For those of my friends outside the writing field who are confused about what the heck all this crap about the Hugo awards and Sad Puppies is all about, this article is pretty fair and balanced, and is the first one I’ve seen by a reporter that actually understood that Vox Day had nothing to do with Sad Puppies (he formed Rabid Puppies because he disagreed with the Sad Puppies recommendations) — the Puppy Kickers have been trying to conflate the two since the beginning, but I don’t think most people are stupid enough to believe them.
I have some quibbles, chief of which is that the reporter failed to mention the the Sad Puppies “slate” were recommendations (definition 4b, “a list of candidates for nomination or election”), but the Puppy Kickers decided to redefine “slate” as bloc voting with a canned set of responses (definition not supported by any dictionary). Because of the way the votes are counted (you have to rank your choices 1-5, and higher-ranked votes are weighted higher), and the fact that it’s pretty obvious that there’s no ranking in the Sad Puppies recommendation post, it’s pretty clear that there was no Sad Puppies “slate” as defined by Puppy Kickers. In fact, the notion of such a voting bloc is easily disproved just by looking at the voting results. The “No Award” wins the Puppy Kickers pushed through would be absolutely impossible without their kind of “slate,” since all their voters had to have ranked “No Award” #1 in those categories to have it win in the first pass!
So, Puppy Kickers basically didn’t like the nominees coming from people they dubbed #WrongFans, doubled down their exclusionary attitudes (“must keep out the WrongFans, since they don’t agree with our obviously-correct opinions”), accused Sad Puppies of bloc voting when there was none, then implemented their own bloc voting in retaliation! There’s a term for this: psychological projection.
After the nominations actually came out, and it was clear that there were sufficient Sad Puppies making nominations, the exclusionary literary establishment upped their game, accusing the Sad Puppies of “gaming the system” and even offering to pay for voting memberships to counteract Sad Puppy votes! Yes, that’s right, the Puppy Kickers accused Sad Puppies of “gaming the system” when they weren’t, then actually did “game the system” themselves. Wow! That’s IMAX-level projection!
Let’s talk about this accusation for a moment. So, Sad Puppies did what has been done for years — campaign. Even John Scalzi admitted they did nothing wrong. (Note, however, the reporter absolutely projects about the award being only political this year — that’s the whole point of the Sad Puppies campaign. No politics. Duh.) But they stuck with the shaky narrative.
Next came a coordinated mainstream media attack, ignoring facts and just accusing Sad Puppies of being racist white males. This, despite the fact that the founder, Larry Correia, is second-generation Portuguese, Sarah Hoyt is female and was raised to adulthood in Portugal, and Brad Torgersen’s wife is black. (When confronted with this fact, Brad was accused of marrying her to disguise his racism! Um … put down the crack pipe and breathe in a little reality, will ya?)
Oh, yeah, and there are a bunch of female nominees on Brad’s slate. About the same time that little fact was pointed out, the Puppy Kickers then claimed that Sarah was actually a white Mormon male. Um … really put down the crack pipe!
When that didn’t work, the Kickers showed their true vile natures and advised their mindless followers to vote “No Award” without even reading the Sad Puppy nominations! So, what value does an award have if the voters don’t give equal consideration to the nominees? Oh, oh, teacher, I know the answer to that one! None. No value. Yes, Jimmy, you’re correct. Stop looking sad and sit down now.
Cut to the awards. The convention took $40 from thousands of Sad Puppy non-attending voters — a windfall for Hugo voting by all accounts — and used it to do what? Extend a giant thank-you for the extra $100K? No, they used it to make fun of the Sad Puppies at the awards ceremony. Someone managed to persuade the committee to add asterisks to the names of Sad Puppy Nominees and even made a wooden mock “award” for them! (At least one Puppy Kicker “credits” David Gerrold — a man I used to admire until I started following him on FaceBook and got fed up with his incoherent rants.) Classy, real classy. (And possibly illegal.) What a great way to prove you’re not partisan. But that’s what can be expected from playground bullies like the Puppy Kickers. Grow up, children.
Unfortunately, this is also exactly the kind of juvenile antics that birthed the Sad Puppies grass-roots movement. Bottom line, Sad Puppies is a part of larger cultural insurrection, a backlash against the totalitarian attitudes that rule the literary scene today. Sad Puppies think that Science Fiction and Fantasy should be FUN to read, not just echo whatever PC sentiment is in vogue this month, heavy on the preaching. Sad Puppies are fighting back at the man! [Older Puppy Kickers that demonstrated back in the ’60s and ’70s really should be able to relate. Oh, right, like that cell phone commercial says, now *they* are “the man”.]
