Sad Puppies 3

Sad Puppies Logo

If you are a fan, you probably know what the Hugo Awards are. At least I hope you know…

Some background – on Sad Puppies, not the Hugo Awards.

This is the third year that a group has proposed the ‘Sad Puppy’ slate of nominations. The stated idea is to promote well written fiction.

All sounds great, right? Now we get into the complications.

Define Well Written

If you get two fans in a room, discussing how to define well written, you’ll get at least ten definitions. Fans are a cantankerous lot, opinionated, arrogant, stubborn, and all those good things.

Fanish Wars have been going on since back in the early days of Fandom, when the Futurians raised inter-clique wars to an art form (I strongly recommend reading The Futurians by Damon Knight, a history of the time). So this amount of screaming, crying, and wailing is normal. If annoying. Or maybe not, since it made Breitbart.

My personal definition of well written is “Sells like Hotcakes.” Seriously. I don’t care how well written you think it is, if no one bothers BUYING THE BOOK it is obvious that readers disagree with you.

Of course sales can be, and are manipulated on a regular basis. The amount of advertising on a title can drive sales, that the title wouldn’t normally get on its own. But that’s business, and in the end if an advertised book is no good word of mouth will usually kill its sales anyway.

Some people think that a Sad Puppy slate being proposed is manipulation, and politics at its worst. Guess what folks – every award contest is politics. That’s just the way life is. Live with it.


This part had me confused. What did SJW mean? It turns out it means Social Justice Warrior. I immediately had a picture of Rush Limbaugh pop into my mind.

I am assured that Social Justice Warrior means a radical leftist, but… In that case shouldn’t it be Leftist Social Justice Warrior? Wikipedia says:

The term “social justice warrior” has been used to describe people who work for social justice issues, often “claiming a moral authority” and “questioning the motives and moral integrity of those they oppose”

Rush Limbaugh works on Social Justice issues. So do the Koch Brothers, Steven Harper, Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair, and Elizabeth May, with the last four being the major party leaders in the Parliament of Canada, including the Prime Minister.

Effectively what they mean is people who advocate for Social Justice Issues which they don’t like. Which is fine.

What this means is…

Things are normal. Some people feel the Hugo Awards have gone too far one way, and want to change things. Those who like how things have gone are screaming blue murder because they don’t want things to change.

This is normal. For that matter, this is good. Very good. This is how Society develops.

Yes, it can be a bit noisy for a while. That’s fine. As long as only words are being used, that’s fine.

Cook up lots of popcorn, and enjoy the show.


Wayne Borean

Tuesday February 10, 2015

Link List – Hopefully in Date Order

Worldcon 2015

An explanation about the Hugo awards controversy

Puppy Sadness has a Cure

SAD PUPPIES 3: the 2015 Hugo slate

SAD PUPPIES: some responses to the fallout

A Link Stampede

Sad Puppies 3 Update

SAD PUPPIES: the march of the straw men



Join the conversation

No comments

  1. Well, technically, “Social Justice” itself has a definition that basically subsumes leftist social causes, so calling them “Leftist Social Justice Warriors” would be redundant. Of course, it you look at them too closely, you might also think that the word Justice is unjustified.

    1. Technically ‘Social Justice’ is a neutral term. It denotes working towards making your society more ‘just’ and can easily be applied to those from what Americans call the Right as well.

      Heinlein was a Social Justice warrior. Read ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’ where he argues for a society with freedom of advancement for all.


      1. Only if you go by strict dictionary definition. But the current cultural usage of the term is pure leftism. And there’s some history behind it. (Much like how Tolerance now means intolerance and Diversity now means exclusion, and Fairness means increasing the imbalance.)

        1. Only in America. Elsewhere it is neutral. America only has 4.43% of the world population, so saying that an American opinion should control the meaning of a word is hubris, plain and simple.

          Social justice is “justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society”. Classically, “justice” (especially corrective justice or distributive justice) ensured that individuals both fulfilled their societal roles, and received what was due from society. Social justice assigns rights and duties in the institutions of society, which enables people to receive the basic benefits and burdens of cooperation. The relevant institutions can include education, health care, social security, labour rights, as well as a broader system of public services, progressive taxation and regulation of markets, to ensure fair distribution of wealth, equality of opportunity, and no gross inequality of outcome.

          The above is from the Wikipedia Social Justice page. it makes no mention of the definition being tied to any one ideology.

          I’m a writer. I know the power of words. That’s why I always use the strict dictionary definition.

          Besides, it makes people think. I’m very much in favor of people thinking. Aren’t you?


          1. Wikipedia is notoriously untrustworthy on political matters (Just look at the George W. Bush edit history page). It’s one thing to make people think, but words are for communication, and if you don’t take the local usage into account… well, consider how the Brits would react if you want to a store looking for a Fanny Pack.

          2. In that case, how about Dictionary dot com?

            Social Justice

            the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within a society

            Which says the same thing, using less words. Oh, and I know all about Britishisms, like knocking someone up in the morning. My wife is from Stoke on Trent.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *