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Monday, April 06, 2015

On bloc voting

First, I was pleased to see that Black Gate accepted their well-deserved and long-overdue Hugo nomination. John O'Neill, who is one of the fairest and most decent individuals on either side of the ideological aisle, explained why:

"Since the Black Gate nomination was for the entire site (which is run by a group of nearly 40 volunteers, many of whom are thrilled by the nomination), we did not decline. That’s a choice that will doubtless expose us to some (perhaps deserved) criticism."

John believes SP/RP was "a Spectacularly Bad Idea" and that "There will be a response, and it won’t be pretty." Of course, we're already seeing how unpretty that response can be.

"I consider Vox Day one step, either direction, from certifiable." - Mike Resnick

"Fuck John C. Wright, that cretinous neckbeard, and fuck Vox Day, that pathetic human garbage bin." - a commenter at Charles Stross's site

"I cannot abide Vox Day, and I’d drop a planet on his house if I could. Man’s a misogynistic pig, and that’s an insult to swine." - Michael Harper

And the latter comment is coming from someone who has REJECTED the Mutually Assured Destruction option being recommended by many, including John O'Neill himself. However much I like John and respect his opinion, I would be remiss if I did not point out there are two serious problems with it:
  1. It is logically incoherent to assert that we are wreckers and indifferent to the long-term fate of the Hugo Awards and to simultaneously threaten MAD. If anyone believes that it is our goal to destroy the awards, they should be begging Sad Puppies to not vote No Award for everything and promising to cast their own votes for everything on the merits. In 2008, there were 483 valid nominating ballots. In 2015, when SP/RP dominated, there were 2,122. It should be readily apparent that anything they can do, we can do bigger, better, and longer. Yes, the other side can bring more in the future. So can we. If they want a showdown, we'll be there.
  2. Contra John's belief, I'm not crazy, he is completely wrong, and there IS a bloc operating in secret. Several blocs, as a matter of fact, and a fair number of people have known about them for a long time.
You might be surprised how long small block voting has been going on in Hugo nominations. In fact, I was having a conversation with a former Hugo administrator about it last night. The thing is, it’s usually only in a category or two, and usually either not enough to add a single nominated work, or just enough to add a single nominated work.
- Deidre Saoirse Moen, April 5, 2015

I do not believe that there was ever a deliberate conspiracy to fill all the slots in every category with a dedicated “slate” of works. There clearly have been campaigns to get individual works on the ballot, some of them going beyond the technically legal.
- Kevin Standlee, April 2, 2015

Here is one apparent example. Consider the following vote totals in Best Editor from 2007 to 2013:

2007
88 David G. Hartwell (Tor)
80 Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor)

The next three nominees received between 43 and 28 votes.

2008
70 Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor)
67 David G. Hartwell (Tor)

The next three nominees received between 18 to 51 votes.

2009
87 David G. Hartwell (Tor)
76 Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor)

The other three nominees received 92, 34, and 34 votes.

2010
54 Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor)
47 David G. Hartwell (Tor)

The other three nominees received 99, 61, and 42 votes. Strikethrough indicates that the nomination was declined. As you can see, not everyone gets the message right away.

2011
44  David G. Hartwell (Tor)
31 Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor)

The other three nominees received 96, 54, and 23 votes 

Either PNH or Hartwell won the Best Editor Long award every year from 2007 through 2010, with two apiece. Lou Anders of Pyr finished second on the shortlist every year from 2007 through 2013, except for the year he won, in 2011. Now, what is interesting to observe is that in 2007-2008, Anders only had 43 and 51 votes. Anders responded with an effective nomination campaign and came back the next three years with a bloc vote ranging from 92 to 96 votes, finally culminating in a shortlist win in 2011, the year that PNH followed Hartwell's lead in declining the nomination.

PNH was back in the game the next year, although it looks like he threw his support to Betsy Wolheim of DAW who received 67 nominating votes and won the Best Editor Long award despite never receiving a single nominating vote in 30 previous years and promptly falling off the shortlist the following year, when PNH won again. Two years after winning, Wolheim was back to receiving no nominating votes at all. Sheer coincidence, no doubt. Note that Wolheim is Patrick Rothfuss's editor, and Rothfuss is an ally of the Scalzi/Stross bloc vote.

And what ho? That year that Wolheim inexplicably received Tor-level nominating votes and won, what do we see in Best Novel, but:

49 The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
48 Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

Pure coincidence and fanly enthusiasm again, right? Unless you have a two-digit IQ, what you can see here is not only bloc votes of the sort that Standlee and Moen are describing, but competing bloc votes. Anders was able to build a bigger supporting bloc vote at the nominating stage, but he was always beaten out by Tor's larger non-bloc shortlist voters until the Tor crew eased up and let him win one by stepping aside. Then they threw a bone to Wolheim before resuming business as usual.

And then Sad Puppies entered the picture....

Anyhow, as I told everyone at Black Gate, there is one, and only one, reason that I recommended their nomination. I recommended a Hugo nomination for Black Gate and for Matthew David Surridge for one very simple reason; they are both among the best in their categories in the SF/F field. No more, no less. And both deserved Hugos years ago.

