces? You place an unneeded emphasis on reception (sales or ratings, take your pick here). Though art and literature's quality can be determined there if we like, it's hardly the only way (nor the common way these niche communities have developed in the past)

Now, you can go different ways with this... Shakespeare was great because of how many people have learned to appreciate him or Robbe-Grillet is great and we do need judges (gatekeepers if you will) to help refine our understanding of the art and literature experience.

Anonymous Scintan April 09, 2015 6:07 PM  

3. What's to stop the Other Side from claiming the Amazon ratings aren't subjective?

The definition of objective, I would hope.

If you want to argue that the objective measure that is Amazon is invalid because of the subjective analysis involved, that's a different question.

Of course, once you start going down that road, you get to the inevitable reality that there are no truly objective winners when it comes to writing awards of this sort.

Blogger IM2L844 April 09, 2015 6:10 PM  

what really cracks me up is that any legitimate complaints you guys may actually have, you guys shit it all out when you guys vote for YOURSELVES

I'm really curious what line of reasoning produced such a bizarre thought and how you honestly think this is even a remotely defensible position to hold, Hugh. What criteria should one use when casting their vote? Is everyone's opinion, who votes for themselves, illegitimate? Are those votes, by themselves, able to significantly affect the outcome?

Blogger SirHamster April 09, 2015 6:11 PM  

What if the left catches on and buys mass copies of Castilian House books off of Amazon just to down rate?

I guess Vox will just have to weep into his cash, especially when the purchases send the books up the Amazon rankings.

Anonymous Steve April 09, 2015 6:13 PM  

Student in Blue - he's like Lord Voldemort to those people.

The way they speak of Vox, you'd think he was a child molestor, like Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Or a NAMBLA supporter, like Samuel R. Delany.

Or a pederast, like Edward Kramer.

Or someone with links to sexual predators, like the Nielsen Haydens.

Anonymous Daniel April 09, 2015 6:16 PM  

NorthernHamlet, the Sun Also Rises is a qualitatively worse book than A Throne of Bones, so that is not a good example. Drunks drink and drink, but they do it in such a boring way for the first quarter of the book that it isn't even fun. Hemingway gets a few meaningful symbols in the book (about the horrific nature of the 20th century, and the ghosts of an entire generation) but it is certainly a vastly overrated classic. Not a bad classic, and definitely a classic, but 3.5 to 4 stars is not underrating it.

However, no one is suggesting that content quality can be measured by a number. However: when you consistently watch 3 star and low 4 star books outkick their coverage and earn nominations and awards over and above higher rated masterpieces that happen to come from the wrong quarters - and this objective measure matches up with a qualitative read...what you have is a very compelling correlation.

In other words, the star rating can identify trends and tendencies that you could otherwise miss.

For example, the quality of McRapey's books decline over time. You can discover this by reading them. Or, you can look on a graph and see that from his debut height (OMW) to his sole Novel winner (Redshirts) his star ratings have measurably declined.

The stars tell us that his worst book (of his nominees) won the Hugo. I'm not counting his complete trash, of course, like Android's Dream or God Engines or Fuzzy Nation. Then again, no one is.

Anonymous Rolf April 09, 2015 6:16 PM  

Rats. I'm pulling down the SP/RP averages with my measly 4.2... which is still higher than the 2014 winner or average...

But *we* are the problem? Oooo-kay, then....

Blogger Derrick Bonsell April 09, 2015 6:20 PM  

NorthernHamlet,

If these were the Nebulas then you could levy that entire point. However the Hugos are a fan award. Amazon is thus a great metric of what's "good" and what's "bad" in relation to fans.

Blogger SirHamster April 09, 2015 6:20 PM  

A single tear rolling down his Italian/ Red Man cheek, as the leftists take away the one thing that mattered in life from him - the Amazon star rating of Castalia House books.

This is one of those Xanatos things, isn't it? No losing outcome.

Blogger Eric April 09, 2015 6:21 PM  

This seems to be an incredibly stupid idea for how to make a Sci Fi award, but it explains the dreck we have seen.

Awards like the Hugo have a fundamental problem in the Amazon age. Originally they were a way for the industry to say "These are the books and authors you might want to check out if you haven't already read them." Because only die-hard fans read everything, and before the web there was no way to give other people your feedback unless you wrote book reviews in the newspaper.

But Amazon has those bases covered now. Not only can you read feedback from other people, but Amazon can look at your history and recommend what you might like as an individual. So I'm not really sure what the point is any more.

Blogger S1AL April 09, 2015 6:21 PM  

Stickwick - My suspicions is (and has been since I was in high school), that the awards start out by recognizing really good, really popular stuff, and then people start to pay attention to them. After that, some people get involved in the process who don't really care about the awards going to "good and popular," but to "x other factor." Inevitably it seems that they proceed to one of two ends: Message Fiction (yes, even the "historical" stuff) or The Right People, be they political or populist selections (see: JJ Abrams, Leonardo DiCaprio).

In the case of the former, the awards go to crap all around because they're being given to works that meet criteria completely unrelated to quality. In the latter case you'll often still get good works (at least in the technical sense), but often not the mass-appeal works because those are "for the plebs," as it were.

The Hugos appear to be a combination of both factors, skewing towards The Right People in the 90's and 2000's, then to Message Fiction in the 10's.

The same thing has happened to awards in every form of art, which is why I largely ignore them unless they were from the early decades of the award.

Anonymous Anubis April 09, 2015 6:32 PM  

The best explanation for modern art is that it was created as a way to launder money until people with no taste started buying it. If you owed someone a couple million they could make a mess on canvas and you could buy it. I prefer Realism in art and red pill over blue.

Anonymous KJ April 09, 2015 6:32 PM  

The stars tell us that his worst book (of his nominees) won the Hugo.

No it doesn't. It tells us that the least well regarded by Amazon reviewers won the Hugo.

