FeatherPenClipArtThe Puppies debate has some interesting facets, and it’s also an unusual opportunity to observe a little human behavior. One of the main accusations of the Puppies’ spokesmen Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day), Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia is that SF&F has been taken over by social justice warriors (aka SJW) who are pushing a liberal and literary agenda while forcing out old fashioned, right-leaning SF&F. I’ve just been reading about social justice, as it turns out. According to Professor Michael Reisch the definition of social justice is fairly open to question. This mutability means that different groups tend to co-opt the activist strategy and organize to advance their own definition of what social justice really is. Clearly, the Puppies have taken on the mantle and have now become social justice warriors, the very thing they have been loving to hate.

That’s okay. They have the same right as anybody else to organize and push for equal rights. Although they have not been well received by the SF&F community, other SJWs do need to acknowledge that a new faction has arrived in town. Their appearance is not unprecedented, and may actually be part of a trend by men’s rights groups to oppose the sometimes steamroller tactics of other SJW groups.

Another interesting facet of the discussion is Beale’s stance against Tor, the large publisher which he mainly accuses of freezing out traditional SF&F in favor of the aforesaid liberal agenda. It’s a necessary market strategy for publishing houses to establish an image and aim for a target audience. Beale can’t fault Tor for doing this. To reach a different audience, publishers will generally set up different imprints, each with their own image and target demographic. Beale himself has a certain image and a traditional audience that he is trying to reach.

What stands out in his blog this week is a comment on John Scalzi’s recent deal with Tor for $3.4 million. After computing the standard advance for new authors at Tor, Beale notes that this contract has prevented about 500 new authors from being published at Tor. That actually sounds very socialist from someone billed as right wing.