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posted by LaminatorX on Monday April 13 2015, @11:30AM   Printer-friendly
from the Livejournal-still-works dept.

From the The Guardian.

Introducing the Sad Puppies...

"The shortlists for the long-running American genre awards, won in the past by names from Kurt Vonnegut to Ursula K Le Guin and voted for by fans, were announced this weekend to uproar in the science fiction community, after it emerged that the line-up corresponded closely with the slates of titles backed by certain conservative writers. The self-styled "Sad Puppies" campaigners had set out to combat what orchestrator and writer Brad Torgersen had criticised as the Hugos' tendency to reward "literary" and "ideological" works.

Today's Hugos, Torgersen has blogged, "have lost cachet, because at the same time SF/F has exploded popularly – with larger-than-life, exciting, entertaining franchises and products – the voting body of 'fandom' have tended to go in the opposite direction: niche, academic, overtly to the Left in ideology and flavor, and ultimately lacking what might best be called visceral, gut-level, swashbuckling fun".

Twenty years ago, he writes, "if you saw a lovely spaceship on a book cover, with a gorgeous planet in the background, you could be pretty sure you were going to get a rousing space adventure featuring starships and distant, amazing worlds". Nowadays, he claims, the same jacket is likely to be a story "merely about racial prejudice and exploitation, with interplanetary or interstellar trappings".

And here we have the Rabid Puppies definitely not mentioning GamerGate:

Another group of allied rightwing campaigners, dubbing themselves the Rabid Puppies and led by Vox Day, real name Theodore Beale, have also added their voices to the block-voting campaign against what Day called "the left-wing control freaks who have subjected science fiction to ideological control for two decades and are now attempting to do the same thing in the game industry".

And finally a bit of Martin:

"Call it block voting. Call it ballot stuffing. Call it gaming the system. There's truth to all of those characterisations. You can't call it cheating, though. It was all within the rules. But many things can be legal, and still bad ... and this is one of those, from where I sit. I think the Sad Puppies have broken the Hugo awards, and I am not sure they can ever be repaired," he wrote.

"If the Sad Puppies wanted to start their own award ... for Best Conservative SF, or Best Space Opera, or Best Military SF, or Best Old-Fashioned SF the Way It Used to Be ... whatever it is they are actually looking for ... hey, I don't think anyone would have any objections to that. I certainly wouldn't. More power to them," he added. "But that's not what they are doing here, it seems to me. Instead they seem to want to take the Hugos and turn them into their own awards."

 
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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by TheRaven on Monday April 13 2015, @12:28PM

    by TheRaven (270) on Monday April 13 2015, @12:28PM (#169657) Journal

    Go read "Starship Trooper" again

    Why? It was dire, though not as bad as The Cat Who Walks Through Walls or either of the two books that Heinlein wrote where the main character achieved his boyhood dream of building a time machine so that he could go back in time and fuck his mother[1]. If you want portrayal of Libertarian societies from someone who can actually write, Neal Asher does a fairly good job in a few of his books (though manages to write negatively about pretty much every political ideology, so it's quite entertaining reading the Amazon comments from people who got to the Owner trilogy and found their beliefs being attacked for a change).

    No, no, no - don't watch the MOVIE again. READ THE GOD DAMNED BOOK!!

    The movie was entertaining, though not particularly engaging, satire. The book was just bad. If you have to pick one, watch the movie - at least it's amusing.

    Yeah, I realize, you common core fanatics are probably not literate enough to read an entire printed book, but try anyway.

    The best thing about Starship Troopers was that it was short, which makes your claims that reading the entire thing require some unusual level of literacy quite entertaining.

    [1] Number of the Beast and Time Enough for Love (where 'Love' seems to be a synonym for 'Eugenics'), if you don't believe me.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by microtodd on Monday April 13 2015, @12:42PM

    by microtodd (1866) on Monday April 13 2015, @12:42PM (#169666) Homepage Journal

    I'm curious why you think Starship Troopers was bad. You don't really say. I personally enjoyed it. It was basically world-building with a specific political ideology in mind. So it was a look at a possible future (speculative fiction) if certain governmental and societal components occurred.

