The Claw!

You’ve all seen those claw machines, often in the entrance to supermarkets or in arcades in malls. They have a bin full of cheap stuffed animals, and maybe some really special prize, like an iPod or something embedded in the middle of them, and as a test of “Skill” you can steer the claw around over the bin and attempt to win something nifty. Although more often than not, you end up with nothing. The game is rigged, of course, but if your heart is set on winning the prize, you will pump WAY more cash into the machine than it would be worth to just go out and buy the damned thing.

Let me repeat, the game, is rigged. It’s rigged in ways you don’t even know about. If you search online you can even find manuals for the machine that explain how they can be set to vary the current for the electromagnet that makes the claw grip, so that even if you have a good hold on the prize, it will slip free before it gets to the drop off point.

Now some of them are set up differently, and maybe just for fun you can experiment with one to figure out just how rigged it is. And maybe answering your intellectual curiosity about what a rip-off it is could be considered a win, but if you go in determined to prove you can win that damned iPod and beat the machine, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So what’s this got to do with the Hugos? (Come on, you KNEW this was going to be a Hugo post, didn’t you?) It’s about the Puppies.

Sad Puppies was an exploration about how the game was rigged. If you follow the history with an open mind, you’ll know how at each stage whoever was running the SP took the suggestions from the TruFen as to what they had to do to be acceptable, and after doing exactly those things, the big prize somehow, just somehow, fell through the claw with extreme prejudice. When Larry saw that he had been celebrated at first as a new author, nominated for a Campbell and everything, and then got 86’ed as soon as his politics became known, he suspected there was a bias against conservative authors (at least the openly conservative ones). He was told “Oh, there’s no bias. Conservative authors are just fine, they just have to get on the ballot. As long as they’re good, that shouldn’t be a problem, because it’s all about the quality of the work.” Thus in SP2, Larry turned out his fanbase, offered up a small number of suggestions that he thought were particularly worthy, and as soon as some of them got on the ballot, boom, the fix was in. (Note, I’m not saying anyone CHEATED, per se. But clearly the voters voted on a basis of something other than the quality of the work, because they didn’t just lose, they were no-awarded.) In fact, Larry turned out his accounting skills and concluded there had been no monkeying with the votes. The bias was in the electorate. It was a perfect Xanatos Gambit. If all his suggested works lost, then he won because his point was proved. And if some of them won, well then good SF won, the Hugos were honest, and we could all get on with our lives secure in the notion that there are true and fair votes in the world. Naturally, we got the former. And with that, Larry retired from the game.

So the next test was to get a larger sample from a larger pool of suggestions to get a better idea of what was meant by good. That was SP3 and Brad’s much more comprehensive list of candidates selected not for specifically conservatism, but for quality based on a number of suggestions from various trusted sources (including some closed FB groups), and a huge “Get out the Vote” campaign (which I have been assured by Tor’s pet statistician wasn’t actually all that effective). The intent was merely to provide a broad number of choices in every category, not what eventually happened. The results of this got Fouled by the Rabid Puppies, but more about that later.  The fix there was much more obvious in the form of thousands of heretofore disinterested parties becoming voters (sometimes through monetary subsidy), specifically for the purpose of nixing every Sad Puppies candidate, and thereafter becoming disinterested once the mission was accomplished. Combined with social pressure to withdraw exerted on several authors, and the generally toxic atmosphere on social media, and yeah, the fix was in. Bias and politics were the words of the day. The result was the single most toxic example of a Hugo Awards presentation in history.

But an olive branch was offered. Some said that the true sin of SP3 was offering exactly five candidates in every category (Which wasn’t actually the case, but never mind that, it’s the seriousness of the charge, not the facts that matter) and that a recommendation list with more, or fewer candidates that people could pick and choose from would clearly not be an attempt to put up a slate. Of course, this could have also been suggested as an attempt to water down the puppy vote, but let’s not consider that either. So for SP4, Kate produced an open suggestion website. Anyone could make suggestions, even anti-puppies, and a few did. SP4’s results were even further fouled by the Rabid Puppies, but the actions against the list shows that the olive branch was a lie.

