Monday, August 24, 2015

More Hugo Fallout

While waiting for the Hugo awards to start, I came across this tweet from Teresa Nielsen Hayden (TNH) referencing her husband, Patrick (PNH):
and wondered what had happened. To me, the tone of the tweet sounded as Teresa regretted missing out on something she would have enjoyed immensely; perhaps some nasty interaction had occurred?

More details have now emerged from a post by Lamplighter's husband, John C. Wright:
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.
Obviously, I was not there and am relying solely on the words of someone who has a strong opinion in these matters, but this sounds like some poor behavior from both PNH and TNH directed to an author who writes for PNH's employer, Tor Books (as does her husband). Moreover, I have not yet come across anything by Ms. Lamplighter that could have earned their wrath (her husband, on the other hand ...). In the meantime, Wright has said he will sever all ties with Tor.

I hope that PNH will respond with either an explanation for what appears to be poor behavior, or an apology, whichever is appropriate.

Wright's post also relates an interesting anecdote about PNH and the rise of Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day):
I should also mention something of which I was previously unaware, but which a close friend (who happens to be a tireless and diligent librarian researcher) explained to me in some detail.

It seemed that the monster known as Vox Day is a creation entirely of Mr. Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

Theodore Beale, some years ago, was a well respected judge of the Nebula Award committee for SFWA, and a writer of a libertarian column for a conservative website. Out of the blue, unprovoked, and unannounced, Mr. Hayden launched a series of bitter personal attacks against Mr. Beale. The two men were not acquaintances, and the attacks were based solely on the conservative or libertarian ideas Mr. Beale express in a column written for a conservative or libertarian readership in a conservative journal.

It was thought policing pure and simple. Reading back through the archives and old comments, one is astonished to come across a remark by John Scalzi chiding Mr Hayden for being a thought policeman, and criticizing an author’s outside political writings into the discussion. This was before Mr. Scalzi became the bootlicking toady of Mr. Hayden, obviously.

Even more astonishing, the remarkable and controversial stances Mr. Beale delights to strike were nowhere in evidence in those pre-Hayden days, nor is there is single comment by any woman anywhere that he was anything other than a perfect gentleman. Mr. Beale’s opinions about the scientific basis of an alleged genetic equality of the races and sexes appear to have been provoked (at least at first) by sheer, cussedly perverse delight in pointing out the flaws and blindspots in Mr. Hayden’s political dogmas.
If I have time, I will try to track down the exchange between Beale, PNH and Scalzi.

I am not saying that anything in the past justifies Vox Day's more recent behavior, but it does cast more light on the origins of this feud. It also paints a picture consistent with something I read in a recent article on the Hugo Awards in Wired about Vox Day:
Torgersen told me something that helped me understand Beale, which is that he believes Vox Day is a character Beale plays—“Performance art, like Andy Kaufman,” Torgersen said. “He embraces this nemesis role that he inhabits. He’s the dark star circling around the outer rim of the solar system. He’s Darth Vader breathing heavily into your phone. He wants people to be enraged and flipping out and tearing their hair and completely losing their minds. And he gets that every single time."
None of this justifies Vox Day's behavior. But it does make it easier to understand.

In any case, I am not sure how much of this is accurate and I would be obliged to anyone who can write to correct me. But as it stands, these apparent facts suggests that "my side" of the debate has to accept a large share of responsibility for the events that have happened. With allies like these, who needs enemies?

Lastly, Damien Walter has weighed in over at The Guardian. Damien has attracted plenty of criticism from the Puppies for his jingoistic championing of social justice causes and his snark filled rants.  In this article, he crows about the Hugo outcomes as a victory for diversity in SFF. I don't have a problem with that. He then goes on to attack two authors who have remained aloof from the fray, one of whom---Andy Weir---was denied a spot on the John Campbell award shortlist as a result of the puppies actions:
Both bookshelves and cinema screens are currently dominated by the Matt Damon/Andy Weir vehicle The Martian and its archaically old-fashioned (and vastly overrated) SF. The lead sci-fi news story of recent weeks is Ernest Cline’s high seven-figure advance for a third novel, which will presumably pander to exactly the same Beavis and Butthead demographic as Ready Player One and Armada.
What Damien and many others have failed to realize is that it is possible to promote the books you love without tearing down everything else. Nor is it necessary to malign anyone who likes the things you do not. Without tolerance for divergent tastes, SFF has a major problem.

EDITED 08/25/2015 TO ADD: L Jagi Lamplighter has clarified the interaction in the comments responding to her husband, John Wright's, blog post:
First, I think John has made it sound a bit worse than it was…but this is not his fault. I did not repeat to him all of what PNH said because I did not him to get upset during the reception. (I was afraid he would be very angry if he knew someone had sworn at his wife.)

Mr, Nielsen Hayden did shout, swear, and stomp off…but he was shouting and swearing at/about John, not at me personally and, actually, as far as swearing, he just used the phrase “tell him to shovel it up his…” You can figure out the rest.

This may not seem like swearing to many of you…many folks speak that way normally. But I do not. Nor do people normally speak that way to me.

My first thought after he stormed off was; isn’t it interesting that he yelled at the one person in the room whose only reaction is going to be to pray for him.

I was not the least upset…but I did think it ironic that, of everyone present, I was the person who got shouted at. But I suspect Mr. Nielsen Hayden knows nothing about me personally, has never read my blog, and is unaware of the irony.
It was quite horrid and unprofessional behavior. He shouted in my face and swore. I was shocked really. I didn’t think someone who was supposed to be my superior (in the sense of me as lowly Tor writer) would ever treat me in such a fashion.
In my opinion, this doesn't make PNH look much better.

No comments:

Post a Comment