What PR Blitz Did The Puppies Do That Failed So Miserably?

Vox says that SJWs always lie, and the puppy kickers are no exception but this is just plain stupid.


Never mind the Noah Ward voting and the usual crybabying, so typical of spoiled people who absolutely HAVE to have everything the way they want all the time the rest of it has no connection to the reality. Let’s look at some of the thing Mr. O’Neil says shall we.

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.

First of all no Sad puppy nominated themselves for anything.  The puppies made recommendations, just like everybody else did.  Vox did recommend himself, but how is that different than what Scalzi has done or any number of other people including say, GRR Martin?  For that matter what Tor books seems to have done for the last 20 years or so. How many entries  has Tor managed to put on the ballot every year for the last 20.  It’s easy to see the pattern, just look at the Hugo wiki and count.    The puppy’s goal is get more people involved in the nominating process, not make it the property of a small group of cliqueish insiders. Finally using words like “reactionary” sort of says that it’s you, Mr. O’Neil and the rest of the puppy kickers who are trying to politicize the Hugos, not the puppies.

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.

Libeling people in a media blitz, terrorizing authors to get them to withdraw their nominations and other such tactics does tend to create grievances, Mr. O’Neil. And you decision to vote ‘No Award” isn’t principled, it’s cowardly.  You’re bending to the kickers because you’re afraid they won’t like you or send stuff to your website anymore.  That they will sic the likes of “requires hate” on you. There’s no principle there, just following the mob.

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.

Saying sorry guys, but you won’t try to hurt me and those other guys will, doesn’t cut it.  Here’s a cluebat Mr. O’Neil, once you give in to the mob you will never be allowed to have principles again.  That’s the way totalitarianism works.  You’ve just given up the chance to make your own choices.

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.

Of course it is.  Because the pro-white, pro-male agenda only exists in the minds of the SJWs.  It’s an artifact of their own delusions with no basis in reality.  That doesn’t stop the SJWs from constantly repeating the lie.

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.

But the legit critiques tend to destroy the narrative.  Better to lie Mr. O’Neil and make sure the narrative is maintained.  the problem with a constant stream of lies is they become fairly obvious rather quickly.

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.

That’s because fandom had become moribund and  more or less dead.  It had become an ever shrinking clique of people who had forgotten that being a fan was supposed to be fun. Of course making everything political drains the fun out of it. Until the puppies came along, the literature of science fiction and it’s fandom was quietly going into oblivion.

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

Just so everybody’s clear about what really happened, here’s most of it.


Here’s my aggregation of just about everything else.


I’ve looked at just about every blog post about the Hugos this year and I’m hard pressed to find a relentless attack by anybody other than Vox.  The clique that wanted to run SF into the ground were calling themselves SJWs and attaching themselves to the likes of the notorious Brianna Wu long before the puppies were ever even formed. The cartel was hardly a secret to anybody who cared to look.  The concerted and concentrated attack that the puppy kickers produced in April and which I’ve fully documented was not a “misunderstanding” It was a deliberate attempt to silence and stifle the puppies and destroy the careers of any author or website that associated with the puppies.  The relentless attack has come from the kickers in an attempt to destroy the puppies.  They have failed.

As for a public relations disaster, the numbers tell a different story. Before the puppies got started the Hugos had become more or less irrelevant.  The puppies changed that.  The number of supporting memberships has more than doubled this year, which is a very good thing for Worldcon and SF in general.  More importantly the puppies have achieved the main goal of making the sure that the great body of fandom knows that those supporting memberships are worth the price. The puppies have brought value to the Hugos again.

The kickers, on the other hand seem determined to destroy the Hugo Awards if they can’t own them outright and vote the awards to the “special people.”  The number of blog posts with the attitude that this was “x’s” year and the puppies ruined it, or “y” wasn’t nominated because the bad puppies took the noms away was just ridiculous, especially when some of those blog posts were upset that “requires hate’ didn’t get her Campbell nom.  “Requires hate?” Seriously people.