So at this point, it was pretty obvious to the founders of Sad Puppies that the game was rigged, and there was no point in putting any more quarters into it. Sad Puppies 5, now in Sarah Hoyt’s hands, was proposed to simply become a book recommendations site, and was deliberately delayed in order to miss the Hugo deadline. In fact, the only reason an announcement was made at all was because an overzealous acolyte of the Rabid Puppies side attempted to pull an Al Haig and hijack the campaign, claiming that Sarah was out sick, and that HE would step forward and lead the puppies unto victory. That needed to be slapped down quick, and it was. Much sulking has ensued since then, including coordinated blog posts from various minions slamming Sarah for not taking up the fight.

Now if the goal of the Sad Puppies were to probe how deep the fix was in in the Hugo electorate, the goal of the Rabid Puppies was to Win. The organizer has a bit of a beef with the SF community, to put it mildly, and taking one of their awards would be a coup. The first attempt was no real master stroke. Having seen how effective Larry’s fanbase had been in getting nominees on the ballot in SP2, the easiest, no effort way to get in was to hijack the list, add himself and a few of his house’s authors to the list at the top, knock off the bottom items to fill out a slate, and mobilize his fanbase as well. With so much commonality to the lists, it would be impossible to sort out whose supporters were whose. Which as a tactic to make his influence appear larger than it was, was successful. SP and RP got conflated and slammed in the social media, and the real media, by design. Some people still can’t tell them apart. But good Tactics sometimes make bad Strategy, and the backlash the organizer engendered resulted, as I said, in one of the most toxic Hugo ceremonies ever, as well as in rules changes designed to make the Hugo nomination process even more opaque than the final vote process.

It wasn’t much better the next year, when his spitefulness towards the fandom made him pollute the nominations with crude gay porn titles. If he couldn’t win, he was going to ruin the whole thing. It merely cemented the backlash, but it didn’t require the overkill numbers unleashed the year before to shut him out, thus those excess no-award voter accounts were released.

Skipping ahead to this year. It becomes really simple to see why he sent an acolyte to announce he was commandeering the helm of SP5. Clearly he believed that the Sad Puppies had an army of followers and if he could co-opt them to his cause, he could finally win, or at least do real damage.[1] The Kickers, on the other hand, had rigged the game even more, making it harder for any small group to dominate the nominations, but a sufficiently large one, like say, fans, with properly distributed votes, could capture a large number of nominations, and they did. And in the coming years, another fix is going in that will allow any sufficiently large cabal to de-nominate anything they don’t like[2] (They call it 3 Stage Voting, or 3SV, but it’s NOTHING like what I proposed).

I don’t think though that this is going to stop him from shoving more and more quarters into the damned machine, trying to grab that Trophy. The Sad Puppies have proven their point, and are off to chase more good fiction. The Hugos don’t interest them any more. The Rabids though, they’re out to win, no matter how much the game is rigged, and how destructive the results end up being. That’s a feature to them, not a bug.

[1] I imagine this scene playing out something like this tableau from a Magical Girl anime:

The Supreme Dark Lord gazes malevolently at his henchman. “What news of our new Allies, Major Fish?”

Major Fish, resplendent in his iridescent fish-scale cape, bows obsequiously. “They will be here within the hour, ready to obey my, er, your every command, my lord.”

“Excellent, General Fish.”

“Thank you sir.”

The Supreme Dark Lord laughs malevolently, “Muahahaha! With the combined strength of TWO puppy armies, my plan will be unstoppable! The Rocket shall be MINE!”

“Please sir, could you tone down the malevolence, it’s starting to creep me out.”

“No, I paid a consultant a great deal of money to achieve this level of malevolence, and I’m going to make the most of it. You may go, Major.”


[2] The proposal literally gives anyone with 600 votes in his pocket, or 20% of the electorate if it’s larger than 3,000, the ability to knock out any of the top 15 nominees until 5 get through the process. Why was the floor number of 600 chosen? Because that’s greater than the largest estimate of the number of Rabid Puppies voters, and well under the 1500-2500 No-Award voters that were mustered for SP3. The only good thing about this obvious fix is that it sunsets every year and has to be passed again each time. Hopefully it will fail in Helsinki. Actually, scratch that. They all deserve each other.

66 thoughts on “The Claw!

  1. SP achieved its goal, at least with me. I now consider a book’s being a Hugo or Nebula award winner as a reason NOT to buy it, whereas I used to go out of my way to find and buy them. In addition, I’ve enjoyed finding and reading books by SP authors.

    • That’s the hope for the new, permanent SP site once it’s finally up and running, to make it easier to find good books by good authors.

