Diversity and the Puppies’ lists

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I’m seeing a lot of comments again this year that the goal of the Sad/Rabid Puppies is to end diversity in the Hugo awards. I’m well into reading the material and writing reviews, and I have to say I don’t see this happening in the results of their recommendations.

I’ve had a look at the list of Puppy recommendations below. When you combine the two lists, the Sad Puppies (SP) and Rabid Puppies (RP) recommended all the 2016 Hugo finalists except The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison. Of course, going from appearances is always chancy (especially in the case of parodies), but it appears to me like there’s reasonable diversity in these lists. It looks like two Hispanic names, four Jewish names, an African name and four Asian names in the list of fiction authors. There are 12 women as authors and a variety of characters represented, including gays, women, Africans and Asians. Even if you just look at the Rabid Puppy list, there’s diversity. See below. The titles in bold went on to become finalists, giving us three women and two men in the novel category, two women and three men in the novella category, two women and three men in the novelette category and one woman and four men (assuming Harris is male) in the short story category (Oops, low diversity there, but we’ve got Chuck Tingle!).

This isn’t an all-female sweep like the Nebulas, but given that the Puppies are supposed to be shutting out minorities and advancing mainly the cause of white men, the result is sort of a head-scratcher. Maybe we should just accept that they want a different type of fiction? No question about what it is. After wading through some of this, I’m feeling a little glutted on mil fic.

Seveneves: A Novel, Neal Stephenson (SP/RP)
The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher (SP/RP)
Uprooted, Naomi Novik (SP)
Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (SP)
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison (Not recommended by any Puppies)
Golden Son, Pierce Brown (RP)
Agent of the Imperium, Marc Miller (RP)
Somewhither, John C. Wright (SP/RP)
Honor At Stake, Declan Finn (SP)
A Long Time Until Now, Michael Z Williamson (SP)
Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (SP)
Strands of Sorrow, John Ringo (SP)
Nethereal, Brian Niemeier (SP)

Penric’s Demon, Lois McMaster Bujold (SP/RP)
Perfect State, Brandon Sanderson (SP/RP)
The Builders, Daniel Polansky (SP/RP)
Slow Bullets, Alastair Reynolds (SP/RP)
Binti, Nnedi Okorafor (SP)
The End of All Things 1: The Life of the Mind, John Scalzi (SP)
Speak Easy, Catherynne M Valente (SP)

Flashpoint: Titan, Cheah Kai Wai (RP)
Folding Beijing, Hao Jingfang (SP/RP)
What Price Humanity?, David VanDyke (RP)
Obits, Stephen King (SP/RP)
And You Shall Know Her by The Trail Of Dead, Brooke Bolander (SP)
Hyperspace Demons, Jonathan Moeller (RP)
Pure Attentions, T R Dillon (SP)
If I Had No Head and My Eyes Were Floating Way Up In the Air, Clifford D Simak (SP)
Our Lady of the Open Road, Sarah Pinsker (SP)

Asymmetrical Warfare, S. R. Algernon (SP/RP)
Seven Kill Tiger, Charles Shao (RP)
Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer (SP)
If You Were an Award, My Love, Juan Tabo and S. Harris (RP)
Space Raptor Butt Invasion, Chuck Tingle (RP)
The Commuter, Thomas Mays (RP) (Withdrawn)
Tuesdays With Molakesh The Destroyer, Megan Grey (SP)
Today I am Paul, Martin L Shoemaker (SP)
… And I Show You How Deep the Rabbit Hole Goes, Scott Alexander (SP)
Damage, David Levine (SP)
A Flat Effect, Eric Flint (SP)
Daedelus, Niall Burke (SP)
Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers, Alyssa Wong (SP)
I am Graalnak of the Vroon Empire, Destroyer of Galaxies, Supreme Overlord of the Planet Earth. Ask Me Anything, Laura Pearlman (SP)


Review of “Obits” by Stephen King

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Okay, the Hugo packet came in last week, and I’ve got some reviews ready. This story is a finalist in the Best Novelette category. It was published in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams from Scribner.

Michael Anderson is a nerdy young writer, still living with his parents and trying to get established. He works for a while at a local shopper paper, and then gets a job writing snarky obits for a celebrity gossip website called Neon Circus. After his request for a raise is rejected, he writes an obit for the manager, Jeroma Whitfield, and then takes off, planning to quit. He gets a call from office mate Katie Curran and finds Jeroma has choked on a cough drop and died. Shaken but sure this was a coincidence, he tries the same thing out on a death row killer, who promptly commits suicide. Katie has stepped into the Neon Circus manager’s chair and has seen his obit for Jeroma. They talk about it and he admits it’s worked the second time. Katie brings him a friend who was abused as a child and wants him to kill her abuser. He complies, feeling a kind of psychic power this time that’s increasing every time he kills someone. Can he stop before the dark power completely consumes him? Read the story to find out.

