Please to remove the libel

Foz Meadows clearly doesn’t understand irony even when she publicly displays it while in the process of maliciously defaming a Hugo-nominated science fiction editor at a leading independent publishing house:

Stories reflect us, and we reflect them back at themselves, like one of Terry Pratchett’s witches standing at the heart of a room of mirrors: humanity all the way down. In the midst of real-world politics and their ever-evolving consequences, our narrow individual perspective is that of a character denied the author’s omniscience: we don’t know what to make of the pattern of things – if there even is a pattern – or where events are headed, and yet we still have to choose what to do in the moment. And so we look outside ourselves, to stories where we do really know what’s happening, to characters in whose hopes and fears we recognise our own. We might make jokes and memes about it, buy little rubber bracelets stamped with WWBD (What Would Buffy Do?) and laugh at our preoccupation with people who don’t really exist, but when the hammer falls and our own words fail us, theirs remain.

I must not tell lies.

We are not things.

If we burn, you burn with us.

Right now, we don’t need a Jedi Master to tell us that fear leads to anger, anger to hate, and hate to suffering: that’s not an abstract mystical tenet, but the bedrock of our current political reality. For the past few years, the Sad and Rabid Puppies – guided by an actual neo-Nazi – have campaigned against what they perceive as the recent politicization of SFF as a genre, as though it’s humanly possible to write a story involving people that doesn’t have a political dimension; as though “political narrative” means “I disagreed with the premise or content, which makes it Wrong” and not “a narrative which contains and was written by people.”

Yes, Foz, you really must not tell lies. It’s rather egregious when you tell them right in the following paragraph.

I have written to John O’Neill, my former editor at Black Gate, asking him to remove this false, malicious, and materially damaging libel directed at me, and by extension, the Sad and Rabid Puppies. As I was a long-time contributor to Black Gate, Mr. O’Neill knows perfectly well that I am neither a neo-Nazi nor a National Socialist, I have never been a neo-Nazi or a National Socialist, I do not belong to, or subscribe to the tenets of, the German National Socialist Workers Party or any subsequent facsimile, and I do not appreciate the libelous attempts of Ms Meadows, to publicly and falsely assert that I am “an actual neo-Nazi”.

Moreover, the link which was provided to demonstrate that I am “an actual neo-Nazi” actually proves the precise opposite. Therefore, it is a matter of public record that the information was published, I was directly or indirectly identified, the remarks were defamatory towards my reputation, the published information is false, and both Foz Meadows and Black Gate are clearly at fault.

I have great respect for John O’Neill, I still enjoy reading Black Gate from time to time, and I very much hope that he did not know about this malicious libel at the time it was posted. Now that he has been made aware of it, I tend to expect he will see fit to do the right thing and remove it from the article rather than pursue the SJW strategy and double down.

UPDATE: Being an SJW, Foz is doubling down. This should be educational.

Oh dear. Apparently VoxPox is wroth with me for calling him a neo-Nazi. If it supports eugenics, racism, misogyny and heils like a duck…

UPDATE: We certainly won’t have any trouble proving ill will.

UPDATE: As I expected, John was very reasonable about it and the matter is being resolved. Thanks for your support, everyone.

The Great Hugo Wars of 2015

Matthew David Surridge, who declined a Hugo nomination last year, explains his take on the situation in the customarily careful and detailed manner that led me to nominate him in the first place. There is also a discussion of it at Black Gate.

Having received no email, I figured I had nothing to worry about.

Then the next night I opened my email to find a message from the Worldcon administrators congratulating me for being nominated for a Hugo. If I wouldn’t be at Worldcon, could I please select someone who’d be able to pick up the award for me if I won?

I emailed Black Gate editor John O’Neill, and asked him if he’d be in Spokane. He said he wouldn’t, and also mentioned that Black Gate had been nominated for a Fanzine Hugo. That meant I’d now heard of three Puppy picks who’d gotten nominations. I poked around some message boards and found speculation from various people plugged into the field guessing that the Puppies would do spectacularly well when the full list of nominees was made public. One (non-Puppy) editor said that he’d heard that the Puppies had three of the nominations for Best Novel—the most prestigious category. I began to wonder if I wanted to be nominated for an award that was being shaped by the Puppy tactics. If nothing else, what kind of backlash would this create?

