Category Archives: Books

Dragon Awards: the Aftermath and Beyond

I was going to ridicule Lena Dunham today, but screw her! The Dragon Awards have been announced, and they’re fantastic!!!

First, let me explain. DragonCon took place this weekend in Atlanta, where the very first awards for science fiction and fantasy were presented. The awards were completely fan-driven. You registered. You received a ballot. You voted for your favorites. Your vote was recorded. The winners were announced today! That easy.

Like the Dragon, our recipients are extraordinary and unique. Fueled by the passion for their art, they have spread their wings and soared above us all. Their inner fire, the burning in their hearts and souls, cannot be restrained. Once set free, their work, their fire, has influenced and inspired countless others, burned into our hearts and minds forever.

In the spirit of the Dragon and with infinite admiration, we created The Dragon Award as a token of their individuality and greatness. We are pleased to present all of our award winners with the essence of the Dragon, its fire, suspended perpetually as a permanent reminder of their contributions.

Dragon_Award-221x300There’s no cliquish “No Award” for nominees that didn’t fit a particular mold. There are no nomination rule changes designed to counter bloc voting keep out undesirables.

Fans vote for their favorite. That’s it.

And this year is epic! I’m so excited for some friends of mine, I could squee! There are some categories in which I didn’t vote, because I hadn’t read any of the works, and I don’t play video games or role playing games, but overall, this was terrific! Fans voted for their favorite artists, authors, and works based on what they liked – a truly fan-driven, fan-awarded endeavor.

  • Best Science Fiction Novel: Somewither by John C. Wright.
  • Best Fantasy Novel: Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia.
  • Best Teen/Middle Grade: Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett.
  • Best Military SF/F: Hell’s Foundations Quiver by David Weber.
  • Best Alternative History: League of Dragons by Naomi Novik.
  • Best Apocalyptic Novel: Ctrl Alt Revolt! by Nick Cole.
  • Best Horror: Souldancer by Brian Niemeier.
  • Comic Book: Ms. Marvel
  • Graphic Novel: The Sandman Overture by Neil Gaiman.
  • Best TV show: Game of Thrones
  • Best Movie: The Martian.
  • Best PC/Console Video Game: Fallout 4.
  • Best Mobile Game: Fallout Shelter.
  • Best Board Game: Pandemic Legacy.
  • Best RPG/Collectible/Card Game: Call of Cthulhu.

I just spoke with Nick Cole on Facebook. I have never seen anyone so excited, and I’m SO happy for him! If you haven’t read Ctrl Alt Revolt, go read it. Do yourselves a favor.  He’s great!

Nick Cole: So excited!!!! And thank you thank you thank you for your vote! I never win! What a day!!!!’

Nicki Kenyon: I’m currently imagining you hopping up and down. LOL! Awesome news!

Nick Cole: I was! My wife was doing cheerleader kicks!!!

And do know that Nick was facing some stiff competition, including from a novel I absolutely loved – Marina Fontaine’s “Chasing Freedom,” so you know it had to be good!

I’m so happy for both of them! Both are brilliant authors, so go and read!

I’m not a fan of Game of Thrones. I fell asleep when I tried to watch it. Not my thing. But I know a lot of others like the show, so more power to them!

honorFor Best Horror, I actually voted for Declan Finn’s “Honor at Stake,” and while he didn’t get the award, it’s a book I highly recommend you read. Declan first sent me a copy right before I went in for surgery, knowing I would be laid up and hungry for reading material. I’m SO grateful he did!

I will say, I’m not a vampire fan. Much like zombies, the genre is horribly overdone and difficult to do well and originally, so it takes a lot for me to enjoy a vampire story.

But Declan approached it from a different point of view. He examined the mythology from the perspective of a Catholic, and a doctor. He posed a plausible medical explanations for vampirism and for good vice bad vampires from a religious context.

