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The Biggest Little SF Publisher you never heard of pulls on the jackboots

(Warning: some links lead to to triggery ranting. As James D. Nicoll warns: "memetic prophylactic recommended".)

By now, everybody who cares knows that the nominations for the 2015 Hugo Awards reflect the preferences of a bloc-voting slate with an agenda—and their culture wars allies. But, interestingly, a new Hugo-related record has been set: for a Finnish publisher few people have ever heard of is responsible for no fewer than nine nominated works.

Castalia House was (per wikipedia) founded by Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day) in early 2014 in Kouvola, Finland. As their website explains:

Castalia House is a Finland-based publisher that has a great appreciation for the golden age of science fiction and fantasy literature. The books that we publish honor the traditions and intellectual authenticity exemplified by writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Robert E. Howard, G.K. Chesterton, and Hermann Hesse. We are consciously providing an alternative to readers who increasingly feel alienated from the nihilistic, dogmatic science fiction and fantasy being published today. We seek nothing less than a Campbellian revolution in genre literature.

Total culture wars, very gamergate, much fail, wow. But the screaming question I feel the need to ask, is: why Finland? Could there be a connection between the white supremacist Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party), the overtly racist Sweden Democrats, the Dark Enlightenment/neoreactionary movement, and Vox Day's peculiarly toxic sect of Christian Dominionist theology?

Vox Day writes:

It's time for the church leaders and the heads of Christian families to start learning from #GamerGate, to start learning from Sad Puppies, and start leading. Start banding together and stop accommodating the secular world in any way. Don't hire those who hate you. Don't buy from those who wish to destroy you. Don't work with those who denigrate your faith, your traditions, your morals, and your God. Don't tolerate or respect what passes for their morals and values.

Over a period of years, he's built an international coalition, finding common cause with the European neo-nazi fringe. Now they've attempted to turn the Hugo Awards into a battlefield in their (American) culture wars. But this clearly isn't the end game they have in mind: it's only a beginning. (The Hugos, by their very nature, are an award anyone can vote in for a small fee: it is interesting to speculate on how deep Vox Day's pockets are.) But the real burning question is, "what will he attack next?"

My guess: the Hugo awards are not remotely as diverse and interesting as the SFWAs Nebula Awards—an organization from which Vox Day became only the second person ever to be expelled. I believe he bears SFWA (and former SFWA President John Scalzi) no love, and the qualification for SFWA membership (which confers Nebula voting rights) is to have professionally published three short stories or a novel. Castalia House is a publishing entity with a short story anthology series. Is the real game plan "Hugos today: Nebulas tomorrow?"

851 Comments

1:

I'm reminded of the old OGD aphorism: "Isolate that which you ould destroy, Oppose that which you would change."

10 points for anyone who knows the reference! Bob would...

2:

As a Finnish fan, I'm as confused as you are. Castalia House has not been locally visible among in any way, and their very existence came as an unpleasant surprise to most of us. I was dimly aware that someone was working on a Finnish Vox Day translation, but I thought it was just some lone yahoo.

Bizarre. It's not as though we're much of a tax haven.

3:

I'm also confused, as a Finnish fan. I haven't participated in the Finnish SF scene that much, but I'm still amazed I haven't heard about this at all.

4:

Is the real game plan "Hugos today: Nebulas tomorrow?"


I guess that second goal would require to edit quite a lot of "writers" before being possible. Perhaps it's a possible clause for their publishing contract "you'll join whatever organisation we'll ask you to, and vote the way you'll be instruced." :-)

5:

Huh. And this information was somehow too _personal_ to be allowed at Metafilter?

Huh.

http://mefideleted.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-biggest-little-sf-publisher-you.html

6:

They have a regular MilSF anthology series. If they're paying qualifying rates they can generate story sales at a rate of about 10-20 per issue. It doesn't take many to produce 20 newly minted SFWA memberS if they're marching in lockstep to the beat of a house organ's drum.

I stress, this is a worst possible case paranoid scenario. But if, as I surmise, VD is all about sticking it to the Scalzi-shaped man, this is how I'd expect him to do it.

7:

I suspect MeFi simply didn't want to risk a firestorm.

8:

Vox Day became only the second person ever to be expelled

Who was the first person to be expelled from SFWA?

(The link says he has not actually been expelled yet. Apparently the SFWA bylaws say that the board can expel people, but Day says that state law says that their kind of corporation can only do it with a membership vote. Typical confusion.)

Never mind, it was Stanislaw Lem.
http://english.lem.pl/faq#SWFA

"...the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."

9:

Like GamerGate some flea size trolls wagging the dog and everyone piling in to blow it up into a global cultural commentary. Meanwhile 99%+ of people either haven't heard or don't care. Just like the good old flame wars on UseNet, but this time Serious with a capital "S", because, well, for some reason or other...
In the end, or rather the beginning, people need to fireproof their establishments against lone nuts burning down the premises. I shall enjoy seeing how the SF establishment handles this one without mass arbitrary bans and/or rule changes. Expect lawyers to make money.

10:

Another Finnish fan who's all "whut" over this. Never heard of that publisher, and considering I just shipped around a novel manuscript to whoever might be interested ... it probably just means that I don't pay as much attention to the scene as I should.

11:

The funny thing is, they practically secured a second Hugo for Ann Leckie with teir shennigans.

12:

Ironically, putting Beale on a very short list where the other item was Stanislaw Lem may have been the best (only?) reason not to eject his sorry arse from the SFWA

13:

Okay - thanks for the heads up ... .

I'd have guessed from your post and a quick read of their nominated titles, that their editorial stance would in fact be contrary to what the named golden age of SF/Fantasy authors are best known/loved for. That is, even though Tolkien, Asimov, and Lewis used war in their writings, the softer (humanistic) emotions such as compassion, forgiveness, were the real main points of their stories. All three authors deliberately used a non-human character/entity as the epitome of 'human-ness', what humanity should aspire to. Lastly, blind obedience (dogma) was not exactly what these authors' major works' plot lines and character development recommended as the optimal course of action. To paint these particular golden age SF/F authors as neo-nazis, doesn't make any sense at all. (Revisionism?)

As a side note, I think it's time Jim Butcher got his door-stopper ...

14:

1. The shout-out to "Campbellian" in the Castalia House bumph is telling -- John W. Campbell was an obnoxious racist (consider that Heinlein wrote "Fifth Column" to an outline drafted by Campbell and toned down the racist/eliminationist invective against the Yellow Peril!), as well as a crank and a reactionary who thought teh wimmins' place was in the kitchen. Says it all, really.

2. There is a lot more to this stuff than meets the eye, and there's stuff I know or have inferred that I cannot/will not talk about in public. At least until after the Hugo awards are announced.

3. My personal opinion of some of the participants is probably libelous, so I'm keeping it behind my own sealed lips unless they themselves provide incriminating public statements. Suffice to say that consorting with dubious far-right/white supremacist political parties in Scandinavian countries is the least of it.

4. Jim Butcher certainly deserves to be on the Hugo shortlist. I suspect the only reason it hasn't happened before is because book 12 of an ongoing series tends not to get nominated. (See also The Wheel of Time nom last year.) But I don't think he fully grasps the long term consequences of allowing a nomination backed by the sad puppies to go ahead.

5. I am really really glad I'm not on the shortlist this year, as it means I don't have to rub shoulders with John C. Wright (the best description of whom that I've heard, being: "He's sort of like Gene Wolfe, with an involuntary lobotomy").

15:

I know SFWA used to have rules about the size of the market needed to count a sale; I remember the tug-of-war over whether sales to Amazing counted, in the days when it sold something (way?) under 10,000 copies per issue (back when the small number of regular magazines mostly sold a lot more -- I hear that these days a lot of magazine publishers would be happy to sell that much.) Do these rules still exist, and if so does Castalia sell enough to qualify?

And even if it did, how much would it matter? We've seen that the nominations process is the weak point of the Hugos; I've heard scattered ghastly details about how complicated generating the Nebula awards is, and wonder whether they can be hijacked the same way?

16:

This is what I posted about Castalia House on a mailing list earlier today (for context, I'm chairing the Helsinki in 2017 Worldcon bid and somewhat involved in both Finnish and Worldcon fandoms):

I'd like to note that Castalia House has practically no connection with Finnish sf fandom, and they have never had a presence at any Finnish con. The only communication with the proprietor (Markku Koponen) that I've been a party to is a post by him to a Finnish sf mailing list last April, where he states (translating), "As must be clear to most, Castalia House is ideologically opposed to the majority of practically all fannish groups in this country."

So in brief, no, the Finns that are members of Sasquan on account of having participated in the 2015 site selection vote or that have purchased a membership since then to participate in said process this year are unlikely to be aligned with the supporters of works published by Castalia House.

We do, on the other hand, have a thriving small press and short story scene, and a rather unique fanzine tradition, all of which is well integrated with Finnish fandom at large. Of course that's mostly hidden from American eyes, as it tends to produce content in Finnish. If you're interested in such, though, we do have a few things coming out this spring and summer that will be in English.

17:

Thanks!

I'd like to note that most of what I know about Finnish SF/F fandom is (a) that they're big on interesting food and alcohol, (b) they're fun people, and (c) Hannu Rajaniemi writes amazingly cool SF novels and you should all read them immediately.

18:

Just a note: The MetaFilter thing wasn't censorship. They delete doubleposts and posts on related topics in currently active threads; they always have.

19:

1. This sounds like the kind of three-quarters clever, one quarter what? the? hell? idea that I associate with Vox Day.

2. Aren't the SFWA considering opening themselves to self-published authors? If so, that would dilute the influence of any potential Calista group (with all kinds of other random drama, at least in the short term).

20:

The obnoxious crowd happened to push Guardians of the Galaxy, which makes me uncomfortable. Film and such isn't something I get worked up about but the comments when it was in the cinema suggest it would have been nominated anyway.

At the same time, people are suggesting putting No Award before anything that the Puppies have promoted.

The patterns are such that I wonder if I should just vote No Award for everything.

On the other hand, Ann Leckie. But have things been so broken that it would be a pretty worthless award anyway? I shall read that Jim Butcher nomination too, while Sarah Monette (using a pen-name) should be worth a look. They say we should be careful of what we list after No Award, but best novel doesn't look so dreadful a choice.

21:

Per Campbell's Wikipedia entry: seriously into Dianetics and thought Hubbard should win the Nobel Peace Prize. (NEXT! Man, oh man but the SF community does attract its share of nut jobs.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_W._Campbell

Re: Hannu Rajaniemi

Will have to order The Quantum Thief in person and/or scour the local SF/F specialty booksellers. This title shows up as 'out of stock' on all of the bookseller sites I've tried. (Hope the author pic shows Hannu in his full Finnish Ph.D. gear - perfect accoutrements for launching an SF career. What color band does Math get? Great stuff!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctoral_hat

22:

I read Analog in the '60's, '70's and I read Rolling Stone at the same time. Analog's editor of that era went through semi sensible comments about justifiable prejudices - in his world - i paraphrase, but the magazines were destroyed years ago - "It is unreasonble to hate a Mexican (who knew, I had never loved or hated a Mexican back then); it is unreasonable to hate a man in a checked suit (I didn't really know what he meant, but later...), It is unreasonable to worry about a chap with a lump under his shoulder (Hey! Forget all the rest) so your prejucides are justified. QED the editor of Analog.

Is it just me that a white Anglo Saxon wearing a pin striped suit (frankly enough to damn him in this commentators view) with a fucking bulge under his Saville Row suit would not, probably have me shitting myself, also?

The fact that I am murdered by someone John W Campbell thought a spiffing bloke does not me any less dead, or less likely to be dead than I would be, were I killed by someone J W Campell found naturally offensive.

Sorry, this is far too long but J W Campbell ran a reasonably good SF magazine and used it to perpetute the joke a minute 'philosophy' of Ayn Rand.

23:

Say what you like about the far right/neocons/religious nutjobs - they ARE organised. Nothing they like more, it seems, than getting into marching formation and being sent off to war by a leader.

This is just the continuation of something that started with reagan - employing roughly the same gameplan of exploiting rules and getting conservative forces to give them position and authority ahead of their numbers. Oh, and as much gerrymandering as they can get away with.

In any population there are those that can deal with a swift pace of change, and those that can only change slowly. Thus on the one hand there are those with 1950s ideals that really don't want too much change over that post-war ethos. On the other, there are those that want to push 'right-on' ideas of 50 different gender classifications, moral/cultural relativism, and being 'offended' having some connection with 'crime' of the others (which is a peculiarly repressive idea for a liberal...)

In the middle sit the majority, not particularly impressed with either loony fringe, content to move in sensible directions at a sensible pace, and able to be swayed one way or the other.

Thing is, the '1950s set' tend to make themselves look more reasonable than they are ("the EU doesn't work, we should dissociate ourselves if it won't reform"); whilst the 'right-on set' get progressively more extreme ("alternative sexualities are all equally valid and anyone saying different should be jailed"). The result is the middle majority tend to end up siding with the 1950s set - you can only claim "they're all racists" so many times before it loses all meaning.

How does this apply to the Hugos?

Well, talk of jackboots is hardly going to improve matters. It will be seen as hyperbole and a continuation of the rhetoric of illiberal behaviour. And frankly the far right teabaggers could swamp out SF fans if they get sufficiently riled up. Rather it should be handled in the same way you would if Penguin decided to fix the vote for some reason - diffusing and dispersing the ability of a power block, any power block, to shift the nomination/voting.

And in the end, to concentrate on good SF that everyone can get behind, not clique friendly voting and behaviours (like the excluding of Jonathan Ross last year for offending the right-on set with previous jokes). In the end it has to be met by being more reasonable, more inclusive, more liberal, and with better SF, than the likes of Vox Day.

24:

Finland - probably chosen for symbolic reasons if you're wondering (WWII - Winter War and all that; last bastion of Aryans fighting against Communist threat and winning).

Oh well, might as well spill the beans.

If it's a choice between letting their minds rot with copypasta screeds about 'The Protocols of Zion' and J.S. Birch stuff or letting them get zoned into Fox News and Alex Jones and living in perpetual fear, we decided to accelerate the process and give them a mental schema that was a little bit wider.

They're misusing it at the moment, which is hardly surprising given the fog of deceit they've lived under for so long, but we're expecting something beautiful to emerge when it's all done and dusted.

Note: this is very much tied to certain events, such as Breivik ~ whoever was running his program was tapping into the Knights of Christianity mimetic sphere and a doctored FaceBook made after the event doesn't tell the story. Gladio, Gladio, Gladio. https://a248.e.akamai.net/f/1202/1579/4m/i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/07/24/article-2018106-0D227F8F00000578-490_306x423.jpg


Hint: there's a reason the FB page listed WoW as a screen:

https://www.theverge.com/2013/12/9/5191338/nsa-gchq-videogame-spying-leaked-documents

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/09/nsa-spies-online-games-world-warcraft-second-life


"[i]All part of the Plan[/i]".


Until it wasn't. Until we got bored of the plan.

"[i]Ay, that I will; and I'll be wise hereafter,
And seek for grace. What a thrice-double ass
Was I to take this drunkard for a god,
And worship this dull fool![/i]"

25:

[ DELETED at request of commenter ]

26:

Rather it should be handled in the same way you would if Penguin decided to fix the vote for some reason

Yes, and I think that's what's going to happen. But I'm not going to discuss how it may happen here (because this is a public forum).

27:

Jesus, that's paranoid!

28:

Jesus, that's paranoid!

Well, you've hit the two major factors in this debacle in a single sentence, so we'll give you points for being succinct.

But, no. Really not being paranoid.


Think of it like this:

Great SF writers create worlds on the page and capture the imagination of minds into thinking about alternative realities.

There's a subset of homo sapiens sapiens who do the same thing, but they play in the real world. Sadly, their protagonists have lasting effect.


There's a strong push to exclude here, but no-one I've seen has actually grasped the nettle: you're witnessing the "right" growing up and starting to get beyond the lies they've been taught. You can either meld, grow and flourish, or play a zero-sum game.


*shrug*


You're a total honey-bun btw, great stuff.

29:

He's already been on an award jury once - I seem to remember it was one of his regular scheduled bragging points - although I'm pretty sure it was back before he started using the "Vox Day" persona and began drinking his own moonshine on a regular basis. From what I recall of the discussion in which this was revealed, he was apparently a fair jurist; but see previous point about this all being prior to the point where he really started drinking his own moonshine full-time.

I find it hard to believe the SFWA would allow him back in again after what he did to get himself expelled (basically implying another writer was sub-human because of their race; then promoting his screed using the SFWA toolset to make it look as though the organisation endorsed his views), because it was seriously unprofessional in the extreme - and the SFWA at the base of it is a professional association for Science Fiction Writers.

The Nebulas are voted on by the overall membership of the SFWA, an organisation in which Mr Beale ran for president on multiple occasions and never got more than 10% of the actual vote (part of his beef against John Scalzi, who actually won the job). This membership tends to be slightly more US-liberal in their politics than Mr Beale's chosen supporters. So in order to skew the membership of the SFWA in any fashion, he would have to come up with a bunch of people who are firstly able to write the appropriate qualifying works; secondly, publish them via his little vanity press at the appropriate qualifying rates (which means if they're writing hogwash, he's absorbing a certain degree of financial strain up front); and thirdly, get them to each cough up $90 for the annual dues (or be willing to cough it up himself).

(One of the things I like about the SFWA - they actually want proof you were paid to write.)

It really depends how much he wants to manipulate the science fiction publishing world, how much money he's willing to spend in the pursuit of this aim, and how much of his father's moonshine he swallowed before he started drinking his own.

30:

If it's a choice between letting their minds rot with copypasta screeds about 'The Protocols of Zion' and J.S. Birch stuff or letting them get zoned into Fox News and Alex Jones and living in perpetual fear, we decided to accelerate the process and give them a mental schema that was a little bit wider.

They're misusing it at the moment, which is hardly surprising given the fog of deceit they've lived under for so long, but we're expecting something beautiful to emerge when it's all done and dusted.

You sound like you have a subtle mind, you remind me of some discordians. Tell us a name you commonly go by?

31:

(Re: Jim Butcher)
"But I don't think he fully grasps the long term consequences of allowing a nomination backed by the sad puppies to go ahead."

Do you really think there's gonna be much fallout from this? His books sell well and the number of "fen" (vs book buying public) is pretty small. As long as he keeps delivering good books, I doubt SP is gonna have any impact on his career.

32:

"Thing is, the '1950s set' tend to make themselves look more reasonable than they are ("the EU doesn't work, we should dissociate ourselves if it won't reform"); whilst the 'right-on set' get progressively more extreme ("alternative sexualities are all equally valid and anyone saying different should be jailed"). "

That really depends very much on what you're listening to, it doesn't take much to find one of the first lot saying something awful and most of the progressive set are more at the level of "hey maybe gays are actually human too" than jail for the bigoted. Frankly I think the examples people cite as representative of 'the opposition' say a lot more about them than what they're arguing against - if you have to pick on the outlying extremists to make your opposition even vaguely reasonable perhaps its time to reconsider.

33:

I'd like to know if folk think that Worldcon can somehow walk the Hugos back so that they're about the works rather than then… well… whatever bizarro-world point the s*dpuppy folk are trying to make.

Because the world of fandom is smaller that the world of internet asshats with a few tens of dollars spare for a Supporting Membership. I'm possibly tired and dim but unless the asshats get bored and find a new toy to play with I can't really see a solution that'll keep the Hugos hugoish :-(

Especially since it takes 2 years to change the rules.

34:

I registered to vote for the first time this year. I will be ''No Award''ing where it is appropriate to do so (and it is appropriate almost everywhere.) Fuck John C. Wright, that cretinous neckbeard, and fuck Vox Day, that pathetic human garbage bin. Fuck them both together for turning something that should be fun and lighthearted into a struggle between competing visions for society just to fuel their own juvenile persecution fantasies.

I really hope a massive and organized backlash occurs that results in structural changes to the Hugos in the years to come and complete devastation to the SP/RP nominees. (Frankly, I wish the Left were THAT reliable.)

35:

[ DELETED FOR MODERATION POLICY VIOLATION. (See below.) ]

36:

Judging from last year, the ''competing product'' has very shallow market appeal. It has to be subsidized to compete at all.

37:

I think it's a shame that the political bias of a voting bloc is being held as a reason to vote "No Award" on authors who may or may not be involved in this in any shape or form.

I also think it's a shame that any author's race/sexuality/gender is used as a weapon in all of this. I thought the Hugo awards were awarded based on merit? Shouldn't the works be read to assess them for their relative merit before they are discarded?

I dislike Orson Scott Card's well popularised views on homosexual marriage. I still like Ender's Game as a book. I don't think I shouldn't read his book because I disagree with his personal views. I'm sure I have read many books by many authors who may have had personally held conceptions and beliefs that I disagree with.

The voting bloc is a different problem, but it's always been susceptible to vote drafting and voting bloc problems, it's just up until now those who have have not been particularly well motivated and organised. Now they are. The system has not changed. The system may need changing.

But above all of that the system should remain meritorious and the books this year should be judged on their merit not just discarded because it was written by a conservative/right-wing individual.

I do like Edward Willet's view on all this (http://edwardwillett.com/2015/04/thoughts-on-the-hugo-awards/) and I think that more people should read the post.

38:

LRon, I'll be voting for No Award before any of the puppy Slate nominees, because that is the best way I have of discouraging this sort of shenanigans. Hopefully, next year, people should see being placed on the slate of the sad puppies as a poisoned chalice which needs to be firmly declined.

This includes both the few works which I would have given a decent placing on my ballot, had they gotten there through less odious means, and many nominees which I find of little or no merit.

39:

I would also strongly suggest that people reject moralizing posts such as #37 above. The Neoreactionaries who are behind this initiative hold anyone to the Left of Newt Gingrich in utter, dehumanizing contempt, and they deserve no kindness or consideration return. They have turned an awards ceremony into a political war, and I hope we can all avoid being self-hating, navel gazing wusses long enough to shove their bullshit back down their throats.

40:

Fuck John C. Wright, that cretinous neckbeard, and fuck Vox Day, that pathetic human garbage bin. Fuck them both together for turning something that should be fun and lighthearted into a struggle between competing visions for society just to fuel their own juvenile persecution fantasies.

Well, but it isn't just them. Notice the various controversies SFWA has had in the last few years involvins Social Justice Warriors. Not the least bit fun and lighthearted.

I tend to think that the utterly grim and humorless SJWs are a minority in fandom, and now an even smaller minority is opposing them.

Science fiction has room for lots of competing visions. We have had radicals like Heinlein, social conservatives like Gene Wolfe and Jack Vance, uncategoricals like Van Vogt and Ballard. But I think in the last few years it's gotten too real.

I notice on this topic we're picking up new names, people who haven't posted on this blog before. Is it attracting attention from beyond the usual suspects? Or is it that people hesitate to post under their usual names on this topic, for fear of disapproval?

41:

I would also strongly suggest that people reject moralizing posts such as #37 above.

In other circumstances I'd consider #37 to be the obvious rational response. The nomination process was always susceptible to corruption, and the main thing that kept it honest was that publishers did not find the award valuable enough to spend much money on. So fix the system, and this year if an author who is not on the slate is worth voting for, why not vote that way? And if an author who is on the slate is worth voting for, likewise. They didn't ask people's permission before putting them on that slate, did they? They sure didn't have to....

The Neoreactionaries who are behind this initiative hold anyone to the Left of Newt Gingrich in utter, dehumanizing contempt, and they deserve no kindness or consideration return. They have turned an awards ceremony into a political war....

It takes two sides to fight a political war. Can't we just say that science fiction fandom is no place for this war?

No, we can't. You, Ktotwf, are a partisan of the other side. You don't object to them bringing contemporary politics into it, you object to them opposing your own politics. You want your own politics to be unopposed in fandom.

I don't see where to go from here. I liked fandom. It was a rather big, happy institution created and run by its inmates, by people who were interested and interesting, but who didn't particularly claim to be the best the world had to offer. (OK often they did claim to be the best, but they didn't usually flaunt degrees and government appointments etc, they were just *interested*.) I guess everything runs its course, and maybe fandom has had its day. If it can't survive 21st century politics I'll miss it.

42:

"But I don't think he fully grasps the long term consequences of allowing a nomination backed by the sad puppies to go ahead."

Would you mind explaining what those consequences are? I'm a relative outsider - been reading SF/F all my life but never significantly involved in fandom.

43:

It occurs to me, after the Hugo awards are actually awarded, don't they release the nomination statistics for the top 15 nominations in each category?

I wonder if some organized group might just decide "Tainted", remove the Sad Puppy Slate, and use that data to run an Unofficial Underground Hugo awards of everyone else (or at least for categories that win "No Award", taking that as community consent that the noms were unworthy). I mean, it won't have the impact on sales that a real Hugo would, but for readers who used the Hugos for recommendations and to honor deserving authors/etc, it might be worth doing.

44:

But if, as I surmise, VD is all about sticking it to the Scalzi-shaped man, this is how I'd expect him to do it.

+1 for abbreviating as "VD".

I'm very fond of my family name and it pisses me of that such a person as T.B. misuses it for his pen name.

45:

an organization from which Vox Day became only the second person ever to be expelled
And as I understand it Stanislaw Lem wasn't even expelled as such. He was given an honorary membership which due to internal politics at the SFWA was then rescinded. Lem was then told he could join as an ordinary member but declined to do so.
Leaving VD as leader in a field of one.

46:

Charlie- Are you sure that asking "Why Finland?" is the relevant question, here...? Not sure that blurring together the politics of Finland and Sweden is going to win-friends-and-influence-people... It's rather like blurring together the different political histories of Scotland and England... Over the North Sea it may look like the Nordic countries are all rather similar in their socialist/right-wing-rising politics, but the politics (for example, on immigration) are quite different-Denmark and Sweden are like chalk and cheese in immigration policy. [I am from the UK but circulate between Denmark, Sweden, and Orkney]. I think you can find far right wingers, rattling their terrified-of-difference swords and sabres, all over the world. Finnish S/F commentators suggest that this is not part of their world. Rather than asking a national question, maybe ask a genre question: "Why science fiction?" You already point to the white-male privileged histories of much popular science fiction, which the awards have been moving away from... The genre question is difficult and uncomfortable–interwoven with the (old) issues given (new) notoriety by gamergate. But, either way, thanks for making the issue visible...

47:

ADMIN WARNING: I am busy today and on the road tomorrow. Please read the moderation policy before commenting if you're new here. Comments that violate the moderation policy will be deleted without recourse later. By posting on my blog you stepped onto my turf: private property, free speech rights entirely at my whim. Oh, and I consider the appellation Social Justice Warrior to be a compliment, not an insult.

48:

I would not know how to have literature without politics. Ideology is how you think the world works and should work*, you can't tell stories without a specific version of how the world works embedded. The reader only notices when a) the wordlview differs strongly between reader and work b) it's written badly or c) the reader is good at spotting these things.

When fandom is more politicized, it's hopefully because of more a) and c) - more diverse worldviews and more 'educated' readers ('educated' because I don't just mean people who aspire to degrees in social & cultural sciences).

*Althusser, I think: "Ideology is your imagined relationship to the real circumstances"

49:

But then you would give them exactly what they want. You would be letting them know that they have a point.

If their stand point is "The left hates us and will do anything to keep us out" and you then vote no award everywhere then they have won. They have pointed out to you the flaws in your system and how rigidly intolerant you are.

Whereas if you genuinely give their slate a reasonable chance, read what has been offered up, and treat it like any other year you remove a lot of their power.

They may want to treat a Hugo like it is a justification of their political/religous/sex-based viewpoint but it's not. A Hugo is a reward for something you have written. Not you. Your writing. Shouldn't it be treated as such?

50:

It seems to me that if a group has violated the spirit but not the rules by block nominating the correct response is not to also violate the spirit by voting NO AWARD rather than on the merit of the work. If the nominated works really are sufficiently bad in a category that NO AWARD is better then that is a legitimate vote, but the works should be considered on merit. Or cancel the entire awards for this year due to irregularities if that is possible within the rules.

51:

I consider the appellation Social Justice Warrior to be a compliment, not an insult.

I am so far outside that argument that I did not realize it would be considered an insult. I am the only one on this thread who has used the term.

What is a complimentary way to describe this group?

A neutral way? I want a term to use to talk about SJWs that just points at them without sneering or complimenting either one.

52:

Charles Stross-since you are from UK and expressed distaste at racism and believe that Social Justice Warrior is a compliment.
What is your take on racism and discrimination of Eastern Europeans such as Lithuanian or Poles in UK? Do you believe this invalidates claims that such thing as "White Privilege" exists or Scalzi's claims that being born white male is the easiest setting there is(I assure you many people in Eastern Europe would prefer to be born in Japan or Singapore).

53:

But then you would give them exactly what they want. You would be letting them know that they have a point.

They already know they have a point.

If their stand point is "The left hates us and will do anything to keep us out" and you then vote no award everywhere then they have won. They have pointed out to you the flaws in your system and how rigidly intolerant you are.

That's kind of true, but what good does it do for people to pretend they are not intolerant when they really are?

Imagine the best case -- imagine that the works to be voted on are all of them truly excellent technically. But that most of them glorify war, and express disgust at the liberal fools who try to prevent necessary wars against foreign races who are themselves racially intolerant against us. Like, there could be stupid liberal women (and men) who want to make peace and who go to the enemy trying to negotiate. The good guys stage a raid and rescue the survivors,raped, naked and bleeding, and some of them still blame the soldiers for driving the enemy crazy. Others are PTSDed and are just scared of everything, and the real soldiers are supposed to censor their speech and not say anything military in their presence. But there's one woman -- make that two women, one black and one Latina -- stone cold killers, maximally sexy, better soldiers than any of the men. They graphically kill hundreds of the enemy, sometimes hand-to-hand, slitting throats, ripping open abdomens with guts falling out, etc. They never have the shakes or get second thoughts. One of them dies heroicly saving the whole unit. Who's sexist? Not *us*.

Technically excellent, but stories you haven't read and won't read. Of course you won't vote for them. I expect a lot of No Awards whether or not there's a No Award movement.

I figure you can't make it so they win nothing. They've already won something. But they can't win very much because they're a despised minority. I don't know the numbers so I'll make some up -- say that they are 10% of SFWA and the people they disgust are 40%. They're way outnumbered. They can use clever tactics and win some tactical victories but they can't win anything big.

If their stand point is "The left hates us and will do anything to keep us out" and you then vote no award everywhere then they have won.

Is anybody pretending that this is not what's happening? A big group of people will do anything to keep them out, *because they think it's right*. A big group of people thinks that they are so terrible that various dangerous tactics are worth using against them, because they are bad people who don't deserve a hearing and don't deserve mercy etc.

It isn't like somebody is pretending it isn't so. They aren't the least bit ashamed of it.

54:

Surely if the story is technically excellent then it should be deserving of an award? Does it matter that the politics it espouses are ones you agree with or not?

Personally if it's excellent I suspect it should be deserving of an award. I fully believe that an author's political views should not be used as a judgement on their writing, but I also believe that political views in their writing should not be barring them from an award IF the work is excellent.

Writers are political, they always have been. Wells, Heinlein, Vonnegut, Asimov et al have written books from various sides of the political spectrum and they are acknowledged today to be masters of their art.

I don't necessarily agree with the political views that the books are providing but I will still read them and enjoy them even if they aren't the political views that I support.


I also suspect that if they can vote brigade the nominations they can vote brigade the final results.

55:

It seems to me that if a group has violated the spirit but not the rules by block nominating the correct response is not to also violate the spirit by voting NO AWARD rather than on the merit of the work.

The purpose of the block nominations was to disenfranchise the rest of the voters by forcing their own slate of candidates onto the final ballot at the expense of everyone else. (Many of their nominations are so far below any concept of "best work" as to be laughable, or more accurately: disgusting.) Their block voting has succeeded entirely too well for their own comfort - several categories contain no other nominations - and one of the instigators has declined his nomination (probably fearful of the backlash).

As such, they've destroyed the credibility of the award in a number of categories, and the only rational thing to do with those is to vote "No Award" to maintain standards.

The real losers are the authors and artists who should have made the final ballot this year and have lost their chance due to the cynical manipulations of a group of self-entitled idiots.

56:

This comment makes very little sense to me (unless you believe the bigoted drivel in the UK newspapers and from some of the politicians).

57:

It seems to me that the word "justice" is like the word "God": just because ten people are strongly in favor of it doesn't mean that any two of them will agree on what it means. This seems to me to be infighting between two mutually hostile tribes, neither of which I wish to be a member of. The major effect has been to take most of the shine off the Hugo for me.

58:

What is your take on racism and discrimination of Eastern Europeans such as Lithuanian or Poles in UK? Do you believe this invalidates claims that such thing as "White Privilege" exists or Scalzi's claims that being born white male is the easiest setting there is

1. This is off-topic, so I am not going to turn this into a sub-discussion: if you try to follow up with more questions, I may unpublish your comment for derailing/sealioning.

2. Scalzi's belief is specific to the American caste system, where "white" is a moveable feast which basically equates with "privileged". Back in the 1860s Irish people were classified as "non-white" in America, and in the 1900s so were Jews and Italians. Today they're seen as "white" by just about everyone except the Aryan Nations and the American Nazi Party ... but Hispanic and African-Americans are not, and Asians (meaning: Chinese/Indochinese in America, not Pakistani/Indian/Bangladeshi as in the UK) depend on context.

The British context for racism is very different and yes, absolutely there's racism against Eastern European immigrants, largely whipped up by the right wing press and populist politicians. Insofar as "white privilege" is a trope in American discourse, it fits badly in a discussion of racism in the UK; it sort-of exists in photographic negative insofar as there are ethnicities that can't "pass" as "British White" (e.g. the aforementioned subcontinental immigrant communities), but merely having pale skin doesn't make you privileged here.