So, next year Sad Puppies is being chaired by three women. Just as Larry predicted would happen with the nominees, the Puppy Kickers are already mounting a smear campaign. I take this personally, as my wife is one of the chairs for 2016. It’s amusing, actually, watching the Puppy Kickers. Mary Robinette Kowal threw down the first gauntlet, accusing Sarah of being racist for using the term ChiCom in a post. Ignoring the actual definition (“a Chinese Communist”), Mary decided to give it her own definition, claiming it’s a racial slur. [Again with the crack pipe?] For the record, it is derogatory — to Communists. That’s in no way racial, but just like the racist, white male accusation leveled earlier, by the Puppy Kickers, it’s all about that race, ’bout that race, no logic (apologies to Meghan Trainor). Although, in this particular case, even Mary’s usual backers were shying away from a white woman calling a Latin woman a racist.
Next in the smear campaign came K. Tempest Bradford, who decided that the Sad Puppies in general and Sarah in particular are dumb and can’t write well enough to be nominated for an award, anyway. Interesting tactic. [It’s called the Sarah Palin attack, actually. The left tried to portray her as dumb and not able to handle Washington politics.] Frankly, we saw that coming a mile away, and it’s usually best just to let Tempest chatter away, since she tends to contradict herself at every turn. Of course, she’s all about the race, too, so when challenged to “cite your sources” (she’s fond of using that phrase) for her accusations, naturally she turned the conversation to race. Eventually, she even tweeted this incredible example of twisted “logic”: “Also, b/c this will come up, when I say Correia and Hoyt and VD have white privilege, I’m not saying that they aren’t POC. I’m not getting into any kind of policing of labels. Many POC have white privilege.” How’s that again? Perhaps Tempest need to tell us how she’s redefining white privilege so we can all be on the same page. As you can see, she’s still holding onto that idea of conflating Sad Puppies and Vox Day (VD), in contravention of facts. Also, she’s clearly has never been to Portugal, where there is no such thing as white privilege, much less the dirt-poor village Sarah grew up in.
So far, the Puppy Kickers still haven’t addressed how they can claim someone with an IQ measured as high as Stephen Hawking can be dumb, or how they can possibly consider Larry Correia (who’s a mega-bestselling writer with multiple series in varying genres), Sarah Hoyt (whose first novel was a finalist for the prestigious Mythopoeic Award and first SF novel was the winner of the Prometheus Award) and Brad Torgersen (who not only was a Writers of the Future winner, but is also a past Nebula and Hugo nominee!) as not being good enough writers for the Hugo award. Um … seriously? Brad’s Hugo nomination was only four years ago! Put down the crack pipe already and face reality!
Next up, if Larry is right, the Puppy Kickers will claim that Sarah writes only about straight white males, so she’s not “worthy” of awards. Sarah’s fans will get a kick out of that: Sarah’s known for her diverse and gay characters. Sarah’s award-winning SF novel, Darkship Thieves, features a female central character. One of the sequels, A Few Good Men, features a gay central character and his budding romance. Her huge body of short stories features every race imaginable, along with a few only she imagines. But, see, that won’t be “worthy” enough for the Puppy Kickers, because Sarah’s characters aren’t victims, and the Puppy Kickers can’t understand how anybody who isn’t a straight white male can not be a victim. Because … racism! Oops, there’s yet another word the Puppy Kickers toss about like candy on Halloween to mean, “You disagree with my obviously-correct opinion”, completely disregarding the actual definition.
After that, if I’m right, the Puppy Kickers will claim that Sarah was handed all of her successes on a silver platter, so she’s not deserving of awards. Because that’s just what they do — ignore reality, and make up their own narrative to suit their twisted views. I guarantee they’ll ignore that Sarah pretty much embodies the American Dream — a young immigrant girl (22 years old at the time) who came to this country with nothing but 44 pounds of luggage (mostly clothes), determined to pursue her dream of becoming a science fiction writer in her third language (that’s write, ETL, not ESL), without knowing anyone here besides her new husband, much less anyone in her chosen field, without knowing that an organized fandom even existed for the books she read, without any special support from the literary establishment, and carved out a career for herself to become one of the most successful (possibly the most successful) living Portuguese-born author in this country. She should be on Oprah, not the subject of a smear campaign. [What do these self-proclaimed Social Justice proponents actually believe, anyway? Certainly not the American Dream; so what exactly?]
[Sigh] Make your own decision. Go read some of the SF/F the establishment is pushing now (like the Hugo winners of the last few years, maybe even the last decade), then go read what Sad Puppy authors are offering, and you’ll see why the Sad Puppies movement is needed. The “No Award” establishment has driven away SF/F readers in droves over the years; Sad Puppies are trying to win them back, that’s all. (And succeeding, too, judging by several metrics I’m not at liberty to divulge.)