The sociopath and the vampire – two characters you would expect to be evil (or anticipate one of them would sparkle, if you’re into that sort of thing) – are completely antithetical to what you would anticipate. Their actions define them, not their thoughts or their “nature.” I kind of like that.

evil laughBut putting all of that aside, Declan’s story is fun! It’s fast-paced. It’s action-filled. It’s sweet at times. It’s enjoyable, and it’s not over! There’s another on the way. *insert evil, satisfied laugh here*

If I have one criticism, it’s that the way he wrote the Russian character isn’t exactly accurate, both in language and in speech. But being from that part of the world, I’m picky.

Pick it up. You’ll enjoy it. Trust me.

I’m also experiencing tingly sensations at the fact that Larry Correia – the International Lord of Hate himself – has won the award for best Fantasy Novel! I have “Son of a Black Sword” in hardcover, vice in electronic form. The reviews – deservedly so – are stellar! On Amazon, 78 percent of reviews gave the novel five stars, and an additional 15 percent gave it four stars. Of the one-star reviews one admitted they didn’t read the book, because the Kindle version was too expensive. Another one thought he’d be smart and give it one star for keeping the reader on the edge of his seat! And a third claimed the book was too “sad.”

It’s interesting to note that when fans are legitimately given the opportunity to vote for the works they enjoy, there’s no “No Award.” There’s no wooden assholes. There’s no chortling, cackling CHORFs, snottily snickering how they kept the undesirables at bay.

There are fans. They vote for what they like, and the writers, artists, cinematographers, and others reap the benefits – the gratitude of thousands of fans, who enjoyed the work and wanted to reward their faves with recognition.

And that will inevitably cause the CHORFs to clutch their pearls, gnash their teeth, and snottily declare that the Dragon Awards don’t matter, because they’re not part of that elite clique of haughty Hugo recipients and nominees. They will mumble about how the pathetic Sad Puppies got so trounced, they had to go and start an award of their own, even though that’s a ridiculous contention. There will be slander in the press and on social media. Don’t believe me? It’s starting already. From File 770:

Gee, an award put together by puppies, was awarded to puppies.

Color me shocked. SHOCKED!

Here’s some sour grapes for you from the same site.

Good. The Puppies have been saying since these were first announced that they would be the “real” awards as far as they were concerned. They get to give each other awards, they’ll hopefully leave the rest of us alone, everyone wins. And as it’s a new award, there’s no cultural expectation getting in their way. They can talk on their own blogs about how the Hugos are irrelevant, and we can ignore them.

And more unfounded accusations from the CHORF set, because RABIDPUPPIESSADPUPPIES!

Congratulations to VD. Now he has found an award that actually is run by a cabal (albeit his cabal), maybe he’ll fuck off and leave the Hugo’s alone.

I encourage everyone to go look at the opening page of Somewhither on Amazon. Shocking piece of sophomoric crap.

For Puppies by Puppies, as mentioned above.

Evidence? Screw your evidence? Let’s make caustic accusations without a shred of proof to back them up, because we weren’t a part of this, and because we didn’t get our chance to castigate the puppies (whom we see as a boogie man under every bed) with “No Awards” to prove our superiority.

And then we have this mutant.


pearlsIt’s all good. I expect these bitter, sad little howler monkeys to hurl their acrimonious turds. It’s what they do in between pearl clutching and insulting those evil non-enlightened juvenile canines with wooden assholes.

It’s about time a real fan award took center stage. Congratulations to all the winners, and the Hugos can keep the assterisks.

Damien Walter’s Ugly Tie

tieThose of you who have kids may remember their gifts to dad early on, which usually consisted of a mangled ashtray they made in art class, which you kept as a sacred treasure because your baby made it (yes, I still have a ceramic hedgehog from one of mine). Sometimes, though, when there was nothing to present from art class, the munchkins would go out and buy a hideous tie for dad’s birthday – a tie he would be embarrassed to wear were it from any source other than the child.

Yeah, that tie.

You don’t want to wear it, because Punkin spent hard-earned allowance money getting you that ugly tie as a present, and you want to honor that gesture by wearing it on a special occasion, so you pat them on the head and hug and kiss them, and they feel so good, because daddy likes their present!

Well, yesterday was Larry Correia’s birthday. Larry – the author of some of my favorite books, and the SJW-proclaimed International Lord of Hate – got a present for his special day from the Guardian’s resident Oozing Vagoo Damien Walter – an article on Dimwit’s Guardian blog critiquing Larry’s novels, as well as some other authors whom I love.

