Fear and Loathing at the Awards Table 5: Sad Puppies 2 post mortem

Snipped from a comment I made to David (“Trouble with Tribbles”) Gerrold, on Facebook, during a remarkably civil discussion about this past year’s Hugo award drama . . .

The maxim, “Never complain, never campaign” is ostensibly noble. I admire it. It’s what’s been preached to me since the inception of my (young) career. Alas, I think the reality falls far short of the ideal. Because campaigning is clearly happening right under our noses every year. I’ve seen the e-mails, read the threads, observed the electronic conversations. Social media has “liberated” the Hugos and the Nebulas from the notion that campaigning is uncouth. For adept operators who can run a non-campaign campaign (aka: stealth campaign) or who simply have a dominant web presence (“Name brand, everybody knows me!”) they get to have their Hugo/Nebula cake, and eat it too. They can win while simultaneously exclaiming, “Campaigning is uncouth, and I would never do it!” So while I agree that in a better world campaigning would be poor etiquette, a good many authors clearly no longer agree. If they ever agreed.

Larry Correia’s sin (with Sad Puppies 2) being: he was honest about what he was doing.

Though I can think of few people publishing in the SF/F genre who care less about awards. Larry is a six-figure writer in an era of plummeting advances and hardscrabble business practices. He’s got nothing to prove. What Larry does care about is ensuring that the Hugos are not a “liberals only” club. You may deem his perception wrong, or even pernicious. But it’s a perception shared by many other authors (myself included) as well as a great many readers to boot. Baen, or not. Analog, or not.

Complaining clearly doesn’t carry the stain it once did either. Otherwise we’d not have the near-perpetual moaning about “There aren’t enough (insert minority here) on the ballot!” Or, conversely, “There are too many (insert majority here) on the ballot!” Because the genre seems to have a spiritual hangover from the bad old days when straight white men wrote all the straight white man stories and won all the straight white man awards (perception, not saying it was fact, that is the backwards-through-time perception) the genre is in more and more of a hurry to correct the perceived error, via affirmative action.

And yes, discussion of affirmative action sets my teeth on edge too. Because affirmative action introduces what I would consider to be irrelevant criteria into the “Only the story should win, on its own merits!” equation.

Which is not to say I think affirmative action voters are being deliberately pernicious. I’ve done a fair bit of affirmative action voting in my own life, where political office is concerned. Much of it in my (more idealistic) youth. When I thought it actually did more good than bad. Affirmative action is well-meant push-back against perceived systemic biases and prejudices. I get it. I really do.

But at what point does the affirmative action go too far? Almost becoming a mockery of itself?

I noted with unhappiness the “squee” that erupted from some individuals when an all-female Nebula list hit the internet airwaves earlier in the season. As if merely ensuring all the winners had vaginas was a triumph unto itself? So, do we oscillate? For fairness? One year, it’s all penises, the next, back to all vaginas again? But wait, what about trans people who have neither penises nor vaginas? Clearly the frontier needs to be pushed again. And so on, and so forth.

One might get the sense that in this kind of affirmative action environment, the merits of the story proper are definitely riding in the back seat. One might be correct about that, too.

Larry Correia could care less if a Tongan gay socialist Democrat wins a Hugo. Just as long as being Tongan, gay, socialist, or Democrat, aren’t the primary factors in the win. Story first, you know.

But here again, the reality can’t meet the ideal. Because clearly being gay, or socialist, or trans, or black, or Chinese, or female, or many other identitarian labels, does matter in the Hugo selection process. It matters if you (author) are any of these things, and it matters if you (author) insert these things into your stories. It’s mattered more and more every year since at least the late 1990s. A bad story can’t beat the odds no matter what, but a comparably well-done story (in relation to the field as a whole) has a distinct advantage if it comes from the keyboard of a sexual or ethnic minority, or features characters who are in a sexual or ethnic minority. If said minority author has a good-sized web footprint and is popular in the social media, so much the better. All of this attracts votes and voter sympathy. Well-meant, well-intended. All of it.

But then, not everything well-intended has a positive consequence.

So perhaps it’s ironic that if the maxim “Never complain, never campaign” were in truth the rule at the Hugos, Correia would be happier than anybody. Because Correia believes in it too. He just doesn’t believe in being silent while a lot of what he considers to be bullshit, goes on — without question from very many people in established positions of prominence.

My personal opinion is that we need more of Sad Puppies, not less. Regardless of who launches it or who is on the slate. There are dozens of men and women who have devoted their lives and careers to building this messy, often combustible enterprise we call Science Fiction & Fantasy. Some of them dwell at or near the bestseller level with each release. Not all of them allow the affirmatively-minded to check a box. Not all of them write quaint or prosaic literary stories better suited to the pages of The Sun or The New Yorker, than a SF/F magazine. Almost all of them can’t buy a Hugo, for various reasons which perplex and sometimes infuriate me. Despite the fact that their fan bases are what prop the genre up from a financial perspective. When the so-called “most prestigious award” in SF/F never finds its ways into the hands of a Kevin J. Anderson or a L.E. Modesitt, Jr. or a David Farland (Wolverton) this sends a strong signal: the voters at Worldcon are anti-success. Pro-affirmative action. But anti-success.

So let’s see more, please. Let’s get some of these deserving souls onto the ballot. If affirmative action is warranted, let’s begin a new brand of affirmative action: lifetime contribution from successful authors who have never won a Hugo. Did you know that Tad Williams has never even been nominated for a Hugo award? Tad Williams?? As I have often said of the Congressional Medal of Honor (“You shouldn’t have to die to get the damned thing!”) so too do I say of the Hugo: a writer or editor should not have to retire or pass from the field, in order to get the award. Stan Schmidt was worthy of a Hugo at least a dozen or more times in his career. How come Worldcon couldn’t give Stan an award until he was out of his editing chair at Analog? What was so impossible about acknowledging Stan when he was still sitting in that chair??

It won’t be Larry carrying the load next time. Larry is a strong man, but not bulletproof. Having mortgaged his reputation (among those who espouse “Never complain, never campaign”) he can’t be expected to bear the burden each time. There were some remarkably cruel and unfair things said about Larry in the last year. Speaking as his friend, a compatriot, a fellow Baen author, and someone who has been proud to be all of the above every step of the way, I think everyone who went out of his or her way to character-assassinate Larry, should be ashamed. Especially those who mewled neutral or even cordial words in public, yet stabbed coldly at Larry in private.

But it will be somebody picking up the torch. Maybe me? Maybe some of my friends who have agreed with and applauded Larry’s efforts? Maybe if all of us do this often enough — if we refuse to allow the Hugo awards to be an exclusive “club” for a certain brand of politics or a certain literary taste — the drama will die down. People will adjust to the new reality: that the SF/F genre really is a big place, populated by every type and kind of professional, and that merely displacing one type or kind for another (in the quest for perceived justice or fairness; or just raw political pique) is an unworthy goal.


  1. Next time, bring your best game. Read a lot, talk among each other, pick your *best* stories. No bland reguritated elf seeks god never finds him though but boy won’t it upset the Hugo voters stories. Encourage your readers to nominate for quality, and *only* to nominate things they have actually read and liked. If you get stuff among the finalists, encourage your readers to read *everything* before voting. Even if there are people on the other side that aren’t taking the high road, after this year’s performance, you can’t afford to play tit-for-tat.
    Remember that it’s partly a popularity contest. Choose for your spokesman someone who can avoid being a weapons-grade jerk in public. Please don’t try to tell me I’m being mislead by other people’s lies about Larry; I formed my opinions by reading Larry’s own words at his website.
    You desperately need a spokesperson who can respond to an essay about moving beyond binary gender–if they respond at all–with a “I’m sure you thought it went without saying, but just in case, don’t forget to write a good story also” instead of a 4,000 word rant attacking a position–“don’t bother writing good stories”–that the essay writer never took. You need someone who doesn’t accuse the average WorldCon voter of lying about what we like–voting for stuff we hate because of the author’s race or sexual preference. And who doesn’t taunt disabled people in the next sentence. I don’t know what he was thinking, but he’s not suited to the job, however much he may want it.
    If you want the Hugos to be about the best pulp, fine; people can like pulp and that’s okay–you’ll need about 3K more voters who prefer pulp to literary, but that could be possible. But you really need a leader for your campaign who can avoid antagonizing the neutrals. This year the Hugos had about 1,500 extra voters–and only about 350 of them voted the Sad Puppies’ way. That was a public relations disaster, and it’s probably mostly due to the face the Sad Puppies presented to the world.
    Of course you don’t have to listen to me. I’m a Diversity Age fan rather than a Golden Age fan, and so Larry thinks I’m prejudiced, and maybe you do too. But I thought I’d give it a try, on the off chance that you were in the mood to reassess your tactics.

  2. Also, if you think Larry is a “Weapons grade jerk,” you’ve led a remarkably sheltered life.

    BTW, what is your comment about this statement:

    “P Nielsen Hayden ‏@pnh 27m
    Good luck to most of the Hugo nominees tonight! Except for one particular would-be fascist, to whom bad cess and embarrassing skin diseases.”