As for Tor, that wound was self inflicted.  Yes Vox pulled the pin, but Irene Gallo made the bomb. Then left it on her desk for a month to fester and for somebody to find. At least Moshe Feder and Patrick Neilson Hayden had been more circumspect about purging their spews and setting up their facebook permissions to make it more difficult to link to what they were spewing.  And using proxies like Scalzi and Damien from the Guardian to make sure the word got out without actually getting their hands dirty themselves. At least Scalzi was well paid for his efforts, I wonder what Damien and the rest of the crew at the Guardian are getting? Calling large number of your customers “unrepentantly racist and misogynist” while it’s something that SJWs do, is not something that you even think about doing.  I’m sure that Gallo was only expressing the opinions of a large part of the Tor office, still it should not have been left to fester.  The fact that is was only brought in SF heavyweights who heretofore had been staying out of it. The fact that this has been the biggest “public relations disaster” in the whole mess is big part of the story.


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’s not for the kickers and their friends to determine that. It’s for fandom.  From what I have been able to see, fandom has heard what the puppies have to say and found it valuable indeed.  If nothing else the puppies have made it known far and wide that every fan can be part of the Hugo Award, not just a small clique of Worldcon insiders.  The desire for good stories has also resonated across fandom.  Frankly far too many of us, those that hadn’t already left science fiction for greener pastures are starting to care again and that can be nothing other than a good thing.

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

If the puppies were a spent force why are the kickers and their friends in the media still putting out puppy kicking hit pieces.  Look would anybody bother to publish hit pieces in the New Yorker for irrelevant people. For that matter, Mr. O’Neil, why are you posting long blog posts talking  about “spent forces?”  The mere fact that the piece and the rest were published says that the puppies are very relevant indeed.

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.

So burning your own house down is a victory?  Has no puppy kicker taken at least at least a second to think that what will happen if year after year, category by category, No Award kills the awards. Even if you win, you lose? Has nobody considered that all it takes to kill an award category is to have No Award awarded twice consecutively.  That if Vox is your demon, giving him a weapon to yield comes under the heading of “not a good idea?”  By creating multiple No Awards in a slate they are making No Award a legitimate tactic and creating a weapon that anybody can use.  Apparently they can’t count and realize that all those new memberships this year translates into nominating votes next year. And that their nastiness this year has not made them a lot of friends.

The fact is that you can’t turn back time.  The puppy kickers are going to have to live with the Hugos aren’t going to be their personal property again.  Like it or not they are going to have to deal with the new reality. This is bigger than some little plastic rocketships.  This is taking back the culture from those who will destroy it like spoiled children rather than allow any diversity of ideas. People are tired of being preached about every little thing, about having to accept garbage and say that it has any value.  Of having to swallow the worst of deviancy.  There comes a point where people say, “we have had enough and aren’t going to take it anymore.” Far too many of us have had enough of the puppy kickers, their constant preaching about the greatness of deviancy, and constant screams of “reactionary,” “racist,” “misogynist,” and all the other nastiness that they have been spewing out.  The puppy kickers will have to live with the fact that far too much of fandom has had enough and isn’t going take it anymore.


  1. Thomas Monaghan · August 4, 2015

    A couple of weeks ago another Puppy kicker spoke. http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2015/07/vote-determined-outcome-2015-hugo-awards/


    • jccarlton · August 4, 2015

      Somehow the idea that they’ve just given a weapon to their worst enemy escapes them completely. Making “no award” a legitimate tactic only means that they will ensure that they will burn their own house down.


  2. talldave2 · August 4, 2015

    “No Award” will never be used by the Sad Puppies to kill noms they don’t like.

    The left gets away with kind of crap all the time, they do all sorts of things like using phony “investigations” to attack Walker supporters in Wisconsin (including 3AM raids), using the nuclear option in the Senate, using executive action to push amnesty, using EPA regs to crush energy, SWATting and lawfaring conservative bloggers, making the IRS the paramilitary arm of the Democratic Party, speech codes, fake rape lynch mobs… and they know they’ll never face retaliation in kind because their opponents have some semblance of principle.