Over the next few days I did more research on the Puppy program. Beyond politics, it was clear I didn’t share the Sad Puppy sense of what was good and bad in fiction. Beale only spoke about “the science fiction right,” but Torgersen was putting forward an aesthetic argument about the value of adventure writing over “message fiction.” I like good pulp fiction, but prefer experimental writing. More: it became clear to me that Torgersen and Beale knew that what they were doing was a slap in the face of the SF community—the people who attended events like Worldcon and administered the Hugos. As far as they were concerned, many of the existing institutions of science fiction fandom were not only dominated by liberals, but corrupt, and therefore had to be either reformed or burned down. The Puppies were looking for a fight.

Emotions were already running high on both sides. A lot of fans were treating the Puppies as a threat to the Hugos. To the existing fandom, and apparently to the Sad Puppies, too, who wanted the Hugos to acknowledge their own vision of SF. But not to me. The Hugos didn’t generally go to SF novels that were important to me. But so what? I wasn’t the one giving out the awards. What right did someone else have to try to hijack the process?

Turning the nomination down meant picking a side, if only by implication. But accepting it was also taking a side. Of course, people could be Puppy voters and also genuinely believe I was a good candidate. Did I have the right to back out on them? From another angle, could I win? If the category was entirely flooded with Puppy picks, I thought I might do well. And, realistically, the No Award option existed—and people were already talking about using it.

The more I thought about it, the more confused I got. There was a lot at stake. But I didn’t really know how much; this was not, in the end, my world. I didn’t know how much I didn’t know. I did have a sense that a lot of people involved in the debate had a history with each other, and that a certain amount of subtext in the online discussion was based off of meatspace encounters. (Much later, it’d come out that Correia felt he’d been excluded and mocked at the convention where the 2011 Campbell Award was presented.)

I went back and forth for a couple of days trying to figure out the right thing to do—for me, for Black Gate, for the science fiction field in general. I talked with some people in SF, I read and read, and I still wasn’t sure. Finally I thought: What do I know, exactly? I’d been put forward for a prize—but as part of a program that I didn’t agree with. I didn’t like the tactics the Puppies had used, I didn’t like the fact that they’d pulled me into what they knew was going to be a fraught situation without asking, and I didn’t agree with much Torgersen had to say about SF. Put like that, it was simple enough.

First, I should point out the reason that I recommended both Black Gate and Matthew David Surridge for Hugo Awards is because a) they were worthy of winning the award, and b) they would never, ever have been nominated by the very small group of 40-50 Tor-affiliated SJWs who have dominated the nominations, and through them the awards, for the last 20 years.

Second, all Matthew’s actions accomplished was to ensure the award went to a vastly inferior “fan” writer, the professional writer and wife of the then-SFWA president, whose “fan writing” consisted of a single hit piece on one of the lunatics of the field. That, more than anything, is why his decision to renounce his nomination was a mistake. That one is on you, Matthew. If you think Laura Mixon is a better fan writer than you are, fine. But I don’t.

What Rabid Puppies did was to rescue the category from the pro writers in the Tor Books cabal who were intentionally using it as a springboard to win the Best Novel award. John Scalzi did this successfully, Jim Hines and Kameron Hurley did it unsuccessfully. Notice how they abruptly disappeared from the category once they win their “Fan Writer” awards. It is simply laughable to claim that any of the fan writers nominated before the Puppy campaigns can legitimately compare with the fan writers we have been recommending, both at Black Gate and Castalia House. The same is true of the Best Related Work category.

Third, the Hugo controversies are only going to become more intense going forward. Last year, we were quiet and allowed all of the various slanders that appeared in the media to go largely uncommented. Instead, we began doing our research, and while we are not neo-Nazis or any of the various things we are accused of being, we have learned that SF fandom is genuinely full of pedophiles, child abusers, child molesters, sexual deviants, and people who are more than willing to publicly defend and even celebrate child molesters… and it has been for fifty years.

This year it’s our turn to take our case to the media, and we’re going to hit back harder than any of you ever imagined. This isn’t over. It has barely even begun. And every time the SJWs in SF try to double-down, as they did with the media and with rules changes like EPH, we’re going to take advantage of those actions and make use of them.

