Ethics and Morals

This Puppy has been Muzzled

The fiasco that was the Hugo Awards last night made a deep impression on me. I’ve never been of the establishment, although I had friends and acquaintances in it. As a fan, I naively thought the Hugo Awards were worth saving.

There was a story on the news not too long ago about a dog who had been cruelly tortured. Her muzzle was bound shut so tightly she would have starved had not some kind person come along and to her rescue. But she will bear the scars on her face for the rest of her life, from the bindings that silenced her. This is what the WorldCon and Hugo establishment would like to do to the Sad Puppies.

Last night was chilling. The cheers from the people who voted as a bloc to shut out the people nominated by fans, because those nominations were from WrongFans. The asterisks. One of the few people in this industry I treasure and respect, walking out of the ceremonies because they were slapping her in the face with the derision.

I can never again go to a ‘literary’ con and feel safe. These are the people who have spent months dragging people I know and respect through the mud, and my name with them. Calling me a token woman, and the other women who were on the ballot with me. Because we didn’t fit their narrative. I have no power, they have it all, and they revel in it. They have no qualms about punching down, making sure unwanted fans don’t get their noses into the establishment.

Today, they dance and celebrate, because they won. They won by voting no award as a bloc, while accusing the Sad Puppies of having done so.

No. If we had, those of us who are puppies, there would have been a different outcome. But Organized Fandom took over. I’ve never been so happy to be a part of the great disorganized mass of fans who just like stories. That’s all. We read the material, they boasted that they wouldn’t bother. We voted our hearts, they voted in spite. 

This was never about politics for me. It was about getting more fans involved in what called itself the Best of SF and Fantasy. For a price, you could vote, and put in the name of the most deserving works in nominations. I’d watched Scalzi campaign every year, and Locus publish a slate of nominations, and Tor send employees to the cons with ballots clenched in their hands… And it disgusted me, as I got further into the industry and saw what was happening.

But now I see what levels they will stoop to. Last night I saw that despite the claims of people I once thought I knew, the WorldCon itself is implicit in the discrimination and wielding the power to keep things the way it has always been.

hugo asteriskFrankly, as a nobody in the field, despite my nomination, I never expected to win. No-one knows who I am, after all.

Now? I’d be afraid to go to WorldCon. They have shown how they feel, and they will treat any threats to their position with… theft, suppression of free speech, mockery, and more. There are people who will never again be able to publish traditionally because of this. And not everyone has the options to be an independent, to have the freedom I so cherish.

I can’t be involved any longer. If it were just me… but it isn’t. I have others who need me to stay out of the fight, as much as I hate it. If I keep in the frontlines, I will become a casualty, and I have people who are dependent on me, helpless in the world if something becomes of my good name. And so I must turn away, tears in my eyes, and leave the field of battle. I am sickened, but my duty is clear.

I cannot bay. I have been bound into silence. I bow my head, and exit…


24 thoughts on “This Puppy has been Muzzled

  1. I will remember the 73rd Worldcon for how the lynch mob cheered. A thing to recall my first Worldcon award ceremony. I’ll be around to nominate next year. I wasn’t this year.

    1. Would you be from Finland by any chance? 🙂

      Cedar, take care of yourself. That is the first priority.

  2. A retired soldier is still a soldier; the honors earned on the battlefield do not disappear. Although I can hope that this is just a long leave of absence, you are still a permanent resident of the Hall of Honor, Cedar, no matter what you do in the future.

    Take care of the most important things to you right now – family, friends, career. If you ever decide to come back, you will find that we are still here, the beer is still cold, and there is a stein on the shelf with your name on it.

  3. Cedar

    I wouldn’t worry about being in the front lines anymore. Writing your stories and continuing your sharing is doing just as much if not more, than the loud warriors that will take up the cudgel.

    Stay out of the active fight. I think that’s wise. But, please continue writing your stories, please continue your MGC contributions.

    Right now, there is more need for good writers, and good writing teachers than there is active fighters.

    SP4 is going to be a reality pretty soon. The results and attitudes displayed by the SJB’s last night has unleashed Beale and his minions. The SJB’s are going to have more than they can handle.

    But that’s going to take a lot of energy. The active fighters aren’t going to be producing as much content as they could if they weren’t expending it fighting. Quality SF and Fantasy is what we need to keep expanding the fan base, and keeping it from disappearing while the chorf slowly sink in the east.

    We need an active fan base when the Puppies have won. Sarah, Amanda, and Kate will need a hungry fan base when they’re done with their labor.

    Yeah, I’m being a little facetious. But doing a little research, it appears there are quite a few readers chasing the ads on Amazon on the bottom of the book page. They need to be fed their diet of sf&f. Because we’re more indie as a group than trad published, we stand to benefit more from this phenomena than the chorf.

    You contribute more to the future of sff by writing your good stuff and contributing to MGC than actively fighting.

