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Eric the .5b
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Hugos, Hugos, fight fight fight

Post by Eric the .5b » 12 Apr 2015, 18:22

Jennifer wrote:The Sad and Rabid Puppies, apparently. But, as I said earlier, they're yearning for a lost golden age that never actually existed -- the age where "if you saw a lovely spaceship on a book cover, with a gorgeous planet in the background, you could be pretty sure you were going to get a rousing space adventure featuring starships and distant, amazing worlds. If you saw a barbarian swinging an axe? You were going to get a rousing fantasy epic with broad-chested heroes who slay monsters, and run off with beautiful women. Battle-armored interstellar jump troops shooting up alien invaders? Yup. A gritty military SF war story, where the humans defeat the odds and save the Earth. And so on, and so forth."
From what I've read, these guys love them some Heinlein, but back when he was writing Starship Troopers, they'd have been griping about how he was being so "PC" for working in a Filipino protagonist and talking about him getting to vote.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by thoreau » 12 Apr 2015, 18:36

Have the "sad puppies" guys offered critiques of any specific stories? Are the stories heavy-handed with some sort of moral theme? Are they just stories that happen to have a female (or whatever) protagonist? What's their stated complaint about the other books and stories that have typically won awards?

I found something from Larry Correia where he gives his version of how he was received by some segments of SF fandom when he first became noteable on the scene:
Larry Correia wrote:I was overjoyed when I found out I’d been nominated. I was even dumb enough to think that I might have a chance. I had already read works from two of the other nominees and I knew that they were remarkable story tellers. I had read Wells and Beukes and knew the quality of their work was excellent. In any fair wordsmithing contest either could kick my ass, and I hadn’t even read Ahmed or Grossman yet, but if they were as good as the other two, then there would be a lot of quality works to choose from.

But that’s the kicker… I hadn’t realized yet that for many voters it wasn’t about the quality of the work.

Within a few days of the nominations being announced I not only knew that I was going to lose, I knew that I was going to be last place. Only it had absolutely nothing to do with my writing, but rather, who I was, and what I was.

I know you remember when you were starting out, Mr. Martin, because you talk about it in this very post, that scrimping, saving, and sleeping on couches phase of your career, where you are desperate to get your work out there in front of people, to get any exposure at all, and I’m betting that you were always really excited to hear what readers had to say about your creations. Right?

I know I was. So I went out on the internet and started searching my name, trying to find out what the buzz was for the Campbell nominees. I started calling friends who belonged to various writer forums and organizations that I didn’t belong to, asking about what people thought of my books in there.

You know what I found? WorldCon voters angry that a right-wing Republican (actually I’m a libertarian) who owned a gun store (gasp) was nominated for the prestigious Campbell. This is terrible. Did you know he did lobbying for gun rights! It’s right there on his hateful blog of hatey hate hate! He’s awful. He’s a bad person. He’s a Mormon! What! Another damned Mormon! Oh no, there are two Mormons up for the Campbell? I bet Larry Correia hates women and gays. He’s probably a racist too. Did you know he’s part of the evil military industrial complex? What a jerk.

Meanwhile, I’m like, but did they like my books?

No. Hardly any of them had actually read my books yet. Many were proud to brag about how they wouldn’t read my books, because badthink, and you shouldn’t have to read books that you know are going to make you angry. A handful of people claimed to have my read my books, but they assured the others that they were safe to put me last, because as expected for a shit person, my words were shit, and so they were good people to treat me like shit.
I have no idea, though, if he's describing a significant reaction that actually affected his career, or a few loudmouths that he's giving undue weight to. I also don't know if there's more backstory, if there were some other spats or whatever that accompanied his emergence on the scene.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Jennifer » 12 Apr 2015, 18:48

thoreau wrote:Have the "sad puppies" guys offered critiques of any specific stories? Are the stories heavy-handed with some sort of moral theme? Are they just stories that happen to have a female (or whatever) protagonist? What's their stated complaint about the other books and stories that have typically won awards?
This is what Brad Torgensen had to say about it:

https://bradrtorgersen .wordpress.com/2015/02/04/sad-puppies-3-the-unraveling-of-an-unreliable-field/
A few decades ago, if you saw a lovely spaceship on a book cover, with a gorgeous planet in the background, you could be pretty sure you were going to get a rousing space adventure featuring starships and distant, amazing worlds. If you saw a barbarian swinging an axe? You were going to get a rousing fantasy epic with broad-chested heroes who slay monsters, and run off with beautiful women. Battle-armored interstellar jump troops shooting up alien invaders? Yup. A gritty military SF war story, where the humans defeat the odds and save the Earth. And so on, and so forth.

These days, you can’t be sure.

The book has a spaceship on the cover, but is it really going to be a story about space exploration and pioneering derring-do? Or is the story merely about racial prejudice and exploitation, with interplanetary or interstellar trappings?

There’s a sword-swinger on the cover, but is it really about knights battling dragons? Or are the dragons suddenly the good guys, and the sword-swingers are the oppressive colonizers of Dragon Land?

A planet, framed by a galactic backdrop. Could it be an actual bona fide space opera? Heroes and princesses and laser blasters? No, wait. It’s about sexism and the oppression of women.

Finally, a book with a painting of a person wearing a mechanized suit of armor! Holding a rifle! War story ahoy! Nope, wait. It’s actually about gay and transgender issues.

Or it could be about the evils of capitalism and the despotism of the wealthy.

Do you see what I am trying to say here?
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by thoreau » 12 Apr 2015, 18:52

Have these guys ever seen Star Trek?
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Jennifer » 12 Apr 2015, 18:53

thoreau wrote:Have these guys ever seen Star Trek?
Based on Torgenson's complaint here, he sounds like the sort of person who can only see what he wants to see. At least on this topic.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Eric the .5b » 12 Apr 2015, 19:54

Jennifer wrote:
thoreau wrote:Have these guys ever seen Star Trek?
Based on Torgenson's complaint here, he sounds like the sort of person who can only see what he wants to see. At least on this topic.
Certainly not the Hugo award-winners. They've never been a bastion of pulp adventure. And I say that as a guy who likes pulp adventure perfectly well. But a book that's going to win that kind of award is going to be more than a rollicking tale that ends with sticking a sword (or shooting a laser beam) through the Dark Lord.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Eric the .5b » 12 Apr 2015, 20:15

I don't give a rat's ass about your GG concerns, Dangerman, beyond the side issue of some GGers being involved in the effort, and I will not address them in this thread.
Dangerman wrote:My point is and was that there are very moderate people who agree with Correia
I'm seeing very immoderate people involved in the Puppies, and I'm seeing the sprinkling of moderate authors on the slate saying things like, despite Puppy claims, that they'd never been contacted about being on the slate. (Given the problem of people who've refused being on the slate, I can understand why they'd do that.) The most sympathetic arguments I'm seeing among the moderate authors are, Well, I really want a Hugo.
Dangerman wrote:Why don't critics of #GG/Sad Puppies(since they've been conflated so strongly here) try Steelpersoning their arguments and addressing those?
Let the Sad Puppies start. Clearly identify the supposed, sudden SJW influence on the awards, "steelperson" their concerns, and then address them.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Eric the .5b » 12 Apr 2015, 20:24

Though to be fair, George R. R. Martin does a nice job of summing up the dire SJW influence complaint and carefully dissecting it on his LiveJournal.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Hugh Akston » 12 Apr 2015, 21:26

Can we maybe give this discussion its own thread?
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by thoreau » 12 Apr 2015, 21:42

Hugh Akston wrote:Can we maybe give this discussion its own thread?
Hugo discussion sans Hugh?

Much ado over Hugos?

Hugo and cry?