"The key to strategy... is not to choose a path to victory, but to choose so that all paths lead to a victory."
    —The Vor Game

Labels: ,

85 Comments:

Anonymous RedJack April 06, 2015 8:51 AM  

Long march indeed.

A reverse Gramsci. It isn't the battle that is important, it is the overall struggle.

As I told my wife last night, there are signs, ever increasing ones, that this is starting.

Blogger Nate April 06, 2015 8:51 AM  

The folks at Black Gate remind me of average american conservatives in the 80s. They simply paid no attention to politics... they loved America... they loved the system and believed the good guys always won and cheaters always lost.

It is the the very love of sci fi and fantasy that prevents many of these people from seeing what the Haydens have done.

Anonymous Alexander April 06, 2015 8:57 AM  

You know a great way to ensure we never, ever discover the depths of the backroom dealings amongst the SJWs is? Publicly throw a tantrum and rope GG into it. Excellent call, rabbits.

Anonymous aaaturkey April 06, 2015 9:01 AM  

These types of trivial contests always end like so, with bloc voting based upon socio-cultural lines.

Eurovision Song Contest sums it up perfectly. Greece votes for Cyprus, Cyprus for Greece. Scandinavians for Scandinavians. East Slavs for East Slavs. Countries where gays make up large numbers of the voting base end up voting for the most campy act. The Turkish diaspora in Germany always voted for Turkey, as did the other diasporas for the country of origin.
It's good when the best song wins (or least worst i suppose...) but between bloc voting, and bribery/vote swapping (hello Azerbaijan!) the result is just a game.

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus April 06, 2015 9:03 AM  

So Michael Harper says that he would kill you and your family if he could. Because misogynist. So we are a that place where he admits you should die because you hold thoughts he doesn't like. The same guy probably opposes capital punishment: convicted murderers don't deserve to die in his mind....but you do. Because badthink.

These people make me sick. One day they are going to regret pulling down the walls of civil tolerance.

Anonymous Leonidas April 06, 2015 9:06 AM  

The takeaway is that I could've bought myself a Hugo nomination in the mid aughts merely by putting out an eligible work of any level of quality and getting all of the students at my dojo to buy a supporting membership to WorldCon and voting for me.

So glad that "all of fandom" is so well represented.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan April 06, 2015 9:16 AM  

How could those guys take the political rhetoric of a Harper seriously? "Misogynistic" being nothing more than that, political rhetoric of no moral standing, Harper wouldn't say boo to his political allies regardless of their treatment of women with muslims being an obvious example.

To pull a Tim Cook, maybe that is what I will call it.

Blogger Ragin' Dave April 06, 2015 9:21 AM  

Do you really think that the SP3 slate was "eligible work of any level of quality", Leo? Have you READ John C. Wright? Have you READ any of the other works that were pushed by Sad Puppies?

I have.

The whole point was to get GOOD AUTHORS included on the Hugo ballots, instead of Leftist trash like "If you were a dinosaur, my love" or some other ungodly pile of excrement who's only reason for inclusion was their politics.

Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies represent far more of the F/SF fandom than the Leftist controlled Hugo awards of the past few years.

Blogger YIH April 06, 2015 9:36 AM  

48 Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi.
Just seeing that title and author makes me queasy.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan April 06, 2015 9:37 AM  

Its obvious they make shit up for political and financial advantage, the Rolling Stone of SciFi.

Blogger S1AL April 06, 2015 9:38 AM  

Dave, I think you're confusing what Leonidas is saying here. He's talking about years before SP.

Blogger IM2L844 April 06, 2015 9:39 AM  

Once upon a time there was a little boy who snuck up on a sleeping bear and poked it with a twig. The villagers saw this and gave the boy an award for bravery. Delighted and encouraged, the little boy repeated his exploits and each time was rewarded with trinkets and adulations.

One day, the bear thought to himself, "Enough of this bullshit." The next time the little boy snuck up on the bear, the bear jumped up and chewed the face off the little boy killing him. The villagers cried, " No fair! Disproportionate response!"

THE END

I love that story.

Anonymous TUSigmaIan April 06, 2015 9:41 AM  

Bought a supporting membership to Sasquan to vote for the SP/RP nominees. "Big Boys Don't Cry" was one of the most emotionally profound military sci-fi stories I've read in years. Everything I've read by John C Wright has been excellent, especially "One Bright Star to Guide Them" and "Transhuman and Subhuman". Looking forward to reading the rest of the slate.

Vox, any idea how many of the RP slate members will be a part of the nomination package? Based on last year, I am guessing everything from you/Castalia House will be part of it, correct?

Blogger YIH April 06, 2015 9:46 AM  

Geez, it seems like nearly everything has a Wackopedia page these days.
Kirkus Reviews said that while the concept of a literary reboot was unnecessary
Why am I not surprised?

Blogger Vox April 06, 2015 9:47 AM  

Vox, any idea how many of the RP slate members will be a part of the nomination package? Based on last year, I am guessing everything from you/Castalia House will be part of it, correct?