Blogger Vox April 09, 2015 6:36 PM  

By this criteria for distinctive works: Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises at 3.8 < Vox's A Throne of Bones 4.2 Also, you're also nearly tied there with Twilight at 4.1 for distinctive storyness.

The fact that the metric isn't perfect doesn't make it useless. Also, I ask you this: how does it compare to the metric by which they keep saying this year's shortlist works are unworthy compared to their predecessors?

Anonymous jack April 09, 2015 6:38 PM  

@Stickwick

Yes. The Oscars. Hmmm. When the subject is brought up I think back to the miracle year of 1939. Thats when Gone With the Wind won. At least six of those movies nominated would have won in a normal year.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
The Wizard of Oz
Stagecoach
Of Mice and Men
Wuthering Heights
Dark Victory



Anonymous NorthernHamlet April 09, 2015 6:39 PM  

Derrick Bonsell,

True, but not relevant. We're talking about distinctiveness now and the awards as a vehicle for it via a representative body of niche voters who act like connoisseurs and not any or everyone who once read a sci-fi book, or in this case, like mac and cheese.

Vox already accepted the premise for the sake of argument.

Blogger Corvinus April 09, 2015 6:43 PM  

But Amazon has those bases covered now. Not only can you read feedback from other people, but Amazon can look at your history and recommend what you might like as an individual. So I'm not really sure what the point is any more.

Psychological effect. "Hugo-award winning" still sounds more impressive and prestigious than "rated highly on Amazon.com", even if the latter is more informative.

Blogger Noah B April 09, 2015 6:44 PM  

"Online ratings are no more an accurate measure of distinctive works than sales are."

Some combination of the two gives a much better idea of quality than either metric alone. Perhaps something like: Composite rating = (# sales)/((max possible rating)-(average reader rating))

Blogger Noah B April 09, 2015 6:51 PM  

Maybe add a constant of .05 to the denominator too.

Blogger Tim April 09, 2015 6:58 PM  

"Think of the NYC art world. When they award Jeff Koons or Damien Hirst with some award for their accomplishments in art, do you imagine that the average person would even understand anything about the pieces? You place an unneeded emphasis on reception (sales or ratings, take your pick here). Though art and literature's quality can be determined there if we like, it's hardly the only way (nor the common way these niche communities have developed in the past)

Now, you can go different ways with this... Shakespeare was great because of how many people have learned to appreciate him or Robbe-Grillet is great and we do need judges (gatekeepers if you will) to help refine our understanding of the art and literature experience."

Two things. Perhaps you are ignorant of history, and do not realize that Shakespeare wrote plays for the unwashed masses, and was HUGELY popular WHEN HE WAS ALIVE, but was not considered "the proper sort" among the intelligentsia of his day. And as far as artists goes....if it required an "expert" to properly appreciate it, I would say it is not very good art. Art is a way to use your medium, whatever it may be, to COMMUNICATE. If you can only communicate to a small handful of people.....perhaps YOU are not very good at communication? Think about the definition of communication and art and you will have to agree.

Anonymous Gx1080 April 09, 2015 6:59 PM  

GRRM: "Is not true that the Hugos were dominated by the Tor clique":

http://grrm.livejournal.com/418285.html

Anonymous NorthernHamlet April 09, 2015 7:02 PM  

VD,

The fact that the metric isn't perfect doesn't make it useless.

In theory, sure. But I didn't say it was useless.

The Sun Also Rises was the first book I thought of to check against your system... I'd be willing to bet that we could find many that would make us reconsider your system of measurement.

T.S. Eliot's the Waste Land at 3.9 < 4.3 Big Boys Don’t Cry

Also, I ask you this: how does it compare to the metric by which they keep saying this year's shortlist works are unworthy compared to their predecessors?

False choice. They're metric is you're the wrong people to be acting the judge. How does that compare? For me, neither metric is useful. One earns their opinion in my book.

Anonymous karsten April 09, 2015 7:04 PM  

Leaving aside the merits of Amazon rankings, sales, etc., the thinking behind the original point made by David W. simply demonstrates why modern art in general is such utter rubbish -- a disease that seems to have spread to genre art. Look at what he says:

"Hugo awards [are] intended to recognize works that are distinctive, not derivative, in the genre. [...] The SP’s need to base their claim for Hugo recognition on something other than sales, such as, “what’s amazing and wonderful about this story” and “what new and interesting thing has someone done with science fiction lately”

This is preposterous.

1. Who made him the arbiter of what metric the Hugos, or fans who vote for them, should use to determine their ballots? I reject his metric out of hand.

2. I reject it because "distinctive, not derivative" is no guarantee of any kind of quality. This is why modern-"art" galleries are filled with such utter rubbish; the abstract refuse that they display as "art" is distinctive, all right -- distinctively ugly. Random paint scrawls are "distinctive" too. (And there have been more than a few cases of "art critics" getting punked when childrens' paintings have been successfully passed off as a modern-art "masterpieces.")

3. There is nothing but subjectivity involved in determining "what’s amazing and wonderful about this story," or any story. No doubt a warren of SJWs think that every piece of Leftist agitprop masquerading as sci-fi is "amazing" and "wonderful"...by their measure. It's a measure that I find repellent, and why should I concede to any David W. the idea that his taste is superior to mine.

4. As for the value (or lack thereof) in championing "what new and interesting thing has someone done with science fiction lately," see my point #2, above. Jackson Pollock was "new" when it came out, and it was crap then, and it's crap now.

The fetishization of the "new" and "distinctive, not derivative" is why our cities are crammed with soulless steel-and-glass tower monstrosities, and why poetry these days is half gibberish and half Marxist propaganda, and why "serious" music is dissonant and grating on the ears.

By contrast, when tradition and heritage and building on a cultural legacy was prioritized over the reflexively "new" and "distinct," we actually lived in an environment of beauty, and our arts reflected this.