Shamefully currying disfavor: Sad puppies?
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Mo » 12 Apr 2015, 21:49

Hugo girl?
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Hugh Akston » 12 Apr 2015, 21:54

Mo wrote:Hugo girl?
Hugone Girl
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Aresen » 12 Apr 2015, 22:21

thoreau wrote:
Hugh Akston wrote:Can we maybe give this discussion its own thread?
Hugo discussion sans Hugh?

Much ado over Hugos?

Hugo and cry?

Shamefully currying disfavor: Sad puppies?
Hugotobekidding.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by tr0g » 12 Apr 2015, 22:38

Eric the .5b wrote:Though to be fair, George R. R. Martin does a nice job of summing up the dire SJW influence complaint and carefully dissecting it on his LiveJournal.
Yeah, a guy who couldn't write because Kerry lost is the perfect moderate voice to view this clearly. /sarc
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by tr0g » 12 Apr 2015, 22:47

No, the larger complaint that both Jennifer and Eric are willfully missing because of their preconceived notions is that personal politics shouldn't have a damn thing to do with whether or not you did quality work in the past year. Awards shouldn't be handed out based on whether or not you have the appropriate politics. The Hugos aren't billed as the best progressive sci-fi of the past year, but that's what they've become.

On one side you have a group who says people are being shut out of awards because they don't have progressive left politics. On the other side is Patricia Nielsen Hayden, queen of the Boing Boing moderators. Nope, no way she'd blackball somebody because of their politics. Just ask Violet Blue or read the comments at Boing Boing. One side is accusing everybody of racism. That side includes N.K. Jemisin, a mendacious racist by a charitable interpretation. Nora Jemisin never saw a problem in the world that wasn't due to racism and caused by white people.

Then there's a third side, which is Vox Day and his desire to bring the system down because... fuck, I dunno. Ted Beale is pissed for reasons I don't even care to explore. Not gazing into that abyss, thanks.

This has been a storm years in the making, and it took some guys who truly don't care to bring it to a head. Progressives went all entryist on the Hugos, which was easy because publishing is left in general. Unfortunately for them, some people decided to not cede the field.

But hey, you guys can buy off on racism and sexism because it meets your views. It ain't true, but believe what you want. Me, I'll believe the people I've known on the net for years and all the other working authors that agree with them.

As a side note, the fact that the Hugos gave Stephan Moffat any awards, ever, is proof they're meaningless as an indicator of quality.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Jennifer » 12 Apr 2015, 22:56

tr0g wrote:No, the larger complaint that both Jennifer and Eric are willfully missing because of their preconceived notions is that personal politics shouldn't have a damn thing to do with whether or not you did quality work in the past year. Awards shouldn't be handed out based on whether or not you have the appropriate politics.
According to Torgenson's own posted complaint, the problem is that he expects scifi to be predictable, formulaic schlock, and since sometimes it isn't that means the SJWs ruined it, or something:
A few decades ago, if you saw a lovely spaceship on a book cover, with a gorgeous planet in the background, you could be pretty sure you were going to get a rousing space adventure featuring starships and distant, amazing worlds. If you saw a barbarian swinging an axe? You were going to get a rousing fantasy epic with broad-chested heroes who slay monsters, and run off with beautiful women. Battle-armored interstellar jump troops shooting up alien invaders? Yup. A gritty military SF war story, where the humans defeat the odds and save the Earth. And so on, and so forth.

These days, you can’t be sure.

The book has a spaceship on the cover, but is it really going to be a story about space exploration and pioneering derring-do? Or is the story merely about racial prejudice and exploitation, with interplanetary or interstellar trappings?

There’s a sword-swinger on the cover, but is it really about knights battling dragons? Or are the dragons suddenly the good guys, and the sword-swingers are the oppressive colonizers of Dragon Land?

A planet, framed by a galactic backdrop. Could it be an actual bona fide space opera? Heroes and princesses and laser blasters? No, wait. It’s about sexism and the oppression of women.