I'd assume all of them. Baen gave out the entire series last year. And yes, all the named works will be given out, as well as RIDING THE RED HORSE in its entirety.

Blogger John Wright April 06, 2015 9:51 AM  

@ TUSigmaIan

Thank you! I owe you a beer. And more good stories.

Anonymous dh April 06, 2015 10:01 AM  

VD,

Luckily your opponents have unilaterally disarmed, with Patrick Nieslen Hayden saying that if there ever was a counter SP slate, he'd vote No Award above it, even if it was his own stuff.

So Sad Puppies 4 slate should obviously be full of Patrick Nieslen Hayden's stuff, so the world can see if he is the man he says he is. It's the only way to know for sure, since he can't go back and undo the slate and bloc voting he has previously endorsed.

Blogger Cataline Sergius April 06, 2015 10:01 AM  

It is the the very love of sci fi and fantasy that prevents many of these people from seeing what the Haydens have done.

It isn't that hard to see it. How many years has it been since the average man spent more than one said dejected minute in the Science Fiction aisle at B&N.

Blogger darkdoc April 06, 2015 10:01 AM  

Resnick and Harper seeking a load of self-righteousness at the cheapest price possible. Just open your mouth, mutter some BS, and wait for the warm glow and accolades to come forth.

Don't actually have to do anything, or be anything, or take a risk - just talk, cheap, cheap talk.

Cowards. Cowards.

Blogger Vox April 06, 2015 10:02 AM  

Patrick Nieslen Hayden saying that if there ever was a counter SP slate, he'd vote No Award above it, even if it was his own stuff.

Sure he would. Obviously he is opposed to all bloc voting that isn't his own little bloc vote.

Anonymous Leonidas April 06, 2015 10:17 AM  

Do you really think that the SP3 slate was "eligible work of any level of quality", Leo? Have you READ John C. Wright? Have you READ any of the other works that were pushed by Sad Puppies?

Um... chill dude. You totally misread what I meant by that. I voted to nominate all of John C. Wright's works. Also voted for "The Hot Equations" because that's one of the most useful things I've read this decade. Click through to my site and read the reviews I've written of his stuff. My point was exactly opposite - if that's all that was voting for "fandom's greatest award" before SP, then it was LONG past time for fandom to take back the award.

As for the second part of the question, no, I have not read all of the works on the SP slate - which is why I didn't vote a straight ticket on nominations. I only voted for stuff that a) I had actually read and b) I considered Hugo worthy. So one or two items from the puppies' slates got left off the list because I enjoyed them but didn't think they were of that caliber. And I didn't vote for a fair number because I hadn't read them. But thanks to the puppies sweep, it also means that the $40 I shelled out will get me a good bit of material that's likely to be worth reading this year. So win for me.

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus April 06, 2015 10:22 AM  

John C. Wright is a neckbeard?

What does that even *mean*?

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus April 06, 2015 10:24 AM  

It isn't that hard to see it. How many years has it been since the average man spent more than one said dejected minute in the Science Fiction aisle at B&N.

All my sci-fi comes from thrift shops.

Anonymous Leonidas April 06, 2015 10:29 AM  

I do not believe that there was ever a deliberate conspiracy to fill all the slots in every category with a dedicated “slate” of works.

Then he's an idiot. I don't know any of the individuals involved personally. But if Tor isn't engaging in any kind of behind the scenes conspiracy to get their slate of works nominated then I wouldn't want them as my publisher.

Look, this is the way the game is played. It happens with all awards.

Example:

My dojo was recently nominated for a "family favorite award" from a local publication for the second year in a row. Nice, great, good advertising point - and other than advertising ability, I couldn't care less. But for the second year running, we lost out to the biggest dojo in town. Because they're better? Not really. But they're bigger, substantially, and they're able to motivate their customers into voting.

I could easily play the same game. But because I've been in operation for two years instead of twenty and I've got a substantially smaller base of current students, if we mobilize at anything close to the same percentages they'll still swamp me in the vote. So I play the game the other way. Make sure that it's noted that I got nominated, and then deliberately make a point of not playing those kinds of games. Helps me sell the place as being "not them" and get the folks who are turned off by that kind of thing.

The point is not that I'm somehow better than them for not playing their game. I'm not - I'm playing an entirely different game. But failure to recognize that the game is being played is just failure to recognize reality.

Second example: the company I work for in my day job just got nominated for the second year running for the local chamber of commerce's "best places to work" award. And we'll probably win it for the second year in a row. Not because we're the best place in town to work (although within our size category, we actually might be - it's a good place to work), but because we're all fiercely loyal to each other and every employee in the company is going to fill out the questionnaire in the way that makes us look awesome. As noted, it actually is a really good place to work. But without the loyalty and group ties, we still wouldn't win it.

I absolutely do not believe for one second that the publishers in the SFF world are not playing similar games with the Hugo awards. My earlier post, which Ragin' Dave misread, was intended to point out how unbelievably bad they are at it. It's just that nobody noticed before because nobody else is playing the game any better. The puppies slate just came in and wiped the floor with them precisely because they're able to play the game better - on both fronts: putting together a more worthy list in the first place and then coordinating a response.