Note also that Dimwit has made his Twitter feed protected, so only the correct sort of readers may follow him and read his 140-character brain droppings. Dimwit doesn’t exactly like criticism. Perhaps THAT’S why he hasn’t managed to shit out a book, even thought the British government has given him other people’s money to do so.

I’m not linking to Dimwit’s ponderous swamp of viscous (no, not vicious – I meant viscous, as in gelatinous or mucusy), mangled pseudo-thought. You can use the Google Machine for his snark-filled, condescending screed “Hugo Awards: Reading the Sad Puppies’ Pets.” It’s also archived here. If there’s one thing clear from Dimwit’s blithering excretion, it’s that even though he claims to have read these authors’ books and found them to be clearly substandard, his idea of “reading” involves skimming a few pages of a single work, skimming a few others – maybe, asserting how awful they are, and then basing his critique attack on other Sad Puppy authors on those limited, half-witted views.

And he claims the Guardian pays him to read books! Perhaps they should ask for their money back, because he’s quite obviously incapable of reading – or at least comprehending – books he claims are oh-so-low class, they’re comparable to straight-to-video Dolph Lundgren films. Those damn proles.

OK, I like Dolph Lundgren. He’s fun – something that Dimwit obviously avoids like a bad case of the herp (which, he likely wouldn’t get anyway, because – really – who the hell would want to fuck that omega male?) – and contrary to what some supercilious twat wads believe, entertainment can not contain haughty, overbearing social or political messages and still be worthwhile.

Also, Dolph Lundgren is much smarter than Dimwit, the self-described “male feminist” who hasn’t been able to birth a book, even though the British government apparently paid him a grant to do so, but who apparently teaches writing, even though he’s apparently incapable of reading an entire book, let alone writing one even with taxpayer money incentives. Maybe Larry’s writing is a bit too complex for Dimwit.

Dolph Lundgren has a degree in chemistry from Washington State University, a degree in chemical engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology, and a Master’s in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney. He also stars in movies people actually see, and is a much more recognizable persona than Dimwit. So Dimwit denigrating Lundgren is as laughable as Dimwit denigrating Larry Correia, who somehow manages to write entertaining stories, makes a great living, has a huge fan base, and unlike Dimwit, can actually write a book – a number of them, in fact – that people love to read.

I also note that aside from a few outliers, Dimwit’s blog averages about as many comments per entry as mine does – UNLESS he is writing about the Sad Puppies, which brings out the pusillanimous Puppy Kickers to pile on and pat one another on the back about how enlightened they are for hating that pulp fiction pablum. This tells me Dimwit simply trots out the Puppies when things get particularly slow on his Guardian blog, because let’s face it, folks – Dimwit needs the hits.

And that’s pretty much what he’s done in this latest gutless harangue.

For the last few years, the Hugo awards for science fiction have been campaigned against by a group of writers and fans calling themselves the Sad Puppies – mostly male, very white, and overwhelmingly conservative. Unhappy with sci-fi’s growing diversity, the Puppies have deliberately block-voted for certain titles to get them nominated for Hugos at the expense of a wider field. They say it is their goal to “poke the establishment in the eye” by nominating “unabashed pulp action that isn’t heavy-handed message fic”. I say it is to sponsor awful writers.

So Dimwit starts out with a deliberate lie, given that Sad Puppies 4 was run by all women, who are overwhelmingly libertarian, and that those “certain titles” recommended by the Puppies were voted on by anyone who has read a work and liked it, and included such SJW favorites as Ann Leckie.

Never let facts get in the way of your attempts to gain readership at the expense of the people whom you revile, but whose accomplishments you couldn’t hope to match, let alone exceed, Dimwit.

The Puppies have two criteria for what they deem excellence: does it turn a buck? And has the author dared to say anything, ever, that they disagree with? This, paired with their conspiracy theories about some big sci-fi publishers, means that they tend to champion mostly self-published authors. Nothing about quality – though you don’t need an in-depth knowledge of sci-fi to understand that a short story called Space Raptor Butt Invasion (yes, really) has not arrived on the Hugo lists because of its calibre.