In short, David W. actually manages to find a metric for deciding Hugo awards that is even WORSE than basing it on popularity, sales, popular rankings, etc. And that's a trick.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet April 09, 2015 7:15 PM  

Tim,

Perhaps you are ignorant of history

Perhaps you're ignorant of literary criticism.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet April 09, 2015 7:22 PM  

Noah B,

Some combination of the two gives a much better idea of quality than either metric alone.

Unlikely. Online reviews skew toward either side due to a self-selection process: only people who feel very strongly either way about a product leave a review.

Blogger Student in Blue April 09, 2015 7:28 PM  

@NorthernHamlet

Consider comparing works within the genre, instead of outside the genre. Is there still a disparity in ratings between classic works and modern works?

Blogger Student in Blue April 09, 2015 7:34 PM  

For example, I checked I, Robot and Dune. I, Robot clocked in at 4.3 and Dune at 4.5. Would you consider this unfair, especially because I'm sure some high school teacher has handed out I, Robot as required reading?

That is also something to think about when comparing ratings of classics, the fact that disgruntled students who aren't fans of the genre and wouldn't have attempted to read it, were forced to. And may have heard some hokum interpretation.

Anonymous Steve April 09, 2015 7:35 PM  

Art is a way to use your medium, whatever it may be, to COMMUNICATE. If you can only communicate to a small handful of people.....perhaps YOU are not very good at communication?

Marcel Duchamp's famous urinal was pretty funny and clever... in 1917. The last century of the modern art world churning out copies of copies of copies of his idea/joke have rendered the entire thing thoroughly unfunny, unoriginal, and unclever.

It's as if they're still hoping to shock the bemonocled Edwardian bourgeoisie, a class that was already on the verge of extinction when Duchamp was passing off his piss pot as an objet d'art.

So what do dissected ruminants, unmade beds, piss crucifixes, and blank canvases communicate?

Nothing in and of themselves. What they communicate is status. The man who claims to admire the work of a Hirst or a Freud or a Safdie is signifying that he is a progressive cosmopolitan who is not burdened by tradition or aesthetic norms. He's a man of wealth and taste, unlike you plebs.

The ugliness is, of course, a feature rather than a bug. Any uneducated shop girl can appreciate a work by van Eyck or Pugin or Mozart. Even if she doesn't know anything about the theory behind their craft.

It takes an educated palate to plausibly pretend that an unmade bed strewn with used condoms is a profound work of art.

Blogger IM2L844 April 09, 2015 7:37 PM  

Apparently compiling a list of recommendations for nominating works for Hugo Awards is not only sanctioned, but officially encouraged on the Hugo Award's website.

Somebody should submit Vox Popoli as a Third Party Recommendation Site for next year.

Blogger Noah B April 09, 2015 7:38 PM  

You know that moment when you feel like you're stating something so obvious you didn't think it was worth mentioning, only to find someone arguing with you?

Blogger Mark Citadel April 09, 2015 7:42 PM  

The SJW losers are finding their grip on power weakening day by day

Anonymous karsten April 09, 2015 7:44 PM  

"The man who claims to admire the work of a Hirst or a Freud or a Safdie is signifying that he is a progressive cosmopolitan who is not burdened by tradition or aesthetic norms. He's a man of wealth and taste, unlike you plebs.

The ugliness is, of course, a feature rather than a bug. Any uneducated shop girl can appreciate a work by van Eyck or Pugin or Mozart. Even if she doesn't know anything about the theory behind their craft.

It takes an educated palate to plausibly pretend that an unmade bed strewn with used condoms is a profound work of art."


Or at least, that's the way a "man of wealth and taste" is defined in a culture that has been hijacked by ideologies that are, at the basis, rootless and parasitic in nature, owing to the people who devised them.

In another time, indeed in any time prior to the collapse of the aristocracy after WWI, and especially prior to the end of WWII, adherence to "tradition and aesthetic norms" was an integral component of cultivated, aristocratic taste.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet April 09, 2015 7:46 PM  

Student in Blue,

For this argument, there's no reason to do so.

But to be fair, the 1st books I thought of:
1984 at 4.5 = A Man Disputed at 4.4

Blogger Student in Blue April 09, 2015 7:47 PM  

@Noah B

Of course. That's why I constantly point out the obvious on the Internet, because someone, somewhere reading it isn't catching it.

Blogger Student in Blue April 09, 2015 8:06 PM  

@NorthernHamlet

That's not nearly as shocking of a disparity, especially because I know 1984 is required reading at a lot of places. It's probably lost .3 from disgruntled students alone.

I fail to see why it's not pertinent to the topic at hand, however. Ratings are, by their very nature, an assessment of quality by their audience. By crossing genres, you're essentially comparing apples and oranges by nature of the different audiences; it's the comparing of Big Macs and lima beans that you make in your original post.

Continuing on with your metaphors, the argument being made here is more akin to painting A which was sold after heavy bidding for $200k, and painting B which was sold for $20k after some bidding - and the buyer for painting B proclaiming loudly that he has the better art, the higher quality piece. While it's certainly possible, it's also heavy evidence against that being true, especially when it keeps happening where more distinguished buyers keep valuing painting A higher.

The only thing I remember needing in high school english class for our class's girls to appreciate Romeo and Juliet was a damn lexicon for Ye Olde English. Fleshed out characters ring true throughout the ages.

Blogger Nate April 09, 2015 8:08 PM  

Lady Astronaut from Mars got over 4?

really?

Anonymous karsten April 09, 2015 8:33 PM  

While it's certainly possible, it's also heavy evidence against that being true, especially when it keeps happening where more distinguished buyers keep valuing painting A higher.

That all depends on who the "more distinguished buyers" are in the metaphor. As Steve noted above, in the world of art, today's "distinguished buyers" actively eschew beauty in determining their purchases and pursue ugliness because this gives them cred with the Cultural-Marxist "elites" -- and that, I would say, is essentially rejecting works of quality in favour of works of dismal quality.

E.g., these days, works of art by 19th-century Academic Classicist painters sell for a fraction of what works of abstract-artists sell for, yet in terms of artistic technique, emotional content, and every other metric of quality that matters to me (or would have mattered to any art critic before Western culture was hijacked in the 20th century), the works of the Academic Classicists are infinitely superior, so much so that the abstract works look like a bad joke. And the fact that the "more distinguished buyers" pay more for the abstract works is utterly irrelevant to gauging their actual quality.

Blogger Marc DuQuesne April 09, 2015 8:35 PM  

As a further sanity check, I looked up the ratings of the last 5 years nominees and the 2 slates against goodreads.com reviews. Shows the same basic results that the Slates and this years nominees are a definite improvement.

noms avg winner
RP 4.16
SP 4.16
2015 4.11
2014 3.95 3.98
2013 3.82 3.81
2012 4.00 3.67
2011 3.86 3.81

Blogger Noah B April 09, 2015 9:00 PM  

Lady Astronaut from Mars got over 4?
Lady Astronaut -- The Director's Cut

Day 173 (October 14, 2037): That light that says "CO2 Scrubbers" finally stopped blinking. I guess it finally fixed itself. The project for today is to replace the curtain on the south window. I found some pretty gold foil in a package with some strange writing that says "Springstoff Innen -- Nicht Offnen" that looks perfect. I'll put up a new Facebook post as soon as I get this thing opeaoduf a

Blogger automatthew April 09, 2015 9:03 PM  

It's either stupid or tendentious to compare the ratings of SF novels to Hemingway and Eliot. Given that the comparer is NH, it's probably the latter.

Different genres attract different kinds of reviewers. This should be patently obvious to someone not trying to score points. T. S. Eliot's erudi-masturbatory free verse is what you chose? Really, NH? Why not choose Frost or Kipling's collections for comparison?

Hemingway is required reading in schools, so of course he gets bad ratings, whether or not his works deserve them. Let's take on a real challenge. Guess the Amazon rating for Absalom, Absalom, Faulkner's most difficult novel.

Anonymous DavidKathome April 09, 2015 9:25 PM  

I just read Larry Correia's reply to GRRM. I now have to buy some of his books, he made me feel what it was like to be at that first Worldcon next to him

http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/04/09/a-response-to-george-r-r-martin-from-the-author-who-started-sad-puppies/

Blogger Joshua Dyal April 09, 2015 9:37 PM  

It seems to me there's a parallel between the lack of recognition for quality in SFF awards and the kind of movies that win Oscars these days. The latter used to be movies that mostly had broad appeal, because they were great stories beautifully told. Then they turned into weirdo avant-garde stuff that no one had even heard of, or enjoyed much. I wonder if the break with popular appeal in the Oscars coincided with the break with popular appeal in the Hugos? In other words, is this all part of some big cultural shift?

The Oscars is where I first noticed it, but once the pattern was clear to me, I've seen it in all of the soi-disant prestigious awards. I haven't been able to take any of them seriously for years.

By this criteria for distinctive works: Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises at 3.8 < Vox's A Throne of Bones 4.2 Also, you're also nearly tied there with Twilight at 4.1 for distinctive storyness.

You're mixing metrics. Amazon rankings are not for "distinctive storyness." Distinctive storyness is being roundly and rightly mocked as a fuzzy definition that gives the one who proposes it the excuse to just do whatever he wants.

Besides, slightly OT, are you trying to suggest that Hemingway is good? I'm appalled by the state of literary criticism and views on literature and the arts in our society. Where authors like Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Faulkner are supposed to be good; because we were told so back in 10th grade English class, and yet I can't make a reference to feeling like me and anyone named Caleb should look out for each other and expect that most will know what I'm talking about, we're fallen very far from appreciation of truly beautiful and significant writing.

In another time, indeed in any time prior to the collapse of the aristocracy after WWI, and especially prior to the end of WWII, adherence to "tradition and aesthetic norms" was an integral component of cultivated, aristocratic taste.

Yeah, maybe... but elitists have always had to have their positional goods. For the last few decades, it's been appreciation of observably un-aesthetic "art" and "literature" that everyone actually hates that have allowed elitists to proclaim their more refined tastes; in another era, it might have been appreciation for actual classics. But the need for those with no self-esteem to try and puff themselves up with positional goods is much older than cultural Marxism.

Blogger Nate April 09, 2015 9:42 PM  

"Where authors like Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Faulkner are supposed to be good; because we were told so back in 10th grade English class, and yet I can't make a reference to feeling like me and anyone named Caleb should look out for each other and expect that most will know what I'm talking about, we're fallen very far from appreciation of truly beautiful and significant writing."


You luddite. Faulkner is the finest of all american authors. And if you can't appreciate Hemingway... then its likely because you lack even the slightest hint of masculinity that is required to understand him.

Silence pathetic wretch.

Blogger Joshua Dyal April 09, 2015 9:46 PM  

Twain's the finest of American authors. But Burroughs is my personal favorite.

Blogger Nate April 09, 2015 9:48 PM  

Twain was a coward. Forever sucking up to the big city yankees in search of their approval.

Blogger Tom Kratman April 09, 2015 9:49 PM  

Note, moreover, that of the 8 one star reviews for BBDC, at least four and probably 5-6 of them came specifically to trash it, based on the hit piece of a perverse, integrity-impaired, and likely psychotic cross dresser from spacebabies. At least one of those admitted he didn't even read it.

Blogger Joshua Dyal April 09, 2015 9:50 PM  

Doesn't mean the guy couldn't write!

Blogger Dave W. April 09, 2015 9:58 PM  

Oh, just great. Now people are going to think that SJW tool in the OP is me. Bah.