As Vox noted, they can bring more people next year but so can we. But more importantly, our side has the better core: the Puppies will be nominating works that are actually worthy of the award, which means that eventually we'll win over the neutrals. If we aren't already doing so.

Anonymous Porky April 06, 2015 10:34 AM  

Pretty freakin' hilarious.

For some reason I keep remembering that scene from Raiders where Indy fights the greatest swordsman in all Cairo.

Blogger jay c April 06, 2015 10:43 AM  

I was surprised to see Resnick saying things like that, but realized it wasn't really all that surprising after all. He's probably not a bad guy, just still craving the approval of the wrong camp.

I didn't participate in the nominating, but I think I'll be buying a supporting membership to get copies of the nominated works. Voting on the final ballot will just be a bonus.

Anonymous TUSigmaIan April 06, 2015 10:44 AM  

@ John Wright
Looking forward to the new stories, but I feel as I owe you a beer for your hard work.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan April 06, 2015 10:45 AM  

Wasn't Swirsky a VP of something when she got her nomination? As an outsider to SciFi I can say way before I knew of this website or that Vox was an author of such books I took note that the genre was headed downhill because of PC. Political rhetoric that should have been the target in the genre was instead the genre.

For the love of Mars the god of war look at Kratman's great book that is nominated, an anti-Imperial wars book of high quality. No imagine the SJW writing an anti-war novella post 2008, and the new god head to flatter and the narrative to maintain and what a rambling wreck it would be?

Blogger jay c April 06, 2015 10:45 AM  

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

John C. Wright is a neckbeard?

What does that even *mean*?


I think they're confused. Or maybe I am. I thought neckbeards were douchy, atheist trolls with Amish-like beards below the chin and fedoras above.

Blogger Joshua Dyal April 06, 2015 10:47 AM  

The real question is: are you going to be there in person to potentially receive your award and give an award speech?

It's always fun to see how rabbits react when it's actually face to face, instead of through the internet.

Anonymous Emperor of Icecream April 06, 2015 10:51 AM  

I bought a supporting membership so I could vote for Pale Realms of Shade or The Plural of Helen of Troy, and also for the editing of Riding the Red Horse. The first two are high art, while the revival of the Mil SF anthology mixed with essays on strategy is long overdue.

I look forward to reading the other nominees and making an informed choice.

Blogger jay c April 06, 2015 10:59 AM  

... the revival of the Mil SF anthology mixed with essays on strategy is long overdue.

I must have read the Imperial Stars books half a dozen times. Between Pournelle and Heinlein, it's hard to say who had the bigger influence on the early development of my political ideologies.

Anonymous Mike M. April 06, 2015 11:01 AM  

Vox, the one thing I could see doing is a SP/RP recommendation on WHICH of John Wright's novellas should be the Recommended Hugo Winner.

As things stand, he's likely to lose the Hugo simply because he is his own toughest competition. I'm certain his works together will swamp all other nominees, but the vote will be divided.

Blogger Vox April 06, 2015 11:02 AM  

I will be providing my voting recommendations for the shortlist, as I did last year.

Anonymous Alexander April 06, 2015 11:15 AM  

The greater the foe, the greater the glory.

John C. Wright faces no greater foe than John C. Wright. What a time to be alive!

Blogger bob k. mando April 06, 2015 11:19 AM  

jay c April 06, 2015 10:45 AM
I thought neckbeards were douchy, atheist trolls with Amish-like beards below the chin and fedoras above.



neckbeards are fat and pasty white nerds who know no women. who, obviously, are growing beards on their necks.

http://memecrunch.com/meme/2VL/neckbeard/image.png

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/neckbeard


the mustache obviously disqualifies John from neckbeard status.

also, the whole being married thing.

Anonymous Alexander April 06, 2015 11:22 AM  

If we really wanted to nuke the awards, and were not sincere in at least making an effort to take back the institutions of the field in a state not entirely resembling scorched earth...

... I'd create a sad pony slate. Just a giant middle finger to everyone involved.

Blogger MidKnight April 06, 2015 11:50 AM  

Seconded on Kratman.

Sadly, a lot of puppy haters will never read it and understand that it actually isn't a triumphalist, jingoistic, pro-imperialist piece of work they usually assume mil-sf is.

But then Kratman is skilled enough to check off their boxes and tell a far more faithful story to the human condition, often undermining their checkbox completely in the process.

Blogger IM2L844 April 06, 2015 11:51 AM  

I expect most Puppy supporters, like Leonidas, voted to nominate things they've actually read and thought were deserving. The numbers support this conclusion. There is nothing nefarious going on here. Mostly all that happened was that the blog readerships were informed how the system works and were encouraged to participate.

It was a revelation for many of us who a short time ago had no idea we could directly affect the process. For some reason the SJWs just can't imagine that people with views contrary to their own actually put a high value on things like honesty and personal integrity. If there was some sort of blind allegiance voting, it was minimal.