  3. Tommy J. Sands · August 4, 2015

    I have long stopped looking at Hugo winners as ANYTHING that I wanted to read… just a waste of my hard earned money… I now look at publishers that publish books by John Ringo, David Weber, and the like.. ( can we say Bean publishing???) Ace, Tor and the like have just gone downhill since the 70’s and are not producing anything I consider a good read…. it is very sad that their political views have crossed over into their publishing……………..


  4. Zachary Ricks · August 4, 2015

    People always have the power of deciding what to spend their hard-earned money on, and the Hugos are not a good predictor of that. It’s a prestige thing, and I admire (and support) the effort to restore some semblance of legitimacy to the award, but at this point, how will its loss really impact the culture?


  5. Brad R. Torgersen · August 4, 2015

    Brilliant post! Absolutely brilliant, and necessary, and accurate, and . . . well, it said everything I might have said, just better than I could have ever said it. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Denys · August 5, 2015

    Indeed, “no matter who wins, they lose” — because no matter who wins this year’s Hugos, be they Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies, Anti-Puppies, or Just Plain Guys From Montana, the Hugos will be be completely, utterly, totally, MEANINGLESS.

    Don’t believe me? I can sum it up in two words: “_The Martian_.” This is the Big-Name Hard-SF Property right now, the one which is getting the Major Studio Film Release. And it won the Hugo in… oh, wait; well, it was nominated for the Hugo in… oh, wait; well, it won the Nebula… oh, wait; well, it was nominated for the Ne– oh wait…. In fact, _The Martian_ won exactly *one* award — an audiobook award which has only ever been heard of by people who’ve actually won the thing. *This* got the Golden Ticket. Meanwhile, how many of the Hugo “Best” Novel nominees — including the ones which didn’t make the ballot — are getting so much as a sniff from Hollywood?


    In fact, of the past 20 years’ “Best” Novel winners, only one has managed to equal _The Martian_ — and that one had its movie deal before the author had finished writing it (_Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire_).

    Watching this “fannish civil war” has been like watching the Gran Chaco conflict — a bunch of irrelevant players fighting over worthless ground, while the major players of the world take absolutely no notice whatsoever.

    The Hugos are irrelevant. Sad Puppies are irrelevant. Rabid Puppies are irrelevant. Puppy Kickers are irrelevant.

    This means you.


    • jccarlton · August 5, 2015

      Ditto on the Martian, though I haven’t read it yet. Which says a lot about the judgment of the people running traditional publishing and how incestuous the Hugo Awards had gotten. As for the Hugos being irrelevant, well we noticed and that’s why we’re doing this, to try to bring some sort of reality back to the genre.


    • dreampodd · August 25, 2015

      Books are only eligible for a Hugo in the year after they are published. Due to the fact that it was previously self-published online prior to receiving the contract in which it was released in paper copy to a wider audience. Many people (including those opposed to the Puppies) were quite upset and spilled many pixels about how this doesn’t match up with modern trends in publishing and is different than how translated works are treated by receiving eligibility following an english language translation despite previous publication. There was a certain amount of discussion about trying to adjust the rules to allow for works published initially online to receive a year of eligibility following a paper release but that was dropped by most people for consideration for this years business meeting in light of the need to address the flaw in the nomination system made obvious by the Puppies that allow a small group voting in lockstep to deny the rest of fandom any input into nominations.


      • jccarlton · August 25, 2015

        As opposed to the Torlings and the rest of the Trufen voting in lockstep, for decades? The Sad Puppies asked about books they thought were worthy and said here’s a list, go vote. If we liked something else, there was nothing stopping us from putting that on the ballot and the only thing Brad and Larry did was plug books. Nobody was committed to anything. How is that different from the list that Locus, Tor and the NESFA put out every year. The only thing different that the puppies did was to market supporting memberships something which, in my long experience, Worldcons have been truly lousy at doing. And did Brad or Larry get ANY thanks for all that extr money they brought in, all those memberships that they were so proud of while they were kicking puppies on that stage? Of course not.


      • dreampodd · August 26, 2015

        Replying here since we hit the limit for nesting comments.

