Brad Torgersen on the Treason of the Gatekeepers

Brad Torgersen holds forth on the preemptive attempts by the morlockian Social Justice Warrior, also known as the ‘No Fun Fiction’ crowd, to minimize and de-legitimize the Sad Puppies 3 initiative to appeal to the Hugo voters.

They want to tell us what to write and tell you what to enjoy. And we want them to stop bossing and nagging and vexing you (and us) and the mind their own business. For that we are dismissed, and our motives slandered as sinister and hidden. This nonsense is known as argumentum ad hominem, which is the sole weapon in their arsenal. Such defamation is not only impolite to fellow professionals in the field, worse, it is a logical fallacy.

A quote. (The pics below are mine, not his. I thought them more apt, considering the subject matter.)

We’re about a week out from the release of the final ballot results, for the 2015 Hugo awards. These results will determine which picks are available for your choosing when it comes time for you to cast your ballot. Best Novel, Best Short Story, etc. Already, the critics of Sad Puppies 3 have been laying the groundwork for de-legitimizing SP3. To include statements which completely misunderstand the point of Sad Puppies. Some of it is innocent. Not everybody’s had time to do a deep-dig on the history of Sad Puppies, nor to be able to discern that each iteration of the project has tended to assume its own personality. What they’re hearing about SP3 is probably hear-say from friends, and much of that is at least one to two years out-of-date. And even then, many of the “facts” put forth, are demonstrably wrong.

But other commentary is not so innocent. There are people who find the very existence of Sad Puppies 3 to be an affront to their personhoods. A sinister outside force come to trouble their precious genre and its establishment. For the people deliberately misconstruing the purpose and thrust of Sad Puppies 3, it’s all about getting out in front and shaping a narrative. They’re smart. They know that truth can be overwhelmed with lies if you just spin your narrative adroitly, and with enough volume.


See, Worldcon is like the proverbial nail house. In the 1950s it was nestled in among the fresh post-war suburbs, bright and pretty. The people who lived there were young, or at least younger than they are now, and quite proud of their house and its vibrant, if eccentric, collective personality. For much of the 1960s and into the 1970s, the little house retained most of its original flavor. New folks were brought in, some of the originals left, or died. The culture and basic mindset of the house was kept the same. And everything seemed more or less fine . . . until a guy named George Lucas showed up with his gargantuan set of plans for a huge, gleaming city called Star Wars. Suddenly, skyscrapers and apartment complexes and freeways and all manner of businesses began to shoot up around the house. Until, in the year 2015, the house has become an anachronism. Cheered by a few. Ignored by most. Intensely proud of the fact it defies the world around it. Crumbling at the foundation. And also intensely interested in making sure nobody from the sports bar or the yoga studio or the Gold’s Gym down the street, comes into the little dilapidated house, and puts his or her feet up on the use-worn coffee table.

Because anyone who is not a blooded member of the nail house, doesn’t get to be a “real fan.”

But the award for “real fans” gets to be “the most prestigious award” in SF/F.

See how that works, folks? It’s Taste-Maker 101 strategy. A few, deciding for all.

You’re the outsiders. You are not the real fans. You don’t get to have a say in the Hugos, because you’re not welcome at the table. You haven’t been to two dozen Worldcons and volunteered a thousand hours in various chore-laden positions on the concom or the gofer staff. You didn’t earn your cred, man! Get off their lawn, man! Screw you guys and your video games and your 21st century pop culture sci-fi! So you like The Avengers and the Marvel Cinematic Universe? You’ve got a Storm Trooper costume? Maybe you play Skyrim or Borderlands? Puh-leaze! That doesn’t count. Only real fans get to decide what SF/F is important and worthy of recognition! The other 399,997,500 “fans” out there? You didn’t pay your dues. You don’t belong.

And so the little nail house shutters its windows and boards up its doors. Happily thumbing its nose at the bustling, packed metropolis that has grown up around the eyesore.

Read the whole thing:

Metropolis 01

My comment:

Our mission statement is clear and unambiguous. We represent a joyful, zealous and fierce rebellion against the soggy, dreary and weary conformity which over the past decade or so has driven the Hugo award into the hands of writers judged by their conformity to political correctness, or their membership in designated grievance groups, not based on the merit of the work.

In the past, it was an award granted topflight science fiction for its imagination and talent, regardless of their religious or political opinions, and certainly regardless of their race, sex, personal life, or other irrelevant personal factors. The Hugo has, in effect, become a political award granted to the untalented for avoiding dangerous and imaginative thoughts. The irrelevant factors, for the ‘No Fun’ crowd has become the only factor: note, for example, the crowing and victory jigs danced when white males were shut out of all Nebula Awards last year, as if the sex of the author was more significant than the merit of the work.

Well, logically, if you give an award not based on the merit of the work, willy-nilly the award ends up in the hands of authors whose work lacks merit. I don’t want to embarrass anyone by using specific examples, but let the skeptic run an eye over the last few year’s winners will find the science fiction award going to stories that have few elements of science fiction in them at all, or none.

Meanwhile, giants in the field, men such as Terry Pratchett, may he rest in peace, of Jim Butcher, long may his pen unleash the wild magic, go unnoticed and scorned.

At that point, the science fiction award is no longer useful to the readers as a signpost leading them to the best work in the science fiction field; instead it is a warning sign telling wary readers that one more sneering and dreary lecture from finger-wagging misanthropes and neo-Puritans lurks ahead. And so they take their book-buying dollar and go elsewhere.

You see, the establishment acts as gatekeepers and standard bearers for fandom, and their first loyalty should be to the fans, not to their political party or social justice cult. The fans trust them and rely on their judgment and wisdom, and if the gatekeepers skew the results for an ulterior motive, for a political agenda, treating the fans, not as equals, but as children whose opinion must be remoulded into shapes useful to their ends, to serve the vision of the self-anointed, or to use science fiction as a tool of social engineering, then the gatekeepers betray that trust. And that is intolerable.

And it makes puppies sad. Poor, poor puppies! Their large, dark eyes tremble with wetness, and their clumsy, floppy ears droop with dismay!

Sad Puppies 3 has asked the readers to vote for our slate of nominees in order to begin the long and difficult process of undoing these decades of damage marring the prestige of the Hugo Awards.