  3. It’s much too early to declare Sad Puppies a public relations disaster, when the iterative effects of the campaign have only just begun. If Sad Puppies 2 “only” got 350 voters this time, what happens if a dozen different authors press forward next time, encouraging their authors to contribute to the Hugo count — doing it precisely as you describe, even — and this results in 500 or 750 or even 1,000+ Hugo votes which are “not of the body” of Worldcon, as it were. I don’t doubt Larry alienated some of the neutrals. I think Vox Day probably alienated far, far more, simply because the persona known as Vox Day was deliberately antagonistic and vitriolic in ways guaranteed to turn people off.

    Larry Correia is a fun-lover who enjoys what he does and who has a blast with media fans, pulp fans, gamers, you name it. He is an equal opportunity author if I have ever seen one. He’s just never going to write any stories more at home in The Sun than, say, the pages of a Heroic or Urban Fantasy magazine. He also doesn’t share the Worldcon snob aversion to tie-in books. For Larry, I think, good storytelling is where he finds it. Even if it’s storytelling in someone else’s playground, like Iron Kingdoms or Legend of the Five Rings.

    Over the last 30 years, Worldcon has slowly bled attendees and voters. This year, Larry brought his fans (Monster Hunter Nation) and Brandon Sanderson brought his fans (Wheel of Time) and though neither author had any illusions about defeating the prejudices of Worldcon, I think it says something when only two guys bring their fans to the table — these being “not of the body” fans — Worldcon (and the cotillion mentality) erupts in a tizzy fit.

  4. Oh Cat, honey, boopsie, sweetie. Larry is a big teddybear compared to some of us out here in the real world.

    He responded to that binary gender nonsense with the derision it deserved. Be careful lest we do the same to its defenders.

  5. I’m an aspiring fantasy novelist. I’m still in the larval “learning to write” stage, so I may never get published. I’m actually pretty okay with that, at least for the moment.

    One thing I regularly do is lurk on the blogs of various authors, and follow controversies like this, to see what I can learn from them. This is what I’ve learned about the Hugo (assuming an eventual published work) :

    I don’t want one. I don’t want to be nominated, I don’t want to be *suggested* to be nominated, I don’t want to be anywhere near it. I can’t trust it. I don’t want to be the subject of that kind of *personal* scrutiny over everything I’ve ever flippantly said in order for it to be determined if I “deserve” a Hugo or not. I certainly don’t want to wonder if the only reason I’ve been nominated is because I’m a cisgendered female with a very impoverished background and no formal education, thus being that year’s Minority Spotlight Figure. The idea is repulsive to me.

    I’ve learned that we’ve pretty much swung that pendulum all the way from “if you’re the Right People, you can get away with murder/pedophilia/domestic violence” to “if you aren’t acknowledged to have the proper personal political/social stance by the Correct People, you’ll never win one, because you’re scum”. I’ve learned that the Hugo has effectively become like every other high school popularity contest. I’ve learned that I’m unlikely to enjoy stories that win Hugos, and I should definitely borrow them before I buy them. I’m *certainly not* going to purchase a story or book just because it’s got a Hugo sticker.

    I’ve learned that the people who determine who does and does not get a Hugo are absolutely vicious people with whom I would never willingly choose to associate. These are the kinds of people I do not invite into my home. I have to say I’m just a little disappointed in everything I’ve read over the past year about the Hugo and the people involved with it.

    I don’t know that Larry deserved to win one; there are some things about his writing style that just don’t grab me the way that other authors do. His stories are good, and I enjoy them well enough, but they’re not *great*. However, he’s done nothing to deserve the vicious, petty, spiteful character assassination he’s gotten.

    And yeah, my opinion means pretty much jack shit, since I’m *not* and may never be published… but is this really what you want aspiring writers to be thinking when they consider their professional future?

  6. What bothered me about the Hugo’s this year and the Diversity Age crowd is that I can’t be certain if the works that won, won because of the literary quality of the story or if they won because of the color of the author’s skin or because of the author’s sexual orientation or because of the author’s political stance. I shouldn’t have to wonder about that..But there are certainly a few of the winners where I wonder because the work itself was a structural mess.

    I really hope all the winners go on to do great things. Having success after winning the award helps validate the award process–particularly if that success if financial and with mainstream audiences. Success with the university crowd… not so much. The winner need to be ambassadors of SF&F to the world, but most Hugo winners are nobodies to the average SF&F reader.

    I like Correia and I like his books, but he’s not the best spokesperson for this cause. For every person he got to vote in the Hugo’s, I’m fairly certain the literary crowd got two. Getting VD on the ballot really didn’t help his cause. I liked a lot of Correia’s slate, but I still voted VD below no award.

    This needs to be more about motivating the average SF&F reader into participating because right now the bulk of voters are those with deep ties to literary traditions who would rather see James Joyce win a Hugo than Michael Crichton. (Michael Crichton=also never nominated for a Hugo) I feel a lot of the literary traditions they are beholden to are outdated and need to change, but no one if going to hire me to teach literature at a university with that attitude.

    A turn out the vote campaign would be far more likely to succeed if it didn’t rely on attacking other authors or the establishment. There are a lot of neutral voters who don’t care about politics, but they get easily swayed when they feel too much heat coming from one direction.

    I feel that casting further afield would help. Look at the YA field (which has a lot of good SF&F). Really push the short story market. I bet had Correia nominated five short stories and really pushed those stories, all of them would have made it on the ballot since short stories struggle to get enough qualifying votes..

    And obviously, author personality counts. One of the winning works I can’t read because I had a bad interaction with the author. Maybe in the future I’ll read it, but I can’t right now. With how short the voting season is, an author can’t afford to be off putting.

  7. WorldCon is in Spokane next year. This is practically in our backyard. I would love to see our Utah contingent put in a strong showing.

    What’s funny is that I feel far more alienated by the Diversity Age than I ever did by the Golden Age. I get the feeling that the Diversity Age does not want women like me in their ranks and would just as soon I went away. I’m not sure their version of “diversity” and mine mesh. I want diversity of viewpoints, the more the merrier. Their version of diversity seems to be “all different shades of skin color and every gender and orientation under the sun, as long as the viewpoint is in lockstep with what we say is ‘correct.’ And if you are not correct, then we will eviscerate you.” And that just rubs me the wrong way.

  8. Brad, there is, of course, a slight difference between what you’re saying and Larry’s Sad Puppies “campaign”: You want writers to be awarded on the strength of their stories regardless of their personal beliefs, while Larry thinks this is unlikely to happen and was inciting those responsible for that situation to make their prejudices explicit. (Of course, Larry’s eventual hope is that trophies are more fairly awarded, so the difference is indeed slight.)

    Rereading Larry’s post from 2014-04-24, An explanation about the Hugo awards controversy makes it very clear that he didn’t have any expectation of winning a Hugo this year. And no, Cat, this is not sour grapes; from the beginning of Sad Puppies Larry defined his victory conditions: not a Hugo, but the bad sportsmanship, slander, personal attacks, promises to no-award stories without reading them, the idea that VD’s story’s presence on the list “tainted” the rest of the slate, etc., etc., that certain elements in fandom displayed in abundance after the nominations were announced.

  9. Brad: Bravo! Well said, as usual. I am finding that I enjoy your blog as much as I enjoy your stories. I got a job because of Affirmative Action and, quite frankly, it was a mistake. Never mind I really really wanted the job, I wasn’t suited for that job. Lost dreams hurt more than dreams never realized. So yes, I am opposed to AA, in pretty much all its forms.

    Wendi: Like you I am an aspiring writer. [Dark/Urban Fantasy] The idea of an award of the caliber of the Hugo never even crosses mind and if it does, I’m inclined to agree – no thank you. I’ll stick to something that really does help me, the green stuff that folds well and helps put food on my table. 😉 However, I disagree with this statement: “my opinion means pretty much jack shit, since I’m *not* and may never be published” As a reader and fan of SF/F, your opinion matters as much, if not more, then some intellectual that isn’t a fan and only wants to make sure the proper message is included.

  10. It’s funny how much time Cat has spent going around to blogs telling people upset with the Hugo results to “make better art” or whatever. If writing Ancillary Justice is what it takes to win an award, then I’ll pass. My attempts at trying to read it made me want to jab an ice pick into my eyes.

    Every time someone pulls the “make better art” argument, they forget one important fact. Taste is subjective. It always will be. To me, Ancillary Justice was awful tripe. To others, it was utterly delightful.

    My issue with the Hugos is that it does appear that politics matter more than story. Sure, there were people who voted for AJ because they enjoyed it. However, since it was one of the works not provided in totality to Hugo voters, I wonder how many people actually read it and how many just voted for it because it wasn’t Larry Correia?

  11. Maybe Anderson and Wolverton don’t win awards because they really aren’t very good despite their success.

  12. If a dozen different authors encourage their readers to vote next time, and they stay away from “make those prejudiced Hugo voters unhappy” and stick to “hey, check these out–they’re great” and “oh, have you tried these, though? I think they’re even better” and “wow–guys, look what I found here!” I think you’d obviously be miles better off. You’d be bringing new readers to the table without driving the neutrals away–*and* you’d be having a conversation among yourselves to pick good representatives of the pulp fiction stuff you like, rather than basically relying on one person’s judgement. I think that would work much better.

    Personally I’d like to see more Fantasy and Urban Fantasy books nominated. If media tie-in books can gather the nominations, the fans have spoken; game on. I think YA is a really active part of the field that is being overlooked currently and I would love to see it get more attention.