Wow, what utter dreck! Fans nominated works they liked using whatever criteria they wanted. The organizers of Sad Puppies 4 spent a lot of time compiling recommendations based on those nominations in a completely open and transparent process. Larry Correia repeatedly and quite openly stated why he started the campaign in the first place – another piece Dimwit is apparently incapable of understanding. And, the Sad Puppies had nothing to do with “Space Raptor Butt Invasion,” no matter how hard Dimwit twists and strains to make that connection.

With this year’s Hugo awards coming on Saturday night in the US, I thought I’d read some of the authors championed by the Puppies. (Don’t ever say I don’t do anything for you.)

If you find meaning in straight-to-video Dolph Lundgren films, then Larry Correia’s novels will be your kind of read. Correia, accountant-turned-author-turned-Sad-Puppies-creator, kicked off his Monster Hunter series with Monster Hunter International, about an accountant whose boss turns into a monster. So he shoots him. In fact, much of the Monster Hunter series relies rather heavily on people the hero doesn’t like turning into monsters … so he can shoot them.

There’s a problem here. Dimwit either engages in seriously sloppy writing, or he read a few pages, saw a reference to a gun, shat himself in utter terror, and couldn’t continue reading.

Yes, the novel’s main character does shoot his boss at first, but since his boss is a werewolf, shooting him does nothing, so Owen Zastava Pitt subsequently kills his werewolf boss by chucking him out of a window, and dropping a desk on him. So by implying that Z kills the monster by shooting it, and then making absolutely false claims about the rest of the series, Dimwit is either a mediocre and careless writer, who hasn’t understood what he read, or he hasn’t actually read anything but the first few pages of Monster Hunter International, saw the passage about the shooting, got scared, hid under his desk for a while until the tremors subsided, predicted he’s read all he needs and that the rest would be much of the same, and proceeded to write about it.

My bet would be on the latter.

Because if it’s the former, then he’s guilty of the kind of writing crimes of which he accuses authors he doesn’t like.

Dimwit goes on to trash popular novelists such as Sarah A. Hoyt and Brad Torgersen, John C. Wright and Dave Freer, and anyone else whom he considers part of the Sad Puppy cisheteropatriarchaloppressors. He doesn’t get into details, other than to claim sentences are “mangled,” whatever that means, and accuses these talented writers of “vomiting onto the page” whatever passes through their heads.

This coming from someone whose claim to fame is proclaiming himself to be a “male feminist” and spewing out such literary feculence as “My Lovesick Zombie Boy Band.” I get this feeling Dimwit is just too stupid to understand words on a page, so he denigrates the authors in hopes of concealing his own inadequacies.

But the Sad Puppies don’t want any of their books to end up on bestseller lists or TV screens. It’s the same frustrating paradigm that British MP Michael Gove hit upon when he said that people were sick of experts, or what Donald Trump plays upon when he rails against “professional politicians”. We’re seeing the Dunning-Kruger effect played out on a mass scale, and the Sad Puppies are just a speck in that wider problem.

No, of course Sad Puppies don’t want their books on bestseller lists! Larry Correia winding up on Entertainment Weekly’s bestseller list and on the New York Times bestseller list must have been an accident! He didn’t want any of that! Totes unintentional!

You know, it’s amusing to see Dimwit flailing – allowing Larry not only to live rent-free in his head, but to flood the toilet, toss around stale pizza boxes, run up the pay-per-view bill, and stain the shag carpet. Larry had nothing to do with the Hugos this year. He declined his nomination last year. He’s ignored poor Dimwit, because Larry is doing what Larry does best – writing entertaining books for his fans and having fun.

And yet, here’s Dimwit, once again trying to get Larry’s attention, like a slow child presenting daddy with that ugly tie for Father’s Day.

Yep, this article is Dimwit’s ugly tie – published right on time for dad’s Larry’s birthday.

Meanwhile, the talented, smart, generous authors beloved by fans and reviled by the SJW Howler Monkeys as melancholy juvenile canines, will continue selling books and thrilling their audiences.

