Monday, January 9, 2017

Fisking the Six Foot Blivet

So, Brian Niemeier found a new pinata and beat it around with a baseball bat.

Then Al grabbed the bat and beat it around some more.

[Cracks fingers]

My turn.

The blog is "Attack of the Six-Foot Tranny."

Yeah. This is going to be one of those days...

The title is
Horror Puppies Redux: Is Souldancer Really Horror Fandom’s New Favourite Novel?
Yes, as you can tell from the spelling, yes, this is a British Tranny who goes by the name "Doris."

Well, DragonCon has over 60,000 attendees. Voting was open to everybody. So unless you have a better sampling or method of statistical analysis, "Dori," I'm going to have to say yes.
A while back I made a post about how the Sad and Rabid Puppies campaigns have treated horror fiction.
Sigh. Of course you did.

I follow the bouncing link, and I get this.
Honor at Stake is very much what Stephen Jones would call “horror-lite”. It starts out as a vampire romance in the vein of Stephanie Meyer and Charlaine Harris, evolves into a humorous action-driven narrative in the tradition of Joss Whedon and Larry Correia, and ends up with hordes of vampires being dispatched with a consecrated fire hydrant. For all its jokes at the expense of sparkly vampires, the book remains far closer to Twilight than to, say, Salem’s Lot.
So if you follow the bouncing ball for a moment, Honor at Stake evolves into being like Joss and Larry, but is closer to Twilight than to Stephen King....

Just for the record, did anyone else notice that it just demeaned Larry Correia and Joss Whedon as being on par with Twilight?

I'm going to suggest that there are a few million Buffy fans out there who now want your head on a stick, "Doris." In fact, I hope you've transitioned already, otherwise there will be Whedon fans -- not fans of Larry, Whedon -- who will happily help you transition without anesthetic. And no, I'm not one of them. I'm just laughing at the image of the hordes of Joss fans carrying torches and pitchfolks.

The next comment about me is to cite a tweet.
Declan Finn replies that Brian Niemeier is his only competition in the category.

All of this strikes me as rather rude conduct. They hail the Dragon Awards as the true voice of fandom, and then dismiss four of the six horror nominees as undeserving of consideration. What could I infer from this behaviour, except that these people feel contempt for horror fans?
Hey, "Doris," you stupid git, maybe you should have read the blog post I made TWO WEEKS BEFORE THAT (and nearly THREE weeks before the hir statements) where I said that I DIDN'T KNOW ANY OF THE OTHER AUTHORS.  I didn't even know that they existed. 

Kinda hard for me to respect people who I don't even know exist, git. Perhaps you should do something strange, "Doris," and instead of stopping when you get your evidence for the narrative, you stop when there's nothing else to research. The way actual researchers do.

I'd thank "Doris" for reading my book, but I suspect I know which review s/he wrote.

Anyway, back to the original stupidity that started this mess.
I pointed out that when the pro-Puppy authors write something within the horror spectrum, they generally end up with the kind of work that editor and horror expert Stephen Jones associates with the term “horror-lite”
S/he goes on to diss urban fantasy....
Today we are living in a world that is ‘horror-lite’. This appalling appellation was coined by publishers to describe the type of fiction that is currently enjoying massive success under such genre categories as ‘paranormal romance’, ‘urban fantasy’, ‘literary mash-up’ or even ‘steampunk’. 
Okay, congrats, "Doris," you now have dissed urban fantasy.

You now have Jim Butcher's fans on your ass, and in a way that you will not enjoy, unless you like the idea of being beaten with hockey sticks and carved wizard's staffs. I suspect that's a fetish not even the internet likes that much.

For the record, you buggered swine, I was shooting for fantasy or paranormal. I hadn't really thought of my work as horror. In fact, again, HAD YOU DONE YOUR RESEARCH, you would have noted that I suggested Honor at Stake for military, YA, and best fantasy, with a question mark around horror.

But, no, "Doris," your transition must be transitioning from a male to the IQ of mayo.

...Am I being insulting? Well, hey, s/he said I'm insulting. S/he wants me to be insulting. I can do insulting.

S/he then goes on to cite, once again, a twitter conversation as PROOF that I'm insulting and dismissive of the horror genre.