TL:DR; the linguistic tools used for discussing racism in one society don't always fit well into another context. Also, bigotry is fractal.

59:

Here's what the puppies have done:

"The Peripheral" by William Gibson got shoved off the shortlist. As did the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer, and a bunch of other excellent and suitable nominees.

The magisterial Heinlein Biography by William Patterson Jr. got dumped off the "Best related work" slate due to the turgid rantings of the Castalia Press MilSF crowd and Michael Z. Williamson (who apparently likes to spell the US president's name with a zero in his collection of blog essays spun as a book from "Patriarchy Press").

Why do the Sad Puppies HATE ROBERT A. HEINLEIN?

Why indeed ...

60:

I also suspect that if they can vote brigade the nominations they can vote brigade the final results.

They tried it last year. Basically 5-10 times as many people vote for the awards as bother to nominate. So they failed utterly in 2014.

They might succeed on the shortlists they've taken over completely such as the Novella and Novelette -- if uninformed voters scratch their heads trying to rank works by John C. Wright over Vox Day or vice versa. But all it needs to avoid this is to ensure that the 80% or more of Hugo voters who aren't aware of this mess understand that they can always vote NO AWARD if they don't think anything deserves an award.

61:

@LRon

I think people would be more willing to give the stories a go if last years' ballot from the SPs was any good - I did read all of them, and they varied from solidly written pulp (which was enjoyable but read like something from the 50s) to VD's semi-literate discharge. If the slate did include some hidden gem, I'd be more inclined to give the benefit of the doubt last year.

Mind you, the rest of the noms included things I didn't feel should have been on there, like the dinosaur story, which I thought was nicely written but not genre, and the Florida spring story, which put the genre aspects in the last sentence or two. But then again the SP slate included Commies in Spaaaccce! which could have been written at any point in the last 50 years, just with the goddamn Ruskies swapped out for the godless Chinese, and a couple of religious polemics, so....

I'm not sure anyone can argue that John C Wright wrote 3 of 5 best novellas last year with a straight face, however. I did read and enjoyed with some reservations his Golden Age trilogy, but it wasn't OMG the best thing ever.

I read SF as it should be the literature of ideas, SP runs stale and tired to my mind.

Charlie, I didn't think VD got nominated as a writer, just as the owner of a publishing company and editor. Small point but

62:

No, it clearly doesn't take 2 sides to fight a political war. The more rabid puppies and their ilk are often fighting things that don't exist (death panels, various aspects of the ACA, supposed 'liberal' media control), then there's the war on female reproductive freedom.

63:

'Progressives' is perhaps the term you are after. It has a history, but perhaps encapsulates enough of the relevant concepts for the biggest audience.

64:

Personally if it's excellent I suspect it should be deserving of an award.

That's a valid opinion. I remember Norman Spinrad's The Iron Dream. It was technically excellent but I found it utterly repulsive. I wouldn't have voted for it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Iron_Dream

If the same story with minor edits had been written by a real neonazi, would you think it should win awards?

Writers are political, they always have been. Wells, Heinlein, Vonnegut, Asimov et al have written books from various sides of the political spectrum and they are acknowledged today to be masters of their art.

Wells and Vonnegut weren't fans. When I was a teen I read pretty much all of Asimov at that time, I don't recall any politics except he seemed vaguely technocratic. Heinlein was all over the map. He tended to favor a libertarian approach but in Starship Troopers he seemed to advocate a militaristic government and in Beyond This Horizon he had a government with unlimited deficit spending and a guaranteed annual income. In Tunnel in the Sky a collection of stranded teens spontaneously organized into a communist village with an elected boss.

I recall a considerable amount of hard-right SF from the 1980's on, notably Pournelle, Baen, Drake, Stirling etc. There was pretty much libertarian stuff which tended to be unreadable, far too preachy. Vernor Vinge was an exception.

Jack Vance wrote about a tremendous variety of societies, but occasionally he made political points. In The Gray Prince he stressed that land belongs to whoever conquered it last, and in Wyst: Alastor 1716 he presents a failed society with basic income, opposed to a vibrant one with unrestricted free enterprise.

I can't recall any leftist science fiction at all. Bellamy, I guess. There are various stories where some individual good people fight implacable social and economic forces, as opposed to Pournelle where the implacable economic forces always win.

But the Hub stories by Schmitz and The Princes of Earth by Michael Kurland gave a sense of governments that worked. They didn't solve everybody's problems. The main characters had interesting lives while the governments just competently worked in the background, doing the right things.

I have a sense that science fiction writes and fans used to get along better. Maybe it's just that I wasn't there to see them squabble.

I also suspect that if they can vote brigade the nominations they can vote brigade the final results.

Not if enough others vote. If there are enough others who vote for any combination of No Award and somebody else, then they can't win. Since it's IRV, you can vote for anybody you think ought to win, and then vote for No Award below them, and your vote will count for either your favorite author or for No Award, whichever gets more votes.

If the majority of voters are SP voters, then they deserve to win.

65:

Hi Charlie,

I've been reading about this controversy for the last two to three years, and while I'd be hard-pressed to ever find a Baen Books novel that was worthy of a Hugo, they really do have a point.

Reading your post, I am struck by your labeling of a Finnish publisher that you have declared you know almost nothing about as "neonazis" and "fascists". It's the standard practice of the Left -- whether Putin justifying his invasion of Ukraine or some furry otherkin on Tumblr demanding to be recognized as an actual raccoon -- to run around screaming about fascism and neonazism. (Putin is especially hilarious, since he and his commanders then move on to decrying the "Jewish oligarchs who have taken over Ukraine.") (And yes, I know about the Banderas, and their ties to actual old dead Adolf himself -- that doesn't change that the current bunch are just self-organizing militia trying to slow down the New USSR.)

And having just signed up (and followed your instructions, and therefore read your moderation policy) I have to wonder at your choice of words, considering how your policy hammers on British defamation law.

You don't have to love military SF authors to give them a place at the table; you don't have to be in bed with American conservatives to allow that they have the right of free association. Neither group deserves to be called or linked to neonazis any more than does the Kiev government. Ignoring the entire background and painting them as fascists is just plain small-minded of you and indeed proves their point.

66:

"Hopefully, next year, people should see being placed on the slate of the sad puppies as a poisoned chalice which needs to be firmly declined."

Well, I guess next year they might pick a token author in the hope of ruining their chances. I doubt Charles would like to end up on that list but there is nothing to stop them from putting him there.
Sometimes I think I should have been a lawyer - I see so many ways of taking down existing systems using their own rules.

67:

I can't recall any leftist science fiction at all.

What, none? How about Star Trek? Or David Brin?

But if you want a blatantly hard-left novel, I suggest a novel called "Fellow Traveler" by Barton and Capobianco (I had to look that up, of course). AFAIK it's been out of print for a while now; I bought it in the early 1990s.

It was hilariously bad (especially in light of the then-very-recent collapse of the USSR), portraying the Americans as inept corrupt militaristic bastards; one character was a German (scientist or businessman, I forget which) who reminisced fondly about "the good old days" and thought to himself that whatever Hitler's faults were, anyone who loved dogs and blondes couldn't be all bad. The Soviets were, of course, purely good totally awesome godlike beings who were forging a bold path to the future, and succeeded despite the attempts by the evil Americans to sabotage their space mission.

Didn't really fit well with the toxic waste dumps, nuclear meltdowns, and crumbling concrete of reality, of course. Or the gulags. They always forget to portray the gulags.

68:

On the one hand I am mad at you, Charlie, because I was happier when I didn't know what SJW was (figuring it was some weird porn abbreviation I never risked searching for it), and as a result of this thread I understand a lot of contextual stuff I was happier to have missed previously online, but I find myself adoring you for the phrase "bigotry is fractal"... why do you do this to me?

69:

Oh, completely forgot about John Brunner. Shockwave Rider, Stand on Zanzibar, The Sheep Look Up, and countless other dreary capitalism-will-destroy-us novels.

70:

"Intellectual authenticity"? THAT lot? I will just about
pass Tolkein, though his continuity was dire and the end
of The Return Of The King appalling misuses pseudo-archaic
language (count the 'Lo!'s) - and he damn-well knew better.

Hesse I found too tedious for words, so can't comment.

Howard? Intellectual?

Lewis and Chesterton had merits, but authenticity wasn't one
of them - dammit, they weren't even authentic Christians,
though I suppose they were of their particular domatic sects.

Unfortunately, this return to the mediaeval religious wars
is becoming almost ubiquitous. In politics, it was largely
in abeyance from 1948 to the 1970s, but the combination of
Trotskyism and Thatcherism has virtually eliminated it.
And it is getting increasingly dangerous (from a career
point of view) to challenge the dogma that they share (i.e.
that money is The One True Measure Of Value). It's even
taken over a lot of 'green' issues, where you have to belong
to them or us. But this is a new low :-(

71:

No, it clearly doesn't take 2 sides to fight a political war.

It takes 2 sides to fight a political war in fandom. If one side wanted to fight a political war *in fandom* and everybody else just told them it was in extremely poor taste and to please take it outside, fandom would be better off than with two sides slugging it out -- in fandom.

But it could be argued that the world would be worse off, because fandom is influential and what happens there has a big effect on the rest of the world, so when the good guys get a decisive political victory in fandom that will lead to the world being a better place. But if we didn't slug it out in fandom that would make it harder to win in the bigger world.

Still I disapprove. Fandom should be a place where we tolerate even our political enemies.

'Progressives' is perhaps the term you are after.

No, it definitely is not. Progressives look for solutions that are good for people. An entirely different mindset.

72:

I think things like this, and suicide bombings and conspiracy nuts etc are a major determinant of the future we are creating. It stems from "diversity" and the way social media and the Net functions. In the bad old days we had a central narrative range represented by the traditional media.
Now, people do not have to get their news as a package from those sources. They can read it already picked and chosen for them by people who believe as they do. They are not forced to see or hear opposing opinions and only talk to people whose views mirror and reinforce their own. We are seeing the beginnings of what true diversity will be doing to society, where there is no central unifying culture. No compromises allowed, and anyone who prevaricates is a traitor.
I expect it to be a lot of fun.

73:

I can't recall any leftist science fiction at all

It's been a while since I read it, but I seem to recall Heinlein's Stranger in A Strange Land being fairly leftish. Didn't the protagonist and his cultists live in a free-love hippy commune from Mars?

Ursula Le Guin could be seen as leftwing, although books like The Dispossessed were fairly brutally even-handed in showing the good and bad sides of the communist planet.
Iain M. Banks's Culture novels could be seen as leftwing. So could Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy. Both of them explore extremely liberal societies.

75:

I'm reminded of the Modern Library's "100 Best English-Language Novels of the 20th Century" wherein Robert Teeter commented "I recommend the Board's list. In the voting for the readers' list, the ballot box was stuffed by cultists."

http://www.interleaves.org/~rteeter/greatbks.html

76:

But how on earth do you tell them to take it outside? You seem to think that some entity of fandom will someone rise up and declare in a loud voice "Enough, go home" and the SP will say "oh, it's time to go and have my tea" and everything will be okay.

Or, alternatively, everyone goes "Hey bullies and egotists will be bullies and egotists, so I'll just vote like normal, but oh wait, they've won all the awards, oh well."
Do you really think these people are going to stop at one year?

Wait, you have a definite idea about what "progressive" means, yet don't know that all the self proclaimed SJW's I've read of (And there will be many mroe that I haven't){not to mention those who were identified as SJW's by right wingers trying to slag them off and have adopted it with pride} identify as progressive? Methinks you need to get around the internet some more.

77:

The real losers are the authors and artists who should have made the final ballot this year and have lost their chance due to the cynical manipulations of a group of self-entitled idiots.

Strongly agree.

A very good argument around this topic was made by a cyclist on retirement from her sport, about the drug-takers; namely, that performance-enhancing drug-taking is very definitely not a victimless crime, whatever Lance Armstrong may insist.

I assume that "Hugo Nominee" has an impact on author sales, author visibility, author success; and I'd hate to think that a promising author never got the break they deserved, because some minority-viewpoint types felt entitled enough to crowd them out.

I might be more relaxed if it wasn't Tom Kratman on the ballot. I read one of his rather novels that was offered for free; factually inaccurate revenge porn, and dangerous IMHO (he was pushing the "torture is justified and necessary" line). I find it hard to believe that anyone with such a delusional view of the Waffen-SS would have reached the US Army War College...

The irony is that such types generally argue that "the market" should be King; but when "the market" gives them the stiff ignoring that they deserve, they attempt to skew it. It's the ultimate self-criticism.


78:

This is all rather depressing. Particularly after going through one of the threads on Making Light, and seeing the vitriol coming from people who ought to know better. Editors, for a start.

Look, Charles, you're in the business of selling stories. It's in your interests for as many people as possible to buy your stories. How can it possibly help to have your editors dealing out abuse to customers? Even if they really do hate people with certain beliefs, surely they can manage to keep it under wraps?

I'm a libertarian with a low opinion of social justice ideas. Politically, my instinctive sympathies are with the Sad Puppies group. I'm also a longstanding reader in the genre and proud owner of a lot of Charles Stross e-books. Now, do you think reading a whole bunch of comments from your editors about how I'm basically the same as a Reaver will make me want to buy your next one?

I'm perfectly happy to buy books from people with politics I disagree with, and just as happy to hang around with them - as long as they respect my views to the same extent I respect theirs. If it turns out you hate me for my views, you can't expect me to buy your books. This isn't good advertising.

79:

"The irony is that such types generally argue that "the market" should be King; but when "the market" gives them the stiff ignoring that they deserve, they attempt to skew it. "

I have long since taken the cynical view. All's fair in love and war, and the only referee is Darwin. The winners are the ones who win, and barring a centrally agreed set of rules (ie a monoculture) it's no good whining about "unfairness". Unless, of course, whining about unfairness gives you an advantage in the battle. It's all tactics as far as I am concerned. I don't have a horse in this race.

80:

But how on earth do you tell them to take it outside?

When you notice people arguing about politics, SJWs or SPs either one, you tell them to stop insulting people and enjoy the con. That this isn't the place to abuse people.

Do you really think these people are going to stop at one year?

I expect the rules will be changed to stop them from repeating this particular exploit. They will look for others because they are feeling oppressed. Large oppressed minorities (in the 10% range) are likely to look for ways to sneak turds into the punchbowl. "OH, I SWEAR SOMEBODY ASIDES ME IS GONNA RUE THIS HERE PARTICULAR DAY.”

Wait, you have a definite idea about what "progressive" means, yet don't know that all the self proclaimed SJW's I've read of ... identify as progressive?

Yes, and national socialists identified as socialists. Republicans identify as pro-democracy.

In my experience, progressives try to make things better. SJWs look for people to revile.

Maybe they think if they can get enough people scared to use the wrong words, that will make things better? Maybe they think if they can declare enough people The Enemy then things will get better?

They are fake progressives, like paste is fake diamond. Not cubic zirconium, not miossanite. Paste.

81:

I think the usual response to comments 'like be nice to me or I won't buy your books' is 'okthxbye'...

It's a silly threat - there are lots of people buying fiction, and frankly what an individual thinks is largely going to impact a moderately successful or wildly successful author not one jot. I am sure John C Wright hasn't noticed that I've never bought a single thing he's written and won't notice that I won't.

Basically, from my perspective, this isn't really a fight between political ideologies, but between a group of people who haven't grown up intellectually and a bunch of people who have.

One of the core complaints I've seen from the Puppies was essentially 'We write extremely commercially successful works, why are we not being nominated for Hugo Awards and winning them.'

It's a daft argument and something that most of us worked out was incorrect in school. What I like and what is good are not the same thing - I can see why 'INSERT_ENG_LIT_TITLE' was a good book, but I still didn't like it very much. Fast Food is VERY commercially successful, but it ain't going to win a Michelin Star anytime.

Dressing this up as a culture fight just belies the utter lack of a cogent basis at its heart. The slate pushed worthy works off the list for no good reason. I refuse to believe that 3 of the top 5 novellas this year were written by John C Wright. I read, or rather I tried reading last year's Sad Puppy slate and found Brad Torgesson had essentially rewritten a story by Harry Harrison from 40 years ago (Harry did it better btw), Vox Day wrote a piece of dire shite that was, frankly, unreadable crap, and in the novels we had a mediocre but okish part of a series but wasn't something I'd remotely call good.

Finally, and I write knowing I risk a yellow card from our host: I don't have to be nice to people who are acting as Vandals against something I actually care about. It's the behaviour of a bunch of spoiled little kids who haven't grown the fuck up and honestly, if you can't see that either then you need to grow the fuck up too.

82:

"If it turns out you hate me for my views, you can't expect me to buy your books."

I don't even go that far. I don't care what some author thinks of me. If I like their work I will read it because I like it. The two are not connected. I listen to Wagner without considering his anti-semitism and watch Pulp Fiction without regards to Scientology. It's not that the politicization of art bothers me, it's just that I totally ignore it (except noting it from an interest in politics).

83:

Now, people do not have to get their news as a package from those sources. They can read it already picked and chosen for them by people who believe as they do. They are not forced to see or hear opposing opinions and only talk to people whose views mirror and reinforce their own.

Won't they get bored? In the short run it may seem like a relief not to see the same ugly stupidity that you already disagree with over and over and over again, but when people are stuck with just the same old thing they do agree with, won't they look for something else?

84:

Basically, from my perspective, this isn't really a fight between political ideologies, but between a group of people who haven't grown up intellectually and a bunch of people who have.

The ones who have grown up are the ones who are just dealing with it without a lot of upset, right?

85:

You might think that, but I suspect the evidence is pointing towards a far more polarized view of "them" and "us". To the point of violence.

86:

You really can't take ideology out of science fiction; the questions of where we're going and what we're becoming are both inherently ideological and central to the genre.

One side of this argument holds to the pieties of a misremembered 1950s, and the other side holds to the pieties of the urban West in 2015. To the extent that either set of pieties permeate a work, that work will rapidly seem dated; the best SF tries to figure out what the pieties of the future might be.

87:

Well then, different experiences etc; the people I know of who will take the label SJW also fit nicely into the progressive category, no matter how you want to restrict it.
But the original title of SJW was made up by people who percieve that the putative SJW is indeed daring to revile their world view which happens to (often) see women as inferior/ subject to men, white people as the best thing ever, and markets as superior to all other things, except when they don't seem to give awards to the label givers favourite works.

Also, rules changes to a long established gentlemans way of doing things is not always easy, simple or indeed even necessary. It sounds a bit like you've got no idea of the awards or fandom in general.

88:

That was tried before; you seem to be wilfully unaware that this is the third time this slate has been tried. What makes it different is that this year it does appear to have slanted to nominations.

89:

Basically, from my perspective, this isn't really a fight between political ideologies, but between a group of people who haven't grown up intellectually and a bunch of people who have.

Never forget that ignorance is a renewable resource.

"Philip of Macedon's forces invaded the city, inflicting on its inhabitants the eternal fate of the noble and enlightened: to be brutally crushed by the armed and dumb." -- John Stewart, America: the book

90:

But does the genre matter any more?
It's like the argument that in the 1960s popular music changed the world (which I agree with to some extent, having been there). But now it has been "brought under control" and will likely never again have that influence. Yet people still have a kind of misplaced reverence for it because of what it once was.
I think SF is in the same position.
I cannot imagine any artistic movement of any description having political effects comparable to what some did in the past. If you are arguing over the politics of art for any reason other than nostalgia you are fighting for control of a corpse.

91:

Kinda have to laugh at VD calling themselves "Rabid Puppies", I've seen Old Yeller and know how it ended.

92:

Nothing specific here, and I am not going to suggest details here that would de-rail the thread, but I see appearances of the very simplistic Left-Right labelling of politics, and surely we're all smart enough to know how inadequate such a one-dimensional model is.

I have seen several two-dimensional models that work better, in different ways, but there are enough different pairs to suggest we would need an n-dimensional labelling system.

With full-throttle politics in action in the UK, and a left-right split that has changed a lot on my voting lifetime, all this has hit me at a bad time. Hugo Awards or otherwise, if you persist in thinking in such simplistic ways, you're an idiot.

93:

At a similar risk of derailing the thread, why doesn't the US government in all its forms get out of the marriage business altogether and leave it to "the free market" in the form of religious sects and civil contract law?

94:

"The ones who have grown up are the ones who are just dealing with it without a lot of upset, right?"

I don't think it's immature to be upset when a bunch of vandals screw around with something because they're unable to understand that 'like' and 'good' aren't the same thing.

Damn right I'm upset with them, there's plenty of stuff out there that I've liked a lot but never voted for on a ballot or nominated because, well, it might have been fun to read but it was a bit shit really.

Essentially, the immature bit is having a hissy fit about the Hugo Awards because you believe you're being overlooked when, in fact, you're not.

95:

I'm an American, and we have two and only two parties that control all things political. If you want the government, even the school board, to do anything, it has to be done by people who are members and aspiring leaders of one party or the other. So our politics, in practice, has two sides and only two sides; issues that don't fit into that dichotomy either don't get addressed by our system or get crammed into the dichotomy however haphazardly.

Yes, it is idiotic. We know. Short of breaking out the guillotines, there's not much we can do about it.

96:

I see appearances of the very simplistic Left-Right labelling of politics, and surely we're all smart enough to know how inadequate such a one-dimensional model is.

The situation looks simpler than that to me. It isn't one dimensional, it's only 2 bits.

There appear to be two groups that are each pretty much unified about whatever issues they think are vitally important at tme moment. For each of them the issue is mostly each other.

And in two bits you can choose.

1. I'm with group 1.
2. I'm with group A.
3. I hate both groups.
4. I can tolerate both groups.

There can be N dimensions of issues, but none of them seem to matter just now. The one side is intensely against the Sad Puppies, and the Sad Puppies are intensely against the SJWs, and the N dimensions are in the background noise just now.

97:

One of the core complaints I've seen from the Puppies was essentially 'We write extremely commercially successful works, why are we not being nominated for Hugo Awards and winning them.'

.... What I like and what is good are not the same thing - I can see why 'INSERT_ENG_LIT_TITLE' was a good book, but I still didn't like it very much.

Dressing this up as a culture fight just belies the utter lack of a cogent basis at its heart.

It sounds to me like you have a concept of Culture, and you think it's Cultured work that should win Hugos more than what you actually like.

And then you say that this is not a culture fight!

What else would it be?

98:

You could vote "No Award" and then put Leckie and The Goblin King?--below them. That way if NA doesn't take the award, you've put in a good word for books you like.

99:

I am starting to wonder if Vox Day and his father have a heritable mental illness, something that manifests in middle age. Because VD didn't used to be quite so awful, and his father did some of the most damnfool things I've seen a successful businessman do, to get himself jailed for over a decade.

Oh, well. Just a thought.

100:

The speculation on the goal of Castalia House is interesting, but I'm going to split off here into idle speculation about the operation of Castalia House.

The formation and operation of a publishing house, even an e-publishing one, still requires a decent amount of cash to prime the pump. Even with sales coming in, you can reasonably expect to be in the red for the first few years of operations just like any business. Given that authoritarian white supremacist genre writing is a very particular niche and genre writing itself is not particularly lucrative I can't think of a reason not to expect this to need a sizable chunk of starting capital. At a minimum your costs are document fees, taxes, initial legal fees, web hosting, marketing, story purchase, editing, and staff.

Now if you were running it with a particularly ideologically committed crew you might get freely donated stories (or stories that work on a different compensation model). You can also skimp on the editing. The catch there is that paring back that may save you up front costs but are likely to hurt you for long run sales as it will be very tricky to pull in new talent for no compensation and hard to get readers when whats coming out is inferior to works that have had an editors polish. And if you have people freely donating their time on it you have the question of how long that will go on before they fact that they have been doing this instead of writing books for a mainstream publisher will last.

Anyways, this begs the question of where did the initial capital come from, and its follow up of how long is this sustainable. If it came from Beale himself, well, scifi authors, particularly ones as focused on their subject as he, aren't really known for having spare cash to throw at an investment like this. If it is spite driven as the post suggests then it becomes doubly foolish. It also suggests that, unless they've managed to hit a real winning business model and found an untapped demographic, going the distance for several years to take over other institutions is really questionable.

Alternatively he found someone or some group of someones to invest in this. This is where my bet would lie, but that leads to wondering who are the backers, what was the business plan shown them, how much did they commit, why did they commit, what is their willingness to do multiround investment, and a whole host of other questions. I have some speculation of that line but nothing to go on so I'll keep it zipped.

Now if this were an American company I'd know exactly where to go and what to do to get a bunch of business filings to answer questions here. Finland I don't. So while I highly doubt creating it there was some crafty plan, congrats to him for falling ass backwards into a layer of protection. Truly even a blind squirrel finds the occasional nut.

101:

Because the government is the entity that is used to evaluate and enforce civil contract law. There is no such thing as "a private contract", governments create the economic space in which contracts can exist. They set the standards for being an eligible party, evaluate and interpret terms, and enforce it.

Shelby vs Kramer is the court case where this finally dawned on the legal system in the US, but it should be plainly obvious to anyone who isn't an idiot. You can't say "it's a private decision for someone to decide if they want to serve person X", because if they say no and person X won't leave, who comes in to enforce their decision? The police. This is the same for contracts - if I sign a contract to you and don't uphold my end, what do you do? You take me to court and try to get a ruling that forces me to uphold my end.

102:

"It sounds to me like you have a concept of Culture, and you think it's Cultured work that should win Hugos more than what you actually like.

And then you say that this is not a culture fight!

What else would it be?"

It could be that literary awards are/should be decided on a different basis to what sells well or even what I particularly like. If you lack the emotionally maturity to be able to understand that then I've not got much for you I'm afraid.

To whit: I voted for Ancillary Justice last year because I thought it was the best novel on the ballot, I thought it was a better work than Neptune's Brood. I enjoyed Neptune's Brood more to read, but I didn't think from the perspective of the vote that it was a better novel.

I will not be voting for Ancillary Sword this time because while I actually think it's a better story than Justice, I don't think it does anything all that interesting as development from what came before. Given that most of the Novel slate is book X of Y, I'm almost certainly voting no award there - although Goblin Emperor might get a look in.

Most of the kvetching from Brad Torgesson and Larry Correia over the last few years has been of the 'but we are successful authors, we SHOULD win' variety which is as daft as Burger King demanding a Michelin Star.

If you can't grasp that then that's not really my problem.

103:

"LRonCupboard" - seriously?

So basically the same marketing/sales tactics that made and have kept Dianetics (the book) a top-100 book seller for the past 20+ years?

The scam (I've been told) works as follows: Ship to bookstore after paying for/buying appropriate end-aisle/window placement. Send in henchmen to "buy" the book (literally) by the truckload - means actual cash transaction occurs at the retailer and gets posted in the industry. Repackage books and forward to the next book store, and continue the cycle until someone picks up the book and notices that the imprint date is about 10 years ago.

I think that this is the book publishing version of kiting a check. And like check-kiting this practice is probably unethical, but by industry standards, may not be technically illegal. (The professional writers here would know.)

104:

If that is so, why is (say) bigamy a criminal as opposed to civil offence? More to the point, why should it be. And why should the government be the ones to set limits on who and what can be married?

105:

@100 Ted Beale (Vox Day) is a [ DELETED due to jurisdictional issue. See moderation policy ]

(Note from CS: While I am sympathetic to your views, please don't express them in such unambiguous and arguably defamatory terms in the comments on this blog, because jurisdiction. If you persist, I'll have to ban you.)

106:

Wagner isn't going to go online and make abusive comments about you. It's not a question of politics - I'm happy to ignore that too - it's a question of politeness. Have you ever bought books from an author whose publisher made it clear that they hated some group you belonged to? And posted long rants about how dreadful your group was?

Maybe Tor doesn't need our stinkin' money, but only a minority of people believe in the full social justice package, and it isn't good business to alienate everyone else. Why piss off potential customers?

107:

P.S. J Thomas is concern trolling so hard I am afraid he might break a couple of fingers.

108:

"Have you ever bought books from an author whose publisher made it clear that they hated some group you belonged to? "

No idea, and it still wouldn't matter to me. But being both Asatru and a Transhumanist I probably have. I have also bought text from both Muslim and Xian street preachers and they probably hate both Asatru and Transhumanists, although I didn't engage in that particular conversation with them.

109:

Bigamy is criminal because historically it overwhelmingly involves pedophilia and rape. Pedophilia and rape should be criminal offense for self evident reasons.

As to why government sets the term of who is eligible for a contract and what are valid terms and conditions, that's because governments arbitrate and enforce them and want a standard for deciding them consistently. Establishing a valid party is a core part of contract theory.

110:

You could vote "No Award" and then put Leckie and The Goblin King?--below them. That way if NA doesn't take the award, you've put in a good word for books you like.

Or vice versa. With IRV, if your first choice gets more votes than your second choice, the first choice counts. Otherwise the second choice counts too.

So if NA loses, you can still vote for Leckie assuming Leckie has not already lost. If you vote for Leckie and Leckie loses, you can still vote for NA unless NA has already lost.

I tend to prefer acceptance voting, where everything you vote for gets counted and the one with the most votes wins. Then you can avoid the problems of which one to vote for first. If none of the SP entries get a majority (which seems very likely to me) then almost certainly NA or Leckie will win.

111:

If you can't grasp that then that's not really my problem.

I get that you think that culture matters, that who wins the Hugo should not just be about how many people like the work. That you yourself vote not for what you like but for what you think is the more cultured.

What I don't get is how you can say that and then say that the disagreement is not "culture war".

You disagree with them about what work should get the Hugo, because your idea of cultural norms is different from theirs. Of course you think you're right and they're wrong -- if you didn't think you were right and they were wrong, you wouldn't take the stand you do.

I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm *certainly* not saying they're right!

I just don't get how this is not a culture war, when it looks precisely like one to me.

112:

"Bigamy is criminal because historically it overwhelmingly involves pedophilia and rape."

That is just ludicrous. I assume you are going to offer up some kind of evidence?

113:

I can't recall any leftist science fiction at all.

You are missing:

Ken MacLeod
David Brin
Kim Stanley Robinson
John Brunner
(me)
Norman Spinrad
Ursula LeGuin
Stephen Brust
Margaret Atwood
Iain M. Banks
Joanna Russ
China Mieville
Yevgeny Zamyatin
Octavia Butler
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Katherine Burdekine
Sheri Tepper
Eric Flint
Mack Reynolds
Michael Moorcock
...

I'm pretty sure that the following wouldn't object to being roped in either: Kameron Hurley, Liz Williams, Justina Robson, Jay Lake, M. John Harrison, Kim Newman ...

114:

J Thomas is concern trolling

"A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the troll claims to hold."

I have not claimed to hold a point of view I do not.

Ktotwf, your own pseudonym is only 5 comments old. I have no reason to think you present a false flag, since I know nothing at all about you beyond those 5 comments.

Is Ktotwf an acronym like fiawol? There is a ktotwf who has published some fanfic, and discussed some wargames and some alternate history etc. You could be him/her.

https://www.fanfiction.net/u/2029165/Ktotwf

115:

while I'd be hard-pressed to ever find a Baen Books novel that was worthy of a Hugo

We disagree, then: I'm a big fan of both P. C. Hodgell and Lois McMaster Bujold. (The latter of whom ties with Heinlein for most novel Hugos ever, thus disproving one of the Sad Puppy theses that the Hugos are rigged against Baen authors.)

I'm going to conditionally give you a yellow card for comparing me to Putin for calling V*D's allies neo-nazis; this guy is utterly toxic, and you don't have to dig far to spot the evidence. The guy really is a hard-right oddball (follow that link and the references in it if you don't believe me). Also a creationist who's expressed the view that giving women the vote was the biggest mistake of the 20th century. Do you really think this is normal American Conservativism in action?

116:

DMac: you are welcome to polish your tanks and hang out your flags, as long as you don't park them on my lawn. (Or decide to use my lawn as a through-route on your way to invade Poland.) Whatever.

117:

> But the original title of SJW was made up by people who percieve that the putative SJW is indeed daring to revile their world view which happens to (often) see women as inferior/ subject to men, white people as the best thing ever, and markets as superior to all other things, except when they don't seem to give awards to the label givers favourite works.

In actual fact, I believe "SJW" arose as an ironic description of those types who attack those putatively on their own side for not being 100% doctrinaire (the attacker's version of doctrine, that is). But folk on the GG/Sad Puppy side of things picked it up to bash all on the left, and then a few folk on the left claimed it back, as fighting for social justice isn't a bad thing to do, when you think about it.

The upshot is that now, the only people who use "SJW" are those who have just discovered the term and use it to mean whatever version of the above they heard first, or GGers and Sad Puppies who think everybody who's left of their politics want to take their precious FPS games/MilSF away, with the latter predominating.

All in all, J Thomas, it's a word you're probably best off avoiding because it means radically different things to different people. If you mean "those on the left who are assholes" it's probably better just to say so; conversely, if you mean "the assholes who are the left", it's better to say that; and if you mean Jesus, Martin Luther King or Emily Pankhurst, best to namecheck them individually; everybody will then know where you stand.

118:

Nope, no yellow card for expressing that view ... because the behaviour of the SP/RP apologists is rapidly bringing me around to the same viewpoint myself.

I am becoming increasingly aware (I've been out) that as of comment 82 the sealions and sockpuppets appear to be showing up in comments. If I see any more, it'll be time to begin mashing my thumb on the Stalinist Button-Click of Un-Publishing.