      Dissatisfaction with award winners in F&SF has been a going trend for a least a decade and a half, if not longer. Sad Puppies helped pull the Edgar suit off the rotten giant cockroach inside the establishment. And the harder they hold on to it, the more torn up the disguise is going to get.

      • So what’s the future for Sad Puppies? Start handing out their own trophies?

        I actually think that wouldn’t be a bad idea. Members of the public pay $5 to sign up to vote; they all write in their top picks; a shortlist is made, and the voters possibly get an e-book of the shortlisted titles.

        (You gotta give ’em something for their $5, and you need to charge the $5 else it’s too easy for shenanigans to happen.)

        The awards would be known as “the Puppies”, with the trophies being an adorable puppy, possibly furry. But not a sad one, since this puppy would be awarded to good fiction. (Except for the Sad Puppy trophy, awarded to the gayest message fiction of the year.)

        Also, the money raised would be distributed to the winning authors, after expenses. (Expenses would include an annuity payable to me for coming up with this idea all by myself, probably.)

        • One of the goals of Sad Puppies was to promote good SF as opposed to the diet of politically correct message fiction we’re getting now from the Big 5 Publishers. The website will help promote that. As for awards, many are looking to the Dragon Awards to rise in prominence as the Hugos continue to pull up the ladders into the clubhouse. It will probably take a few years for the Dragons to fully hit their stride (the lack of short fiction categories bothers some, but there are fairly few short fiction venues.)

          And the best thing is, they’re free. The more people who participate, the harder it is for cabals to influence the outcome.

          • > One of the goals of Sad Puppies was to promote good SF as opposed to the diet of politically correct message fiction we’re getting now from the Big 5 Publishers. The website will help promote that.

            As a child of the 80s browsing the second hand books, a cover that said “Hugo Award Winner” would get a double look. I grew up on Asimov and Heinlein.

            These days “Hugo Award Winner” means nothing to me. As you say it’s all message fiction although I prefer the traditional name “agitprop”. It’s effectively a warning sign.

            Recently I figured out the Sad Puppies list was all decent and since then I’ve been buying every Sad Puppies nomination. The Sad Puppies has already won. It’s only inertia that keeps the Hugos going.

            • I was born in ’83– by the time I noticed anything about specific awards, it was more of a warning sign than anything else. “Hugo” meant nothing, but various “good for kids” markers meant “only buy if you’ve already got the bonfire laid out.”

              My filtering ended up being “that area of the library that was basically stocked by fanatics donating books to the school.”

              Got through the Forgotten Realms, the better part of Heinlein (in both meanings), a ton of Pratchett, and so on. DragonLance was there, but never pulled me in. A bunch of individual stuff–I think that’s where I ran into Robin McKinley, too. (One of my few “see the name, desperately search for why not to buy it” folks.)

    • Hugo Awards reward Social Justice message fiction and Sad Puppies reward novel ideas, clever plots, and good characterization.

      Freedom of choice is a wonderful thing. Realizing that in developing their own following the Sad Puppies didn’t need the Hugos after all was a stroke of genius. I guess more specifically that makes Sarah Hoyt the genius?

      Sad Puppies has managed to make both the Hugos and Rabid Puppies irrelevant to people who care about good science fiction. Niven is proud I’m sure.

      • Also, the new Dragon Award will grow in popularity and participation and supplant the Hugo. The voting is straightforward and it costs nothing to participate.

        • It already has.
          Both sets of puppies were instrumental in that happening.

          Time to declare victory and go home. (Leaving behind a skeleton crew to keep the SJWs suppressed with a steady bombardment of mockery.)

          • Actually, the Dragon award came about on its own, albeit with rather fortuitous timing. It has emerged as part of the long-term rivalry between DragonCon and WorldCon. As it is, DragonCon has grown so huge that it won the war over which weekend the con would be held on, so it was only a matter of time before they created their own award as well.

          • Drive-by mockery may be sufficient – no point taking too many productive hours away from real SF writers/ publishers by maintaining even the appearance of a besieging force. And… the worst punishment for SJWs is to be ignored.
            I note the Torians proved they aren’t particularly good at SF, when they failed to think about the what the end state of their universe would likely be after fighting the battle the way they did… a degenerate case of a Pyrrhic victory at best.

            • They destroyed the village to save it….

              But that IS the first instinct of a liberal, apply top-down control to regulate behavior they don’t like. (Probably why they came up with THEIR version of 3SV instead of mine.)