Again, I was shooting for urban fantasy. My readers disagreed. Get over it, Boris.
Since then, Souldancer succeeded in winning the Dragon Award for horror, and the Puppysphere seems to be making a concerted effort to present Brian Niemeier as being the contemporary horror author
That's .... news to me. Boring here doesn't put any links in to cite as evidence, but right now, s/he can link to a list of websites, and I wouldn't trust it until I went through each link to see if they were even Puppy related.
(with honourable mention sometimes being given to Declan Finn).
How nice. Also news to me. Also without links or any other supporting evidence to back it up.
Around Halloween, the Castalia House blog ran a post called “SUPERVERSIVE and Horror Stories” in which Josh Young argues for the superiority of horror films with clear-cut heroes (such as Alien and The Evil Dead) over those which focus on college students being chopped up (such as Friday the 13th).
And somehow, Boris doesn't have anything to bitch about in that concept ... yet, anyway, I'm fisking as I go along.
Towards the end, he makes an abrupt change of subject from heroic horror films to heroic horror literature:
Abrupt? You realize that it's a Publisher blog, right? That they publish books? How did you NOT expect it to go to books?
but does he mention Robert E. Howard, whose sword-and-sorcery protagonists regularly faced Lovecraftian abominations? Does he acknowledge the writers who have shaped the occult detective genre, from H. and E. Heron through to Jim Butcher?
I find it interesting that Boring forgot in the previous blog that he's dismissed and disparaged urban fantasy, and he wants to kowtow to Butcher? Too late.
Does he namecheck anyone from the legion of authors, from Bram Stoker onwards, who have thrilled readers with tales of cross-wielding vampire hunters?
Nope, nope, and nope. It is Brian Niemeier who has the distinction of being the only writer mentioned in Young’s survey of horror.
No, of course he doesn't. You know why? Because if Boris here had read THE TITLE OF THE PIECE (which s/he did, it's cited three excerpts ago) it was "SUPERVERSIVE and Horror Stories." The term Superversive is not exactly in widespread use. Come to think of it, Brian is the only horror novelist I know who uses the term -- as evidenced by hanging out in the Superversive roundtable radio show.  Not even Butcher uses it.

I use it, but that's only if you count me as a horror novelist. Which I don't, but I'll take nominations in whatever genre I can get.
Now, the Dragon Awards claim to honour “the works that are genuinely most beloved by the core audience”, and this is a description that the Puppies have taken as gospel truth. 
And I'm sure that you believe that the Hugos really are the most prestigious SFF award, right, Boring?
But the obscure, self-published Souldancer is not beloved amongst horror fans. Evidence of this can be gleaned simply by registering at the horror forum of your choice and asking the members if they have ever heard of Brian Niemeier. Indeed, a search through Google (or Amazon, or Goodreads, or Twitter, or Reddit) will indicate that Souldancer has made almost no impact outside of Puppy circles.
That's it? That's the best shot at Souldancer? That he can't find it on Google. You know, even Ann Coulter uses Lexus/Nexus, and says what search terms she uses.

And internet Forums? Funny, I always heard that internet forums were a wretched hive of scum and villainy. That this creature relies on them only makes me feel more certain.

When I google Souldancer, the first thing I get is Brian's Amazon page. Then a bunch of companies that used the phrase. Next time I see Brian, I get the Goodreads page for Souldancer, with a 4.1 rating.

What happens when I Google "Doris V Sutherland" ... okay, fine. The Twitter page. File 770 (I'm shocked), the blog I'm fisking....the about page of the blog....

"A Troubled Dark Soul. A Tale of Doris V. Sutherland."

Oh... Oh Dear.

"Doris," I don't think you want to go to "What people can find on the Internet" for your argument. I really don't think you want to do that.
This is a point I made when I reported on the Dragon Awards at WWAC:
Yes, we have a link ... to something that Boris has written. Because citing evidence just boils down to footnoting your own opinion.

And WWAC is "Women Writing About Comics." Uh huh.

The link only boiled down to Dormamu here bitching that Souldancer only had 8 reviews at the time it won the Dragon.

Brian actually replied.

Boris characterized Brian's reply as
Niemeier then went on to claim that Souldancer outsold N. K. Jemisin’s  The Fifth Season, which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel earlier this year:
Um ..... read it again. He MOVED MORE COPIES. This is in case this twit has trouble reading.