Blogger wrf3 April 09, 2015 10:03 PM  

Daniel wrote: Redshirts (3.8 stars) upset a book that was better than it by nearly a star - Lois McMaster Bujold's Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (4.6)

That's depressing. I dearly love Bujold. I reread all of her Vorkosigan novels last year (or was it the year before?). I've been reading SF since the early sixties and so I can say that "Captain Vorpatril's Alliance" is an expertly crafted story. But it isn't special. Compared to her other books, it's middle of the pack. It doesn't hit you in the gut like her "Borders of Infinity." Is it better than other novels that have won Hugos? Yes. Should it have won over Redshirts? Most certainly. Would I have voted for it for a Hugo? No. She can do better.

And that's what makes this so blasted hard.

Blogger Student in Blue April 09, 2015 10:06 PM  

@karsten
That all depends on who the "more distinguished buyers" are in the metaphor.

I actually intended that to mean a higher number of distinguished buyers, rather than buyers who are more distinguished. And that the art pieces in general were within the same... genre? setting?

Blogger Student in Blue April 09, 2015 10:08 PM  

In addition, I enjoyed Twain *and* Hemingway.

At the very least, I enjoyed Hemingway roughly a million times more than I enjoyed Kerouac. Pretentious piece of... *grumble*

Blogger Nate April 09, 2015 10:30 PM  

"At least one of those admitted he didn't even read it."

Unlikely any of the did Krat. You know the drill better than most.

Anonymous Stickwick April 09, 2015 10:31 PM  

jack: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
The Wizard of Oz
Stagecoach
Of Mice and Men
Wuthering Heights
Dark Victory


Those were all in the same year? Geez. Still, nothing beats the summer of 1982:

E.T.: the Extraterrestrial
Conan the Barbarian
The Road Warrior
The Thing
Rocky III
Poltergeist
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Tron
The Secret of NIMH
The Dark Crystal
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
The Sword and the Sorcerer

and some great dippy stuff, too:

Escape 2000
Vice Squad
Class of 1984
The Last Unicorn

Look at how many of those were SFF. All of it enjoyable, and not even a whiff of SJW nonsense. Man, have things changed, and not for the better.

Blogger Nate April 09, 2015 10:37 PM  

The last unicorn was awesome.


UUUUNNNNNNIIIIICORN!!!! UUUUUUUUUUUUNICORN!!!!!

Blogger Bruce Lewis April 09, 2015 10:52 PM  

It's important to distinguish between "the best science fiction author" and "my favorite science fiction author". The former is judged on the basic of excellence of craft; the latter, on the basis of personal taste.

For example, the best living science fiction author in English is Gene Wolfe. because he excels in story (plot construction), characterization (believable characters), worldbuilding (believable setting), and mise-en-scene (craft; overall effect of the work). My favorite science fiction author in English is H. Beam Piper, because he's the most fun to read.

By these criteria, the all-time best science fiction writer in English is either Robert A. Heinlein or Philip K. Dick.

The all-time best writer of fiction in English is William Shakespeare, with Charles Dickens close behind. The all-time best American fiction author is probably Nathaniel Hawthorne (most people would say Herman Melville). My favorite American fiction writer is Flannery O'Connor.

And all of this is a separate question from that of the best single work of literary science fiction in English. Based on quality, craft, and impact, the answer is probably 1984. My favorite single work of literary SF is Stand On Zanzibar, by John Brunner, the John Dos Passos of science fiction.

Anonymous BigGaySteve April 09, 2015 11:00 PM  

It has only been a week since Ben Shapiro was made fun of for saying that the next gay target is religious schools and now activists are demanding a gay married teacher be hired at a catholic school. No one has apologized to Ben yet.
http://www.gaypatriot.net/2015/04/09/activists-demand-catholic-school-hire-gay-teacher/

The left so loves cop killers that they have 3rd grade students send get well letters to them, this made the news in the UK but its from PA. Classy as pizza at a wedding.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3032289/Teachers-cause-outrage-having-graders-write-soon-cards-convicted-cop-killer-Mumia-recovers-hospital-mystery-illness.html

My comment about people who still cry about pizza "13.For the love of Backpfeifengesicht please drop the not serving pizza at gay weddings, I would like to pretend I don’t know of any gays that cheap and tacky."

Blogger S1AL April 09, 2015 11:19 PM  

"You luddite. Faulkner is the finest of all american authors. And if you can't appreciate Hemingway... then its likely because you lack even the slightest hint of masculinity that is required to understand him."

Oh please. Hemingway's prose is simultaneously excessive and overly minimalist. He can spend 1000 words describing the blandest of things while giving no detail when desired. Understanding him is simple; his "outlaw masculinity" is not exactly complicated. Appreciating his writing? That's a completely different game.

Anonymous Anonymous April 09, 2015 11:59 PM  

Been reading some of your previous comments, and as a scientist I'm curious about one of them:

"although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens"

Maybe this was jest? If not, can you tell me what the science is?

thanks!

Anonymous Stickwick April 09, 2015 11:59 PM  

Nate: The last unicorn was awesome.

I got to meet Peter S. Beagle last Friday when he did a personal showing of The Last Unicorn at the Alamo Drafthouse. Three showings in a 250-seat theater, completely sold out. Never realized the movie had such a following.

Anonymous Jack Amok April 10, 2015 12:02 AM  

What's to stop the Other Side from claiming the Amazon ratings aren't subjective?

Nothing. But when they bitch about Amazon ratings, you just print a few lines from If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love and point out that's what the previous definition of "subjectively good" was and let them look like fools. Besides, more average readers (e.g. neutral third parties) care about Amazon reviews than Hugo Awards, so forcing the SJWs into badmouthing Amazon Reviews means they're badmouthing neutral thrid parties.

Blogger Brs Wsc April 10, 2015 12:02 AM  

Been reading some of your previous comments, and as a scientist I'm curious about one of them:

"although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens"

Maybe this was jest? If not, can you tell me what the science is?

thanks!