  2. That’s a bit unfair to Vox.
    He wanted to destroy the prestige of the awards, while getting cost-effective advertising for himself and his publishing house out of the effort. And he was very effective at doing so (with a major assist from those protecting their turf).
    There’s a difference between (legally) taking a hammer to the machine and blindly plugging quarters in. Conflating the two is a category error.

    Of course, I admit that I laugh every time I think of “Hugo Nominee, Chuck Tingle”. That was brilliantly subversive, not to mention hilarious.

    I think he’s hit the point of diminishing returns, though. The Hugos are now a joke, and there’s no longer much exposure to be gained from crashing the party. To the extent that he’s still pursuing it, it seems mostly to be about rubbing salt in wounds. Although I can’t rule out misdirection to distract from his other projects.

    • It’s entirely unfair to Vox. Mauser doesn’t know or understand Vox, and it shows.

      VD wasn’t ever trying to “grab that Trophy”, as Mauser puts it. His aim was always to get an “Out of Order” sign put on the stupid claw machine (and go play something fair, like the Dragon Awards). Larry and Vox have confirmed that Vox wanted to burn the whole thing down in SP3 and that Vox would instead play it Larry and Brad’s way and provide little more than a signal boost. He didn’t think that would work, and indeed the Hugo meltdown ceremony that year proved his point. (

      The funny thing is that if Mauser understood Vox better, he’d appreciate how Vox exemplifies the “demonstrate it’s rigged” condition even more than Sad Puppies. The “crude gay porn” title hits the Hugos for nominating pieces like “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” and various romances in space and yay-gay fantasy novels. The real land mine was the inclusion of exposes of pedophilia action and apologia in the SFF community, and they screamed “Noah Ward!” rather than confront that ugly reality. The major difference, really, between SP and RP is that SP wanted to demonstrate the corruption of the SFF publishing/award world and try to redeem it, but RP already knew the corruption and wanted to destroy it.

      • They actually demonstrate two different tactics of proving how it’s rigged. Sad Puppies showed how it was rigged by following the rules and trying to put in good Candidates, Rabid Puppies showed how it was rigged by exploiting the loopholes (forcing the TruFen to change the rules to try to exclude him). They are both valid tests of a system. Like when testing a spreadsheet, it’s just as important to make sure it gets 4 when you enter 2+2 as it is to make sure it throws an error when you divide by zero.

        Still, actually getting a Hugo out of the deal would be proof of ultimate mastery. The TruFen’s goal is to keep him from getting one, and yes, while they are totally destroying the award to keep him from getting one, they are still succeeding in their eyes.

      • Vox’s victory conditions are impossible. He won’t shut down the awards. From the WorldCon POV, they have successfully defended themselves, and have used it to consolidate their grip on the awards. First EPH let them chop him down to a single nominee, and once their negative version of 3SV passes, you will never see another RP candidate on the ballot again. Hell, if the Torlings needed and excuse to declare martial law and seize control of the awards, they would have invented Rabid Puppies.

  3. I had decided that SF was a lost field, but Sad Puppies showed me why the Hugo nominees and winners wrote such crap. Sad Puppies 5’s idea of a book recommendation site is outstanding.

    Even though SP has restored my faith in today’s SF/F writers, I still have the criticism of them that I can read faster than they can write. Introductions to new and talented story-tellers is a win-win all around, save possibly to the big-5 publishers.

  4. Apparently, the Hugo people aren’t the only ones exhibiting blatant bias.

    I belong to neither the Sads or the Rabids. I watched both groups since the Hugo controversy began, which was when I connected the low quality of Hugo winners to the progressive left that own the process.

    I appreciate the effort that Larry expended to document the bias and try to win from within the system. He achieved the first goal, and failed to achieve the second.

    The error of his approach was to presume that anyone outside of his fanbase would care, and that anything would change for the better.

    You are dealing with toxic progressives who are drunk on power and ruthless in their desire to maintain & expand it. They don’t care how much proof you document.

    I am no longer interested in losing gracefully, in “being the better man”. That worked out great for Mitt Romney, as we all saw.

    Perhaps you are a writer that doesn’t care that he/she is being discriminated against. Enjoy that. But don’t drag the rest of us into your sinking lifeboat.

    The SS Hugo is going to be boarded, pillaged and set aflame.

    • Metaphor doesn’t work; as you go on to admit, you want us to help you hoist the jolly roger for a specific target, when we’re busy building more, and better, boats.