In fact, this twit has trouble reading A PHOTO S/HE HIGHLIGHTED

Souldancer vs. The Fifth Season

"Doris" thrashes around on the false premise for a while...false premise ... .. blah blah ... false premise ... false premise .... dares Brian to get more reviews ... Brian gets more reviews.... "Doris" dismisses reviews....

Okay, moving out of "reviews uber alles."
Nevertheless, the Puppies – or, more specifically, Niemeier and his immediate circle of friends – kept up the charade that the little-known Souldancer was the most popular horror novel published within the Dragons’ twelve-month eligibility period.
It got more votes at a Convention that boasts 60,000 members a year....

With voting open to everyone....

Free of charge ....

So, I gotta ask, how many friends do you think Brian has?
Niemeier’s blog post received replies comparing me variously to a spoilt child, a high school mean girl and a wiggling worm for venturing to suggest otherwise.
 If the size-15 shoe fits...
My personal favourite comment came from Niemeier himself; apparently channelling his inner Benjanun Sriduangkaew,
he felt it appropriate to threaten me with physical violence
And you somehow feel threatened, Lurch?
It’s not the easily excitable guys whose anger you should worry about. It’s the patient, reserved guys quietly sipping their drinks and reading Heinlein novels until they decide they’ve had enough of the loudmouths making a scene, take you out in the parking lot, and bust out your teeth.
Pardon me while I head desk for a bit.


"Doris." Bubbie. My extra-large jellyfish, my special snow flake, and other invertebrates .... it's a metaphor.

You know what a metaphor is, right?

Hell, this was an observation made by Isaac Asimov in the very first Black Widowers short story. Perhaps you heard it as "beware the wraith of a patient man"? No? Learn to read. 
One of Niemeier’s friends, a blogger named Alfred Genesson, made a post of his own attacking me. Here is his reply to my comment about Souldancer‘s lack of reviews online:
Oh, come on, now you're going after Al? Really? Dora the Tora cites an Injustice Gamer post.
Maybe some of us realize how active your type is at disemployment. Maybe we were busy reading books. At any rate, it’s not your crappy pastiche of urban fantasy, faerie tales, and WoD fanfic that you love.
And that's an attack?
Genesson starts his three-pronged rebuttal by suggesting, bizarrely, that people who give positive reviews to Souldancer are in danger of losing their jobs. He seems to expect us to believe that the legions of Souldancer fans have gathered into some kind of Fight Club-like underground subculture that dare not speak its name.

The Wrights were uninvited from Cons they've gone to for years. 

Lou Antonelli had one of his short stories un-approved after he was told it was going to be published.

I await the part where this becomes "bizarre."
He then suggests that fans are too busy reading books to leave reviews, 
Alfred makes an effort to get reviews in, and sometimes the best he can do is a mini-review. I read more than 50 books a year, and I've only reviewed 57 books on Amazon in 6 years (2011-2016). And many of those are to books I either really, really loved, or books I desperately hated.
an argument which ignores the basic fact that fandom is built upon discussing media as well as consuming it:
Yes. Because we all know that all readers are obsessive fanboys who must do nothing but jabber about what they're reading online. There are no readers who are introverts, or people who would rather read than chat ....

Oh wait, what sounds like the very definition of a bookworm.

Seriously, what dungeon does this troll reside in?
a work that is not being discussed clearly has no fandom.
I haven't seen one discussion online about Honor at Stake, which has 53 reviews as of this moment. Is that a discussion because I have reviews, or do I not have a fan base because I have never been discussed on an internet forum, to my knowledge?

If you want to go by reviews, than Honor at Stake is better than Souldancer, five of Vox Day's books, six of John C Wright's books, and over 7 Timothy Zahn novels.

If you wish to make that assertion, please do so in front of their fans. I would love to see that reply. I'll view it from a safe distance.
But most interesting of all is his third assertion: that I prefer “crappy pastiche of urban fantasy, faerie tales, and World of Darkness fanfic”.
I don't even know what World of Darkness is, so, next.
This irrelevant ad hominem 
An ad hominem is a personal attack. It means "against the man."

.... And that joke is so easy in this case, "Doris," that I'm going to just let someone else fill in that particular blank.
(I was talking about whether a book is popular, rather than whether I personally like it)
Again, go argue with the 60,000 DragonCon attendees, and tell them how what they vote on isn't popular. Go ahead. Me and every statistician ever will sit back and laugh at you.
seems to be a response to my earlier comment that the Sad Puppies have shown little interest in horror fiction.
Alfred is a Rabid Puppy. Learn the difference between Puppies before you decide to kick them.