That’s nice, Dimmy. Maybe daddy will wear your tie next time.

Book Review: Chasing Freedom by Marina Fontaine

freedomIt’s always fun to read a novel written by a fellow immigrant – especially one who escaped from the same region of the world as I did, who consciously chose to become an American, and who appreciates the principles of freedom on which this nation is based. My fellow immigrants, especially those who were born and raised in oppressive environments have a unique appreciation for America. When you grow up in a place where you don’t have opportunities to excel, where corruption is the status quo, where what you read, watch and listen to is regulated by an ever-intrusive state, and where the citizens are rewarded for reporting suspicious activity to a tyrannical government and have no problem turning their friends and family in for a little extra booze or toilet paper, you feel like you begin to breathe again when you step foot onto U.S. soil.

So what happens when your adopted country careens toward the very thing you escaped?

Not every immigrant can write a killer novel, but Marina Fontaine has. Marina’s first novel “Chasing Freedom” avoids the usual mistakes by first time authors and liberty advocates who preach to death the ideology at the expense of the plot. Her book is not a delivery for her ideology. It’s an adventure story about love, perseverance, courage, corruption, the will to fight, and the will to live. I’m not going to post spoilers, because I do want you to pick up this book and read it.

I will tell you it’s focused on a dystopian America that is the logical conclusion of where we are headed if certain elements of society have their way – surveillance state, secret torture rooms for those daring to resist, corrupt government bureaucrats, propaganda, scarce resources, and lack of tolerance for dissent. Amidst over-regulation and lack of respect for human life, a resistance movement grows, featuring characters willing to sacrifice everything to gain freedom. The book focuses on the movement and how it grows. It tracks the resistance fighters from their teenage rebellion years to adulthood. It shows the progress they make and the emotional growth they experience on the way.

You can see how it would be easy to get preachy in this type of plot, but Marina avoids that trap, and presents a story filled with intrigue and action – a story that moves, a story that captures attention, and a story that impacts the heart. She doesn’t engage in lengthy descriptions of how horrible this futuristic America is. You will not find John Galt-length speeches in this book. She allows her characters’ distinct experiences to deliver that message. She doesn’t divide her characters into BAD GOVERNMENT and GOOD REBELS. She presents them as human, faulty, and real.

No, there’s no attempt to awkwardly shove diversity into the novel. It exists organically within the story, and there’s no need to push it.

Yes, there are hideously evil bureaucrats in this book, but not every character is black and white, not every resistance fighter is an angel, and not every government employee is a power-hungry, evil, sub-human piece of garbage.

And finally, what I really enjoyed about “Chasing Freedom” was that it didn’t focus on the darkness. Yes, it’s a pretty depressing vision of America. Yes, there are points that will break your heart. But at the same time, it’s a story of optimism – a refusal to surrender to the darkness and a brighter future.

Pick it up. You’ll like it.

Why the Puppies Are Sad

You want to know why the Sad Puppies campaign still exists? Do you want to know why fans continue to nominate authors they consider to be worthy of a Hugo Award even though the elitist Puppy Kickers made damn sure everyone knew that no award would be given to any worthy author or editor if they were nominated by the “wrong” people?

Here’s one reason.

“Speak Easy” by Catherynne M. Valente was submitted for a Sad Puppies 4 nomination in September 2015. Several fans thought it was worthy of the award. Comments included:

“… I liked it a lot and will be nominating it for a Hugo.”

“…There is so much to discover in this little book and it absolutely blew me away”

I would think that any author would be grateful that readers not only bought her work, but read it and enjoyed it enough to recommend it for a prestigious award. I would think the author would be gracious and thank the readers for the honor. One would think that being included in a list of recommendations that this year includes such great and diverse writers as Lois McMaster Bujold, Ann Leckie, Stephen King, Eric Flint, and John Scalzi would be met with gratitude and some dignity.

But apparently, if you’re the wrong kind of thinker, the wrong kind of reader, who has the wrong kind of social justice and political views, Ms. Valente doesn’t want your business. She doesn’t want your praise or recommendation. She doesn’t want your recognition.

