What The Sad Puppies Were All About

Corey Doctorow had recent piece about how well the Hugo and World con people had beaten back the threat of the racist homophobic Sad Puppies and managed to award a stable of properly diverse people for the Hugo.


The fact is that it was an empty victory with the other side abandoning establishment Science Fiction and it’s fandom to it’s fate mostly out of disgust and frankly because we no longer cared about trying to save something so obviously sick and rotten.  Great folks, now you’ve won. Now watch Worldcon rapidly disintegrate as all the people who might have cared have been driven away by your boorishness.  Followed shortly thereafter by the last marketplaces for SF  writers as the publishers kill them because they don’t make money.  Or at least keep the budgets so low that authors can no longer make a living writing for an establishment house.  The houses that have to justify the celebrity advances that don’t pay back somehow.

The fact was that the Sad Puppies were an attempt by some fans and writers to save Science fiction from itself. An attempt to understand why the decline was happening and correct issues that showed up in the graying hairs of con attendees for the last twenty years.

The simple truth is that when a club stops seeing new faces, it’s not a good thing.  I’ve seen what happens when nobody wants to attract new faces in just about everything I’ve been involved with over the years.  So, to be honest I’m not too surprised at the slow decline in Worldcon memberships. Jus looking from the outside It was obvious that something was not quire right for a long time.  this wasn’t helped by the fact that Worldcon was a floating convention and essentially industry people were the only ones who could attend every year.


Recently I ran into the beginnings of speculative fiction, the stories printed by the man who the Hugo Awards were named after, Hugo Gernsback. Those stores were first printed in his radio and invention magazines and then separately in Amazing, which was the first magazine dedicated to speculative fiction.  I think that it’s important to understand just where Science Fiction came from, in order to understand just where things have gone wrong.  So let’s start here, with Hugo and Electrical Experimenter.  The entire run of the  magazine available on line.


Here’s a typical issue. Making in the 1920’s, along with endless ads for dangerous stuff, for boys and young men.

Click to access SI-1923-09.pdf

Why is that important? Because of what happens when you type “Boy’s don’t read ” into Google.

David, wooden butt hole Gerrold whales about free speech. Well, about restricting the speech of others that he disagrees with. The people he defines as trolls.  He’s made it clear in the most obvious and demonstrative ways that some people are not fit to be on the same podium as himself and express conflicting views to his.




Of course, Gerrold is asserting the douchebag privilege, where a left wraps himself in the moral high ground while spewing trash. Many of us haven’t forgotten how Gerrold went out of his way to treat Hugo Award nominees to a spectacle of insults culminating in passing out wooden asstericks to make sure to all and sundry knew how the SF establishment felt about what had happened. apparently he can’t let his rear end tighten up and he wants all of fandom to bend over and be sodomized into obscurity



Larry Niven has wisely said: Never throw shit at an armed man. Never stand next to someone who is throwing shit at an armed man. In fact, one could distill this into a much more general rule. Never throw shit. Never stand next to anyone throwing shit.
This is profoundly good advice.
There has been too much shit-flinging. Monkeys are good at it, but human beings have made it an art form. Some of us enjoy shit-flinging so much that we forget we’re human beings, we become fecal trebuchets.
So let’s have this conversation be about remembering our essential humanity — and what we must do to preserve it. It’s this simple. If someone is throwing shit, verbal or otherwise, silence is interpreted as agreement.
Saying, “I’m not throwing shit,” is insufficient. Especially if you’re still standing next to the person throwing shit.
Saying, “Well, I’m not responsible for him,” is insufficient. He’s still throwing shit and you’re still standing next to him.
Equivocation of any kind is insufficient. It’s an attempt to avoid responsibility.
The real question is this —why are you still standing next to the guy who’s throwing shit?
Why aren’t you telling him to stop? Why aren’t you saying, “This is not me and I won’t stand for it!”
You might have good points to make. You might even be right. But that conversation gets left behind when the louder voices are speaking racism, misogyny, and homophobia. If you aren’t equally loud in your condemnations, if you don’t distance yourself from the shit-flingers, then you will be perceived as an accomplice. You are perceived as an enabler. You will be perceived as “another one of them.”
Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. once opined that the overt displays of prejudice from the KKK and the White Citizens’ Councils did not distress him as much as it was the silence of those who claimed to be allies.
That’s the issue.
You might believe you’re not a racist, not a misogynist, not a homophobe — but when you are silent in the realm of bigotry, what does your silence say?