I would be a Rabid Puppy, but that would require that I care about the Hugos. At best, I'm just a troublemaking Puppy who will sit back and laugh as you make unforced errors throughout the process.
Genesson is trying to give the impression that he and the other Puppy supporters are actually hardened fans of the horror genre; 
I'm not.

Alfred isn't.

I'm trying to figure out if "Doris" is genuinely confused, or just a lying blivet.
but as he has no evidence to back up this claim,
He doesn't make this claim. In fact, he says exactly the opposite. I know you're British, but American English isn't that incomprehensible, is it?
he settles for simply impugning my own tastes.
 Puppies have been impugning the tastes of Puppy Kickers for years. This is new?
He has no idea where my tastes lie, of course, and so makes a wild stab-in-the-dark involving urban fantasy pastiche and World of Darkness fanfics
Stab-in-the-dark .... Is it really that hard? Might they include, I don't know ... something dark and depressing, where everyone dies?

You know, like George Martin?
(a description that, amusingly enough, is not too far from Declan Finn’s Puppy-approved Honor at Stake).
World of Darkness?  I say again ... what's that?

Alfred gives me a hint.
I don't recall a hate for Christianity being anywhere in his novels, nor an annoying and stupid clan warfare bit with drug and sex addled lower classes.  His vampires follow theological rules and are individuals, subject to a singular council, not part of WoD clan structures. Again, try harder.  
Wow.  WoD is anti-Christian, vampire clan warfare, drug abuse, sex addled, and class warfare?

"Doris"? If Alfred is even slightly accurate, you are apparently illiterate. In fact, I'd have to guess that you've dictated the entire blog post to someone who can tolerate listening to you.
Behind all of the bluster, Genesson’s post marks an attempt to frame the Puppies as the true custodians of horror fiction
Yes, yes, we know you want that job, "Doris."

I know that Doofus here likes to consider horror hir genre, hence the harping, but not only has Alfred said he's not the expert on all things horror, s/he/it has apparently not noticed that Puppies don't want to be custodians. We don't want to tell people what to read. All Puppies want people to read what they enjoy, and that's it, thank you.

The Puppy Kickers want to be the custodians. They are, after all, the "TruFans," the "Real Fans." They're pure fans. A master fandom, if you will.
with Brian Niemeier and (presumably) Declan Finn being the toasts of horror fandom. 

Yeah. Sure.
As for those horror fans who do not read Niemeier or Finn, well, they are merely consumers of urban fantasy and other forms of horror-lite. As I have already shown, this is a complete reversal of the truth.
Actually, "Doris," you lying blivet, you're the only person who have used the phrase "horror-lite."
Niemeier himself has stated that his book won its Dragon Award due to voters who wanted to show their contempt for the Hugos.
Rabid Puppies voted as well. Vox Day voted for Brian Niemeier, and said "Sorry Declan." I presume a lot of Vox's fans followed.
If so, this is further evidence of a lack of votes from horror fans, who in my experience do not generally keep up with the Hugo Awards.
Because there is no overlap with scifi readers and horror writers? Horror writers are monomaniacs who cannot read anything else?

Again, "Doris," links. Stats. Proof. Evidence. Not whatever gets whispered in the echoes of your mind.
A number of my friends are indie horror writers,
And I'm sure that some of your best friends are conservatives, right?
and they pay little attention to the Hugos:
Well, Stephen King paid enough attention to the Hugos to declare that he didn't want to play with them. Are your indie writers less attentive and aware than King? Really?
they seem to view the award as being purely for science fiction,
Then why would King ever look at it in the first place?

Because, you know, his fans asked him.

I guess "Doris" isn't a real fan of horror, wouldn't s/he be aware of that? Come on, even I know that, and I'm not that big a fan of horror. Maybe "Doris" should get hir horror credentials renewed. Heh.
and consequently not their territory as writers or readers (by the same token, I’d imagine that the SF community generally does not look at the Bram Stoker Awards too closely).
I don't see why not. I mean, the Stoker awards have nominated or gone to mysteries like A Boy's Life, thrillers like Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, a fantasy like American Gods (which, oh, by the way, WON A HUGO).

... So maybe you should at least do a quick Wiki search? Like I just did?