119:

I find it funny that the 'liberty' in libertarian means 'don't say stuff if it hurts you economically'

120:

I tend to think that the utterly grim and humorless SJWs are a minority in fandom, and now an even smaller minority is opposing them.

I think you've got it rather backwards. The SJWs are a minority everywhere. They know it, they just refuse to shut up, and run around calling everyone else names. A much larger crowd is now telling them to fuck off.

I view this all as being rather healthy. The SJWs would prefer that they remain in total control, with no balance.

121:

So, seeing as Castalia House are based in Finland, and the 2017 WorldCon is lining up to be in Finland, is this also a part of VD's Xanatos gambit (insert TVTropes link here)? Can we expect to see the 2017 business meeting flooded with goons from the local neo-nazis bussed in to propose and vote for whatever awfulness VD has in mind? Or maybe just cause general mayhem?

122:

NotABotNet: kindly fuck off and wank in someone else's blog, there's a good sock-puppet.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

(That last comment let the true brown slurry-like substance behind NotABotNet's views shine out. Let me add, too, that using a random letter/number string gmail address didn't impress me with your bona fides.)

123:

As far as Vox Days company being in Finland. Saying its there because there are racists there would be like saying if its in Germany, its tied to the Nazis. It makes no sense. If he thought the books would be popular with Finnish racists, he can just sell them in Finland. That doesn't make sense. I went to the Castalia House website. Its in English. There is a 'translation page' which I believe is translated to Finnish. Is there some other Finnish Page for these books?

Here are some more likely possibilities.

1. what is the Finnish Corporate tax rate? There could be tax benefits to having his business headquartered in Finnland. There have been a number of stories where US companies have an empty office in another country, claim its the headquarters so they can pay lower corporate taxes.

2. Could be some benefit to having it in an EU country for business purposes.

3. some business reason to have his company owned in another country related to authors he signs and contracts they may have with US businesses.

124:

Wrt. Castalia House, per Making Light:

castaliahouse.com is registered to:
Registrant Name: MARKKU KOPONEN
Registrant Organization: ALPENWOLF OY
of Kouvola, Finland.

What is alpenwolf? Their website appears to be for a game system, "MAKERS OF THE 3DV DIGITAL TABLETOP".

alpenwolf.com is registered to:

Registrant Name: Theo Beale
Registrant Organization: Comtrol GmbH (comtrol.ch) of Oxfordshire, UK.

Note that "Vox Day" is Theodore Beale.

125:

NotaBotnet:

It's a little Finnish publisher that few have heard of, but Beale is its lead editor, and this interview describes him as its founder: http://www.reaxxion.com/6589/game-designer-vox-day-speaks-on-women-in-gaming-his-upcoming-game-and-more

We know quite a bit about his politics, and he'd certainly find a lot of the Perussuomalaiset platform appealing

126:

JRRT would decline their nomination. He did it back in the 1930's and I am absolutely certain his zombie would do it again today.

127:

I actually thought this name was pretty funny. I have no real interest in scientology and I suspect it's rather unhealthy. It did make me laugh though.

With regards to the comment, I'm not sure it was aimed at me, but I don't necessarily equate commercial success with technical merit. I've found some very good books on the Sci-Fi Masterworks series, I've also found some very good books not in the sci-fi masterworks series.

The problem (IMO) with a ballot system like the Hugo's is that if you have a big enough interest/group then you can get the books you want or the books YOU think are good nominated. Now that doesn't necessarily match up with the books that other people think are good and that's the big cause of what's going on. Two interest groups (nominally right-wing and not right-wing) disagree about what makes a book good and there are now issues. The only obvious solution for the future is either to create a large enough voting bloc for and counter slate, or change the system entirely. But then you're still going to have someone upset because the new system will always have a bias of some sort.

128:

"I can't recall any leftist science fiction at all."

You are missing:

Ken MacLeod haven't read
David Brin Brin may be leftist, but I don't see it in his work.
Kim Stanley Robinson haven't read
John Brunner I don't see it in his work
(me) I don't see it in your work
Norman Spinrad Seems more forward than left, The Iron Dream with minor editing could have been far right
Ursula LeGuin sensitive to conditions, The Dispossessed is the closest I've seen to leftist SF.
Stephen Brust I don't see it in his work.
Margaret Atwood I've seen dystopias that could be critical of the right, but no defense of left.
Iain M. Banks haven't read
Joanna Russ The Female Man includes a brief description of a society of women run by old women in a vaguely socialist sense, that could possibly be considered not a dystopia.
China Mieville what I've read was not leftist
Yevgeny Zamyatin haven't read
Octavia Butler haven't read
Charlotte Perkins Gilman haven't read, not published as SF
Katherine Burdekine haven't read, published as SF?
Sheri Tepper What I read was not leftist. was a cautionary tale against too-doctrinaire feminism, Grass had a female hero.
Eric Flint mostly haven't read, not leftist
Mack Reynolds more against big government than big business
Michael Moorcock what I read was not leftist

Maybe my criteria are too narrow. When I see science fiction set in the far future where women and blacks are not discriminated against for being women or blacks, but instead a new nobility looks down on commoners, I don't think of that as leftist. If a far future world recreates the nuclear family concerns of late-20th-century Republicans, that would be rightist and stupid.

If the story shows a free market operating to optimize everyhing and the narrator explains why that's the only way to get things done, that's rightist. If there's a market where the Main Character (MC) buys something, with maybe some obvious market flaws, that isn't left or right. If there's a communal warehouse where the MC takes whatever he wants, that *is* leftist.

If the story shows people getting along with no laws and no government, because without government they naturally handle all disputes optimally, and the narrator explains why this is the perfect system and the only adequate system, that's rightist. If the story shows people squabbling in anarchy and not getting anything done, that's neither left nor right. If the story shows people suffering under a bad government, either monarchy or socialism or crony capitalism, and they create a revolution and overthrow it, that isn't left or right. If there's a government that sort of manages things, that isn't left or right. But if it's a socialist government that works, that's leftist.

So for example, in your Merchant Princes series I didn't see the leftist slant much at all. You had good people trying to accomplish things, and the system was set up to stop them. It turned out the system was set up to maintain power, it was intentionally grossly inefficient because that was the way to keep control. That sort of thing can happen anywhere. The heroes weren't particularly leftist, though they had good intentions. The reactionaries weren't particularly rightists. The US bad guys were just bad guys, who served whoever happened to be in power.

It was a great story and I didn't see that your own politics intruded in it at all.

129:

Perhaps you need to read more, and type in forums and comment threads less?

130:

Can I get something clear? How many people are we talking about? As far as I can tell it would be surprising if there were more than a dozen of them.

131:

The A.V. Club has picked up this story, and ran with it in their usual snarky manner:

http://www.avclub.com/article/years-hugo-award-nominees-are-messy-political-cont-217574

In Torgersen’s eyes, this meant that a “rarified, insular” group of fans who dominated Worldcon had become too far removed from “mainstream” tastes, an imbalance he hopes to correct. And Torgersen’s “populist” taste just so happens to look an awful lot like a group of straight white men, not that he cares about that stuff, mind you.
132:

Central unifying culture was always a mirage, the difference now is that its much easier for the disempowered and marginal to make themselves heard - with consequences both good and bad.

133:

And, if you search just a bit further, I see that Comtrol GMBH is the UK branch of Comtrol Corporation. Comtrol is the company founded by VD's father, Robert Beale--now in US federal prison for tax evasion.
The company management is now:
Board
Rebecca Summers-Beale – Owner
...
Bradford Beale – President
Management
Rebecca Summers-Beale – Owner
Bradford Beale – President

Rebecca Summers-Beale is VD's mother and Bradford Beale is VD's brother.

134:

And I find the whole Social Justice Warrior thing hilarious - how far off the deep end do you have to be to explicitly define yourself by your opposition to social justice? At that point you should probably just grow a mustache to twirl and start building your evil volcano lair.

135:

I don't think anyone sane is against social justice as long as it is not at the expense of individual justice.

136:

To be fair, Brust says he tries to put his views in the mouths of characters in opposition to his protagonist.

Maybe J. Thomas' response proves that leftists are NOT in the business of shoving their ideologies down people's throats and that they provide the good old fashioned sensawunda adventures the puppies claim the majority want, or at least do a better job of concealing their bias than the right wing.

137:

I applaud this post. Or perhaps should just say "Zing!"

138:

I totes need an evil volcano lair!

Will you support my kickstarter?

139:

I need to hurry up and get my first novel "No Award" published before the Hugo winners are announced.

I suspect I'm going to clean house.

140:

I suspect a Kickstarter to build you an evil volcano lair would still have a better chance of delivering than 50% of the stuff I've backed so far.

141:

"I get that you think that culture matters, that who wins the Hugo should not just be about how many people like the work. That you yourself vote not for what you like but for what you think is the more cultured."

You keep using the word 'cultured' in a way that is inappropriate for this context.

I think that something that wins the Hugo should be representative of something that excels in the field of Science Fiction and Fantasy for the year. I was taught in English class that what I like and what is excellent aren't the same thing, sometimes they intersect, for the most part they don't.


I don't think I'm expressing a cultural view that a McDonalds might be tasty and everything but it is not going to win a Michelin star and is certainly not remotely as good as the gormet burger place around the corner where they do an AMAZING range of burgers with subtle blends of flavours that are beyond amazing.

It's not all that radical a position really. It is not remotely a cultural thing to have the perspective that commercial success and personal preference are the only arbiters of quality. I learned it in school about 30 years ago. The core problem here is that the people on the other side of the equation don't seem to have learnt this. Based on comments on John C Wrights blog, he certainly hasn't and if you haven't read it then, I suggest you go off and do so and come back here when you've bothered to learn some shit.

But I think you know all this and you're just being a dick for the purposes of passive aggressively making a point. So see my previous comments.

142:

I will totally support that. But, doesn't Menhit already have one?

143:

If you don't demand an active volcano, there are several extinct ones around Edinburgh, so I think the odds of success are greater and Charlie wouldn't have to move so far.

144:

Alas, someone like VD could very well 'publish' a book before the next WorldCon with exactly that title, just to cause waves.

145:

Proclaim you won't let gay people in it and you'll get the American right wing sending you all their dollars.

146:

I'm over here in the states, and let me tell you, I hate the "left-right" description of political views so much that I would have to invent a new alphabet so I could write the words making up the language required to adequately express these things... and possibly end up summoning That Which Lurks Beyond.

The way the terms are used here, the way they are used overseas, and the actual set of issues they try to represent are so at odds that it hurts.

I like to joke that I'm a naive "if men were angels, this would be heaven" anarchist at heart, and I find it rather hilarious that the counterpost about "left sci fi" mentioned not having read Banks, who was responsible for a depiction of what can easily be called a communist utopia.

I also seem to recall a little set of stories called Accelerando which went from one end of the spectrum to the other in-universe... and I don't exactly get the feeling that OGH is super big on certain governmental features closer to home from reading about Bob and friends.

Oh, one last thing: the description given of "a communal warehouse where the MC takes what he wants" would more accurately be "takes what he needs", wouldn't it?

147:

Like I'd want their blood money?

Hint: LGBT here. (Subtype: invisible married bisexual.)

148:

Recorded history

149:

Having (like Charlie) been at Eatercon ... th thing that REALLY gets up my nose is that T Beale DARES to deliberately associate (admittedly public chorsiains) like JRRT & CSL) with his brand of Dominionism in his blurb.
I feel sick.

And a n othe usual & depressing mistake.
It is entorely possible for a christian (or a muslim(+) to be a secularist, or secular in outlook - it means not preferring one religion or subset thereof to have absolute ot preferred status.
That all religions, sects & none are treated equaly before the law.
This is often confused with "atheist"
I happen to be the latter, but there are christian & muslim secularists.
I think someone is confused (to say the least)

150:

that was meant with a fairly negative tone, I'm currently stuck in the state that tossed the better part of a million dollars at a pizza place for saying they would refuse to serve gay people in the event they ever wanted pizza catering for their wedding.

I stick with the quote that, if you look at history, sodomy is the traditional definition of a good time

151:

Somehow I feel you wouldn't support the stretch goal for a harem of submissive ninja sex doll assassins a proper lair of reactionary misogyny demands.

152:

BTW: As a native German, "Alpenwolf Oy" - never heard of that organization - sounds like a good name for a neo-nazi skin band.

153:

David Brin is a bit of a stretch as a Leftist, IMHO. He is more like a Centrist who hates the Right more vocally than the Left.

154:

I've read commentary from both sides on the SP tempest and have little light to share, but the rancor is getting pretty deep. Here is some of what John Wright has to say on this very post:

" I think it sad that Mr Stross has decided, not for the first time, to insult me publicly, when I have never said a harsh word against him, nor treated him with anything but respect, nor am I likely to change that policy.

I suspect it is a difference between our worldviews.

He regards the mere fact that I am a Christian as a threat against all he holds dear, and so to belittle me is the reasonable thing to do.

I regard nothing in the mortal world as a threat against me, and to treat my fellows with contempt is not merely unnecessary in my world, and unwise, it is unlawful, forbidden by the deepest law of all.

A man who forgives easily lives easily."

http://www.scifiwright.com/2015/04/from-a-colleague/#more-13701

155:

I've survived the purges and can still post! I guess this isn't the 1930's after all. Of the leftist list, I've read 13 of the authors extensively, which makes me positively STALKER-esque in terms of my survival instincts in the realms of the 'unnatural'.

“You’re absolutely right. Our little town is a hole. It always has been and still is. But now it is a hole into the future. We’re going to dump so much through this hole into your lousy world that everything will change in it. Life will be different. It’ll be fair. Everyone will have everything that he needs. Some hole, huh? Knowledge comes through this hole. And when we have the knowledge, we’ll make everyone rich, and we’ll fly to the stars, and go anywhere we want. That’s the kind of hole we have here”

@ J Thomas. I strongly doubt you were alive for my last public recognizable name, but of the list, I'd suggest Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy (Red/Green/Blue)- you will find a lot of good stuff in there, it's hard-science(y) and the character of Frank Chalmers will sing your song. (This is not a snub, nor is it a snarky putdown - Robinson writes characters, not ideological mouth pieces, and Frank is sympathetic despite his 'villain' arc: it can be argued that he actually saves Mars given the later actions of Earth and the totalitarian actions they employ. There's also a microcosm of this thread contained in the books, if you're looking closely enough).


Anyhow. What has depressed me more than anything over all of this is that it's all so anthropomorphic. (Although - I did note one of the Hugo noms was about transhumanism, but I sadly doubt it's up there with the Oxford set such as Julian Savulescu et al - and I find them so, so, so very parochial and conservative).

21st Century, peeps. The Whales and the Squid are aching to let you into a little secret...


(I prefer my meld biological, not technological, so see you on the other side of the wide flat ocean. Jugglers... wait, is Alastair Reynolds acceptable? Who knows, I judge by the content of books, not the color of their Stars).

156:

How can it possibly help to have your editors dealing out abuse to customers? Even if they really do hate people with certain beliefs, surely they can manage to keep it under wraps?

Well, it's the first time I've been called an editor, and I'm hard-pressed to think of what I've said is abusive.

Well, other than calling Tom Kratman's PoV "factually inaccurate", but then I actually know some interrogators who took part in counter-terrorism, and their opinion of torture was that it was both counterproductive, and indicative of second-rate skills (i.e. you aren't good enough to get real answers). The irony is that he actually helped set up the "Rule of Law" department in the US Army War College, and organise its first conference...

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/army-usawc/pksoi_rule_of_law.pdf

I'm perfectly happy to buy books from people with politics I disagree with, and just as happy to hang around with them - as long as they respect my views to the same extent I respect theirs.

Almost. Respect does not mean "accept without challenge"; I won't smile quietly as someone tells a racist joke, I won't stand by as someone makes a casually sexist comment. Respect is earned, not demanded.

157:

I am REALLY sure you don't want to start me finding John C Wright quotes on homosexuality or so forth do you? Do you really want to go there? No, thought not.

158:

Dammit, got all excited, forgot the main reason I'm here:

@C Stross.

Yes, you can have a volcano. Sign on the usual dotted line, Contracts are final, no take-backs and we reserve the right to twist your desires into something other than you expected for shits n giggles. We like you though, so it's probably ok.


http://en.vedur.is/earthquakes-and-volcanism/earthquakes/

159:

Not so
"the left" here includes me - well to the socially-liberal "right" of Charlie ( I was sitting opposite him when he typed comment #47 in ...)
I even have some sympathy with (part of) UKIP's manifesto, as supported by old-fashione Labour voters down our allotment plots &
YET
I am fully here in agreement with Charlie ... these people, VD's supporters are or appear to be christian neo-Nazis - for which there is only one response acceptable.
LINK
http://www.nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm
Shows the grovelling especially of the RC to the NSDAP
Euuuuwww ....

160:

Iain M. Banks haven't read

Please, give it a try, I think you'll enjoy it. Plenty here will have opinion about what you should try first...

By way of return courtesy, what author would you advise that I try (that hasn't been mentioned so far in this thread)?

161:

John C. Wright quote: He regards the mere fact that I am a Christian as a threat against all he holds dear, and so to belittle me is the reasonable thing to do.

Nope. It's the fact that he considers folks like me to be evil doomed sinners who deserve legal oppression and social exclusion that I think is "a threat against all I hold dear".

In other words: he's the one who declared war (on homosexuals and atheists): I'm just an in-his-face target.

162:

@54 Well isn't Ser Wright the precious little snowflake. Now he can go back to writing screeds about the queers and writing softcore porn about spanking schoolgirl goddesses.

163:

Yeah, I'd not recommend Surface Detail first, if you get my drift.


p.s.

Is no-one else like a bit star struck here? It's a crazy pants wonderful world when renowned authors are shooting the shit on their blogs.

165:

ADMIN NOTE: Due to the amount of sealioning/sockpuppeting going on, I'm going to shut down comments on this thread while I'm away-from-keyboard for more than a couple of hours.

Which means, now (while I'm asleep), then again tomorrow afternoon (while I'm driving London-Manchester).

Comments will reopen whenever you see the comment form/login page. G'night!

167:

Hugo Awards & nominations are subject to rules.
As stated above, it is now very likely that new/altered rules will be required/nominated after this.
However, is there not already some provision against collusion & "vote-packing"?
If that is the case, can it not be used against this attempted take-over?
And will it, again, if that is the case?

168:

Just as a general point — the s*dpuppy argument that popular work is being neglected in favour of books that only the "elite" like never seems to have numbers attached to it.

For example, last year I had read Ancillary Justice long before it was nominated, after it was recommended to me by a couple of people.. And after I read it I probably caused another three or four copies to be sold.

"Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles" on the other hand… not so much…

Has anybody bothered to go dig into the numbers — as much as they can be determined?

169:

Finland - probably chosen for symbolic reasons if you're wondering (WWII - Winter War and all that; last bastion of Aryans fighting against Communist threat and winning).

That's make sense if VD was a neonazi, but having permanently stained my soul reading a few of his blog posts to see if he's really as bad as people say (he's worse) I'm pretty sure he's a neoreactionairy. While the difference in effect is small (NRXs like decentralization, but otherwise its a close fit) the difference in symbolism is pretty stark. Singapore (seriously they hold this up as the ideal) makes more sense than anything if it's a purely symbolic move.

170:

Oh, and I consider the appellation Social Justice Warrior to be a compliment, not an insult.

Charlie, surely you as a writer should know that words can deceive. Just as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is neither Democratic, nor People's, nor a Republic, so too a group of people may be called Social Justice Warriors while being something else.

I'm pretty sure you encountered SJWs while participating in the RaceFail shitstorm. They are the people who declared you the enemy of all that is good for using the word "cunt". They are also the people who later decided that imagining an alternative universe where the Americas had no native population is an inherently racist act (that's the MammothFail). And there is a million of other examples.

In other words, they are the kind of people who, if they had power, would give the Stalinist USSR a good run for their money, at least where purging of dissenters is concerned.

I think the correct term is "extremists".

171:

VD is indeed a neoreactionary, and a Christian (of the sort who I gather gives real Christians a bad taste in their mouth). He's drifted around the political map a bit over the last decade; a while ago he was calling himself a Christian Libertarian, then if I remember correctly he endorsed Rand Paul and tried to get involved in Tea Party politics.

172:

The VD company was operating in Finland before the change in EU law on VAT-rate location. That was done, many think, in response to Amazon exploiting a very low VAT-rate on ebooks that applies in Luxembourg. Under the old system, Castalia only had to deal with the VAT-rates in Finland. There has been a court case in Finland over their rate for ebooks and books, and the rate in Finland was 10% on ebooks.

Castalia would now have to charge the rate in the customer's location (20% in the UK) and register for VAT and do the paperwork for all EU countries.

It's certainly become more complicated and more costly to administer, and it makes any internet sales software more complicated. For business use, it's normal to quote the price "Plus VAT", but for retail a website might have to give a different price for every EU country, even in the Euro zone. (Finland is in the Euro zone which would have been attractive.)

Castalia could well be costing more to run now.

The VAT situation is different for customers outside the EU. If most of their sales are to the USA, the actual VAT rates don't apply, and the way the system works the company can reclaim some of the VAT it pays for goods and services.

I can imagine frothy VD posts on how the government is out to get him.

173:

SJW is about as neutral as you can get. It's an argument about what the term means, more than what term to use, and SJW is vague enough that any definition can apply.

174:

@ Core. It's a weird world when even the most heightened hyperbole and satire is taken as a factual thesis. That entire post was supposed to be a funny snark (with a core of truth and a dark dark edge - cue Fifth Element quote, "You want to play it soft, we'll play it soft...").

It's also a world where the past is archived, forever...

Rebel Moon Rising is a PC game made by Fenris Wolf and GT Interactive.

"...make the choice, it's black and white...feel the madness when in Rome"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdIy8PeZoRs


I think I need a little time away from humans again, it's all so tragic and obvious. Wolves and puppies dressed as men, nipping at the heels of Goddesses without understanding that ultimate irony, that dogs and men are a symbiotic merging and their alpha status is not hierarchical at all. Pack, pack, pack...

Also she bare the Destinies and ruthless avenging Fates, Clotho and Lachesis and Atropos, who give men at their birth both evil and good to have, and they pursue the transgressions of men and of gods: and these goddesses never cease from their dread anger until they punish the sinner with a sore penalty. Also deadly Night bare Nemesis to afflict mortal men, and after her, Deceit and Friendship and hateful Age and hard-hearted Strife.

Ah, wrong mythos again, we shall provide an answer to all this nonsense.

Vafþrvðnir qvaþ:
"Eina dottvr
berr Alfra/ðvll,
aþr hana Fenrir fari;
sv scal riða,
þa er regin deyia,
modvr bra/tir mer".


At this rate we'll have to start explaining that Christmas is an ancient festival to Wadjet and the role of cats, the female and biological weapons (Mut-Wadjet-Bast).


Forgive the rambling screed, but people are playing in muddy waters. Indiana Jones territory, if you will.

175:

SJW is about as neutral as you can get. It's an argument about what the term means, more than what term to use, and SJW is vague enough that any definition can apply.

Thank you. My intention is to apply it to a group of people with particular behaviors. The major behavior is that they vilify people for their use of language, insisting that the words spoken be the way they want them, apart from the realities the language is intended to describe.

This is not a new thing, but IME it has gotten more extreme in recent years. More than 20 years ago I got excoriated in an online discussion for using the word "eskimo". It seems this was originally a french word that meant "people who eat rotten fish", and was considered derogatory, and anybody who used it instead of "inuit" was a bad, bad person who insulted inuit people everywhere. None of the people in the discussion was inuit, or knew any inuit, or had done anything to help inuit people in their poverty. They only wanted to attack anyone who used the word "eskimo".

My own opinion is that if you want to influence racism, or sexism etc, and you cannot have a civil conversation with racists, sexists, etc, that will much reduce your chance to have much effect. "People like me hate people like you, that's all you need to know about us." An effect, but not one that can change much.

SJWs are all about deciding who in present company to hate, to drive out of the conversation. That's what I mean by SJW.

Since I learned the term "SJW" from SJWs self-describing themselves, I didn't realize it was considered derogatory like "eskimo".

176:

I think you're missing the context. But my context may not be yours.

I first saw "SJW" being used as a label for people the user wanted to abuse.

The people who were using the term then have been pretty vile. And there seems to be a developing link to the Sad Puppy people.

It's not just about Feminist Frequency and the series of Tropes vs. Women videos. But I suspect I would be classed as an "SJW" if I just asked, "Why is there not a Bonnie and Clyde option for Grand Theft Auto?" Yes, it's a different period, and it wouldn't be a trivial mod, but Thelma and Louise and Baise-moi.

Too many of the people who originally used the term "SJW" show signs of sociopathy. It's part of a pattern. And some of those same elements are being rewarded in computer games.

177:

'SJW' was and is #Gamergate's tribal dogwhistle designating the enemy; some of their targets and their fellow-travellers have claimed it basically as a fuck-you, but that's its overwhelming use. So whenever you use it I (at least) have to consciously remind myself you're not a privileged teenage FPS player terrified The Feminists(tm) will take away his pixelated tits, which I'm sure isn't your aim.

178:

"'while I'd be hard-pressed to ever find a Baen Books novel that
was worthy of a Hugo'
We disagree, then: ..."

Not to mention 'reprints' of people like Chandler ....

Thanks for the recommendations, incidentally. I got seriously
irritated with most modern science fiction and fantasy some years
ago, and am always interested in adding to the list of those I
will buy and reread.

"The guy really is a hard-right oddball (follow that link and the
references in it if you don't believe me). Also a creationist
who's expressed the view that giving women the vote was the
biggest mistake of the 20th century. Do you really think this is
normal American Conservativism in action?"

Regrettably, yes. It used not to be, but they are being
increasingly taken over by the so-called fundamentalists.
Similarly, in the UK, paternalistic conservatism (not just
political) is being restored to what it was in the 18th century.
I'll join you as an aging foot slogger in the SJW army, where
you are a rather higher rank!

179:

> Will you support my kickstarter?

That depends: what are the rewards, and what are your stretch goals?

180:

John C. Wright quote: He regards the mere fact that I am a Christian as a threat against all he holds dear, and so to belittle me is the reasonable thing to do.

Nope. It's the fact that he considers folks like me to be evil doomed sinners who deserve legal oppression and social exclusion that I think is "a threat against all I hold dear".

I don't know much about the SPs. So far each time I've started reading their blogs I've quit right away because I didn't like what I was reading.

I want to consider a theoretical possibility, not something I would assert is happening this time:

Suppose that a group -- like for example a group of homosexuals -- starts to get political power. Once they become a political entity, it's inevitable that they will get some political pushback. In the political process they will try to get whatever they can, we sure can't depend on them to reasonably settle for what they honestly deserve, it's the other political groups that are supposed to limit them.

But in their own propaganda, anybody who opposes them is somebody who opposes the group. And so anybody who opposes a particular Israeli policy is considered antisemitic, anybody who opposes a political favor for homosexuals is a homophobe, etc.

I could imagine that this guy might want to do some political pushback that does not amount to legal oppression. Probably social exclusion -- his people and your people don't want to be together. It looks like a mutual thing.

I'm not really making the argument that his opposition to gays amounts to legitimate political pushback and not oppression. I actually doubt that it does. But in my imagination, the theoretical possibility might apply to other situations. Racism etc seems kind of all-or-none. "A threat to all I hold dear." But political pushback against a political group associated with a group that has been discriminated against doesn't have to be that way.

If my political group is associated with people who have been disadvantaged, it only makes sense that I should get special privileges now -- more than would normally be my share -- because of it. But how much more? For how long? How much pushback should be allowed to the people who now get less than their share because of me?

At some point it's just politics, and not "a threat to all I hold dear". Doing politics, not fighting demons.

Or possibly it's doing politics with demons, as the Laundry might turn into.

181:

@Elderly Cynic
I quite like Baen Books, and have a reasonable amount of respect for their editors. They have a strong showing in entertaining fiction, and Drake/Weber/Bujold/Flint have been reliable for a very long time. Even John Ringo can be entertaining. Toni Weisskopf at least has been around a long time, and done some good editing work in her career.

Tom Kratman however is not one of their standardbearers. He's one of the very few authors who I've literally thrown the book against a wall in disgust. (actually OGH has that honour as well - I *really* hated the Rocks Fall Everyone Dies of Trade of Queens). His mere presence on the list made me wonder what the hell had happened. Then I started looking further.

My god what a sad state of affairs. Warbound was clearly the inferior selection last year, regardless of how it got there - entertaining yes, but not up to the standards of the others. And not even the best in its own series, that goes to Spellbound. So the solution the internet comes up with is to bring down the standards of everything else to make a populist work seem superior?
I could spit.

Ancillary Sword is on my to read pile, I've heard good things about it. Ditto the Goblin Emperor. Skin Game was great, not sure it's really Hugo *novel* worthy in itself, that comes back to my complaints last year about serial works which the WoT fell under. I highly doubt Kevin Anderson can write anything that inspirational though, and I've never heard of Marko Kloos.

182:

missed the et al at the top since I forgot to click reply to the right thread.

183:

'SJW' was and is #Gamergate's tribal dogwhistle designating the enemy; some of their targets and their fellow-travellers have claimed it basically as a fuck-you, but that's its overwhelming use.

I don't want that.

I see a group of people who basicly demonize others for their use of language -- people who are more interested in who to throw out of the clubhouse than in dealing with any issues.

They are not exactly the gamergate opposite numbers, there are significant differences, but it looks to me like they and the gamergate guys basicly deserve each other. At least, if anybody deserves the gamergate guys it's them.

I want a word for them. Not to say "You are an SJW, you're evil, go away". But I'd like to say "This is an unhelpful and inappropriate behavior, let's do less of it".

If you're in your clubhouse planning tactics, you needn't put up with people who don't share your goals. But if you do find a place to talk to them, just telling them they're evil will probably not do much.

Of course, some people *are* evil and should not be tolerated. In that case we need a war that destroys all their property and leaves their survivors homeless, penniless, and disenfranchised. When they're ready to admit that they were completely wrong and they will reform and make amends, then we can think about forgiveness.

But short of that war, if we are in fact going to grudgingly tolerate them, we'd do better to look for ways to get along.

184:

"So far each time I've started reading their blogs I've quit right away because I didn't like what I was reading."

That is the worst possible reason. I make a point of reading what people, and organizations, that I do not like are writing. Just reading stuff you agree with is bad tactics.

185:

"Respect is earned, not demanded."

This seems to be a very USian thing, although I may be wrong. Respect should always be given freely as the default position. Or is your default position one of disrespect towards the 99.99999% of people you have never met? Trust is the reverse.

186:

"So far each time I've started reading their blogs I've quit right away because I didn't like what I was reading."

That is the worst possible reason.

I don't claim it's a good thing. Just, something about their *tone* grated at me.

I guess I'll go back and try again, but I'm not enthusiastic about it.

I had been hoping that CatinaDiamond would turn out to be one of them. S/he had a similar snark, and hinted at interesting ideas. If s/he had been T Beale here to snark at Charlie, ready to say what he's really after, that likely would have been informative.

No such luck.

187:

So the Beale family is trying to do to the SF market what the Hunt brothers failed to do with the silver market?

Man, oh man --- anything to get a monopoly!

Re: Respect

I'm on the side of respect and trust are earned, and should not be confused with having rights (inherent). Unconditional (non-thinking/non-evaluative) 'respect' can do great harm because people who are 'respected' tend to be obeyed/copied. This is one of the reasons why some nasty types go out of their way to amass visible signs of respect (trophies, awards, etc.) so that they can point and say 'See, of course I'm right because look at how many people support me. Therefore do as I say.'

188:

I think Castalia House is based in Finland because every car there has the letters "SF" on a sticker on their backsides.

189:

I'm on the side of respect and trust are earned, and should not be confused with having rights (inherent).

I tend to think this is a semantic thing. I agree with you that it doesn't work to give people too much unearned respect. Some of them will use it badly.

On the other hand, we can suppose that they are reasonable, respecstable thinkers until we learn otherwise. Give them the respect we'd give to reasonable people who join a conversation. Don't write them off ahead of time.

Even people who have been smeared by the media. Politicians and such -- if a few key phrases have been widely repeated that make them look bad, they still might have something interesting and useful to say.

But at some point it might start to seem that they are not worth further attention. They can earn that disrespect.

190:

Not anymore. ;)

"SF" was the Finnish country code until 1993, and it's been "FIN" since that. Additionally, it's nowadays usually part of the registration plate, and not separate sticker.

To the main discussion, I have to say that I can't understand people who don't consider equal rights to be worth striving for in any case. I'd rather be a Social Rights Mage than a Warrior, though.

191:

This seems to be a very USian thing, although I may be wrong. Respect should always be given freely as the default position.

Errr.... I live in Edinburgh :) Actually, J Thomas said much of what I was trying to say, but better, @189.

I start out with attempted respect for all, but my respect can disappear extremely quickly in certain circumstances; e.g. my respect evaporates instantly in the presence of open bigotry, or callous self-interest. If it's someone's opening act or statement, then they even lose my respect before their lips finish moving.

I was trying to say that I'll continue to respect those who act with courtesy and consideration to others, rather than merely demanding courtesy from others while demonstrating little themselves.

192:

This seems to be a very USian thing, although I may be wrong. Respect should always be given freely as the default position. Or is your default position one of disrespect towards the 99.99999% of people you have never met? Trust is the reverse.


As defined by my ipad; "Respect: A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something...."
Or should I quote Inigo Montoya at you?

You are entitled to your opinion, but...
You know it is possible to take a neutral position toward people you've never met. I should automatically respect David Cameron or Nigel Farage* because I've never met them? I've heard enough about them to be pretty sure they are not deserving of respect. There's another old saw: "Respect your elders". Why just because they are older than me? There are plenty of people older than me who are horrible human beings, I'm not going to automatically give them respect because they haven't died.
I'll make up my mind about others after I've met, or learned about them.