The left has been asserting douchebag privilege for as long as I can remember. As well as never hesitating to throw the crap at very opportunity.  Years of attending science fiction cons has made that clear to me.  I’ve never seen a conservative or religious person proudly strutting down the hall wearing what they believe all over themselves, yet leftists have never hesitated. As well as throwing crap on such people as Tim Bolgeo who certainly did nothing to deserve it. I remember all too clearly an Archon and a certain douchebag in Space Ghost costume who made a point of searching through the archives of Bolgeo’s newsletter for LibertyCon looking for racism and finding it in a piece on inner city schools. If Space Ghost believes that racism is the problem in inner city schools, then he must live on another planet. Here’s more on douchebag privilege.

Along about the time that I started blogging … no, even well before that point, I was well-aware that there were personalities who could say and do flamingly stupid and insulting things on the public stage, and some would take no permanent career harm from having done so. Jane Fonda, for example, went on having a career for decades after getting the nick “Hanoi Jane” for her anti-war antics in the 1960s. Other personalities – equally prominent, having said and done things just as injudicious – appeared to walk away unscathed. It seemed to be a given that some public personalities were basically Teflon; as it would become even more obvious in the last decade, they had something that I call – for lack of a better term – douchebag privilege. Generally speaking, the lefty-intellectual-media lot – like the Kennedys, the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton brand of racial activists, and jerks like Michael Moore had douchebag privilege, whereas those of the other persuasion didn’t.

But gradually over the fifteen years, the well of douchebag privilege is running dry, and the previously immune are feeling some heat. The initial example of this public impatience – a harbinger as it were – which comes to mind was that of the faux-Indian, Ward Churchill, he of the scholarly misconduct, cultural appropriation and ‘little Eichmans’ crack, referring to the dead at the World Trade Center. He lost a cushy position in academia, and has maintained a low profile ever since, although I suppose he makes an occasional appearance among lefty fellow-travelers now and again.

The toleration of regular people for a double standard in douchbag privilege has been worn to a frazzle within the last six months; observe the rapid-fire sacking of Kathy Griffen and Reza Aslan, and corporate sponsors speedily withdrawing from an association with the Shakespeare in the Park production of “Julius Trump”.


While Gerrold was busy being his usual douchebag self a young author named Jon Del Arroz was learning a lesson about the powers that be the hard way.  Here’s the key sentence:
I received a nasty letter from my editor’s assistant about how intolerant and inflexible I was, telling me that I was not likely to be invited to be published again.”