    Frankly, if you don’t feel the need to smash the window and spray paint the wall just for grins, but come in through the door with a “this is what we loved last year–have you checked this out?” attitude, I think you’d have a lot more neutrals going “well, I like some pulp now and then; let’s see what you’ve got here.” Heck, *I* like some pulp now and then. I am unlikely to put it first, because I like other things more, but I, and voters like me, can still end up pushing the right pulp piece over the top.

    The thing about the Hugos is that unless something is such an overwhelming favorite as to get more than half the first place votes, it matters *very much* what people liked second and third and even fourth best. So you just need to get a lot of the neutrals to move the pulp offering a couple of places up on their list and suddenly you’re a contender. A better spokesperson would probably help some with that, and pieces selected with wider pulp-fan input would almost certainly have a better chance also.

    But it would probably also help if you can bring yourself to stop calling it “prejudice” when the voters like other works better, or call a jerk a jerk.

    Larry may be a fun-loving jerk. But dude, he’s a jerk. I realize it’s hard to see when he’s taunting people you disagree with–just like I have to squint at Scalzi’s twitter rant *juuuust* right to get beyond “boy he’s sure got Larry’s number; that’s what I think he will say too” to “well, I guess that is maybe a bit much.” But he’s a jerk–and he comes across that way to the neutrals. Like Rush Limbaugh comes across as a jerk to anyone but his supporters.

    People didn’t erupt because a conservative got nominated; they erupted because a big enough jerk can make nearly anyone angry, and Larry has a talent for that which he has increased by diligent practice and he even brought Vox Day along to help–to the extent this needed proving, I fully and freely grant you it has been proven.

    By all means, bring more people. We had bunches of extra people this year and it worked out fine, and the more people we have, the more the award reflects the views of fandom. But bring your best game too, and put your best foot forward in the face you show to the world. I intend to do the same on my end.

    And be aware that Larry and Vox a lot of damage with the neutrals–I think it shows in the way the neutrals voted this year, especially regarding Day’s piece–and it may take a few years to heal. So you might do everything right for a while and still hear some bitterness; it doesn’t mean people are prejudiced, it means that when you build the fire as high as Larry and Vox did it takes a while for the fireplace to cool back down.

  13. There are no neutral’s. There are more then two sides and a huge host of uniformed people. Before sad puppies 2 I didn’t even know the Hugo’s was a fan voted on award, much less that people could buy the right to vote in it. The vast majority of scifi fans don’t even know this stuff is happening. The only reason I started reading Scifi blogs was because a friend of mine told me about the Red Sonja freak out and I cried B.S. . Sure enough he was right. People were freaking out about a classic icon of fantasy. And he had heard about it the same way. Scifi fans don’t know what is going on in background. They need to be told and Larry is just doing his part.

  14. The best award is green and folds. (shamelessly stolen from Sarah). I BUY Larrys. And Sarahs. And Brads. And Davids and Erics and Johns and Lee and Miller and all the rest of the Baen stable because they write GOOD STORIES. They successfully compete for my beer money. (and remember God is Great, Beer is Good, and people are crazy).

    I read passages from all the Hugo nominees and Nebula nominees. Only ones I found better than beer were the usual suspects. And none of them won either.

    I am at the point I am going to start boycotting winners. Not that it will be a hardship, as winning a Hugo or Nebula these days seems to indicate LACK of quality. Quality being “in the gutter where it belongs”.

    Look, if you want to be pretentious, you better be Bradbury or equivalent. Because Heinlein is STILL the ideal. And as one of the few people in this world still spending $1000 plus per year on books, you better believe my vote counts!

  15. “And be aware that Larry and Vox a lot of damage with the neutrals–I think it shows in the way the neutrals voted this year, especially regarding Day’s piece–and it may take a few years to heal. So you might do everything right for a while and still hear some bitterness; it doesn’t mean people are prejudiced, it means that when you build the fire as high as Larry and Vox did it takes a while for the fireplace to cool back down.”

    That’s amusing. There are no “neutrals” at Worldcon. They are a collection of sick and twisted little freaks who actually voted a lifetime achievement award to a confirmed incestuous child rapist AND STILL HAVE NOT SEEN FIT TO RESCIND IT.

    The real neutrals are the people who are abandoning the likes of Scalzi in droves and buying Larry’s books and reading the blogs of Larry, Sarah Hoyt, John C. Wright, and myself. The numbers don’t lie. Since mid-2012, John Scalzi’s Whatever traffic has fallen 60 percent from its monthly peak of 1 million pageviews. According to Publishers Weekly, mainstream SF sales fell 21 percent that year and they continued to fall in 2013. No one wants to read the sort of drek your kind see as the new and improved science fiction.

    Meanwhile, Larry is cranking out New York Times bestsellers, my blog traffic has risen from 650k to 1.5 million per month, and independent publishers are growing explosively. If you think the fire was built high this year, then you have absolutely no idea what the future holds. The fact that you think John Scalzi has Larry Correia’s number suffices to demonstrate how woefully askew your view of objective reality is.

  16. Seems to me you folks need to sit down and decide what you want.

    Do you want pulp to win Hugos? Or do you want to nominate some works chosen on the spur of the moment for their politics, enjoy watching your spokesperson energetically piss everyone off–which can indeed be fun if you like that sort of thing–get handed your asses in the voting, and then sit around feeling victimized and sorry for yourselves because Hugo voters giving the prize to other works means they’re prejudiced?

    I grant you one of these outcomes is only possible, and the other is a sure thing, if you go that direction. But is the sure thing really the one you want, or is it worth trying for the win?

  17. “…sit around feeling victimized and sorry for yourselves because Hugo voters giving the prize to other works means they’re prejudiced?”

    Except no one is doing that. We’re feeling vindicated because we were absolutely correct. The other side made our point for us in glorious and overblown fashion.

    I want good stories to win awards. That’s all. Not stories chosen because they Convey the (Politically) Correct Message, or Check Some Box. You act like we’re some monolith. The definition of “good story” clearly varies from person to person. Heck, I’ve written stories that I consider “good” that are vastly different from each other–from a light and silly thing where a time-traveling wizard needs a unicorn horn in rural Tennessee to a dark and hopeless piece where a man tries to cure his daughter of her zombie condition and ends up having it backfire horribly on him to another — I daresay more thoughtful one — where a guy has to serve court papers to Satan in Hell.

    I love all these stories. Do I think they’re award-worthy? Of course, otherwise I wouldn’t write them and submit them to magazines. Do I think I have a hope in hell of winning an award with any of them? *snort* I’m nobody, and nobodies do not get nominated for awards. But I do think that I will eventually be “awarded” some folding green stuff that I might be able to use to go to a convention. That’s all the award I really want. A Hugo or Nebula is nice, but it doesn’t put tasty steak in my stomach.

  18. “Seems to me you folks need to sit down and decide what you want.”

    We know what we want and it doesn’t have anything to do with either of your options. As usual, the Left has no understanding whatsoever of what is going on outside its little conclaves.

    I can’t speak for Larry or Brad, but I don’t feel victimized or sorry for myself. 6th of 5 was the second-best outcome, as far as I’m concerned, and I am quite amused by the fact that I am, and will always be, a Hugo-nominated author. I know full well how that will always stick in the craw of those who value the participation trophies, no matter how much they pretend to be laughing until you they yourselves or however they want to put it. Do you honestly think Larry or I ever secretly believed for one nanosecond that we were going to win anything that depended on lefties voting? We may be Evil but we can both count.

    We’re not trying to fix the twisted orcs of SFF or clean up the field they have polluted with their odiferous droppings. We’re just offering people a genuine alternative that is considerably closer to the original. We may not have as much talent as the historical giants, but you know, neither do any of you.

  19. You know what’s amusing? You wrote the worst novella to be nominated for an award. And you were only nominated because Larry was rallying his fans.

  20. Repeating:

    Cat: Please explain how “Redshirts” was literary.

    BTW, what is your comment about this statement:

    “P Nielsen Hayden ‏@pnh 27m
    Good luck to most of the Hugo nominees tonight! Except for one particular would-be fascist, to whom bad cess and embarrassing skin diseases.”


    Are these your examples of “literary merit” and “not being a jerk”?

  21. Luscinia: I assume you were directing that at Vox, with whom I’ve had many tangles recently.

    He’s a consummate troll. If that’s not obvious to you, you’re not ready for prime time.

    The fact that complete dreck got nominated proves his point entirely. The Hugos are no longer relevant. It was always a popularity contest, since it’s voted on by the attendees–who have no more literary credentials than they do any other subject, as a collective. However, at one point it was a popularity contest at the world’s largest SF con. That is no longer true.

    WorldCon stopped being relevant about 1995 (and I have no idea if you were around to attend them before that. I was). First year anime and comic cons have triple the attendance and more writers in residence.

    Several major cons exceed its attendance by factors of 10-30, and (speaking as panelist) have much better qualified pros on panels. The attendees of those cons number in the hundreds of thousands, and most neither know nor care what a Hugo is.

    The Hugo is now equivalent to the “Podunk Library Reader’s Choice Award.”

    And I strongly encourage you to offer any of the recent winnings to an actual professor of literature for an opinion on their merit.

  22. Let’s look at the short story category: not a lot of SF there.

    For instance, the winner, “The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere”. Not SF

    “Selkie Stories Are For Losers”. . . if anything, was vaguely fantasy

    “If You Were a Dinosaur. . . ” was pure rage stream-of-consciousness. . . but not SF,

    “Ink Readers”, again, vaguely SF. But all had IMPECCABLE credentials with the “in crowd”. . .

