Archive for January, 2016

Review of “Sense & Goodness Without God”

January 29, 2016

So, I finished reading “Sense & Goodness Without God” by Richard Carrier, and it’s the worst atheist/New Atheist book I’ve ever read … and I’ve read “The Atheist’s Guide to Reality”. Carrier manages to be even more arrogant than Rosenburg, but doesn’t make up for it by having better arguments. In fact, often he doesn’t really have arguments at all, but instead has small sections where he arrogantly tells us just how right he is, while leaving a long, italicized section at the end to tell us all of the things we ought to read to know how right he is, which is often longer than what he actually says in the section. This doesn’t work for either a popular work or for a detailed philosophical work. For the former, as most people won’t, in fact, read those works either he must be appealing to authority — look at all the people who agree with me, I must be right! — or ask them to take it on faith that the arguments are really there and are really devastating if we read them ourselves. For the latter, philosophers might well be willing to or have already read the works, but then what you’re supposed to do is summarize the important points and show how they directly reinforce your point, and then simply cite the works later. Carrier doesn’t do that, and so his actual words aren’t convincing and few will be willing to dive into the massive additional reading that he recommends. It very much seems like Carrier wants us to do his work for him.

If we could consider Carrier a fair commentator on the work of others, this wouldn’t matter quite so much, but Carrier spends a lot of time refuting points that he never really summarizes, and barely quotes. Despite Carrier often railing against quote-mining, all of his attempts to address others are nothing more than his pulling in short quotes out of context and then trying to refute that as if that was entirely the point. If that was entirely the point, then Carrier’s counter-arguments might work, but we ought to be suspicious that that really is the entire point … and, again, Carrier really gives up no reason to do the extra work to think that he’s right. In general, we’d be far better served by reading someone else than by doing the massive amount of work required to get Carrier’s points.

Many of Carrier’s points proving naturalism/materialism seem to boil down to wordy claims of “If I can find a way that it could be natural, then we ought to consider it such”, which has been said better elsewhere and with more credible natural solutions. Some of his arguments are interesting, but not enough to convince me that his view is worth considering to the level that his arrogant prose suggests we should. Also, the book needs updating, because he is very much convinced of things then that he seems to be not convinced of now, such as how he relies on his love for his now ex-wife to say that he knows what love is and entails, which doesn’t seem to be how he sees it now. Sure, the personal life of the author isn’t relevant to an argument unless he uses his personal beliefs as proof of how he just knows something was true that he doesn’t think is true now. Which carries over into his view of science, as he seems to try to claim that we know that science is reliable because it gets things wrong but corrects for it, which might establish that science overall is reliable, but not in the way he wants so that we should prefer any scientific answer because, it seems, science will eventually get it right, and this might just be the right answer. Yeah, if I find a scientific answer sufficiently counter-intuitive and science cannot answer for why my intuitions are wrong, saying “Well, it might be wrong, but it’ll get it right eventually!” is not going to help.

This is book crying out for fisking, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get around to it. Suffice it to say that there are better books out there to try to argue for materialism, and that even the prose of this book is annoying and hard to get through. It’s a slog to read and you probably aren’t going to learn anything that you couldn’t find out from far more entertaining works. I cannot recommend this work to anyone, even the people it is aimed at.

Thoughts on “Dallas” at the half-way point …

January 27, 2016

So, I’ve been watching “Dallas”, and at this point — remember, this is being written a bit ahead of when it gets posted — I’m just starting season 8, so a bit over half-way through. I actually am quite enjoying it. At the start of a season, things may move a bit slowly, but the machinations and plots are still interesting, and it does work like soap operas in that it builds at the end of the season so that you really want to see what’s going to happen next, leading up to the season-ending cliff-hanger. As a soap-opera, it’s also the case that I can watch it while doing other things, or even while I’m winding down before sleeping, because if I fall asleep or don’t pay attention to something the show will, in fact, let me know what I missed at some point if it’s at all important. That being said, there does seem to be some foreshadowing and plot threads dropped that can be picked up again (or not) later, which is a sign of good soap-opera plotting; a lot of the later plot threads don’t really come out of nowhere, but out of things that could be utterly unimportant if they don’t fit, but can be critical hints if they do.

Anyway, some other thoughts on the series:

1) When I recalled this series, I remember being mostly sympathetic to Pam, and she is seen as one of the “better” characters in the show. Watching it this time, however, I’m utterly unsympathetic to her … although she’s getting a little better in late season 7 and season 8. The reason is that she’s turned into a “I’m always right” character, which is what I hate about Leanne on Coronation Street: Pam can do things that be considered right and also get upset about other people who do similar things (but not as bad) and also be considered right. It actually ends up worse for Pam because one of her big foils is Bobby, who is probably the most genuinely good character on the entire show. From the start, Pam had to insist on having her own job, even when the demands of that job meant that she and Bobby didn’t get to spend time together. And Bobby was just so completely reasonable about that, reasonably upset and maybe commenting on her not really needing a job, but being understanding the in first place. Then he had to put up with her not wanting a child, then heading for a nervous breakdown without one, leading him to desperate measures — and an accident — to get one to make her happy. Then Jock dies and put J.R. and Bobby into competition for Ewing Oil, which means that it takes up more of Bobby’s time. And then she’s upset with Bobby for spending that much time there, and also notes that he’s changed to become more like J.R. when, really, he hasn’t (and, in fact, one of the reasons he bowed out of running Ewing Oil the first time was that he understood that it required him to do things that he didn’t want to do). Bobby’s biggest sin is putting the screws to the Cartel in that they either have to pump oil or buy him out, which offends them — and Pam — greatly … except that all of them would have done the same things if not worse to him for far less motivation. Bobby points out at one point that while Pam thinks he’s changing, he’s always been this competitive and ambitious, and it’s true. Even when he bowed out of Ewing Oil at the start of the series, he immediately went into development, and worked to win. Despite his changes, he’s still genuinely good most of the time, as his deal with the Canadians revealed (that’s why they wanted to work with him, and he treated them fairly when he went in with them). So Pam’s objections are far too strong there.

It gets worse when they separate. Pam almost immediately ends up with Mark Grayson, and even while they are supposed to be trying to save the marriage is going places and “dating” someone who is obviously and openly trying to break up the marriage so that he can have her, while Bobby is remaining focused on rebuilding the marriage. That doesn’t make us want to be on Pam’s side. But when Pam is in Paris and her and Mark are supposedly about to sleep together, Pam gets a phone call from Afton saying that Bobby and Katherine, Pam’s sister, might be up to something, so she storms home and angrily confronts both of them for doing … at worst, what she was doing with Mark. And there was nothing going on, not even to the extent of her and Mark, which she never really apologizes for, and when Bobby confronts her about Mark, she doesn’t seem to realize that he ought to be feeling what she was feeling, but instead expresses it as if this is such a hard thing for her to have to deal with, as opposed to him. While, sure, it’d be hard for her to decide between them she shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place. The show should be showing her as being not really pure and Bobby as being hard put upon, but it seems to frame it as the other way around, which makes me dislike Pam.