The rest from Vox’s site.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy writing and convention scene is one of the worst SJW converged subcultures. While Hollywood promotes extreme perversion and hedonism, they don’t push nearly as hard as SF/F literary groups when it comes to the intellectual aspects of identity politics. My name is Jon Del Arroz, I write Science Fiction, and this is my story
I had grown up in this community as an avid reader and convention attendee. I used to be what you would call one of those “nice guy conservatives.” I would keep silent about my politics to the best of my ability, while smiling and allowing others to rant and rave to their hearts’ content. My first foray into irritation over this occurred when Baycon, a local convention in the San Francisco Bay Area, ran a talk on how to convince friends out of believing in Creationism. I wrote to the programming director of the convention, citing my concern over how anti-Christian that sounded, and how this didn’t seem relevant to Science Fiction at all. They dismissed my concerns and told me to attend anyway.  The next year, I’d gained prominence as the writer of a web comic which had garnered some praise and a lot of web traffic. This time, they invited me to the convention and placed me on a program. Because of my Hispanic last name, they made me speak about how difficult it is for minorities in Science Fiction. I’ve never met any resistance to my being Hispanic in the SF publishing field, and I found it more of a challenge to survive that hour and a half in the company of the whining panelists  Fast forward several years later, after I’d invested time and effort speaking on panels, entertaining convention attendees and being a good friend to everyone. Whispers about the evil Sad Puppies stealing Hugo awards circled the halls. Although I’d voted with the Sad Puppies, I stayed quiet. I’d spoken personally to several prominent members of the Sad and Rabid Puppies movements by this point and learned they were nice, professional people and not the monsters they had been made out to be by the SJWs.  All the while, the God-Emperor was ascending in politics. He took slings and arrows. Many conservatives in the Sci-Fi publishing field had been hit as well. I saw the guilt by association on a regular basis, and it angered me to see people attacked for the way they voted. I still didn’t speak out much, as I had my first novel due for release the week after the election. My brainwashing from years of conventions told me I couldn’t afford that association if I wanted to sell books.  Trump won. I made a few posts as to how I was happy with the outcome of the election, complete with donning my red hat. What happened next? I received a nasty letter from my editor’s assistant about how intolerant and inflexible I was, telling me that I was not likely to be invited to be published again. SJWs weren’t just attacking someone I knew on the periphery. They’d come for me. I decided the best course of action would be to take a stand and be positive, say how proud I was of our country, of Trump and his team. My friends from the SF/F world quickly evaporated. I’d been blocked on social media, ignored by people with whom I thought I’d developed deep relationships. I’d spent hours critiquing other writers’ novels and improving their craft, yet they would not even share a link to my work, let alone make a purchase, to support me. SJWs had, and have, no loyalty.  This began my transition from “nice guy conservative” to “I am proud to be who I am.” I corresponded with prominent authors privately about what had transpired. Many of the Sad and Rabid Puppies told me I was not alone. They hardly knew me, yet helped me promote my book. I learned a valuable lesson on the meaning of true friendship and loyalty. If someone doesn’t share any core values with you, they will leave you in the dust. It’s only a matter of time.  I still couldn’t bring myself to fully speak out in these situations, fearing the loss of more long time friends. Vox emailed me with: “Learn to go public. One reason they get away with it is because everyone they do it to tries to keep it quiet. You shouldn’t.” These words haunted me, but I still clung to the past, hoping desperately that I could retain at least some of the relationships I had from my years of hard work and supporting other writers.  Inauguration time. The angry posts calling me and mine Nazis had not died down. The angry responses continued as well. My own cousin, with whom I grew up and played Risk ‘til the wee hours of the morning, disowned me over my Trump support. He told me he was ashamed to call me family, and that I was never his friend. Matters became worse in the Science Fiction world. Prominent authors stepped up their game of name-calling. I wear their condemnations as badges of honor and will use them as blurbs on future books. I’d finally had enough when I found that my home convention, where I’d been a guest for years had blackballed me from speaking.  I’m done. It’s too much. There’s no logic. There’s no rationality. There’s no love. There’s no friendship. SJWs want to shut me down and destroy my career, and they want to find you and do the same to you, if they haven’t already. I’ve taken the leap of going public. I’m not scared to say who I am, who I like, who I voted for. They’re not going to shut me up because I have the platform of the internet. Vox was right. Every single time they shut you down, go public with it as I just did.


Most of the puppy supporters moved into action, giving Mr, Del Arroz platforms or providing support.

Support that has been ongoing since. As Mike Glyer found out.


It is imperative we begin emulating the left in its tactics.

A couple of years ago, I suggested a completely different strategy: I wanted to pursue a kinder path. I wanted an end to the speech wars and social media mobs and boycotts and all the rest of it.

But that path has been tried, and it has failed. Passive resistance — moral resistance — can only work when dealing with opponents with morality and honor, or who, at least, see you as more than subhuman.

Gandhi’s tactics would not have worked had India been colonized by, say, China.

Many on the right, or even liberals who lean to the left but who still hold to classic liberal traditions, have called, endlessly, for an end to the Speech Wars.

That failed.

We’ve been trying this for years. Two or three years in my own case.