*to keep it on familiar ground, rather than naming American pols.

193:

I'd rather be a Social Rights Mage than a Warrior, though.

Surely in their eyes we're Social Justice Thieves, stealing their rights away.

Although does that make them Antisocial Selfish Clerics?

194:

Sigh. If someone tells me that 'Oriental' is racist and demeaning, and that the preferred term is now 'Asian', I don't argue with them or demand that they prove this is the case. I apologize for any offense I might have inadvertently given, adopt their usage, and move on. IOW, basic politeness . . . which is not the same as respect and maybe that's your problem.

That you want to die on this hill says a lot more about you than it does them.

195:

Respect: "due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others."

196:

My default start point is neutral: I give people the opportunity to earn my respect/disrespect.

(Your comment about respect is comparable to what I sometimes hear when I say that I'm an atheist: "You do not believe in god/God, therefore you must be evil." Nope - that argument ain't gonna work here either.)

197:

Just reading stuff you agree with is bad tactics.

I got through one piece by correia45.

http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/04/06/a-letter-to-the-smofs-moderates-and-fence-sitters-from-the-author-who-started-sad-puppies/

It is designed for people like me, who don't already know much. I'd want to look at what they say to each other too, and do a lot of fact-checking.

He sounds very very reasonable. He makes some points that are clearly good.

They were successful beyond their wildest expectations, so they shouldn't be faulted for not leaving a lot of slots open for competitors who weren't on their list.

SP3 is actually extremely politically diverse. .... Don’t take my word for it. Go through our list of nominees for yourself. You’ll find that we have liberals, conservatives, moderates, and question marks who’ve kept their politics to themselves.

That would be worth checking. Of course, where you put other people on a linear political spectrum depends a lot on where you put yourself....

Vox Day’s alternate Rabid Puppies slate was him going directly to his fan base. Looking at the numbers, and he on his own was about as successful as I was last year for SP2.

Interesting factoid if true.

Here is an interesting one for you moderates, SMOFs, and fence sitters to ponder on. Why is it that our own words and actions aren’t to be believed, but anything the other side says about us, no matter how outlandish, is to be accepted?

Over the years I’ve done Sad Puppies, do you know how many fannish blogs, fanzines, and podcasts interviewed me, the guy who started the campaign, about the goals of Sad Puppies?

None.

That gives me pause. I didn't know anything about these guys, but I assumed that the people who talk about them did know what they were about. Now I'm not sure at all. I still don't know anything about them. If anything I knew less than before, because I was ready to believe their enemies and now I'm not as much ready to.

198:

That you want to die on this hill says a lot more about you than it does them.

I don't want to die on any hills.

My stand is that when people say that I have to talk like them and think like them or else they proclaim I'm evil and no decent person should talk to me, then they can talk to each other in their own echo chamber. I can leave them alone.

Science fiction fans don't have to put up with that from other fans.

199:

John C. Wright quote: He regards the mere fact that I am a Christian as a threat against all he holds dear, and so to belittle me is the reasonable thing to do.

Nope. It's the fact that he considers folks like me to be evil doomed sinners who deserve legal oppression and social exclusion that I think is "a threat against all I hold dear".

'See? I told you it was because I was a Christian' ;-) You can't tell me these people aren't deliberately using vagueness as a tool to promote their beliefs. Hence emotive bumper slogans like 'states rights', 'right to exist', etc. Charlie was precise in identifying his beef, and precision is the bane of these.

200:

Respect: "due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others."

Yes. That is further down in the ipad definition.
I think you can give due regard by being neutral and then making up your mind once you've met or learned about someone. That is, not making assumptions beforehand.

201:

My stand is that when people say that I have to talk like them and think like them or else they proclaim I'm evil and no decent person should talk to me

And there are seriously people who say that, for example, if you use racist language then you are evil and no decent persons should talk to you? I'm a self-proclaimed Social Justice Ranger/Thief and I really think that people have the right to be racists, misogynists etc. and I do talk to such people and I will be civil with them, but I will say that what they say or do is racist/mysoginist/etc.

Your stance seems to be "everybody should be able to call other people what they want, including niggers, faggots, commies etc., unless they're calling people racists/homophobes/whatever. My freedom of speech is important, but I should not be called out on it." This seems an internal contradiction.

Neil Gaiman has a good blog post on the terror of political correctness. http://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/43087620460/i-was-reading-a-book-about-interjections-oddly

202:

Over the years I’ve done Sad Puppies, do you know how many fannish blogs, fanzines, and podcasts interviewed me, the guy who started the campaign, about the goals of Sad Puppies?

None.

That's funny, because here he is, getting interviewed on the Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast about Sad Puppies a month before writing the above: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/adventures-in-scifi-publishing/e/aisfp-289-sad-puppies-with-larry-correia-brad-r-torgersen-37233267

203:

J. Thomas @8: This question is easily resolved. Vox Day is lying. He was kicked out of SFWA with all due legalities observed. It was a meticulous and labor-intensive process.

Not only is he clearly expelled, he's really most sincerely expelled.

204:

Zipwitch @202, J. Thomas again @197: One of the things I'm finding most disturbing is the lack of hesitation with which Jim Correia and Brad Torgesen, and to a slightly lesser extent Vox Day, will tell easily disproved lies.

People who'll lie to your face like that, when they know you know they're lying, don't self-identify as members of your community.

205:

IIRC from reading his blog a fair bit a few years ago now, Brin's point is that at the moment its the mad right wing that are running things into the ground, hence why he is more vocal about them. If he were in 1970's Britain, he'd be ranting about unions etc. Since they are by no stretch of the imagination a threat to anything in the USA just now (except the rich getting even richer), he targets the ones who actually have the power and influence, i.e. right wingers.


#163, CatinaDiamond - welcome to the internet, where have you been for the last 20 years (and more?) - some of us have been hobnobbing online with famous authors, editors and critters for years and years now.

206:

I'm a self-proclaimed Social Justice Ranger/Thief and I really think that people have the right to be racists, misogynists etc. and I do talk to such people and I will be civil with them, but I will say that what they say or do is racist/mysoginist/etc.

That's fine with me, if you don't mind that they call you a SJW.

Your stance seems to be "everybody should be able to call other people what they want, including niggers, faggots, commies etc., unless they're calling people racists/homophobes/whatever. My freedom of speech is important, but I should not be called out on it." This seems an internal contradiction.

Label people however you like, to their faces, if it's what you want to do. You can call somebody a misogynist and they call you a feminazi and you both go home happy, having proven your points to your satisfaction.

My complaint is when it goes to the next step. "You are an X, therefore you are evil. You don't deserve to speak here. You don't deserve to have a job. You don't deserve to sell your product. We will try to get you banned, fired, boycotted, etc."

When it's just banning, that isn't so very bad. You ignore them, they ignore you, everybody can be happy.

When it turns into actual injury, economic ruin, etc that's terrible. That won't persuade them they're wrong, it just makes them your worse enemy. We need a way to say "I don't want to cooperate with you because you do X which I disapprove of, but we can coexist in the same world with limited cooperation." Keep the penalties limited. If you aren't ready to exterminate your enemies, don't hurt them bad.

Of course, people get all upset about symbolic hurts. So if you go someplace that somebody thinks he's in control, and you tell him he's a racist, he'll likely laugh it off. Maybe ban you or maybe just laugh at you. But if you do it someplace he thinks you're in control he'll probably get upset. You're being mean to him when you're in control.

He probably doesn't think he's a racist. If you pointed out your complaint in detail in a friendly way, he might get it. Maybe. Instead he feels threatened and he may look for a way to threaten you back.

Is that what you want? It's brave of you to call people out, except that the times it's *really* brave is when they feel like they can laugh at you, and they do, and nobody backs you up. When it's easy, and everybody agrees with you, and the other guy feels angry and threatened and he doesn't actually learn to be a better person ... I can imagine that would feel good. Like there are safe places in the world after all.

207:

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/ted-cruz-isnt-idiot-hes-delusional-and-thats-far-more-dangerous

Read this article earlier today. On the face of it it's not all that interesting but what it says about lying and self-reinforcement may apply.

They may (if they are provably lying) not even realise it themselves and no amount of information will convince them otherwise.

208:

"Over the years I’ve done Sad Puppies, do you know how many fannish blogs, fanzines, and podcasts interviewed me, the guy who started the campaign, about the goals of Sad Puppies?"

"None."

That's funny, because here he is, getting interviewed on the Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast about Sad Puppies a month before writing the above

Yes, he said that.

"Finally, last month Brad and I were finally asked to do a podcast interview. They tried to be unbiased. They asked us hard questions.

"It was fantastic."

209:

Boy are you out of touch with reality.

Hint: what he's really pissed off about is that the State no longer legislates to compel everyone to abide by his particular set of rules. Adultery used to be a criminal offence in most US states, as was Fornication (sex outside marriage); Homosexuality was illegal: earlier, in England and Scotland, failure to attend Church on Sunday was a prosecutable offence. This isn't explicit theocracy -- the Church doesn't actually rule -- but it's enforced by the State and amounts to much the same thing.

Now go and google on Dominionists.

210:

Hmmm. Not sure I like where that article is going there. Starts out plausibly enough talking about Cruz not technically lying, since he is delusional and believes he's telling the truth, but then it starts going very dodgy places:

"there is research that suggests there is a vast difference between a liberal’s ability to accept a new take on the world than a conservative’s. To put it simply, part of what it means to be liberal is to be open-minded. That means liberals are open to information that might change a perception. In contrast, conservatives are defined as resisting change and as emotionally attaching more strongly to their beliefs."

This is turning the left/right divide up to 11, and is a very short step away from "if you don't believe what I believe its because you're mentally ill and should be institutionalised". 1984-esque right-think, anyone?

211:

OGH has that honour as well - I *really* hated the Rocks Fall Everyone Dies of Trade of Queens

Spoiler: no, they don't all die. And some of them return in "Dark State", due out next April.

NB: IMO, "The Goblin Emperor" is really good; I haven't read "Ancilliary Sword" yet (didn't click on the previous book), "Skin Game" was a pretty damn good Dresden Files novel and if it wasn't for the SP slate I'd have no qualms about listing it in 2nd or 3rd place. The others ... I may look at them, once I've worked out whether I'm going to boycott the slate-nominees absolutely, or evaluate them on their merits (which means I expect to give -- or would be surprised not to give -- a bunch of them "NO AWARD", but I'd at least give them a chance[*]).

[*] Seriously. There's a moral quandary here: on the one hand, paying attention to the existence of a slate means the Puppies win their play for attention, but on the other hand considering the work impartially means they get what they wanted. Neat, if not admirable.

212:

Vox Day is lying. He was kicked out of SFWA with all due legalities observed. It was a meticulous and labor-intensive process.

As I understand it, he was expelled in clear accordance with the SFWA bylaws.

He appears to claim that the SFWA is incorporated in the state of Massachusetts, and the laws for this particular kind of corporation do not allow that kind of expulsion. Implying that the SFWA bylaws are not legal in Massachusetts.

I am not a lawyer. My guess is that the issue won't be resolved unless he sues and either wins or loses. Or unless SFWA sues him to make him stop making his claim.

Unless he sues and wins, he is de facto expelled whatever he says about it.

Cue Groucho Marx. "I wouldn't join a club I have to sue to get reinstated into."

213:

J. Thomas: They were successful beyond their wildest expectations, so they shouldn't be faulted for not leaving a lot of slots open for competitors who weren't on their list.

And then, a comment later: My stand is that when people say that I have to talk like them and think like them or else they proclaim I'm evil and no decent person should talk to me, then they can talk to each other in their own echo chamber. I can leave them alone.

The existence of slate voting in the Hugo nominations in and of itself prevents anyone else from getting their voices heard in the final awards ballot. By your own stated position you shouldn't be defending these people.

"Methinks the lady doth protest too much."

214:

1984-esque right-think, anyone?

Nope, it's based on no-shit actual research in social psychology. Liberals tend to be more trusting and open; conservatives are more suspicious and authoritarian. Oh, and both of these are stereotypes -- in reality, everyone contains a mix of both attitudes, in different proportions.

Both of these are viable survival strategies in terms of game theory; different environments favour one or the other of these dispositions, so it shouldn't surprise us that both of them show up across the spectrum of human personality types. There's no black or white here, just shades of grey.

215:

SFWA is not incorporated in Massachusetts: it's a California nonprofit 501(c)3 organization (the former Mass corporation was dissolved in 2014).

I believe SFWA took legal advice before expelling him.

216:

Never believe your own propaganda, no matter how good it is.

217:

So that 'open letter', didn't take me long to bounce off the core problem:

"I started this campaign a few years ago because I believed that the awards were politically biased, and dominated by a few insider cliques."

While he might believe that, a cursory review of the Hugo short lists and awards from the last 40 years reveals that to be complete and utter nonsense. There have been commercial novels in there, there have been literature novels, there have been astoundingly poor decisions by the voters and there have been good ones.

The core issue is he's pissed that he'd never been nominated and it upset him. As I said, most people get over that crap in school.

218:

SFWA is not incorporated in Massachusetts: it's a California nonprofit 501(c)3 organization (the former Mass corporation was dissolved in 2014).

Then the reasoning I saw was definitely wrong. Just as well.

I quickly found some california law that probably applies:
http://law.onecle.com/california/corporations/5341.html

But IANAL. It looks like he has only a year to appeal if he's going to. My impression is that whatever the law looks like, you can't be sure how a trial will end until it has ended. As Leo Szilard had a russian legal counsel say in "My trial as a war criminal", "The outcome of a bona fide fair trial is always something of a toss up."

219:

Label people however you like, to their faces, if it's what you want to do. You can call somebody a misogynist and they call you a feminazi and you both go home happy, having proven your points to your satisfaction.

So if somebody uses the term 'kike dyke' and someone else objects, calling that a rather bigoted, homophobic thing to say, and then the first person calls them a 'femnazi', they're both equally right (or equally wrong?) I'd say not. Your problem is that you don't do specifics . . . possibly because you don't see a problem with what the first person has said, but you don't want to cop to it.

My complaint is when it goes to the next step. "You are an X, therefore you are evil. You don't deserve to speak here. You don't deserve to have a job. You don't deserve to sell your product. We will try to get you banned, fired, boycotted, etc."

Again with the lack of specifics? Do you have any actual examples of this happening where the numbers are significant? I'm not talking about fringies like the execrable RH, who deserves to take every bit of opprobrium anyone cares to muster.

220:

"They were successful beyond their wildest expectations, so they shouldn't be faulted for not leaving a lot of slots open for competitors who weren't on their list."

The existence of slate voting in the Hugo nominations in and of itself prevents anyone else from getting their voices heard in the final awards ballot.

I don't follow your reasoning. Did the existence of slate voting last year prevent anyone else from getting their voices heard? This guy Correia says he did it in 2014 and people jeered and laughed at him. If he was no more successful this year, they would have laughed again. Apparently his group was not organized enough to predict how successful they would be.

If slate voting is in general an awful thing for the Hugos, would you want to set up enforceable rules against it? Or encourage lots and lots of slates?

By your own stated position you shouldn't be defending these people.

I haven't gotten to the point of defending them. I'm reading a little bit of what they say for themselves. A couple of Correia's points looked good to me, this one looked obvious and some others would be good if they're true which I don't know.

I don't see why I shouldn't defend them, except that so far I haven't seen why I should. I haven't yet seen them ban anybody or even try seriously to drive anybody away. In one set of blog comments Susan Shwartz criticized them in ways didn't look at all logical to me, and they were tolerant of her. I haven't seen what they'd do with criticisms that actually stung. I might try that when I get a better sense of what they're about.

I can imagine people wanting SF that's more like the old days. But when I imagine Christian SF with only free markets and only one kind of social structure, it seems pretty limiting. I'm sure I'd get bored with it pretty quick.

221:

Surely the adult rejoinder to the argument that Hugos are not awarded to "commercial" works—even if it were true, which I don't think it is—is that credited to Terry Pratchett by OGH in a recent post:

Terry had not won a Hugo. He didn't need to. (As he said, "I was in the audience at some literary awards ceremony or other with J. K. Rowling one time, and she was lamenting how they'd never give her one, so I turned to her and I said, Jo, me neither: we'll just have to cry ourselves to sleep on top of our mattresses stuffed with £20 notes." Money being, of course, the most honest token of appreciation a commercial author can receive.)

Apart from bragging rights, the main value of awards is increased visibility, leading (you hope) to increased sales; if you're already a commercial success, you don't really need them, any more than Terminator 27 needs an Oscar.

Speaking as an SF reader who doesn't participate in organised fandom (never been to a convention, never really had any wish to), the main effect of this kerfuffle is to completely devalue the Hugo as a useful guide to whether authors who are new to me are worth trying. Which is a pity.

222:

I had been hoping that CatinaDiamond would turn out to be one of them. S/he had a similar snark, and hinted at interesting ideas. If s/he had been T Beale here to snark at Charlie, ready to say what he's really after, that likely would have been informative.

No such luck.

I'm left bemused at what you think I am now. Honestly, you can be as rough as you like (vanity? well, frankly yes in this case, I thought your earlier allusion was going lead to a much more shocking accusation).

But no, just because I'm conceptually aware of people's ideology certainly doesn't mean I share it. I can certainly parody it and even go far beyond it, however. (You probably missed some of the gags as well, such is life: certain authors are fond of using Latin to denote education levels, being able to find the relevant counter-point in the correct Edda in the original language within 10 minutes and make it relevant is probably a little bit ostentatious, but hey.)

Now go and google on Dominionists.

Aka, "The Family".

I'd type some things, but it'd only lead to unwarranted attention and the host getting flack, but they're not fucking around. And certainly not limited to the USA.

223:

Note that SFWA has not only refused to confirm or deny he was the person expelled, but they also refuse to explain why the expelled member was expelled (although that certainly does follow from the former).

224:

If you look at the numbers, as others have done, the slate effectively crowded out a lot of things because the votes are widely spread - yes, damn that cabal of SMOFs driving their friends to victory etc...

So a slate concentrates positions in voting where lots of people have a lot of differing ideas on what works, so in this case about 10% of the voters have skewed the voting to their stuff - hence John C Wright being up for 3 of 5 in one category.

Secondly, if the slate miss something i.e. 3 Body Problem, then it will get over looked.

Unless you have competing slates and then it's not about the Hugos anymore its about currying favor with the pecadillos of the people who create the Slates which was just the fiction that the Sad Puppies claimed they were trying to beat, despite the complete and utter lack of evidence.

The best option I've seen so far is to change the threshold for nomination and basically make slate voting less influential. If that is proposed I might drag myself out of bed to go to the business meeting and vote for it.

225:

I'm a little uncomfortable with the idea of consequences for people like Jim Butcher if they don't actively decline their nomination simply because SP supported their nomination. It sort of implies that SP is the only reason they were nominated, and they'll be punished if they don't decline a chance to win a (formerly?) well-regarded award. I understand that one of the nominees for fan writing has declined his nomination, but that's probably an easy call; he doesn't need sales, and the people most unhappy about all of this are the people he'll know well in the fandom. I'm taking a wild stab in the dark here - fan writing probably doesn't make it out into the mainstream. Apologies if I'm wrong.

Perhaps Jim's best option is to not play the game - ignore the nomination, don't attend the ceremony, don't even nominate someone to accept the award if he wins, and play a nice game of chess instead.

226:

Susan @221

I quite agree with having previously used the Hugo nominees as a guide for the books I've missed in the last year. I'm going to try the Nebula nominees instead, but I'm open to any other awards / lists you might have found. As it turns out, there are a lot more Sci-Fi awards out there than I'd realised, and I have no idea which ones are worth following.

227:

You know, I've been trying, hard, not to give any of them Sad Puppies even the benefit of knowing who the hell they are.

But when I get to find out what the multi-nominated John C Wright has said about Terry Pratchett speaking about euthanasia:

“I sat and listened to pure evil being uttered in charming accents accentuated by droll witticism, and I did not stand up, and I did not strike the old man who uttered them across the mouth: and when he departed, everyone stood and gave him an ovation, even though he had done nothing in his life aside from entertain their idle afternoons. Only I did not stand, being too sick at heart. I did nothing, I said nothing. Was this Christian humility on my part, or merely the cowardice of the silence good men which allows evil men to triumph?”

You want your idiotic culture war? We have Pratchett on our side, none of you are half the writer. I dont even have a scale to measure how much less of a human being you are than him. At the end of the day, you are a cheap clone of Vorbis, and I'm as sure are no Brutha to forgive.


228:

Now that he's dead, let me add another Terry Pratchett anecdote, as to why he never won a Hugo:

I ran into Terry outside the Hugo reception at one worldcon when I was on the shortlist. I happened to feel a bit weird about being there, because I'd been the sixth nominee -- the person in position five had declined their nomination -- so I asked him why.

"I've been nominated before," Terry said. "Sitting in the audience was so stressful I don't want to ever go there again. I don't need it." (Terry had angina pectoris at that time.)

So that's why I had my Hugo nomination for best novel that year: Terry didn't need it and didn't want the stress. Otherwise, whether or not he'd won at that time, he'd certainly have won sooner or later if he kept accepting nominations. (My personal bet would be on 2007, the year after his illness became public knowledge: Hugo voters are as prone as anyone else to being swayed by sentiment.)

229:

When it turns into actual injury, economic ruin, etc that's terrible.

If it turns into actual injury, then people doing the injury should be charged with assault and locked in prison, of course, but economic ruin?

I guess conservatives are all for freedom of speech and freedom of markets, unless it hurts them, then it's mean and people advocating it should be doxxed and hounded. An organised boycott of some vile racist is just FREE SPEECH AND FREE MARKET IN ACTION. If enough people, after reading the free speech of the racist's opponents decide not to buy VDs books because they find his views appalling to hurt him financially, that means that he has not judged his market correctly, and if he wished to earn more money, he should have shut his trap about his odious ideology and just produce more commercial stuff.

230:

I asked Jim about his nomination, and the Sad Puppy slate. Jim's response was, to paraphrase, "folks want to get together to nominate me: I should tell them to go away? (Shrug.)"

I personally think this is short-sighted and risks devaluing the award if he wins it, but it's also a very human reaction.

I'll also note that there's a huge difference between being a beneficiary of a block-voting slate and being an organizer of it. People who are both are, I think, beyond the pale. (That is: people who organized a block vote and made sure they would personally benefit from it.) The others ... I know of a couple of editors who were on the Sad Puppy slate who are barely even on the internet -- don't read blogs, no twitter, no facebook, nothing -- and will probably be horrified when they hear about it. So I think it's important to be very careful about who one condemns.

231:

Incidentally, if you wonder where Vox Day and John C. Wright appear to be coming from politically/religiously, you might want to read this blog entry quoting them.

232:

That's interesting information. I am glad Butcher wasn't actively part of the slate (I didn't really think he was). It probably shows he didn't really understand the nature of slate voting.
I don't condemn him but I also don't think he should be rewarded. Shrugging in the face of people trying to actively damage something ends up contributing to rather than stopping said damage.

233:

Those (VD & JW), on the other hand, I have no problem with condemning. Nasty stuff, that.

234:

I'm working out a nuanced position for myself, which includes makes allowances for different grades of offendedness, and different levels of response.

Because there's a difference between each of Sheila Gilbert of DAW (on the Sad Puppy slate, shortlisted as Best Editor, Long Form) who isn't even aware of it, Jim Butcher (knew about it, didn't solicit it), Matthew David Surridge (editor of Black Gate, declined to be nominated when he found out the Sad Puppies had supported him), and Vox Day (organized the Rabid Puppy campaign, personally got himself nominated).

235:

As the kids say these days, THIS.

"SJW" is a particularly ludicrous slur meant to silence any opposition to the foaming-mouthed far-right populist hordes a lá Gamergaters and MRAs. I don't think I'm willing to "take it back" and start calling myself "SJW And Proud" as "SJWs" are just another mythic entity serving as a boogeyman, like the "Feminazis" who want to institute a crazy mirror world in which poor oppressed manly mangods are treated like cattle.

Let me frame my point like this, see if it clarifies the glaring idiocy at the core of the term:

Why are they called "Social Justice WARRIORS" if it's the RIGHT side of the spectrum who fly jetliners into skyscrapers, shoot abortion doctors or feminists and generally commit all the war-like acts you hear about on the 8 o'clock news?

236:

Yeah, I'll admit that I go back and forth on being nuanced (especially for the completely unaware) vs. just a simple slate = No Award.
I'm sure I'll change my mind a few times before my final ballot goes in.

237:

2) I'll cheerfully agree that, provided that you'll agree that the racism you describe is not evenly geographically distributed.

238:

A very simple (for me) choice would be to determine, "Castalia House == No Award"; Castalia House is basically a Vox Day managed trojan horse for trashing the Hugos and I didn't see anything published by them that didn't have the smell of Bad Crazy hanging over it; I'm open to being corrected, but I don't think it's likely.

I could then evaluate everything else on it's actual merits (bearing in mind that "No Award" is always an option).

The point being, that by following these two different heuristics I would be able to express my opinion of the Rabid Puppies, while not letting the slate-voting lists entirely determine my choices.

(I'm still thinking about this.)

239:

If 'The Iron Dream' had been written by a real neo-Nazi, should it have won awards?

But it wasn't; it was obviously a satire of Nazism, so your hypothetical is a straw man.

240:

Bigamy is criminal because historically it overwhelmingly involves pedophilia and rape.

Cites, preferably involving actual case law from more than one jurisdiction, very much needed.

241:

Yup. Just to confuse Americans contemplating the messiness of British racism even further, the racism itself isn't evenly geographically distributed. (I gather a recent study of the prevalence of anti-immigrant sentiment in the UK shows that the UKIP share of the vote correlates inversely with the actual proportion of recent immigrants in the region: people who know lots of immigrants don't generally vote UKIP ...)

242:

tl;dr version - J Thomas either doesn't agree with or hasn't read exampled of about 20 cites.

I've not read them all either, but I do agree with most or all of Charlie's views about the ones I have read.

So that's a clear 2:1 for left-wing leanings in the cases that all 3 of us have read.

243:

Heh, yep, my flatmate is Lithuanian, and she's a senior law lecturer. Through her I know over a dozen significant legal types from the baltics and eastern Europe, mostly working in human rights or EU law.

Somehow I don't think they are the particular migrants here to steal our jobs that UKIP are so frightened of.

For the UKIPs - What, you thought they were all builders?

Will keep a wary eye out for Dark State ... at least it'll be interesting to see what emerges glowing from that particular rabbit hole.

244:

David Brin

Uh, I may be a bit hazy about his stance on certain other issues, but what I do know about his views on privacy and gender relations casts that picture into doubt.

Or did I not get the memo that proclaims "Gee, wouldn't it be actually awesome if we instituted IngSoc?!" and EvoPsychopathy are now celebrated liberal goals?

245:

Hi Charlie.

I'm a 6 month lurker and this is my first post.

I've just read below the idiot line on the Telegraph's article and assume you must be in receipt of a considerable amount of hate mail right now. In case the shower of rabid plonkers are getting you down I want you to know I read about 100 books a year (mostly library), I 100% support your original post, and I've just ordered The Atrocity Archives.

Best of luck to you and everyone raising awareness they can vote NO AWARD at the Hugos.

246:

A further complications is that the SP's probably want people to be confused and struggle making choices while they merrily vote in lock step.
I wonder if they'll announce a final voting order that the SP's should vote for. I don't think that they took that step last year.

247:

Would this SP conspiracy have worked better if they had kept it secret?

248:

To highlight something for the peanut gallery - as I know you're watching:

..it is not that I, and others, do not view [Jemisin] as human, although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens sapiens)

Whilst I'm not nosy enough to pry into an author's lineage (because frankly it's odious and unnecessary - I did find her blog just to confirm the inference and wasn't surprised by the result) said science suggests she's exactly the same type of homo sapiens sapiens as the writer of said sentence, because admixture and subspecies doesn't mean what you think it does.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal_admixture

Even if the writer's case was scientifically accurate (which it's not, it totally misunderstands the levels at which the expression of such genomic differences occurs - hint, it ain't your skin color[1] or frizzy hair), the fact is that his example (if correct, it isn't) would mean he would be less homo sapiens sapiens than her.

Irony. The stereotype that Americans aren't good at it is sadly confirmed.

Sigh, and now for the Monty Python. You'll love this.

None of this is new, or even original. 1939, The Races of Europe, The White Race and the New World, Carleton S. Coon (yes, you can't make this up): The Caucasian race is of dual origin consisting of Upper Paleolithic (mixture of sapiens and neandertals) types and Mediterranean (purely sapiens) types.

And yes, you guessed it: not a good man and not on the right side of history, bit of a fan of the old segregationist cause.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carleton_S._Coon

So, basically, racial purity types have actually been promoting mutant (Neanderthal mix) rights for the last 70 years (and the rest), and don't even understand that they've been persecuting their brothers/sisters all this time, because the parts of the DNA that's not homo sapiens sapiens isn't doing what you imagine it is doing, and there's [edit - don't cross the line here girl] at least four or five you know about. So everyone is some kind of mutant mix of 95%+ homo sapiens sapiens and a tiny bit of(sub)species DNA. (And no, this doesn't mean a pogrom against Melanesians is valid either).

At this point you'll probably suspect that humankind has been massively trolled by elves[2] for the last 4,000 years, especially when you hit such accidental jokes in names and so on. However, it does highlight that education and the eradication of old memes is the important part of all of this.

I can forgive people many things, but ignorantly repeating the past that is 70 years out of date is not one of them, especially if you claim to be writing SF.


I've used the word "mutants" here for comedic effect - it's not accurate, but then again nor is using minor genome differences to justify genocide when they're not even responsible for cosmetic differences.


P.S. No, the Übermensch doesn't mean that either.


[1] Functional analyses show that this variant reduces MC1R activity to a level that alters hair and/or skin pigmentation in humans. The impaired activity of this variant suggests that Neanderthals varied in pigmentation levels, potentially on the scale observed in modern humans. Our data suggest that inactive MC1R variants evolved independently in both modern humans and Neanderthals.

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/318/5855/1453

Translation: Neanderthals could be black as well.

[2] Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.”

249:

David Brin

Uh, I may be a bit hazy about his stance on certain other issues, but what I do know about his views on privacy and gender relations casts that picture into doubt.

I tried searching for David Brin and "gender relations" or "gender roles" but didn't find anything damning. Is the first part of this comment about Glory Season? It seems that some people have read it as a reactionary here's-what-evil-feminists-would-do-to-men-if-they-could tale, but I didn't get that impression at all when I read it.

Nor do I think Brin's views on privacy disqualify him. The Transparent Society was amazingly prescient about what happened in the next decade. I wouldn't preemptively surrender privacy but I wholeheartedly endorse his approach of surveilling the powerful watchers ourselves. Iain M. Banks' Culture is as close to secular paradise as I've ever seen in fiction and the only real privacy there is thoughts inside one's head. Even that privacy is a matter of social conventions. So I can easily believe that privacy as understood circa 1970 was just a historically contingent and fleeting ideal, and that the erosion of privacy-so-understood does not necessarily erode freedoms in general.

Yes, public surveillance everywhere can certainly be abused by an abusive government. But if we're taking the abusive nature of governments as unchangeable, why not go full-anarchist and also eliminate public police forces? I'm not willing to go full anarchist. I find it alien that a few centuries past you had to be able to afford a private thief-taker to stop thieves in London. A government police force was regarded as an imposition on liberty. I think that in the future people will find it alien that recording public spaces was once considered an imposition on liberty. I think they will see the present era as one of less actual liberty: abstract "freedom from surveillance" enabling concrete "freedom for muggers," "freedom for arsonists," "freedom for polluters."

There are definitely problems at the margin. I don't ever want arsonists or muggers to get away with it. I do want people to be able to assemble and protest publicly without prior permission. I don't want some people in the crowd of protestors to be able to get away with using the occasion to smash and burn things. I don't want the government to be able to use "protests lead to looting" as an excuse for restraining public protests and punishing even non-looters who show up at an unauthorized protest. I don't think any of these problems are best addressed by categorical resistance to surveillance of public places.

250:

Another reason for nuance is the movies: I'm confident that in a world without puppies Interstellar would still be on the short list.

251:

Being a cynic, I assume from first principles that literature awards are there as log-rolling exercises, just to reward the prevailing literary orthodoxy and admit new members who meet the orthodoxy's criteria, just as I assume anything described as a 'free market' is invariably rigged in favour of the most powerful participant[s].

I personally have no interest in who wins literary awards, whatever the genre, and I don't think its ever affected my buying patterns. It won't this time either.

2122 votes seems to be a vanishingly small percentage of the total SF/F readership.

You have to ask yourself why on earth people such as VD and CJW would want to force themselves on a fandom that clearly never wanted them, and is most likely to reject them, except as a disruptive and destructive act.

Did they seriously expect the likes of OGH, John Scalzi et al to roll over and applaud their artificial and ideological ballot-stuffing?

Of course not.

Does JCW believe three of the best SF/F novella were written by one person? He probably does but I doubt he could convince anyone else.

All they have succeeded in doing is bringing attention to their vile opinions to people who had probably never heard them as authors before [I hadn't].

It seems that the hitherto unknown writer Noah Ward will be popular this year.

252:

I've only been intermittently following the Hugos over the years, but it seems to me that what's happening now is a fairly predictable consequence of some, probably well-meaning, leftish types using the Hugos as a platform for their politics for years. I assume they meant well, but once politics (especially identity politics) have been introduced into a social setting, they tend to stay, and to warp the setting from then on.