  23. >And I strongly encourage you to offer any of the recent winnings to an actual professor of >literature for an opinion on their merit.

    There’s no shortage of people with MFAs (which by extension qualifies you to be a professor of literature) among the Hugo voters and they’re more likely to find literary merit in the winners than you’d like. That doesn’t mean they’re particularly good or satisfying stories necessarily but you won’t win any points appealing to that particular authority.

    >The Hugo is now equivalent to the “Podunk Library Reader’s Choice Award.”

    And yet when walking the aisles of your local bookstore every book that even brushed up against the possibility of a Hugo mentions it on the cover. I’ve yet to see one mention an anime or comic-con anywhere.

    Regardless, for a podunk triviality you sure do seem to be putting a lot of energy into railing against it. Why don’t you take your vastly superior and much more sizable audience at these other cons and focus on them? It’s pretty clear the irrelevant hayseeds don’t want you.

  24. God you SJW types really are idiots. Sad Puppies was about making the point of how irrelevant the Hugos actually are. The Hugo mention on the cover is both a sad throwback to when the Hugos were actually relevant and an even sadder commentary on the publishing houses that STILL think they’re relevant.

    There a popularity contest, nothing more. That mattered back when the genre was limited to a relatively small number of people who actually read the books and went to the cons. Now? Not so much. SF has taken over the culture and the vast majority of fans don’t even REALIZE they’re fans and have never heard of the Hugos.

    What you and your ilk don’t get, is that we find you and your sad devotion to that ancient award AMUSING.

  25. actually I couldnt find ANY of the winners at barnes and nobles tonight.. I looked and asked. NONE Of the nominees but Larry and Vox were in the store..

  26. Darling, while it may comfort you to reduce me to a three-letter abbreviation, there was nothing in my previous post that had anything to do with social justice or its effect on the Hugos. (Nor have I ever made a comment regarding those topics anywhere else.) I’m sorry if I frightened you to the point of stereotyping but nothing about your response invalidates my point. If this tiny little award is so amusing and irrelevant, why don’t you take your talent and focus on that much larger audience rather than acting like you couldn’t get a date for the prom? Because while *that’s* amusing, it’s neither professional nor likely to gain you many converts. You’ll just leave them with the impression that you’re a bit of a petulant dick.


  27. Alison…. the evidence is that a number of people *do* want them, even at an event you claim does not.

    Let’s say, for point of argument, that finishing third or better on a ballot means “could have been worth but not this year”.

    Correia had 184 nominations, and didn’t really push once nominated. He had 332 votes for first in ballot 1, 460 by Ballot 3.

    Novella:Our host had 116 nominations, Dan Wells 106. First place votes 468/198. By 3rd position, that was 742/381.

    :Novelette: our host had 96 nominations, Day 69, Initial votes 223/161; by 3rd place 486/262.

    Even if you assume everyone who voted for Correia first was a “slate” voter (and that doesn’t match the wide spread in nomination numbers, with some of the people Correia supported not even getting on the ballot), they all added at least a hundred voters that thought they were worthy enough, with our host picking up a few hundred. It’s actually pretty clear that many of the stories were appreciated. If you use the loose standard of ‘better than No Award’, even Mr Day picked up 500 readers that thought his work was at least potentially award worthy, which is 500 potential buyers for other works. Yes, you can do better elsewhere, but that isn’t bad.

    Also: the position of those railing the most is I think best described as ‘this used to matter and should be made to matter again’, which perfectly encapsulates why you might put effort into something that doesn’t matter now.

  28. Alison: my personal suspicion is that the Hugos remain attractive because they have a) a long shadow in this business, dating back to the very first Worldcon, and b) there’s never been anything that tried to do what the Hugos do, only better. Granted, we have the Nebulas, but that’s an “inside” award for SFWA purposes, and does not reflect consumer enthusiasm. Writers of the Future comes closest to replicating the Oscars, in terms of scale and glamour, but that’s an award for new writers. There are several awards with very specific criteria relating to subject matter or the background of the person being nominated, all of which attempt to pay homage to a specific sub-sector of the genre. But we don’t have anything that is recognized across the board, in the way the Grammy or the Tony or the Emmy awards are recognized in their respective industries.

    So, until or unless someone decides it’s worth creating a Grammy or an Emmy for SF/F — such an enterprise would take a fair degree of money, and no small amount of effort — the Hugos are what there is. And while it was probably fair to say that a Hugo in 1970 really did recognize the best (or at least, very-near-the-top) of the genre, and could be recognized for what it was by the majority of people who consumed SF/F to any appreciable degree, in 2014 the total audience has exploded while the significance of the Hugo has plummeted.

    What bothers me is that a lot of “fandom” fans seem to like it this way: a small, unrecognized award given for reasons not always related to storytelling. Because the voting body wishes to overcompensate for what it believes to be the past sins of the genre. In terms of sexism, racism, etc. What’s more, “fandom” seems quite infatuated with academic-literary sensibilities, especially in the shorter categories. Which is fine if you’re an academic or a lit wonk. But the Hugo is supposed to be for SF/F et al. How can this be true when 90% or better of SF/F (out in the wider consumer world) doesn’t know what a Hugo is, or does not care?

  29. Craig: you put it beautifully. Once upon a time, the Hugo did matter. It could matter again, absolutely. I would love to see it matter, and love to see the total voting body expanded beyond the “ghetto” circle that gathers annually at Worldcon, and reflect the totality of fandom across all subjects and mediums, to include tie-in works, big media franchises, gaming, and so forth. In fact, that the Hugos continue to split off new categories for quasi-fanzine material that is only known to a few hundred people at best — while not creating categories for storytelling in gaming — would seem to be very indicative of a mentality which not only doesn’t want to matter (out in the wider world) it will fight to keep the Hugo “small” and ignored.

  30. Commenting on it shows desire?

    I guess a lot of people really wish to be Vox Day, then.

    “There’s no shortage of people with MFAs (which by extension qualifies you to be a professor of literature) among the Hugo voters”

    No, not really. It’s a literary fandom conceit that they’re somehow more literate, educated, urbane than other readers, but the reality is not. You are, of course, welcome to provide actual numbers.

    I speak as someone who attended cons regularly as a fan, then a dealer, now as a guest, since 1988, at an average of 10 a year.

    And and MFA alone will not qualify one to be a professor of anything. Since professors are expected to have PhDs, and in the field in which they profess.

    I’m still waiting for someone to explain the literary genius of “Redshirts.”

  31. Also, the Hugos have never been a “literary” award:

    The World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) gives out the Hugo Awards each year for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, who founded the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories and who is considered one of the “fathers” of the science fiction genre.[2] Works are eligible for an award if they were published in English in the prior calendar year. There are no written rules as to which works qualify as science fiction or fantasy, and the decision of eligibility in that regard is left up to the voters, rather than to the organizing committee.


    They’re also given for art, fan activity and fan publication, none of which qualify as literature.

    In fact, consider such Hugo winners as Ringworld–an astounding concept and gripping story, but no one would claim it’s particularly literary.

    Again, the so-called WorldCon is now one of the smaller, less notable SF conventions. It’s great that they still have an award. But other conventions have their own kudos–the Compton Crook Award for example. Several of them offer cash prizes.

    Now, the Nebula could be considered to be somewhat literary, since it’s voted on by SFWA members specifically.

    The Hugo is a fandom award, and from an increasingly small and un-notable segment of fandom.

  32. “Do you want pulp to win Hugos? Or do you want to nominate some works chosen on the spur of the moment for their politics, enjoy watching your spokesperson energetically piss everyone off–which can indeed be fun if you like that sort of thing–get handed your asses in the voting, and then sit around feeling victimized and sorry for yourselves because Hugo voters giving the prize to other works means they’re prejudiced?”

    Not sure why you’re still operating on the premise that Correia is a spokesperson for whomever, exactly? His Sad Puppies campaign in and of itself was a microcosm in the SF/F world. The fact that this escapes you is amusing.

  33. Larry Correia, who has a bombastic internet persona but has been nothing but friendly and helpful to me in one-on-one communications, decided to throw something out there to make a point. That point was made just a short time after Warbound was nominated. Character assassinations aplenty as well as an editor admitting to letting politics color their view of an author’s work.

    Find one quote Larry made anywhere about how the Sad Puppies thing was actually about winning a Hugo. It wasn’t and it never was. It was about exposing the Hugos for what they actually are, and the left of SFF for what they were. Vindictive, vicious people who assail and belittle anyone who doesn’t think like them.

    Larry’s allegedly a jerk, but you know what? He never expressed a sincere desire for someone died in a fire, which someone said to him. He’s never wished someone develop a skin disease. But no, he’s a jerk.

    Tell you ladies what. Why don’t you go concern troll those people, and then we can talk about how big of a jerk Larry is.

  34. I’m a little surprised you keep bringing up “Redshirts” since it’s exactly the kind of novel you profess to want winning Hugos. It’s a pulpy beach read that pleases a large number of fans across multiple areas of fandom and across a wide range of age groups. It’s not pretentious nor is it particularly liberal or overly engaged with identity politics. If anything it’s a cat fart away from being a crossover novel and I don’t know that anyone, irrelevant of credentials, would call it literary. Isn’t that what you keep saying you want?

    Regarding finding the 2014 winners in bookstores, with the exception of Best Novel (which I’ve certainly found in B&N and various bookstores but your experience may vary) the rest of the fiction winners were all published online. I hope you were nice to the clerks.