      • Foxfier,

        “Building a better boat” is a great philosophy…as long as the other boat isn’t attacking you and sabotaging you while you try to do it. (And don’t lie to me and say that’s not what has been happening.)

        When THAT happens, the Jolly Roger goes up the mast…

        Far better to sail that new better boat past the viking funeral of the SS Hugo.

        I am done with playing nice. And I am one of millions who feel that way.

        Keep building that new boat, friend. I will make sure it gets completed without interference.

        • as long as the other boat isn’t attacking you and sabotaging you while you try to do it. (And don’t lie to me and say that’s not what has been happening.)

          Ah. So not GIVING you our boats is “attacking” and “sabotaging” you, and not agreeing with this claim is lying.

          Gee, when that’s your approach, can’t imagine why dozens haven’t lined up to be joyful cannon fodder.

          Working with someone who has this approach to disagreement is a horrible idea– the second that you’re not useful, they attack you just as much as the original target; you deserve it, of course, for the betrayal of not being them….

          Booger that for a lark.

          • I’m fairly certain you misunderstood Chet’s reply. The “other boat” doesn’t belong to you. It’s the SS Hugo. More to the point, it’s the SS Hugo as the flagship of the NY Publishing Collective Fleet. He’s fighting them, not you. Why are you fighting him, then?

            • That interpretation would sort of work, except for that little thing with an accusation of lying, combined with the idea of shaking the hugo-dust off our sandals being a sinking life-boat. The entire article above is explaining the Hugo folks cheating, so even as rhetorical excess the accusation of sabotage makes no sense– so it must be related to that horrible, horrible refusal of the SP to throw their weight in with the RP, or give their name over.

              I rather wish the RP reps would stop whining about how SP should be doing what the RPs want. Totally different tactics, and that is fine.

              The goal some RPs have of becoming the very thing that’s an issue with the Hugos is freaking distasteful, though.

            • Meh — seems to me the SS Hugo’s pretty much sunk itself, or is at least visibly low in the water and sinking. Tor’s involvement in the mess has hurt them as a company, and hurt traditional publishing (NYPCF) as well at a time of vulnerability.
              Better by far for readers to follow authors instead of publishers, decide which recommendation sites/reviews/blogs you trust, and maybe even look first at independent publishing vs traditional publishers (at least until the latter either evolves or dies); and for authors to market to readers who do this.

          • Am I missing something? Chet Wassname wants to focus on destroying the Hugos, while you want to focus on building a better alternative.

            He snarks that you’re hopelessly naive, but says he will certainly try to defend your alternative if (when, from his perspective) it gets attacked.

            He also accuses you of, during your efforts to build a better alternative, attacking him and his allies instead of the Hugos (or not attacking anyone)

            Then you say that he tried to commandeer your efforts to build a better alternative to the Hugos.

            What in the world? This sounds insane. On both sides.

            Doc Mauser should be ashamed of using CHORF narrative to lambaste Vox Day (Larry/Vox/John are only jealous to win awards). Torlings spread so many slanders, half truths, and disinformation we should refuse to do their dirty work even if we think their target deserves it. But I don’t think that’s what this Chet fellow is going on about.

            • Oh, Vox definitely wants to destroy the Hugo, but getting one for himself would be the best path possible to do so. It would demonstrate that a) they’re totally buyable, and b) someone the CHORF’s hate with a burning revulsion will be forever on their winner’s list. “If Vox has a Hugo, then they’re totally discredited.”

              On the other hand, on FB I’m observing the same CHORF assholes who were saying “Go away and make your own award” conspiring to try to subvert the Dragon Awards, and prepare a Slander/Boycott site for anyone nominated.

            • Seems to be a fair summary.

              It’s a pretty standard accusation that those who are not sufficient supportive of your chosen course are “sabotaging” you.

              Because somewhat similar goals means they have a right to tell you what to do. Or something.

              Only break is that the point where he wants to claim all prior Puppy actions, as part of the “you must support rabid or you’re a traitor” thing.

              • It’s a pretty standard accusation that those who are not sufficient supportive of your chosen course are “sabotaging” you

                Very CHORF-like, that.

                I do appreciate that having someone sniping at you regularly can make you pretty testy. I really wish all the anti-CHORFs could manage to keep their justifiable annoyance at the pestiferous vile-progs aimed at the actual source of their pain. And would be willing to grant the benefit of the doubt. Especially since I’ve seen enough clumsy “Let’s you and him fight” attempts to be pretty sure that there are subtle ones going on as well.