All this boils down to is that a whole bunch of people with opinions and tastes in sharp contrast to theirs were told how they could get involved and they did and that bothers them immensely. John O'Neill can try to remain neutral and downplay the distinctions between them and us all he wants, but the demarcation lines are getting clearer and engagements between the camps more contentious all the time.

Is it any surprise that the regular readership of these blogs like different things than the regular readership of their blogs? It's been pointed out many times that there are more of us than there are of them. Instead of acting accordingly, they refused to believe it, continued lying, name calling throwing their childish tantrums and they are paying the price. Sometimes shock and awe is the only thing that gets a spoiled brat's attention.

Blogger The Deuce April 06, 2015 11:54 AM  

I'm having a hard time understanding what John's point even is in that thread. He acknowledges that the Hugos have essentially frozen out everyone not on the Left, and that this doesn't represent the tastes of fandom in general, but he thinks Sad Puppies voters should've just lain down and taken forever it because various minorities and freakshow groups have a larger readership than they did in the 50s? How is that not a gigantic non-sequiter?

And he justifies how things have been on the grounds that there's been a "sea change" in Hugo readership. Well, Sad Puppies represents another sea change in Hugo readership, and it follows the rules and is above-board, so again, what's the problem?

The whole thing just reads like he's conflict-avoidant, eager to submit, and doesn't want the boat to be rocked, purely for the sake of not rocking it.

Anonymous Leonidas April 06, 2015 12:01 PM  

I expect most Puppy supporters, like Leonidas, voted to nominate things they've actually read and thought were deserving. The numbers support this conclusion.

I agree with you. If we are right, this implies one other conclusion: even if they opt for a scorched earth "no award" plan, they don't have the numbers to pull it off. In fact, if they go for this strategy it may well end up being the definitive proof that the SP vote wasn't a solid block vote. If you and I are correct that most of us voted this way, then that would mean that most of us who voted only voted for some portion of the slate (in my case, that portion was around 20%). So, I only voted for 20% of the slate... someone else only voted for 20% of the slate (but a different 20%), and so on. And at the end of the day, we still had enough votes for the slate to completely sweep several categories and to nearly sweep a few more.

Now... at 20%, I'm probably on the low side. I'm betting the average is more like 50-70%. But on the flip side, I'm going to be reading as many of the Hugo nominated works as I possibly can before I cast my final votes (at least of what's provided in the packet; which, given the puppy success, should be most of the nominees). And my strong guess is that each category will end up with a very clear front runner, even with all of the nominees being so solid.

"No Award" has a path to victory, but it's a tricky path. My prediction is that they try for it but utterly fail to pull it off.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet April 06, 2015 12:03 PM  

"The key to strategy... is not to choose a path to victory, but to choose so that all paths lead to a victory."

Salient advice indeed.

Anonymous Scintan April 06, 2015 12:05 PM  

I'm having a hard time understanding what John's point even is in that thread.

John's flailing about. His arguments have been terrible.

Anonymous Leonidas April 06, 2015 12:07 PM  

Side comment: it's probably already been noted elsewhere, but I've been busy this weekend with Easter and didn't notice if it had been. But the puppy sweep demonstrates that there probably wasn't any actual leak of the Hugo nominees, and simultaneously demonstrates that there probably was a lot of collusion behind the scenes (from publishers and factions, not from the Hugo staff).

Why do I say this? Because here's the scenario that is almost certainly what happened: nobody on the block ballets distributed quietly in the back channels got their call saying they'd won. Nobody. A week ago, we all thought that the puppies had probably done reasonably well because they were all losing their minds. They must have gotten a leaked slate. Because how else would they know? Sure, one or two people didn't get the call, but to know as much as they seemed to, they must have had the whole slate, right?

No. Nobody on their side got the call. So they knew we'd swept it ahead of time and knew just how thoroughly they'd lost.

The Hugo voting system can produce weird results, but even so, I stand by my previous claim: I don't think they have the numbers to "No Award" us this year.

With that said... I'd bet money that Vox would be just as happy to be 6 of 5 in two more categories as he'd be with winning one or both of them this year.

Anonymous Daniel April 06, 2015 12:09 PM  

Black Gate was the greatest magazine in the genre during its time. Just a brilliant, well-edited, amazing book. It was also not a job of John's - it was a passion. I think he wanted to run it for as long as it was fun for him and not completely bleeding ink to death. He sunk a ton of his own money into the project with no financial return (seriously, he'd crank out an anthology stuffed with great, paid stories, beautiful b&w art, brilliant covers, and charged something like $12. ) for years.

He doesn't want to fight with the gatekeepers. He doesn't want to fight with the puppies. He'd like everyone to get along, I think, and his best bet is to recognize that the Sad Puppies aren't going to wish to drop planets on his house, they aren't going to shame him, they aren't going to bully him...and the old gatekeepers will.

Most men don't have much tolerance for being called "one step away from certifiable" "racist, homophobic," "beyond the pale" etc. just for appealing to common sense and playing by the rules. My best guess is that John is like those sort of regular people who isn't willing to be burned by the elitist minders and thought police, and he knows that opposing the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies won't get him hurt or threatened, even if the voters behind those social movements happen to be right in this instance.