Finally, a book with a painting of a person wearing a mechanized suit of armor! Holding a rifle! War story ahoy! Nope, wait. It’s actually about gay and transgender issues.

Or it could be about the evils of capitalism and the despotism of the wealthy.

Do you see what I am trying to say here?
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Sandy » 12 Apr 2015, 23:20

You do know this is the third year of Sad Puppies, right, and that this is Torgeson's first year running it, Jennifer?

And that they aren't the first to have "recommended nomination lists"?

And that they've only grown by 150 or so each year, so the idea that GamerGate was called in to sway everything is kinda dubious given that they achieved that kind of growth before GamerGate was even a thing?

Then again, when I see this kind of thing:

Image

(No, Arthur, African-Americans are called people now.)

...I think one side is racist and out for total ideological war, and the other side is Sad Puppies.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by thoreau » 12 Apr 2015, 23:50

I don't know enough about Torgersen to speak in defense of his cause, but Arthur Chu's tweet about "shields" perfectly illustrates his case against male nerds...though not in the way he intended.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Aresen » 13 Apr 2015, 00:04

Jennifer wrote:
tr0g wrote:No, the larger complaint that both Jennifer and Eric are willfully missing because of their preconceived notions is that personal politics shouldn't have a damn thing to do with whether or not you did quality work in the past year. Awards shouldn't be handed out based on whether or not you have the appropriate politics.
According to Torgenson's own posted complaint, the problem is that he expects scifi to be predictable, formulaic schlock, and since sometimes it isn't that means the SJWs ruined it, or something:
A few decades ago, if you saw a lovely spaceship on a book cover, with a gorgeous planet in the background, you could be pretty sure you were going to get a rousing space adventure featuring starships and distant, amazing worlds. If you saw a barbarian swinging an axe? You were going to get a rousing fantasy epic with broad-chested heroes who slay monsters, and run off with beautiful women. Battle-armored interstellar jump troops shooting up alien invaders? Yup. A gritty military SF war story, where the humans defeat the odds and save the Earth. And so on, and so forth.

These days, you can’t be sure.

The book has a spaceship on the cover, but is it really going to be a story about space exploration and pioneering derring-do? Or is the story merely about racial prejudice and exploitation, with interplanetary or interstellar trappings?

There’s a sword-swinger on the cover, but is it really about knights battling dragons? Or are the dragons suddenly the good guys, and the sword-swingers are the oppressive colonizers of Dragon Land?

A planet, framed by a galactic backdrop. Could it be an actual bona fide space opera? Heroes and princesses and laser blasters? No, wait. It’s about sexism and the oppression of women.

Finally, a book with a painting of a person wearing a mechanized suit of armor! Holding a rifle! War story ahoy! Nope, wait. It’s actually about gay and transgender issues.

Or it could be about the evils of capitalism and the despotism of the wealthy.

Do you see what I am trying to say here?
I tend to agree with Torgenson's POV. I have moved away from Science Fiction and Fantasy as the message has become more important than the speculation. Too much of modern F&SF is involved with writing commentaries on present social conditions rather than telling a good story. So much so that the entire narrative is distorted to make the author's point. Good F&SF tells a story first.

The best of the two genres really explore a premise: (If we have teleportation, the economy will be changed in thus and so way, but this means that terrorists will be able to appear in the middle of our cities without warning. Also, there will be no place to hide from oppressive governments. How will people's lives be changed? What conflicts will there be? Who will be opposed to the development of such technology and why?)
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Timothy » 13 Apr 2015, 00:29

Because Star Trek, 2001, Rendezvous with Rama, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, 20k Leagues Under the Sea, The Big U, The Diamond Age, Neuromancer, Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers and on and on weren't analogies for modern concerns at all, nah, they were just fun pulp stories without any kind of point.