So for those of you inclined to Puppy-kicking, I encourage you to think twice before you decide to take their side. Because you’re going to find yourself publicly associated with things far darker and more depraved than anything you ever accused the Puppies of being or doing. If you are determined to fight award recommendations in order to defend child molesters, then there is something seriously wrong with you.

And before you protest that we’re being unfair, well, you should probably keep in mind that I have written an entire book about the philosophical legitimacy of utilizing tactics that were introduced by the other side. Every sword cuts both ways.

Xanatos unveiled

You know, of all the SJWs in science fiction, I would have thought that John O’Neill would have known me well enough by now to understand that I am an accomplished player of games. I mean, I contributed to Black Gate for several years and a fair number of my posts were game-related. I thought he knew me better. But, in any event, he explained his 2015 Hugo ballot at Black Gate.

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.

Now that the voting is complete, I will simply quote Mr. Correia.

“Vox is off doing his own thing. You tried to shun a man who is
incapable of being shunned. He got kicked out of the market, so went and
built his own market. The more you go after him, the stronger he gets. I
don’t think you guys realize that most of me and Brad’s communication
with Vox consists of us asking him to be nice and not burn it all down
out of spite.”

I like Larry. I like Brad. They’re good men. I respect them both. And out of my respect for them, I agreed to play it straight this year, support Sad Puppies, and refrain from nuking the Awards. (The VFM were champing at the bit to burn SOMETHING and there was a category that eminently had it coming, so I graciously acceded to their humble requests and unleashed them.) That is why I wish I was more surprised to observe that the science fiction SJWs were dumb enough to do what the Dark Lord wanted in order to teach Brad and Larry a lesson.

See, now that’s what a fucking Xanatos Gambit looks like, bitches.

Note to Richard Brandt: I am not the habit of keeping my self-appointed enemies informed of my true intentions at all times. I said I would support Sad Puppies. I supported Sad Puppies. I kept my word. That’s what I do, even if it means running the risk of delayed gratification. Fortunately, as I anticipated, the SJWs were almost as outraged by Brad’s recommendations as they were by mine.

My intentions were always right out there in the open for anyone with the wit to see it. Based on some of his wry commentary, I suspect Mike Glyer knew. The Dread Ilk certainly understood. I even warned the SJWs that if they went No Award this year on the basis of their disapproval of our award pimpage, they’d have no grounds to complain about our utilization of their tactics in the future, only not in revenge, but because that was the goal. In addition to not voting No Award across the board, we also didn’t respond to any of their shady tactics, not Mary Kowal’s vote-buying, not the various proposed rule changes, not the spurious disqualification of John C. Wright’s sixth Hugo nomination.

The reason is that I wanted our hands to remain entirely clean this year and to gauge the true strength of the motivated opposition. Why buy 500 votes when we’ve learned that Kowal only bought 75?

Next year, we bring the noise. Sad Puppies won’t be led by the Cuddly Care Bear, but by Kate the Impaler. The VFM will grow in size and malice, and the GG-inspired counterattack will spread into new industries. Next year, Rabid Puppies will utilize every useful tactic, explore every potentially usable angle. Because we’re not here to win awards, we’re here to kick ass and chew SJWs. John O’Neill has never grasped that. For some reason, he still thinks we are craving the approval of the human wreckage that risibly deems itself a literary elite.

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.

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.

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.

Today, the Sad Puppies are already seen as a spent force. Irrelevant, misguided, and not particularly very interesting. Perhaps I’ll be be proven wrong, and when the Hugo Winners are announced at Sasquan in Spokane, Washington, on August 22, the Puppies will sweep again, just as they swept the nominations.

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.

Yeah, they said much the same last year too. The problem is that John still thinks we seized the genre by the throat in order to make a point. We’re not making a point, we’re strangling an evil and obnoxious ideology. And we have only begun to squeeze.

Later this month, one of two things will happen. Either one-third of the Hugo Awards will be obliterated or the twenty-year dominance of the science fiction SJWs will be publicly shattered for the world to see. The former is a win for Rabid Puppies, the latter is a win for everyone except the SJWs, but in particular for the Sad Puppies. And if the former result is not quite as dramatic as I would have liked, well, we can always seek to do better next year.

On a tangential note, I appreciated this response to one of O’Neill’s sillier statements in the comments:

“In short, the Puppy slate just doesn’t measure up.”

