Tagged: Vox Day

Glenn Hauman: Neil Gaiman Does Not Need A Pity Hugo

Jeff_GilloolyRemember this class act, America?

This is Jeff Gillooly. You may remember him from the 90’s. He “masterminded” the hit on Nancy Kerrigan’s knee on the eve of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1994, to prevent Kerrigan from skating and making the U.S. Olympic Team, for the benefit of his ex-wife, Tonya Harding.

What does this have to do with the Hugo Awards? Well, it should be obvious. Theodore Beale, by slating again with his Rabid Puppies, has decided to kneecap the 2016 Hugo Awards… and just to add to the fun, this time he’s trying to create poison pills by nominating famous authors in some categories, so he can take the credit if they win, and cry persecution if they are rejected with the rest of his slate.

John Scalzi, talking about the Hugo mess on his blog, takes the position:

…I see some people here and elsewhere swearing they’re going to put anything that was on the Sad/Rabid slates or recommendation lists below “No Award” this year. Bluntly, you’ll be foolish if you do this. As I noted in my LA Times piece yesterday, the Puppies this year slated things that were already popular outside their little circles, like, for example, The Sandman: Overture, by Neil Gaiman.

Come on, folks. Does anyone really think Neil Gaiman holds active membership in the Puppy brigades? Or Stephen King? Or Alastair Reynolds (who specifically asked to be dropped from the Puppy lists, and was ignored)? Or Lois McMaster Bujold? […] Don’t give credit for the Puppies slating already popular work and then acting like they got it on the ballot, or for dragooning unwilling and unwitting people onto their slates for their own purposes. That’s essentially victim blaming. Rather, use your common sense when looking at the work and people nominated. The Puppies would be happy if you didn’t do that, mind you. I’m hard pressed to understand why you would oblige them so.

With all due respect, John’s way off base here. Hugo voters are more than entitled to say, “While Sandman: Overture is worthy of nomination, I’m voting No Award for everything that was slated because the nomination process was corrupted. Because of slate voting, books like Saga, Bitch Planet, Chrononauts, and Kaijumax weren’t allowed to compete. It’s a fixed fight against weaker opponents.” After all, if the slate pushed off more worthy contenders, is whatever’s left actually worthy of being called “Best”?

By the same token, King, Reynolds, Bujold, and any other person whose works were placed on the ballot by Beale’s machinations are perfectly entitled to withdraw their works from consideration without any loss of honor, because Beale’s slating tactics insured a uneven field. Beale publicly admits this, claiming “even when we don’t control the category, we still have the ability to decide who will win and who will lose when the SJWs don’t No Award the category.”

Neil Gaiman is well within his rights to say, “Yes, I believe Sandman: Overture is Hugo-worthy, but I don’t think I should win just because Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor was pushed off the ballot. I said The Sculptor was the best graphic novel I’ve read in years, it says so on the cover of the book. If I’m not going against that, it’s not a fair competition.”

Neil Gaiman does not need a pity Hugo. He’s already won five Hugos, fairly. He does not need a fixed fight to win them.

Lois McMaster Bujold does not need a pity Hugo. She’s already won four Hugos for best novel, tying the record. She does not need to play against the literary equivalent of the Washington Generals.

Stephen King does not need a pity Hugo. He’s Stephen Goddamn King. (And he won one in 1982.)

And getting votes for being the only good candidate in a bad field, a deliberately weakened field, is getting a pity Hugo.

One author has already realized this. Thomas A. Mays says he has decided to withdraw his Hugo-nominated short story “The Commuter” from the ballot:

I did not ask to be part of any list, but I hoped at the very least that it might bring other eyes to “The Commuter”, readers that might appreciate it for what it was and perhaps honor me with an uncontroversial nomination (or at least a few Kindle purchases).  But, now that all hopes for a clean nomination are dashed, it is my turn to speak:

Rather than eat a shit sandwich, I choose to get up from the table.  

You know who needs a pity Hugo? Theodore Beale. And he’ll never even get that. Maybe there should be a participation Hugo for him. The type some teachers give to a little boy who eats too much library paste, so he can feel better about himself.

Saying Beale wins by provoking others to further damage to the prestige of the Hugos is just silly– it’s Beale himself who kneecapped the Hugos. Beale’s claim of “You’re pushing worthy authors off!” is self-serving, because he pushed them on us in the first place— just because his actions insure someone other than him benefits is no reason to reward him for swinging a wrench at Nancy Kerrigan’s kneecap.

Here’s what Beale doesn’t get, not being a very good creator himself: good creators want to be judged on the quality of what they create. They don’t want to race against hobbled runners. Can you imagine the Cincinnati Reds felt good about beating the Black Sox to win the World Series? Beale is trying to force an affirmative action awards program, because he and his are not good enough to win on their own merits. And in doing so, he’s become the Jeff Gillooly of science fiction.

What Do You Do To Rabid Puppies? (Answer Below.)

You may have  heard about how the 2015 Hugo Awards nominations have been disrupted this year by two separate slates of nominees and their respective voting blocks.

There’s a lot of coverage on the matter, with some of the best from io9,  the Daily Dot, and George R.R. Martin (yes, Game Of Thrones fans, these people compelled GRRM to take valuable time away from writing to respond to the situation. Add that to their list of offenses.) If you don’t want to click through on everything or read our previous post, here’s what you need to know for this column:

There was a slate released by the Sad Puppies on February 1 that included a varied list of authors, many of a conservative bent, including authors that have been previously nominated for Hugo and Campbell awards.

And then, one day later, there was a slate released by Theodore Beale that he called the Rabid Puppies slate, which heavily copied the Sad Puppies list and added many items that he published through his publishing house, Castalia House, which was founded just last year.

