The Great Science Fiction Civil War Part 6 (In Which I Express My Frustration)

The Great Science Fiction Civil War, Part 6

In Which I Express My Frustration


While the conflict in SFF has been going on for a few years, since the beginning of the Battle of the Hugos, things have become particularly nasty. All the while, I have tried to remain neutral. In fact, I went as far as offering myself as a mediator to one of the principle puppies with whom I am on good terms. In fact, I’ve worked in the background (as I hear a number of others have) to try to jump-start a cease fire.

Now, let me make it clear that just because I am friends with this puppy doesn’t mean I condone or support the Sad Puppy movement. Quite the contrary, in fact. I’m friends with a lot of people on both sides of this conflict, and that’s why I wanted to try to do something to stop the hostilities. I have friends on both sides getting hurt.

As a matter of fact, one of my favorite people in all of SFF is David Gerrold, who has been deserving of a turn at Worldcon Guest of Honor for decades. He finally was asked for the 2015 Worldcon, and it was long overdue. Additionally, he is hosting the Hugo Award ceremony, a task which this year I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. David will handle the responsibility with grace and professionalism, but he has been placed in an extremely difficult situation, and frankly, that pisses me off.

David has been extremely vocal about the situation this year, and he was generous with his neutrality until he was pushed past a certain point. I’m nowhere near as impacted by the Hugos this year as David, but I’ve also been pushed past my certain point. I’m not a past Hugo winner, or even a nominee. I don’t even have an eligible work this year. I’m not attending Worldcon this year so I can keep a promise to do something else with my son. Neutrality has been a lot easier for me, to be sure.


The discussions I have had in the background have not borne fruit. In fact, each day I wake up to read about the next salvo in this war. Both sides have escalated to the point where a peaceful resolution is going to be impossible. Even Neville Chamberlain would help fire the cannons.

Now, I’m angry.

Of the three puppy principles, Torgerson is probably the biggest SF fanboy. We met in the chatrooms while Dean Wesley Smith was still editing the Star Trek short story anthologies. If his literary career had gone nowhere else, just getting a story into the last volume would probably have been enough for Brad to say that he did okay. So, I’m sure that having David Gerrold angry with him must be a javelin through the heart. It’s gotta be ripping him apart.

But what happened is that Brad got painted into a corner and he had two choices. He could apologize, or he could become militant. He chose the latter, and according to scuttlebutt, his brand has been permanently damaged in the eyes of the general membership of the genre. (Note that doesn’t mean he won’t have a career or a fan base. No publicity is bad publicity in terms of marketing, but options will be limited in years to come. That’s the bed he’s made, and that’s where he’s gotta sleep.)

Larry I’ve only met once, and it was a brief visit between book signings on a tour he did with John Brown a number of years ago. There’s a photo of the three of us in my gallery section. I’m not sure where he’s coming from starting sad puppies in the first place. I would think his initial Hugo nomination is evidence against the entire puppy premise, but what do I know. As I’ve said in the past, I sort of have a foot in each camp, and I can see where both sides in this conflict are right about what they say, even when they contradict each other. Somebody’s fix is often another’s damage. And, I think George R. R. Martin has demonstrated that the original premise of cutting out the right wing authors is false.

While I admit that I am on friendly terms with Brad, I must also confess that the relationship is now strained to near the breaking point. It’s not from any interaction between us, but from what I continue to witness.

I’ve also had discussion with people on the other side of the conflict and I’ve seen public statements by people like Mary Robinette Kowal blasted by puppy supporters claiming she said something entirely different from the text she put on the page. This was even after Mary defended Larry Corriea and asked people to stop sending death threats.

Now, there have been some off the handle responses from the other side, as well. One person is trying to make an anthology of the stories that should have been on the ballot. (How can that not come down to one person’s opinion?) There have been calls to push through “No Award” across the board as a “nuclear option.” Calls for moderation by some of the smartest people in the genre (George R. R. Martin, Eric Flint, Eric James Stone, David Gerrold, and many others) are being ignored and we are at DEFCON 3 moving toward DEFCON 2.

So, as one who actually made an attempt to defuse the situation, I’m angry and frustrated, and frankly, the anger tips toward the puppies. This is without even considering the impact of Beale. While I was called one of the good guys by a sad puppy, I’ve been called a SJW by Beale. I’ve also been called an insignificant wannabe, as if my worth is entirely dictated by the number of books I’ve had published by Baen. My engineering advanced degree, my experience being the primary engineer responsible for multi-million-dollar product lines, the Eagle Scout I raised, and the actual puppy (with real canine DNA) I rescued amount to nothing.

I’ve helped keep military satellites in orbit. I developed a pilot manufacturing line from scratch, and even automated parts of it single-handedly. I helped talk a pissed-off customer back from the brink of a lawsuit against the company I worked for over problems that occurred before I started. I built my first EPUB book by hand, before there was software to do that for you, and I taught it to myself. I also wrote a PDF ebook with the procedure and I gave it away for free. I published three novels under the indie model, and I’ve had professional writers ask me who the publisher was. I’ve done all of my own website work since I went on the web, and I operated a dial-up bulletin board for a decade before that. I recorded my own theme music for the podcast I run on my other site. I played bass, glockenspiel, harmonica, drums, and two tracks of electric guitar on that recording, plus I did all the sound engineering. I didn’t use at all the instrument I play best. I also run my own business during the day.

I occasionally find time to squeeze fiction writing around all that. I guess that makes me a wannabe with a meaningless opinion.

In time, Larry and Brad will be completely ostracized, and Beale will likely be sued when he pisses off the wrong person.

That’s how the war will end.

Tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Great Science Fiction Civil War Part 6 (In Which I Express My Frustration)

  1. grayrinehart says:

    Rick, I appreciate your attempt to de-escalate the conflict. You’re a good guy. Best,

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

Got something to say? Go at it!