                • Well, if we didn’t have so many VFM’s blogging about Sarah’s “Failure of Leadership” for not marching lockstep with the RP’s, and Vox himself mentioning “Portuguese” immigrants in his tirade about natural born citizenship (Clearly targeting Sarah), as well as the failed attempt to take over SP by Mr. Finn… I might be inclined to agree with you, but right now it appears the Sad Puppies are getting most of their grief from the Rabids, rather than the CHORFs. So if you want to complain about Blue-on-Blue friendly fire, you might want to clean up your own house first.

                  • Ahhhh… Please don’t go there. I can quote you chapter and verse from various members of the Campaign to End Puppy Related Sadness snarking at the moral and intellectual failings of the VFM and the rabid puppies, not to mention Vox Day (but as long as you’re not using CHORF narrative to do so, have at it. He’s a big boy. He can dish it out and he can take it)

                    And yes, I wish to goodness he’d stop the snarky “Portuguese born in America” sniping. Asinine. But aside from telling him so, what else would you have me do? He’s not attacking Sarah Hoyt using the Vile666 narratives about her, he’s not acting as a megaphone for their slanders, he’s just wrong, and being annoying about picking fights with her. Mrs. Hoyt makes snide comments about Vox Day on her site as well. I roll my eyes, but what do you want me to do about it?

                    So don’t. I’ll say it over at Vox’s site (which is the only rabid site I frequent) if I ran into any other rabid puppy claiming that Mrs. Hoyt is failing to lead, a discredit to the Campaign or any other nonsense, I’ll speak up. But I haven’t, which is probably why it seems so one-sided to me. Clearly there’s sites out there staffed by self-appointed rabids making stupid comments from the free seats. And a pox on Mr. Finn if he thought he had the right to steal the Campaign from anyone who put their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor on the line for it. Go start your own (Like the Superversives or the Pulp Revolutionaries did) or do something supportive – like a Sad Puppies book discussion club or making a comic.

                    And since I’m NOT a rabid, but a member in good standing of the Campaign to End Puppy Related Sadness, I am, by having this convo with you, actually attempting to “clean up my own house first.”

                    All I’m asking is the same thing I’ve mentioned when I take the time to read the comments at Vox Day or if (not when) IF someone were to make similar criticism over at, say, Jeffro’s site, they said something inaccurate about you (or John, or Sarah or…) and especially if they used the talking points of the torlings to do.

                    Don’t do that, please. Though at Vox’s site I’m more likely to use some kind of terminology like getting your head out of your nether regions, because its that kind of site and one tends to forget ones manners.

      • Watching the Lefties snark and snipe this year has been a giggle. There IS no Sad Puppies 5 attack on the Hugos, but they can’t shut up about it. Every other post on their vile blogs has some kind of made-up outrage about those Damn Puppies.

        That is what I call Free Advertising, and I’m very interested in seeing all the Mad Geniuses and other Puppy Aligned authors get a piece of it. One does not turn down free advertising.

  5. “Keep building that new boat, friend. I will make sure it gets completed without interference.”

    That’s why I think my interpretation is correct and that you’re unnecessarily picking a fight with the wrong guy. But I’ll withdraw and let Chet respond, if he wishes.

    • Can’t pick a fight with someone who’s already attacking.

      Get the idea that I really do not appreciate the accusation of lying? Double dose of poisoning the well, really destroys any sympathy.

  6. I usually read 2-3 fantasy or science fiction novels per week. I realized about 10 years ago that seeing “Hugo Winner!” on the cover indicated that I probably would not enjoy the novel.

    It seems the Hugo is an award that used to be given for a good novel, and is now awarded for proper politics.

    I find it quite helpful in making my buying decisions, much like an enthusiastic blurb from Romantic Times: I am interested in entertainment, not polemics, and despite being a SF fan for 40+ years I am not part of the target demographic.

  7. I think you are totally wrong on Vox sending someone to take over SP. It doesn’t strike me as his style, and the person you mentioned is definitely not someone that they would pick. So, unless you have proof to pony up, I think that’s a bad accusation.

    Also, Vox isn’t trying to win a hugo, I don’t see that as his endgame. He’s trying to destroy Tor.