Stephen King is such a master of the creepy. I’m surprised he’s not on the Hugo ballot every time he writes something. He’s kind of master of presentation, too. The characterizations, imagery, darkness, humor and narrative are strongly in place. This isn’t world-shaking; the stakes aren’t that high, but it’s a clear demonstration of King’s craft. It’s also very clearly written in a man’s voice. On the side we get Michael’s lust for Katie, the hook-up and how this sours as she starts to manipulate him. Sorry, pc brigade—this is very old school. Three and a half stars.

2016 Hugo Finalists

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Here are the 2016 finalists. Looks like the Puppies have had a strong influence again. More analysis later.

BEST NOVEL (3695 ballots)

Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc)
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)
Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
BEST NOVELLA (2416 ballots)

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
The Builders by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com)
Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum)
Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment)
Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)
BEST NOVELETTE (1975 ballots)

“And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed, Feb2015)
“Flashpoint: Titan” by CHEAH Kai Wai (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
“Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)
“Obits” by Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Scribner)
“What Price Humanity?” by David VanDyke (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
BEST SHORT STORY (2451 ballots)

“Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015)
The Commuter by Thomas A. Mays (Stealth)
“If You Were an Award, My Love” by Juan Tabo and S. Harris (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015)
“Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services)
BEST RELATED WORK (2080 ballots)

Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 by Marc Aramini (Castalia House)
“The First Draft of My Appendix N Book” by Jeffro Johnson (jeffro.wordpress.com)
“Safe Space as Rape Room” by Daniel Eness (castaliahouse.com)
SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police by Vox Day (Castalia House)
“The Story of Moira Greyland” by Moira Greyland (askthebigot.com)
BEST GRAPHIC STORY (1838 ballots)

The Divine written by Boaz Lavie, art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka (First Second)
Erin Dies Alone written by Grey Carter, art by Cory Rydell (dyingalone.net)
Full Frontal Nerdity by Aaron Williams (ffn.nodwick.com)
Invisible Republic Vol 1 written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, art by Gabriel Hardman (Image Comics)
The Sandman: Overture written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)

Avengers: Age of Ultron written and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Ex Machina written and directed by Alex Garland (Film4; DNA Films; Universal Pictures)
Mad Max: Fury Road written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller (Village Roadshow Pictures; Kennedy Miller Mitchell; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures)
The Martian screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens written by Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt, directed by J.J. Abrams (Lucasfilm Ltd.; Bad Robot Productions; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Doctor Who: “Heaven Sent” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Television)
Grimm: “Headache” written by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, directed by Jim Kouf(Universal Television; GK Productions; Hazy Mills Productions; Open 4 Business Productions; NBCUniversal Television Distribution)
Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile” written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions;Netflix)
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: “The Cutie Map” Parts 1 and 2 written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller (DHX Media/Vancouver; Hasbro Studios)
Supernatural: “Just My Imagination” written by Jenny Klein, directed by Richard Speight Jr. (Kripke Enterprises; Wonderland Sound and Vision; Warner Bros. Television)
BEST EDITOR – SHORT FORM (1891 ballots)

John Joseph Adams
Neil Clarke
Ellen Datlow
Jerry Pournelle
Sheila Williams
BEST EDITOR – LONG FORM (1764 ballots)

Vox Day
Sheila E. Gilbert
Liz Gorinsky
Jim Minz
Toni Weisskopf

Lars Braad Andersen
Larry Elmore
Abigail Larson
Michal Karcz
Larry Rostant
BEST SEMIPROZINE (1457 ballots)

Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews
Daily Science Fiction edited by Michele-Lee Barasso and Jonathan Laden
Sci Phi Journal edited by Jason Rennie
Strange Horizons edited by Catherine Krahe, Julia Rios, A. J. Odasso, Vanessa Rose Phin,Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons staff
Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
BEST FANZINE (1455 ballots)

Black Gate edited by John O’Neill
Castalia House Blog edited by Jeffro Johnson
File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
Superversive SF edited by Jason Rennie
Tangent Online edited by Dave Truesdale
BEST FANCAST (1267 ballots)

8-4 Play, Mark MacDonald, John Ricciardi, Hiroko Minamoto, and Justin Epperson
Cane and Rinse, Cane and Rinse
HelloGreedo, HelloGreedo
The Rageaholic, RazörFist
Tales to Terrify, Stephen Kilpatrick
BEST FAN WRITER (1568 ballots)

Douglas Ernst
Mike Glyer
Morgan Holmes
Jeffro Johnson
Shamus Young
BEST FAN ARTIST (1073 ballots)

Matthew Callahan
Christian Quinot
Steve Stiles

Pierce Brown *
Sebastien de Castell *
Brian Niemeier
Andy Weir *
Alyssa Wong *

Here are the Sad Puppies’ 2016 Hugo recommendations

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FeatherPenClipArtKate Paulk has posted the Sad Puppies’ recommendations for Hugo nomination. I notice there’s a slight overlap with both the Rabid Puppies’ recommendations and the Nebula nominations. There’s also a fair amount of diversity here.

