Butcher fails where Bellet and Kloos succeeded

Jim Butcher is currently one of the most popular fantasy writers in the world, with several series being NYT bestsellers, as well as having a television series made out of one of them. Not quite George R. R. Martin level, but getting there. He’s nothing like Annie Bellet or Marko Kloos, two much more modestly successfull writers, except in one thing: all three got on the Hugo nominations list thanks to the efforts of the Sad Puppies.

Where they again differ is that Bellet and Kloos, after some soul searching, decided to withdraw their nominations. It’s hard to overstate how difficult that must’ve for them, seeing as how these nominations may be the only time they’ll actually get on the shortlist. Consider: in any given year there are only twenty places open for a professional writer, five each for Best nobel, novella, novelette or short story, while anywhere from 1000-1500 eligible novels are published each year and ghu knows how many eligible works in the other categories. You have to be an incredibly good or well known writer to have a shot at being nominated, let alone be nominated more than once. Yet they gave up these nominations because they knew they way they’d gotten them wasn’t fair.

Not so Butcher though, somebody who on his own merits could have a stab at the Hugos. He’s kept radio silence all this time and when asked point blank, this is what he said:

I’m not sure whether his stance is naive or calculating. His presence on the Puppies ballot from the start was clearly intended as a shield, a way to give some credence to the idea behind the slate(s), that popular works have no chance at the Hugos and really, we’re only suggesting those works we really really think are worthy of a Hugo. By neither withdrawing nor speaking out against the Puppies, Butcher gives tacit approval to their slate voting, validates their political beliefs because surely this means Jim Butcher himself thinks he can’t win a Hugo otherwise?

The same goes of course for all those other nominees used as shields: if you don’t withdraw, if you don’t speak out, I don’t care that you were put on the slate involuntarily or without your knowledge, you’ve given your retroactive consent. By your actions you help support this partisan political attack on the Hugos and I will judge you for it.

UPDATE: you know who does get it right? Black Gate.


  • […] assumed he was “big” enough to be “above” the whole thing – and it appears he’s okay with it, sadly)). Nevertheless, all of their works have been tainted with the stink of association. One can’t […]

  • Scott

    April 21, 2015 at 1:31 am

    The sad thing in this is that Skin Game is the best thing Butcher has written in years. The Dresden Files were getting a bit on the stale side the last few (or five or six) novels, but this one was right back to the top of his game.

  • s

    April 21, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    I get where you’re coming from, but it’s really hard to condemn someone for being given something they’ve been working towards literally their entire life and not turning it down.

    Would I prefer everyone turn them down? Sure. (Though I’m sure vox day would still find some way to declare victory in that case) but do I understand and respect why they aren’t? Yes.

  • Martin Wisse

    April 21, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    It is a hard choice and I have nothing but respect for those people who made that choice, but if you value the Hugos, if you value fandom, you should make that choice when finding yourself on a Puppy slate.

    And for me as Hugo voter, regardless of people’s intentions, it’s important to vote down the entire Puppy slates, willing and unwilling nominees both, to send that message that slate voting isn’t tolerated.

    In the case of Jim Butcher, of all the nominees he’s the one most likely to have gotten a nomination and perhaps even a win on his own merits, the one with the least to lose by withdrawing his nomination, but he stayed silent.

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