It is disappointing. Black Gate could be a lion, but I'll settle for them being a worthy nominee. He's not getting paid for Black Gate anymore (and even then he was paying more often than getting paid) and he just wants to be left alone to do what he loves. What he doesn't see is that the reason he had to shutter Black Gate is because Tor didn't want it recognized, and made sure to pad its slate to the exclusion of the best magazine, and possibly the greatest editor, of its era.

I could be wrong.

But I doubt it.

Anonymous jack April 06, 2015 12:26 PM  

John C. Wright faces no greater foe than John C. Wright. What a time to be alive!

Could not agree more. Thats a nice place to be if you are JCW!

Anonymous Scintan April 06, 2015 12:26 PM  

Ok, now I see that it may be because John is missing the point:

Thomas,

Well, you might not think that so little was at stake if you were a young author trying to make it as a full-time writer and unable to get above a poverty wage… and your first shot at a Hugo in 2015 was taken away from you by a right-wing collective trying to foil an enemy you’re not even sure exists.

If that happened to you, or to someone you knew, you might be pretty damned pissed.


Hey, John, might those people do something along the lines of, say, starting up a movement called Sad Puppies?

Anonymous Anonymous April 06, 2015 12:29 PM  

John O,Neil rejected a story I wrote. Rejection happens to the best of writers. His rejection letter was so nice and encouraging. For that alone he deserves a Hugo.

Anonymous Jack Amok April 06, 2015 12:35 PM  

The folks at Black Gate remind me of average american conservatives in the 80s...It is the the very love of sci fi and fantasy that prevents many of these people from seeing what the Haydens have done.

...

It isn't that hard to see it. How many years has it been since the average man spent more than one said dejected minute in the Science Fiction aisle at B&N.


A great many articles at The Black Gate are on retro-subjects. They avoid seeing how bad things are today by talking about how great things were decades ago.

Anonymous Rolf April 06, 2015 12:39 PM  

One of the things I've found frustrating about dealing with the few SJWs I've bumped into in my life is they seem incapable of accepting the words of others at face value. It may be because they are so used to lying they can't believe you say what you mean, and mean what you say. They are constantly over-reading things. They don't want to hear "you look nice today" as a straightforward compliment; they cannot see a factual criticism of their work as anything other than a personal attack by (the others' apparent group identity) on (her self-described group identity). Very frustrating to deal with, until you realize what's going on.

Anonymous Rolf April 06, 2015 12:58 PM  

Correction - it's not just SJWs that can't accept words at face value, it's many people. Like what you say about Black Gate - you say "you are the best in my opinion, you get the nod," and they can't simply accept that and say "thanks for noticing."

Anonymous Leonidas April 06, 2015 1:26 PM  

@Vox:

Curious question:

One of the notes of the Sad Puppies campaign has been that in recent years winning a Hugo no longer confers a sales bump like one would think that it should (and presumably has in years past). Does that remain true this year? Obviously it's too early to tell, but I'm deeply curious about that and would definitely be interested in it if you were willing to weigh in on that at the end of the year. Even a very general yes, no or "can't really tell" would be interesting.

Anonymous Leonidas April 06, 2015 1:28 PM  

FWIW, I would not expect a huge bump this year... but if SP continues and continues to get results, I would expect the bump to begin to rise again (with a little bit of lag for public perception to catch up to the change). Just my gut call, though.

Blogger Nate April 06, 2015 1:41 PM  

i have a hard time believing that a legion of Jim Butcher fans are going to not vote for him "because politics".

Anonymous Leonidas April 06, 2015 1:44 PM  

@Nate: Exactly.

Anonymous Salt April 06, 2015 1:46 PM  

If they want to kill the Hugos with the Noah Ward, so be it. The puppies aren't leaving, and that they need to wrap their little minds around.

Anonymous Alexander April 06, 2015 1:46 PM  

Which is weird. You'd think 'real fans' who go to 'all the conventions' would have a healthy appreciation for which way the Butcher fans will go.

Anonymous Scintan April 06, 2015 1:57 PM  

My belief is that Hugo voters will react to the SP/RP slate as an unprecedented, large scale threat to the integrity of the Hugos, and react decisively to squash it.

If only there were some way to change the number of Hugo voters, even if it took years to bring in a large enough number of new voters.

If only that were possible...

Anonymous Scintan April 06, 2015 2:00 PM  

Yes, there’s always accusations simmering below the surface, and maybe some of them have merit from time to time. But all of that is tolerated as long as the public face of the awards isn’t tarnished.

Think this one through, John. Think hard.

Anonymous Scintan April 06, 2015 2:04 PM  

The Hugo voters are going to punish you for this, the same way they punished the Sad Puppy slate with a 100% “No Award” lockout last year. And they should, because you’re guilty.

That's just John being ridiculous. The puppies aren't "guilty" of anything. And John knows it.

Anonymous Scintan April 06, 2015 2:06 PM  

What I hear from you (and other proud right-wing readers) is that all you’re trying to do is “right the scales” to get an appropriate share of awards for your constituency. Nothing wrong with that… until we try to agree exactly what that “share” should be.