She gets a bit better when she decides to marry Mark because he doesn’t have long to live, but for the most part she’s irrational and self-absorbed, and yet we’re supposed to think that she’s a great and good character. The fact that she most commonly plays against Bobby who is not that irrational and self-absorbed only makes it worse.

2) At this point, there really is nothing for Lucy to do in the show. When the show was focused on Pam, their relationship and how it evolved over time would be interesting, but when J.R. got more focus, there was little for her to do. She wasn’t in any way smart or powerful enough to be any threat to J.R., and knew nothing about and had no interest in Ewing Oil, and the focus had to switch to that because that was just so important to J.R.. Even when she was managing her father’s voting rights in the company, all she ever did was vote against J.R., which, honestly, is what her father would do anyway. Even the plot where she was raped and then had to learn to allow someone else to be romantic with her would have been done better with Pam or Donna, where how that impacted their husbands could have been explored. There’s really nothing for her to do in the show anymore.

3) Katherine Wentworth’s actress can’t really handle the role she was in, or she’s gotten bad direction. She’s supposed to be manipulative, but how she presents her plans makes you really think that she is up to something, because a lot of the time what she says seems artificial. You have to wonder what she’s up to because she doesn’t seem genuine in her words, unlike how Larry Hagman plays J.R.. I also don’t think that the obsession she ends up with for Bobby is all that believable; he’s certainly a good catch, but that she’d fall that strongly in love with him that quickly, and think that she can win him over? It comes up too quickly, mostly I think because she’s a minor character early in the show and the obsession is already full-blown when she returns. I think the actress is attractive and that the character has potential, but as J.R. said she really is just not as smart as him … or any of the great manipulators on the show, which would include Sue Ellen and probably Pam.

4) Afton Cooper started out as a very manipulative person, but by this point is another one of the genuinely good people in the show, which is a nice progression. It also ends up hurting our view of Cliff, because he really does treat her badly most of the time. I ended up really disliking him — which makes me want J.R. to crush him — and wanted to see her find someone better than him, not being able to understand what she saw in him at that point. What’s good about this is that the show can be seen, instead of as a big clash between J.R. and Cliff, as a clash between J.R. and Bobby, which is a much more interesting relationship to explore, especially considering that they both do seem to actually love each other when they aren’t fighting over something. Cliff, then, is the puppy yapping at J.R.’s heels … which doesn’t make me happy that at the end of season 7 he actually succeeds.

So far I’m enjoying the show, and I only have a few more months to get through all 14 seasons.

Final Thoughts: Conception II

January 25, 2016

I finished Conception II, and it was the most disappointing ending I could possibly imagine. I had maxed out the affection with all of the companions, and had spent most of my time focusing on Miss Cloe, because she was my favourite out of all of them (I also liked Fuuko and Narika, but the only character I really disliked was Serina, but that archetype seems to be quite popular in Japanese RPGs/Interactive Novels). I went through all of the stage interactions with them, repeatedly, and expected at some point by the end of the game I’d have to choose which one to settle on. And, much to my surprise, the game proceeded on and I ended up with the “no one likes you” ending, where you tag along with Clotz and Luce on their “date”. What, wait happened?

Well, it turns out that in order to actually get to choose who to go to the final festival with, you have to do the Classmating to advance their personal stories. While playing, I was wondering why those stories seemed to have stalled, but thought it might just be that they were pretty much at the end and so there wasn’t anything new. So why wasn’t I Classmating? Well, it uses bond points, and I had all the Star Children I wanted, the level of the city was reasonable, and I was using bond points to Mechunite to help me clear the dungeons so that I didn’t have to grind so much. This meant that I was grinding the individual story scenes — seeing the same ones over and over and over again — to build up bond points anyway; the last thing I wanted was to spend them on something that I didn’t need to do.

And so, because of that, I didn’t get the ending I wanted. In all fairness, I think this was something that I had known about when I was playing it the first time, and it was only the long lay off that made me forget this, and so end up with the ending I didn’t want. It was still disappointing, though.

However, this, to me, highlights the major and serious flaw in Conception II: its grinding. How did I get into this mess? I was trying to avoid grinding levels in dungeons, and so a) wanted to stick with the Star Children I had and b) wanted to use the Mechunite to allow me to survive encounters that I wouldn’t survive in a simple straight fight, including the boss fights. In order to do that, I had to consume bond points, but grinding bond points was easier for me than grinding dungeons, especially since I was always cash-strapped. But Classmating would have used those points and required me to grind that more, and the grinding of that simply wasn’t fun. Since I didn’t need the Star Children, it would have been grinding for no real reason, and so boring. Ultimately, then, too much of the game is spent trying to reduce how much you grind, or grinding, which is not fun.

Which is a shame, because the characters are interesting, and their stories and reactions are worth exploring. Compared to Akiba’s Trip, the character stories and personalities are deeper and more interesting, and the plot is more involved and entertaining. Conception II should just be a better game than Akiba’s Trip, but I don’t like it as much, because the grinding is just too much for me. Which is a shame.

Ultimately, my conclusion is if they can tighten up the main story and remove a lot of the grinding, then they’d have a worthy competitor to the Personas. They can even keep the lighter tone and the more goofy interactions, as long as they stop breaking the mood by starting a very, very serious scene and then trashing that with an utterly ridiculous statement. The game is juvenile, but if they weave that better through the game it could be very entertaining. But with the grinding as it is, the game is okay, but not really worth playing over and over again.

I don’t know if I’ll ever play out the remaining stories. On a restart and load you can start late in the game, so that you don’t have too much left to do, and so hopefully be able to experience each story with a minimum of grinding … but the final battles weren’t fun for me, and the grinding you have to do is also not fun, so I think I’ll pass. Ultimately, Conception II is a bunch of decent ideas killed by gameplay that’s far too grindy to be truly entertaining.

Today in Sports …

January 24, 2016

So, today, right about now, for me, there is:

1) The Scotties playdowns for Ontario, with Rachel Homan taking on Jenn Hanna for a spot in the Scott Tournament of Hearts, which is at this moment tied at 3, with Hanna having taken 3 in the second and Homan having taken 1 in the first and 2 in the third, so a close, tight match.