Has this sweet music of reason had any positive effect of soothing the passions of the beast?

Well, watch this video of the Empowered Mob demanding more firings at Evergreen college last week, and tell me the path of merely condemning mob lunacy is having any effect at all.

The Empowered, Privileged Mob demanded — demanded! — that white people absent themselves from their space, and this is what happened to those who said, “No, that’s racist, and teaching class is my job.

Embarrassed by their own repulsive behavior, the Privileged Mob is now demanding — demanding! again, like emotionally unstable toddlers — that this video be taken down and that consequences be visited on whoever “stole” it.

This is not working.

People calling for an end to the Speech Wars have a good end in mind — most people would just love it if not every single minor consumer transaction were not politicized, if not every single public faux pas were not a call to the Social Justice Wolves to come and feed — but the current strategy, championed by most who want to get to this end-point, is not working.

The dispute I have with them now is not over their preferred end-state — I deeply desire the end-state they seek, where people actually have freedom to think and speak as they want, and not every fucking mundane movie-ticket purchase is either a Cause or a Crisis — but the current policy of “unilateral disarmament, and hope that the Monster Babies will learn from our example” is a total, dismal, catastrophic failure.

In order to learn at all, it is required that someone first believe that he has anything to learn at all, and we know that progressives do not see conservatives as people from whom anything can be learned — they see us as subhumans to be re-educated and reconstructed into civilized savages who at least won’t embarrass them as we tend their gardens.

Leftist students cannot be taught anything — they now routinely scream at professors (you know, the people they’re allegedly paying to learn from) that they must SHUT UP AND LISTEN. They come to the university already knowing all there is to know, and in fact are only present to teach their professors; one wonders, then, why it isn’t the students being paid, and the professors paying tuition to learn their collective, shouty, expletive-filled wisdom.

(By the way, don’t be fooled: None of these people will pay the massive debts they’re acquiring while passing time at university; you will.)

The most we are “winning” is not losing as much: We chalk it up as a “win” that USAA has been counter-pressured to resume buying ads on Hannity, overlooking the fact that nine other companies were protested by the left into boycotting him, and remain in full boycott.

We overlook the fact that corporations routinely — some might say “eagerly” — join Social Justice War-Bands to curry favor with them and to improve their “brand image” in the eyes of the progressives, which make up about 20% of the country, but seem to be the only demographic that matters.

Rather like the Brahmin class of India. But more on that later.

We don’t seem to notice that we are always defending, and even the best possible outcome for our attempts at defense only means that we have avoided harm — for a month.

Then they start up again, demanding this corporation boycott this public commentator, demanding that this writer have his advanced canceled, demanding that this Random Citizen of No Particular Public Interest be fired for the crime of giving spoiled, stupid Monster Babies something to #Occupy their shriveled brains for a morning.

But they never stop. And why would they?

Just as the best possible outcome for us is that we avoid the harm they intended for us for one short month, the worst possible outcome for them is they will not get This Twitter Cycle’s Designated Scalp — for now.

But there’ll be another scalp ripe for the tearing in a few days.

In short, the worst penalty they suffer is not being able to make anyone else suffer– for a short period.

They are never made to suffer themselves.

Thus, they have absolutely no incentive whatsoever to ever stop.

If you’re a sadist, and an insecure individual with little credit to his name, you can build yourself up into a Social Justice War-Fighter by constantly attacking others and making them miserable and afraid.

The worst outcome is that you don’t get your scalp — this time.

But you have in fact caused your enemies to fear you, and to always worry what might upset you next.

Which is a major psyops victory in itself — the best, and easiest, form of censorship is self-censorship, and if you’ve put your enemies into terror of being the next to face the mob, they will self-censor, and they will become, against their will at first, but then according to their habit as time goes on, your personal censorship enforcers, patrolling their own minds for thoughts the mob has deemed impermissible…

The progressives are in the final stages of a decades-long campaign to make us a Lower Caste, with fewer rights and privileges than the Ruling Caste (and the sad courtiers to the Ruling Caste, who hilariously believe themselves to be members of that caste).