As a matter of fact, if you’re the wrong type of science fiction fan, she will meowl and howl and demand that her name be removed from consideration. Then, she will vent her spleen on the Internet (then think better of it and admit it was not her “best reaction), and then she will post a much more temperate contemplation, trying to explain why she was so damn angry that a bunch of fans liked her writing enough to read it and to think it was worthy of an award.

I was upset because I wasn’t asked whether I was okay with being put on this list. I had thought I remembered SP saying they would ask authors for permission in the future, but it’s since been pointed out to me that my memory, as with all human cognition, is faulty, and the truth is the opposite–they, in fact, pledged not to ask permission or remove names on request.

Ms. Valente apparently thinks she should be consulted about whether or not it would be OK for a group of fans to like and appreciate her writing enough to think she merits an award. Apparently, she’s so important, that fans need her permission to publicly like her work! I will freely admit I’ve never heard of her until this year, so I wasn’t sure how successful or popular she was.

She’s apparently fairly prolific, if you believe Wikipedia, but I cannot imagine an author can get so prominent that she would actively reject readers who like her writing. But that’s exactly what she did.

Because she doesn’t want to be “associated” with the wrong type of fans.

Because she and other spitting whiners are suspicious that somehow this is somehow an effort to “legitimize” Sad Puppies, rather than a simple submission by people who happened to like her work.

Because somehow pointing out her lack of graciousness on social media equates to attacking her.

And it occurs to me that I would feel far less anger and confusion if one single person had calmly and without rancor said to me: “Hey, last year was a clusterfuck all around. This year we’re trying to put all that behind us and do a straight recommendation list. That’s all that’s going on.” But instead, it was the same instant name-calling and attacks that went down last time.

Of course, several people pointed out that the Sad Puppies list this year is a diverse recommendation list by fans who liked her work, but Ms. Valente appears to be so filled with rancor and hatred, that she just ignored them and continued on.

One reply pointed out that fans liked her work, and thought it was worthy.

Another one also acknowledged the effort to keep politics and acrimony out of it.

A third one noted that this the Sad Puppies list is a pretty simple recommendation from multiple fans.

But apparently, that’s not good enough.

So I spent the night trying to get my thoughts in order on this. Because, yes, if you strip away all the context of the Sad Puppies campaigns, it’s just a recommendation list, and I was happy enough to be on the Locus List (which doesn’t ask permission), so I should simply be joyful that people liked Speak Easyenough to recommend others take a look at it. A recommendation list, as we have been saying all along, is not a slate.

But you can’t strip away the context. Context is content. Context is everything.

Here’s your context, Ms. Valente.

So, SP4 is all about MOAR! More voters. More votes. More people. We want to make the Hugos bigger and more representative of fandom as a whole, to bring people in rather than give them an asterisk that looks kind of wrong (especially beside the rocket) to try to drive the “interlopers” out. SF is a big tent: we don’t want to kick out anyone, even writers of bad message fiction that makes puppies sad.

That is all. It is simple and publicly stated. There’s no hidden context or agenda. There never has been, despite some people’s best efforts to conflate the Sad Puppies movement with something onerous and clandestine.

I promised last year not to allow my name on any slate, for any reason, in perpetuity. Which means that if SP4 is, somehow, a slate, it would be hypocritical of me to shrug and say I’m cool with it just because my name happens to be on it. This is where I get stuck, because I feel there is a moral morass here. Call me old-fashioned: when I give my word, it still means something to me. This puts me in an incredibly difficult position, from which there is no easy extrication.

This is not about you allowing anything, Ms. Valente, unless you really expect fans you don’t like for nebulous reasons such as their “association” with other fans, to refuse to like or read your literature, in which case I would question your sanity and your intellect.

Bottom line: some people read your novella, and they liked it enough to submit it for an award. That’s it. Nothing else. But your lack of congeniality is noted.

The problem is, I spent a year listening to how the Puppies are Master Strategists. You can’t blame me for doing a Perception Roll and looking for traps. And that is my fear. That, with apologies to Admiral Akbar, it’s a trap.