2) The Peyton Manning – Tom Brady showdown in the NFL playoffs. I’m not a big NFL fan, but I love a good story and this, well, is a really good one.

And I don’t have picture-in-picture, as it turns out, so I have a choice to make. I’ll remember this when there’s absolutely nothing on some Saturday/Sunday afternoon …

EDIT: I kinda flipped between the two — I tried to catch the third and skip stones of the curling — but Jenn Hanna upset Rachel Homan … although Homan mostly did that to herself, missing shots that she normally makes easily. Now I can watch the rest of the football.

That Dragon, Cancer … and Issues With Reviews

January 22, 2016

So, I still do peruse the Feminist Frequency site, and recently came across this review of “That Dragon, Cancer” by Carolyn Petit which manages to, I think, represent the precise type of review that I don’t find helpful, and advocates for the work in ways that I think many people are becoming upset with across the board, in video games, TV and movies, and science fiction/fantasy novels. So, first, let me invite you to go and read the review, in its entirety. Don’t worry, it’s not long. When you’re done, I’ll have two questions for you.

Done? Okay, now answer me this:

1) What is the actual gameplay of the game?

2) What does the gameplay of the game do to enhance the overall message that the game conveys?

If you can’t remember the answers to those questions, feel free to go back and read it again. I’ll wait.

Okay, now maybe I’m just missing something and maybe there are answers to those questions in the review, but as far as I can tell the reason that you can’t answer those questions upon reading the review is that those things are never talked about in the review. So, she’s reviewing a game, and yet doesn’t seem to mention anything about what the game is like, well, as a game. It’s all about the message. In fact, after reading it the first time I actually thought that this was some kind of web series or something, and not a game at all, and then looked back and found at least three places where she calls this a game. So, I guess this is a game. But from her review, I can’t even tell if it’s a game, and I certainly know nothing about it as a game. How in the world do you get a game review that doesn’t even mention the parts of it that would, in fact, make it a game?

Even worse, nothing that Petit mentions are things that wouldn’t work equally as well in a short animated film, film or novel … and, in fact, they might work better. For example, she praises it for this:

The game reveals how living with Joel’s cancer for years was simultaneously a source of tremendous difficulty and exhaustion and pain for the Greens, and how, when you live with something like that for so long, it becomes woven into your normal, everyday lives. We hear a voicemail from Amy as she’s on her way back from the hospital in which she tells Ryan to preheat the oven for the lasagna they’re making for dinner. Life doesn’t stop. You have to keep on living, doing all the things you’d normally do. But when your life is full of hospital visits and impossible conversations with doctors, you also learn to hate some of the “normal” little specific things that become part of the texture of your life. At one point, Ryan mentions how he has come to hate the way the vinyl of hospital chairs sticks to his skin. Precise details like this put you in the day-to-day lives of the Greens.

But all of this can be conveyed very effectively in films and in novels. While I’ll say that games can indeed be art, what games are going to bring to art and to conveying messages is the fact that you are the one doing it and the one who is in this situation, and so aren’t merely voyeuristically observing the lives of other people. For a game to really have an impact here as a game it’s going to force you to make those decisions, to deal with those situations, and form those opinions with you in the role of the people involved somehow. Petit comments on none of that, and in fact implies that that isn’t the case; you observe them as they live their lives, with no real ability to alter or change it or else you couldn’t really be experiencing what their lives were like. Yes, games can pull off that sort of thing, but there’s nothing in her review to suggest that any of that is what happened, as you don’t seem to play as yourself, and all of her examples are of you listening to their words and their reactions, not what your reactions are in response to that situation.

In the artistic games that work, you either are doing the things yourself and so get to experience it from the first-person perspective, or else you are forced to make choices that impact the lives of the people in the game and how things play out. An example of the first is “Papers, Please”, which I recall (but cannot find quickly) Shamus Young raving about, and saying just that: the game, as a game, is utterly frustrating and not fun, but it’s great because it forces you to actually live that life, and face the same choices — and outcomes — that they do. Another game whose title I don’t even remember that was also talked about on his site somewhere is one where there is a family with someone who is trying to be an author, and you have to make decisions for the family and how they react, which impacts what kind of life the family ends up with at the end. What these games do is leverage the one thing that games bring to the artistic table that pretty much nothing else does, which is the interactive nature of it.

Without that interactive nature, it’s hard to say that they’re games at all, let alone good ones. Another example from Shamus Young (and I can find the link this time) is “The Path”, but it’s debatable whether that’s really a game or not. You get to explore the world to experience the stories of the girls, but if that exploration is nothing more than the equivalent of “walk across to room to get your non-interactive cutscene” then maybe it’s not really a game at all. If That Dragon, Cancer is just you clicking around to see cutscenes that simply show you what’s going on with the characters, then it might not even rise to the level of interactive novel/movie, let alone a good and quality game.

Look, to be a game, in my view, you have to do at least one of two things that play on the interactivity. You either have to have my actions matter to the game, or you have to give me a lot of things to do in the game that are preconditions to my getting to the non-interactive cutscenes that advance the story. So a game where I have conversation options that, at the end of the day, ultimately change — even in small ways — how the story plays out and how it ends would count (the traditional interactive movie/novel model) counts, or alternatively a game where the story is fixed but I have to engage in puzzles or combat in order to advance (RPGs, adventure games, FPSs, strategy games, and the like) definitely count as well. And sure, games without stories count as games as well, because they are all about the things you have to do in the game, and so all about you interacting with them. From the description in the review, I’m not convinced that this is even present in the game. Now, I haven’t played or even looked up this game, but it seems to me that if you claim to do a review of a game and I can’t tell anything about the gameplay and can’t tell if it’s even really a game from your review, then you didn’t really do anything that should count as a review of the game.

Which leads back to my starting point: Petit seems to be engaging in a “message” review, where she is extolling the virtues of the message the game delivers — and, to some extent, how effective it is, in her mind, at delivering it — while completely ignoring the details of the game itself. If you add in the fact that most people won’t want to praise a work for delivering a message that they dislike — at least cancer is a relatively politically neutral topic, but some others, especially some advocated for on that very site, are not — and you hit the sort of politicized reviews that I loathe and that people are complaining about: people with vested political interests positively reviewing a work because it aligns with their worldview, not because it’s a good work. Petit clearly thinks that the message is profound and meaningful, but provides no details on the work itself or how it works as a game. Thus, her review is, in my opinion, worse than useless.

If this is the future of gaming reviews, then I want no part of it.