Riding the Red Horse is the first great mil-sf anthology since Jerry Pournelle tapered off back in the 90′s.”

To summarize: We are the reavers and the renegades, the rebels and the revolutionaries, and we
don’t give a quantum of a damn about pieces of plastic or the insider
approval they represent.

On bloc voting

First, I was pleased to see that Black Gate accepted their well-deserved and long-overdue Hugo nomination. John O’Neill, who is one of the fairest and most decent individuals on either side of the ideological aisle, explained why:

“Since the Black Gate nomination was for the
entire site (which is run by a group of nearly 40 volunteers, many of
whom are thrilled by the nomination), we did not decline. That’s a
choice that will doubtless expose us to some (perhaps deserved)

John believes SP/RP was “a Spectacularly Bad Idea” and that “There will be a response, and it won’t be pretty.” Of course, we’re already seeing how unpretty that response can be.

“I consider Vox Day one step, either direction, from certifiable.” – Mike Resnick

“Fuck John C. Wright, that cretinous neckbeard, and fuck Vox Day, that pathetic human garbage bin.” – a commenter at Charles Stross’s site

“I cannot abide Vox Day, and I’d drop a planet on his house if I
could. Man’s a misogynistic pig, and that’s an insult to swine.”
– Michael Harper

And the latter comment is coming from someone who has REJECTED the Mutually Assured Destruction option being recommended by many, including John O’Neill himself. However much I like John and respect his opinion, I would be remiss if I did not point out there are two serious problems with it:

  1. It is logically incoherent to assert that we are wreckers and indifferent to the long-term fate of the Hugo Awards and to simultaneously threaten MAD. If anyone believes that it is our goal to destroy the awards, they should be begging Sad Puppies to not vote No Award for everything and promising to cast their own votes for everything on the merits. In 2008, there were 483 valid nominating ballots. In 2015, when SP/RP dominated, there were 2,122. It should be readily apparent that anything they can do, we can do bigger, better, and longer. Yes, the other side can bring more in the future. So can we. If they want a showdown, we’ll be there.
  2. Contra John’s belief, I’m not crazy, he is completely wrong, and there IS a bloc operating in secret. Several blocs, as a matter of fact, and a fair number of people have known about them for a long time.

You might be surprised how long small block voting has been going
on in Hugo nominations. In fact, I was having a conversation with a
former Hugo administrator about it last night. The thing is, it’s usually only in a category or two, and usually
either not enough to add a single nominated work, or just enough to add a
single nominated work.

– Deidre Saoirse Moen, April 5, 2015

I do not believe that there was ever a deliberate conspiracy to fill all
the slots in every category with a dedicated “slate” of works. There
clearly have been campaigns to get individual works on the ballot, some of them going beyond the technically legal.
– Kevin Standlee, April 2, 2015

Here is one apparent example. Consider the following vote totals in Best Editor from 2007 to 2013:

88 David G. Hartwell (Tor)
80 Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor)

The next three nominees received between 43 and 28 votes.

70 Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor)
67 David G. Hartwell (Tor)

The next three nominees received between 18 to 51 votes.

87 David G. Hartwell (Tor)
76 Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor)

The other three nominees received 92, 34, and 34 votes.

54 Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor)
47 David G. Hartwell (Tor)

The other three nominees received 99, 61, and 42 votes. Strikethrough indicates that the nomination was declined. As you can see, not everyone gets the message right away.

44  David G. Hartwell (Tor)
31 Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor)

The other three nominees received 96, 54, and 23 votes 

Either PNH or Hartwell won the Best Editor Long award every year from 2007 through 2010, with two apiece. Lou Anders of Pyr finished second on the shortlist every year from 2007 through 2013, except for the year he won, in 2011. Now, what is interesting to observe is that in 2007-2008, Anders only had 43 and 51 votes. Anders responded with an effective nomination campaign and came back the next three years with a bloc vote ranging from 92 to 96 votes, finally culminating in a shortlist win in 2011, the year that PNH followed Hartwell’s lead in declining the nomination.

PNH was back in the game the next year, although it looks like he threw his support to Betsy Wolheim of DAW who received 67 nominating votes and won the Best Editor Long award despite never receiving a single nominating vote in 30 previous years and promptly falling off the shortlist the following year, when PNH won again. Two years after winning, Wolheim was back to receiving no nominating votes at all. Sheer coincidence, no doubt. Note that Wolheim is Patrick Rothfuss’s editor, and Rothfuss is an ally of the Scalzi/Stross bloc vote.