When we demand that the “rules,” such as they may be, must be enforced equally as to all, this is no minor cavil: If a social order exists in which some groups labor under additional legal and social burdens than others, then that social order is, by definition, a caste system.

If we accept this caste system, and we accept that we belong to a lower caste by submitting ourselves to the special burdens reserved for those of our station, we confirm our place in the lower caste and we also confirm the special privileges of the higher caste.

It is social codes like these that make a caste. In England, back when it was more class-stratified (and who knows, maybe today), a “gentleman” could refer to a commoner just by his last name, or his first name. Tom. Upton. Whatever.

But the commoner was expected to only refer to the gentleman as “sir” (or “ma’am,”) or, if named, with the title of dignity “Mister” (or “Miss”).

Anyone who followed that convention was confirming his own place in the hierarchy…

If you want peace, prepare for war.

You may not be interested in Social War, but the Social Warriors are deeply, deeply interested you, and bringing you to heel, and making you confess that you are indeed a creature with fewer rights and privileges than they possess.

No one’s ever going to put them in a position of authority over others — which is why they desperately need you to accept they have authority over you.

I didn’t particularly want Kathy Griffin fired — but it was necessary.

I actually envy her lack of inhibition and total feeling of freedom. She felt she could do whatever she wanted, so long as it broke no laws.

I’d like to feel that way. But I can’t.

I can’t feel that way, because I know the progressive mob is always scalp-hunting, and that I am not free to say or think as I might like.

They rule part of my brain — my very fear of them limits my thoughts, creates inhibitions and limitations in me which I did not choose for myself, but were forced upon me from without.

I have become, partly, a recruit in the Social Justice Warrior army. Their dicta, their demands, their fury is always alive inside of me.

I know to fear them. And so I must self-censor.

My fear of their power makes part of my own brain their appointed warden for the rest of my head.

So a big part of my anger is in seeing Kathy Griffin act as a totally free spirit and free agent, able to do what she likes just because she thinks it’s funny, or “edgy,” or whatever.

It makes me angry to see her living a life where she can just do something without fearing the consequences — but I can’t.

And neither can you.

My hatred of Kathy Griffin isn’t a hatred of her — it’s a hatred of the vicious caste-based system which says she has more rights than Sean Hannity, and more rights than you, and more rights than me.

If keeping some of my diminished amount of freedom means that I have to thuggishly begin taking it from others — so be it.

I didn’t make the rules.

I’m just trying to survive them.

I don’t want her to have less freedom — but the only way to make sure I keep the limited, constantly-eroded freedom I currently have is to insist that I am not a serf, and I will not be held to different laws than the Lords.

As I cannot accept that — and as I will not accept that — I must insist she pay the same cost I would be expected to pay if I were to do what she did.

Otherwise, I’m saying Sir/Ma’am to the Ruling Caste, and confirming that I accept my lower position.

Hillary Clinton called half of the country “The Deplorables.”

It’s really not so different from the lowest caste in India — the “Untouchables,” is it?

They’re not even attempting to turn us into serfs covertly any longer — it’s now just pretty much out in the open.


Jason had done fine since then, with support from all the puppies, but the fact that support was necessary is a statement on the current state of science fiction fandom and the culture in general.

Of course  when the other side is asking  “where are the Puppies” there is a problem.

Well the Hugo nomination period came and went and to the Sad Pups credit, they didn’t get involved. Surprisingly though, it now looks like the Dragon Award may slip by without an official Puppy involvement. The SP4 site is unchanged.

Deadline for the Dragon Awards is July 24 and as of today there is no movement at the station for Sad Pups the Fifth. I’ve some mixed feelings about that. Obviously, it is nice that the petering out may have finally petered out for a campaign that caused a lot of angst, anger and division and achieved nothing positive except among its opponents. On the other hand, there was a moment when the whole debarkle could have morphed into a venue where like minded people could recommend books whose nuggets were sufficiently nutty. Time is running out for the Sads to get something together that people will be sufficiently motivated to make contributions/suggestions.