Anonymous rho April 10, 2015 12:39 AM  

The Sun Also Rises was the first book I thought of to check against your system... I'd be willing to bet that we could find many that would make us reconsider your system of measurement.

T.S. Eliot's the Waste Land at 3.9 < 4.3 Big Boys Don’t Cry


It's not a good comparison, in my opinion. Fiction is fundamentally different than speculative fiction.

We can quibble over specifics, but broadly, fiction operates in the realm of the heart, and speculative fiction operates in the realm of the mind.

In fiction you can see yourself, or your relations, or somebody you know in the characters, and therefore relate to the story. You can have a good experience or a bad experience while relating to the story, and that can heavily influence how you feel about the work as a whole. Any judgement on the work is going to be more binary than not.

On the other hand, speculative fiction must first logically hold together. There are scenarios that have never existed, or can never exist, or will never exist, but if the internal logic gels, we can accept it for a brief period.

Maybe the logic is based on physics, in which case we can do the research and check the math to see if it holds together.

Maybe the logic is based on psychology, in which case we can hold it up against our experience and see if it lines up well enough to hold together.

Maybe the logic is based on history, in which case we can compare it to known history and see how well it builds on--or deviates from--the recognized standard.

On that metric, it's pretty clear that fiction is much easier to write than speculative fiction. The flip side is that, if you can do the work required for speculative fiction, people fucking love it.

Ordinary fiction is just about people, and people universally suck. It's going to get effusive praise and righteous condemnation in more equal quantities. Fiction deals with the human condition, which is bleak; speculative fiction deals with the human future, which is optimistic for reasons unclear.

Blogger doofus April 10, 2015 12:51 AM  

"Take a classic tale, but introduce some lesbian sex angle? Award!"

You make that sound like it is a bad thing...

David

Blogger Tom Kratman April 10, 2015 12:58 AM  

Pretty sure most of them didn't, Nate. A couple did. You can tell because they're hurt over the attack on the Boloverse and don't repeat the same points as the crossdresser. (S/h/it appears in the novella as THN, for Thanatos/Athene, who isn't quite sure.)

Blogger doofus April 10, 2015 12:58 AM  

"although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens"

I believe (please speak up if I am getting this wrong) he is speaking of the fact that different racial groups have different amounts of non-Homo Sapiens (ie Homo Neanderthalensis) DNA. If I recall correctly, Sub-Saharan Africans have close to 0% Neanderthal DNA, Europeans around 1.5-2%, and some Asians up to 4%. The point being that, people whose DNA contains more Neanderthal DNA must, ipso facto, contain less "pure" homo sapiens DNA and are, therefore, "less homo sapiens" than say, sub-Saharan Africans, who are basically the gold standard for pure homo sapiens.

David

Blogger doofus April 10, 2015 1:00 AM  

"By these criteria, the all-time best science fiction writer in English is either Robert A. Heinlein or Philip K. Dick."

Zombie Roger Zelazny begs to disagree.

Blogger doofus April 10, 2015 1:14 AM  

Oh, and the best English science fiction work of all time is "Lord of Light."

Blogger doofus April 10, 2015 1:20 AM  

"At File 770, David W. raises the point about the need for Sad Puppies to make the case that the works they have nominated are meritorious beyond the fact that many of them have sold rather well."

Oh, and fuck you and the horse that you rode in on, David W. (I can say that, since I am David H.) You are not the boss of me, you don't get to tell me how I evaluate the things I like, I don't have to account to you or to anyone else as long as I pay my $40 to get my membership. What part of "fan selected award" do you not understand, you slack-jawed, inbred cretin? My vote, and VD's vote is every bit as good as your vote, the Toad of Tor's vote, Larry Correia's vote, or anyone else's. How DARE you try and lecture me on why the choices I make are illegitimate. It's so precious to see someone pull the old "Oh, but you don't understand why it is that you are wrong, even though you think you are right." gambit.

I am going to go and lie down now. The blood pressure can't take this kind of strain.

David

Anonymous Phil Mann April 10, 2015 1:45 AM  

Been reading some of your previous comments, and as a scientist I'm curious about one of them:

"although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens"

Maybe this was jest? If not, can you tell me what the science is?


Please check. I believe the actual quote is, "although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens sapiens..."

The difference is important.

Vox is well aware of what he is saying and knows how to push buttons. My guess is he will readily admit he is less, "homo sapiens sapiens" than Ms. Jemisin.

Blogger Brs Wsc April 10, 2015 2:08 AM  

Pressing buttons, ha? Yeah, I guess if he meant was what Doofus suggested, then he is technically correct and pushing buttons because she's black and yet .... yeah I get it. That's fun.

Trying to get a sense of this blog... Can someone explain what a Vibrant is?

Blogger Daniel April 10, 2015 2:23 AM  

I understand the resistance to reader reviews as a metric - I have probably studied it more than most, both from the inside (as a writer of books that get reviewed on Amazon) and as an interested observer of the industry.

But this is the truth: while it is possible to come up with anecdotal "discrepancies" - The Sun Also Rises is not a good example on many levels (it is, in fact, mediocre for Hemingway - immature, a dull start, almost pedestrian and morose compared to For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms, or The Old Man and The Sea - it is also a completely different genre with an entirely different readership, including forced march public school children!) nor is a long poem.

Just take the data and start to look at the big picture. It will tell you a story. The dirty secret about empirical statistics is that they are fodder for the greatest lies of the 20th Century, but honest people with knowledge of their shortcomings can use them to break other narratives and bolster the truth.

So, while it is true that The Man in the High Castle is "better" literature than Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, and thus should not, in fact, trail the latter book by a few decimal points in reader ratings, it is also true that both books are strong, 4-star books to their respective readerships.

If you want a juried award by students of great literature, then examine a juried award.

The Hugos, NH, are not a juried award and in fact were a type of Amazon reader rating system before such a thing could be made to exist on the internet.