    Was it realistic? I don't know. The psychological theories presented were interesting. To me, the two most interesting ones were a) corporal/physical punishment, often extreme, affects behavior in positive ways. The girl in Rico's H&MP class said she never got in trouble because she didn't want to get lashes. (would that happen in real life? history seems to say no...severe corporal punishment occurs in certain parts of the world and yet there are still "bad guys"). and b), that war is a form of controlled violence, of using force to achieve political objectives, up to that point *and no more*! So basically the opposite of total war.

    It seems like history has said these ideas are wrong, but they were interesting to read about.

    One part that was accurate, I think, was the training and military structure. "Train as you fight" is a real US Army motto, and there's the idea that if the training is really frickin' hard then the real thing will be easy. And the idea that a small, highly trained, well-equipped team is better than a large army of cannon fodder? Yeah, recent conflicts have shown that's true.

    So no, I didn't think it was a bad book. Why did you? I'm honestly curious,

    • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Monday April 13 2015, @01:02PM

      by TheRaven (270) on Monday April 13 2015, @01:02PM (#169675) Journal
      It's been over a decade since I read it, and I have no great desire to remember it (I mostly recall thinking 'well, that was a waste of a couple of hours of my life'). From what I recall, the story was bland, the characters were absurd stereotypes, and most of the psychology was debunked long before the book was published.
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    • (Score: 2) by fadrian on Monday April 13 2015, @01:22PM

      by fadrian (3194) on Monday April 13 2015, @01:22PM (#169690) Homepage

      Sorry son, but midlife Heinlein doesn't hold up that well. The characters are cutout and, although the story is well-paced, the plot has several holes, the dialog is constrained by the subject matter and has little place to shine. They exposition itself is fairly mid-20 cen pulp language - stereotyped scenes in generic places. Just not enough life in the story to keep me engaged as a story.

      Sure the political ideas might be great (to some - not so much to me), but you need a story to keep the reader engaged while the exposition goes along. Bradbury could write; Asimov could write; Ellison didn't write - he fucked life into the dead corpse of his stories by dint of pure imagination; Heinlein? He was able to make a living writing, so I guess that's something. But I'd rather read his past history stories from earlier days of pulp when expectations were lower or his later work like Job or Friday, when he finally got a bit of a handle on writing dialog, even if he was trying to fuck his own mom all the time. The years when STroop came out was a wasteland for him, as far as I'm concerned.

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      That is all.
      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Monday April 13 2015, @04:27PM

        by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Monday April 13 2015, @04:27PM (#169805) Journal

        Ellison didn't write - he fucked life into the dead corpse of his stories by dint of pure imagination.

        Great take! And delivered with perfect Ellison tone of profane aggression, mixing contempt and admiration.
        And? He's not dead.

        REPENT!

        --
        You're betting on the pantomime horse...
    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday April 13 2015, @03:06PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 13 2015, @03:06PM (#169741) Homepage Journal

      Have you read Tom Kratman? His books are available on Amazon Kindle - I don't have a Kindle, so I have them delivered to Amazon Cloud, and read them with a browser. I've liked all of his books so far, and he uses that philosophy extensively in his writings. He has done a separate little essay on that subject, and I believe it is free. Let me find the link . . .

      http://www.amazon.com/Training-War-Essay-Tom-Kratman-ebook/dp/B00JQI9TH2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1428937515&sr=1-1&keywords=training+for+war+tom+kratman [amazon.com]

      --
      Our first six presidents were educated men. Then, along came a Democrat.
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by tadas on Monday April 13 2015, @05:23PM

        by tadas (3635) on Monday April 13 2015, @05:23PM (#169843)

        I'm a person on the Left of the political spectrum - literally a card-carrying member of the ACLU and NAACP (I had to ask to get a physical card). I disagree with must of Kratman's political philosophy -- and I'll automatically buy any of his novels because he's a great storyteller (I accept the politics in the story in the same way I accept the "science" - for the duration). Same goes for a lot of David Drake (don't like his Belisarius books for some reason). Same for even a flaming Libertarian like L Neil Smith.

