Sympathy for the Puppies


I’ve been following the Hugo Awards controversy with great amusement. First there was the rebel alliance of Larry Correia‘s Sad Puppies, then the “faceless minions” of Vox Day‘s Rabid Puppies, threatening to overthrow the alleged leftist bias of science fiction. Now the Social Justice Warriors of the Empire have struck back: at this year’s Worldcon, the more “progressive” elements of sci-fi fandom banded together to declare five major categories as “no award.” Supposedly this was to deny the Puppies and their “right wing” followers the chance to select their preferred winners.

So whom should I support? On the one hand, I hold many of the SJWs’ liberal social views on topics such as religion, gay marriage and reproductive choice. On the other hand, when I say I support diversity in views and lifestyles, I actually mean it. I would never reject a book simply because its author was an evangelical Christian, Mormon, white nationalist or some other such demonized category. Nor would I automatically advocate a work because its author was, for example, black or transgender. It would have to be good. I award no points for political correctness.

Of course, this being theoretically a free country, the anti-Puppy fans had every right to do what they did, but in my view, their actions were extremely childish and counter-productive. Not only did they punish works whose authors were actual right-wingers, but anybody that the Puppies happened to recommend, including those of their “progressive” ilk.

Don’t get me wrong; if certain people want to criticize other people and/or shun their works for their sincerely held beliefs, they have every right to do so, for whatever reason.You’re free to assume that I’m gay because the protagonist of Fidelio’s Automata is gay. It doesn’t matter, and even if it didn’t, it would be none of your beeswax. If that bothers you, don’t read it. On the other hand, am I sufficiently loyal to the LGBT cause? Yes, to the degree that it doesn’t impinge on our First Amendment right of free association. Oops, did I just advocate freedom? I’m sure I didn’t earn any SJW brownie points with that one. In fact, anyone reading any of the preceding blog posts would probably assume I’m far left, far right, or just plain crazy. It’s probably not beneficial for boosting my readership, but I can’t seem to help myself.

One of these days, I hope the sci-fi Left will grow up and stop obsessing about the opinions and identity of authors, and concentrate on quality of the writing. Until that glorious day, I am one with the Puppies in that I totally agree with is that this modern-day resurgence of political intolerance is un-American and just plain wrong.

Photo courtesy of (Not that my own dogs aren’t cute in their own way, they’re just far out of puppy-hood.)


Fidelio’s Automata is now in print!

To prove this site is not just about sedition, but sci-fi as well, I’m announcing the release of the print edition of my new book Fidelio’s Automata, To celebrate, I’m having a sale on Amazon. The e-book versions of Fidelio, as well as my previous book Centrifugal Force, will be available for $0.99, starting Sunday for four days only!

Many of the low-priced books on Amazon are not much more than pamphlets, for which 99 cents is an appropriate price. Less than a buck is a real bargain for a 300-page steampunk adventure. Escape to the America of 1901 – an exciting time when technology was transforming the world. It was the era of the innovators: Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright Brothers, and many others. As one would expect from the genre, in this alternate history things turn out a bit differently.

Fidelio Espinoza, a brilliant and idealistic young Cuban, arrives in the United States with the goal of perfecting his spider automaton, a machine that will free humans from the dangerous, backbreaking work of mines and factories. Here he meets Hank, a cowboy turned Quaker who has vowed to atone for his sinful past, in particular, his participation in the recent war with Spain.

Despite all the progress and social upheaval of the Gilded Age, this is a time when Fidelio, a gay man, must hide his true nature or risk ostracism or worse. For the devout Hank their friendship poses a dilemma: should he respond with judgment or acceptance?

After a prototype of Fidelio’s creation falls into the wrong hands, he and Hank join forces with eccentric genius Nikola Tesla to prevent this creation from being used in the service of oppression.