Theodore Beale is… an interesting fellow. He came to prominence writing for WorldNetDaily, a website partially funded by his father, a convicted tax evader. Theodore Beale, who often goes by the presumptuous pseudonym Vox Day, happens to believe that marital rape is impossible, that autism causes atheism, that vaccines cause autism, that Obama’s birth certificate is forged, that there is no global warming, that feminism is failure, and on and on and on.

He is the only person to be expelled from the Science Fiction Writers of America for using an official SFWA Twitter account to link to a blog post that called SFWA member and African-American author N. K. Jemisin “an educated, but ignorant half-savage.”

And he boosted his Rapid Puppies slate by reaching out to the #Gamergate community, a group of people (the word “class” seems inappropriate here) that he has long supported, and who clearly tipped the balance in many of the Hugo categories.

In short, we find Mr. Beale to be a racist, sexist, homophobic, inflammatory, self-aggrandizing troll who who has no compunctions about burning down an entire community to exact revenge and gain his own personal amusement. His choice of the name “Rabid Puppies” is spot on, along with his logo choice that blows up the Hugo Award.

But what to do about it? More to the point, since the Hugo Awards won’t be given out until WorldCon in August, what can we do about it right now?

Ironically, Beale has given us the answer himself.

Of the unique items on the Rabid Puppies slate, nine are works that Mr. Beale had a hand in, either as a writer, editor, or publisher through his house, Castalia House, or where he previously blogged at Black Gate. (Hat tip to Mike Glyer for compiling the list.) Replying to a commenter about the quality of his works, Beale said:

No problem. I can objectively prove their superiority. Average Amazon ratings out of 5.

4.64 Sad Puppy Best Novel recommendations
4.60 Rabid Puppy Best Novel recommendations
4.46 2015 Hugo shortlist 4.46
3.90 2010-2013 Hugo shortlists

In short fiction, Amazon ratings and number of reviews

4.6 (63) One Bright Star to Guide Them (2015 finalist)
4.3 (121) Big Boys Don’t Cry (2015 finalist)
4.4 (48) Lady Astronaut of Mars (2014 winner)
4.3 (152) Equoid (2014 winner)

The Sad Puppy nominees are objectively superior as rated by Amazon.

We’d like to thank Mr. Beale for reminding us that Hugo Award nominations aren’t the only things that can be gamed…

You can game Amazon ratings as well.

Here’s a list of all of Mr. Beale’s nominees, complete with handy links to Amazon. It might be a good idea to take a look at the reviews and see which ones are helpful. If you’ve read the works, you should add your own review.




  • “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” by John C. Wright, The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House
    UPDATE 4/14: “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” by John C. Wright was previously published on a web site in 2013 prior to its inclusion in The Book of Feasts & Seasons in 2014, so it is not eligible for the 2015 Novelette Hugo and has been removed from the ballot.


BEST EDITOR (Short Form)



If you’d like to look at the reviews for the other nominees from Castalia House:

Oh, and to answer the title question: what do you do to rabid puppies?

You put them down.

Glenn Hauman: Kicking Puppies

The Hugo Award nominees for the best science fiction of 2014 have been announced. And this year, there’s some major controversy; a number of people have stuffed the ballot box, and oddly, they don’t care who wins.

This takes some explaining, and some wading through muck.

First, let’s talk about Theodore Beale aka Vox Day, a man who was so offensive he was kicked out of the Science Fiction Writers of America and is apparently not smart enough to spell the name of his own blog correctly. He founded his own publishing line, Castalia House, in 2014, and has scored nine nominees on the Hugo nominating ballot this year. Beale was also nominated as Best Editor twice– again, a man who can’t spell his own blog name.

Friends of Beale (using the name “Sad Puppies”) and Beale himself (under the banner of “Rabid Puppies”) set up a coordinated campaign to stuff the Hugo nomination ballot box “save” the Hugos from being won by an imaginary cabal of social justice warriors and English majors, and did so by embracing the #Gamergate community.

However, believe it or not– there is a bright spot.

How, I hear you cry, can there possibly be a bright spot in a slate that has a nominee published by Patriarchy Press?

Because they failed to corrupt the Best Graphic Story category, adding only one item to the nominees. Moreso, the other nominees in the category—

  • [[[Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal]]] written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt (Marvel Comics)
  • [[[Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery]]] written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch (Image Comics)
  • [[[Saga Volume 3]]] written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  • [[[Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick]]] written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)

—stand in strong repudiation to the “values” that the Puppies espouse. Every one of the stories feature strong women, feminists all, many of them multicultural… gosharootie, there’s even a Muslim teenager in there. And, even more annoying to the Puppies, they’re popular.

Now, I am not insisting that you go out and get a membership for this year’s Worldcon just so you can vote for the Hugos and correct the deficiencies in this year’s ballot. But I would like to note a few  things.

  • The comics that are listed are much much much more popular than the Puppy nominees for novella, novelette, or short story. In fact, I’ll bet all the money in my wallet right now that not only have the graphic novels sold better than any of the novella, novelette, or short story nominees, but that none of them outsell any monthly comic book in the top 200, and probably the top 300.
  • I feel a little sorry for Carter Reid being pulled into the middle of this mess, but I can’t help being amused that the Puppies rallied behind a strip called Zombie Nation, which certainly describes the puppy voters in my mind, just mindlessly shambling along.
  • I don’t ever want to hear people claim that the ballots for the Eisner and Harvey Awards are rigged ever again. In fact, if you haven’t voted for the Harvey Awards, go do so now.
  • Other people have spoken in much greater detail about the topic: Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Paul St. John Macintosh, Mike Glyer at File 770, Andrew Wheeler (come back!), and Charlie Jane Anders, among many others. Go read them for a much deeper backstory.