And what ho? That year that Wolheim inexplicably received Tor-level nominating votes and won, what do we see in Best Novel, but:

49 The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
48 Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

Pure coincidence and fanly enthusiasm again, right? Unless you have a two-digit IQ, what you can see here is not only bloc votes of the sort that Standlee and Moen are describing, but competing bloc votes. Anders was able to build a bigger supporting bloc vote at the nominating stage, but he was always beaten out by Tor’s larger non-bloc shortlist voters until the Tor crew eased up and let him win one by stepping aside. Then they threw a bone to Wolheim before resuming business as usual.

And then Sad Puppies entered the picture….

Anyhow, as I told everyone at Black Gate, there is one, and only one, reason that I recommended their nomination. I recommended a Hugo nomination for Black Gate and for Matthew David
Surridge for one very simple reason; they are both among the best in
their categories in the SF/F field. No more, no less. And both deserved Hugos
years ago.

“The key to strategy… is not to choose a path to victory, but to choose so that all paths lead to a victory.”
    —The Vor Game


In my post at Black Gate in support of Amazon’s decision to forbid authors to review works in their genres, I erroneously stated that Catherine Asaro was the SFWA president at the time she was awarded the 2002 Nebula for Best Novel.  Michael Capobianco, another past SFWA president, corrected me thusly:

“The Quantum Rose won the Nebula Award for best novel on April
27, 2002. Catherine Asaro was not an officer of SFWA at the time.
She was VP of SFWA from July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2003 and
President of SFWA from July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2005.”

However, a little research showed Capobianco’s correction to be a little on the disingenuous side, which I suspected given his misleading answer concerning the justification for changes to the Nebula award process.  The SF Site reported in 2002:

SFWA Elections 

The results of the SFWA officer elections were announced
on April 27 at the SFWA Business Meeting in Kansas City,
MO. Sharon Lee defeated incumbent Norman Spinrad for
the Presidency. Two other authors received write-in
votes. Catherine Asaro defeated Lee Martindale for the
Vice-Presidency, again with two other (different)
authors receiving write-in votes. Chuck Rothman
(treasurer) and ElizaBeth Gilligan (Secretary) both ran
unopposed. Because of the closeness of the race for
Eastern Regional Director, the election committee has
decided re-balloting will take place in that race.

 Nebula Awards

Only hours after being named Vice President of SFWA,
Catherine Asaro was honored with a Nebula for her novel
The Quantum Rose (Tor).

In other words, Asaro wasn’t the President, she was the Vice President-elect.  Which underlines the point that I was making, which was never that Asaro had somehow abused her position as President, or, as more accurately, Vice President-elect, (I don’t even know how it would have been possible in either case), but  rather that the award that year was a simple popularity contest which led to a mediocre novel being unjustly awarded the Best Novel award.

NebulaGate: the 2012 winner responds

Jo Walton, winner of the 2012 Best Novel Award for Among Others, writes at Black Gate: “I am not a member of SFWA and never have been.  I think that disposes of your accusations of my logrolling for a Nebula.”

I responded thusly: “I never made any such accusation. Furthermore, your non-membership in SFWA says absolutely nothing about the possibility of others logrolling on your behalf, especially given that the nomination process was a closed one. The fact that your book was published by Tor Books is enough to make
its Nebula Award suspicious on its face, given that the SFWA President
and Vice-President are both closely associated with Tor.

Dating back to its first Nebula nomination in 1986, Tor Books has
accounted for 24.4% of all Nebula Best Novel nominations. No other
publisher has even half that many.

Now, it is certainly possible that Tor is simply an excellent
publisher. However, given the unusually heavy involvement of its
authors in the awards process, their representation in the
organization’s offices and the confirmed logrolling in the recent past,
logic suggests that Tor has been gaming the awards system for a
long time.  In 1990, for example, 5 of 6 Nebula-nominated novels were published
by Tor. Only 2 of 5 Hugo-nominated novels and 1 of 5 World Fantasy
Award-nominated novels were.”

