So the Sad Puppies have released another list this year, late in the nomination season but by no means too late.

(For the record, Bone Walker is not in their list, so should you feel so moved, you can nominate it in Best Related Work without conflict.)

You’ll note I’m calling it a “list,” and not a “slate.” That’s because you can’t vote the whole thing. There are too many entries on it. That’s a good thing.

And part of the point, of course. They got stung last year by the Here Just Copy This approach, it didn’t work anyway, and everything exploded. They’re capable of learning.

But also, I’m honestly just not real offended by this approach. I wish the list had been even bigger. Even at its current size, it’s less nepotistic – and better – than last year, and that seems to be a common opinion. If it had been released earlier – long enough earlier that people could actually read a good chunk of the works – I’d… really, I’d be completely fine with it. As it is, there’s a whiff of “eh, pick some shit from this, doesn’t matter what” to it, but that could be hangover from last year. And otherwise – eh, I’m okay.

We still need E Pluribus Hugo, mind you. An exploit successfully demonstrated will be used again, and this exploit remains unpatched. I’ve been what someone in computer security might call part of the problem, and were I the Puppies – particularly the rabid puppies – I’d make a point of behaving better this year, of acting just like this, to get people to think ‘eh, crisis over, we’re good’ – exactly so I could go back to doing the same jackassery as before, with the patch clock reset.

I don’t know, perhaps that’s just my years of experience in dealing with these sorts of movements talking. Oh wait, that’s totally relevant, isn’t it? Yes! Yes, it is. So we still need E Pluribus Hugo. Just in case.

But… I’ve never objected to suggestions, or even lists thereof. I’m a member of the Hugo Recommend community on Livejournal, which is still reasonably active. I just recommended “All This and Gargantua-2” (January 2015, Venture Brothers) on that board for dramatic presentation, short form, not because I have any connection to it personally, but because it was freaking awesome. I like sincere suggestions.

What I object to is their conspiracy-theory paranoia, their Not Real Fan bullshittery, their political propaganda, their insistence that people voting for things other than their list has nothing to do with actual enjoyment or quality but a cartoonish parody of a political standard they made up, and – most of all – their ballot-stuffing last year. But I do not object to them making recommendations lists.

Hell, like I said, I hope they make it bigger next year.

So if you’re looking for a response from me – right now, this year, this isn’t looking like a slate. It’s borderline (should’ve been out earlier, I’d like it better if it was longer in more categories), but it’s not the sort of thing that demands a specific response. I will not be leaving The Martian off my long-form nomination list just because they have it in their too-long-for-a-slate recommendations, and I do not suggest people withdraw on that basis, either.

In short, I’m not going to nominate anything because they listed it, but I’m not going to leave things off for that cause either. Not this year, at least. I’m going to nominate things I liked and thought were worth a Hugo nod. Just like I used to do before last year.

And if E Pluribus Hugo passes the second vote at MidAmericonII, I can feel confident carrying on in future, as well. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for that, shall we?

eta: File 770 has a compilation of other reaction posts here. Severely mixed feelings, to put it mildly. Like Catherynne Valente, I’d rather hope this isn’t a trojan horse, and I reserve to change my mind about all of what I’ve said above. But right now, this is how I’m rolling, and I’m hoping I don’t end up regretting it.


This is part of a series of posts on the Sad/Rabid Puppy candidate slate-based capture of the Hugo Awards, and resulting fallout.