There was a tie in the 1990s for two nominees, so they were both awarded the Hugo. Their Amazon reader ratings today?

Virtually tied.

This is not mere coincidence.

Anonymous Phil Mann April 10, 2015 2:25 AM  

If you genuinely want to get a sense of this blog, accept that the intellectual level here is (modestly) "somewhat above average," and that if something initially strikes you as absurd or stupid, it might be wise to think a bit and figure out what is going on before reflexively reacting. It can be great fun, and the rewards are worth it.

As to what a "Vibrant" is, well, who's up for fielding that one?

Blogger Brs Wsc April 10, 2015 2:42 AM  

OK. I kind of got the sense that Vox was a victim of PC BS and wanted to see for myself.

Blogger Daniel April 10, 2015 2:44 AM  

Chaos Horizon (the fellow who tries to predict the Hugos based off a variety of factors) has come up with a new motto based of a quote from PKD:

"There is some element misfunctioning. A significant shift in the orientation of certain social strata which cannot be explained in terms of data already available to me. A realignment of the social pyramid is forming in response to historic-dynamic factors unfamiliar to me. I must know more if I am to deal with this."

Rabid Puppies - The Paradigm Shift

Anonymous Phil Mann April 10, 2015 2:48 AM  

OK. I kind of got the sense that Vox was a victim of PC BS and wanted to see for myself.

Exactly.

Please stick around, You might have some fun.

Blogger Brs Wsc April 10, 2015 2:52 AM  

Vibrant just means miscreant I take it?

Blogger Kryten 2X4B 523P April 10, 2015 3:03 AM  

I'll have a stab at it (dons fireproof clothing).

Vibrant - A non-naturalised immigrant (or decendant thereof) whose cultural values supposedly enrich western civilisation while at the same time demonstrates a mutual incompatability with the said civilisation. Often used in conjunction with "diverse".

As to David W - Ive paid my $40, I'll vote as I damn well please. By any measure, subjective or objective, the SP / RP nominations are far and away better than whats been pushed in recent years.

Blogger Brs Wsc April 10, 2015 3:14 AM  

Black?

OpenID theconservativedm April 10, 2015 3:54 AM  

One thing I've yet to see mentioned is that, so long as the rating methods used by reviewers are consistent, it doesn't really matter how accurate they are when using Amazon ratings to determine quality *trends*. A thermometer that it consistently off by ten degrees can still be used to determine if the weather is getting hotter or colder.

Blogger James Dixon April 10, 2015 4:50 AM  

> Faulkner is the finest of all american authors ... Twain's the finest of American authors. But Burroughs is my personal favorite.

Well, there's also Jack London, Zane Grey, and (my personal favorite) Louis L'Amour. But I think if I leave my personal preferences out of it, I'd have to give the nod to Twain.

Now, as I've noted before, the best modern English (as opposed to American) author is Kipling.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet April 10, 2015 6:35 AM  

Student in Blue,

You can cleave things up however you like(authors with red covers only for example, which believe it or not, could affect how the work is received).

But for our argument, it's about story... which both genres have. I used 1984 as my example above to highlight that it is considered literature and sci-fi.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet April 10, 2015 6:37 AM  

Nate,

I've been meaning to ask: have you tried the new bottle sanctioned by the Hemingway estate?

Blogger bob k. mando April 10, 2015 8:19 AM  

Anonymous April 09, 2015 11:59 PM
If not, can you tell me what the science is?



many of the races have an admixture of Homo neanderthalensis genes.

at least one race has NO Homo neanderthalensis in their genome.

therefore, ALL races which have Neanderthal admixture are LESS Homo sapiens than the race which is 100% Sapiens.

would you like to guess which race is most sapiens?

it's not going to take more than a couple of minutes of googling to cure your ignorance.

Blogger bob k. mando April 10, 2015 8:24 AM  

Brs Wsc April 10, 2015 2:08 AM
Can someone explain what a Vibrant is?



that's situation dependent and plays off of the SJW fetish for the enrichmentation of a society via 'diversity'.

for instance, Vox is part Abo-American who grew up in Minnesnowta. in Minnesota he would be part of the 'dominant culture' and NOT VIBRANT at all.

but now that he has moved to Italy, Vox is vibrantly enriching the lives of those red neck Italians.

Blogger S1AL April 10, 2015 8:40 AM  

Vibrant = immigrant riff-raff, more or less. I guess sometimes it's applied to long-standing ethnic minorities when conflict arises.

Blogger John Wright April 10, 2015 9:33 AM  

One commenter asks; "When they award Jeff Koons or Damien Hirst with some award for their accomplishments in art, do you imagine that the average person would even understand anything about the pieces?"

Another, earlier upthread has already answered: "anything by posh-boy communist and full-spectrum twat...."

and:

" You just have to be the first to a specific perversion - that keeps it fresh; number two is a gimmick.

First book to decide to only use the female pronoun? Award!

Reverse the gender pronouns? Award!

Make men give birth and women have penises? Award!

Talk about swapping blow jobs in the barracks? Award!

Inter-species love involving a were-seal? Award!

Inter-species love not involving a were-seal? Award!

Stream of consciousness first person spoken with some magic pronoun other than "I"? Award!

Take a classic tale, but introduce some lesbian sex angle? Award!

Take a classic tale, but reverse all the genders? Award!

Have a woman have to make a typical male career choice, and then choose to please herself first? Award!

Make the hero's love interest secretly a gay guy? Award!

Take a classic TV show, but redo it with a guy with different hair? Award!"

So, yes, joe sixpack and jane boxed wine understand exactly what wins such prestigious awards. Crap wins.

The choice for the artist is either to crap on his hand and fling poo like a monkey in order to win the award, or to fish the award out of the cesspool and do the difficult chore of cleaning the filth from it, to see it shine again.

Blogger John Wright April 10, 2015 9:39 AM  

@Noah B

Welcome to the modern world. It is the distinctive pleasure of discourse in this generation to find oneself forever explaining that water will wet you and fire will burn.