253:

Not to worry: I've read the Telegraph piece but I know better than to dip a toe in the festering cess-pit of their comments. Suffice to say, the commentariat there seem incapable of using an email client!

254:

what's happening now is a fairly predictable consequence of some, probably well-meaning, leftish types using the Hugos as a platform for their politics for years

That's not how the Hugos work, Jay:

You pay to go to a convention. As part of the deal, you get nominating and voting rights on an award. The con runners administer the awards in accordance with a body of rules evolved over time to ensure that the items most popular with the convention attendees get on the final ballot and one of them wins. THE END.

"Well-meaning, leftish types" by your rubric would seem to mean those people who regularly go to Worldcons and vote on the Hugo awards. News here: around 5% of Worldcon attendees ever bother to fill out their nominating ballot -- a handy online web form, these days! -- and maybe 20-50% actually bother to vote on the Hugos.

That 5% who nominate is so small (typically 250-odd nominees are enough to get a novel on the ballot, and as few as 70 used to be able to push a short story in an obscure category up there until the 5% rule was brought in) that nobody ever bothered with a slate. You just knew the other worldcon-going fans who you hung out with once a year, and you all swapped suggestions for what to read or watch on TV, and you generally only nominate stuff you've read/watched and liked.

What changed this year is that a bunch of folks who don't normally go to worldcons coughed up $40 each for a chance to Stick It To The Man (Scalzi) by pissing in someone else's swimming pool.

This is not some kind of spurious attempt to "redress the balance" in a politicized arena; this is a bunch of griefers dragooning a forum because they think they hate what the folks who built that forum stand for.

Which, incidentally, they're mistaken about. I will not forgive Brad Torgeson in particular for pushing the Sad Puppies to vote a slate in the Best Related Work category that kept the magisterial Heinlein biography off the shortlist (because he hadn't heard of it, ack spit). I'm pretty sure if he had heard of it he'd have put it on his little list of gold-star right-wing culture warrior-approved works, but you know what? In the absence of knowledge of the Sad Puppies I ought to have nominated it too (memory is crap so I'm not sure if I did). So by running a slate, he impoverished the very field he's trying to promote.

Slate voting is bad, which is why we don't do it in the Hugos. What to do next is the problem.

255:

PS (for Jay): I've been going to worldcons since 1991 (I meant to get to the 1987 one, but I'd just started my first real job and couldn't get time off). That's long before I began selling books or being shortlisted, much less winning, Hugos. There's a culture associated with them, but it's the culture of SF fans who like to hang out, talk over their shared enthusiasm for the field, and in some cases volunteer their time and effort to run a convention for other people to enjoy. It's not apolitical but eupolitical: it's a cooperative, volunteer activity where the politics, such as they are, exist at right-angles to the real world and revolve around things such as site selection ballots (which competing bid gets to host the next but one worldcon) or awards for Shit We Enjoyed.

You could go to one just to hunt out the Vast Left-Wing Cabal That Stage Manages The Hugos. But if you do, you'll be disappointed. On the other hand, if you go in order to hang out with like-minded people and have a good time, that'd be another matter.

257:

" I personally think this is short-sighted and risks devaluing the award if he wins it, but it's also a very human reaction. "

It’s also a very sensible reaction from a writer who makes his full time professional income from writing. As long as I've known professional writers - here in the U.K. – I’ve been aware that the hardest decision any writer has to make is when to go full time professional writer and discard the career /profession that usually provided a living whilst every minute that could be spent from that profession was spent practicing the craft and developing what the writer devoutly hopes is a natural talent for the art and craft of letters.

I have absolutely no talent in this field and needs must lean upon you and those like you for Entertaining Lies in return for which I provide MONEY ..Mind you I do wonder??? ..

"And much as Wine has play’d the Infidel,
And robb’d me of my Robe of Honor — well,
I often wonder what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the Goods they sell."


So, Jim is making his living with his pen/word processor as are you. This is what you will both continue to do unless you both drop dead with overwork and the demands that the modern profession of writing place upon a successful mid-list writer.

Apart from anything else If I attempted your travelling schedule I'd probably be extremely ill or most likely dead by the end of the year.I doubt whether I'm all that exceptional among your readership in this regard.


It was never easy to make a living from Telling Entertaining Lies for Money but as hard as it always was these days in the electronic age of the word processor and the Internet it has become a good deal harder. You and Jim Butcher and all of your confreres are now participants not just in the construction of Lies in the solitary silence ... of, all right, insert loud music of choice...of your room but or as it was in the Olden Days the expectation that a writer might just leave the solitude of creativity to appear on a convention platform now and then but have been lofted to an Expectation that a writer WILL Appear and WILL Perform...and will do it frequently and at Intercontinental travel distances.

In this process you are gently encouraged - aka booted up the arse/ or ass, since Jim Butcher is US of American - by your agents and publishers. The force of this persuasion will vary in subtlety as you gain in ability and success and it will disclose itself in ADVERTISING... er, possibly that is a bit crude? That dire Word ADVERTISING? I hate having to use vile profanities // maybe some variant of CLEAN READER will remove all reference to crass commercialisation? But Clean Reader itself is an obscenity that shocks even me so logically we need a Clean Reader that will eliminate all mentions of Clean Reader?

I don’t know about you but I Invite adverts from Jims Commercial team since I buy his books the instant that they are on pre-order ... thus I received this following by e mail practically on the instant that the Hugo List appeared...

[Jim Butcher Announce] Skin Game nominated for a Hugo!
FROM Fred Hicks evilhat@gmail.com [jbannounce] TO 1 recipient
• Fred Hicks evilhat@gmail.com [jbannounce]

To
• jbannounce@yahoogroups.com
Congratulations to Jim Butcher for his second Hugo Nomination, and his first in the Best Novel category! Yes, Skin Game made the Hugo short list! His previous nomination was in 2009 in the Best Graphic Novel category for Welcome to the Jungle–an award which went to the excellent Girl Genius, Volume 8.
Jim’s fellow contenders this year are:
• Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
• The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books)
• The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)
• Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos (47North)
Also, major congrats to Jim’s editor, Anne Sowards, for her nomination in Best Editor (Long Form)! Anne’s illustrious client list also includes Patricia Briggs, Benedict Jacka, Anne Bishop, Ilona Andrews, Kat Richardson, Karen Chance, Jack Campbell, Rob Thurman, Devon Monk, Lisa Shearin, Myke Cole… Basically everyone you have ever loved.
Check out the full list of nominees here! For a comprehensive guide to the Hugos, including the full history of the awards and instructions for how to vote, see the official site at http://ift.tt/vSsy6e.


Was it really Jims decision to be made by him alone on the basis of his own judgement?

But that aside, how could the HUGO could be salvaged as a prestigious Award rather than as a laughing stock?

Dunno ...its Tricky. For a start the Award and its Worldcon Theatre are ever so US of American and reek of American Culture and Politics - which is Bloody Nasty at the moment and likely to get even nastier if Hillary Clinton announces her intention to run for POTUS.

What is a British Person to do? We are pretty much at the periphery of this HUGO conflict.


I wonder how the voting figures break down by nationality of voters. Do we foreigners matter much in the scheme of things Hugoish?

As far as I can see this Hugo conflict does look to be a very US of American Mess that we really cant do very much to influence.

Mind you we in the UK cant afford to be too smug. We have had our own share of nasty messes in British conventions.I once had to intervene in a dispute at a committee meeting for a Con in Leeds way back in the last century in which one senior local con committee member tried to strangle a visiting colegue. What a fun con that was to be helping to organise! When the con closed, successfully, with the attendees having had fun I asked my local Leeds colleagues WHY I had had to sort out their mess rather than them dealing with a well known problem well in advance. They told me that I was expected to be good at this sort of thing and anyway ...” frankly boss we were hoping that he would really piss you off and that you would break all of his arms “


The arm breaking option is definitely out in the Hugo situation, but, remember the much mocked news announcements of a few years back that proclaimed that the most Aristocratic Right Wing Conservative Party in Decades had change and was Born Again?

They were now a Caring Sharing Wunch of Con Men/Persons.

The Phrase that was Oft repeated in the press was that the Tory Leadership was now/ then keen to embrace the more troublesome members of society and ...” Hug A Hoodie “

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2006/jul/09/conservatives.ukcrime


Didn't that work well?

Oh, well, not to worry, what is needed now in the HUGO confrontation is some sort of conciliation between the combatants at either side of what looks to me to be a local reflection of the huge gulf in the US of American political process.

If you can have a Secret Supervillan Lair beneath the extinct Volcano that is next door to you in Edinburgh then is it so unlikely that we could also have also have a campaign to...


“HUG A PUPPY!“


Seriously though Charlie, doesn’t it seem just a bit odd that, when so many people in fandom - and thus here on your blog - fancy themselves as political theorists and strategists there seems to be no-one capable of sorting out this nasty mess that is threatening to melt down the Hugo award?

Bloody Hell! The US of A liens are negotiating with the Iranians ...who apparently have at least three different words for 'Agreement ' none of which they used in the recently released documentation of the Negotiation... is it too much to ask that the Intelligent Folk of SF and Fantasy fandom be capable of producing people who can Conciliate this situation?

Persuading the combatants to take their hands off each other’s throats and take a deep breath before putting forward proposals for peace talks would be a start.

258:

Jason Sanford ran the Bookscan numbers on the novel nominees:

The Goblin Emperor 1.8K
The Dark Between the Stars 1.9K
Lines of Departure 2.36K
Ancillary Sword 8K
Skin Game 94K

(not a typo: Skin Game outsold The Goblin Emperor 50:1)

259:

Since I'm probably 'shadow banned' now, @ C Stross (sorry, not sure my contributions merit a personal response, but...)

I read Saturn's Children in Iceland while being hunted by green eyed women, Satanists, witches, Mossad and CIA operatives whilst Kofi Annan cancelled his visit there from the shelf of a tiny room with a bizarrely un-modern bookcase... It saved my life, incidentally, burnt through it in 3 hrs or so as the vampyres circled.

One thing struck me.

It's listed as winning the 2009 Locus Award, both on the jacket and the wiki page, and yet Anathem also claims that title.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn%27s_Children_%28novel%29
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anathem


This has bothered me for a number of years, and still hasn't been corrected. It's a black cat moment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_KmNZNT5xw

Then again, the Libertarian Science Fiction wiki entry lists The Dispossessed as a "notable example", which is just plain crazy pants. I suspect I'm not from your dimension.

260:

Correction for you, Arnold: Jim is not a midlist author: most of his past dozen or so books have been Top 5 (or even Number One) New York Times bestsellers in the USA. His latest novel (I've read it: it's good) has sold over 100,000 copies in hardback or hardback-equiv ebook in the month or so since it was released, in the USA alone.

261:

Apparently, Vox Day's edition of the New Testament doesn't include the Parable of the Good Samaritan. And "Vox Day" as a pen name isn't a prime example of Christian humility.

262:

"I like to joke that I'm a naive 'if men were angels, this would be heaven' anarchist at heart"

Ahem. Both unfallen and fallen angels live under REALLY total monarchies.

263:

Since I'm probably 'shadow banned' now, @ C Stross (sorry, not sure my contributions merit a personal response, but...)

Nope, you're doing fine so far.

It's listed as winning the 2009 Locus Award, both on the jacket and the wiki page, and yet Anathem also claims that title.

"Saturn's Children" was shortlisted for the 2009 Locus Award; if it says it won on the dustjacket that's just wrong (although I've won Locus Awards for best novel on other occasions). However, I'm away from home and the Wall O'Books so I can't check right now.

As for the Libertarian SF Society Prometheus Award, it's sometimes jokingly called the Libertarian SF Society Award for the Best Scottish Socialist SF Novel. I've got one; Ken MacLeod has three!

264:

Moderation Notice: I am going to bed now, so I am suspending comments until I'm awake enough to keep an eye on them again.

Tomorrow I will be driving 200 miles and attending the aftermath of a funeral, so the window for comments may not open until the UK afternoon (when I get home).

Update: Comments re-opened at 0900BST. I will be away from keyboard for most of the day so play nice -- or else!

265:

IMHO VD is probably insane, rather than inherently vicious ... but ... given his publicly stated views:
Why does he not convert to islam??
Their religion, being 622 years behind christianity is still stuck (often) in pre-enlightenment attitudes & tropes.
Which would seem to suit VD perfectly.

I must admit the "Social Justice Warrior" bit leaves me confused ... by their standards, even the right wing of the tory party would be "SJW".
You what?

266:

Heh, yep, my flatmate is Lithuanian, and she's a senior law lecturer. Through her I know over a dozen significant legal typ>es from the baltics and eastern Europe, mostly working in human rights or EU law.

Somehow I don't think they are the particular migrants here to steal our jobs that UKIP are so frightened of.

See this Punch cartoon by Ed McLachlan. From 1979, but still relevant. Sadly.

267:

I've been trying to understand the driving forces behind this, and I think I'm seeing where it comes from.

It starts from the observation that 'everyone is necessarily the hero of his own story'. Vox Day doesn't see himself as a boogeyman, or indeed the bad guy at all. He feels justified and right in his actions. I think the problem stems from the books he's read, and in particular Ayn Rand and seeing himself as a protagonist in her mold - the intelligent creator, weighed down by the lesser minds and parasites of a society he doesn't believe in.

That's coupled with something else I've noticed becoming more key in recent years. Everyone, in some way, wants to count, to matter. Many give up on that by the time they hit their twenties, accepting family, kids and community as replacement for their teenage dreams - some do not. But it's much harder to count in today's world. Things happen on a global scale. Not only do you have much more competition, but the pool of 'important in X' narrows as everyone around the world has the same 'leaders' in a field. You can't really be 'Big in Japan' any more - the market is global and homogenised. Alpha and the rest is the order of business - an unforeseen outcome from internet connection.

Result is people take more and more extreme methods to make their mark and get that sense of 'counting'. Just being 'good' is not good enough, you have to be noticeable; extreme. That gives you current popular music and the rise of celebrity over talent. It also gives you ISIS and fighting as the hero of your own story; a way to count, provided you don't look too closely at what you are fighting for.

And finally, like ISIS there is a tactic you can employ to gather followers; be noticed; count. If you attack the big guy as a part of community 'X', and the big guy majority then attacks community 'X' as a whole for those attacks, well other members are likely to fight back alongside you, and you can position yourself as the leader. ISIS don't care about the people they behead, they care about, and seek, the overreaction in response. That gets millions of muslims on *their* side. It's a tactic that works.

I think that the above explains Vox Day and many of the rest. They yearn to count, believe they should be listened to as self-described 'intelligentsia', and employ the tactic of goading attacks and division to carve themselves out an army from amongst those would otherwise shy away from the 'weirdos'.

BTW SJWs do the same thing, for roughly the same reason. It's not a left/right thing.

If you look at Theodore Beale's history you see someone who keeps trying to succeed; to count. Music, games, inventor, writer, and now publisher - he's fairly obviously been yearning to succeed for a long time, but lacking the talent to really make his mark. This is just a continuation of that attempt; utilising weakness in the nomination process to sow the discord that will enhance his following and his impact by the reaction to it.

What he wants is the same as ISIS wants, to provoke a reaction that places a sizeable population on 'his' side of a divide, with him as the head of a faction. Specifically american christians, libertarians, 1950s golden age lookbackers, etc. vs the godless, gay, diversity obsessed, communists of europe. He wins the more he can make that happen - because he counts. To not be noticed, to not have that division created for him by the actions of 'committee X', is the way he's put back in his box and his reach limited. The more he can point to being unfairly excluded, the easier to draw the line with large numbers on his side.

Oh, and just hope he doesn't discover TV, since with his bio I can see him trying to get a TV series made in the Star Trek line - but with his values to the fore. Christian zealots have been doing it, and there are at least enough objectivists to make it fly.

268:

Why does he not convert to islam??

Because he's a Christian Dominionist (a species we're mercifully short on in the UK). Basically they'd like to grow up to be the Xtian equivalent of Da'esh/Islamic State.

The term "Social Justice Warrior" has been adopted by this crowd -- including GamerGaters -- as a generic term of abuse, much like "Communist" during the cold war, for anyone they disapprove of who holds vaguely liberal views. It's a euphemism, much in the same usage and spirit as "cosmopolitan internationalists" in 1920s/1930s Germany.

269:

So outside of the very non-midlist NYT bestseller it really doesn't look like we're missing a lot of populist titles with the s*dpuppy slate…

270:

Exactly what our host says.

When they spend a lot of time railing against "Islam" (conflating extremists and just anybody that is Muslim), always have in mind that they would be more than A-OK with having the same kind of stuff done AS LONG as it is in the name of Christianity (their own take on it).

Me, as an Spaniard, I feel a particular connection more to John C Wright than Mr Beale. Because the rants of that supposed Catholic are just a judeo-masonic reference short of the screed of the Falange.

271:

FWIW, I don't tend to participate in $SF_Awards because relatively little of what I read/see I feel to be award worthy, most of what is gets nomnomnominated anyway, and when it gets to the ballot stage for $year's awards you're doing well if there are 2 publications in $category that I have, or intend to, read/see.

I now refer everyone to the comment up-thread about "Ancillary Sword" not being Nebula-worthy because, in that commentator's view, it wasn't doing anything significantly different to "Ancillary Justice".

272:

@Arnold 257:

You mayn't have a Clean Reader that cleans itself: after it de-cursed, it would recurse.

273:

"You can call somebody a misogynist and they call you a feminazi and you both go home happy, having proven your points to your satisfaction."

So if somebody uses the term 'kike dyke' and someone else objects, calling that a rather bigoted, homophobic thing to say, and then the first person calls them a 'femnazi', they're both equally right (or equally wrong?) I'd say not.

For you, is it about being right?

Somebody's wrong, and you've done your part when you call them names about it?

Your problem is that you don't do specifics . . . possibly because you don't see a problem with what the first person has said, but you don't want to cop to it.

People usually say things for reasons. Let's use your example. If they say that about me or about somebody I care about, they may be trying to offend me. So there's the question -- why do they want to offend me? Have I offended them? Do they want me to blow up and stop thinking about something they find uncomfortable? Some other reason? If they want to me to be offended, what's in it for me to cooperate with them?

If they want to offend me with this, what's their plan? Am I supposed to be insulted that they would call me a jewish lesbian, something they think I would and should consider beneath contempt?

Or am I supposed to be insulted that they would use derogatory words for people who deserve the greatest respect?

Either way, if they can get me upset they feel powerful. Do I want them to feel powerful that way?

If I don't get insulted they're likely to think I'm weird and maybe stop talking to me because of it. Should I cater to their preferences to keep the discussion going, or is it better to see whether they'll continue it on my terms?

Or maybe they don't intend to insult me, and this is just how they think. Is it better for me to get a sense of where they're coming from, or just quit talking with them when I find out that it wasn't an intended insult? I've found there are a lot of people who accept a lot of diversity while calling it names they consider humorous. They sort of look down on everybody else (including me) in a good-natured way, while happily co-existing with us all. I can't really think of them as bad people.

But some people are all knotted up and do want bad things for everybody who isn't like them. I don't enjoy their company as much.

"My complaint is when it goes to the next step."

Again with the lack of specifics? Do you have any actual examples of this happening where the numbers are significant?

No, I've been pretty lucky that way. There was a controversy a few years ago about Orson Scott Card and a comic book company, where the apparent goal was to boycott all the company's products until they fired Card. But I had the impression Card was pretty well off, not like he needed the job.

I've been banned from a few blogs. A couple of places SJWs got angry at my attitude and said I was a conservative. A couple of other places I got banned for being a liberal. No big deal, people get annoyed sometimes. Nobldy has contacted my employer to get me fired, etc.

I have the idea that in general when you tell people they are evil and threaten them, it doesn't improve the communication. That's the emotional response I usually see from people I call SJWs. They appear to enjoy getting outraged and they feel like that has good outcomes. OK, everybody has their own style, and I don't want to say it's wrong. Just unproductive from my point of view.

274:

The problem with that kind of middle-of-the-road thinking is putting into the same category people saying things like

"You are black, so you are a subhuman savage"

and

"You are a racist and a fascist"

Is not about calling people names and they being true or not, is about what is behind the name calling.

275:

I haven't seen this linked in the comments yet: John Scalzi's response to the whole mess, which I think can be basically summarized as "don't feed the trolls": http://whatever.scalzi.com/2015/04/07/human-shields-cabals-and-poster-boys/

276:

So if somebody uses the term 'kike dyke' and someone else objects, calling that a rather bigoted, homophobic thing to say, and then the first person calls them a 'femnazi', they're both equally right (or equally wrong?) I'd say not.

For you, is it about being right?

Somebody's wrong, and you've done your part when you call them names about it?

Hm, that's not at all how I read Scent of Violets' example. Let's open this. Two people, Alice and Bob, are talking (no relation to any real Alice or Bob intended). This is how I read the example:

Alice: "There goes a kike dyke."
Bob: "Actually, that's a bigoted and homophobic comment, could you please not say that again?"
Alice: "You are a feminazi!"

Now, Scent of Violets is asking if both these people are equally right or equally wrong, in your opinion. I'd say that there is one person, namely Alice, who is calling people names and being offensice, and one person, namely Bob, who is trying to call her out on it.

Notice that (in my interpretation, and really, in my experience in life with conversations like these) in this case Alice is attacking certain people while Bob is attacking Alices opinions and probably style in which she is expressing those opinions.

Hardly the same thing, in my view. Also, in my view, basic politeness usually says that if you know that something is offensive to other people, even while you think it's not, it's best to refrain from saying it. I don't do that always, but I at least try.

Is your interpretation somehow different from what you thought about this example?

277:

Ian S, from everything I've seen so far, your analysis of Vox Day looks bang on correct. It fits Correia just fine too.

Note that lots of people are willing to be reasonably successful, to *not* make a big difference but just play their part. It's the guys who really want to be important who pick the extreme roles.

Take it a step further -- to achieve their personal goals they look for stress-fractures in society, tensions they can exploit. It isn't enough to *want* to make a difference, they have to actually find people who have grievances they can exploit, and make a show of doing something about those grievances. They tailor their words to match the unresolved issues, and the more successful among them do that very well.

The issues I see them exploit are:

1. A minority of science fiction readers prefer military SF + a "Campbellian" thing that they don't define very well. I believe it involves happy endings, and the sense that individual people can make a difference and have a big effect on the world. (!) You know, optimistic SF. Actual good guys who win against the bad guys. Also maybe less of this literary stuff where the complicated tropes take a lot of time away from the story. I'm not sure I have a clear sense of what they want, but it's something like this.

2. A minority of "libertarian" and "conservative" SF writers feel like they're discriminated against by publishers. Note that they feel like there's a big distinction between "libertarian" and "conservative", and that their enemies don't notice the difference. Some of them believe that Baen is the only publisher that's willing to work with them. And that it isn't about what they write but about their politics -- if publishers tell each other that a writer is conservative he will be blacklisted. To people who believe in free markets, being limited to one publisher is a horrible thing.

Is that real? I don't know how to find out, but they believe it's real and life does not prove them wrong. I can think of one obvious example. John Norman wrote books about nonconsensual BDSM and rape, and they sold very well under Del Rey. Del Rey stopped publishing him and for a long while nobody would. It seems obvious that they would have decided publishing him was wrong and quit. But maybe his stuff stopped selling, or he might have been personally just too much trouble to deal with to be worth the money. Would somebody get blacklisted just for being a Reagan/Bush conservative? I don't know. Maybe the problem is just that they write stuff with no literary value, utterly inartistic stuff that no good readers would want to read and no good editors would want to edit? If Vox publishes them and they sell well enough to get by, that would say that it's kind of real.

3. Christian Dominionists feel powerless. They are a minority and can't dominate society. Worse, they are a fragmented minority that doesn't agree all that well among themselves. They have no real hope. But because they have no hope, they can be irresponsible. They can say whatever they like about what they want and what they would do if they got power, because they know they will never have to deliver. And by looking crazy they get attention. They would rather feel like they are actively being oppressed than be ignored. They found their opposite number, SJWs, another small minority that has no hope, and the two of them verbally oppress each other. It helps them both feel important.

My conclusions:

Diversity is good. If these guys can establish a market for their writing, then good for them. I'll read it if I like it.

Diversity is good. If they can get into fandom and in fact not be oppressed, then the ones who're looking for oppressors will move on to somewhere they can meet their needs. It won't hurt us to interact with some crazy conservatives as long as there aren't too many of them. Why fight them?

"Never get in a wrestling match with a pig. You get dirty and the pig enjoys it." Well, but if you enjoy it too then that's fine.

278:

Very well put Mikko; I wish I could have said it as well rather than just having the feeling that there was only one person actually throwing terms that they were using negatively around.

279:

For the love of...

Christian Dominionist are not a harmless minority that feel powerless and is driven to extremes due to the persecution, and that needs our acceptance to have a place in public discourse

They are a minority whose whole ideology is to fuck with my life as a godless heathen till I learn to be silent - or to be dead. In their desired world, I would not even be a citizen. And I'm a white straight guy, dont get me started on what would they do to women, gays...

If they are being persecuted and ostracized for public discourse for their belief, is because their belief is that they want a fucking new Inquisition to rule for their benefit and the rest of us to burn on the bonfires.

I dont know you, but I'm not into the custom of being accepting of people that wish me harm, and ensuring I dont oppose them clearly on the public sphere to make it clear what they are about.

280:

I'll give you the traditional English conservative (small "C") view of this. Using known offensive words like "kike dyke" is simply bad manners. The only time I would use it is if I intended to be offensive, which is a whole different argument.

The problem seems to be people who want to use offensive words in what they claim is a non-offensive context, and object to people being offended as a result. The secondary problem being that such words come into, and go out of, fashion rather regularly and rapidly.

OTOH, if they wish to use such words to be deliberately offensive then all is right with the world and the battle may commence with the lines well drawn.

281:

Charlie@238

"The Hot Equations" by Ken Burnside in Castlia's Riding a Red Horse (on the ballot for Best Related Work) is a discussion of thermodynamics and space combat. It doesn't strike me as political at all.

282:

I actually like some (1), as long as it has good characterisation. I also like some "literary SF" as long as the ideas are good.

283:

"Somebody's wrong, and you've done your part when you call them names about it?"

Hm, that's not at all how I read Scent of Violets' example.

I didn't see any detail there at all, but whatever you want to read in is fine.

Alice: "There goes a kike dyke."
Bob: "Actually, that's a bigoted and homophobic comment, could you please not say that again?"
Alice: "You are a feminazi!"

Now, Scent of Violets is asking if both these people are equally right or equally wrong, in your opinion.

I guess I'm sort of a moral relativist. I don't see that I benefit by deciding who is more wrong, I benefit by noticing how I want to handle the situation.

I'd say that there is one person, namely Alice, who is calling people names and being offensice, and one person, namely Bob, who is trying to call her out on it.

That's one way for Bob to handle it. If Bob feels good about himself as a result, then it's a success. Good for him!

Notice that (in my interpretation, and really, in my experience in life with conversations like these) in this case Alice is attacking certain people while Bob is attacking Alices opinions and probably style in which she is expressing those opinions.

I would like to find out what Alice is thinking. Alice is not hitting anybody with a handbag. Is the person she labels in hearing distance? Is she trying to offend them? Is she trying to offend me?

If I have done something to offend Alice and she's trying to offend me back, maybe I should apologize. It would make more sense for her to tell me what I did wrong and demand an apology or reparations or something, but a lot of times people don't make sense the way I think they should.

If she's trying to offend me so I'll go away, maybe I should go away.

It depends.

If I think she doesn't know that a lot of people would be offended, then I can be kind and tell her. If she does know and she wants to antagonize me, why should I cooperate with her?

Maybe I say in a friendly nonconfrontational way, "She'd probably be offended if she heard you say that". If Alice replies "She offends me by existing" then we can take it from there.

Hardly the same thing, in my view.

I don't argue that they are the same thing. For the sake of discussion, let's agree that when you "call someone out" for their language style (didn't that phrase used to be about starting duels with pistols or something?), you are morally superior to the person who used the language you disapprove of. Is that a low bar?

Also, in my view, basic politeness usually says that if you know that something is offensive to other people, even while you think it's not, it's best to refrain from saying it.

Agreed. So I try not to use offensive language except when I want to be offensive. Where I fall down is saying things people don't want to hear. Like, when somebody tells me that free markets optimize everything and are the best and only way to organize everything, I know they will find it offensive if I tell them about control theory, that markets are only one variety of feedback loop, with no guarantees, with a response time that will fail for some inputs, etc. It's best to just nod and change the subject or something, because they don't want to hear anything that doesn't fit their existing ideas. But I don't want to. I try to respond politely, but they're likely to get offended regardless.

Sometimes it isn't how you say it, it's what you say.

284:

The problem as always comes down to fundamentalism.

Religion in itself is not bad. Most people can live their lives by whatever belief system takes their fancy and cause very little effect on anything around them.

Organised religion is substantially flawed however, the Hollow Church of Om providing a good illustration of what can go wrong when belief in the institution trumps belief in the religion.

Fundamentalist religion however is always wrong. Dogmatic belief in anything is a mental illness as far as I'm concerned, whether than be Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Atheism or simply the fact that your driving is superb so following distances need not apply. I'm sorry, physics will win.

Fundamentalism in the US is sponsored by old wealthy white men who are reluctant to give up the power they have acquired. In the middle east it is sponsored by old wealthy arab men, equally trying to change the world to the way they want it.
The outreach of the Wahabbists is little different to the rise of the Christian right, or the militant orthodox settlers of Israel. All rely on the indoctrination and lack of education and experience of a disenfranchised youth. It could be called enlisting in the army, terrorist training, or a holy mission. You choose the order.

Actually in my mind the most interesting experiment is the chinese model, where the old wealthy asian men are quietly going around literally purchasing the third world with barely a murmur raised in the west. In another half century or so, I suspect there will be some substantial shifts in geopolitics because of that.

And the only solution to fundamentalism is that which is happening already - Education and birth control - and the spread of technology has brought knowledge of both to all sorts of remote areas. Recent Indian census data showed that while 47% of homes had sanitation, 63% had a phone.

285:

As an American libertarian, I agree. For some reason we love Scottish socialist writers. In part because libertarian authors are not very good -- they tend to use the book as an excuse to promote ideology. Writers like Ken MacLeod avoid that trap.

Also, while libertarians and socialists may disagree on economics we agree on other things such as most personal freedoms, a distrust of power, anti-war views, etc. So as long as the book isn't a straight criticism of free markets libertarians are going to find a lot they like.

286:

Re Wealthy Chinese purchasing the third world - as the west discovered long ago the purchasing is easy, its when you have to send in the gunboats to secure your investments that things get sticky.

287:

See, I'd read that differently, because even if Alice can not be overheard by the 3rd party, she has deliberately used racist and homophobic language in her remark to Bob, who clearly does not share her views. When he asks her to stop doing so, she responds with another insult, aimed directly at him.

288:

I'm left bemused at what you think I am now. Honestly, you can be as rough as you like (vanity? well, frankly yes in this case, I thought your earlier allusion was going lead to a much more shocking accusation).

It looks to me like you present an attitude of bemused superiority. You look at things on a bigger scale than most people. I can't begin to tell what your central themes are -- you seem to promote some sort of transhumanism, something about becoming more functional than humans, maybe something about learning from or merging with porpoises etc.

I was interested in your early assertion of a "wider" mental schema for Republicans/conservatives/whoever. It looked to me like a whole lot of people want to have a simple way to see things and so Fox News etc supply that to them. They *want* to be lied to. If Fox didn't exist the Devil would have to invent it. Conservatives who don't want that but who don't trust the liberal media are thrown to conspiracy theories because they have nothing better. A whole lot of Truthers were/are libertarians who were perfectly comfortable believing the Cheney administration would do 9/11. But they had no proof that would convince people who didn't want to believe.

I don't see where else a conservative could go. The two major versions of the news are lies, along with the foreign news. Conspiracy theories are mostly fantasies. To take a third path they would have to act in the face of radical uncertainty.

You hinted at something going on that I haven't noticed. I like that. I'd like to hear more.

But no, just because I'm conceptually aware of people's ideology certainly doesn't mean I share it. I can certainly parody it and even go far beyond it, however.

Sure. If somebody with your kind of thinking was involved with the Sad Puppies they'd surely have an interesting story to tell. But what I've read from Vox and Correia doesn't look like they have much self-awareness.

289:

> Mack Reynolds

There's the Wikipedia entry saying he was a member of the "Socialist Labor Party", which I've never heard of, and there's what Reynolds wrote, which I've read a great deal of. Reynolds' SF featured many different types of socieconomic systems, with the common thread that the stories either lampooned them or jammed a stick in their spokes and watched them crash.

Regardless of what his personal ideology might have been, I don't see that the body of his work shows a clear bias.

290:

Christian Dominionist...
...They are a minority whose whole ideology is to fuck with my life as a godless heathen till I learn to be silent - or to be dead.

Think that's bad? In my case (and Charlie [never mind that we're atheists] and the rest of Jewry) they want us to all move to Israel to bring about the Second Coming and Rapture, in which we will either convert or die in the consuming flames. One of their leaders, John Hagee, has said that he wants a nuclear war in the middle east to help it along. Fun People.

291:

Re various comments by J Thomas.

What I find disconcerting about the way you're arguing here is that it seems best summarized as: "A person is free to be as offensive and unpleasant in thought and speech as they want, so long as I don't have to deal directly with it and it doesn't effect me."

That's a dangerous line of thinking and recalls, to me, the infmaous poem that begins "First they came..."

