Or, in this case, the freaking Sad Puppies. Yeah, they’re back. And still awful. And everything is terrible. Let’s dig into the latest SFF publishing drama, shall we?

Irene Gallo is a well-respected creative director for Tor Books and an associate publisher of their online arm, Tor.com. Most people have nothing but glowing things to say about her in both her professional and private life. She spoke out on her PERSONAL Facebook page about the Sad Puppy/Rapid Puppy slate that swept the Hugos this year.

“There are two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups, called the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies respectively, that are calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy. They are unrepentantly racist, sexist and homophobic. A noisy few but they’ve been able to gather some Gamergate folks around them and elect a slate of bad-to-reprehensible works on this year’s Hugo ballot.”

While it’s a pretty fierce stance to take, she isn’t wrong. The SP/RP slate is a disaster and shows how easily one of the biggest awards in Science Fiction/Fantasy publishing can be gamed. I expect a lot of awards to not even be given this year because of all the people who will vote “no award” in categories stuffed with Sad Puppy authors.


One of the worst assholes of the group, the reprehensible Vox Day, sounded the alarm to all his minions (which has expanded to involve the vile specter that is Gamergate) and thus we get an insane public letter of apology from Tom Doherty, the publisher of Tor himself.


In the letter, he throws Gallo to the wolves (or, rather, the Puppies) and publically chastises her for what she said about the people who are effectively trying to ruin SFF publishing because they’re upset that women and people of color are getting nominated and winning. Doherty capitulated to their demands and threw Gallo under the bus to do so.

It’s ugly. It got even uglier once Puppies started showing up in the comments, baying for Gallo’s blood and demanding she be terminated. Some of the authors on the Puppies slate who felt wronged showed up to reiterate how terrible they are, like John C. Wright (nominated for an unprecedented five Hugo awards). Wright is notorious for his noxious homophobic views and spewed them all over the comment section of the public letter. Is THIS what Doherty wants?


The other comments are outraged that Doherty could do this to Gallo. The implications that he bended his knee to the Puppies is awful and it’s worse that he decided to take the heat off by throwing a woman under the bus for them. People are disgusted he wrote that letter and found it disheartening that it looks like Tor has thrown its lot in with the Puppies. Voices of disappointed reason are Mary Robinette Kowal and Chuck Wendig.


Wendig took to his blog, Terrible Minds, to break down the drama and explain how awful it is.

I find it no small irony that both the Sad and Rabid Puppies — who so strongly espouse freedom of speech, would then endeavor to rob that from Irene Gallo unless, gasp, we’re talking about another double-standard in play? It’s almost like women get treated differently in the world and held to different standards… hmm. *strokes beard thoughtfully*

Regardless of whether or not you agree with what she said, the fact remains: her publisher publicly rubbed her nose in the mess, then threw her under a bus, then threw her body to a pack of wolves. Again: publicly. Not privately. Perhaps this was all part of some legal stratagem or even a legal necessity — but what it feels like is an entreaty by the publisher to appease folks who believe and opine about really horrible things. And any time you want to make sure that your “inclusiveness” includes the most awful amongst us, please understand you’re not creating a safe space for anybody but the abusers. It’s like putting up a sign in your flowerbed: POISON IVY WELCOME.


The Hugo Awards are presented on August 22nd. I wonder how much more drama we’ll see before then.