If your complaint is that the genre is different than you want it to be, and something something WHAAAAAAAA eat a million dicks. If your solution is to recruit a bunch of angry teenagers to vote for fucking THEODORE BEALE of all fucking people, well, fucking kill yourself. Genre fiction will always not be for everyone, that's fine, don't read what you don't like. But to act like entitled little shitheels because things are different than they used to be? That's the worst kind of conservatism. And the idea that art can exist without being tied to contemporary cultural concerns is, well, it's fucking asinine. It's the kind of arena where "objective" always and everywhere means "agrees with me."

On the other hand, caring who wins a Hugo is a lot like caring deeply about the Grammies.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by thoreau » 13 Apr 2015, 00:45

Kulturkampf can be defined as what happens when you treat "Arthur Chu is a dick" and "Torgersen is wrong" as mutually exclusive propositions.

EDIT: Or, more generally, when you treat "These guys are wrong" and "These other guys who disagree with them are dicks" as mutually exclusive.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Aresen » 13 Apr 2015, 00:54

Timothy wrote:Because Star Trek, 2001, Rendezvous with Rama, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, 20k Leagues Under the Sea, The Big U, The Diamond Age, Neuromancer, Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers and on and on weren't analogies for modern concerns at all, nah, they were just fun pulp stories without any kind of point.

If your complaint is that the genre is different than you want it to be, and something something WHAAAAAAAA eat a million dicks. If your solution is to recruit a bunch of angry teenagers to vote for fucking THEODORE BEALE of all fucking people, well, fucking kill yourself. Genre fiction will always not be for everyone, that's fine, don't read what you don't like. But to act like entitled little shitheels because things are different than they used to be? That's the worst kind of conservatism. And the idea that art can exist without being tied to contemporary cultural concerns is, well, it's fucking asinine. It's the kind of arena where "objective" always and everywhere means "agrees with me."

On the other hand, caring who wins a Hugo is a lot like caring deeply about the Grammies.
WTF?

I did not say that the stories had no point. I said they were good stories first. Dune is a good story before you get to the subtext of ecology. Brin's Uplift books are good stories but have a lot to say about ethics and war. Even didactic stories like Starship Troopers are more about the story than the ethos.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by thoreau » 13 Apr 2015, 01:08

It is certainly true that fiction loses something if it becomes too heavy-handed in emphasizing message or theme over story. I'd give the Sad Puppies a fair hearing if they could articulate, in concrete terms, how/why recent award-winning fiction has become worse in that regard than award-winning fiction of the past. However, the post that Jennifer quoted*, which comes straight from one of the people involved in the movement, does not offer anything that I could use to distinguish between the objects of his criticism and Star Trek TOS.

*Which, FWIW, I found from my own Googling earlier today, without any influence from anyone here, in case there's a concern that I'm basing my analysis solely on gryllers with axes to grind.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Sandy » 13 Apr 2015, 01:17

Timothy wrote:If your solution is to recruit a bunch of angry teenagers to vote for fucking THEODORE BEALE of all fucking people, well, fucking kill yourself.
Sad Puppies didn't ask anybody to vote for him.

If the worst criticism of them is that they want pulp fiction back, then I'm not sure what the vitriol is all about. It's not something I'm really into, as I find sword and sorcery/military SF and other stuff that that crowd seems to like extremely boring. I could see the vitriol if they were racist and misogynist, but given their slate includes lots of women and people of color, that charge just doesn't hold up.

You want to go off on Rabid Puppies, that's fine, but you need to read to see that they're different lists of different people with different goals before swallowing Entertainment Weekly's science fiction beat (bwahaha) reporter's version whole.
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Re: Horrible, Offensive Geekery

Post by Jadagul » 13 Apr 2015, 01:18

I think the most clarifying comment I've read is that SF has really split into two genres,one of which we can oversimplify as the "Baen genre." And the Worldcon and Hugos are mostly populated by people from the other genre. (Although this case is a bit weak since Scalzi is a perennial Hugo contender, and while he is definitely a liberal and a social justice person on a personal level, his _books_ are mainly adventure stories).

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