Maybe you should take a year actually examining evidence with an objective eye, reading what has been written on the subject without judging, and stop being so paranoid.

I don’t want to be anyone’s shield. I want any nomination to be about my work and my work alone. I don’t want to be used to add legitimacy to a slate, I don’t want to be used to whitewash the history of a movement that, at the very minimum, has behaved poorly and rudely toward a large number of people, including me, my loved ones, and my colleagues. I don’t want to be fodder for a “we all know the first five are the real slate” strategy. I don’t want to be used as agotcha!, forced to withdraw in order to keep my moral house in order and make room for more works along the lines of “Safe Space as Rape Room” and “Sad Puppies Bite Back” or remain on the list and force a conversation about No Awarding so that the Puppies can watch the people they targeted last year get No Awarded or call us all hypocrites at large for not doing it–victory declared at any result.

Couple of things are notable here. chu

First, Ms. Valente appears to be hanging out with the likes of Arthur Chu, who last year viciously attacked Brad Torgersen as a racist and even posted a photo of his African American wife and biracial daughter, claiming they were shields for Brad’s alleged racism.

Are these the kinds of people with whom you want to be associated, Ms. Valente? Because you certainly sound like one of them.

A shield? It must be difficult to think so little of your own work that you believe the only reason people with opposing views to yours would like your writing is as a shield!

Second, Ms. Valente ignores the very real, vile, repugnant, and false accusations of racism, misogyny, bigotry, and other filth hurled at the Sad Puppies last year. It must be so comfy living in that soft, opaque world, so devoid of diverse points of view!

Third, she admits outright that the “No Awarding” of numerous categories at the Hugo Awards last year was an effort to keep the “undesirables” out, and worse, she’s afraid inclusion by the “wrong” kinds of fans will deprive her of her rightful chance for an award.

I will give Ms. Valente credit for admitting that the Sad Puppies this year did exactly what they said they would – create an open, transparent, diverse list recommended by numerous readers.

They seem to have done everything people said they should do to make it a recommendation list and not a slate. It’s democratic, it’s open, there are either more or less than five recs for every slot. The Rabid Puppy list has almost nothing in common with the Sad Puppy list.

At least she’s intellectually honorable enough to admit this much, but then she slides back into paranoia, and proceeds to blame the fans – the same fans who recommended works they enjoyed last year for a prestigious award and included her on this list – for her own paranoia, and continues to perpetuate the lies that angered kind, generous, gentle authors and fans last year, accusing us of racism, homophobia, and sexism and conflate Sad Puppies with the snarling, frothing Rabids, whose stated goal was to submarine the Hugos.

But it’s absurd to get angry at someone for thinking there might be something more to it. After all the talk about manipulation and strategy, all the insults flung and accusations levied, this is the result. It is hard to trust. And it is impossible to just pull the tablecloth out from under the Sad Puppies and leave the flowers and the silver still standing. The Puppies are a political group. They specifically did what they did last year to make “SJW heads explode.” Members have engaged in racists, homophobic, and sexist rhetoric. They have stated that the last several years of Hugos, during which I won and was nominated, were a lie and a farce, only existing due to affirmative action.

The rest of her post is self-inflicted angst and agony. Her stomach hurts. She’s honestly torn. She doesn’t know what to do.

And then, she “magnanimously” proclaimed that she will give us all a chance. She will give us her oh-so-generous benefit of the doubt. She’s choosing to believe that the Sad Puppies are sincere, despite the skewed history that she’s been led to believe, and dog forbid we let her down!

Please, lady!

Give it a rest! People read your work. They enjoyed it. They liked it enough to recommend it for a prestigious award. Be gracious. Say “thank you.” Enjoy the fact that a bigger fan base read your novella and enjoyed it, despite their perceived disagreements with you on politics or whatever else.

Stop worrying about some biased version of “history” and realize you’re not ENTITLED to demand that fans ask your permission to like and recommend your work.

You promised to believe in our good faith? So stop with the caveats and the angst, so we can believe in yours!


Dear Social Justice Whiners – JUST. SHUT.UP.