    Meanwhile, while a PhD is certainly helpful in the competitive academic job market, an MFA is a terminal degree and sufficient to become a professor. Particularly if you’ve made your bones as a successful published writer. Now if you require a PhD in English literature to somehow validate your point (which I lost somewhere in your multiple post ramble) yes, I agree there probably aren’t that many of those in the Hugo voter population. I can think of a few offhand but they’re certainly not the majority. However, I strongly doubt they’d be all that sympathetic to your (again, not entirely clear) goals either.

  35. The usual knock on Warbound (when they’re talking about the actual book and not about how Larry is the International Lord of Cishet Gendernormative Fascist Hatemongery Hate) is that it’s “not literary.” So some people are wondering how Redshirts is literary–which is once again our way of pointing out the double standard.

  36. So you’re pointing out a discrimination in the tastes of the voters by bringing up an example that disproves that discrimination?

    In the last fourteen years there have been no shortage of popular non-literary winners in the novel category. Willis, Gaiman, Vinge, Sawyer…JK Rowling for god’s sake along with some other writers who are slightly more literary (read, writing above a seventh grade reading level) but still what I’d define as good accessible SF/F for adults (Bacigalupi, Mieville, and yes, Leckie) The short fiction category is a different issue, but complaining that the second novel in a derivative fantasy series was described as less than award-worthy doesn’t prove a double standard. It mostly just looks like you were lazy in choosing your standard-bearer.

  37. Alison, you are a terrible spokesperson yourself. Warbound is the third novel in a bestselling series that already won two Audie awards for the first two books. And for you to call it “derivative” in the same breath we’re talking about friggin’ Redshirts is frankly hilarious.

    So. If Redshirts isn’t “literary,” and all those others you mentioned aren’t “literary,” then tell those of us in the cheap seats why it matters that Warbound is also not literary. Why should Larry Correia be held to a standard that Scalzi is not?

  38. It may come as a surprise to you T.L. but your amusement and/or flowing tears are largely irrelevant to me. (And most everyone else, I imagine.) While your dogged defense of Larry is adorable in a puppyish (but not sad puppyish) sort of way, I never called the man a jerk, nor do I care a whit whether he’s a heteroflexible closet transvestite with remnants of Episcopalian guilt or so manly he’s the second coming of Ernest Hemingway shirtless. (Maybe if he were somewhere in between? I might go for that.)

    Regardless, an adolescent smirk adds no particular weight to your arguments. Nor does it do anything to sway me from mine, but please do continue if it pleases you.
    ❤ ❤

  39. Julie, you seem to be shadowboxing yourself while I’m off in another room. Warbound *isn’t* literary. Nor is RedShirts. Nor are the many other winners of the Hugos over the last fourteen years that I listed. I never said it didn’t win (or even belong on the ballot) due to its literary merits or lack thereof. If you have issues with people who do feel that way, you’re welcome to take it up with them.

    You’re right however. Please edit my previous comment to read

    “The short fiction category is a different issue, but complaining that the third novel in a derivative fantasy series was described as less than award-worthy doesn’t prove a double standard. It mostly just looks like you were lazy in choosing your standard-bearer.”

    And thank you very much for the correction.


  40. Allison, you silly, silly person. You seem to be under the impression I give a flying flip what you think about anything.

    Frankly, you’re doing more to make your side of the argument look ridiculous than I ever could. Please, by all means, do continue.

  41. I’d advise against the flying flip for you in any case. I’d feel really terrible if you hurt yourself over me.

    See? We’re not all that hateful.

    Thanks for the permission to continue though!


  42. Hang on a sec, let’s all throttle back a bit. I think what each of us defines as “pulp” may be somewhat different? There are obviously some readers for whom “pulp” is a negative, and for whom it’s a positive. To me the word connotes classic, visceral storytelling that is action-filled and tends to have a lot of colorful, larger-than-life characters who engage in larger-than-life adventures. Indiana Jones being a very good example of what I’d call contemporary pulp done on film. I do not think a book like Red Shirts is pulp, as much as it is ambitious fan fiction. Because Red Shirts is far, far too conscious of the audience. Almost as if the Fourth Wall does not exist. Or the author is forever winking at the reader from between the lines. Which, essentially, Scalzi is. And that works, for that particular kind of book. But it’s neither lit, nor pulp, to me.

    Others will obviously feel differently.

    The Hugo trend (in short fiction) is decidedly against pulp (as I see it) and towards academically-flavored stories that would fit in the pages of a magazine with similar sensibilities, like The Sun. Where intellectualized human drama (especially centered on questions of sexuality and ethnicity) is more important than spaceships and laser blasters. This all makes perfect sense for SF/F readers with academic lit sensibilities. But I think it’s missing the larger consumer interest boat, where traditional “pulp” (as I’ve defined it) storytelling is preferred. Which is not to say an intellectual piece cannot be visceral, or that pulp cannot be intellectual. But when we actively put the two at odds (Pulp vs. intellectual) I think we just build the wall higher between what big audiences are enjoying at theaters, and at the bookstore checkout line, versus what the “inner sanctum” of Worldcon claims to be enjoying.

    I would like it if Worldcon wasn’t seemingly in such a hurry to declare anything and everything popular (such as Larry Correia’s work) unworthy of recognition. Because the honest truth is that Larry Correia’s work stands a high probability of being read and appreciated in 20 years, by a very broad spectrum of readers. The same cannot be said of (for example) a piece like, “The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere.” That’s a piece targeted to a very specific kind of reader with a very specific kind of taste, and the flat, hard truth of it is . . . there just aren’t very many people like that out in the big marketplace. Not in comparison to the number of readers for a Warbound or a Monster Hunter series book.

    Worldcon sometimes acts as if the readership for Monster Hunter books . . . does not exist.

    That’s a bug, not a feature.

  43. Somehow, I don’t think people are going to be reading Monster Hunter International or A Throne of Bones in 20 years. If you’ll pardon the cliché, Correia’s a flash in the pan.

  44. luscinia: Larry’s been publishing for the better part of 10 years. He’s got something like a dozen novels in print or under contract, with more to come. How are you defining “flash in the pan” and would it make a difference if Larry was not an outspoken conservative?

  45. Alison, you said: “There’s no shortage of people with MFAs (which by extension qualifies you to be a professor of literature) among the Hugo voters and they’re more likely to find literary merit in the winners than you’d like.”

    Are you talking about the current crop of winners?

    And, if so, why does “literary merit” even matter in the Hugos? I don’t think it does, but clearly there are people out there who do, because they’ve been bleating (some on this very post!) that a work needs to be “literary” in order to appeal to the masses of WorldCon voters. If you disagree, then fine. If not, please elaborate.

    Also, your little passive-aggressive hearts make you look small.

    Also, is it just me, or does “luscinia” sound remarkably like Clamps? In which case, no, we will not pardon the cliché, but we will certainly expect it.

  46. Patrick: Yep.

    Julie: It sounds like Clamps because it is. I’ve seen him run his shtick a few other places.

    Of course, he still sucks as a troll.

  47. I’d rather read literary works than not-literary works.
    I’m assuming Light, Nova Swing, and Empty Space fall into the literary category and Monster Hunter and Selenoth fall into the not-literary category, right?

  48. A “flash in the pan” ? Well, Larry’s one who KEEPS flashing, over and over again. Two major, best-selling series, some joint projects on the way with at least two other best-selling authors that I know of, and long lines at cons to autograph his books, which sell like hotcakes.

    No, he doesn’t have anything on the level of a J.K Rowling or George R.R. Martin. He even styles himself as a “D” list author.

    By his standard, most of us would kill to get to the “G” or “H” list. . .

  49. Oh, sure, if money’s the only thing that matters.

    How many people read Jonathan Livingston Seagull or The Bridges of Madison County in the last year?

  50. Ok, Luscinia. . .if money doesn’t matter. . . then give us all of yours.

    Hint: in publishing, there is a simple method of gauging the success of a given book. It’s called “sales”. Literary, and especially Message Literary, has a VERY limited market. And thus, it’s going to be very hard to pay the rent and have sufficient food and such, if that’s your method of making a living.

  51. luscinia says:
    August 24, 2014 at 7:30 am
    What bookstore sells Day novels?


    Well, none on the Big Island of Hawaii, for example, since there are no bookstores there. The last one closed a couple of years back. I guess no one there is “literate.”

    Funny thing–you don’t need bookstores for books anymore. In fact, I know of two writers pulling down $150K online only.

    And that is yet another example of why your continually shifting goalposts are irrelevant.

    I have nothing against Redshirts. I simply want to know how it meets the standard of “literary,” vs Monster Hunter? (I haven’t read either, have no dog in the fight at all. I’m just asking for definitions.)

    And the Hugos remain an English language conceit of a handful of self-selected people with no market bearing at all.

    And yes, the market matters. If only 50 people read your story, you have almost certainly failed to have a relevant impact on the world.

    And yes, that rule applies to Vox Day, too, since you seem to believe I’m some sort of fan of his, or even that I care about him at all, or have read anything of his.

    The last Hugos I voted for were at LoneStarCon in ’96 or so. I actually remembered to vote, and had actually read most of the works in more than one category.

    Of course, I don’t have an MFA, so I certainly polluted the voting thereby.


