I Voted For the Hugos

I Voted For the Hugos

2011 Hugo Award-smallYesterday, I cast my vote for the 2015 Hugo awards.

It was my first time voting for the Hugos (yay!). But I’ve never been nominated for a Hugo Award before either, so this is pretty much the year for milestones all around. For the record, here’s what I ranked in first place in each category:

Best NovelThe Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (Tor Books)
Best Novella – No Award
Best Novelette – “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Lightspeed, April 2014)
Best Short Story – No Award
Best Related Work – No Award
Best Graphic StoryMs. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal (Marvel Comics)
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) Edge of Tomorrow
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”
Best Professional Editor (Short Form) – No Award
Best Professional Editor (Long Form) – No Award
Best Professional Artist – Julie Dillon
Best SemiprozineBeneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews
Best FanzineTangent Online, edited by Dave Truesdale
Best FancastGalactic Suburbia Podcast
Best Fan Writer – Laura J. Mixon
Best Fan Artist – No vote cast
The John W. Campbell Award – Wesley Chu

In my vote preparation, I was greatly aided by Deidre Saoirse Moen’s Puppy Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide, which conveniently whittled down the ballot to only those candidates not on the Sad Puppy or Rabid Puppy ballots (for those of you new to all this Puppy business, there’s a handy summary here).

Tangent OnlineMind you, I must admit I didn’t strictly follow Ms. Moen’s guidelines. For Best Fanzine (the category Black Gate was also nominated in), the Puppy Free Guide lists Journey Planet as the only untainted candidate. However, I’m a big fan of Tangent Online, and I’d enjoy seeing Dave Truesdale get a Hugo — even a tainted one.

Dave and I have had our disagreements in the past, but Tangent Online is an invaluable site, and Dave has been a tireless promoter of short fiction (and indeed the entire genre) for decades, and I didn’t want this Puppy business to get in the way of a well-deserved Hugo for Dave and his entire team.

Of course, there are folks who disregarded Ms. Moen’s form in its entirety, and who diligently read the entire short fiction ballot in preparation for voting. For those who felt compelled to do so, I salute you.

I did not feel compelled to so do. Because I feel, rather strongly, that this is in an illegitimate ballot.

I’ve explained my rationale elsewhere, and I won’t rehash all that again, but in short — regardless of how the voting goes, the Puppies have made it abundantly clear that their primary goal is to have their ballot accepted. Having the bulk of fandom acknowledge their ballot as legitimate, and having their nominees read and voted on, paves the way for future Hugo ballots to be decided the same way: through the Puppies aggressive form of slate voting, which I feel drowns out far too much worthy fiction in favor of the Puppies extremely narrow selection process (dictated almost entirely by two individuals).

Or to put it another way: Any slate in which Vox Day puts eleven works from his own tiny publishing house on the Hugo ballot — and nominates himself for two Hugos — will have a hard time convincing me that it is anything other than a naked Hugo grab, poorly masquerading as a reactionary literary movement.

So overall, I kept my ballot pretty much puppy free. Which meant that I couldn’t even list Black Gate in first place for the Best Fanzine category, despite the fact that I’m the founder and editor. Which was sort of a bummer. But, as I explained when we attempted to withdraw from Hugo consideration back in April:

My larger concern is with the integrity of the Hugos. Giving Hugos to members of the Rabid Puppies slate would be a tacit acceptance of slate voting as a legitimate way to award Hugos, and I feel this would permanently tarnish an award that has done an enormous amount to promote and celebrate some of the finest SF and fantasy this field has ever seen.

The strongest argument the Puppies can muster is that this shouldn’t matter, because there are very deserving candidates on the award ballot this year, and denying them a Hugo award without the regard they deserve is wrong.

The strongest argument I can muster is that I believe that Black Gate is a superb website, the product of thousands of hours of dedicated effort from dozens of the top writers in the field every single month, and if there’s even the slightest chance that giving it a Hugo would in any way diminish the reputation of the Awards, we, as an organization and as a team, categorically reject any involvement in that effort.

Not everyone agrees with me, of course. And that’s okay. George R.R. Martin even publicly wagged his finger at me for advocating a “No Award” approach for those categories thoroughly dominated by the Puppies.

Black Gate is advocating the nuclear option: vote NO AWARD… I understand his reasoning, but once more, I disagree. I will vote NO AWARD only in those categories where I find nothing in the category worthy of a Hugo. If I think a book or story or editor IS worthy of a Hugo, I’m going to vote to award one.

The Hugos can withstand a few NO AWARDs, in categories where all the nominees are crap. They can NOT withstand an entire evening without a single rocket being presented, where one envelope after another is ripped open and NO AWARD is announced, again and again and again.

I understand George’s concern. For a lot of folks, it just doesn’t sit right with them to vote “No Award” without reading and evaluating all the nominees fairly — regardless of how they got on the ballot.