I’m not going to be able to review all these before end of the Hugo nominating period, so check at Rocket Stack Rank for reviews of these works and also those recommended by the Rabid Puppies. Interestingly, the recommendations for “editor, short form” only include one of the statistically identified “best editors” from Rocket Stack Rank. I’m not sure what that indicates, maybe that taste goes a long way toward what different groups see as good spec fiction.

Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Andy Weir – The Martian
Brian Niemeier – Nethereal
Alyssa Wong – “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers”
Natasha Pulley – The Watchmakers of Filigree Street
Becky Chambers – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
Scott Hawkins – The Library at Mount Char
Charlie N. Holmberg – The Paper Magician
John Sandford & Ctein – Saturn Run
Sebastien de Castelle – Greatcoats series

Best Fan Artist

Otaking77077 – TIE Fighter animated film (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN_CP4SuoTU)
Karezoid (Michal Karcz) – http://karezoid.deviantart.com/art/Within-The-Choir-of-Ascending-Spirit-571475023
Michael Callahan – http://www.callahanvisual.com/galacticwarfighters/zl8qd59i0iczlgvsm79u4rfqnxxa7q
Piper Thibdeau

Best Professional Artist

Abigail Larson
Sam Weber
Frank Cho
Larry Elmore
Dustin Nguyen
Richard Anderson

Best Fan Writer

Jeffro Johnson – Space Gaming and Castalia House blogs
Declan Finn – Sad Puppies Bite Back
Eric Flint – “In Defense of Sad Puppies” (http://www.ericflint.net/index.php/2015/06/08/in-defense-of-the-sad-puppies/)
Mike Glyer – Puppy roundup posts on File 770 (http://file770.com/?page_id=22881)
Brandon Kempner – Chaos Horizon
Charles Akins – http://dyverscampaign.blogspot.com/p/best-reads-of-week.html
Dave Freer – Mad Genius Club
Dorothy Grant (fynbospress) – Mad Genius Club
Ron Edwards – https://adeptpress.wordpress.com/

Best Fancast

Tea and Jeopardy
Geek Gab
Hello Greedo

Best Fanzine

File 770 – http://file770.com/
Nuke Mars – http://www.nukemars.com/
Superversive SF – http://superversivesf.com/
Otherwhere Gazette
Tangent Online – http://www.tangentonline.com/

Best Semiprozine

Sci Phi Journal

Best Editor – Short Form

Jerry Pournelle – There Will Be War vol X
John Joseph Adams – Lightspeed, and Nightmare
S. M. Sterling – The Change anthology
Jason Rennie – Sci Phi Journal
Paula Goodlett – Grantville Gazette
Bryan Thomas Schmidt – Mission: Tomorrow

Best Editor – Long Form

Toni Weisskopf – Baen
Jim Mintz – Baen
Tony Daniel – Baen

Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form

Daredevil Season 1 Episode 2
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Person of Interest Season 4 Episode 11: If-Then-Else
Kung Fury: Laser Unicorns
TIE Fighter animation by Otaking 77077
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: Melinda
Daredevil Season 1 Episode 13
Doctor Who: Heaven Sent
Gravity Falls: Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons
Gravity Falls: Northwest Mansion Mystery

Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Inside Out
iZombie (Season 1 as a whole)
Person of Interest (Season 4 as a whole)
Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Ex Machina

Best Graphic Story

Order of the Stick
Stand Still Stay Silent – any 2015 plot arc
Schlock Mercenary Book 15
Empowered Volume 9
Saga Volume 5
Fables: Farewell Volume 22
Gunnerkrigg Court Chapter 15: Totem
Invisible Republic Volume 1
Lazarus: Conclave

Best Related Work

Sad Puppies Bite Back – Declan Finn
Appendix N – Jeffro Johnson
Safe Space as Rape Room: Science Fiction Culture and Childhood’s End – Daniel
A History of Epic Fantasy – Adam Whitehead
Atomic Rockets – Winchell Chung
Legosity – Tom Simon
There Will Be War Vol X – Edited Jerry Pournelle
You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) – Felicia Day
Frazetta Sketchbook Number 2
Galactic Journey – http://galacticjourney.org/