Should it be what it used to be, back in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s? Unfortunately, no, because the rich share of awards (and sales, and acclaim, and etc.) that came to your constituency at that time came because so may other constituencies didn’t have a voice. If you were black, gay, female, transgendered, foreign, radical, etc. etc. etc, it was really, really hard to get published in the 50s and 60s.

Today, that’s no longer true. Today, there’s a much richer diversity of viewpoints, because the market will bear it — in fact, the market demands it.


Here, he's just missing the painfully obvious. I have to wonder if he's missing it on purpose, because it is so very obvious.

Anonymous Emperor of Icecream April 06, 2015 2:07 PM  

"Vox, the one thing I could see doing is a SP/RP recommendation on WHICH of John Wright's novellas should be the Recommended Hugo Winner.

As things stand, he's likely to lose the Hugo simply because he is his own toughest competition. I'm certain his works together will swamp all other nominees, but the vote will be divided."

Second this. The two best entries from all categories combined are two novellas, both by John C. Wright.

I'd probably pick Pale Realms of Shade if I had to, but we should definitely settle on one instead of dividing our vote. With apologies to Kratman, who wrote a remarkably good novella too. I am not one of his active fans but I was surprised how good a read that story was.

Blogger Migly April 06, 2015 2:25 PM  

When it comes to Hugo voting strategy you don't really need to pick a particular Wright work, so long as you vote all the Wright nominees ahead of anything else. Then your pick will roll over to the next surviving nominee until one either wins or they are all eliminated.

I remember explaining this to a friend a few years ago who couldn't figure out how "F*** Me Ray Bradbury" (his fave) lost to Doctor Who, which had multiple nominees in the category and one ended up winning.

Anonymous Scintan April 06, 2015 2:54 PM  

People might want to read Damien Walter's recent tweets. He's going after Vox again. It's got only a small amount of comedy value, but it's there.

Anonymous Daniel April 06, 2015 3:03 PM  

Damien Walter Mitty "goes after" Vox like toilet paper "goes after" the heel of a shoe. Not unlike a flag of surrender, when Vox steps on him, he flutters impotently behind, in white.

Anonymous Scintan April 06, 2015 3:05 PM  

I found this interesting:

Sunil Patel, who reviews books for Lightspeed, recently tweeted:

Promoting diversity is about boosting underrepresented voices. It is about leveling the playing field. It is no coincidence that my book review column features no white male authors. They can have EVERYWHERE ELSE. Do I feel like I’m discriminating against white male authors? I kind of do. But I also know that women and POC are reviewed less. Those with privilege are getting by just fine on their own. We need to use what privilege we have to boost marginalized voices.


So, sexual and racial discrimination is ok, because sexual and racial discrimination.

That might be another person for the bigot list.

OpenID cailcorishev April 06, 2015 3:24 PM  

Well, you might not think that so little was at stake if you were a young author trying to make it as a full-time writer and unable to get above a poverty wage… and your first shot at a Hugo in 2015 was taken away from you by a right-wing collective trying to foil an enemy you’re not even sure exists.

Never mind that the unknown author is more likely to be able to attract votes from that right-wing collective than from the SJW block-voters who will need to check his political views first, assuming they have any votes left after pushing their own guys. What does he think "gatekeeper" means?

If he really thinks the Puppy voters are the ones trying to keep aspiring authors from winning awards and contracts, rather than the established gatekeepers, he's not just trying to be balanced, he's plain wrong.

Blogger ray April 06, 2015 3:40 PM  

"2.Contra John's belief, I'm not crazy, he is completely wrong, and there IS a bloc operating in secret. Several blocs, as a matter of fact, and a fair number of people have known about them for a long time."


Literature, publishing, editing, English and writing department/programs, magazines, awards . . . these were co-opted many decades ago by Team Woman and related SJWs. I have trouble believing that anybody involved in these areas over the past forty years is unaware of the cultural-beatdowns and political exclusionism practiced with glee, typically at profit. Heck, our Kultural Superiors usually gloated openly about fixing awards, or completely taking over academic departments with ideological thugs.

Dunno about John O'neil, or even who he is, but I'm not buying this 'Oh I'm unaware of any problem' posturing. Most people have very carefully chosen to be 'unaware' of the hatefest, because it's been too costly to speak the obvious truth. As long as Somebody Else was taking the hits, well . . . . there's really not much of a problem and let's all remember to be 'fair'. Um hm.

OpenID cailcorishev April 06, 2015 3:49 PM  

"If you were black, gay, female, transgendered, foreign, radical, etc. etc. etc, it was really, really hard to get published in the 50s and 60s."

I've read several books and articles by older authors where they talked about getting started as a writer, and this strikes me as bullshit, or at least vastly overstated. As I understand it, the usual process was to send off stories to magazines, which could be (and often was) done under a pseudonym. If a story got picked up, you got a small check. If things went well and you sold several stories, you might write a larger book, and start shopping that around to publishers along with a list of your accomplishments so far.