I respect that opinion. If you’ve been following all the Hugo discussion over the past few months (and there’s no shame if you haven’t, believe me), there’s been no shortage of folks who dutifully read the entire short fiction ballot (that portion of the ballot that is nearly 100% Puppy-dictated) and gave the nominees careful consideration. There’s plenty of online commentary to choose from, but here’s a quick sample:

Rich Horton – The 2015 Hugo Shortlist, Short Fiction: A Review
Charlotte Ashley – Clavis Aurea #30: 2015 Hugo Awards edition (Short Fiction) (in Apex #74)

I’ve been watching the drama unfold, and from what I’ve seen Rich Horton’s response is fairly typical:

Having gone through the entire list, I’m annoyed again. The problem is, simply, that very few really good stories got nominated. I really want the Hugos to celebrate greatness, or at least “very-goodness.”

Undoubtedly many past Hugos come short of that, but at least they try. There are plenty of stories that, in my opinion, fit the parameters the Sad Puppies seem to want: bedrock Sfnal themes, solid and intriguing plots, lack of preaching, lack of emphasis on good writing at the expense of “story values”… I might not sign up for all those things, but I can sure understand the desire for them – but why not nominate more stories that really qualify?…

To me, it’s particularly distressing to see such worthy – and tremendously original, and strongly Science-Fictional – stories as “Schools of Clay,” “Sadness,” and “The Hand is Quicker –” get ignored.

In short, the Puppy slate just doesn’t measure up. Not much to tempt me to abandon my principled stand against slate voting, then.

I’ve listened to lots of Puppies over the last few months, and made good faith efforts to understand their grievances (and they do have very real grievances). I’ve had it explained to me (many times) that my principled decision to vote “No Award” in the face of blatant slate voting, without reading all the nominees, is “a slap in the face” to the Puppies.

I’m sorry to all those who feel that way — and I do understand that there are those who genuinely feel betrayed and hurt by my decision. But, as I’ve explained before, here’s the thing about principled actions: I’m called upon to do them, regardless of how they make you feel.

One thing I would like to state publicly is that a huge portion of the criticism aimed at the Puppies over the last few months has focused on their so-called pro-male and pro-white agenda. As those who’ve taken the time to closely read the ballot have pointed out, there really isn’t any such thing. The Puppy ballot is actually fairly diverse, all things considered.

The Puppies have reacted extremely negatively towards all the reactionary press aimed their way, and I don’t blame them. There’s plenty of legit reasons to critique them; we don’t need to start making crap up.

The last few months has been a remarkably dynamic and exciting time for fandom. The Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies accomplished something absolutely incredible: joining together to make a resounding statement about the current state of science fiction awards, and forcing the entire industry to sit up and take notice. They have, without question, been the single largest story in fandom this year.

Unfortunately, the subsequent discussion has been a Public Relations disaster for the Puppies. When the eyes of the world were upon them (and while they were admittedly being unfairly criticized by people who misunderstood what they were really about), the Puppies responded by relentlessly going on the attack, hurling bombs at “SJWs,” liberals, secret cartels controlling the Hugos, and (especially, and rather senselessly) Tor, the publisher that has tirelessly promoted and sold many of the authors they championed.

In short, four months ago the Puppies grabbed the microphone and stood on stage in front of the entire industry. They seized the genre by the throat, and had a golden opportunity to make their point. And instead, they simply proved that they had nothing of any real value to say.

Today, the Sad Puppies are already seen as a spent force. Irrelevant, misguided, and not particularly very interesting.

Perhaps I’ll be be proven wrong, and when the Hugo Winners are announced at Sasquan in Spokane, Washington, on August 22, the Puppies will sweep again, just as they swept the nominations.

But I don’t think so. I think the result will be quite the opposite, and the Puppies will be swept aside in a wave of NO AWARDs. When that happens, I’m sure there will be plenty of dark muttering about “next year.” But by then, the microphone will have been turned off, and the audience will be long gone. The Puppies are part of history; they just don’t know it.

You can still vote for the Hugos, until midnight tonight (Friday July 31, 2015, 11:59 PM Pacific time). All is takes is $40 to register as a supporting member of Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon, and you can vote online. The registration page is here, and the Hugo voting page is here.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

“In short, four months ago the Puppies grabbed the microphone and stood on stage in front of the entire industry. They seized the genre by the throat, and had a golden opportunity to make their point. And instead, they simply proved that they had nothing of any real value to say.”

Perfectly said.

Rachel Book Harlot

Thanks for sharing, John. I salute you for sticking to your principles and doing what’s right for you.

Joe H.

Very similar to my own ballot in many respects.

And really hoping BG gets a non-tainted nomination — I’d have loved to have voted for you under almost any other circumstances.


As someone that isnt voting a slate, either sad, rabid, or anti puppy…

I am sorry you felt this way Mr Oneill, needless to say I disagree with you. But unlike many anti-puppies I think you should be able to vote and nominate as you see fit, that you shouldnt have to hold up people to ideological or identity standards in deciding what to vote for.