Thoughts on “Taliesin”, Book 1 of the Pendragon Cycle

January 20, 2016

By the time this gets posted, I’ll certainly at least be into if not through the second book of this series, but as I type right now, at this very instant, I’ve only finished this, the first book. I know that this is only the first book in a series, and so it’s a little odd to write a “review” of it, but that’s what I’m going to try to do. What I won’t do is claim that this is an objective review of the book, even though I’ll give reasons for my opinion, because most of my reasons and discussion are about style and how things seemed to me, which is much less objective than what I normally do. Anyway, let me start with my overall impression of the book:


There will be spoilers, so I’ll continue below the fold:


More Bad Arguments in SF/F

January 18, 2016

When I commented on the current state of SF/F, I said that the discussion had spread to even people like P.Z. Myers. Well, recently, he added another post on the matter, talking specifically about John C. Wright. Most importantly for my purposes, he linked to a post by Scott Lynch essentially calling Wright a crazy pants liar, which Myers describes this way:

Now that you have a hint of the level of lunacy John C. Wright regularly dispenses, you might be in the mood to read Scott Lynch’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Lying Crazypants Liars Who Lie”. It’s a thing of beauty.

Of course Myers considers it a thing of beauty, because it is devoid of anything that even resembles real argument. I read it out of interest, and couldn’t help responding.

One of the things that philosophy teaches you, it seems to me, is how to quickly assess arguments and come up with reasons why the argument doesn’t have to be true, or how it doesn’t really respond to the statement it is criticizing, or how it doesn’t really make its point. So armed, when you then go and look deeper, you often find that the argument is even worse than you thought it was. Lynch’s post provides an excellent example of both of those tendencies.

Let me start with Lynch’s purported goal:

I have decided to weigh in with a reminder that the narrative Wright wants to push is an absolute full-blown fabrication.

Not an exaggeration. Not something that is truth mixed with lies. An absolute full-blown fabrication. Even if we only limit that to the specific incident between Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Wright’s wife, that’s a rather strong claim to make. You’re going to need very strong arguments and evidence to pull that off. And Lynch … is not going to be able to do that.

First, Lynch tries to catch Wright out in a contradiction (As in the original post, bold is Wright, non-bold is Lynch):

I was asked beforehand more than once if I thought there would be any unpleasantness or insults from the few but vocal pests in jest I call Morlocks who have been steadily infiltrating and corrupting the science fiction community in general, and the Hugo Award process in particular, over the last twenty years. I answered in the negative. The Morlocks are a cowardly lot, and would not dare say to my face the foolish lies they say behind my back on the internet. Besides, like me, they came to have a good time and to celebrate our mutual love of science fiction, and applaud in the fashion of good sports what we each severally take to be the best the genre offers. I thought there would be no incident.

Note the striking way in which the tone of Wright’s rhetoric veers wildly from one paragraph to the next. One moment, his “Morlocks” are a dire threat from outside the field, “infiltrating” and “corrupting.” Three sentences later they share a mutual love of science fiction with Wright, and the circumstances of his disagreements with them have acquired a trivial hale-fellow-well-met sort of cast. Oh, what gentle shenanigans! This tonal shift is a constant tic of his; the opponents that are part of a “silly kerfluffle” will, just a few lines of text later, be described as willing Satanic defilers who must be fought with prayer, fire, and sword unto the ending of the world. You’d think there wouldn’t be much ideologically consistent wiggle room between these two extremes, but what the hell. Magical thinking pants always come with an elastic waistband.

The problem here is two-fold:

1) Even if this is a contradiction, it’s not an important one, and since that’s all he says about that paragraph here, one wonders why he felt the need to include it.

2) In general, it is possible that someone is indeed pushing for terrible ideas that need to be fought while genuinely thinking that they’re doing good, or acting reasonably. So this “contradiction” would be more rhetorical flourish than anything else, and good philosophers will ignore those flourishes and focus on the arguments, or point out that there are no arguments underneath the flourish. Lynch does neither.

At any rate, this is a minor point, as all the paragraph from Wright does is establish an idea that he thought that, in general, the two sides would be generally respectful to each other at the actual event. Lynch probably doesn’t want to argue that that was something he would be stupid to expect.

Why was Wright at the Hugo Awards ceremony? He secured five nominations on the final Hugo ballot for 2015, and in this respect he was the most egregious beneficiary of a premeditated and publicly coordinated slate-voting campaign run by the people fandom has come to know as the “Sad Puppies” and the associated/overlapping “Rabid Puppies.” That’s not allegation, or conjecture, or opinion. It’s what happened. This campaign wasn’t even technically against the rules, though it was fueled by a baseless sense of paranoid entitlement and was certainly shepherded by a number of vocally antagonistic jackasses.

Now, any writer with the self-awareness of an eggplant casserole would have known to tread lightly in fandom following this clusterfuck, which, let me repeat, was a result of vote engineering by a dedicated minority rather than of general acclaim from the field. Instead, according to Wright’s very own account, he strolled good-naturedly into the Hugo Awards in the blithe expectation that everyone else would conveniently ignore the chicanery that had brought him there.

Oh, wait, no, he does. He wants to argue that while what the “Puppies” did was well within the rules, and while they did was, they argued, only openly what was done behind closed doors, that the “fandom” would treat him badly for what he did, and so he should have expected a complete lack of respect and so should have known to “tread lightly”. This becomes even more egregious later in the post since, other than going over to talk to Hayden, Lynch gives no examples of how Wright’s wife failed to “tread lightly”, as Wright suggests that she just wanted to talk about burying the hatchet and coming to some kind of polite accommodation. What did she do that would foster a hostile response?

Also, Lynch’s argument is actually that there was no such hostile response:

This is a load of crap. Having heard Patrick’s (hereafter also referred to as “PNH”) version of these events directly, and the version reported by several others, I say without hesitation or qualification that John C. Wright is a liar.

So what was Wright “lying” about?

At the reception just before the Awards Ceremony itself, my lovely and talented wife, who writes for Tor books under her maiden name of L Jagi Lamplighter, and who had been consistently a voice of reason and moderation during the whole silly kerfluffle, approached Mr. Patrick Nielsen Hayden at the party to extent to him the olive branch of peace and reconciliation.

Before she could finish her sentence, however, Mr. Hayden erupted into a swearing and cursing, and he shouted and bellowed at the tiny and cheerful woman I married.

So, let’s pause for a moment. What part of that do you think that Lynch ought to be focusing on if he wanted to claim that Wright was a liar? That he didn’t cut off her attempt to extent the olive branch? That he didn’t swear and curse? That he was open and not at all hostile to the attempt?