About Those Lost Puppies



In the long run it doesn’t matter what the Puppies do.  The decision has been made by the readers who have left and aren’t going to come back. Because Gerrold and the rest of the kickers have forgotten this from Robert Heinlein;

-Very little of the great literature of our heritage arose solely from a wish to “create art’; most writing, both great and not so great, has as its proximate cause a need for money combined with and aversion to, or an inability to perform, hard “honest labor.”…But the science fiction writer-any fiction writer-must keep entertainment consciously in mind has his prime purpose…or he may find himself  back dragging that old cotton sack.

If he succeeds in this purpose, his story  is likely to remain gripping entertainment long years after it has turned out to be false “prophecy.”…



The fact is that freedom of speech is essential to a vibrant and diverse culture. Without the freedom to express, creativity gets stifled. Science fiction used to be about creativity and that ability to dream.  That was the spark that led to so many great things in the last century, to some many great ideas and reaching to the stars.  Gerrold and his ilk want to surrender that for requiring people to be less than themselves. To eschew being independent of themselves for some sort of hive mind or something more like Orwell than Heinlein.

Because they have lost the ability to dream and inspire they believe that everyone else must as well. So they fling their poo and when they get called on the flinging they say that the other side did. Well I watched the entire thing and I know what poo looks like.  So does the prospective audience looking to dream.  Which is why the poo flingers have lost the audience. One only has to look at the success of things with even the glimpse of dreaming or the length of which the audiences will go to find the dreams to understand just how low the establishment of science fiction has fallen.

When the people who would have been the natural audience for science fiction are willing to go and look in far away places for the dream then the dream is essentially dead.  Yet if you go into a Barnes and Noble, the Manga section will be larger than the science fiction section and what is in that section tends to be the old stalwarts from the past.  perhaps before calling out for people to speak out against people flinging  poo with the brown stains on his hand, Gerrold should look at the stain and wash his hands.


  1. The fact that it’s the manga section that’s bigger than the SF/F is probably going to be ignored. The powers that be won’t look at why those stories capture the interest of its readers. They’ll just dismiss it. Much in the same way they dismiss anything that doesn’t suit their tastes.


  2. Leigh Kimmel · November 14, 2017

    I just came back from a regional science fiction convention that used to be a real happening event, but is visibly dying. As I and several other dealers were observing, not only is attendance shrinking, the demographic is also skewing older. The few young people are almost all the children and grandchildren of the people I hung out with back in the 1990’s. They aren’t bringing in any new blood, while the comic cons and anime cons and gaming cons are drawing in teens and twenty-somethings in droves — and as they get older and have kids of their own, are bringing them to those cons, not the old-school science fiction conventions.

    So that’s where I’m doing more and more of my business. I hate having to cut the conventions that first got me into fandom, but I’m at the point where I can’t afford to be sentimental. I’d been hoping to go to next year’s Worldcon, since I have family in San Jose, but the booth costs for the dealers’ room is so far out there that it’s simply not doable. I lost money at a 50,000 person comic con with booths costing that amount, so there’s no way I can even break even at a 5,000 person Worldcon. Instead, we’re trying to get into a new comic con that weekend, which is put on by an organization that puts on two other comic cons which have been profitable for us.


  3. jccarlton · November 14, 2017

    The thing that has bothered me is how self destructive the whole thing right through the sad puppies were. The puppy kickers were in a position where the only thing that could happen was, they lose. When Larry first put the Sad Puppies he did something that the worldcon desperately and mainstream fandom even more desperately needed. He brought new people to the show. If that doesn’t keep happening, the show is going to be over. S


    • Michael Z. Williamson · November 14, 2017

      He should have let it die.


      • jccarlton · November 15, 2017

        Knowing what I know now, you’re right. For that matter, knowing what I knew then, you are right. But we are not Larry or have his idea of fun.


  4. Michael Z. Williamson · November 14, 2017

    “I’ve never seen a conservative or religious person proudly strutting down the hall wearing what they believe all over themselves”

    Dude, that happens all the time.


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