Though I would like to say that the anti-puppies voting no award without at least an honest attempt at measuring quality of nomination, ie throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as you and others seem to have done is disappointing. I put those that do so in the same category as those that harrassed Ms Bellet simply because Vox put her on his ballot. (btw I find it deliciously ironic that those complaining the most about slates are in effect slate voting)

“They seized the genre by the throat, and had a golden opportunity to make their point. And instead, they simply proved that they had nothing of any real value to say.”

Mammoth book of mindblowing SF
SFWA Bulletin

Same thing, just different actors…

The world SF&F was borne by in the worldcon arguments of 1939, and it shall continue as it always has until there is no more fandom.

“a non-tainted nomination”

Tainted…because someone with a bad opinion liked something and told others about it…

Oh no, someone with bad think likes something I like, it now has cooties…

Would the the genre be so much better if those with badthink, who have wrongfun, leave?

Will you then sit around in racially segregated safe rooms at wiscon and talk about how Omelas is so much better than the wilderness?


Sad and Rabid Puppies, and really, a lot of people involved in this, need to stop playing victim. Write good stuff, promote it well, be happy with your own work, like what you want. Most of all:

Eugene R.

Thank you for sharing your votes and your reasoning, Mr. O’Neil.

Being mostly on the fringes of fandom (I have attended 3 Worldcons), I have been trying to follow the arguments over the Puppies with some effort. One major difficulty that seems to be clouding the debate is a conflation, on both sides, of Puppies.

It seems to me, based on analyses of the voting slates, like the one provided by File 770, that the issue at hand is the Rabid Puppies nominees being bloc-voted onto the Hugo ballot. The Sad Puppies only provided 3 non-Rabid nominees, 2 semi-prozines (Abyss & Apex, Andromeda Spaceways) and one fan writer (Dave Freer). So, the Hugo ballot issue is squarely with Rabid Puppies.

Which means that “no Puppies” critics are often making overly broad statements that should properly only be targeted at Rabid Puppies (Mr. Theodore “Vox Day” Beale, his publishing concern, the authors it publishes) and not at Sad Puppies, as several commentators like Mr. O’Neill have been at pains to point out. Conflating the two is only confusing the debate.

Unfortunately, the conflation also afflicts the “yes Puppies” side as well, whether intentionally or not. Sad Puppy defenders want to take credit for the Hugo ballot insertions, but at the same time also want to emphasize the distinction and remind us that “Sad Puppies are not Rabid!” I do not think that they can assume both positions. If they want to take credit for their coalition with the Rabids having a major effect on the Hugos (for good or for ill), then they need to admit that this Puppy government has a Rabid prime minister and cabinet. Otherwise, I tend to find their often lengthy arguments about anti-Puppy smears to be factually correct but irrelevant.

In short, the whole kerfuffle suffers from a muddle of rhetoric that makes it sound as a transcription of the classic Bugs Bunny “rabbit season/duck season” shtick, bedeviled by confusion over “you” and “they” terms, deliberately or accidentally. As Daffy Duck would say, “Pronoun trouble!”, the result of which has been a continual series of impassioned pleas that, sadly, turn into cries of “Shoot me now! Shoot me now!”


Great summation, Eugene R. I agree.

Wild Ape

It looks to me like a vote against Vox Day. How many new writers and established writers need to get tossed under the bus does it take for people to vote their conscious and not vote against Vox Day? You’ve empowered your enemy John. Now he has the reverse Midas touch. When he said that the Hugos would rather set fire to the award rather than cave in to their narrative he was right. What will that accomplish?

No, Sad Puppies are persona non grata. This is a vote to expel them and not one that accepts them as another part of fandom.

“In short, four months ago the Puppies grabbed the microphone and stood on stage in front of the entire industry. They seized the genre by the throat, and had a golden opportunity to make their point. And instead, they simply proved that they had nothing of any real value to say.”

It was probably hard to deliver the message to the tone deaf. It sure would have been easier if y’all wouldn’t start calling us Nazis. That might have helped. Maybe if folks like Rich Horton would have spoken the loudest it might have helped. At least he did his homework and gave an honest review. GRRM is not hated by a lot of the Puppies. I admire how he stood in the fire and reached out when tempers were at their hottest. He has been a real voice for fandom. He was asking for people to quit name calling and to read the nominations and vote. He seems to be interested in the health of the Hugos and is willing to listen to all sides. That doesn’t mean he supports Vox Day by the way. He is just asking people to be rational.

@TW–“Would the the genre be so much better if those with badthink, who have wrongfun, leave?”

That is exactly what they want. They want it to hurt too. They want us to shut up and leave. The more radical want us to bow down and submit. At least for now we have a free market and no one is forced to buy politically approved books. With the Kindle and other eReaders with the internet the hate fest that we are witnessing is just the death throws of a dying industry. It kinda looks like a temper tantrum to me but…hey. They will either adapt or die or be confined to a small niche of readers.