At what point in this process would the nature of your genitals and what you like to rub them up against come into play? They couldn't punch up your blog and see a picture of you and your latest screed about your ex-boyfriend. You were a name on a manuscript. Perhaps if a publisher liked your book, there would be a phone call, and he'd learn your sex and maybe your race, but he still wouldn't know your hobbies, and he wouldn't learn those things until he was already interested in your book. How many would really get turned down at that point if the book was good?

I think what he means is, "If you wanted to write story after story navel-gazing about your gayness, radicalness, woman-in-a-man's-body-ness, etc., it was hard to get published." Or: "If you thought your topics were novel and critical but weren't a very good writer, it was hard to get published." Maybe it should be. I ran across some stuff like that in the 80s, and it wasn't very good, but somehow it got published anyway.

Anonymous Alexander April 06, 2015 3:51 PM  

A guy with a name like Sunil Patel wants to promote other people with names like Sunil Patel at the expense of people with names that aren't like Sunil Patel.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is why immigration always works out poorly for the native.

And normally, I'd save my animosity - can hardly blame the guy for wanting to elevate the groups he is a part of. But in this case he's a liar.

They can have EVERYWHERE ELSE. Really? EVERYWHERE ELSE? So this time tomorrow there won't be a Patel anywhere west of Suez?

Or is the goal really to take everything built by white men - like, oh, I dunno, the very concept of science fiction literature - and kick them out, always shouting that they can have other things while knowing full well those things are under the same assault, with the invaders shouting the same arguments.

OpenID malcolmthecynic April 06, 2015 3:57 PM  

Cail is correct. This is the best thing for those up and coming authors, of which I am a part of.

Anonymous Scintan April 06, 2015 4:00 PM  

Cail is correct. This is the best thing for those up and coming authors, of which I am a part of.

What? You're not buying the logic of

"By sponsoring a slate of otherwise overlooked authors, and getting them on the ballot, SP is harming overlooked authors who might have gotten on the ballot."?

OpenID malcolmthecynic April 06, 2015 4:05 PM  

For the record, in that novella category I cast my vote behind "Pale Realms of Shade".

Anonymous Knarf April 06, 2015 4:10 PM  

> If you were black, gay, female, transgendered, foreign, radical, etc. etc. etc, it was really, really hard to get published in the 50s and 60s.

Ah yes, of course, that explains why Samuel Delany never got published, never won any awards, and no one remembers who he was.

Anonymous Salt April 06, 2015 4:42 PM  

The Hugo voters are going to punish you for this, the same way they punished the Sad Puppy slate with a 100% “No Award” lockout last year.

No award last year? Heck, Vox got 6 of 5. Not an award in any traditional sense but definately of note. How many times has that ever happened before? Like an award, he's remembered for that even by the SJWs.

Blogger MidKnight April 06, 2015 4:59 PM  

@Scintan - re: what you quoted -
Should it be what it used to be, back in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s? Unfortunately, no, because the rich share of awards (and sales, and acclaim, and etc.) that came to your constituency at that time came because so may other constituencies didn’t have a voice. If you were black, gay, female, transgendered, foreign, radical, etc. etc. etc, it was really, really hard to get published in the 50s and 60s.


Again, they have that finite-pie economic mentality at the root of socialism.

Blogger John Wright April 06, 2015 5:34 PM  

@TUSigmaIan

I am a teetotaler, so no drinks for me. But you can pray for me, if you are a praying sort. Or buy me a soft drink.

Blogger Nate April 06, 2015 5:44 PM  

"I am a teetotaler, so no drinks for me. But you can pray for me, if you are a praying sort. Or buy me a soft drink. '

Not even the Eucharist?

Anonymous Scintan April 06, 2015 5:47 PM  

John O'Neill should be forced to read every single word of Larry Correia's recent post:

Read this, Mr. O'Neill

Anonymous Scintan April 06, 2015 6:30 PM  

James May is doing some real work on this stuff. Here's some twitter posts he's pulled:

And Ms. N. K. Jemisin is among the twits tweeting

Anonymous Scintan April 06, 2015 6:34 PM  

And the story has made The Guardian in the U.K.:

K Tempest Bradford, an African-American author and an activist for racial and gender equality within the science fiction community, commented that the Hugo nominations are :"a class issue, a race issue, a gender issue. In other words, it's intersectional."

Vox is among those mentioned

OpenID malcolmthecynic April 06, 2015 6:57 PM  

Scintan,

...Posted racist views toward...

...Annnnnd we know we're getting nothing like fair treatment. No talk, of course, of what lead up to that point.

Blogger Cee April 06, 2015 7:23 PM  

I want to hear more about this friend of John O'Neill's who was locked out of the awards specifically because of Sad Puppies. More specifically, I want proof that the demonstrable block-voting behavior of previous Hugo years would not also have excluded said Littlest Novelist.

Leaving aside whether or not a Hugo Award would boost sales enough to get someone above poverty level.

Seriously this seems like a great story.

Blogger J Van Stry April 07, 2015 1:22 AM  

Funny, Kevin just told me today on Larry's page that he has NEVER seen any attempts at vote rigging. Yet you have a quote from him saying that he has.
I think Kevin has a very selective memory.

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