    “Equoid” by Charles Stross (Tor.com, 09-2013)


    “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal (maryrobinettekowal.com /
    Tor.com, 09-2013)


    “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013)


    “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative” by Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)


    “Time” by Randall Munroe (xkcd)


    Lightspeed Magazine edited by John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton, and Stefan Rudnicki


    SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester


    Which bookstores, btw, sell any of these works?

    Also, Ms Hurley’s “related work” was unsupported by cites and full of major historical errors. One would think that MFAs would have taken that into consideration regarding an allegedly nonfic article.

  53. Luscinia. . .

    “Populist garbage” Defined as “fiction with a large enough market to support an author”.

    Right. Or, in other words, what you prefer to read only comes out free online, or from small presses.

    What a sad little person you are: you actually appear to think this is a zero-sum game . . .

  54. Fact is without sales from “populist garbage” publishers wouldn’t be able to publish those so-called literary works. There’s irony here. A big double doozy, if you ask me. Especially if you consider the point of message literature is make a statement and “educate” people, but it fails if almost no one reads it. So what’s the point then? Is it more important to keep it self-contained in a clique, and thereby stroking a few egos in that closed group, or is it meant to soar outside and touch people’s minds and enlighten them? (Made me snicker a little bit, but it’s only because I’m slightly childish)

    The way I see it, you’re looking down with disgust at the hand that feeds you, and that is a pity. Maybe I’m wrong. Besides, you can always hide a message in popular fiction so that it catches the reader unaware, and that has a far greater impact.

  55. Woelf, Luscinia isn’t looking down on the hand that feeds him, because he will never, ever be published unless he does it himself. Any “message” he might be trying to convey gets lost in purple, turgid prose so dense as to be unnavigable, even by people desperate enough to want to publish “literature” of the kind that gets his panties wet.

  56. Wright and Simmons are turgid and nobody here has a problem with them. I wonder if there’s an ideological component to that.

  57. No, it’s that your stuff is actually hilariously bad. And that you actually think it’s good, or that you are a better writer than people who, you know, actually make a living at this stuff.

    It’s that you mistake sentence construction for craft, and turgid prose for actual story telling.

  58. Pot. Kettle.

    And the only ideological component is that Wright’s ideology is to have a story that is served by the prose. I know, an anathema to you very being, but so be it.

  59. Are you sure about that? You’re not just tolerating Wright’s overwrought prose because he’s published by Day and he’s very homophobic, misogynistic, and generally reactionary? You’re not just tolerating Simmons’ pretentiousness because he turned into a living Republican stereotype over the past thirteen years?

  60. I try to avoid confusing my taste with objective, measurable, quantifiable criteria. The literature world has been forever spinning its wheels about what “good” writing looks like, and everyone has a different opinion. What can’t be faked is good storytelling. Something which both Eric Flint and David Drake agree is in much shorter supply, than “good” writing. Good storytelling can gather and keep an audience. If you can do that successfully over and over again, you can have a career. All else is pure opinion in my book. Writers who can’t gather or hold an audience, and then snipe at those who can and do . . . well, ‘aint nobody got time for that!

  61. Yes Clamps, I’m sure. You see, ideology is irrelevant to me so long as I get a good story. For example, Eric Flint is someone I enjoy reading, despite me having no use for his personal politics. He tells a really good story, and that’s all that matters.

    But you tell yourself whatever it takes to help you sleep at night.

    For the record, though, you might want to look up how to be an effective troll. Like I’ve said before, you really, really suck at it. You’d think after so much practice, you’d be better at it, but no. Yet another thing you’ve failed at. Tsk, tsk.

  62. Who cares how good the story is if it’s told as ineptly as Bloody Eden or After The Blast?

    And seriously, what’s with the Otherwhere Gazette?

  63. Having read neither of those I cannot speak to them. Having read the first few pages of your not-even-bad-apprentice level work, neither can you.

    Otherwhere has a problem, no one seems to be able to find the admin password to fix. Contemplating new options.

  64. Oh, that’s so cute. Bashing stuff you haven’t actually read, yet again.

    Seriously, how sad of an existence do you have that you have to spend all your time going to the blogs of people who you don’t like to bash stuff you haven’t read? Did Mommy and Daddy not hug you enough growing up?

  65. Oh, Patrick, that’s Clamps pathetic attempt to upset me since I wrote both of those. He obviously has me mistaken for someone who cares about his opinion.

    Oh yeah, and have made money on both of them as well. Something his “work” will never accomplish.

  66. Here’s some great sentence structure: “It started with a blinding flash, though I got lucky.” “dropped calls were a way of life for another seven months when I would get out of that God forsaken contract.” “which now felt like it weighed the same amount approximately as a small elephant.”

  67. You don’t think they improve, but since you haven’t read them, you wouldn’t know. Again, I really don’t care what you think. Having read your work, and the stuff you prefer, I’m actually thrilled you don’t like them.

    Here’s a tip for you. If you’re going to try and land a personal blow on someone, you should probably learn that it only works if you actually push a button. Otherwise, you just reveal yourself to be the idiot we all know you to be.

    Are you better at stalking women? God knows, you couldn’t be any worse at it.

  68. You’re the one who told me I can’t judge After The Blast by what’s freely available?
    Of course, that leads to the question “why make only the worst part of the story available for public viewing?”

  69. How many paragraphs of your stuff. More than I care to count.

    Seriously, do you get paid by the comma or something?

    The other two, I can’t say that I have. Or, if I did, I don’t recall anything about them. Of course, I’m also not badmouthing works I haven’t read.

  70. No, you insufferable twit, you can’t judge an entire work on the preview. It’s not there to make a determination on the entire work. It’s there to make a determination if you want to buy the entire work. Plenty of people have, so it’s done its job quite well.

    Seriously, did you eat paint chips as a kid, or what?

  71. And you judged what I wrote based on, what, an unfinished chapter? Okay.

    The preview made me say “Nope, not buying this, even if Amazon paid me ten dollars to do it.”

  72. Do we need to do ANOTHER “dramatic reading” of Clamp’s stuff ?? DragonCon IS this weekend, after all: we need to do him a favor, and give him some exposure.

    I suggest we use the last 10 or so left standing in the Master-class reading of “Eye of Argon”. . . .

  73. And still, no one has explained how Redshirts is literary. And it certainly seems to have been “populist garbage.” Which is a compliment to many pros. It means they fed their families. It also got voted a Hugo.

    Vox, whom I personally have little use for, is both publisher produced and self-pubbed.

    I’m waiting for the next shift of the goalposts. Or is “My stuff is just as good as theirs, so there” the shift?

    Reminds me of that junior college literary professor a few weeks back, who admitted to selling 11 copies of his novel, profsplaining how Stephen King is a terrible writer.

  74. luscinia says:
    August 24, 2014 at 6:53 pm
    Oh, sure, if money’s the only thing that matters.
    How many people read Jonathan Livingston Seagull or The Bridges of Madison County in the last year?

    **Cough, cough**
    I missed this gem.

    Speaking only for myself, I would take the money and run. Literary praise doesn’t put food on the table and a roof over my head.

    As to the two cited pieces, I have never read them nor am I likely to read them. Give me the penny dreadful or pulp over literary works any day. You see more people will read, and remember, the penny dreadful and/or pulp, than will ever read the literary work. Or in other words, to me Literary is stuff we’re forced to read in school while pulp is stuff we read for fun.

  75. I grew up reading them as well, Wyldcat. They were the ones who made me fantasize and role-play and made me want to write. Add to that awesome covers by Frazetta and Maroto and you have part of a recipe for a rich and lively childhood.

  76. I do have a life, after all.

    Shadowdancer Duskstar thinks that Vox isn’t wrong when he says things straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, it’s just that it applies to other ethnic groups too. I wanted to tell one friend but she’s somewhere else but I told another friend instead.
    We think Shadowdancer Duskstar needs to rethink her worldview. She thinks the sky in one of Shadowdancer Duskstar’s digital landscapes looks like macaroni and cheese and her portraits are very plain and unoriginal and look like generic anime.
    In other words, we’re much better artists.

  77. Go back to writing shitty post-apocalyptic novels. It seems the art of insults is even more lost on you than the art of writing.
    I didn’t think that was possible…

  78. First, that’s the same stuff we’ve mocked repeatedly. You mean, in almost six years, you haven’t written anything better than that? Then you’ve got the balls to insult other writers over anything? Dude, you really, really suck at this trolling thing. Maybe you should get a book on it or something.

    You see, Clampsy, you pick out little sentences to try and make a big deal out of, while you haven’t managed to craft a single sentence worth of coherence. Honestly, with your “work” being what it is, and read by enough people to know how moronic you actually are, has sold plenty of copies of After the Blast for me. Seriously, you disliking someone’s work is amazing freaking marketing. That should tell you something. Unfortunately for you, you’re too dense to realize that you’re nothing but a joke to everyone on these blogs you keep stalking around.

    Seriously, how sad is your pathetic existence that you keep showing up at blogs of writers you don’t care for, just to try and tell people who much you dislike their work? Honestly, considering your own stuff, that’s probably the most productive thing you can manage on a daily basis. That and sell more copies of my stuff.

    So please, do continue. I’ve got my eye on a new car, and a few more posts from you about terrible a writer I am should help me afford it by Monday.

  79. Firstly, no it isn’t. I checked.

    Secondly, I don’t know what sales ranks mean in terms of real money, but I doubt you can afford Trent Lane’s Plymouth Satellite with After The Blast.