John I find it telling that you voted for “Edge of Tomorrow” and “Orphan Black” which were the ones I voted for as well. Whenever a large audience is present you will find the votes fall in with an educated vote. When the category has a small population you get a skewed result (that is what Vox Day and his 390 minions proved).

People should be thanking the Puppies. This will probably be the biggest Hugo vote in history. How did that come about? At least in the circles that I traffic in the discussion has been on books and stories unlike in previous years when we just get the results and cheer or boo. There has been a lot of booing in the past and that is because the Puppies and other fans have sat on the sideline and not participated. Again, this is real substance and good for all of fandom.

I doubt that the Puppies will get a single award. The crowing will be loud and shrill and the insults at us will fly. The worst thing that could happen is that the voting goes down without a No Award. If there are a lot of No Awards then Vox Day will have truly set fire and destroyed the Hugo. I would hate to see that. That would be a true defeat for fandom. But hey, vote your principles.

“But by then, the microphone will have been turned off, and the audience will be long gone. The Puppies are part of history; they just don’t know it.”

I like that demoralizer you put in at the end John but it is just wishful thinking. The thing is that most of the Sad Puppies I know are vets and not little daisies so I wouldn’t count on them sniveling in a corner and crying. You don’t understand them. They sound mean and angry but it is just the way they talk, but we all share an understanding. If you want to win the battlefield you have to show up. If your tactics don’t work then you use better ones. The audience that you describe was in an echo chamber chanting lies and hate and we never had a chance of cracking that fortress. We are looking for all of fandom, not just the politically approved and especially the wrongfans who have been marginalized and bullied. The same audience that was cast aside by those in the echo chamber. In that battlefield we are winning. Most do not want to shell out $40 for what they consider a lefty award. Instead, they are being shown books of the variety that they thought were long gone. A lot of them are self published too and were tossed aside by the same group in the echo chamber.

Share them with you? Hmmm. Considering how all it takes is a Puppy’s approval to ruin a writer I’m not sure that is a good idea. I’m more of a partisan for a writer than defender of literature award. So no.

And yes, I’m looking forward to next year. I have no idea if there will be a Sad Puppy 4 list. If there is I will give it due consideration and then vote as I see fit. I’m sure there will be counter lists too. I will consider the source and read as I choose. The world will continue to revolve.


‘In short, the Puppy slate just doesn’t measure up.’

Riding the Red Horse is the first great mil-sf anthology since Jerry Pournelle tapered off back in the 90’s. There are honest ideological reasons to hate mil-sf. There’s no honest way to claim Hugo Gernsback or John Campbell shared your ideology.

Sean Stiennon

“And when fandom took the time to read the work that the Puppies put forth, they found the Puppies really had nothing much to say.”

In the Puppies’ defense, the list of works they put forward were gutted by the withdrawal of several authors, at least one of whom did so largely because of the torrent of abuse she received from a sub-set of anti-Pups. The weakness in the Puppy-nominated works is that they’re dominated by John C. Wright. I personally think Wright is a master, but if his particular style isn’t to your taste. . .well, that’s a huge chunk of the Puppy works you won’t enjoy.

And of course the core of Worldcon voters aren’t impressed by the Puppy nominees. That’s the point being argued–that the Hugos have, in the past, been awarded based on the atypical tastes of a relative handful of voters, and don’t reflect or represent what most genre fans actually enjoy. You’ll have to hunt far and wide to find a more beloved author than Jim Butcher, or a more popular series than the Dresden Files, but it seems obvious that none of his work would ever have made the Hugo ballot without the Puppy campaign. The novel to receive the most nominating ballots was actually Correia’s own MONSTER HUNTER NEMESIS, so it’s disingenuous to say that “fandom” isn’t impressed by the works the Puupies put forward–unless you consider “fandom” to necessarily exclude Correia’s fans. This seems like exactly the point Correia is making with “wrongfans having wrongfun”.

That, and I saw very few people bother to listen to anything the Puppies had to say. It’s hard to string sentences together in the face of accusations and rotten vegetables.

With all that said, I’m just a spectator–I didn’t care about the Hugos enough one way or another to put down $40. And I can appreciate a principled stand whether I agree with it or not. You and Correia have in common that you refused a Hugo nomination this year, and while you had different reasons for doing it, I respect both of you for putting principle above accolades.


” I don’t think the Puppies made anything like an effective point, and I saw precious little evidence that they convinced anyone outside their own membership that they ever had one.”

Same could be said of Racefail, the SFWA bulletin, or any number of the other nearly monthly outbursts.

Did Racefail, or the SFWA bulletin, truly change anything outside a small self-selective clique of perpetually outraged?