I have not yet read Among Others, so I cannot say that its victory over China Mieville’s Embassytown was unjustified.  I will read it, review it, and opine on the matter in January.  I don’t have to read it to know that it merited beating out George Martin’s A Dance with Dragons, and is not Ms Walton’s fault that her affiliation with Tor Books renders her award suspicious in a way that it would not have been if it had been published by another, less-decorated publisher.  That being said, the reviews of her book indicate that readers who read the book after hearing of its award-winning status tended to find it to be less than expected, a pattern that has been observed with past Best Novel-winners whose awards are known to be questionable.

Amazon, the SFWA and authorial corruption

Amazon is entirely correct to limit author reviews on its site:

Scores of authors in Britain and across the Atlantic have recently reported
that their reviews have either mysteriously disappeared or were never
published. Amazon has now admitted that it has introduced a ban on authors leaving
reviews about other people’s books in the same genre because they may pose a
“conflict of interest” and cannot be impartial about their rivals.

This means that thriller writers are prevented from commenting on works by
other authors who write similar books. Critics suggest this system is flawed because many authors are impartial and
are experts on novels. 

Now, I can quite reasonably argue that I am one of the most impartial author-reviewers to have written a book review in the last 20 years.  My integrity as a reviewer is literally unquestioned; I was the only active game developer permitted to write computer game reviews in Computer Gaming World, and I was allowed to do so under two different editors because they knew I would never sacrifice my credibility as a reviewer for any reason.  Many readers know that I have quite favorably reviewed books by individuals whose politics I consider loathsome, whose opinions I consider idiotic, and whose characters I consider to be contemptible.  To my eyes, a book stands alone; its provenance is irrelevant.

Unlike the vast majority of book reviewers in the SF/F industry, I simply do not permit my subjective opinions to color my objective reviews.  It’s not that I don’t have any opinions, I simply refuse to take them into account when reviewing a book, a game, or a movie.

And yet, I not only don’t write reviews on Amazon, I fully support Amazon’s decision to bar authors from reviewing books and assigning them stars there.  Why?  Because for the last ten years, I have been privy to the corruption that is absolutely rife within the organization of the SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Organization, as well as to the ideological corruption of the SF/F industry on the part of the publishers, the reviewers, and even the bloggers.

Read the rest at The Black Gate.

UPDATE: An SFWA insider confirms my observations: “[Vox] is correct when it comes to the inbred logrolling. As SFWA Bulletin editor from 1999-2002 I can attest to this first hand. A small clique and their “in” friends control quite a bit of what goes on in SFWA (at least it did back then and I have no reason to doubt that things have changed).”

UPDATE 2: I would be remiss if I left off this reviewer’s hilarious description of the Nebula award-winning Quantum Rose: “Kamoj Quanta Argali is the 18 yr old governor of a planet of former
slaves. When a newcomer on the world Havyrl arrives to recover from an
ordeal which left him half mad, he spies Kamoj taking a bath in a river
and falls for her. Impulsively Havryl offers to marry her which causes
strife and conflict throughout the region, as Kamoj’s spurned fiancee
vows revenge.”

Ye cats!  The punchline?  That’s from a reader who actually thought the book was all right and gave it three stars!  It  also appears Asaro is from the Isaac Asimov school of nomenclature.

The Black Gate Christmas list

I first have to praise John for having the courage to announce a Christmas list rather than the increasingly common, and ludicrously insipid holiday list.  And then, I would be remiss if I did not point out his good taste in including works by Howard Andrew Jones and yours truly in his top 10:

  1. A Guile of Dragons, James Enge ($17.95)
  2. The Bones of the Old Ones, by Howard Andrew Jones ($25.99)
  3. American Science Fiction: 9 Classic Novels, edited by Gary K. Wolfe ($70)
  4. Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection ($149.98)
  5. Lords of Waterdeep, Wizards of the Coast ($49.99)
  6. The Weird, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer ($39.99)
  7. Epic: Legends of Fantasy, edited by John Joseph Adams ($17.95)
  8. A Throne of Bones, Vox Day ($4.99)
  9. Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone ($24.99)
  10. Books To Die For, edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke ($29.99)

I should note that if you’re looking for something you can wrap, A Throne of Bones is also available in hardcover from Marcher Lord Hinterlands for $34.99.  To see the rest of the list, which goes 50 items long, go to The Black Gate Christmas List.