First they came for science fiction and fantasy, trying to grab the genre from the evil, white, cisheteronormativepatriarchysomethingorother authors who have apparently been forever oppressing the poor minorities and those who gender identify as toasters. I said nothing, because… oh hell, whom am I kidding? I went off on the Social Justice Howler Monkeys for their stridency, prejudice, and utter cluelessness about how the world works.

Then they came for the sombrero, and I said nothing. OK, I said something. I called the pasty, white British douche pickle whitesplaining the cultural appropriation of the sombrero a douche pickle whitesplaining why he’s offended on behalf of the Mexicans.

They came for the cornrows, the Halloween costumes, and food, and I laughed them off, because the stupid was beginning to burn – not in a gonorrhea sort of way, but in a smelly, pathetic desperation sort of way.

But now, they’ve gone too far. The Social Justice Howler Monkeys have crossed the line, and they need to be stopped – with broomsticks and “expelliarmus” spells, if necessary. The Social Justice Howler Monkeys are attacking J.K. Rowling after she wrote about the “history of magic in North America.”

One critic, Brown University researcher Adrienne Keene, pointed out that the term “Native American” encompasses many different cultures.

“One of the largest fights in the world of representations is to recognize Native peoples and communities and cultures are diverse, complex, and vastly different from one another,” Keene wrote on her blog Native Appropriations. “There is no such thing as one ‘Native American’ anything. Even in a fictional wizarding world.”

On Twitter, Johnnie Jae, the Otoe-Missouria and Choctaw founder of the radio show A Tribe Called Geek, accused Rowling of cultural appropriation.

“When we say that non-native writers, filmmakers, artists are not entitled to our history, identities, culture & imagery we mean just that,” Jae wrote. “We’re saying there is a problem with non-natives who take without permission, without understanding and without respect for native people.”

A couple of observations here to turn the tables around a bit.

Thank you, @pottermore!

Thank you, @pottermore!

One – it’s a fucking fairy tale, you smirking, snotty, supercilious shit wits! It’s not a documentary! To claim “there’s no such thing as… even in a fictional wizarding world,” is to show complete ignorance of the actual definition of fiction! It’s also appropriation of said world. The wizarding world does not belong to Keene or Jae. It was created by the brilliant mind of J.K. Rowling. They have no authority to speak about what does or does not exist there.

Two – it’s ironic that the entitled social justice whiners are bitching about entitlement! Note that nothing has been “taken” from this sniffly little Johnnie Jae creep. Someone wrote a fiction story, and it was a wild success, so she’s trying hard to appropriate it as her own, as if something was stolen from her personally. Because creating a world as intricate and beautiful as what Rowling has created requires effort, and this nippy twat simply wants a piece. No one owns culture! No one owns history! And certainly no one is owed respect without earning it! Rowling’s fiction about Native American wizards does not in any way take away anything from Native Americans. If anything, I would submit that her drawing attention to Native Americans in her fictional works would get more people interested in finding out more about their actual culture!

Three – the way I see it, these Howler Monkeys are trying to lay claim to something that does not belong to them. They didn’t create the culture. They didn’t create the art or the mythology of native people in those days. They’re simply cashing in on the attention and struggles of those who came before them, and physically claiming the history and culture of these people as their own, as if history and culture are physical assets. If you ask them what they, personally, lose when J.K. Rowling writes a story about Native Americans hundreds of years ago, they will twist and ramble to come up with an answer.

And finally – this is a woman who has included struggles for equality for all creatures in her stories. She has taken on bigotry and prejudice. She has brought those issues to children in beautiful ways that they can understand without using the  insulting, preachy message fiction we normally see from the Howler Monkey set! To accuse her of exploitation, ignorance, and the promotion of colonialism is beyond ignorant!

To date Ms. Rowling hasn’t answered the screeching shrews on Twitter, and they’re more than soiling themselves.

How ominous… how self important… how arrogant!

Guess what, Cupcake! I’m betting she has better things to do than engage with shrieking shrews to defend her work. Her readers and her success have spoken for her.

Here’s hoping she continues writing terrific stories and relegates Keene, Jae, and other harpies to the dust bin where they belong.

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