Racefail convinced a small group of bullies that they had the moral high ground, which they have used to abuse, harass, and demean, other fans for years. The SFWA Bulletin thing, and the myriad of arguments surrounding it (such as when Mary Robinette told Mike Williamson and Will Shetterly that they should not be in the SFWA since they disagreed with her on politics) drove home the point that the SFWA had become a meaningless social club. Little more than a check mark that those who wanted to be accepted by the elitist bourgeoisie of the SF&F intelligentsia needed to have in order to be accepted.

IF anything Sad Puppies has had a larger, and more lasting (hopefully?) effect on the community than any of the other screamfests that have come to represent the SF&F intelligentsia. Especially if those “outsiders” that engaged this year continue to be engaged in years to come…though if the repercussion of sad puppies ends up driving even more folks from the isolated insular world of worldcon intelligentsia that could also have a larger effectin the long run.

Plus one of Correia’s original points (that the Sf&F intelligentsia would have a cow if “right wingers” got nominations) has been made pretty convincingly. Not just this year, but last year as well.

“And when fandom took the time to read the work that the Puppies put forth, they found the Puppies really had nothing much to say.”

First fandom is bigger than you think. It is bigger than worldcon thinks. Fandom is huge. Fandom doesnt just buy John Scalzi, it also buys John Ringo, or John Norman. Fandom includes people that read Jemisin, or Correia, or Wright. Swirsky or Day. Fandom contains the same people that Gallo called racists and neo-nazis.

The elitism of the intelligentsia when it comes to defining “fandom” is a big part of the problem. The thing they fear the most, the thing the scream loudest about, is when the proles decide to engage with their self isolated world.

Second, you truly dont think Toni Weisskopf produces “hugo worthy” work?

“(erm… what the hell is ‘Fishboob’?)”

Err, back around the time of racefail, some magazine who had an editor guilty of badthink (I guess…cant remember who it was) put out an issue with a mermaid on the cover, and the perpetually outraged had a cow about it…Sorta like what they did with Elizabeth Moon, or the Mammath book of mind blowing SF author list…

BTW, John what will you do if sad puppies 4, or rabid puppies 2, (assuming they will exist) puts up Black Gate, and gets you enough noms for the ballot?

Sarah Avery

Googling “fishboob” produces lots of opportunities to buy skateboard wheels with a design that features fish with boobs for heads. If fishboob was a controversy on the scale of racefail, I hope someone will provide links to some site where a discussion of it happened while it was going on. For the moment, anyway, it looks to me like this was not really a thing.



John we have had this conversation before (see link https://www.blackgate.com/2015/04/19/black-gate-withdraws-from-hugo-consideration/ )


Last year.


(I say that in that manner, because the last time I brought this up, you referenced this year…and wouldnt comment on what I was actually saying)

What is what so egregiousness about what Correia did in 2014? How is what he did substantially different than what Scalzi, or Martin, or what dozens of others did?

Dont forget there was a hoopla LAST YEAR (2014) about Correia…(granted it pales in comparison to THIS YEAR – 2015 ). But there were people screaming because “right wingers” were nominated.

BTW- Sarah here is a link to fishboob- http://www.fanhistory.com/wiki/Fishboob_Fail_09

Wild Ape

I never “voluntarily” hopped on Vox Day’s bus. NEVER. EVER. I never supported Vox Day and it is not at all right to accuse me and then abuse me for my bus being hijacked. The Rabid Puppies got results. Sad Puppies only had a few nominations. None the less many arrived not knowing the difference between the two camps. So educating in this medium and then trying to defend your list while being smeared and boxed by the things Vox Day would say was an impossible task. John you seem to think that there wasn’t any fog of battle in those four months and that we all wasted our time in the spot light. Well, silly me, I was actually reading lists of nominations like a chump doing my level best to give all the writers their due. In the end I read a bit of this and that and cast my vote. I took the time to do it right as was my duty to fandom. I’m such a chump.

Thanks Sean for standing by me and the Puppies. I appreciate your bravery by stepping into the fire.

bruce999—yeah, it was genius work and those versed in warfare would see it. It never would have a chance with the CHORFs.

TW–I loved the Omelas comment. It probably did an orbital over most of their heads though. I too have faith in the free market.

John—well, at least you got Orphan Black and Edge of Tomorrow right. Thanks for at least saying that the Sad Puppies were mistreated. Do I feel hurt? Yeah–a lot. Betrayed? Yeah, a little,but nothing that can’t be mended or forgotten. I know that a man has to stand by his principles or he isn’t much of a man. Something of this magnitude and all of its tangents will take a lot more than four months to sort out. I think you had unrealistic expectations and were expecting something bigger. I think when things cool off we can turn conversations about the works of 2015.


Wow…Once again you dont seem to understanding what I am saying…

What is bad about this “slate” of recommendations?:

Best Novel

Warbound, the Grimnoir Chronicles – Larry Correia – Baen
A Few Good Men – Sarah Hoyt – Baen


The Butcher of Khardov – Dan Wells – Skull Island Expeditions
The Chaplain’s Legacy – Brad Torgersen – Analog


The Exchange Officers – Brad Torgersen – Analog
Opera Vita Aeterna – Vox Day – The Last Witchking

Best Fanzine

Elitist Book Reviews – Steve Diamond

Graphic Story

Schlock Mercenary – Howard Tayler

Best Editor Long Form

Toni Weisskopf

Best Editor Short Form

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Campbell Award

Marko Kloos
Frank Chadwick

That is what Correia did in 2014.