    Just a couple of thoughts from the broken Auld Dawg

    1. I would like to completely agree with Angus Trim on this.

      Keep writing them books, we’ll buy’m. You write’m

  4. I have class in the morning as school starts up again, but I wanted to write a reply to the comments – I can’t reply directly to the facebook comments, because I am logged off and will not log back in any time soon. I haven’t got the time, or the emotional energy for that.

    I am more than a bit overwhelmed by the response to this blog. Thank you all for your kind comments. I wrote this to try and explain why I won’t be as publicly active as I was – because of the nature of the fight, and the threats made to me over this last year, I can’t keep fighting in this battle. I have a private battle that is more important to see through.

    I’m not going away. I’m never going to stop writing. There will be a blog every day, although some days it might be me talking about math homework. I have physics AND calculus, there will be math homework.

    I will keep paying it forward with the teaching posts. I have been richly blessed with people who gave of their time and knowledge, it is my joyful duty to continue that legacy myself.

    I’m not saying I’ll never go to a con again. I will just be very cautious about where I do go. For one thing, I’ll be at a con to see fans. Not editors and publishers, but fans. I love you guys. Wrongfans rule.

    1. I just wanted to make a random comment about your physics homework.

      When I took physics in high school, I would do a problem three or four times, and get a different wrong answer each time, until I finally got the right answer. When I took differential equations in college, I ran into the same issue.

      When I took “Physics for Scientists and Engineers”, however, I didn’t run into this problem: my physics professor told us to figure out what variables we knew, what variables we were looking for, and what equations we needed–and before we started to plug values in, we were asked to solve the equations for the variables we were looking for first.

      I don’t know why (though I suspect that it’s a mixture of round-off errors, difficulties keeping track of correct values when manipulating numbers rather than variables, and so forth) but this did the trick.

      Perhaps your physics professor has already given you this advice. If so, I heartily recommend that you follow it!

      (Also, I would add: calculus is easy. It’s the algebra that makes it hard…that, and the occasional simple mistake that causes a simple three-line problem to blow up into a multi-page stream of nonsense!)

  5. Never met you, may never. But I WILL be buying your works, as money permits, as often as possible. We can rotate you to the rear for some R&R, shore leave, whatever your service does. But we will not leave the field to the evil hordes of **** $$$-licking %%%%%-kissing @@@@-heads that {transmission interrupted} ….
    Back online. Take your well-deserved rest, Ms. Sanderson. Those of us on the skirmish line will not forget you, nor what they did to you. And payback’s a REAL bitch, even if it’s still a Puppy at this point!
    Rest and write well – there’s free beers somewhere in your future.

      1. Agreed with James as well. I’ll vote with my wallet today and just buy 6 more of your books and short stories as a (hopefully) somewhat consoling gesture towards this burning of the fields in order to save them.

        Cedar I hope you actually see that “Hitler responds” meme because it says pretty much all of it in just under 4 minutes. Its pretty funny but not funny as its true. They’ve proved Larry Corriea right 3 years in a row.

        The posts on Sara’s blog (couple bought from her as well, might as well, I’m going to read all of your and her books eventually) are almost 600 posts deep at this point. The Brietbart posts are something like that number as well.

        Larrys blog might be but its crashed for me a few times I think.

        1. wow – thank you! I hope you enjoy them. As you’ll see with my Bibliotherapy post, I think choosing reading material is important.

          And Larry’s blog seems to have server issues, which I’m certain they are working on.

  6. First time Hugo Voter. Found out one could vote for $40 due to the news controversies. I read all of the entrants and voted what I liked. I no awarded three “winners” this year because I did not like them. But I found something worthy in every category.

    The cheers and such at WorldCon were rude and unprofessional. But no reason to feel physically unsafe that I have heard. Bullies are bullies.

    Living well is the very best revenge. Write well, make money, and enjoy your life. WorldCon is very tiny compared to most Cons. And literary critics are rare among actual paying readers.

    1. It’s not the physical safety I’m concerned about, and frankly, that would be easier to deal with. Professional and personal reputation being slandered is far harder to combat or recover from.

  7. Cedar, just want to say that you’re not a nobody, I know who you are, I enjoy your writing, and I voted for you. I wish you a long and prolific writing career.

    Best regards,

  8. This really tees me off. You have become one of my favourite authors and one of the few that has inspired me to do my photography.I’m sorry to hear about your trouble but you keep writing and I’ll keep buying.

  9. Avoid literary cons — definitely. Don’t do anything to contribute a dime towards any of the SJWs. Just don’t vanish or anything. Now that I’m gainfully employed again, your books are going in my slush-pile. 🙂

    — G.K.

  10. You are not leaving the field, you are executing a tactical withdrawal. There is no shame in that when one is in an exposed position. Later, when you aren’t as exposed and the bullies have revealed themselves to the point that their lies and calumnies mean less than a flea fart in a hurricane, you will rejoin the fight.

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