      • Actually no, he’s succeeding rather well. Tor shut down its office in England and fired everyone there. There have also been large staffing cuts in NYC. A lot of senior people at Tor got very bloody noses over what happened with the Hugos and their bosses at whomever it is that owns Tor now have been made painfully aware of it.
        Tor isn’t making the money it once did. I suspect it will be shut down in a few years, and if not, massive personnel changes and a lot less power and responsibility. I honestly believe that they’re just waiting for the founder of Tor to die before they lower the boom.

        And let’s be honest here. For a small personal investment of time and little money, Vox did one hell of a lot of damage to Worldcon and the Hugo’s. You can not look at what happened and say that he failed, anymore than you can look at Larry and say that he failed. Both achieved a great deal of success. I had a long discussion with one of the worldcon people at LC on Saturday when he wanted to know if I’d be going to the San Jose worldcon. He was rather quick to admit that they were all 100 percent clueless about much that was going on, until it was too late (ie the wooden assholes. They had no idea it was an insult and then had no idea what to do after they realized that Gerrold had fucked them all up the ass). I gave him a few suggestions that he said he would take to the next board meeting. It will be interesting to see if they take them seriously.

        • Alas, each WorldCon has its own board.

          As for Tor, if you look at the current crop of nominees, they’ve cleaned up. They’ve already engineered one rules change that limited Vox to the ability to only get one nominee in, and the next one will allow they to strike even that. Tor wants to own the Hugos, for them it’s marketing, and the Rabid Puppies are just the excuse they needed to give themselves editorial control over who gets the nod.

          Irene Gallo still has a job, so I don’t see there being any great purges in the future, and when Tom Doherty finally dies, I expect the situation will roll even harder left.

          The problem with the shrinking market pre-dates the puppies, it’s the SJW takeover of SF. (I’ll be touching on that when I do the post(s) about why I dropped my Asimov’s subscription.

          But I expect you are right that they will crash an burn, It is, as Sarah says, a classic pattern that an institution in trouble exhibits a hard roll to the left before it dies. That leads to the perfect excuse for the lefties as they bail out, and land in new jobs in the next institution selected to die. They blame their failure on the Right, or the Customers.

          • You and John are both right, I think.
            SF TradPub is dying of terminal blind arrogance, with Vox perhaps more publicly shooting itself in the wallet than the others. And, the Puppies, both SP & RP, are hastening the creative destruction.
            We know part of what follows – Amazon and anyone who can compete within roughly that model; I wonder what else will arise? (Maybe recommendation sites that link to author’s sites, with forwarding transactions built in to facilitate purchases? Something else?)

      • Whether he’s failing or not is moot. Your whole Claw theory is based on the man’s motivation. You got it wrong.

        Picking a CHORF slander to attack Vox Day because you’re torqued off at him (not clear why, not sure it matters – I’m sure you have a good reason, and the gent picks fights)… Well. I’d be that ashamed to do their dirty work for them.

        It’s not like the man doesn’t have plenty of failings to criticise. Though again, my preference would be to focus on the failings as failings (why to eschew them, and what is the path of virtue) rather then using them as a hammer to hit Vox Day with. After all, Castalia House is a blessing, and frankly, I wouldn’t give Vile 770 the satisfaction.

          • Gah. I’m accusing you of being MISTAKEN (one) and using a CHORF narrative to slap at Vox Day, who torqued you off for some reason (two)

            If I thought you sided with the Torling set, I wouldn’t point out that you’re repeating their narrative. Because you wouldn’t CARE. You’d be doing it on purpose.

            That’s the insidiousness of their massive disinfomation and slander campaigns. They get everywhere and everyone repeats them, unless their bloody careful.

            • The worst thing is in the same breath as saying I can’t know Vox’s motivations you’re claiming to know mine. And at the same time completely misreading where i clearly stated something different from what you’re assuming.

              Hint, I’m not Torqued off at Vox. So every conclusion you’ve built upon that foundation is wrong.

              • I’m not Torqued off at Vox. So every conclusion you’ve built upon that foundation is wrong.

                Amusing! That’s a fair cop. Unfortunately the reason I made that guess about your emotional state was me trying to be charitable about why someone would use a CHORF narrative to critique someone who is not, in fact, a CHORF himself.

                Double unfortunately, it makes no difference, since the only conclusions that I built upon that foundation are “Doc Mauser is human” and “people make errors when they’re pissed off” and “well, I shouldn’t give him grief about getting mad at Vox Day.” Heh. Waste of time on all sides it seems.

                So you’re correct: I shouldn’t try to guess WHY you’ve made a mistake. I should just point out the error, explain why the mistake is particularly foolish and ask you to reconsider.