292:

Actually the term libertarian was used in Europe regarding the more anarchic socialists, i.e. "libertarian Socialists". There is a rich thread of anti-power structure left wing thought that also overlaps with a lot of anarchism, right back into the 19th century. However it was crushed by the more establishment and power hungry parts of the more centrist parties, and indeed although the labour party started as a broad alliance, after WW2, despite carrying out many things that are still justly admired, it cemented the grip of the powerful and centrist minded upon the idea that left wing means statist, whereas the reality is a lot different.

293:

I keep coming back to two DNA quotes:

“In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.”

Which shows this has being going on for a while.

The second is his big long piece on fanatics:

We're not obsessed by anything, you see," insisted Ford.

"..."

"And that's the deciding factor. We can't win against obsession. They care, we don't. They win."

"I care about lots of things," said Slartibartfast, his voice trembling partly with annoyance, but partly also with uncertainty.

"Such as?"

"Well," said the old man, "life, the Universe. Everything, really. Fjords."

"Would you die for them?"

"Fjords?" blinked Slartibartfast in surprise. "No."

"Well then."

"Wouldn't see the point, to be honest.”

--------------

My view is that I'll probably go all Noah Award on everything on a slate - which is a shame, as I like the Dresden files, and is an approach perilously close to "we had to destroy the village to save it"

It's sad the _eneral _isease managed to include some decent works, but I suspect that was more by complete accident than design.

I've resigned myself to this probably being the last Hugo I vote for - I just don't have the energy to run round bleating about it, but _eneral _isease has boundless energy in his hate-on for Scalzi (and he's added OGH to his list (although I suspect the list is basically "anyone who isn't me")), so he will keep going. And going. And going. And going. Until he is left all alone in a darkened room, shouting at the walls, as everyone else has left and turned the lights off, whereupon he'll pronounce himself the "winner" and still won't be happy as there will be no losers.

The irony is that I started voting and nominating again 3-4 years ago as I thought some of the winners were really not very good (Blackout? WTF? so you invent time machines but not mobile phones?) and also I wanted to read more shorts rather than just picking up the Dozois anthology every year.

You can fiddle around with voting and nominations, but dealing with dedicated lunatics who will spend every waking moment to stick a spoke in the wheels, you will always lose in the long run.

Ah well, fun whilst it lasted.

And on a related note - keeping people poor and uneducated is the Christian Right tactic of choice in the former Confederate states in the US, not just overseas. Quite why the North fought so hard to keep the SOuth is something I really don't understand - the US would be much better off without Jesusland. Although we'd have to build a fence to keep them out of the North.

294:

... even if Alice can not be overheard by the 3rd party, she has deliberately used racist and homophobic language in her remark to Bob, who clearly does not share her views. When he asks her to stop doing so, she responds with another insult, aimed directly at him.

My main point was that Alice might have various different things going on in her head, and it's good to try to understand before blowing up. But let's tell the story your way.

Alice disapproves of lesbians and Jews, and she isn't afraid to say so. Bob is offended and tells her to stop talking that way and to stop thinking that way. Alice is offended and tells him to stop telling her what to do.

Who's more right? As a moral relativist I'd have to say that Bob is more right. Alice thinks she is entitled to think whatever she wants and do whatever she wants. She is wrong. Every society enforces group norms, and she is violating a group norm. Society will hurt her until she stops doing that.

Edwin T Hall said there were three kinds of social learning. There's what you do just imitating the people around you and finding out what works. There's the teaching your mother does. "Stop that! It's rude! People will see!" and there's technical learning, where people break an action down into simple steps and teach the steps in an organized way.

What Bob is doing is formal teaching. Alice's mother fell down on the job and didn't teach her it's rude to be racist, so Bob is standing in for Alice's mother. Alice is being all rebellious and refusing to accept Bob as her mother.

What if they were in a society where people agreed with Alice? There are places like that throughout the US South. Then Bob could get in trouble. If he called Alice out and then insisted he was right instead of learning group norms, he might get literally called out. He might on sufficient provocation get shot or hanged or burned to death.

I say that Bob's culture is better than Alice's culture. His culture accepts everybody except people who violate group norms, like Alice. Her culture only accepts people who follow group norms, like Alice. His group norms are better. But the opinion of one moral relativist doesn't count for a whole lot.

So anyway, if you want to call people out, go ahead. I couldn't stop you if I wanted to. As a tactical matter, I think it's better to try to understand where they're coming from, and try to get them to see where you're coming from. Even if they fail to understand you this time, the experience will help you do better later. Treating them like a scolding mother is less likely to have valuable results.

But that's only tactics. Not like you're morally wrong.

295:

It's sad the _eneral _isease managed to include some decent works, but I suspect that was more by complete accident than design.

The SPs claimed they just put together a bunch of stuff they liked.

That makes sense both as a list of what they liked, and as a divisive tactic. They claim they wound up with various genders, various races, various ideologies etc. Which is what to expect if they actually read a bunch of stuff and picked what they liked. And of course it defuses one of the obvious attacks on them.

I don't know as much about the VD group. They were far less successful and so less relevant.

296:

My only interaction with the Hugos has been to occasionally check out the 'best of' short story compilations from the local library. I've never been to a convention, never been part of 'fandom', never even knew about the mechanics of Hugo award nomination\balloting\voting until our Most Generous Host gave us a peek behind the curtain.

So I was initially a bit baffled that this particular windmill is being tilted at with vigor and enthusiasm.

But, I've had the "pleasure" of working with a Dominionist in the past. I recognize the distinctive mix of bugfuck crazy, monomaniacal obsession, petty vindictiveness, gleeful destruction, paranoia, and oddly specific blind spots mixed with willful ignorance.

I would have listened to a reasonable argument about whether or not well-written and popular science fiction has been excluded from awards because either the fiction or the author are "too conservative". John C. Wright, Vox Day, and Brad Torgersen are light-years away from any definition of reasonable.


297:

I'm not discussing what may, or may not, be "normal behaviour" in Redneck County, Jawjah. I'm simply discussing whether or not it is acceptable behaviour to respond to a request to not use particular language by insulting the requestor.

After all, since it's a hypothetical, then we could as easily be in Liberalsville, Oregon as in Redneck County, and Bob's request is preditated on not being refused service at their preferred coffee bar rather than on his views on race and/or sexuality.

TL;DR - Responding to "please don't do that" by doing it again is not acceptable behaviour anywhere I've been.

298:

What I find disconcerting about the way you're arguing here is that it seems best summarized as: "A person is free to be as offensive and unpleasant in thought and speech as they want, so long as I don't have to deal directly with it and it doesn't effect me."

No. We have a multicultural society that kind of works. To my way of thinking, the central thing that lets it work is that we try not to oppress people, and we try to stop them from oppressing each other. The problems come particularly when some of us think we're stopping people from oppressing somebody but the people we're stopping think they're being oppressed.

The methods we're developing to live together don't work all that well yet, but the major alternative is ethnic cleansing. That's what we get if we can't get along.

It isn't always clear where to draw the line between oppressing people versus letting them oppress others, but I'm clear that when it turns to "We can't allow them to say that" it's oppression. When people are free to convince anybody who's open to being convinced, when they have their fair chance to get a majority or persuade a majority not to oppress them, they feel less oppressed than when they get censored.

Communication is important! Every single time anybody has pointed a gun at me, they wanted to be listened to and they thought that would get them attention. Every single time. And every time but one that I've seen anybody point a gun at anybody else. It isn't always like that, but very often.

Like with Latro and JamesPadraicR, it's scary when somebody has bad will toward you. But would you really prefer that they be temporarily suppressed? They quietly work against you without saying anything, waiting for their chance, for the time when it's your turn in the barrel?

When they can come out and say what they want, you have the chance to respond. If it looks like they're getting stronger you have time to leave the country or whatever. I'd rather people say what they want than have them communicate only in secret. To me, they're less scary that way. YMMV.

When that minority over there wants bad things for your minority and you say we have to oppress them -- that's how the system fails.

While the system works, we keep either of you from hurting the other, and we don't oppress either one. If one of you gets strong enough we can't stop you, then the system fails -- but let's put that off.

Oppressing people for having bad thoughts, makes them meaner.

"What did you expect? I don't know why we're so surprised. When you put your foot on a man's neck and hold him down for three hundred years, and then you let him up, what's he going to do? He's going to knock your block off." LBJ

299:

Instead of joining the discussion about moral relativism and Christian Dominionists I'll just quote Joolz Denby with her poem Fuel to the Flame. Enjoy!

300:

Comments were off last night when I started writing this. so it somewhat duplicates what others have said.

Responding to the quotes in Charlies post @231
"We are the sons and daughters of the Crusades and of the Inquisitions.... We are the heirs of Christendom. They cannot defeat us and they cannot defeat our Lord. Augustus and the pagan emperors of Rome failed."

This is pretty good evidence they've fundamentally misunderstood things 'back there'. Rome won. Emperor Constantine may have converted, but essentially "Our Lord Christ" Jesus replaced Augustus as the God of imperial/militaristic Rome and became a war god. To the extent that the "search for the historical jesus" can tell, Jesus was a "radical jew" who gave free health care and food, hung out with pariahs like sex workers and tax collectors, and didn't much like rich folks (in modern terms probably a socialist).

"Christendom' was the creation of bishops in the service of the Constantine. Rome went from being EVIL (in the book of Revelation) for destroying Jerusalem, to the defender of the good. However the memory of having been persecuted and of wanting retribution hung on. Heretics and apostates are the new evil-doers who must be "terrorized" in turn.

So how do you deal with "them"? Since they're calling themselves Sad Puppies it's tempting to feel sorry for them and as someone upthread suggested, offer a hug. That would make them feel patronized and even more angry. Clearly they are feeling aggrieved and want to be taken seriously. Given that the Dominionist stuff about inquisitions and armageddons is dangerous, they should be understood, and taken seriously. This is an ongoing prisoners dilemma so what is likely to work is some combination of tit-for-tat and nice strategies to prevent escalation into an armageddon.
BobH

301:

I thought VD was actually a good bit more successful than LC when it came to placing works on the lists.

302:

There is a term called "protected speech" which speaks to what is permissible within the law. I'm of the opinion that in the United States it tends to be overly broad (allowing as it does a considerable breadth of 'hate speech'), but nonetheless there are some categories of speech that are not protected, meaning simply that one can be prosecuted for using them. One of those that is relevant here is the concept of "fighting words" where the person speaking (or writing) is judged to be inciting imminent violence against others.

When individuals speak of a raw power struggle and asks the 'faithful' to rise against those they hate or when they speak of extermination, they have, to my mind at least, exceeded the bounds of the First Amendment and put their speech beyond legal protection.

No, I do not believe that we should tolerate this form of hateful incitement to violence. It's bad enough that they have decided that they wish to break the law and are tempered only by their fear of prosecution - we certainly don't gain security by allowing them freedom to encourage others who may have a poorer self of self-preservation to do so.

303:

1) there is always a political framework in a text. That's one of the fundamentals of critical theory.

2) As someone who has read Burnside's posts at rec.arts.sf.science, rec.arts.sf.written, and SFCONSIM-L for years, he definitely knows who the puppies are and what they are about, and he agrees with them

304:

Burnside's piece may be an exception to the general rule that anything from Castalia House is horrible, but Burnside himself has said over at Making Light that nothing in that category on the ballot is as good as Letters from Gardner, and that it's worth reading. Then there is the question of Letters from Gardner would have won if the Heinlein biography hadn't been squeezed off the ballot.

305:

> 267:
>
> I've been trying to understand the driving forces
> behind this. . .
>
> Everyone, in some way, wants to count, to matter. . .
> But it's much harder to count in today's world. . .
>
> Result is people take more and more extreme methods to
> make their mark and get that sense of 'counting'.
> Just being 'good' is not good enough, you have to be
> noticeable; extreme. . .

> 277:
> . . .
> Note that lots of people are willing to be reasonably
> successful, to *not* make a big difference but just play
> their part. It's the guys who really want to be important
> who pick the extreme roles. . .

There's a technical term for this. It's "Narcissistic
Personality Disorder".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people
who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm;
but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it,
or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless
struggle to think well of themselves.”
-- T. S. Eliot
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cocktail_Party

Or, from another comment thread on this very blog:

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2013/02/rokos-basilisk-wants-you.html
> 302:
> . . .
> I think a great deal of evil arises from delusions of
> grandeur. Some people just feel that they are here to
> save the world. They band up together to stroke that feeling
> at everyone's expense, sometimes with very disastrous results.

306:

Responding to "please don't do that" by doing it again is not acceptable behaviour anywhere I've been.

Responding to "please stop bugging me about my language" with more attempts to censor language, is usually considered acceptable because the uncensored language is bad and wrong and so the person who asks you to stop has no standing to ask that.

I used to ask people not to smoke in no-smoking zones. Little old southern ladies would say "Oh, I didn't notice! I'll just finish this one so it isn't wasted." Then the'd light another one and I'd ask them to stop and they'd smile and say "I'll just finish this one." The first time I went to Boston a woman at the next table was smoking in the no-smoking one and I asked her not to. She said "Fuck off" and blew smoke in my face. In a way it was kind of refreshing. I felt like I knew where I stood with her. What was going on was a bunch of smokers felt like they had the right to smoke wherever they wanted, and they didn't really believe I had a right to tell them not to. It took some years for the culture to change.

307:

OK, I have come to a somewhat hard decision, because there are a few respectable writers and editors who will be caught.

I shall not put the name of any puppy-slate candidate on my Hugo ballot, and I shall finish my preferences with No-Award.

As far as I can tell, this will give my vote to a few works of at least respectable quality, but if the Puppies can attack the final ballot in enough force that people such as Ann Leckie do not win, my vote will play a part in stopping the puppies.

And I will feel a little guilty about people such as Jim Butcher and Toni Weisskopf who might have earned a nomination without the puppies.

And now I shall stop reading this blog and run Kerbal Space Program, and see how Winchell Chung's Project Orion mod works out. Some people are disappointed if a Kerbal launch doesn't lead to explosions of unusual size.

308:

Actually, I believe VD's slate was the far more effective one. I don't know how you can see 6(!) nominations for [BLEEP BLEEP] John C Wright and two for VD himself and think otherwise.

309:

The Rabid Puppies slate did much better than the Sad Puppies in fact.

To be honest, given how popular Beale claims his blog to be, I'm not entirely surprised, and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of his readers don't have $40 on hand to annoy people with.

This has annoyed me enough to shell out $1,000 to go to the convention and have a nice room to myself.

310:

There is a term called "protected speech" which speaks to what is permissible within the law.

My opinion is that this is a lot like zoning laws.

Zoning laws can go for years annoying the people who live there, and then when something big comes up and you really need them they just collapse and are useless. We'd probably be better off without them.

However, it is the law and I'm not certain I'm right. Not enough to oppose the law. Even if I was sure I'd have more important objectives to achieve. So I'm ready to go along and hope it does more good than harm.

311:

Castalia has Martin Van Creveld and William Lind, both extremely influential military historians and theorists. You will find both on the professional required reading lists of all the US Armed services, at one time or another. Creveld's "Supplying War" is still required reading in the US Army and Marine lists at least. I highly recommend it. There is no better introduction to the subject of military logistics.
It seems that Castalia has digital distribution at least for their new works.
having them in their stable is quite a coup for a small new online publisher. How they managed that is probably an interesting story.
They are both, ideologically, more or less in alignment with Mr. Beale, but both are also legitimately giants in their field.

312:

You haven't got it yet. If you respond to me saying "please don't do that" by doing it again, then you are effectively saying "I'll do what I want and screw you". Do that often enough and I'll reconsider whether or not you're actually worth knowing.

313:

Van Creveld is an Israeli Zionist, so any alignment he shows with the peanut gallery we were discussing is likely to be at least partly co-incidental.

This http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_S._Lind ?

314:

As for Kratman, leaving literature aside (de gustibus, etc.), he is no lightweight either, from a professional military point of view. He has a rather good essay taking issue with Lind/Boyd.
He's got a book in him on military theory I'm sure. He certainly has the background for it.
A lot - or most - of the greats in military theory and military history aren't ideologically or culturally compatible with the current state of the intelligentsia.

315:

I'll agree that, for their privately held opinions. At least some of them have better politics/street smarts/manners or whatever to actually throw their opinions in my face though.

316:

Yes, that Lind.
The Wiki article doesn't do justice to his professional work, or his influence.
Leaving aside purely rhetorical matters, real policies and real decisions are heavily influenced by people like Lind, Creveld et. al., in their professional capacities.
They may be right, they may be wrong (and there is no agreement between them on substantial matters, look up Kratmans essay for an example, and I suspect Lind, Creveld and others of their schools would have been your allies over the previous decade re Iraq), but they are important, and should be.

317:

And, coming to the quality of opinions, and keeping open minds, if a man is judged to be a source of good advice on matters of national destiny, as strategic writers tend to be, this seems to indicate that they may well be worth listening to on other matters.
If you are happy putting your life in the hands of a man you cant stand to listen to, that tells me there is something wrong somewhere.

318:

It isn't always clear where to draw the line between oppressing people versus letting them oppress others, but I'm clear that when it turns to "We can't allow them to say that" it's oppression.

Yeah, this seems to be my exit cue for this topic with you, thank you. I have seen this line of reasoning and straw men too often during the Gamergate "discussions". While I believe you might be sincere here, I still will not use my time to try to convince you (or rather, the other readers) that the language you are using sounds pretty much like the doublespeak of the angry white video gamers of the Gamergate. The problem, for me, is the opinion that trying to make people behave (and make the world a nicer place for people) is somehow worse than letting anybody speak what they will, even if it harasses other people.

I'm not saying you are doing this, just that your comments wade to areas I don't feel the need to discuss with you. This is just a slight trigger for me, sorry.

319:

That's where I was going, and given where we were coming from I was also suggesting that they would not support the Sad Puppies as a matter of politics or manners, even if they have personal agreement with the SPs' views.

320:

Re: 317: "... And, coming to the quality of opinions, and keeping open minds, if a man is judged to be a source of good advice on matters of national destiny, as strategic writers tend to be, this seems to indicate that they may well be worth listening to on other matters."

Not sure I agree ... because it seems as though 'national destiny' is being used as a euphemism for being good at killing off the other guys. Skills used for killing off populations/the enemy are unlikely to be directly transferable to being able to care for/nurture society.

Am looking forward to the day that an individual's psychological fitness becomes as easy to assess as their physical fitness, and practical work/life-style guidelines are worked out and put in place. (Think: eyesight or epilepsy and driving restrictions, or peanut allergy and the 'no-peanuts' rule in most school cafeterias.) Suppose society at large becomes more familiar with the signs and likely risks associated with certain behavioral traits, it becomes much easier to spot tell-tales and avoid or at least mitigate potential harms done to or caused by any individuals. (And, like the vision example, I think insurance companies just might take the lead in this as well.)

321:

You haven't got it yet. If you respond to me saying "please don't do that" by doing it again, then you are effectively saying "I'll do what I want and screw you". Do that often enough and I'll reconsider whether or not you're actually worth knowing.

Of course. Did I say something or fail to say something that gave you the impression I didn't get that?

322:

This matter of personality interests me.
I'm not just speaking of theorists on military strategy, but even there we aren't speaking of "how to kill other people", but also "how to keep our own people from getting killed".
And its not just a matter of fighting wars, but finding ways to avoid fighting wars. If Lind or Creveld, for instance, had their way a decade ago there would have been at least one fewer war.
And it goes beyond the military.
As it happens, I mainly deal in (relatively) "real" things, and I know many of the people who really do have their hands on the switches of our modern life - energy, electricity, water, food, etc., and the means of getting all this to everyone else.
In the US, at least, nearly every man in a truly operative position in these essential systems (and they are nearly all men) is a conservative. So are nearly all the people with proper guns, and the ability to use them, officially and unofficially.
I suspect there is some aspect of personality that sorts these people into their social roles.
On the other side we have the intelligentsia, just to use a general term, that on the whole despises these people, collectively. It seems to be a fashion to hate the people holding the switch on our lives.
This is a bizarre situation.

323:

Did I say something or fail to say something
The whole thing where you appeared to be defending a speaker who described a 3rd party as "a kike dyke" gives that impression.

I dislike people who decide to be offended on behalf of others, but if I choose to object to your use of "$ist words" that means that I am being offended by them. If my sister lodged the objection without reading the comments that's what I'd mean by being offended on someone else's behalf.

324:

[Kratman]'s got a book in him on military theory I'm sure

Thread diversion!

...purely based on gut feel having read one of his books, I doubt it will add much. The Mary Sue aspect of his ideal military was more unsurprising, than revolutionary. He's an infantry type who left to become a lawyer and then a Civil Affairs officer; his area of expertise as a mid-rank officer appears to be the rule of law in a conflict / post-conflict environment, which he promptly abandons in his paean to the effectiveness of torture (A Desert Called Peace).

There are plenty of resources out there for military authors, that don't need right-wing nutters to be published... tjomo.com being one example. Except it's peer-reviewed, so the moonhowlers who write in green ink about the need to reactivate battleships and keep the A-10 will believe that there's a conspiracy against them ;)

If you want exposition, try Rupert Smith; if you want "swimming against the flow", read Jim Storr... both of the following links are accessible for non-military types, and may surprise you...

http://www.dodccrp.org/events/8th_ICCRTS/pdf/061.pdf

http://www.dodccrp.org/events/9th_ICCRTS/CD/papers/068.pdf

And yes, Storr questions Lind - quite simply, Lind's OODA loop is a bit of a stretch from Boyd's study on fighter pilots, and isn't supported by empirical evidence. The OODA loop is easy to understand and teach, though, so it carries on as a meme...


325:

John Norman wrote books about nonconsensual BDSM and rape, and they sold very well under Del Rey. Del Rey stopped publishing him and for a long while nobody would. It seems obvious that they would have decided publishing him was wrong and quit. But maybe his stuff stopped selling, or he might have been personally just too much trouble to deal with to be worth the money.

My understanding was that he was a complete pain in the butt to work with, and the books didn't sell all that well. ("Being a pain in the butt" can get even a bestselling author fired.)

Would somebody get blacklisted just for being a Reagan/Bush conservative? I don't know.

I should like to note that Tor publish John C. Wright, at a point when his politics made Ronald Reagan look like Leon Trotsky. They continue to publish new titles by Orson Scott Card. I happen to know a bunch of their editors personally and they're nice folks who think that Barack Obama is a bit conservative ... but business is business.

So no, it's really hard to get blacklisted for your politics in publishing today. However, it's really easy to send your career down the pan by being a narcissistic dipshit.

326:

It seems to be a fashion that the people who own guns and control stuff people need to live hate the intelligentsia.
See what I did there?

Martin #324 - but keeping the A10 makes perfect sense when your wars are against poorly armed, mobile militas and militaristic groups. Sure, it wouldn't be much use if Russia or China decided to fight, but you go with the wars the politicians give you, surely?

327:

@317: Mastery of military matters often correlates poorly with other fields, as evidenced by the number of very successful generals that did poorly in civilian politics

328:

In what possible way is Kratman not a complete lightweight when it comes to the military?

Remember this is a man who never fought at all - he chilled in Panama, went to the college, chilled in Panama some more, was a recruiter, was rear echelon support for people in actual combat, and when it came time to actually face a combat deployment in Iraq, plead off for "health reasons"

He plead off for "health reasons" - never mind that the rest of us got stop lossed and went back again and again after being blown up, wounded, and sent back. Even, in some cases, after being rendered an amputee. But he had "health reasons" and couldn't do that.

And now he sits and preaches about "no really, I know better about how to fight than all of you, we'd be winning if we were doing it my way", jeering at the people who are actually doing the work, while cheering for the idea of more and more wars, which of course he won't ever fight in, just the people he is sneering at.

He's a complete crank and a coward who made sure he never got put in a position to have to learn what fighting a war is really like. He has never been tested and therefore knows sweet fuck all about military theory or strategy.

329:

Yes, I'm sure the A-10, with its proven track record of extreme effectiveness against armor and embedded artillery, would do poorly against enemies with large contingents of armor and artillery.

You have no idea what you are talking about, do you?

330:

The OODA business can be argued against from all sorts of directions, and has been. Lind is still influential though. I keep an open mind.

The people who control stuff and control the guns (guess the median political leanings of the combat arms military) feel themselves hated. They generally are out of the loop of intra-intellectual conversation, until something unfortunate makes it over the fence. The things that fly over the fence are rarely nice.

But the important point is that they do hold the switch. Thats where inverting the argument fails, as the functional roles are not in symmetry. The intelligentsia can disappear entirely and they wouldn't notice, in any material way.

331:

Actually, no... the A-10 is slow. If you're fighting militia, and you're spread all around the countryside; you want an aircraft that when necessary can open the throttle, and be overhead in a third of the time as a daylight-only eyeball-only subsonic flying gun with wings. B1g k3wl gun, granted.

The expensive bit is the people rather than the hardware. The two-winged master race (sorry, pilots*) and the maintainers aren't cheap to train and employ. Even for the hardware, it's not so much the metalwork that costs, but the expensive avionics you need if you want to fly in all weathers, understand what's actually going on around you, talk to the people on the ground, and hit what you aim at. So: your F-16 is a better investment in hard times than your A-10 or A-29.

* How do you know you're in a room with a pilot? They tell you...

332:

Actually one of the critiques of the A10 from people who know a lot more than me is that its slow and in a contested airspace, you know, like one with lots of armour and stuff, wouldn't actually last that long. Hence my suggestion that its more useful for killing people in colonial type wars.

Martin - but does it actually work out cheaper, given how much money has been spent on the more modern ones? I see that the F16 is now being superseded by the new ones.

333:

The people who control stuff and control the guns (guess the median political leanings of the combat arms military) feel themselves hated.(...) But the important point is that they do hold the switch.

Remember, this is a British-hosted blog. More to the point, you're saying "they", not "we", so you don't sound as if you're talking from personal experience.

So, please, don't take it badly when I suggest that you're wrong. Just, wrong. The median political leanings of the UK combat arms might surprise you, but it certainly doesn't feel hated.

As for the US combat arms, well, I couldn't say. Not my country, but I rather suspect that what is far more important are State and Federal law enforcement. They're the ones with the guns, the numbers, and the footprint...

334:

I don't need to guess the median political leanings of the combat arms military, it is well surveyed.

Enlisted are moderate, with a slight democratic lean, reflecting their racial and class background make up.

Officers trend conservative, again reflecting race and class. They are the ones with the speaking, facing role, so their views are more perceived, but actual polling shows the military not very different from the general public.

And we certainly don't feel ourselves "hated", the "support the troops" over awe is roundly mocked for how much it is a rallying point.

You are just randomly making things up at this point.

335:

Yeah, this seems to be my exit cue for this topic with you, thank you.

I respect that. When I continue to discuss it I am not trying to suck you back in, just your last comment inspired a response. I shouldn't have to say this, but just in case -- we weren't having a debate, and when you don't reply it doesn't mean I won anything at all.

The problem, for me, is the opinion that trying to make people behave (and make the world a nicer place for people) is somehow worse than letting anybody speak what they will, even if it harasses other people.

My opinion is that you have the right to try to manipulate other people into any legal behaviors you want, using your words. If you can successfully use words to get people to behave well, then more power to you.

Meanwhile, unless you are a forum moderator you can't stop people from speaking their minds. You have the right to tell them not to, and if that persuades them not to, then more power to you.

Sometimes people attempt a manipulative trick. You tell them to shut up. They go "Wah, wah, he's making me shut up! He's interfering with my rights! He's evil!" But you haven't made them do anything. You just told them to shut up, and in fact they didn't shut up, they just started accusing you.

You have the right to tell them what you think is polite, and they have the right to tell you what they think is polite. You have the right to ignore each other.

They have the right to say things that you might get upset about, and you have the right to say things that they might get upset about. Ideally we will all play nice and nobody gets upset.

If somebody controls the particular communication channel (like this is OGH's blog) then he can take sides however he wants or ban everybody who doesn't get along, his choice.

336:

The A-10 is obsolete, the GAU-8 Dick-Waving Exercise gun is overkill for patrolling the Imperial Marches and eliminating brown-skinned people who won't Do As They're Told by their owners.

The A-10 *concept* of a slow rugged bomb truck supplying close-air-support for the punishment squads and extermination teams is still valid. Get rid of the anti-armour gun and replace it with lots of fuel for stooge time, fit lighter guns in conformal pack for blowing away wedding parties plus Mavericks and Hellfires to destroy buildings, bridges, generating plants and all the other first-world facilities the brown-skinned folks don't deserve to keep.

Of course it doesn't need a pilot either. You could call it an MQ-1 or a Reaper or just a drone.

Problem is, absent Laumer you can't write sexytime milSF about realistic semi-autonomous killbots like we have today, you still need a jut-jawed Defender of Truth, Justice and the American Way to put their life in (a tiny amount of) danger as they chew their way through a village of enemy combatants, their wives, their children and their little dogs too. Hence Krautman, Ringo and all the other "what this battlefield needs is a white man" fantasists writing what they write and selling what they sell.

337:

You point about Kratzman never having been "boots on the ground" is accepted. Guess what, the accepted fact that's he's never been proven as a battlefront tactician doesn't mean that he can't be good at logistics and/or strategy. That is all about putting the right combinations of regiment boots and materiel in the right place at the right time, not about whether 1st Armoured division, Second battalion, Hq company squad A or squad B is better at street fighting.

The fact that you're arguing that it is the same thing tells me that you're not competent to judge his abilities.

338:

but does it actually work out cheaper, given how much money has been spent on the more modern ones?

Beware the sunk costs fallacy... it's still without an effective EW system, it isn't low-observable, and can't run very fast. It was designed to go against an enemy that didn't have look-down/shoot-down, or much more than gun-based SHORAD. It didn't have a radar, a decent nav system, and wasn't even NVG-compatible.

Comment from an experienced air warfare type on another forum: "Even 20 years ago in the Balkans, the A-10 could not venture into Serb SA-2, SA-3 and SA-6 MEZ"

339:

The OODA business can be argued against from all sorts of directions, and has been. Lind is still influential though. I keep an open mind.

I am not a military expert, but my view is that OODA is a valid way to interpret what everybody does. However, trying to exploit the other guy's OODA loop is not always the best way to win battles or wars.

It's worth paying attention to. Sometimes it may be a key to victory. But it's only one tool in the toolbox.

340:

321 J Thomas replied to this comment from paws4thot

>>You haven't got it yet. If you respond to me saying "please don't do that" by doing it again, then you are effectively saying "I'll do what I want and screw you". Do that often enough and I'll reconsider whether or not you're actually worth knowing.

>Of course. Did I say something or fail to say something that gave you the impression I didn't get that?

Unfortunately, it isn't that simple as a general principle-- it depends on the cost of complying with the request. Suppose the request is for gays to keep their sexuality completely concealed. Who owes what to whom?

341:

What, like Eisenhower? :)

I'm struggling to think of Generals who "did well" and "displayed mastery" (other than in their own minds, see Wesley Clarke) who then tried and failed at politics. Slim didn't try, Zhukov didn't try, Giap didn't try.

342:

That's true, drones are surely the solution to every problem.

343:

The A-10 *concept* of a slow rugged bomb truck supplying close-air-support for the punishment squads and extermination teams is still valid.

Having grown up in the age when Group of Soviet Forces Germany had a million men on the other side of the Inner German Border, and enough artillery to have a gun per 100m of front, I can assure you that NATO forces weren't designed around punishment squads extermination teams.

Of course it doesn't need a pilot either. You could call it an MQ-1 or a Reaper or just a drone.

Unfortunately for your argument, Reaper and Predator (and now in the UK, Watchkeeper) still need a fully-qualified pilot to drive it - it's just that the pilot sits in a trailer in their home country.

Still. It was a nice polemic, why not come back when you actually know what you're talking about.

344:

The one of the Baen stable I really have a lot of respect for is David Drake, who was an interrogator riding with the tanks in Vietnam. And anyone who really looks closely at his fiction knows he got up close and personal with some particularly unpleasant times.

Which is probably why torture is seldom seen as a positive thing in his work, unlike A Desert Called Peace (which was the wallbanger I mentioned above).

But he's part of that stable of damaged goods who came back from Vietnam, like Joe Haldeman. And while they write rather good MilSF, they are emphatically not glorifying the combat - rather they make you wallow in it, to feel a little bit tarnished.

Most of the MilSF stable today are veterans of hanging around on bases at home playing at soldiers, because the US wasn't involved anywhere serious. It'll be interesting to see what fiction emerges from the ones coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan.


Actually I'd love to know if anything came out of the USSR post their visit to Afghanistan, but I imagine it wouldn't be translated in a hurry.

345:

There is a term called "protected speech" which speaks to what is permissible within the law.

My opinion is that this is a lot like zoning laws.

No. Hate speech can have a more devastating effect on individuals than physical assault. All people have the right to move within a society without constantly being insulted.
Also hate speech often builds up for physical assault. If it becomes mainstream it also leads to legal discrimination or pogroms.

346:

Having grown up in the age when Group of Soviet Forces Germany had a million men on the other side of the Inner German Border, and enough artillery to have a gun per 100m of front, I can assure you that NATO forces weren't designed around punishment squads extermination teams.

Oh yes, but that was then. The Orange forces had armour the GAU-8 was intended to mission-kill at the least (the later-era Soviet MBTs were probably safe from it, their BMPs would die though). Problem was that the GAU-8 had an effective range of about 1 km and the AA weapons, even the MANPADs had a longer range than that.

The brown-skinned folks the A-10 or equivalent would be used against today have technicals at best and little or no armour that couldn't be better dealt with by a Maverick or even a Hellfire from several kilometres out and it doesn't take a manned aircraft to deliver that kind of overkill today.