        Thus far no one has presented any evidence, let alone compelling evidence, that there is any sort of organized (or heck, disorganized) conspiracy to control the Hugos with the exception of the Scientologists’ 1987 attempt which received the same response of being voted below No Award that occurred this year. Tor has won 5 novel Hugo’s in the last two decades which is slightly above random chance but a pretty piss-poor lockstep if it existed, meanwhile Baen’s Bujold is of the most frequent winner and nominee for Hugo’s in history suggesting that the idea that Baen is being unfairly denied rather ludicrous.

        Locus and NESFA recommended reading lists are collections of excellent works that are (a) not actually targeted at the Hugo’s and (b) much larger than the potential ballot nominations. Tor (and other publishers) and individual authors providing lists of eligible work for Hugo nominations are (a) a useful reference for those of us who don’t have the time to word count, look up eligibility, and check publishing dates for all our favourite things and (b) not a specific request for nominations (though it is admittedly implied) and (c) not fixed at the ballot size. The difference between those and Brad, Vox, and Larry saying “Here is a list of precisely the number of nominations you are allowed to nominate in each category” should be manifestly obvious. The Puppy slates are not lists of suggested reading for your consideration, they are carefully selected party tickets. Indeed, when several authors who were originally included asked to be removed, replacements were found. Why weren’t those works on the list in the first place, if they’re worthy? Because this isn’t about drawing attention to worthy works, it’s about ensuring “our guys” get on the ballot. Which isn’t about quality, isn’t about excitement, isn’t about fantasy and sci-fi at all.

        The effect of this was to deny everyone except the Puppies any input into the works that reached that ballot – indeed the only reason non-puppy works hit the ballot in some categories is because Puppy nominees withdrew after nominations were closed and the Puppies were unable to replace them. This did precisely the thing to everyone else what the Puppies claimed (without evidence) had been done to them as justification for the whole fiasco in the first place. The good news is that the changes introduced during the business meeting if ratified next year will mathematically prevent any small group (either Puppy, Torlings, Trufen, or Illuminati Lizard People) from dominating the nomination phase, so come 2017 in Helsinki the people who feel that military sci-fi is being denied its due (which given Bujold, Ancillary Justice, Leviathan Wakes, The Last Colony and more makes me think they aren’t paying attention) will get a chance to compete on a fair playing field. I genuinely hope that all the Puppies stick around next year and nominate what they read and loved rather than what they are told to vote for because that would be an excellent contribution to increasing the fandom communities variety and diversity. The fandom tent is big enough to include mil sci-fi fans and literary fantasy fans and fans of everything in between and around – it sucks that you felt that you weren’t welcome because of your tastes but tons of us love that stuff too (my bookstore knows to expect me standing at their door when they open on the day new Weber comes out).


  7. Brad R. Torgersen · August 5, 2015

    To add: the harder the anti-Puppy contingent works to talk at us as if we don’t matter, the more that’s a clue we TOTALLY matter. People don’t bad-mouth you unless you’re a threat — at least in politics. And this whole thing has been entirely political. It’s political political, fandom political, and industry political. They tried to pour rhetorical napalm on us right at the beginning — racists! sexists! blah blah blah! — and that just made more people pay attention, and of those people, many swung over to the Puppy point of view. Even if they didn’t necessarily care before. Because everybody hates a snob. And that’s been the entire Puppy-kicker message in a nutshell: “Leave our awards alone, because you aren’t good enough.” Notice, that some of the prime plaintiffs are also the people who had their fingers deep into the “soft” campaigning of years prior. Sad Puppies blew them entirely out of the water. The butthurt is tangible. See, because logrolling is awesome when it’s the usual suspects doing it. The proles aren’t supposed to logroll! The proles don’t have the right taste! (guffaw)


    • jccarlton · August 5, 2015

      The biggest problem is that the puppy kickers forgot that the Hugos were not there personal award, to be given out to whom they chose to bestow them. The Hugos belong to ALL fandom.


  8. penneyvanderbilt · August 6, 2015

    Reblogged this on Ancien Hippie.


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