Well, if you’re Lynch, you focus on arguing that, well, he didn’t really shout and bellow:

NH did not “erupt” into anything, and there was no shouting or bellowing. PNH and Lamplighter were at a reception attended by roughly ten dozen people, including a number of notable SF/F creators, editors, and fans. Isn’t it curious that none of them noticed an alleged shouting fit by one of the most instantly recognizable editors in the field? That none of them reported or commented on such an immediately newsworthy incident? That Wright himself, who was physically present at the reception, did nothing there or afterward, but was perfectly happy to take his story to the web a day later? What was that about other people not having the courage to “say to your face the foolish lies they say behind [your] back on the internet,” John?

The encounter between PNH and Lamplighter took place within arm’s reach of a small group of witnesses, including Laura Mixon, from whom I received a recollection of events before writing this. According to Mixon, she turned away from PNH and Lamplighter after Lamplighter’s initial approach, and took a seat that placed them directly behind her. The first notion Mixon had that the conversation had ended was when PNH sat down beside her a few moments later. That’s how much “shouting” and “bellowing” were involved.

Well, okay, let’s grant, for the sake of argument, that the shouting and bellowing was an exaggeration (remember, it’s not enough for Lynch to show exaggeration considering his starting point). How, according to Lynch, did the encounter go down?

As PNH told Mixon: When PNH realized who Lamplighter was, he said (closely paraphrased): “I’m a practicing Catholic, and I found your husband’s comments about me hurtful. His comments about Moshe Feder were the next thing to Blood Libel. I don’t want to talk to you, and please tell John C. Wright to shove his opinions up his ass.”
After PNH sat down, Lamplighter attempted to re-engage him in conversation twice despite his repeated declarations that he didn’t want anything to do with her. Mixon finally said, “Can’t you understand that he doesn’t want to talk to you?” and Lamplighter took the hint at last.

First, Mixon’s account doesn’t count as an independent third party account here, because she didn’t hear it and is only reporting what Hayden said he said. Second, I’m not sure if Mixon is paraphrasing here or Hayden is, but that doesn’t matter much. If we take the account as reasonably accurate though, the account pretty much confirms all of the above questions. Hayden cut her off before she could finish what she was saying, as he replied as soon as he figured out who she was. The quote, even paraphrased, is very hostile, and contains swearing … and it’s reasonable to think that that hostile a statement would contain more swearing than the paraphrase admits. So, other than the actual volume of the diatribe, it seems to have gone down precisely the way Wright describes, and I’ll be willing to forgive someone for describing this as “shouting and bellowing” when it was this hostile, as we know what can happen with memory and all that.

Given this, what important information is Wright lying about? The best Lynch has done here is show that he and/or his wife is exaggerating about how loudly Hayden was talking. That’s not full-on fabrication by any stretch of the imagination.

I’ll put aside the point over whether Hayden destroys the careers of people who don’t share his politics, as that would require more research than I care to do at the moment, other than to comment that just because he’s edited some books from some people who don’t share his politics that doesn’t mean that there aren’t political views that he will act that way towards, and a quote from someone else on what TOR does doesn’t in any way mean that Hayden doesn’t act inappropriately.

So let’s move on to the subject of TOR dominance of the Hugos:

Before I continue, I should explain to the reader that Mr. Hayden, and no one else, was the driving force behind the corruption of the Hugo Awards in these last fifteen to twenty years.

I must at this point apologize to the reader for understating my case. John C. Wright is a lying hysteric. Full stop.

So, what are Lynch’s arguments against this?

• How would this campaign of corruption be funded? Do you imagine SF/F editors as a career class are rolling in cash? If so, incidentally, how long until you start kindergarten?

Um, the claim — made in Lynch’s very post — is that the Puppies invalidly influenced the nominations and maybe even the voting on the Hugos. How much money do they have access to directly? Given no actual opposition, how much money would they need? Why does he think that money is required, anyway? The quote from Wright doesn’t in any way claim that they bought the awards, so why does he think that this is such a relevant point that he needs to bring it up first, as if it’s a strong point at all in his attempt to prove that Wright is a liar? What claim of Wright’s does this actually refute?

• How would it be coordinated? Other people would, sooner or later, need to be suborned or at least consulted. How would messages be sent? How could fifteen to twenty years of necessary notes and e-mails remain completely hidden? How is it that in all that time, not one person approached by this alleged conspiracy would have felt uncomfortable with it, refused to participate, and then made its existence public?

So, here, Lynch jumps to official and complete conspiracy theory, rather than a movement of word of mouth and recommendations and the like, and assumes that the people involved directly would think it immoral. Without Lynch pointing out Wright’s specific claim, there’s no reason to think that this is what Wright is asserting. In short, Lynch has to argue here that everyone is “on the take”, as opposed to a small number of people being selfishly motivated and using recommendations and selective attacks to mislead others into doing what they want … which is what the Puppies are accused of doing, BTW.

• How would all the non-Tor publishers and authors be induced to cooperate with Patrick’s plans?

If Hayden and those he can influence have enough influence, it’d just be a matter of those influential voices recommending in a block rather than explicit direct discussion … again, like the Puppies were accused of doing, only they were pretty open about what they were doing.

• Even if Patrick were to dispense with controlling the voters and go straight to fudging the results, how would he have been able to suborn the Hugo vote-counting process that is overseen by a different group of people in a different geographic location every single year?

Where does Wright argue for direct vote fixing? Again, Lynch here invents arguments and then tries to defeat them. But this only works if he can establish a) what Wright’s argument actually is and b) that all of the other options are impossible. Since the other options are what the Puppies are accused of actually doing, that’s … not a good argument.

It’s only much later that he quotes a statement of Wright’s actual argument:

Thereafter, the Hugo voters awarded awards to the Tor authors Mr. Hayden selected based on their political correctness, and expelled those whose politics the clique found not to their taste.

So, Wright is accusing a clique of putting forward recommendations and arguing based on their politics and not the quality of their work. Larry Correia claims that this is exactly what happened to him, which is what got him to start a movement like this. How much Hayden is directly involved in that is debatable, of course … but Lynch hasn’t in any way argued otherwise.

And then … Lynch tries to disprove the idea that over the past 15 to 20 years TOR books are winning more often, by looking at the Hugo for Best Novel:

If you look at the actual evidence from the Hugo results dating back to 2000, you’ll see that Patrick’s inexorable PC blitzkrieg has been so devastatingly effective that it has delivered best novel Hugos to Tor books a whopping five times out of fifteen. If you examine Wright’s larger figure and count back twenty years, you’ll see that Patrick’s all-consuming Social Justice Shoggoth has crapped out even worse, delivering a mere six out of twenty.