Best Short Story

“Tuesdays With Molakesh The Destroyer” – Megan Grey
“Today I am Paul” – Martin L Shoemaker
“… And I Show You How Deep the Rabbit Hole Goes” – Scott Alexander
“Asymmetrical Warfare” – S. R. Algernon
“Cat Pictures, Please” – Naomi Kritzer
“Damage” – David Levine
“A Flat Affect” – Eric Flint
“Daedelus” – Niall Burke
“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” – Alyssa Wong
“I am Graalnak of the Vroon Empire, Destroyer of Galaxies, Supreme Overlord of the Planet Earth. Ask Me Anything” – Laura Pearlman

Best Novelette

“And You Shall Know Her By The Trail Of Dead” – Brooke Bolander
“Pure Attentions” – T. R. Dillon
“Folding Beijing” – Hao Jingfang translated by Ken Liu
“If I Had No Head and My Eyes Were Floating Way Up In the Air” – Clifford D. Simak
“Obits” – Stephen King
“Our Lady of the Open Road” – Sarah Pinsker

Best Novella

Binti – Nnedi Okorafor
Penric’s Demon – Lois McMaster Bujold
Slow Bullets – Alastair Reynolds
Perfect State – Brandon Sanderson
The End of All Things 1: The Life of the Mind – John Scalzi
Speak Easy – Catherynne M. Valente
The Builders – Daniel Polansky

Best Novel 

Somewhither – John C Wright
Honor At Stake – Declan Finn
The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass – Jim Butcher
Uprooted – Naomi Novik
A Long Time Until Now – Michael Z Williamson
Seveneves – Neal Stephenson
Son of the Black Sword – Larry Correia
Strands of Sorrow – John Ringo
Nethereal – Brian Niemeier
Ancillary Mercy – Ann Leckie

Retro Hugos

If This Goes On – Heinlein, for Best Novel
“Requiem” – Heinlein, Best Short Story
“The Roads Must Roll” – Heinlein, Best Short Story. Sad Puppies’ recommendations for Hugo nomination. There is a slight overlap with both the Rabid Puppies’ slate and the Nebula nominations.


Rabid Puppies 2016: Best Novelette recommendations

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These recommendations are announced on Vox Day’s site Vox Popoli:

“Flashpoint: Titan”, Kai Wai Cheah
“Folding Beijing”, Hao Jingfang
“What Price Humanity?”, David VanDyke
“Space Raptor Butt Invasion”, Chuck Tingle
“Obits”, Stephen King

I’m pleased to see Stephen King on there, as he’s one of those people writing on the fringes that’s normally ignored. I did a quick check and found he won a Hugo Award for Best Related Work in 1982 with Dance Macabre. He was also nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation for Carrie in 1977 but didn’t win.

Quality vs. Quantity

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On 9/13 Lorraine Wilke published an essay on The Huffington Post about quantity vs. quality in independent publishing called “Dear Self-Published Author: Do NOT Write Four Books a Year.” The title pretty much summarizes what she has to say.

There are folks out there who recommend to independent authors that the best way to make money through your writing is to be prolific. The reason for this is that independent authors don’t have the publicity and distribution network big publishers have. You have to write enough to establish a definite brand for yourself and to keep afloat in the flood of content that’s now available at Amazon, for example. This rate sacrifices some in quality, of course, especially on the editing and revision side, but if you look at benefit vs. costs, you can find a balance that suits your fans while costing you the least in time and money. This business plan works for some authors, but Wilke is complaining about the decline in quality this causes.

This is an interesting article, falling as it does on the heels of the Hugo kerfluffle. Quality is one of the issues discussed there, as the Sad/Rabid Puppies have been complaining about the Hugo’s becoming literary awards and leaving behind the average writer who is only aiming at satisfying his or her fans and making a living at it. There’s been something of a firestorm in the comments section of Wilke’s essay, too, as various independent authors have checked in with their opinions. One writer notes she publishes 10 novels a year. This kind of productivity isn’t really anything new. Stephen King, for example, is known for being a very fast writer. Pulp mystery writer Mickey Spillane could reportedly write a novel in two days. Both these writers had editors to clean up after them, of course, which is where the current difference lies.

I have to say I’m with Wilke to a point. I’m not expecting to read a Pulitzer Prize winner every time out, but I do appreciate it when authors spend some time or money on getting their manuscripts edited. All books have an error or two, but I’m unfortunately a little OCD about grammar. Where are my meds?

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