                So, good point.

                • *sigh* Previously you recognized that Vox getting himself a Hugo would advance his goal of discrediting the Hugos, now you’re back to saying that’s a CHORF narrative. Did you forget that?

  8. But but but, Dr. Mauser sir, the Sad Puppies was all about that [gasp, pearl clutch] GUN OWNER Larry Correia getting a Hugo for himself! Right?

    I mean, that’s what everybody says at the “Big Blogs.” Cameltoe Flopatron, China Mike, iO9, simply -everybody- says it.

    I’ve been having the usual discussion at Lela Buis’s blog, she seems to have a Hullblender infestation regarding SP5. Some of the Viletones showed up and are laying down the same boilerplate they always do.

    I think this post of yours is much more to the point than the Buis one though. She was speaking of the “diversity” plague that struck the awards season this year, and how it was odd that no White Males got nominated for anything.

    You said: “The proposal literally gives anyone with 600 votes in his pocket, or 20% of the electorate if it’s larger than 3,000, the ability to knock out any of the top 15 nominees until 5 get through the process. Why was the floor number of 600 chosen? Because that’s greater than the largest estimate of the number of Rabid Puppies voters, and well under the 1500-2500 No-Award voters that were mustered for SP3.”

    This is the thing that needs to be exposed, beyond any specifics of political dipshittery. The number of people who decide what gets nominated for SF/F awards is UNDER 1000 PEOPLE.

    WorldCon touts itself as the World Convention and pretends to represent ALL of “Fandom.” But what it actually represents is the personal whim of a few hundred people. They like it that way, and they will do pretty much anything to keep it that way.

  9. The new nomination process is not opaque. Each nominee on a ballot is worth 1 point if alone, 1/2 if the ballot has 2 nominees, and so on down to 1/5 for the maximum of 5. All the points are added up, and of the 2 lowest nominees, the one with the fewest votes is erased from the ballots, so the other nominees on those ballots go up in value. Repeat until 6 nominees are left. (The fractions will likely be changed to 1, 1/3, 1/5, 1/7, 1/9 in Helsinki.)

    The point of 3SV is to eliminate nominees that are certain to finish below No Award (like crude gay porn, although Chuck Tingle turned out to be an unexpected gem) so that better-liked nominees can replace them on the ballot.

    WorldCon is its members. It does not pretend to speak for anyone else. It is a world convention because it is often held outside the U.S.

    • We know HOW EPH works, but It is needlessly complicated for a mere nomination process, and it still can be circumvented, as demonstrated by this year’s Rabid entries (which we were told was unpossible!)

      And you see the contradiction in your second paragraph? (Tingle would have been knocked right out rather than turning out to be an unexpected gem) There are other issues with that as well. One would assume the items with the most nominations would already have proven to be “Better liked” but now it has to be asked “By whom” and the answer is, “One fifth of the electorate acting in concert can kick out anything that displaces their favored entry.” This is why I prefer the positive vote version I suggested ages ago, aside from the fact that that would re-empower the 90% of the voters who didn’t get anything they wanted through the first vote.

      As for pretending to speak for others, well, I’ve read enough people who seem to declare that the tastes of WorldCon fandom are representative of SF fandom. Which doesn’t really seem to be the case on the basis of whose books get the Franklin Award.

    • Mr. Rosen, it seems there has been a change in the Interwebz. Some busy little beavers have gone around and scrubbed a lot of websites and Wikis of the old wording around WorldCon and the Hugos. No longer do things like Wikipedia say “The Hugo Awards choose the best SF/F stories of the year.”

      This is I believe called Gaslighting. “We never said “best!” But you missed one:

      “The World Science Fiction Society administers and presents the Hugo Awards,[6] the oldest and most noteworthy award for science fiction.” Wikipedia.

      You said: “WorldCon is its members. It does not pretend to speak for anyone else.”

      I say, WorldCon has stopped pretending to speak for everyone, after four years of shrieking and flinging poo at new participants.

      You said: “The point of 3SV is to eliminate nominees…”

      Yes. We know.

    • BTW, if they change those fractions as you say, Game theory says that there is absolutely NO incentive to nominate more than a single work, since the total of the points you cast with be less and less than 1 the more you nominate (from 2/3 down to 5/9th of a point.). You may as well eliminate the whole tradition of nominating five candidates.

      It would be interesting to see the nomination data for this year to see how many nominating votes for the top five were single work nominations.

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