So, in the time period from 1995 to 2000, TOR books won an average of one award every 5 years. From 2000 to 2015, they won an average of one every three years. Lynch tries to present it as it having to be a well-oiled machine that produces wins in this category every year, but that increase looks … suspicious, to say the least. But the time period is a bit short for conclusions, so let’s look at just this category and include nominations, which it has been shown can be easily gamed, starting from 1990 (from Wikipedia):

1990 – 2 TOR nominations, no TOR win.
1991 – No TOR nominations, no TOR win.
1992 – 1 TOR nominations, no TOR win.
1993 – 2 TOR nominations, TOR win.
1994 – 1 TOR nomination, no TOR win.
1995 – 2 TOR nominations, no TOR win.
1996 – No TOR nominations, no TOR win.
1997 – No TOR nominations, no TOR win.
1998 – 1 TOR nomination, no TOR win.
1999 – 2 TOR nominations, no TOR win.
2000 – 1 TOR nomination, TOR win.
2001 – 2 TOR nominations, no TOR win.
2002 – 1 TOR nomination, no TOR win.
2003 – 1 TOR nomination, no TOR win.
2004 – 2 TOR nominations, no TOR win.
2005 – No TOR nominations, no TOR win.
2006 – 2 TOR nominations, TOR win.
2007 – 3 TOR nominations, TOR win.
2008 – 2 TOR nominations, TOR win.
2009 – 2 TOR nominations, no TOR win.
2010 – 2 TOR nominations, no TOR win.
2011 – No TOR nominations, no TOR win.
2012 – 1 TOR nomination, TOR win.
2013 – 1 TOR nomination, TOR win.
2014 – 1 TOR nomination, no TOR win.
2015 – 3 TOR nominations, TOR win.

So, from 1990 – 1999, TOR won once, and didn’t get a single nomination in this category 3 times. From 2000 – 2009, TOR won four times, only didn’t get a single nomination once, and achieved 3 nominations once. From 2010 to 2015, TOR won three times, only didn’t get a nomination once, and again achieved 3 nominations once … 2015, the year the Puppies gamed the system. And note that their win there was not the Puppy slate choice, at least not from the Rabid Puppies, as Vox Day said that he would have had it on his slate if he’d read it before he made it, because it was deserving of the win. So this is the TOR book that wasn’t on the Puppy slate, and it won anyway.

But from the numbers, we can see a massive increase in TOR getting nominations in this category over this time period. If the 2010 – 2015 numbers hold, TOR will likely hit 5 or 6 wins, and only miss getting a single nomination at most twice. There may be reasons for this massive increase from the 1990 – 1999 time period — a loss of SF/F publishers, improved quality, changing times that TOR has grabbed onto more than their competitors — but the numbers look suspicious, to say the least. It almost starts to look like a trend … which is exactly what you’ll see with a campaign based on quiet influence rather than direct cheating. So, no, if we look at the numbers, Lynch has some ‘splaining to do, methinks.

So, in summary, this post shows no examples of out-and-out lying, and at best some examples of exaggeration, most of which are unimportant. Lynch’s own numbers are suspicious when he tries to use one category “Best Novel” against Wright, and when we look at it in detail we can certainly see that the numbers are suspicious, to say the least. So this post completely fails to make its case, and so is a complete failure when it comes to actual argumentation.

No wonder Myers likes it so much …

Frozen Ghost

January 15, 2016

Well, let me return to talking a little bit about music again, as I was just reminded of the band Frozen Ghost, a Canadian band that put out three albums, of which I have one. But it’s a really good one, being an album that I can pretty much listen to all the way through without finding a song that I don’t like. But some of them stand out.

The first song of theirs I ever heard — and the only one I had heard before buying the “Frozen Ghost” CD — was Should I See, which was popular when I was younger and a song that I had really liked. It was my memories of this song that made me buy the CD — used — in the first place.

However, it’s not the best song on the CD. Promises is my favourite song on the entire CD, as it’s a very powerful song, although it can be a bit depressing. The end question and answer part, though, is brilliant and moving.

I also prefer Love Without Lies, which is a great romantic song, in my opinion. I find the person described in the song fairly appealing, less for the purported childish aspects, but more for the simple honesty of her.

Ultimately, though, pretty much any song on that CD is good, although it’s at this point that it would be hard for me to choose between them and Should I See. The band did three CDs and then broke up. I might have to look at some of the other CDs sometime, if I get a chance.

What I Did on my Christmas Vacation

January 13, 2016

I had a fairly long — if still a bit short by my standards — December vacation this year, and as per usual I didn’t get what I wanted to get done done, both due to my own general laziness and due to a number of things coming up that cut into my time. So, what did I do and what didn’t I do?

I managed to get into working with Javascript and HTML, but didn’t quite get as much accomplished as I wanted due to something coming up that took up some time, finding out that TOR had a double XP event on, and the fact that once you stop doing something it’s really, really hard to get started on it again. So it’s not quite even done, let alone done to the degree that I wanted to do it. Maybe I’ll pick it up again a bit over the next little while.

But what I did learn a fair bit about how to do those languages, which was pretty much the purpose anyway. What I really learned is that building an application UI in HTML is like doing it in Java, only more so. With Java, since most of the things are built-in it all works until you want to do something that the Java classes weren’t quite meant to do, at which point it becomes a massive struggle. With HTML, the same thing applies … except that HTML is meant to produce web pages, not actual UIs, and so everything is trying to get it to do something it wasn’t meant to do. I had little trouble with Javascript, but some issues with HTML. I managed to hack something in that mostly worked, combining straight HTML with CSS, and now know what all of those do and what they’re for, kinda. So that’s something, anyway.

I also managed to make great progress in The Old Republic, which was the secondary main distraction for me over the break, taking over two full days where I probably should have been doing something else, at least for part of the day. But I managed to massively overlevel a Trooper, and finish my Bounty Hunter and my Jedi Knight, which means that I’ve finished 6 of the 8 class stories. I want to finish the Trooper and Agent stories sometime in the next year.

After a very slow start, I also managed to play some non-TOR games. I finished Akiba’s Trip and also started playing Conception II again, mostly because that game gives me what Akiba’s Trip didn’t: deeper relationships, for the most part. I didn’t, however, manage to get anywhere in Inquisition, which isn’t good. But given my history, I’ll get it finished sometime in the New Year.

I got quite deep in Dallas; I’m on season five already. Only about another 5 months until I’m finished.