  80. You’re right, you don’t know what sales rank means.

    Plus, your reading comprehension sucks worse than usual. Go reread all of that last sentence in my post and try again.

  81. No, I don’t know what sales rank means, especially a sales rank in the 60,000s. It probably means something like “ten copies,” and at a dollar a pop, that’s not enough for a car, even if it’s more rust than metal.

  82. Clamps. Sweetie. Step away from the computer and stop proving your ignorance every time you set hand to keyboard. It is better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    Though, in your case, it’s far too late for damage control.

  83. Well, A, Knighton here thinks he can afford a car by selling about a dozen copies of his crappy post-apocalyptic piece of crap. Shut up, and B, wait, what was be? I dunno, we’ll say B was “shut up.”

  84. You said yourself that you have no idea what rankings mean. You do not know how many copies of his works he has sold. How many copies of your deathless prose have you sold, since this seems to have devolved into a dick-measuring contest?

    Also, I’m pointing and laughing at you having the temerity to tell me to shut up. It’s adorable that you think you can make me.

  85. First, you can “imagine” all you want. You’re quite mistaken.

    Second, since you have failed to comprehend the plain English sentence, I’ll repeat it for you.

    I’ve got my eye on a new car, and a few more posts from you about terrible a writer I am should help me afford it by Monday.

    This doesn’t say I can afford it at this precise moment (though I could buy a car with just what I’ve brought home so far). What it says, and what you are too stupid to comprehend, is that when you open your trap, people buy my stuff and I make more money. So please continue. That new car is as good as mine.

    Third, for someone who knows the titles of my stuff, you really don’t pay attention to prices since the newest is priced more than $.99. It’s exceptionally low right now, but that’s mostly because my birthday is coming up and I felt generous. It won’t be there for long.

    So, now that we’ve covered that, I leave you to your usual moronic antics. Perhaps you’ll choose to bring someone else up in the conversation who isn’t even here?

  86. Everyone who was going to buy it based on my recommendation to just stay away from it probably already knows about it from the Mad Genius Club’s promos. Unless all your sales come from the same circle jerk of 20 people buying multiple copies… that actually makes a lot of sense.

    And I’m not paying attention to the price because I’m not going to buy it.

  87. So let me get this straight: You don’t use Amazon, yet you think you can extrapolate sales figures from a raw ranking. “You’d imagine” that Knighton isn’t selling many copies.

    Well. We’ve all read your work. You have a terrible imagination. And you’ve as much as told us that you haven’t sold any copies. So he’s way ahead of you.

  88. Sure. The same 20 people are buying my stuff over and over for no good reason. Do you even think about the crap you type before you hit “post”?

  89. Yes, yes they are.

    A pity I can’t find anything about Amazon sales rankings aside from how to game them.
    And what’s the mark of a good imagination, shitty post-apocalyptic novels and generic fantasylands with ELVES and DWARVES and GOBLINS? Maybe orcs. But no Gollums or Balrogs.

  90. Funny, I don’t think anyone here writes “generic fantasylands,” so keep on setting up that strawman so you can knock it down! Besides, you can still tell a good story in a generic fantasyland. Speaking of shitty, have you read your own monstrosity?

    Of course, you wouldn’t know good storytelling if it bit you on the ass and told you its name.

  91. Right. The same 20 people are buying my stuff over and over and over again. For what reason? Hell, what evidence do you have that anyone even would do this, much less has?

    Honestly, you just did the troll version of jumping the shark on that one.

  92. …. half a dozen copies because you mentioned it on Larry Correia’s blog. Because you’re certainly buying a Ferrari with those sales. Or anything else.

    I’m sorry, what is “a half a dozen?” Because in my world, it’s six.

    And where are all these readers of Seda’s Story from? Grewzland?

  93. Ah, Clamps going to other blogs and bringing stuff from there, here.

    That was the first time you said anything, and it was six immediately. More came in over the next few days. Every time since then, I’ve seen a spike in sales thanks to your comments. It’s not the same people, despite your delusional fantasies. It’s other people you’re annoying who figure if you dislike it, maybe it’s right up their alley.

    And why are you bringing up Vox? You’re not going to hear a whole lot of us defending Vox as a person. I don’t read much of his stuff, mostly because he annoys me.

  94. And Vox hasn’t been here for days. Also, his generic fantasyland was nominated for a Hugo.

    …Where’s your nomination for your incoherent war-torn… whatever that is. And, no, that’s not a question.

  95. I’m not sure Shadowdancer gets it…

    Where are all the people interested in Seda’s Diary from? Grewzland?

  96. What’s the point of commenting over here if no one knows what the hell you’re on about?

    And gee. I wonder why the comments over there are moderated…

    Brad, I am so sorry. If you want me to stop feeding our troll, I will happily starve him to death.

  97. Come now claps, I had you banned from PJM personally when you went too far. You’re not only an idiot troll, you’re a liar as well. You’re amusing enough as a cat toy, up to a point, but your charm (such as it is) pales quickly. Particularly when you keep telling us how good your work, which no publisher has been crazy enough to touch, is in comparison to people who, you know, make a living at this.

    Son, let me see if I can explain this too you a little more clearly.

    No one takes you seriously.

    You don’t actually win any arguments.

    Your writing is appallingly bad.

    No, seriously, it sucks.

    You really don’t come off as making any sort of coherent point.

    In fact, we often wonder if you’re high.

    Your writing makes “Eye of Argon” look like “Dune.”

    In short, son, we’re laughing at you.

  98. I’m pretty sure I can’t be fucked to register on PJM. I’m pretty sure I’d remember getting banned from PJM, which didn’t happen because I can’t be fucked to register. I’m also sure you aren’t involved with running the site because it doesn’t look like the Matt Walsh Blog if the Matt Walsh Blog had even more annoying ads and a MIDI of Dixie’s Land. I’m also sure you can’t figure out how to ban someone from a website without setting the server on fire.

  99. Bwah, ha, ha, ha. Ah, Clamps, you irrelevant piece of masochistic trollery. I read that dribble of a run-on sentence you called ‘literature,’ months ago when you were still trying to bother Larry and had posted a link to Serenades. They are on the same profile, after all. Instead of making fun of it (all too easy) I’d thought I’d just say thank you.

    You see, your trolling is completely and directly responsible for me reading Larry Correia’s books instead of just occasionally reading his blog. It is responsible for me then liking those books and recommending them to anyone I think would like them. Keep in mind that I work in a library, so recommending books it actually my job, and one I enjoy doing frequently. Heck, I’m known in the system as the go to guy when you want recommendations for fantasy and sci-fi. More than once I’ve had patrons come from other branches to talk to me about SFF.

    I know for a fact that the result of your trolling has generated several hundred dollars of sales for Larry just from my immediate family, and probably more from some of the other people I’ve told about it. Heck, I’m going to go out on a limb and thank you for the other writers I’ve discovered or rediscovered as a result of reading Monster Hunter International. The list includes Sarah Hoyt and John C Wright to name just a few.

    So, thank you. Thank you for being so incompetent at Trolling that you actually achieved the inverse of your goal. When you go to sleep tonight reflect on all the new readers you drove Larry’s way. Wailing and gnashing of teeth is optional.

  100. While I am not a literary professor and I’m not sure I can tell literary from literary pretense (and I suspect the same of most readers), Redshirts crossed the line from pulp to literary pretense in its codas. Not only did it drop the goofy tone of the main body of the story for it’s omake/epilogues, to give a proper pulp name to the adoption of a musical term to the written word, it used first person POV for the first coda, second person POV for the second coda, and third person POV for the third coda. So while it’s literary merit is still uncertain, Redshirts displayed that bald “ain’t I so clever” use of structure and language found in many that pretend to literary greatness.

    It also cost Scalzi any future sales from me. Shame, the main body was enjoyable, but I’ve seen cleverer and funnier Star Trek parodies in anime fanfiction.

  101. Clamps,

    As for where Seda’s Diary’s readers come from, I wouldn’t know. My guess is they come from all over the world. Kind of like the people who mock your attempts at literature.


    Clamps here doesn’t get that he’s a complete failure as a troll. He doesn’t even piss people off. He just generates web traffic for writers he doesn’t even like and sells their books. Hell, saying he thought I was worse than Larry and Tom Kratman was the best compliment I’ve ever gotten when you consider the source.

  102. All over the world, like Strell and Mekzaes and Kyrendt and Aennorve?

    Because I’m pretty sure they don’t actually exist.

  103. Okay. I’m really, really new here. The whole Hugo thing? I pretty much just ignored it. Just like I ignore the Nobel Peace Prize, and for the same reason. The votes are driven by a group of elites propping themselves up with their own echo-chamber opinions, who then expect the hoi polloi to bow down to the idol they’ve made in their own image. No, thank you. If I got a closer look, I might end up telling them to put some clothes on, they’re nekkid. So I see “Hugo” on an SF book, and it’s a giant clue for me to just pass on by. I suspect I’m not alone in this. I also suspect that others, like me, are beginning to look for works under the banner of “Grand Tradition” and “Human Wave.” SF has its roots in pulp, and (like Susan) I don’t like litrachur. I much prefer a good book.