As for needing a "pilot" the drone driver doesn't need to have miracle reflexes and be able to think clearly while pulling five gees in a turn avoiding missiles, or even land it (see for example the automated landing of an unmanned stealth drone on a carrier the USN demonstrated recently). They just need to sit in an airconditioned office and let the computer do most of the hard work while sipping a Red Bull.

The driver just puts another quarter in the slot if the other side do actually manage to shoot down their ride. There's no need for an armoured bathtub or an ejector seat in a drone or helivac recovery under fire of a downed pilot in contested ground. Win win in the real world. It doesn't make good fodder for manly-man SF stories though.

347:

That's true, drones are surely the solution to every problem.

Only if they are controlled by a self-aware AI or a transhuman...

348:

Unfortunately, it isn't that simple as a general principle-- it depends on the cost of complying with the request. Suppose the request is for gays to keep their sexuality completely concealed. Who owes what to whom?

Oooh, relevant. Tricky to answer, seeing as I'm a white male at 0 on the Kinsey Scale, and I'd hate to cause offence.

If the request is "please avoid the subject of sexuality, I am uncomfortable outside of Religiously Acceptable norms", I would view that as blinkered, borderline, situationally dependent, and up to the recipient to decide what is a reasonable response (e.g. is it a Priest within a house of worship? Or some devout Granny offended by two blokes holding hands as they walk down the street?).

If the request is "I disapprove of your sexuality, it is disgusting", then it is an unreasonable and offensive request.

If the request is "I disapprove of your sexuality, I will treat you differently from other people", then it's discrimination, unacceptable, and could be brought to court.

If the request is "The law disapproves of your sexuality, the law will treat you differently from other people", then it's unjust law and should be struck down.

Combining two of the threads so far, the British Army moved to a "it's OK to be openly gay" setting, just over fifteen years ago. The end times did not happen, units did not fall apart, those who screeched about "social engineering" were proved wrong. I had to do the change of policy briefing on the subject to the assembled troops, and the reaction from our bunch of Scottish reservist infantry types was "seems fair enough, so what?"...

...I've heard of transgender and homosexual army officers, at war, respected for their skills rather than derided for their sexuality. It's reassuring that the Army has made it into the Stonewall Top 50 Gay-friendly workplaces (Army at 46, Royal Navy at 56, RAF at 91). Smile, the Security Service is ranked 7th.

http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_work/stonewall_top_100_employers/default.asp

349:

"John Norman wrote books about nonconsensual BDSM and rape, and they sold very well under Del Rey."

My understanding was that he was a complete pain in the butt to work with, and the books didn't sell all that well. ("Being a pain in the butt" can get even a bestselling author fired.)

Thank you! I suspected something like that, but I had no data.

So no, it's really hard to get blacklisted for your politics in publishing today. However, it's really easy to send your career down the pan by being a narcissistic dipshit.

That makes sense. It would be true in an economic system that made sense, and I can easily take your word that it's true in ours.

So, if somebody *was* a narcissistic dipshit, how would they find that out and see that it was them, and not that they were being persecuted for their politics or their religion or their race or whatever? They show their literary output to their friends and family who all tell them it's excellent....

If I started writing SF, and my career didn't go well, I'd have an obvious narcissistic dipshit excuse. Of course some people want to sabotage me. They would do it in sneaky undetectable ways, so I would have no way to disprove it. But if occasionally somebody involved in publishing said something that sounded kind of sinister like it was related to that, it would make me think it was true. It would be very hard to see that the problem was in myself beyond making enemies.

So it makes perfect sense that a whole bunch of conservative narcissistic dipshits who try to make a living writing novels, would agree with each other and create a complicated conspiracy theory that they could all contribute to. The more that agreed about it, the more certain they would all be about it. They might even recruit a bunch of people who were only gullible at believing other people's life stories.

Card and Wright wouldn't seem like counter-examples. Isn't it the usual thing for racists to have some token people from the group they discriminate against? Wright might have a story that explains how he stays on, something that wouldn't work for anybody else.

"You have a right to your own opinions but not your own facts." But most of what people believe is inferences, not facts.

"Reality is what doesn't go away if you stop believing in it." But authors who believe they are discriminated against, will usually not become successful if they stop believing in the discrimination.

More and more we live in our own special realities. Maybe it was always that way.

350:

(Drones)... It doesn't make good fodder for manly-man SF stories though.

Joe Haldeman, "The Forever Peace" - he made it work :)

351:

Drones and autonomous and unpiloted craft/vehicles/war machines can be lots of fun.

Ever heard of a Bolo? What about the uh... oh god was it the Honor Harrington stories that had the amazing missiles and the people who loved them? Let's not forget the previously mentioned Culture... which is actually what I wanted to say earlier but forgot.

I agree that in some ways Surface Detail might not be the ideal introduction to the series, but I love Demeisen so much (Or I could just do the back-flip sensor thing with a full targeting component and shout "Hello there, fellow space traveler! How can I help you?") I'd only suggest it after say, Consider Phlebas because why not start at the start right?

352:

I suspect there is some aspect of personality that sorts these people into their social roles.

Ahem. I don't suppose you've read "On the Psychology of Military Incompetence" by Norman Dixon? (On the required reading at Cranfield, AIUI.) He notes that certain personality types flourish in rigidly structured environments ...

353:

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTICE

I'm home again and kind of exhausted from the 440 mile drive and overnight hotel stop. So I'm suspending comments overnight again so I don't have a huge backlog on my weekend day off (Thursday).

(OPEN AGAIN)

354:

As one of the people quoted, I see your point (but you're extending from the original case of someone using $ism words and being asked to stop by one of their companions).

Having said that, I more or less agree with Martin, except that I'm ok with you discussing, and even exhibiting, your sexuality barring the 2 following cases:-
1) You're bi or gay male, and won't take my "sorry, you're not my type" or "I'm taken" for an answer.
2) You're lez, and if I not knowing that then hit on you, you choose to try and humiliate me as an answer of first resort rather than saying "sorry, you're not my type" or "I'm taken".

355:

'There is a term called "protected speech" which speaks to what is permissible within the law.'

"My opinion is that this is a lot like zoning laws."

No. Hate speech can have a more devastating effect on individuals than physical assault.

Sorry. I didn't mean it was like zoning laws because zoning laws are unimportant little things that don't matter much. I meant it was like zoning laws because in my experience zoning laws regularly break down and become useless at precisely the times you need them the most.

Say you want to paint some of your trim a pale violet to match the wisteria. The zoning laws say you can't. You put in a cat door. The zoning laws say it's the wrong kind and you have to replace it with the right kind of cat door. A big corporation wants to build a high-rise low-income apartment building in the next block, or a chemical factory that releases lots of butyl mercaptan, or a 24-hour Walmart that will attract drug dealers and prostitutes. In each case, they easily get a variance and they go right ahead.

It works fine for persecuting little people who don't matter, and as soon as you *really need* it against a real threat, it fails.

All people have the right to move within a society without constantly being insulted.

People decide (or notice) for themselves when they are insulted. I can't imagine how the legal system or police could keep Vox Day from being constantly insulted.

I sympathize with your goal but I do not see how to achieve it.

356:

It works fine for persecuting little people who don't matter, and as soon as you *really need* it against a real threat, it fails.

Now we're into the persistent American myth that government can't do anything efficiently.

I submit that (a) this is not actually true (examples: look at how efficiently the US Army can trash an entire small nation; consider how the NHS delivers better healthcare outcomes than the private US medical system for about half the per-capita costs; or how the now-privatized-for-20-years British railway network consumes double the government subsidies per passenger-mile that they did while in national ownership to keep the thing running), and (b) this is a highly convenient myth for the purposes of those who have an interest in asset-stripping the public sector and riding rough-shod over the fatalistic public who "know" that resistance is futile because efficient governance in the public interest is impossible.

357:

>>You haven't got it yet. If you respond to me saying "please don't do that" by doing it again, then you are effectively saying "I'll do what I want and screw you". Do that often enough and I'll reconsider whether or not you're actually worth knowing.

....

Unfortunately, it isn't that simple as a general principle-- it depends on the cost of complying with the request. Suppose the request is for gays to keep their sexuality completely concealed. Who owes what to whom?

As a moral relativist, I say that it depends on the standards of the particular community.

I want to encourage people to get along as best they can. Things work better if we can manage to be polite to each other.

There's a big problem that the USA has a giant disagreement about what the community standards ought to be, and it looks irreconcilable. People disagree about their absolute rights. It will probably lead to a breakup over a whole lot of correlated issues.

So we might easily wind up with some XUS nations where homosexuality is considered normal and not particularly important, where it has no particular political traction because there is simply no issue there. And other XUS nations where admitting to it (or getting caught at it) is a jailable offense.

And if you are emigrating from Kansas to Northern California, when you get to the place on the form where it asks why you are leaving -- lie. If you tell them you want to leave because they are homophobic, they will put you in jail rather than let you go.

I don't think of it so much as what you owe them, as what they will take from you if they decide you owe them.

If you can manage it, be polite to everybody. Do what they think is polite.

When it reaches the point that you can't or won't do that, then it's time to look at what happens when we don't get along. "I'll reconsider whether or not you're actually worth knowing" can amount to them avoiding you and not saying hello if they see you on the street.

Or it could extend all the way to ethnic cleansing or genocide.

I like it better when people get along. If they can't get along I like it better when they can ignore each other.

If they can't get along and they can't ignore each other, they won't care what I want while they're busy committing violence.

358:

Cranwell, surely, if you mean the RAF Officer Training College (Cranfield started as an aeronautical college, but it became an institute of technology in the late 60s and then a university (specialising in science, technology and engineering) in the nineties)?

I was there for a conference one year, and the staff club bar was in the old college's officers' mess, and still had several hundred different single malts....

359:

I wrote a long post last night, and the host closed the blog just as I pressed the post button, so that was fortunate as it was a horribly drunken meta-screed. Since I'm new I've no idea if this thread's comments are the usual tenor or all the military stuff is a foreign influx like mine, but in case they're not:

People looking for MIL stuff could do worse than Richard K. Morgan, the Altered Carbon series, Market Forces and Black Man which is published as Thirteen in the US (wonder why...). There's some fairly subversive thinking on masculinity, violence and power in them, I suspect many here would enjoy them as they certainly have a rougher edge than many Hugos.

He's never been nominated for a Hugo, which I find curious, but also fits the supposed bill of 'writer ignored by fans' if you need that axe ground down a bit.

Oh, and he also was based in Scotland for a while, I swear someone has been doing deals with the bean nighe or there's something in the water.

360:

"It works fine for persecuting little people who don't matter, and as soon as you *really need* it against a real threat, it fails."

Now we're into the persistent American myth that government can't do anything efficiently.

I sure wouldn't say that government does nothing efficiently.

I say that *zoning laws* in the USA don't work for their stated purpose. The theory is that they protect communities from nearby land use that would reduce the value of those communities. The practice is that it's relatively cheap for big businesses to do what they want (provided bigger businesses don't interfere to stop them).

My expectation is that hate speech laws in the USA will be similar. If you overhear some uneducated person doing hate speech, you can remind him that he can be arrested for it. He won't understand the law but he knows to be afraid of it. He will feel even more resentful but he will probably shut up around you.

But when a major church leader or a politician etc does hate speech, somebody who has votes behind him, he will not be arrested. He might be challenged on it and he will say that there was enough ambiguity that it wasn't really hate speech. His followers will argue that there wasn't anything hateful about it, he was only describing reality. They will use the issue to gain support and scare their enemies and to look more important. I consider that a fail.

I agree with you that government can be quite capable, and often private enterprise does things worse than government -- even at the things that private enterprise is officially supposed to be good at.

I think that zoning laws generally don't work in the USA, and I assert (with far less evidence, it's an analogy I made up that might be wrong) that hate speech laws are the same way.

361:

I typed up a long post, with much thought and attention to detail, but decided it really wasn't worth it in the end.

I'm with Mikko @318:
"While I believe you might be sincere here, I still will not use my time to try to convince you (or rather, the other readers) that the language you are using sounds pretty much like the doublespeak of the angry white video gamers of the Gamergate. The problem, for me, is the opinion that trying to make people behave (and make the world a nicer place for people) is somehow worse than letting anybody speak what they will, even if it harasses other people."


362:

Shrivenham campus, part of Cranfield University

http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/about/locations-and-contacts/how-to-find-shrivenham/

You don't see many university campus' surrounded with barbed wire.

363:

I can't resist.

Now what you seem to be saying is: "If a law is hard to enforce, then it's not worth having."

I assume that this flows from the line of thought that laws only exist to scare people into behaving in a certain way, whereas I would submit that laws exist to define what a given society feels is acceptable behaviour for it's citizens.

364:

Or almost unenforceable laws exist so they can be selectively enforced against people the state don't like.

365:

I guess you're partly looking for advice here? Comments do have a tendency to drift towards military technology around this sort of comment count, normally referred to as a "strange attractor" but the discussion of individual strategists and logisticitians is unusual.

I do see and agree your point about Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon series.

Also, from your comment about Scotland, would you be able to make it to Resurgence of Trout in the Wotherspoons on Bothwell Street, Glasgow tonight? People should start arriving ~18:00 local and someone will be there until about chucking out time.

366:

The problem, for me, is the opinion that trying to make people behave (and make the world a nicer place for people) is somehow worse than letting anybody speak what they will, even if it harasses other people.

Maybe I can reply shorter. Careful editing takes a long time, but it's worthwhile.

I say, when it's personal, do whatever you want. If you decide that somebody is harassing somebody else, it's just fine for you to harass them about it. It's an open question how much good it will do, but unless there's a moderator who will stop you then you have that de facto right. Harass your heart out.

And if you have the votes to make laws to harass people you don't like, and those laws will stand, then go ahead. Nobody can stop you.

I doubt it will make the world a better place. Some people feel like they have the right to harass other people. You feel like you have a right to harass the harassers. Will it make them better people? Probably no more than their own harassing makes better people of their victims. "We are all of us victims and victims of victims."

I don't say that you're worse than the people you have chosen for enemies. (Or maybe they chose you first, and you accepted their proposal.) I want to suggest a different course to you and not them, only because you're here and they aren't. Not that you're worse.

I like your values. You want to make the world a better place, where people don't harass each other. I only question your methods.

It might work better if you can understand your enemies' goals, the worthy goals that are not so bad. Then you might possibly start to persuade them that their methods to achieve those goals are not so good.

I don't want to tell you that you're bad, or worse than the bad guys. That wouldn't help me.

367:

To be fair, it's less "campus with barbed wire" than "military base with some shiny lecture theatres". It's not as if you can apply for a place on their courses as a member of the public...

There used to be separate single-service Staff Colleges (the one at Camberley was in a rather nice building, and the RN had the fantastic site at Greenwich) but the shrinking armed services of the 90s decided to combine them into a single facility alongside the Royal Military College of Science (which had contracted its academic work out to, and then became a faculty, of what became Cranfield University).

The irony is that the NAO regarded the PFI that built it as better value than could have been achieved in the public sector...

http://www.nao.org.uk/report/ministry-of-defence-the-joint-services-command-and-staff-college/

My one course at the Staff College was before the move to Shrivenham; I had a place on a more advanced course, but I was leaving the TA and so turned it down.

369:

People decide (or notice) for themselves when they are insulted. I can't imagine how the legal system or police could keep Vox Day from being constantly insulted.


I sympathize with your goal but I do not see how to achieve it.

I use the term "insult" to mean "say s.th. to s.o. in order to make same s.o. feel bad".
That's different than "offend" (do something that is wrong in the view of others) or "feel offended" (witness s.th. that in your view is wrong). There's no way for a society to ensure noone ever takes offense, but it's clearly possible to prohibit the deliberate act of insulting s.o. Also note that there's usually a power relation which comes with insults: both persons know that the statement will not be accepted by the offended, but the offender thinks he has the power to get away with it.

As to VD: I guess he's the type of person who's constantly offended by things he has no right to be offended of (homosexuals on the street, blacks as neighbors, muslims in America). He still has the right not to be called a fascist bigot every time
he orders a pizza, visits the laundry or walks through the park.

370:

Sorry, you're right: it's my blooper. (Late night posting after a long drive home.)

371:

He's never been nominated for a Hugo, which I find curious, but also fits the supposed bill of 'writer ignored by fans' if you need that axe ground down a bit.

He's British. And primarily published/acquired in the UK, with US sales as a secondary thing.

If you focus your market presence and activity on the UK market you're a British author; if you focus on the US market you're de facto an American author. (I'm the latter, he's the former, even though we both live in the same country.) And this has effects on the awards: I've never been nominated for a BSFA award and only shortlisted for the Clarke award twice in 15 years, while I'm a regular in the US. Meanwhile ...

372:

But what ghappens when you enemy's goals are your utter destruction, or the utter destrcution of everything that makes you you?

You keep swinging back to the middle ground, to the point of saying (or so I interpret your stance) that we should just compromise, live and let live, learn to get along and accept that some poeple just don't like us.

That works if they don't like you in the priviacy of their own heads, but it seldom stays that way. What happens when your detractors, your opponents, your existential enemies, decide that you need to be expunged from society?

The first step is to persuade as many people as possible that they are right. You have argued that this is fair, that if someone can by words alone persuade others of the rightness of their opinion then more power to them. Of course, the obvious counter is that each side is free to persuade as many as possible that they are right, and the side with the more supporters wins (in this hypothetical situation, they win the right to eradicate their opponents -- because, often these are indeed the stakes that are being played for). Suppose that one side simply lacks the oratorial skills and personalty required to persuade anyone of the rightness of their cause? Is it ok for them to lose? To be removed from society?

This works out ok if you assume that we are all frictionless spherical personalities moving in a rational vacuum (to mangle a well worn metaphor); but people are emotianal irregular lumps swayed by powerful words skillfully delivered by charismatic people, even if those words are something that would be dismissed from a different source, or if presented in an ever so slightly different way.

I think that perhaps we are on the same page, but slightly different lines on this.

373:

I'd suggest that's a systemic problem rather than necessarily a problem with specific laws.

(And, of course, therefore much harder to successfully address.)

374:

@ C Stross, that makes sense, I've been more than a little confused at the nitty-gritty of the Hugo's selection process (as you saw by comments on Prometheus). Thanks for clearing it up (and sorry for pimping the 'competition' on your own blog, I'm confident you understand why I did).

Also, from your comment about Scotland, would you be able to make it to Resurgence of Trout in the Wotherspoons on Bothwell Street, Glasgow tonight?

I'm afraid that would require bending the Laws of Physics, although after a quick Google I'm somewhat disappointed it wasn't a chat up line or invitation to a secret society.

375:

ADMINISTRATION NOTE

The Moderation Policy has now been updated (for the first time in years).

The practice of sealioning will get you an immediate red card — comment deleted, author banned. I see it as a distributed denial of service attack on the recipient's attention, as the expectation is that the recipient will waste a lot of time replying to questions that are not being asked in good faith.

J. Thomas seems to be engaging and changing their position over time, hence no ban. "ron" at comment 368, on the other hand, warranted the bum's rush ...

376:

Point I failed to expand on in my fourth paragraph:

There is an assumption that both sides are fighting for the right to exist and the right to expunge their opponents. Sometimes, of course, one side is simply fighting for the right to exist, and the only possible way to succeed is to remove (or effectively remove) their opponents.

377:

What I don't understand is what all the fuss is about.

Multiple parts.

1. The people who're doing it don't get along with the dominant group. People want them to go away. The theory is that if the bad guys see that they can never win anything, they will go away. However, the SP etc guys regard every minor tactical victory as important, so it's very hard to discourage them enough that they think they can never win anything.

2. People think the award winners have won something important. It might affect future sales etc. Even being nominated and getting on the ballot is an honor. By getting worthless shlock on the ballot in place of good SF they have hurt authors.

Start your own list(s), encourage people with your viewpoint(s) to come in and vote.

The theory is that the award is supposed to represent the will of the worldcon membership. If individual people vote out of the purity of their hearts, they will choose the best. But if people vote lists, the winners will be limited to those lists.

If lists are bad in principle, making a better list does not solve the problem.

How you solve the problem depends on how you define it. I've seen the problem defined in two ways:

1. How can we get rid of the Sad Puppies.
2. How can we make lists ineffective.

The first approach involves things like raising the fee so that people will only pay to vote if they are dedicated, and restricting the voting to people who have attended several recent Worldcons, etc. I think it might be more effective to set up scripts to peruse Sad Puppy and Gamergate sites and forbid membership and voting to anybody who posts on those sites. But that might be too blatant.

The second approach has created discussion about voting systems.
http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/016199.html#016199

The leading suggestion is STV. You nominate 5 candidates, and the most popular of them gets on the short list and the others are discarded. That way people who vote a list can get one of their candidats on the ballot but only one. There are of course side effects....

378:

Reading that definition, I'm not sure if I'm straying close to the line (lion?). Definitely not my intention, if I am.

379:

CS: My understanding was that [John Norman] was a complete pain in the butt to work with, and the books didn't sell all that well. ("Being a pain in the butt" can get even a bestselling author fired.)

JT: Thank you! I suspected something like that, but I had no data.

Rather than relating anything personal, let me offer his RateMyProfessor review - his day job is as a philosophy teacher. Not all of his students were impressed; apparently he teaches and speaks in the same style he writes.

380:

Sealioning ... this blog is a great resource for expanding one's online vocabulary. Thanks!

J Thomas - suggest you read up on NPD. (See def below.)

"Narcissistic personality disorder, also known as NPD, is a personality disorder in which the individual has a distorted self image, unstable and intense emotions, is overly preoccupied with vanity, prestige, power and personal adequacy, lacks empathy, and has an exaggerated sense of superiority. NPD is closely associated with egocentrism - a personality characteristic in which people see themselves and their interests and opinions as the only ones that really matter."

At present, there are some jurisdictions that do not take into legal a person's account mental/behavioral state apart from some very basic cognitive and sensory functions. (Example: Generally, anyone below say an IQ of 40 or eyesight below 4/20 would probably not be allowed to obtain a driver's license. I don't know the exact cut-offs, but am aware they exist.) Given some recent events (i.e., murder-suicide by plane) it is likely that public and private institutions will start to look at certain personality factors more closely and treat these as 'hard data', i.e., distinct, measurable, predictable. Hopefully, this will result in increased public awareness/education of mental health, what it actually means, etc.

381:

Hmmm ... having some editing issues ... let's try again.


At present, there are some jurisdictions that do not take into legal account a person's mental/behavioral state apart from some very basic cognitive and sensory functions. (Example: Generally, anyone below say an IQ of 40 or eyesight below 4/20 would probably not be allowed to obtain a driver's license. I don't know the exact cut-offs, but am aware they exist.) Given some recent events (i.e., murder-suicide by plane) it is likely that public and private institutions will start to look at certain personality factors more closely and treat these as 'hard data', i.e., distinct, measurable, predictable. Hopefully, this will result in increased public awareness/education of mental health, what it actually means, etc.

382:

Martin @ 341:

For successful military leaders who were less wonderful in civilian politics, see Franco, Petain, Jefferson Davis, Curtis LeMay and President Grant.

383:

I'm afraid that would require bending the Laws of Physics, although after a quick Google I'm somewhat disappointed it wasn't a chat up line or invitation to a secret society.
Ah well, I'm afraid we can't manage that ... yet.

384:

You get a pass for being a regular commenter.

The moderation warning is for drive-by posters and those who have a track record of engaging dishonestly with the discourse.

385:

I would definitely take John Norman's course based on those reviews. Would probably give his books a miss, though.

386:

But what ghappens when you enemy's goals are your utter destruction, or the utter destrcution of everything that makes you you?

Best when you can persuade them otherwise. It may not be possible.

You keep swinging back to the middle ground, to the point of saying (or so I interpret your stance) that we should just compromise, live and let live, learn to get along and accept that some poeple just don't like us.

That's the most practical approach, when it works. Some people won't like you. If you take extreme measures about them, then probably more people will dislike you. Better to try to get along. Sometimes that doesn't work.

What happens when your detractors, your opponents, your existential enemies, decide that you need to be expunged from society?

Try to persuade them otherwise. Try to persuade others not to let them do that. If open discussion is allowed, then you get some sense how well you're doing. If it's censored then it's harder to respond to the issues, harder to change minds, harder to find out what you're secretly up against. The people who are being censored feel they have an extra grievance because of it.

Of course, the obvious counter is that each side is free to persuade as many as possible that they are right, and the side with the more supporters wins (in this hypothetical situation, they win the right to eradicate their opponents -- because, often these are indeed the stakes that are being played for).

Yes. I say democracy is better than fighting. You can track how many votes they get. If they win, they are likely to pass laws that require you to emigrate, or at least allow you to emigrate. If instead it's undemocratic and they feel they are being suppressed, they will try to spread in secret. If they win they're likely to overthrow the government and do something violent to you.

Suppression works best against small minorities that can never win. But democracy works well against them too.

Suppose that one side simply lacks the oratorial skills and personalty required to persuade anyone of the rightness of their cause?

If you are persuaded, maybe you will speak for them. Your skills are just fine.

If no one will stand up for them they lose under any system. My poster boy for that is NAMBLA. Nobody likes pederasts, so they get jailed on little evidence, jailed for writing or reading fantasies, put on Sexual Offender lists and nobody wants them living in walking distance, etc. It's wrong, and I don't see what to do about it. If I tried to stand up for them it would hurt me more than it helps them. "You must be a pederast yourself. If not, why do you love them so much?"

My algorithm is:

Try to encourage people to get along.

If they won't get along, try to encourage them to ignore each other.

If they fight while they are both weak, assist the force that tries to make them stop fighting.

If they're too strong to stop, do what looks right. Hope you do not become collateral damage or part of the losing side.

387:

The only book I've thrown at the wall, hard, was a Dan Brown novel, the one with anti-matter, but I'm sure we've all done that.

388:

eh, Grant being bad is more revisionist history by The Lost Cause after the fact. He was basically a competent administrator, if not a stellar leader. Which is in line with a read of his military career as well (and a majority of other presidents). As for the "he was corrupt!" charge you need to consider that using it involves a highly suspicious definition of "corruption" that doesn't include "encouraged or at least passively allowed a large swath of the population be murdered, robbed, exploited, and raped to benefit the part he sided with" as part of being corrupt. When you consider that, he was one of the least corrupt president's we've had - you didn't see that come back until the 1960s.

389:

At the risk of being mistaken for a seal ;-) can we confirm whether or not a <cite needed> reply to a statement which appears to be at odds with the majority view and knowledge of the forum is likely to be considered sea-lioning? When I make those replies it is normally because I suspect the post replied to is trolling, a sniper who will never be seen again, or that the poster's choice of cites will be as informative as the text in them.

390:

This crossed with #389; I'll consider #389 answered.

391:

The only Dan Brown I've ever read was "Flight of the Old Dog", and that came very close to becoming a missile weapon when he got a B-52 to go supersonic!

392:

(Pauses to pull new rule out of arse):

You get one free "cite needed" per ten comments.

Two in one comment = a yellow card warning.

Three or more = a rad card.

You get an extra "cite needed" if you're a recognized regular here, or a moderator.

You get infinite "cite needed" if you're a blogger and the author of the current post.

OK?

(Citation requests can easily become derailing even when they're well-intentioned, so I don't want to encourage their over-use.)

393:

That's fair; as I say the main time when I use the tactic is when I actually don't expect to cause anything more derailing than a demonstration that the comment I replied to will not be defended by its poster.

394:

Slate magazine chimed in yesterday.

395:

Please preview and test your URLs before submitting! (I fixed it. Wearing my moderator hat. Because I'm bored. Do not count on me to do that in future.)

396:

Going back to the original subject of Castalia, my point was that they do seem to have interesting connections, and important friends, but from my reading its certainly not a Euro-rightist thing at all.
Also note they have a US homeschooling curriculum series.
That is very much a US centric business.

397:

That's a fine algorithm, I think it covers pretty well what any rational compasionate empathetic person would apply in any given disagreement.

I'm still a little wary that you seem to be determined to occupy the middle ground until your support on either side can no longer possibly sway the outcome. I guess from my point of view, it would be better to take sides when it might make a difference (possibly even just to try to moderate one side or the other), rather than waiting until all is lost and throwing the hands up and declaring "oh well, there was never anything we could do anyway".

(Aside: I'm not sure that your NAMBLA example is a good one. If they only want the right to exist as human beings, without being unduly discriminated against, then fair enough; if they are saying that they should be allowed to pursue a pederast lifestyle without undue dicrimination, then a big fat resounding "no".)

398:

A US centric business run out of Finland by an American expat allegedly living in Italy.

Whose dad is in federal prison for tax evasion because EBIL GUBBMINT MONEY-GRABBERS, and who seems to have drifted to the right, politically, since he endorsed Rand Paul during the last Republican primary campaign.

It's interesting, isn't it? But I'd like to discourage further speculation along these lines because in the absence of a statement from the man himself, or factual evidence, I don't want to host any potentially defamatory accusations.

(I wonder if VD knows about VATMESS and has taken it into account in running his business? It probably won't bite him hard if he sticks to selling B2B, but if he tries to go B2C, he might discover that the IRS aren't the worst tax authorities he has to worry about.)

399:

I read two Dan Brown's. It's on my time paradox list; when those pesky future tourists show up, I'm hijacking the time-bus and going back to burn the bloody things before I ever touch them! Time. I. Will. Not. Get. Back.

400:

I usually fix them, silently, if I notice. I will also fix unintended formatting with < characters being misinterpreted as HTML, and similar format failures where the intended meaning was obvious and incorrect HTML broke it.

But if I don't spot an obvious breakage, I'm not going to be looking at the raw source.

401:

The reason why he's foreign based is no mystery at all.
US IRS is brutal about foreign assets and income.
Way more brutal than the Euros are. Lots of Euro banks have a huge beef with the IRS.
If I recall some recent posts Castalia is mixed up some way with the family business, so there's probably some legalities there.
There are quite a lot of American tax expats these days.

402:

Sorry, I seem to have inadvertently trolled the thread, but it righted itself well enough.

J Thomas #377 - it would make things better if you followed the normal nomenclature. You appear to be referring to a "slate" as a "list", which could easily confuse people like me. A slate, especially in this case, is a list of works to vote for. A list, to many readers, is merely a list of books with no special connotations. There are emphatically a bunch of open and hidden connotations with the SP slate, so calling it a list doesn't do it justice. Uninformed people might get the impression that the SP's are just making a list of stuff they like and that isn't much different from the ad hoc lists people like Scalzi encourage to be made on their blog of stuff that is eligible for voting this year.

But clearly both the intent and the actual practise are different.

403:

Nah. He's in Italy, where tax evasion is endemic.

However, we shall see.

404:

I'm still a little wary that you seem to be determined to occupy the middle ground until your support on either side can no longer possibly sway the outcome.

I am better off if my neighbors don't fight. If possible I want to persuade them to co-exist. When the time comes that I tell one of them "You are wrong and your enemy is right. I will help him kill you" I lose most of my ability to persuade, I become just a number in the opposing army.

I'm not sure that your NAMBLA example is a good one. If they only want the right to exist as human beings, without being unduly discriminated against, then fair enough; if they are saying that they should be allowed to pursue a pederast lifestyle without undue dicrimination, then a big fat resounding "no".

There are people who take that exact stand about homosexuals. You probably think the difference between them and you is larger than I think it is. I don't want to argue at length the merits of homosexuality compared to pederasty, but the argument that people cannot give informed consent until birthday X and then they can is bogus. The argument that people are necessarily better off learning about sex with someone who knows no more than they do is mostly bogus. The differences beween inviting a child to do sex play for the first time, inviting an adult to their first homosexual experience, and inviting someone on their first caving or mountaineering adventure are not that large. Any of the four can be done in a way that is fundamentally wrong and abusive.

I don't want anybody raping children or seducing them into things that will bother them for the rest of their lives. And as far as I'm concerned it's fine for people who know they're homosexual to play together. I think you are more right than the homophobes. But if you were to try to define precisely what the difference is, it wouldn't be a clear bright line but a murky twisty mess.

NAMBLA is in the bad place where nobody likes them and so they don't have rights. I'm reasonably sure that some of them are not as bad as you think, and probably some of them are. But nobody listens to them and it's even illegal for them to speak up for themselves -- if they described the difference between what they want to claim they do versus what you think they do, it would come out as child porn and they could be arrested for it.

But what happens when you enemy's goals are your utter destruction, or the utter destrcution of everything that makes you you?

That's happening to them. Society wants them gone. It's OK for them to survive so long as they don't ever do the thing that makes them themselves, or share fantasies about it.

Luckily, they are such a small and disorganized group that it's unlikely they can ever hit back.

405:

"The only book I've thrown at the wall, hard, was a Dan Brown
novel, the one with anti-matter, but I'm sure we've all done that"

Nope. Being, as my tag suggests, moderately experienced, I once
opened a Dan Brown tome (novel is probably the wrong word) to
see if it looked as bad as it the reviews indicated. Well, a
quick glance at a couple of pages indicated that it was probably
worse, so I never went further.

I have thrown one book against the wall, but I now forget what.
I can remember that it was as humorous as Pilgrim's Progress,
as literate as Jeffrey Archer's works and with as coherent a
plot as Tristram Shandy. And it went downhill from there.

406:

Grant wasn't personally corrupt, but he appointed men who were. And reconstruction was defeated on his watch. So a below average president although a superb general.

407:

I've been reading many of the posts on this topic, both here and on other blogs. I'm in agreement with the broad consensus that slates are a horrid concept with respect to the Hugo Award, and have no sympathy for the Picnic Skunks* because of their use of the method.

I will be voting No Award for all of the candidates who IMHO have affiliated themselves with the Picnic Skunks (of either stripe). This is a slightly more nuanced position than a blanket 'On Slate = No Award'.

