What do the Moribund Mammals actually want? It’s not what you think

I imagine it is a buzz being Brad Torgersen at the moment. In a short space of time he has gone from being one among thousands of vaguely successful sci-fi writers – some stories in a few magazines, an award nomination for something or other – to the notorious leader of Sad Puppies 3 : Bigots Destroy Sci-Fi. Now when Brad hits publish on a blog post, hundreds of people comment. He’s a star! But a star without a base soon falls to Earth.

Brad’s new notoriety is on loan from Messrs Correia and Beale. I have no doubt that Brad genuinely cares about sci-fi, for all of the reasons he has stated. It’s not uncommon to see writers do stupid things they will later regret as they get their first taste of public attention. Brad is a spectacular example, and like most others, will soon be forgotten as both sci-fi fandom and the SP mob move on to the next drama.

Correia and Beale, in contrast, do not care about sci-fi. They might give it a second thought, between bouts of stroking their huge ambitions, but it’s in no way their priority. Neither do they care about the Hugo awards, towards which they direct so much hate. Most importantly, Correia and Beale do not care about the faux battle between Conservatives & Liberals about which they scream so loudly, or more accurately they care only as far as it serves their goals.

Both Correia and Beale are focused on goals that lie far beyond sci-fi fandom. Both appeal, and have significant platforms, among reactionary right wing conservatives, a massive “community” that vastly eclipses the niche fandom for sci-fi books. To Correia and to Beale their battle with sci-fi is merely the latest in a long line of faux, one sided conflicts they have engineered in order to build their following in the wider world. Neither man cares at all about the outcome of this conflict, because every outcome has the same payoff, a much inflated reputation for beating up Libruls amongst an audience who enjoy that sport.

It’s because the science fiction community largely misunderstand the true motives behind the Sad Puppy campaign that it’s having such a hard time responding to it. It doesn’t matter how long and how hard you shout “BIGOT” at them, it will only ever make Correia and Beale more popular among their base. If you block their wins with No Award at the Hugos, they simply point out to their base how badly the reactionary right wingers are being discriminated against. Change the rules of the Hugos even a jot and you get the same result with knobs on “HUGOS GERRYMANDERED AGAINST CONSERVATIVE WRITERS”. Let them win and you have, of course, let them win. Establish an opposing slate and, hurrah, you have now engineered an endless battlefield that Correia and Beale can continue to loot for years to come.

But if you think clearly about Correia and Beale’s actual motivations – to gain attention and status from their right wing reactionary base – you can begin to see some effective solutions to the current problems. What those solutions are I will write about tomorrow.

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2 thoughts on “What do the Moribund Mammals actually want? It’s not what you think”

  1. Throwing around the word “Bigot” all the time just makes people sound like Sepp Blatter when he responded to allegations in the British press that the World Cup bidding process might not have been quite as squeaky clean as it should have been.

    There are plenty of reasons to criticise the Sad Puppies actions, it would be better if the media didn’t make reasons up, as The Telegraph and Entertainment Weekly did.

    Then there’s the oddity of the ethics mob engaging in behaviour which helps a publisher move his publishing house forward in an awards process, you know, the sort of thing they are apparently really standing against in other areas as it’s considered unethical.

    Then there’s the oddity of The Torygraph article full stop. At this stage I am starting to wonder if I’ve stepped into an alternate universe.

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  2. Ciaran, for the record, Vox Day called a woman of African descent a “savage,” has argued that a woman who is raped by her husband wasn’t actually raped, that women are turned on by getting murdered, and that women should not have the right to vote. He’s also said some godawful stuff about African-Americans. This is all easily findable, on his blog. None of these are exaggerations. He is indeed a true-blue, bona-fide bigot.

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