        Same goes for Heinlein - but only the "juvies" - Citizen of the Galaxy, Tunnel in the Sky and Starman Jones to name a few. TheRaven's summary of the midlife Heinlein "adult" books is pretty much right on. I think the universe gave him a giant karma payback when the hippies picked up on "grok" and Stranger in a Strange Land and spent the decade of the 60's annoying him mightily....

  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday April 13 2015, @01:14PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 13 2015, @01:14PM (#169682) Journal

    The best thing about Starship Troopers was that it was short, which makes your claims that reading the entire thing require some unusual level of literacy quite entertaining.

    Insults are like that.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Monday April 13 2015, @04:35PM

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Monday April 13 2015, @04:35PM (#169811) Journal

      Starship Troopers? Crypto-Fascist love poem to the sacred homoerotic sublimation of military boot camp.

      But Heinlein was a decent human being - a man who changed many of his assumptions and judgements over the course of his life. He was as many worlds apart from Philip K Dick as a man could be, but was helpful when most needed, without being asked or expected.

      "Several years ago, when I was ill, Heinlein offered his help, anything he could do, and we had never met; he would phone me to cheer me up and see how I was doing. He wanted to buy me an electric typewriter, God bless him — one of the few true gentlemen in this world. I don't agree with any ideas he puts forth in his writing, but that is neither here nor there. One time when I owed the IRS a lot of money and couldn't raise it, Heinlein loaned the money to me. I think a great deal of him and his wife; I dedicated a book to them in appreciation. Robert Heinlein is a fine-looking man, very impressive and very military in stance; you can tell he has a military background, even to the haircut. He knows I'm a flipped-out freak and still he helped me and my wife when we were in trouble. That is the best in humanity, there; that is who and what I love."

      https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Philip_K._Dick [wikiquote.org]

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      You're betting on the pantomime horse...
      • (Score: 2) by tadas on Monday April 13 2015, @07:10PM

        by tadas (3635) on Monday April 13 2015, @07:10PM (#169921)

        Starship Troopers? Crypto-Fascist love poem to the sacred homoerotic sublimation of military boot camp.

        I'm surprised that nobody has yet mentioned one of Science Fiction's great touchés - Joe Haldeman's The Forever War. In it, the troopers' sacrifices turn out to be the result of a great misunderstanding. A great "answer record".

        • (Score: 2) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Monday April 13 2015, @09:19PM

          by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Monday April 13 2015, @09:19PM (#169998) Journal

          Yes! Haldeman and Harrison. Worth a mountain of Spinrad and Ellison.

          --
          You're betting on the pantomime horse...
        • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Monday April 13 2015, @09:40PM

          by aristarchus (2645) on Monday April 13 2015, @09:40PM (#170016) Journal

          Starship Troopers? Crypto-Fascist love poem to the sacred homoerotic sublimation of military boot camp.

          So, It's just like 300, but without Gerard Butler or all the Greek nonsense?

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          #Freearistarchus, again!!!!!1!!
          • (Score: 2) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Tuesday April 14 2015, @12:10AM

            by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Tuesday April 14 2015, @12:10AM (#170095) Journal

            The racism is directed at ACTUAL inhumans - not anti-historical, dehumanized stand ins for racist "clash of civilizations", like 300. ;-)

            --
            You're betting on the pantomime horse...
        • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Tuesday April 14 2015, @09:31AM

          by TheRaven (270) on Tuesday April 14 2015, @09:31AM (#170297) Journal
          I'd forgotten about Forever War, but I'd definitely rank it a lot higher than Starship Troopers, though there was a short story written in the same universe (whose name, sadly, I've completely forgotten) that I found even better.
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  • (Score: 2) by naubol on Tuesday April 14 2015, @04:21PM

    by naubol (1918) on Tuesday April 14 2015, @04:21PM (#170439)

    I read "Starship Troopers" as though it were satire, and that made it quite interesting. Or, maybe it was Heinlein being Heinlein, screwing around with big ideas to see how they tasted. I quite like that.

    Personally, I feel that the idea of "tasting" big ideas is so anti-conservative as to be the polar opposite of what they intend, which is why it is so strange that Heinlein ever gets brought up as a conservative author, to me.

    So much else of what he wrote would make them gag. Telescopic view of the world, I suppose...