I am concerned that a hard-line position on slates will be used against non-Picnic Skunks next year. It is easy to imagine the Picnic Skunks putting a few popular authors on their slate, then chittering away that anyone with a strict 'No Slate' policy is hypocritical if they vote for the slate-included author. (The Picnic Skunks would then, of course, fail to vote for the nominee for the actual award.) I can even see them trying it with Scalzi's 'The End of All Things', but he'd probably figure out an elegant way to eviscerate them. Which would be fun to watch, actually....

While it's worthwhile to ponder the longer-term goals of the Picnic Skunks, especially the rabid variety, I'm not sure that I'm willing to credit them with enough foresight to have a long-term plan that is viable. I suspect they think they have a plan, but if it is a workable one is the open question.


*Thanks to Tim Walters in a comment on the Making Light blog for this:

The rules permitted a contestant to submit any number of entries as long as each was written on a Skyway Soap wrapper or reasonable facsimile.
I considered photographing one and turning out facsimiles by the gross, but Dad advised me not to. "It is within the rules, Kip, but I've never yet known a skunk to be welcome at a picnic."

—Robert A. Heinlein, Have Space Suit, Will Travel

408:

To be clear, it is perfectly honorable to be a tax expat.
The laws regarding international assets and income are often ridiculous. As I said before, this is becoming increasingly common. The fact that US laws are such that living in Europe is often preferable from the point of view of the general business climate, is a significant deficiency of the US which I hope will soon be corrected.

If it simplifies things to live in Europe, then c'est la vie.

As for Finland, I understand that the webmaster is a Finnish friend of his. That also makes sense. There are plenty of businesses in the US where hosting and web services are remote from the business location.

I did not mean to imply in any way that Castalia is not legitimate, just that they are interesting in a different way than implied by the original post.

409:

Also note they have a US homeschooling curriculum series.
That is very much a US centric business.

It's also one dominated by fundamentalist christian groups, who don't want their kiddies being exposed to Evil Evolution among other things. On the other hand I know someone who homeschooled using a curriculum from the US State Department provided for the children of overseas diplomats.

410:

To be fair, the nature of the throwing can change depending on your investment in the work.
Tom Kratman was flung in the direction of the bin in disgust a few chapters in and bounced off the wall on the way. No inherent value in the work as it was a hostel library swap book, so no sense of loss either.

OGH was flung at the wall in fury because he'd spent five books drawing me in to a rather fascinating world and then nuked the crap out of it in the sixth as the bad guys won*. That was a several days of reading and a good week of tracking down out of print books around london bookshops and libraries, which meant the ending was intensely frustrating to me. For reasons that would surprise no one, when the sixth book came out, the second was literally unobtainable anywhere. I had read 1 from the library, bought 3 & 4, libraried 5 & 6 as they were both HC at the time and I think I ended up torrenting book 2 because not even amazon had a copy in the UK.
*For now apparently.

411:

I am done. I am out.

You have just crossed the line and (implicitly) conflated pederasty, pedophilia and homosexuality.

You have also, in a very passive-agressive backhanded compliment sort of manner, compared me to homophobes.

Your arguments are therefore, as far as I am concerned, bunk.

412:

It might interest you to know of the experiences of two of my US friends who have just moved to Sweden.
In their words:

Another nutty thing with the banks is, they won't allow US citizens to invest with them. This is one of the many annoying things that one must deal with as an American living abroad due to strict US tax laws. "Any US citizen living abroad who owns assets (checking, savings, pension, brokerage investments, life insurance, property, car, etc.) registered outside the US equaling a total of more than $10,000 – and that’s for all accounts, whether individual or joint ownership – is required to file an FBAR." One American was told she needed "to pay 25 percent of [the value of] all my overseas assets, based on the highest balance in the sum total of all my bank accounts, retirement accounts, apartment, car, etc. over the last eight years." "The penalty for non-compliance of FBAR is $10,000 per bank account per year, with the IRS looking back six years." Makes it hard to grow any roots overseas, all for the sake of bringing the US government more in tax dollars. Owning a car and having enough money to pay rent for a couple months puts one easily into FBAR territory which is pretty FUBAR.

Based on that, I'd guarantee that Castalia is a tax dodge.

413:

OGH was flung at the wall in fury because he'd spent five books drawing me in to a rather fascinating world and then nuked the crap out of it in the sixth as the bad guys won.

The new series is all about the fateful consequences of that ending. Non-spoiler: the bad guys didn't win, they just created a whole steaming portion of butt-hurt for themselves, to be served up later. And [some of] the good guys are still around.

I'm hoping you enjoy it ...

414:

ah, adapting the legal doctrine of Quia Ego Sic Dico. I quite approve :)

Something that occurs to me in the larger picture - the various puppies have steadily watered down their ideological coherence in an attempt to get a "slate win" and claim victory that way, rather than the ideological win they want. They want to drive everyone to the left of Attila the Hun out of the genre and have the rewards heaped on those espousing racial supremacy, but now they are bringing on some who trend more towards what they are against.

At what point does their slate become so watered down with having those they hate on it out of desperation for a movement victory that their actual goal becomes irrelevant?

415:

As for Finland, I understand that the webmaster is a Finnish friend of his. That also makes sense. There are plenty of businesses in the US where hosting and web services are remote from the business location.

Yes, that's quite true. It's interesting also to note that Alpenwolf oy, the Finnish games house that owns the server, is allegedly run by Markku Koponen, a very active commenter on the Vox Day blog, who claims on a different blog that he has by far the largest amount of comments of the entire forum [...] more than, say, Vox". And to note that the Alpenwolf oy domain appears to be registered to Theo Beale (presumably the same Theodore Beale who is known as Vox Day).

It's also interesting to note that Castalia House was incorporated in Finland in 2013 as a travel agency with less than five employees, before pivoting into publishing: and that the Facebook page of the operator, Ahti Tapio Jokinen, looks like this. (Interesting choice of use pic, isn't it?)

Okay, someone may be jerking my chain and I may be entirely misinformed, in which case I shall not hesitate to correct the record and apologize, but: by their friends shall ye know them, right?

416:

I think the only time I've actually thrown a book based on what was in it was Butcher's Dead Beat. This climax is well known now, but at the time it was less than a year old and I'm very familiar with the exhibit in question. I got so stoked with excitement and joy I tossed the book while laughing like a weirdo, posted a line to livejournal along the lines of "OMG love it!" and rushed over to pick it up and continue reading.


And I wouldn't say the nukes falling ended it at all - that's buying into the concept of redemptive violence cross mixed with the FInal Victory. Its a fairly common staple across fiction and culture (eg blowing up the Death Star 2 caused a galaxy spanning empire encompassing 10^26 beings with an army of quintillions and billions of starships to evaporate instantly instead of keep going with a new head of state). I think it comes out of the Christian vision of the apocalypse, that there will be one final fight where you kill the right person and suddenly everything is good and there are no consequences. Which is obviously nonsense in real life, and the stories tend to hew more towards how things really work than accepting narrative endings. So I was never that disappointed and have been looking forward to christian fascist America vs British fascist not-America for a while.

417:

but: by their friends shall ye know them, right?

Really begs the question of how they got people like Torgersen to work with them, given his family. Ambition to get the award that high for him? Complete ignorance of their actual explicit politics and now he just keeps digging? Some way more complicated mess of emotions and beliefs?

418:

I don't throw books, but I have been known not to finish them, e.g. "Altered Carbon", whose McGuffin was naff and old fashioned and was a bit dull and lacking in any sort of feel of a real future world.

Re. TOrgersen, it has been pointed out elsewhere that misogynists often still end up married to women, despite having a low opinion of them.

419:

A digression, but -
Homeschooling in the US is massive, in the millions.
Its not just fundamentalist/evangelical Christians either.
If you have some experience of the quality and programs of many US public schools (government schools for you British) its likely you would sympathize, and may well consider homeschooling yourselves, in the same situation.
If anything, its to the fundamentalists/evangelicals credit that they collectively put enormous resources and support networks in place, that on the whole provide a much better education than the public schools would. Evolution aside, the basic education resources and programs they have (there is a great variety of course) are very rich and superior to what the public schools generally offer.
Don't get me started on this subject, math in particular. BTW, the ideological climate here in the US is such that mathematics curriculums are political footballs.

420:

Yes, just opening an account is near-impossible.
Consider the trouble of owning even part of a business established outside the US. It just becomes nonsense.
Sell out (and deal with years of paperwork even for that) or become an expat become the only reasonable options.

421:

I suspect I probably will rather like it.

To be fair I think a lot of my issues came down to the abruptness of the ending, and the lack of any follow up, which came down to (I later found) your well documented issues with the publishers.

Just the knowledge that there is something else coming along redeems the situation, and knowing you plan to properly explore the .. hem .. fallout ... well now.

Come to think of it I had a similar reaction to Maggie Furey's work back in the 90s, which started off strong and then just plain stopped. I hate not having a proper ending, even if it isn't an ending I particularly want to see.

422:

Ahh, I see three trends here and I'm going to have to start moving into highly metaphorical language if we don't want elves all over the place. Or get really brutally honest and I'm not sure this is the correct place; the various allusions to certain places with barbwire outside certainly aren't helping, as I've no intention of ever being inside one.

Our host might wish to prune some references as 'The Beast[1]' will already be indexing certain terms. It might be wise just to delete this account. Hmm.


As such, I'll be answering all of these in a dramaturgical manner and will switch narrative voice.

J Thomas - your vanilla is showing. The debate you're framing has moved so beyond your frame[2] that you're either working from a place of relative naivety (it seems very dated to mention NAMBLA - that was the 1970's) or are just setting up a signal flare so that lesser minds will trip the non-thought switch of "ultra left / non-believers = ultra permissive = they will pimp your kids". Charitably, and for your own sanity, I'll suspect innocence - you missed some fairly baitey references earlier, so.

It's not a nice space, and I need some bleach already: the only positive / concrete comment I will make is that there's a categorical difference in human sexuality once puberty has occurred that is conflated away dangerously (with regards to Law, personal rights and plain sensible cultural norms, even when framed so crassly as "Romeo and Juliet" Laws). Beyond that (in both Legal and Temporal and Developmental terms), consent issues over-ride everything else without excuse.

Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.” This includes as things-for-sexual-gratification.

I won't be drawn further or we'd get into highly technical discussions over genetics, neurochemicals, epigenetics and the Ethics of 'fixing' a non-normative mental schema. [Hint: problematic, as boundary issues and where this normative spectrum is defined is a football, but see the quotation above].

I will say that it's entirely possible to do, whether or not it's in the general culture yet is a different matter - it will be soon[tm]. Then again, you can 'solve' such issues using extremely crude tools such as electric shocks, chemicals and even hammers and sharp shears, so any number of Ethics blogs will have discussions about it.

http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/tag/pedophilia/

~~~

Regarding the Slates - obvious point no-one's made: bad cop, badder cop, behind the curtain is the Wizard and behind that curtain are even worse things that you won't see in public[2]. In SF terms I strongly suspect everyone involved[3] is currently stacking up their Knife Missiles and what's making the public sphere is extremely watered down / edited.

Cf for Americans, a little potted paranoia over British fascist history:

80's Antifascist commentary

The unlovable history of Combat 18

Given my first post, I've heard of people who have read said manifesto and consider it virulently dangerous, but view the entire 5GW narrative as highly suspect. I won't return to the topic, SF blog and all that.

Athena, my guide and love


~~~

Regarding Slate (the magazine), muppets: one of their writers is baiting on Twitter and I view them with contempt. Crude and shallow. As has most of the narrative been so far, which ironically is strengthening the feedback loop. Cut the bullshit, some honesty and you'd be amazed at the potential sea changes and paradigm shifts. Why people are unable to do this is making my nose itch.

~~~


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Up4FdqYp_co


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpvWZOvzums


I did mention a favorite C Stross novel for a reason.

@Mod - I apologize if links are broken.

[1] Hint - this isn't the old ARPG, it's a new conspiracy meme, although it's interesting they share the same fundamentals. People are learning basic camouflage tactics, clever little squid.
[2] Dark Web, current news scandals, blackmail, computer security, who knew and who kept the evidence. Playing with this stuff has very high barriers to not being eaten, I'm just a fluffy mouse.
[3] This includes everyone involved. There's clear signs that some sharks with clout are swimming around just by the way certain fish part and some of them aren't computer savvy enough to have covered their tracks enough. YMMV / CYA. Irony is fully intended, you got me govn'a. V&.

423:

" .. Sealioning ... this blog is a great resource for expanding one's online vocabulary. Thanks! "

Its not just ' vocabulary ' Sea Lions are a Clear and Present Danger to all that US of A vians hold dear...


http://www.grindtv.com/wildlife/voracious-sea-lions-invade-columbia-river/#bWSeBj3ejbBpBtux.97


They will be demanding that Obama Care be expanded into a real National Health Service any day now!

424:

I had been thinking of asking whether or not " Castalia House " could be a place holder that might permit a later transformation into an entirely different kind of company?

It’s not unheard of for someone to set up a string of company names and identities so that said 'companies ' might later be bought as a package.

I wonder if it might be advantageous to, say, controllers of huge amounts of capital obtained after the collapse of the Soviet Empire that a company exists in Finland that is owned and controlled by an American?

425:

Yeah, "dominated' was probably an overstatement. I should add that what I mentioned was at least 15 years ago, so I can imagine things may have changed since then. Now there's online homeschooling through local school districts, and there's a secular homeschooling movement. The wikipedia page for Homeschooling in the US shows religious reasons as one of the top motivations.

426:

The "why Finland" is quite likely to be for prosaic reasons.

As a finance type person (in my past) I have been involved with various types of eu companies. Finland does not come up as a place of choice to incorporate - for tax or any other reasons. Only involvement I've had with a Finnish entity was when there needed to be a Finnish entity in order to trade in Finland. Can't remember the details, but I think it was because we were selling to government. That's a common requirement.

Given the mention of non-SF authors it is possible there may be some territory rights that Castalia has with regard to those authors. Or that due to KYC it was easy to sign documents when a particular person was in a particular jurisdiction. KYC these days often means that you have to actually turn up in person often to sign documents.

Worth noting that Van Crevald's most recent book is not through Castalia. It is through a London house. Perhaps Castalia has some rights to a backlist or has something regional?

427:

I am so glad that someone else jumped back in to parse what I had lost the will, energy and patience to untangle.

Also, congratulations on the highly eccentric and colourful yet cogent thought process.

428:

Also, congratulations on the highly eccentric and colourful yet cogent thought process.

Not even my final or true form, these days there's some serious meat-fuckers around.

In an assembly of phantasms such as I have painted, it may well be supposed that no ordinary appearance could have excited such sensation. In truth the masquerade license of the night was nearly unlimited; but the figure in question had out-Heroded Herod, and gone beyond the bounds of even the prince's indefinite decorum. There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion. Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made.

429:

OK, I'm now almost sure I've read your comments on Metafilter in late 2013. Dark Enlightenment and all that. Can I claim my five pounds?

430:

Let's not forget that even if The Hugos Melt into Incandescent Slag and then magically transform into Puppy Shit ... there are other Awards...

http://www.kategriffin.net/2015/04/09/clarke-awards/

431:

" Can I claim my five pounds? "

' five pounds ' of what?

This isn't one of those subtle Latin References is it?

If so it is far too 'umble. You are ment to declaim ' Vae victis ' as you throw your sword onto the scales.

" Vae victis (IPA: [ˈwai ˈwiktiːs]) is Latin for "woe to the vanquished", or "woe to the conquered". Victis is the dative plural form of victus; the dative singular forms of the phrase are vae victo (masculine & neuter) & vae victae (feminine). The phrase serves to remind that those defeated in battle are entirely at the mercy of their conquerors and should not expect—or request—leniency.

In 390 BC, an army of Gauls led by Brennus attacked Rome, capturing all of the city except for the Capitoline Hill, which was successfully held against them. Brennus besieged the hill, and finally the Romans asked to ransom their city. Brennus demanded 1,000 pounds (327 kg) of gold and the Romans agreed to his terms.[1] Livy, in Ab Urbe Condita (Book 5 Sections 34–49),[2] recorded that the Gauls provided steelyard balances and weights which were used to measure the amount of gold. The Romans brought the gold, but claimed that the provided weights were fixed. The Romans complained to Brennus about the issue. Brennus took his sword, threw it on to the weights, and exclaimed, "Vae victis!" The Romans were forced to bring more gold to fulfill their obligation as they then had to counterbalance the sword as well."

432:

Conditional on no tech-singularity or ELE, I would expect eugenics to return in a big way towards the middle of this century...

I'm not sure a belief in the singularity is a sane position myself.

As such, I'll be answering all of these in a dramaturgical manner and will switch narrative voice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjVvYAL_g_c


Not sure, you'd be surprised what gets archived and used as a communal resource across the internet (everthing).

Then again, if someone was talking about this in 2013, it would seem they had some kind of insight into future movements. I presume their account on Meta Filter has a high standing?

Meat-fuckers is a specific reference, fyi. Don't be that person who tries to police the Grey Area.

433:

Nooo, it's a Lobby Lud reference, by way of Private Eye I suppose.

434:

A light-hearted suggestion: If one of the puppies should actually win an award they could be presented with a special rocket resembling this (needs fins), or this one. I know it would cost too much to make them for "just in case".
Somehow I suspect that future Hugo lists may have asterisks* for this year and maybe a few after, until a fix is found or it dies out.

*for "Sad Puppy slate year".

435:

I wouldn't try to piss off Grey Area without the back-up of something like Mistake Not... or Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints, maybe Cacyonym even.

Unrelated: Charlie, I've got a good chunk of Scottish ancestry and play a lot of Dwarf Fortress lately, during a discussion on how to best give useful skills to dorf kids years ago the term "Dwarven Child Care" was coined, and it is basically horrifying. During one of the more recently discussions I took part in someone suggested using reanimated hair due to the inability of undead hair to damage the kids while being all but impossible for the kids to damage it back.

One of the more active childcare experts mentioned how he had some animated wool that was being used as a "Guest Lecturer", which involved it being dropped into the room with the kids and them punching the crap out of it until they pass out or it falls apart.

He used a term though which I hope amuses you as much as it did me...

"Vigorous Wool Pounding"

That is all.

436:

J Thomas - your vanilla is showing.

And why should it not? I'm not ashamed of it.

(it seems very dated to mention NAMBLA - that was the 1970's)

Yes, and they lost completely and are still anathema as Dave shows. How are they not the poster boy for what happens when nobody likes you?

or are just setting up a signal flare so that lesser minds will trip the non-thought switch of "ultra left / non-believers = ultra permissive = they will pimp your kids"

I was actually hoping people might stretch enough to see that common liberal attitudes about NAMBLA are almost exactly like common conservative attitudes about gays. (The big difference is that liberals are objectively right while conservatives are objectively wrong;-) I think that's worth noticing. But it failed. Next time it comes up I'll try something different.

... there's a categorical difference in human sexuality once puberty has occurred that is conflated away dangerously (with regards to Law, personal rights and plain sensible cultural norms, even when framed so crassly as "Romeo and Juliet" Laws).

Yes, of course. It's categorical. Your society knows best, and knows all the relevant details. Objective truth supports your position, and everybody knows this.

Beyond that (in both Legal and Temporal and Developmental terms), consent issues over-ride everything else without excuse.

Yes, consent is vitally important, and how do people consent to things they have never experienced and don't understand? An adult who has never been caving does not know what he is getting into on his first wild caving trip. I heard about a guy who took some novices caving, and he left them alone in the cave. He went on ahead, set an explosive charge, came back, ignited it (with muted explosive noises and chemical smells), invited them forward and cleared out some rubble intending to take them into a section of cave that nobody had ever been in before. I consider that abuse.

“Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.” This includes as things-for-sexual-gratification.

Yes. This is something that some people do in various contexts. There are likely to be elements of that whenever people have sex with anyone they have not had long experience with.

I won't be drawn further or we'd get into highly technical discussions over genetics, neurochemicals, epigenetics and the Ethics of 'fixing' a non-normative mental schema.

Yes. It's only natural to claim that science supports your opinions. Homophobes did that until times changed and science stopped supporting them.

[Hint: problematic, as boundary issues and where this normative spectrum is defined is a football, but see the quotation above].

As new technology provides more methods to meddle with people's thinking, it will increasingly happen. People who have power will do it to people they have power over. People who justify things for people with power will come up with excuses for them. I'm not sure what to say about that. My opinions about it probably don't much matter, except to me. Unless I find a way to say them that resonates with a lot of people or with powerful people.

437:

Re your analogy between how liberals view NAMBLA and conservatives view gays - telling us that humans have certain commonalities of behaviour no matter their political outlook doesn't actually tell us anything new or move any sort of discussion anywhere. Perhaps you would like to be clearer on what you are saying?

438:

... telling us that humans have certain commonalities of behaviour no matter their political outlook doesn't actually tell us anything new or move any sort of discussion anywhere. Perhaps you would like to be clearer on what you are saying?

If we can see that other people's irrational attitudes are not so different from our own, maybe we can listen with a sympathetic ear? Not to agree, probably not to compromise, but to look for ways to coexist?

Conservatives live in a terrifying world where everything is falling apart and liberals are trying to tear society apart. And in typical human fashion they are making attempts to return the favor. To create any hope of coexistence somebody must see past the propaganda, and we can't expect them to take that initiative.

(Sorry to use the oversimplified two-label labels, but to some extent it makes sense to group people that way, and adding more complicated labels doesn't help this particular thought.)

439:

Nooo, it's a Lobby Lud reference, by way of Private Eye I suppose.

If you're a reader of Private Eye, randomly accusing / doxxing people two years apart in different forums on a minor hunch of being the same person should be a no-no, surely?

We're not on Twitter, and I'd expect someone who reads Private Eye to understand that much: if I am not, then you still have a cloud of angry bees now on a honey-hunt.

Classy move.

...maybe Cacyonym even.

Clever. We see what you did there. Bit forced, but clever enough, ancient Greek beats Latin in a cultural fist-fight.

Slightly related:

It">http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=140588.610;wap2">It managed to knock out some teeth from one dwarf and ruptured another one's liver before I hit the flushdown lever.

Shall ask Nathan where else you appear on the internet?

Yes, of course. It's categorical. Your society knows best, and knows all the relevant details

Yes, there is a categorical difference between pre and post puberty mammals. It's a fairly major biochemical process within which many things can go wrong.

I'm not going to link you into biology blogs as well.


Sigh - watch out for the people who kill fun, they're the dangerous ones. /out

440:

Despite my better judgement, but in the hope of avoiding being sucked back in by replying tangentially, I would like to offer an analysis of J Thomas debating style. However I really couldn't be bothered.

Suffice it to say that clarity is the very last thing he will or wants to offer. He keeps claiming that next time he'll be just a bit more concise and clear, and then isn't; he likes to begin his answers to a point with "yes", and then go on to disagree; conversely he will open a response with "no", and then agree. At least once he has stated that he's not actually debating with someone, when he clearly is. He has thrown in the red herring of NAMBLA, setting a challenge in such a way as to ensure that silence is tacit agreement, and challenging his use of such an example merely supports his argument (and then rather superciliously claiming that no one got his point). He has several times used an unfavourable comparison to implicitly associate those that disagree with him as homophobes (although he will calmly point out that we just don't get his point, and clearly aren't the intellectual titan that he is).

In short: Engage with the man at your own peril. He is disingenuous at best.

441:

You have to read Dan Brown books in the spirit they were written, i.e. not a thriller or mystery novel but as a travel guide. I'll make sure to re-read the relevant Dan Brown book before I visit Rome, Paris, Florence or Washington.

442:

Actually I think that analysis is wrong. It deals with the issue as if this is just a storm in a Hugo teacup. This isn't just about a couple of conservative writers with noses out of joint. I don't think your analyses recognises the wider context referenced in the OP.

There is a clear feeling in US conservatism that they are in the majority (and should be in the majority) but that when they look at institutions they do not see themselves represented in the way they feel they should be. I think the analysis that VD et al subscribe to, is that when they are not represented in they way they should be, then there has been a plot/hijack by liberals.

You can see this repeated in threads all over the internet. Complaints about the liberal bias media, complaints about how liberals have control of academia.

The Puppies viewpoint is that they have been denied something they deserve by right because there has been been a liberal plot. This is no different from the frequently expressed viewpoint that Obama is in the White House via some trickery. He doesn't deserve to be there (birther etc) but the clever lefties got him in because they have subverted the process or have cheated. The Puppies don't have to document the "plot", they can tell there is a plot because the outcome is wrong.

So the Puppies will feel they are uncovering a leftie plot and will feel justified in any behaviour because they are 'righting a wrong'. But furthermore, because the VDanalysis is that there is a liberal cabal, then anything they do in pursuit of 'justice' for themselves is fair. They have to cheat in order to get the right result - because the other side must have cheated.

There was some talk in earlier posts about VD+travellers being in the minority. They clearly do not think they are. They see themselves as a disenfranchised silent majority. And this is common in many spheres. Why call on GG for support? - because GG have 'uncovered' some liberal/SJW plot on their patch.

I had actually composed this post in my mind before I followed the William Lind link above:

"Lind is also a pundit on political matters. He's a proponent of the view that Marxists control much of what is in popular television content..."

These people (VD et al) believe that if they don't have their hands on all the levers of power it's because there has been some plot which has deprived them of that control. It isn't about a few conservative authors who think they have got a raw deal. It's about people who are motivated to action because the world they live in is not the world which has recognised what they are "entitled to" by "right".

443:

I was worried that I've been a bit preachy in this thread, but having someone try to say that maybe we can see the others viewpoint and co-exist makes it clear that I haven't been preachy enough....

IN this particular case, the SP have been shouting random stuff from their megaphone outside someones house for three years now, in an attempt to get whoever hears them to buy their books and like books like theirs. In most places the police will arrest them or the council come up with some formula to deal with it.
J Thomas seems now to think that if we can come to an agreement, perhaps along the lines of shouting only 4 mornings a week, we can all co-exist happily.

Which is a pretty stupid idea.

444:

To expand further on your comment - part of the problems surfacing, if we take various comments on various blogs at face value, is that there are quite a few people who are of a somewhat conservative persuasion and read books of the sort the SP like, but simply didn't know about the ability to affect the Hugo awards, and didn't even really think that their kind of books were relevant. That seems to be one recruiting ground.
There was also an attempt to recruit GamerGater people, i.e. nasty griefers, usually sexist, racist etc. It doesn't seem to have worked, fortunately.

So as per many political movements, we've got a leadership which is talking some very pretty speech in public (Have you seen what VD is saying on Black Gate, or whatisname on Making Light and his own blog?), whilst not noticing or caring that their past comments and behaviour indicate a deep well of nastiness within them.
But many of the followers don't know this and just want to see more books of the sort they like promoted. Others want to stick it to the liberals who've been denying people their just reward.

445:

Dan Brown and Dale Brown [author of numerous right-wing, Republican wish-fulfilment mil-techno- porn, of which "Flight of the Old Dog" is but one example] are two separate authors.

And Dan is the more entertaining one IMO...

446:

It's late, I'm tired, and typing a long reply on an iPhone is more than I can bear right now. So I will just say: Yup.

447:

Sigh, no, that's not what J Thomas is doing. I get her/his/its position and it's almost to a level where it's useful; don't be hateful, be grateful - s/he/it is at least expending energy to attempt a transformation.

Random snark from Meta Filter users who think they're actually in the loop is far less useful. (As suspected: all snark, no soul and no decent comments, can't manage a comeback in a paper bag).

Hint: the moment Meta Filter died was the comment that stated like a lost lamb when shit went down: "...but we're the elite".

For reference:

Eina dottvr ————–A daughter
berr Alfra/ðvll———–is birthed by Elf-Splendor (the Sun goddess)
aþr hana Fenrir fari; —after she is swallowed by the wolf
sv scal riða, ————–She (the New Sun) shall ride
þa er regin deyia, ——as the gods are dying
modvr bra/tir mer.—–the old paths of her mother.

Read it how you may.

448:

The intellectual giants gather in their own shadows.
And are thus illuminated..
Within the context of their own comprehension.
We all are richer.

Indeed.

449:

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE

I am marvelling at the size of this thread and boggling at some of the more recondite metaphors, resisting the urge to go LOLWHUT?!? when a point goes whizzing past my head and provokes a response that appears to be based on comprehension ...

... So I am not going to shut comments down overnight.

But I am going to bed, and I will be through here in the morning[*] with fire and the sword in event of an invasion by sea lions.

Oink! Oink!

[*] After visiting the Apple Store at the top of the road to play with a shiny new Macbook.

450:

Cacyonym is a ship name! It's one of the upgraded offensive units.

I try to go by this name everywhere since so many sites allow you to use the trademark symbol (it is pronounced and stands for Thyme, I actually sign my name this way too because I can!) which means it is rarely taken while Max is so often taken.

451:

Okay, you can have him all to yourself. We won't mind.

452:

Courtesy of my recently aquired 1973 reprint of the 1967 edition of "The Criminal Law of Scotland" by G H Gordon,

"Bigamy is a very difficult crime to classify. It appears at first glance to be a sexual offence and HUme regards it as being similar to adultery. ... Bigamy was at once time prosecuted as perjury under the now reealed Act 551, c19, as involiving a breach of marriage vows, but it is now always prosecuted as an independent common law crime. ... . and the crime is perhaps best regarded as an offence against public order and decency."

Naturally things will be different in other countries and nowadays in Scotland.

453:

@ Max.

:sad panda:

Then Iain made a really funny joke that many people don't get.

An incorrect name for something, especially in taxonomic classification., and he spelt it incorrectly on purpose.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/caconym

I delve too deep, I thought you were making a meta-meta-joke.

Okay, you can have him all to yourself. We won't mind.

Part of the point.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqnKxgWIpz0

If, as someone has suggested, I am engaged in such processes, someone on the "left" just murdered me. Literally. Deliberately. For shits n giggles.

Playing with this stuff has very high barriers to not being eaten, I'm just a fluffy mouse.


Luckily, I'm something a little bit more dangerous, kinky and scary. (Yeah. "This one has power" and all that. Phase IV.) Muppets.

454:

Does he/she/it have to do it in one of my preferred Internet watering holes? And perhaps a therapist's office might be a better place than here.

455:

I refer back to my post @448, which includes some heavy handed irony.

How would we all know we are in the presence of our betters unless they announce themselves as such?

457:

Does he/she/it have to do it in one of my preferred Internet watering holes? And perhaps a therapist's office might be a better place than here.

No, but it's brave that s/he has. If you think the peanut gallery isn't engaged, then you're very naive.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cfsI4ZjTbU


The answer depends on whether or not you want the future to be a Disney village or a Florida enclave while the hordes outside eat each other?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu9fESAlGc4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BDxqhI9qDw

Meta: Nathan Clark - I expected better. Or at least something amusing. Disappointed.

458:

@me?

That's not the attitude I have at all.

You'll notice:

Your compliment.

My honest surprise / joy.

Strange dox attempt.

GRAWWWWR takes over.

Meta-commentary.

I'm the least of you, that's the joke.

459:

Ref the debate with J Thomas, which I'm now withdrawing from just in case, I was starting from the position that deliberately using hurtful language to describe people is wrong because it hurts people's feelings (at best). Deliberately insulting someone who asks you to stop (at least while in their company) is worse.

460:

Actually, the point related to the book, and the sheer impossibility of making a B-52 move that fast whilst keeping much more than the fuselage, more than to the author. It's the only book by either that I've read.
Although it does occur to me that you could probably save significant amounts of Jet-A1 by banning sales of both authors airside. ;-)

461:

Perhaps you have been inadvertently caught in the crossfire, in which case I apologise.

I'm not sure what the "Strange dox attempt" refers to, whether a comment of mine or someone else's.

However, tired now, bed beckons. Enough.

462:

Apologies. Frankly I haven't been very interested in the sort of weirdness you appear to be into for many years (and it was a juvenile interest to begin with). Nevertheless, I can still pick up on references and patterns of speech – obviously. Had I realised how seriously you would take my comment I would have kept it to myself. And I'm not on the "left", as far as I can tell. My politics are nearly as esoteric as your beliefs. But you seem content to collapse most of the space you find interesting into conservatism, so you may as well go with that.

463:

Comment 429.

Person with three comments total before that (less than me, and I'm a practical virgin here) referencing a two year old thread from a different forum.

So: either a sockpuppet or an elf, but someone who has skin in the game for spotting "stuff".

And, no: if this was 1982, his (and yes, checked) actions would have resulted in people dying while on active duty in N.Ir. or London.

Total fucking c***. Barbwire, be careful.


I wouldn't mind, but they're so fucking inept.

464:

See above.

But you seem content to collapse most of the space you find interesting into conservatism, so you may as well go with that.


That's probably the least of my interests at this point.

You've no idea and your input has been naive at best and intentionally malicious at worst.

Oh, and thank you.


You've double-downed on confirming the assumption that I am somehow the same person who posted on a single Meta Filter thread two years ago that you can instantly spot.

I can still pick up on references and patterns of speech


No, you got catfished.

We build entire server farms to pattern match.

We build entire processes to ape certain ideological speech patterns and so forth.

We build entire databases of fake identities, beliefs and positions that are used to govern the online world.


And your position on this is total ignorance. Well done.

465:

Last comment:

Only an inferior OPSEC would categorize my input as a "conservative" position, when it's clearly not.


You got made, boy.

466:

Now, now, Catina, Nathan, let's not get into a fight the first night our good host has left the thread open. Like, only an hour after he's gone to bed.

Just a suggestion.

467:

I typoed. I meant to write "that I find interesting". Oops. But yeah, not looking for a fight over this.

Steve Halter