The whole point of nihilism is that nothing exists, nothing is real, and nothing is taken for granted.

This liberates the human being to fill the inner void with whatever his passions imagine, without the worrisome task of attending to decency, truth, fairness, beauty, reality or logic.

This liberates man, in other words, from the task of being human.

Blogger Student in Blue April 10, 2015 9:46 AM  

@NorthernHamlet
You can cleave things up however you like(authors with red covers only for example, which believe it or not, could affect how the work is received).

Red covers could affect how the work is received, I agree with that. That was not my criteria however. My criteria is if the audience was the same. The audience doesn't pick books solely on the color of the book cover. In my experience, the vast majority of them do so with genre, however.

But for our argument, it's about story... which both genres have. I used 1984 as my example above to highlight that it is considered literature and sci-fi.

If the stories are stories regardless of genre, then why have genre-specific awards at all? Surely there must be some reason why the only comparisons anyone has made so far has been within the genre and not outside.

Do note that's exactly what has been done. We've only compared like and like with Amazon ratings, and have never tried to go outside the genre or prove that Amazon ratings are applicable cross-genre as well. I'm afraid that's something you brought up.

In addition, I never discounted 1984 as impossible to compare, only that it's been lowered due to angry students being forced to read it. I believe if the 1-2 star ratings were combed through to remove the instances such as that (and likewise for Dune, which had a whole host of people complaining about the formatting of the Kindle edition which doesn't affect the base quality of the work), there would be a more accurate picture.

To use an example of why it's important to compare like and like, consider a student who is attempting to compare two different rates, such as 30 yards per second versus 45 miles per hour, and preemptively declares 45 mile per hour to be faster because it has the higher number. The audience is the "yards per second" and "miles per hour" part of it, and for any accurate comparison to be made, they must be similar.

Anonymous Quartermaster April 10, 2015 10:18 AM  

The most common use of the term "Vibrant" I've seen here is in reference to some black thug, although it can mean the other stuff that some have referred to here.

Anonymous BigGaySteve April 10, 2015 11:23 AM  

"Vibrant - A non-naturalised immigrant (or decendant thereof) whose cultural values supposedly enrich western civilisation while at the same time demonstrates a mutual incompatability with the said civilisation. Often used in conjunction with "diverse"."

I always thought it meant non Asian minority. Of course I mean Asian as Americans use it, not like the UK that includes those not able to create/maintain civilization.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet April 10, 2015 12:50 PM  

Student in Blue,

In my experience, the vast majority of them do so with genre, however.

If the stories are stories regardless of genre, then why have genre-specific awards at all?

To address most of your comments: your adding distinctions to cherry-pick the data.

As to why give genre-specific awards: people like their clubs... And the ability it affords them to keep out the outsiders... which was the entire point of the OP's comment. Of course, it's rather daft that they let Vox in in the first place, but hey, these are the Machivellian types.

Blogger SirHamster April 10, 2015 2:06 PM  

I always thought it meant non Asian minority. Of course I mean Asian as Americans use it, not like the UK that includes those not able to create/maintain civilization.

I understood it as any non-PC race when reporting news that might cause Badthink.

Ex:
- The white youth beat up the black man.
- The vibrant youth beat up the passerby (who you find is a white man at the very end of the article).

Blogger Student in Blue April 10, 2015 2:45 PM  

To address most of your comments: your adding distinctions to cherry-pick the data.

And you are removing distinctions and proclaiming that the information is too broad to use!

Anonymous NorthernHamlet April 10, 2015 5:16 PM  

Student in Blue,

And you are removing distinctions and proclaiming that the information is too broad to use!

Close, but no. The relevant question here is, use for what?

Vox accepted the premise: distinct storyness for Hugo nomination inclusion and he offered a system for doing so.

What matters here is that if it can't measure distinct storyness first then it can't measure distinct storyness for Hugo nomination.

This is also why it's amusing that many here keep talking about high school students unfairly dragging down the ratings while that's the argument against Sad Puppies.

Blogger SirHamster April 10, 2015 6:08 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger SirHamster April 10, 2015 6:13 PM  

Vox accepted the premise: distinct storyness for Hugo nomination inclusion and he offered a system for doing so.

He provided an objective measure for Hugo recognition, not for story distinctiveness.

Whether or not Amazon average ratings provide a measure of story distinctiveness, they provide an objective measure of user-perceived quality, which may have some relation to distinctiveness.

Blogger Danby April 10, 2015 7:59 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Danby April 10, 2015 8:01 PM  

Vibrant from vibrator, a masturbatory aid for women and gamma males.
1) Ethnics we must accept and welcome because they have such great little chi-chi restaurants, but in whose neighborhoods we would never, ever, live.
2) Ethnic cultures we must profess admiration for if we don't want to be called raaaaacist, while simultaneously never acknowledging the wholesale acceptance of violence, theft, rape and general thuggery in that culture
3) the largely mythical benefit to American cities of having large groups of Vibrants take over neighborhoods.
4) Thugs and criminals that anti-racists (see hypocritical motherfuckers) insist other people, especially the poor, must tolerate, so they can feel good about themselves.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet April 10, 2015 8:31 PM  

He provided an objective measure for Hugo recognition, not for story distinctiveness.

Yes, and superior in ratings alone, not in reception. Because, well, we need it to mean anything the SJWs didn't mean.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet April 10, 2015 8:43 PM  

John Wright,

Another, earlier upthread has already answered

John, with all due respect, this is buffoonish. Next you'll be telling me Hemingway wasn't worth the read because he met Fidel once. Do try to keep the works to the works and not your ideological preoccupations.

Blogger Danby April 10, 2015 9:09 PM  

Hemingway is an over-rated bore. His prose is turbid and limp. He embodies all the worst writing fads of his time and does it in a sneering way that sets my teeth on edge.

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