I didn’t write as many blog posts as I wanted to, but I’m a little ahead so that’s not too bad.

I didn’t manage to get any traction at all on writing my fanfic, which is something that I really wanted to do. Hopefully I can do that in the New Year.

So, not too bad, but not great either. I got a lot of things that I wanted to get done done, but the big things other than TOR didn’t really get done. Ah, well.

The Contradictions of the Current State of Science Fiction and Fantasy

January 11, 2016

So, I do, in fact, now follow the current politics of science fiction and fantasy a bit, and heard about the latest call for reconciliation and comments on that, and want to focus on one post by Steve Davidson on it. The post is a bit of a muddled mess, but he tries to respond to what he thinks are all of the arguments from the other side … and, well, his responses to them are not good, to say the least.

Let’s start with his assessment of the latest round of “cheating” that the “Puppies” are starting:

What I’m seeing is a lot of snark and a lot of setting the Hugo award voters up for the gotchya we all knew was coming: worthy works nominated for all the wrong reasons, forcing voters to either endorse Puppy slates or vote against their own interests. TOR, John Scalzi and David Gerrold are well represented in the puppy “recommendations”. All three have been previously identified as leaders of the cabal that has been “fixing” the awards for over a decade. Together, words directed at them by puppies have got to encompass fully 95% of all of last year’s puppy vitriol.

Yet there they sit on a puppy “recommendation” list in a cynical bid that allows them to claim “fairness”. (As a further check: why are “puppies” so underrepresented on these lists? Could it be that an honest assessments finds them unworthy? Or is that just another clue that the current exercise is nothing more than political theater?)

So, let me summarize the past year’s Hugo voting as I see it from my admittedly rather limited perspective. Various Puppy groups (Sad and Rabid) put up what they called “slates”, which were list of recommendations to nominate and maybe even vote for. There was some public outrage over this from various others, which included demands to vote “No Award” in categories where the nominations were dominated by Puppy recommendations. When the votes came in, a number of “No Awards” were, er, awarded, and a number won’t. The various others declared victory … but so did the Puppies. And in my opinion, the latter probably did better, because among those “No Awards” were works and people that probably did deserve to win an award. One of the pushes for at least the Rabid Puppies was to show that there was at least unofficial slates that were dominating the awards, and when there were candidates that seemed to be deserving that weren’t awarded it only indicated that maybe that was the case, and that people were voting “No Award” because of the unstated slates instead of on the basis of the quality of the work. If almost all of the categories were “No Award”, then it could be seen as fan backlash and anger … but at least some of the Puppy slate nominees actually won. If “No Awards” were only given out when there were clearly no deserving candidates, it would be a rejection of the works themselves. But Jim Butcher’s latest Dresden Files book — a series so famous even I’ve heard of it, and even read one, I think — and a very respected editor couldn’t even get wins out of their own categories. This … did not look good for the various others.

So, I do imagine that a lot of this is political theatre as well, but it’s equally and even more devastating political theatre. Imagine that they get these nominations through. Then the various others will have a set of nasty choices to make. Do they “No Award” the Puppy dominated categories? Then they’d have to say that the works of those they claim are perfectly fine authors and in fact are doing precisely what they want Sci-Fi to do aren’t good enough to get an award. Do they vote for those people? Then they make a case for people voting on the basis of association, unless they can demonstrate that the works really are superior to all the other candidates, which might be a hard sell. “No Award” everything? Then they prove that they effectively have a slate. In this case, they really can’t win. And if the authors refuse their nominations, then it again looks like a political move instead of one about the quality of the works. That’s … not good either.

So if the various others want to deal with this, they need to understand what playing politics really means. And it’s exactly this that gets me thinking that maybe re-reading “Fate of the Jedi” isn’t such a bad idea after all …

But let’s get to the arguments:

A. all fans should be allowed to vote for (what used to be) science fiction’s most prestigious award. Members of Worldcon have been keeping this thing to themselves for too long.

This is demonstrably false. 1. Anyone can become a member and all members enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other member. 2. “Prestige” has nothing to do with numbers. 3. If you want a popular award for SF/F, go create one. I assure you, the cabal will not interfere in any way. (I’ve spoken to them all and they promise.)

So, in one argument, Davidson says that anyone can be a member but then admits that the numbers of Worldcon members are rather small. This is only highlighted more later when Worldcon is compared to things like Dragoncon. So, if anyone can join, but relatively few do, why is that? Is it because they don’t care enough, that they aren’t real fans? Or is it because becoming a member is burdensome for some fans, so much so that the precise benefits aren’t worth it? And if all fans can join, why aren’t the Hugos then considered a popular award for SF/F? If getting in isn’t hard, and so all interested fans should be able to do it, then why doesn’t it represent fans?

B. The Elites who control Worldcon are a cabal controlled by TOR/John Scalzi/David Gerrold/the Nielsen Haydens. That cabal represents social justice liberalism.

Demonstrably false. 1. Everyone who is a member of Worldcon “controls” Worldcon (business meeting, Hugo voting). 2. If you are not a social justice liberal and are a member of Worldcon, the cabal represents more than just SJWs. 3. There is no cabal. The voting record (freely available online) amply demonstrates this at least insofar as the Hugo Awards are concerned. 4. What’s wrong with social justice anyway? (Don’t answer – entirely different subject.)

Um, if you’re saying that something is demonstrably false … shouldn’t you actually demonstrate it? At any rate, just because not every member of Worldcon would be an SJW doesn’t mean that there isn’t a majority of those who are who are dominating the votes. To put it in terms that someone who is interested in social justice can understand, in Western societies there are actually typically more female voters than male voters; would that fact alone demonstrate that Western society cannot be male dominated?

C. (Elite) fandom is too small to have so much influence. Other conventions have tens of thousands of attendees and are more popular and influential. Worldcon should be more popular and influential.

Demonstrably false. 1. SIZE DOES NOT MATTER when you are judging quality. 2. SIZE DOES NOT change history, or tradition. 3. Size does matter when one is trying to sell books. Worldcon and The Hugo Awards are not about selling books. 4. Popularity is not a measure of quality. Sales are not a measure of quality. 5. Further – the influence that Fandom has is the influence it gives to itself. Those fans who join Worldcon have chosen to accept that influence for themselves. You do not have to accept it. Your non-acceptance can not change how anyone else feels about it.

1) Neither does a vote. If you want to judge on quality, then you don’t get a bunch of random, self-selected people together and get them to vote on it. You get experts together to assess the works on the agreed upon standards for quality and determine what really is the best.