    At this point, I don’t really care if the Hugos ditch their political baggage in the interest of good stories. I’m a new author, I suck at marketing, and had no idea how to find my niche market (since we’re talking Amazon rankings, mine are abysmal) because “SF/F = Hugo”… and Hugo-nuts are not going to enjoy my epic space opera. Now it seems as if “niche SF/F” is poised to swamp the Hugo-nuts’ fiscal boat. (Drat that evil Amazon, allowing writers to access markets formerly closed to them, and people to buy books they actually enjoy!) I’m entirely okay with that, and would be delighted if my boat rose with that tide.

  104. Brad, I was glad to discover your stories during the Hugo process because they were really good. The best things on your slate, honestly.

    Awards politics aren’t the same as politics politics. They’re political, but it’s not necessarily the same politics. I am a fan of greater diversity in SF. I also don’t understand the nominations for the Mira Grant books–they’re not getting nominated because of any diversity-warrior campaign, they’re getting nominated because there are fans who love Seanan and they’re organized. I would prefer if there were no campaigns and slates and stuff, but hey, that’s not the real world. It’s all politics. It’s all a popularity contest.

    Regardless, as someone I suspect many of your commenters would consider part of the evil “other side” (my views are actually rather moderate, but moderation is not allowed in today’s politics) I want to say that I’m glad I discovered your work as a part of this process. I really liked it! And look forward to reading more.

  105. Jason: I am delighted to learn that you found my work through the Hugo ballot, and liked it enough to make a pit stop here at my blog. Some of the Hugo readers who took to dinging my work on Goodreads weren’t nearly as kind as you, sir. And I agree with you very much that aside from any overt political politics, there is a long of fan club and bandwagon activity that manifests, in the form of authors and works being pushed forward routinely. I guess I don’t mind this aspect of it so much, save for the fact that when a bandwagon pushes a book or story onto the ballot, or even gets the work a win, it’s not the work that is winning. It’s the author. Or, rather, it’s the fan club. Or the cohort, to use the word. This was how Chicks Dig Time Lords beat out the Resnick-Malzberg book two years ago, even though from a scholarly standpoint the Resnick-Malzberg book was far superior. Chicks Dig Time Lords had a far bigger cohort, so it won.

    If you’d like to take a closer look at more of my stuff, I have two short fiction collections presently available electronically and in print. Lights in the Deep contains both of the works you read for the 2014 Hugo ballot, and Racers of the Night is brand new, containing 12 new pieces of short fiction which have appeared in the pages of Analog magazine, and elsewhere.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to let me know you liked the work!

    Also, moderateness is welcome on my blog any time, sir. Any time. One of the men I most admire (L.E. Modesitt, Jr.) is the very definition of moderate. I would even say I am a moderate according to many definitions, since I swing this way or that on issues, and don’t tend to let “party line” opinions drive my views. But I guess one man’s moderate is another man’s raging extremist? (grin)

    Regardless, welcome, and if you happen to pick up copies of either Lights or Racers I hope you find them worth your while.

  106. Perhaps you’d like to explain why “which now felt like it weighed the same amount approximately as a small elephant” is better than, say, “it felt as heavy as a small elephant.”

    Knighton, I had no idea you watched Aff’s/Seda’s/whatever that creep with an elf fetish is calling himself now’s video review. I’m not surprised you got a link to that. I am surprised you could watch more than five minutes of it. Because I couldn’t. Maybe it’s because I have a life. Also, I don’t see anyone else on the internet reading or discussing Seda’s Diary. Or After The Blast for that matter. Also, I may not understand the specifics of Amazon rankings, but I do know that 1,000,000 > 60,000, and I think that might mean your pool of interested readers has dried up.

    Thanks for explaining how first person perspective works, Jordan. First person perspective from two people traveling between places who got stuck when things went to shit.

    I’m pretty sure Slayers: Dragon Cycle might be the only thing Drow has written. Only thing out there.
    And Drow, I don’t think you have a good enough vocabulary to understand why the Eye of Argon is both terrible and hilarious. See, it’s not because it’s overwritten, it’s because every other word is misused. Like when Drow uses the term “Hipster.”

    Uphoff recognized Ganesh. Aff thought he was a Soul Calibur character or something. I’m actually pretty impressed.

  107. Maybe Anderson and Wolverton don’t win awards because they really aren’t very good despite their success.

    Right, because SF and Fantasy readers are all masochists and only read stories that bring them neither enlightenment nor pleasure. I, personally, like to read the ingredients of cereal boxes for my literary satisfaction!

  108. Cat asked: Do you want pulp to win Hugos?

    YES!!! Pulp science fiction was great, and we need more of the equivalent writing today. And if we write it, we will so drown out your sad little literary voices, which totally lack imagination or optimism, that you won’t even be remembered as a FOOTNOTE to science fiction history.

    MORE PULP!!! YAY!!!!

  109. Somehow, I don’t think people are going to be reading Monster Hunter International or A Throne of Bones in 20 years. If you’ll pardon the cliché, Correia’s a flash in the pan.

    Never read any of Beale’s writing, but Correia’s work is solidly written with well-drawn characters, a fantastic setting and awesome adventures in that setting. Given that he’s produced several novels in that setting, and is writing more novels in other settings, I think that Correia’s going to be around for a long time. He has been writing for a decade now, and has decades’ more work left in him.

    Meanwhile, what have you written? Heck, even I’m a successful writer compared to you — I at least have a following for my silly little fanfics, while nobody reads your work for any pleasure other than laughing at how badly it’s written.

  110. And Drow, I don’t think you have a good enough vocabulary to understand why the Eye of Argon is both terrible and hilarious.

    She not only has a “good enough vocabulary,” she even has a “high enough ;level of vocabulary” or a “sufficient vocabulary.” In fact, having chatted with her many times, I can tell you that her rapidly-typed missives are generally more coherent and grammatically-well-constructed than your considered, edited prose.

    For that matter, Eye of Argon is better than most of your work. At least I could follow the plot, and understand in most cases why things happened. Your writing is incomprehensible, and I mean at the level of basic character motivation. I generally have no idea why any character in your story does anything, because in all the volleys and bursts of verbiage that your characters project at each other in attempts to saturate each others’ mental defenses, you generally neglect to have them say anything to the effect of “I am trying to do X because I want Y,” or “I want to go to place P to achieve goal G.”

    This is not subtle literary writing. This is INCOMPETENT writing. The author must communicate the personalties and objectives of his characters to the reader — and you DON’T.

  111. I’m pretty sure I can’t be fucked to register on PJM

    I suppose you could be, but it would be a very strange method of registration. What’s the Point of Departure for the Alternate History in which the Internet works like that?

  112. Knighton, I had no idea you watched Aff’s/Seda’s/whatever that creep with an elf fetish is calling himself now’s video review. I’m not surprised you got a link to that. I am surprised you could watch more than five minutes of it. Because I couldn’t.

    Of course you couldn’t. Because it ripped you to shreds. It probably made you cry like a little school girl who lost her puppy.

    Which tickles me all over again

    Maybe it’s because I have a life.

    You troll the blogs of writers you don’t care for, lie about why you’re not posting on other ones (it’s because your ass is banned by a lot of them and you know it), and you expect us to believe you have a life? BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

    You keep rolling with that one there, Sparky.

    Also, I don’t see anyone else on the internet reading or discussing Seda’s Diary.

    Your point?

    Or After The Blast for that matter.

    There’s also not a cottage industry springing up about mocking it. Instead, people just pay me money to read it.

    Also, I may not understand the specifics of Amazon rankings, but I do know that 1,000,000 > 60,000, and I think that might mean your pool of interested readers has dried up.

    And I think you’re an idiot. One of us is right. (Hint: It’s not you.)

  113. I don’t think fans of My Little Pony fanfics give a shit about quality. They’re like Baen readers in that regard.

  114. Andrew aka Yama aka Luscinia aka Clamps …

    I don’t give a damn if you like My Little Pony. I deeply shudder to think what an Andrew Marston MLP fanfic would read like. I am indeed happy that the wonderful joy that is MLP has never been polluted by your incredibly bad writing. God knows, it’s been polluted by enough incredibly bad writing by other people, but your stories have a certain je ne sais quois about them that no other writer I’ve ever read, including ones who were obviously typing one-handed, has evern managed to achieve.

  115. It would read like the Boards of Canada song Magic Window because I don’t write fanfiction.

    Also, I use words correctly, unlike The Eye of Argon, and they’re in the right order, unlike A Throne of Bones and After The Blast.

  116. It would read like the Boards of Canada song Magic Window because I don’t write fanfiction.

    Wait, isn’t your whole magnum opus basically fanfiction about one of the Final Fantasy games? Or am I getting the game wrong? Someone who was seriously into videogames once told me which one, but I forgot.

  117. Also, I use words correctly, unlike The Eye of Argon, and they’re in the right order, unlike A Throne of Bones and After The Blast.

    The only one of those stories I’ve read is The Eye of Argon. Note I will by way of appending that English is a language in which several possible word orders may correct be, where “correct” means an understanding of the sentence topic. (That an intentionally Self-Demonstrating Article was, and is). Latin is even more like that.

  118. You’ve never played a Final Fantasy game, have you?

    “Note I will by way of appending that English is a language in which several possible word orders may correct be

    English isn’t Hungarian.

  119. Is this Cat the same one that tried to ambush Larry Corriea at a Con in Virginia (or was it North Carolina)? I can’t find the link, but I remember Larry writing about his experience in some detail. I remember one of them was into filk music.
    Is that why she is so emphatic that Larry is a jerk? Because he wouldn’t allow her to marginalize him on a Con panel?

Comments are closed.