Doesnt seem to be trying to “overwhelm the voting system” certainly isnt 70+ nominees…

Yet last year there were still folks on your side that went nuts over it.

Eugene R.

Wild Ape,

I did not miss TW’s “Omelas” remark, and it does provide a very striking image for the “Wiscon” faction that he wishes to criticize as enjoying the poison fruit of Omelas. But, the analogy breaks down on the other side, as the protestors are “The Ones Who Walk Away”. Not “The Ones Who Retook” or “The Ones Who Firebombed”.

Ms. Le Guin’s theme is a Buddhist form of protest, non-violent and twisting away from the blow instead of offering a counter-stroke. The entirety of the Puppy movement (Sad and Rabid) seems to be much more “in your face” than Ms. Le Guin’s voluntary exiles would be.



I missed the “Puppies” thing, and first learned about it on this board – working on my own projects – of course given my love of “Pulp” and being rabidly Anti-Political Correctness I do more or less side with them.

There were earlier discussions on “Awards” and I almost typed and posted. The biggest problem is that:
1. There’s too much stuff out there for one person to read and judge – even “New” stuff.
2. One person’s likes and opinions greatly shape what they’ll like.
3. Professional editors get jaded, as do writers – and can often miss stuff a lot of people would like.
4. There’s a “Niche” for just ’bout everything. Prof Norman got his Gor back by the “Bucketload” once he could skip the publisher/distributor rackets that blacklisted him for not turning P.C. decades back.

And the Puppies got a lot to bark about. I know all too well what it’s like to get your stuff ignored ‘coz the gatekeeper just prefers to push out other genres, hmmm?

Also it’s not just “Non-PC” stuff or “Niche” things these gatekeepers, these elites ignore – for instance what about the Sandman winning the 1991 World Fantasy Award for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – having his characters interact with the Bard on a lazy summer eve for a special performance of said play? Incredible art by Charles Vess, brilliant on every level. I’m sure 99% of people here loved it. (and 99% of those 1% who haven’t heard of it buy it off kindle NOW… you’ll love it) It was fairly voted without Neil organizing an “Uppity Corgi” bloc or anything. AND the elite gatekeepers quickly changed the “Rules” so that going forward NO comic book could ever get one again… Ever…

Essentially a lot of work needs to be done. People are entitled to their own opinions, but when things get big enough there is some need for democratic principles or at least some “Republican” level rules for representation here and there. What I fear happen will just be some circling of wagons to try to create a black hole where only “Good” fans can enter to read “Good” scifi of the PC, pandering sludge variety that gains few if any new readers (no matter what “-ority” trying to expand to reach) and possibly sucks another gaping hole in the market as the PC shift did in the late 70s, early 80s…

Chuck Timpko

Right there with you, John. My votes are very similar to yours and for mostly the same reasons. Somewhat ironic since I did nominate some of the works on the SP list. But I did so based on my own reading and not on any slate put forth by any group. I hope next year that if the SP group decides to again participate in the Hugo process, they do a true list of recommended stories, 15 or 20 or whatever and let the reader decide. Locus does this every year and I am fine with it. By only recommending 5 nominees they are saying, at least implicitly, that these are the only stories to be considered especially when you add in the SJW rhetoric / conspiracy theories they threw around.
I am glad you withdrew your nomination as I was feeling very conflicted about voting / not voting for Black Gate. I will continue to nominate you in the future. (Hey I think I nominated and voted for Stanley Schmidt for at least 20 years and he finally won so persistence can pay off !
One good point about this whole mess is that it introduced me to Marko Kloos whose 3 books I have now read and enjoyed very much.

Wild Ape

Novel—Skin Game by Jim Butcher—honestly I was torn between all but Ancillary Sword. I don’t dislike Leckie as a writer, she is good but this one missed the mark. I still awarded her. I think it was the translation that killed Three Body Problem and the other two were great reads. I recommend them.

Novella—One Bright Star to Guide Them—John Wright.

A Single Samurai—Steven Diamond—This was my favorite pick of all. That anthology that it came out of had so many good writers and stories. Howard Andrew Jones, Larry Correia, and others. This was one of the ones that I championed and argued for. I hope it wins.

Best Related Work—The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF Ken Burnside—I know what a lot of people are thinking now. Hey I thought you were a Sad Puppy not a Rabid Dog there Ape. Well, I gave Vox Day his due too just like I did all the others and switched my picks. If y’all hadn’t have stirred such a fuss I might have gone with my original plan to just skip this portion and never have known about it.