Though, come to think of it, "attack of the 6 foot Tranny" does describe Buffalo Bill....
And if you are not paying attention to the Hugos, then you are unlikely to be aware of the Sad Puppies. I have sometimes mentioned the campaign to my friends in horror fandom, and none of them had heard of it.
You know, when Richard Nixon swept the election, nearly getting all 50 states, a New York Times reporter was confused, because, after all, no one she knew voted for him.

And no one "Doris" knows is aware of Puppies.

I guess no one "Doris" the Doofus knows has ever read Entertainment Weekly. Or Wired. Or File 770. Or NPR. Or the Atlantic. The Boston Globe. National Review. And this is just the first two pages of results upon googling Sad Puppies.
The notion that legions of horror fans (who care little about the Hugos) have suddenly become card-carrying supporters of the Puppy campaigns (which care little about horror) is simply not something that I can swallow.
..... Words cannot begin to describe how much I don't want to know what you will swallow, "Doris."
If you want to argue that Souldancer is a good novel, then go ahead. 
Funny, I thought that was part of winning the Dragon Award. The novel was so good, Brian's fans actually showed up and voted for it. You didn't vote. Therefore, you don't count in the Dragon Award.
If you want to argue that it deserves to be popular, and may someday be popular, then go ahead.
It already is. It was fans who got him a Dragon Award. At a convention with 60,000 con goers, minimum.
But you cannot argue, with any kind of intellectual honesty, that it is currently a popular novel amongst fans of the genre.
Actually, I can. It's popular enough to win a Dragon Award. I'll see my 60,000 con goers against your poor attempts at Googling any day of the week.

And you haven't proved otherwise, Doofus.
This claim will never escape Niemeier’s echo chamber: go around saying that Souldancer is horror fandom’s new favourite novel, and the first people to call you out will be horror fans.
Actually, the only one who seems to be calling him out is this bugger.
Incidentally, when I first reported on the Dragon Awards at WWAC, I received a reply from one of the non-Puppy nominees where she mentioned her “obscure indie published military sci fi book”. She has the right idea. She sees that there is no shame in being a little-league writer who does what they enjoy, who picks up a few fans along the way, and who may someday go on to bigger things.
There isn't...

...What does this have to do with the price of tea in China?
Brian Niemeier does not seem to realise this. For him, it is clearly not enough to have a small but loyal readership that has pushed him to the top of an online poll. He has to present himself as being fandom’s favourite horror writer – the “Dragon of Horror”, as he styles himself – even though he knows full well that this is simply not the truth.
It's called marketing. Only instead of "attack of the 6 ft tranny," he's marketing as the first guy to win the Dragon.

It's called a brand. It's how the free market works.

Perhaps you should look into that sometime.

"Doris" ends with a quote.
But if you’re an asshat, you will not be tolerated. Don’t be a dick. Because if you are, you’re going to get called out real quick.
Yeah. Sure. Except obviously, no one has called you out, douchy stalker boy. Now go take your size 20 stilleto heels, and go walk on a grate....

Watch as "Doris" takes that as a threat, too.
If the “Dragon of Horror” keeps things up, then this is a lesson he will soon learn the hard way.
Oh, look, stalkerish threats. Thankfully, s/he/it is far across the see, and is too cheap to pay for air fare. Though if this creature would like to stalk me ... well, I live near a police station, my neighborhood has clear lines of sight, and I'm relatively certain I can see this one coming.

And now, if you haven't already, you might want to try one of the nominated Best Horror novels for the Dragon last year, Honor at Stake, it's sequel Murphy's Law of Vampires, or perhaps one of the other books.

And if you've read them, a review would be nice.



  1. Ha! I would be clapping if I didn't have coffee running out of my nose! Yet another Butthurt Goddess bites the pavement.

    Brian is doing something that isn't often done: He's creating a fictional cosmos from uttermost scratch as a backdrop for exploring themes that he wants to explore without having to bend the knee to genre conventions. Lovecraft did this and changed the horror genre forever. Not a lot of other people have.

    The big deal about indie publishing is that we get to bed the limits of conventional genres without apology, and do things that others haven't done because the genre won't allow it. Honor at Stake does a certain amount of that. I'm doing it too, and loving every second.

    Illigitimati non carborundum. As I'm sure you won't.

  2. Really? He/she/it(?) tried to say that Brian was on the same level as Requires Hate?

    I'm beginning to understand why Ellison hates fans.


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