2) If your organization only represents a small percentage of Science Fiction and Fantasy fans, then you have no relevance to them. And if you have no relevance to them, then you have no influence. If you want to bank on the name and history of the Hugos, then that will only hold out for so long. If your awards aren’t relevant to most fans, they’ll ignore them, and thus putting “Hugo Award Winner” on a book will have no meaning.

3 – 4) Potentially true, but in a medium where works are built to appeal to a certain audience, if you constantly have to trot out the argument that it doesn’t matter how well it sells it’s still the highest quality in the pack, you’re going to have to explain how it can be such a quality work when it can’t achieve its main purpose. SF/F is not supposed to be pure artistic literature, you know.

5) Are we getting into the “real fans join Worldcon” argument here? So, if I don’t join Worldcon, does that mean that I’m not a real SF/F fan, despite reading it almost exclusively for all of my life, and writing pretty much in it for all of my life, too?

D. Fans were mean to…

Demonstrably false. 1. What you all saw as meanness was in fact revulsion. Understandable after you all shat in the punch bowl during the dinner party. 2. What do you expect after three years of being told the Hugo awards are meaningless, its voters are under the sway of a cabal and you non-elitists are the only ones who know what real science fiction is? 3. Notice that in the previous rebuttal, I did not need to mention any of the bigotry, misogyny and downright hate that often accompanied those other statements.

We have to look at what that expressed “revulsion” was revulsion for … and also note that then the meanness from the other side can be justified the same way. If people were mean to each other, they probably should all apologize for that and work to work together to figure out what SF/F should really be.

E. So-and-so DESERVES a Hugo Award

Demonstrably false. 1. Life ought to have amply demonstrated to you by now that the question of which hand fills first is not the one waiting for wishes to come true. 2. No one DESERVES a Hugo. Not Isaac Asimov, not Robert A. Heinlein, not Ray Bradbury, not anyone. 3. Individuals vote for the Hugo Awards and there are as many methods and reasons as there are voters. The beauty of the award is the collective consensus that is arrived at by having so many generally well-informed voters participating (or choosing not to because they are not informed enough. In their own personal opinion. (4. this is why “making the award more popular” would undermine the entire enterprise. Hugo Voters/Worldcon attendees self-select because of their deep and abiding interest. That interest is usually accompanied by deep familiarity with the field. Any other methodology would reduce the Hugo Awards to what the puppies claim to want – a popularity contest in which the only measure is how many copies were sold or how many dollars were earned.) 5. If influence really swayed the vote, aren’t you arguing for TOR and your other targets to pretty much be winning every year?

Um, above you argued that the awards were for QUALITY. If that’s the case, then it is definitely the case that people deserve a Hugo … those people whose works definitely met that objective criteria of “quality”. Quality is not subjective. It is not what you like best. It is not amenable to differing methods and reasons. It is what is objectively the best. Yes, when dealing with literature some subjectivity has to come into play, but you need to decide what you want. Here, you’re pitching it as being a decision based on individual preference … and then argue that it shouldn’t be a popularity contest. But that’s what deciding it on individual preference is: each person deciding it on the basis of what they prefer. If you can’t align that with popularity, then that means that your selection sample doesn’t reflect the relevant populace at all. And if you’re after quality, you can do that by selecting people more educated in the field to make the decision. But that explicitly is not what you claim Worldcon does. So which is it?

F. The slate was not a slate, it was the same thing that Scalzi and others do.

Demonstrably false. 1. It was identified as a slate by its proponents. 2. Recommendation lists are not slates because recommendation lists are not accompanied by an over-riding political agenda. 3. telling people how to vote; recruiting people to vote; curating a list; buying memberships to vote as a block; asking people to march in lockstep is slate behavior. 4. Recommendations STOP at the recommending part and leave the decision making to the individual voter.

I think the overall argument here is more this: it’s no more a slate than what Scalzi and others do, and from his description it’s a fine line here. After all, neither Vox Day or Brad Torgenson actually can force people to vote for what they vote for, so it’s still left up to the individual voter. And he’d have to clarify what “having an over-riding political agenda” means here, because the calls for “No Award” seem to have that in spades.

G. The SJWs/CHORFS/PUPPYKICKERS are taking over the world: women can’t write science fiction: the cover doesn’t reflect the story; there’s messages in there.

Not even worth addressing.

Or stating coherently, it seems.

H. We’re not aligned with Gamergate.

Demonstrably false: 1. “Looking forward to this year. If they thought last year was a scandal, they ain’t seen nothing yet. : )” Daddy Warpig

Um, is Daddy Warpig some kind of famous Gamergater or something? Even if true, that wouldn’t demonstrate that they are aligned, as people can be part of multiple differing movements. Also, the two are related, as they are reactions against a perceived focus on social justice over the quality of the works, so you’ll obviously have some overlap. So, again, when you say that something is demonstrably false demonstrate it false!

I. Sad Puppies are not Rabid Puppies

Demonstrably false: 1. “You’re riding in the same car…” 2. No renunciation of affiliations that I can find.

From what I understand, they had separate names and separate “slates”, and not all works appeared on both. They seem to share similar concerns, but also seem to have separate goals and approaches (Rabid Puppies are more aggressive and more “Burn it to the ground!”, as I understand it). But, again, demonstrate it!

J. The No Award vote was bloc voting (just like what we did)/getting fans to No Award was a win

Demonstrably false. 1. Puppies bloc voted under directive from their ‘leaders’. Fans voted individually and individually determined that what the puppies were trying to do was unacceptable. 2. No Award has always been an option. The route puppies took has only ever happened twice before, not nearly to the same degree and – was roundly rejected those times just as it was this time. 3. Anyone can polish a turd. It remains a turd.

No, there was a campaign to institute this as an option. I can’t believe, for example, that individual SF/F fans decided that the latest Dresden Files novel wasn’t good enough to earn an award, even if nothing else did. Either you aren’t representing actual SF/F fans or they were willing to sacrifice that one because Butcher’s not part of the in-crowd. Take your pick.

The rest of the statement is not, in fact, evidence or demonstration of any kind.

Sigh. You know, I don’t care for at least the Rabid Puppy or Milo approach to this either. To me, this has become all about politics … and I hate politics. But until some kind of reconciliation comes about, my attitude to all of this is now … I don’t care. I have boxes of books and comic books in my house that I can read. I can re-read the books I already have. I have am ample selection of movies on DVD, and a number of gaming consoles with a number of games to play. In short, ladies and gentlemen and invited transgender species … I don’t need you. Until you get your act together and figure out how to publish and promote good works of SF/F so that I don’t have to filter through the felgercarb myself, I can stay out.

I’ll be watching.