Best Graphic Story—Rat Queens. Hands down it was a well done story. I loved the humor and yeah, sure it was a little touch of the feminist but it was good. Ms Marvel? Really?

Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form—Edge of Tomorrow edged out barely ahead of the competition. I picked Guardians and Groot, then Captain America (despite my loathing of Brubaker)

Best Dramatic Short Form—Orphan Black. Honestly, Tatiana Maslany is the next Merril Streep. You could turn off the screen and know which character it was. Beyond a great performance there is a wealth of talent and writing that went along with it. I liked Game of Thrones too. GRRM may have been angry with me for being a Sad Puppy but I think he spoke louder for all of fandom and for the health of the Hugos. I think he might be surprised at how many Sad Puppies respect him.

Best Editor Long Form—Toni Weisskoff—tough to pick from them but it was long over due.

Best Editor Short Form—Vox Day—Yeah, it came as a surprise to me too. But then, it wasn’t so bad after being called a racist neo-Nazi.

Best Professional Artist—No vote
Best Fanzine—No vote
Best Fancast—No vote
Best Fan Writer—No vote
Best Semiprozine—Lightspeed—feel good about that one too. Next year is going to be Grimdark all the way! I’ll probably change my handle so the rage fest Nazi dubbing elitists don’t know it is me.

John W Campbell Award—Jason Cordova. I feel very good about this one too. Sorry to give you the kiss of death Jason. I loved the Kaiju stories though and the word is out that the Sad Puppies like you.

For the writers that I voted for. Get a name change and try not to get SWATTed by the radicals. Wear an armor vest for a few months and you should be safe after that. Vary your travel path. Had I known that my selection in books would ruin your careers or cause radicals to call in death threats or editors to send you to reeducation camps I would have nominated Tor editors. Who knew?

@Eugene–lol. Okay Eugene. I’m sure it would not have flown past you. That was meant for iguanamoto. I doubt it flew past his mini kaiju mind either. It was just fun to zing him back for a previous insult/joke he sent to me on Youtube.

@Sarah—–You didn’t google fishboobs did you? I should have warned you. Seriously, it was perhaps the funniest thing to come along in a while. It is yet another reason why I can’t stand Harlan Ellison.

Wild Ape

@TW—are you kidding? They are probably fanning themselves to keep from fainting. The Butcher of Kardov? They are probably squealing and twitching right now thinking about how Lola is ruining all of femindom. Schlock Mercenary? Really, do you have to be told about their alergic reaction to the second amendment? They are probably in anaphylactic shock. A Few Good Men? Any one of those titles could be a hate crime for god’s sake. Have some decency! lol

Eugene R.

Wild Ape,

Thank you for sharing your voting and your reasoning.

And a big AGREE on Orphan Black for Ms. Maslany’s performance. I have recommended the show on that basis alone. What kills me is, not just telling the clones apart, but being able to figure out which clone is *impersonating* another clone (“Oh, it’s Sarah pretending to be Rachel, while Alison is being Sarah”), based on speech patterns/body language and the like. Wowza.

R.K. Robinson

John, thank you for sharing your vote. Had I been voting I would have done pretty much the same thing, except my vote would have been for Black Gate, because excellence trumps politics. It takes me a few days to read a book, however well written, but I read Black Gate 365 days a year. THAT’S Hugo worthy.

I just want to say YAY! GOBLIN EMPEROR!!! That’s who I voted for too 🙂


Sarah Hoyt and Sad Puppies have actually turned me on to sci fi and fantasy books again. Walking through just about any book store is terrible these days, the books are all the same story just with a different mash of keys for character names. The normal “Best of” lists are generally the same mishmash of boring stories or stories told from the correct viewpoint. Seeing these new stories opened me back up to sci fi and fantasy books, and probably more importantly to the authors, opened my wallet up too. Fine, you don’t like either of the Puppies for slate voting, but were you complaining with the prior decades slates dedicated to viewpoints or authors genders? Nebula awards are practically a ladies only award now for this. I want to read the best stories I can, but sadly it seems I can only find old Heinlein or Asimov to build new worlds because everyone on the “best of” lists today is retreading the same story of overcoming the demons identified in XXXXX Studies classes.


@John O’Neill- ‘I’m a fan of Pournelle’s work (although he and I are as far apart on the political spectrum as it’s possible to get).

Glad to hear it. I strongly recommend you make some calls and put together a response to Riding the Red Horse from your end of politics. Find a smart left-libertarian computer whiz like Eric Raymond and get him to write some SF as good as Eric’s clever vignette- get him to speculate about politics and war as cleverly as Eric did. Good luck! Then get left mundanes equal to Martin van Crevald and William S Lind- David North, Paul Krugman, Fidel Castro all have a bunch of columns out you could cherry-pick from, and might write something new for you. Get Ursula Le Guin to do a short story equal to the Pournelle short story reprinted in Riding the Red Horse. Find a lefty who can write something equal to The Hot Equations. Follow your weird. Fifty phone calls, a hundred emails- you can beat VD! An anthology is worth ten thousand internet posts.

Sarah Avery

TW, thanks for the link. I stand corrected. Fishboob was indeed a thing. I’m glad to know about it now, but I can’t say I’m sorry to have missed it while it was going on.

Sarah Avery

Allen, I was curious about your assertion that the “Nebula awards are practically a ladies only award now.” The folks at Broad Universe try to find out empirically what the numerical breakdown is for awards, award ballots, best-of anthologies, and the magazines with the biggest circulations. It’s a volunteer effort, so some years have more complete counts than others. That said, the results are pretty interesting.

Here you can see the counts for all the Nebulas from 1965 to 2009. You can find a broader, but older, survey of the sf/f field here. For more recent years, rather than duplicate work others were doing, Broad Universe has been reposting with permission the annual SF Counts by Niall Harrison at Strange Horizons. I was able to find (but didn’t have time to read tonight) his counts for 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. I don’t know if anybody has done such a count for 2010. It seems that Niall Harrison hadn’t started doing them, but Broad Universe had stopped.

Looking at just the Nebula winners, I can see how the last two years might look surprisingly woman-heavy, especially in the context of the longer history of the award. I wonder, though, where you would see the tipping point at which an award becomes “practically ladies only.”

The relatively new Andre Norton Award for YA certainly tends to have far more female nominees than male ones, though several possible explanations occur to me that might account for that phenomenon. Are there more women writing YA than men? Are there more women publishing YA than men? I’ve heard both male and female writers tell tales of writing books for adult readers, and then seeing their publishers decide to publish them as YA — does that happen more often to women than to men? I would like to know the answers to these questions, but I don’t, and now’s not a time when I can do the research to find out. If you know of any sources that might help us get closer to understanding this part of the picture, I’d welcome links.


@Sarah, yeah fishboob was silly…but so are most of the regular outrages. And like most of them it had more than its share of hypocrisy and childish temper tantrums and screams of victimhood (to use some phrases that seems to be floating around lately).

As for the nebulas…I dont see them as being “ladies only” (contrary to the celebrations last year), or even all “lefty”. I do think they are leaning leftward a bit, but not not as much as the previous few years of Hugos.

But I will say that I think the Nebulas will track much harder to the “left” in the next few years. Simply because of who the voters are, and how that demographic seems to be shifting.


@Wild Ape

Butcher of Khardov…yeah, that threw some peeps for a loop last year. I had a twitter conversation (ie a few messages back and forth) with a tie-in writer last year who was anti-puppy and also complaining about the hugos never recognizing tie-in ficition. I swear you could hear a resigned sigh in his next couple of tweets, when I brought up Butcher with him.

Wild Ape

@Sarah and TW—If you look at YA fiction there are a lot more women writers. If you look at where seeds are being planted for the future it is probably there. I see many adults reading YA. I think there is a lot more focus on that section than in the adult sections. Girls read more can be argued but I think there are fewer stories that boys like to read. When I was a chimp I wanted to read Conan, not Twilight. I’m not saying that Twilight and girls are bad, I’m saying that perhaps the publishers should look at new marketing that would appeal to a different group outside their echo chamber. That is what Sad Puppies have been complaining about for years. Togerson got nothing but mockery and scorn because he talked about book covers showing a space ship battle and not delivering. The mockery always focused on Torgerson being a dweeb about his fiction and how dumb he was for judging covers and not the argument he presented. Book covers with Conan the Barbarian and Rocket ships are exciting and catchy. It creates a bait and switch.

Then you have “If You Were a Dinosaur My Love” or “Single Sci-Fi Trope of Rain Falling From No Where”and there are people actually shocked that the gun toting Larry Correia fans are fired up about the Hugos.

@bruce—Are you kidding? The left is chocked full of military experts! Barrack Obama single handedly shot Osama Bin Ladin and defeated the Somalia pirates (with a few SEALs). He won a Nobel Peace Prize BEFORE he got Iran to PINKY SWEAR that they won’t use the $100 billion to arm terrorists or build a nuke. Come on man! Sure Obama gets flack about the hostages in Iran but they were going to vote Republican anyway. These guys have it all—mime to mime warfare, Jon Stewart, Nanci Pelosi, not to mention “The Toxic Waste Dump War” with all the fairy battles. You talk Sun Tzu and they talk KC and the Sunshine Band. You talk Charles Lind and they are talking General Peterson’s Boznia bombing campaign from 25,000 ft which the NYT heralds as a brilliant success. Do I need to mention Hillary Clinton and Benghazi or have you forgotten how every newspaper and Congress raved about her success there? Shake yourself man!

Wild Ape

John, a title suggestion to counter “Riding the Red Horse”—-how about “Whipping the Rainbow Unicorn”? That would get Vox Day’s goat.

@TW—I play Warmachine and Butcher has taken my Cygnar lunch money many times. That was a fantastic book.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x