Depending on your point of view, today is the day you may either want to stop buying books from Tor, or go out and buy some extra to show your support. Sad Puppies supporter Peter Grant and Rabid Puppies founder Theodore “Vox Day” Beale are calling for a boycott of Tor Books because they have not taken sufficient action concerning either the Irene Gallo controversy or other disparaging remarks made by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, and John Scalzi.
Taking Grant at his word, he has more reason than most to be outraged by Gallo’s referral to the Puppies as “neo-Nazis.” According to past entries on his blog, he spent 18 years as an anti-Apartheid activist in South Africa, and has literally exchanged gunfire with real neo-Nazis.
Larry Correia, the founder of the original Sad Puppies movement, declaims that this is not a “Sad Puppies” boycott because Grant doesn’t officially speak for the campaign. Likewise, Grant is careful to insist that he does not speak for the Sad Puppies:
I am not a member of, and I do not speak for, either the ‘Sad Puppies’ or ‘Rabid Puppies’ campaigns (although I support the former). I don’t represent cute puppies, playful puppies, cuddly puppies or hush puppies – only myself. If you share, in whole or in part, my values and outlook on life, I invite you to join me in this boycott. Don’t do so just because I, or anyone else, is asking you to do so. Act on the basis of your own informed conscience and reasoned judgment.
However, even leaving aside that Vox Day certainly does speak for the Rabid Puppies, what Correia and Grant miss is that, as a grass-roots movement (I was going to say “ostensibly grass-roots,” but what the heck, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt), “Sad Puppies” doesn’t really have a true “leadership” to speak for it at this point. Whether you’re an official “member” or not, if you identify with the movement, you’re going to be identified with the movement, especially by the movement’s opponents.
Make a lot of noise in support of Sad Puppy goals, and voila, you’re a Sad Puppy, and anything you do reflects on them. And likewise, anything the rest of them do reflects on you—which is why the Puppies movement as a whole is, rightly or wrongly, often tarred with the black brush that most accurately applies only to Vox Day and others like him. (Indeed, it’s why a lot of people use “Sad Puppies” as a shorthand to refer to both the Sad and Rabid Puppies.) And it’s why anti-Puppies (some have suggested the term “Happy Kittens”) feel justified in calling this a “Sad Puppies” boycott.
(This is also why any GamerGater who is seriously concerned about ethics in journalism and abhors the practice of doxxing and harassing female game developers should disassociate themselves with the movement as soon as they can, because the people who do gleefully dox and harass have completely destroyed any shreds of the movement’s credibility.)
As a result, various “Happy Kittens” have declared today to be Buy a Tor Book day, and are tweeting title suggestions under the #BuyATorTitle hashtag. Even without this counter-campaign, it is doubtful that a Tor boycott will have much effect on Tor’s bottom line.
That being said, it’s doing a great job of stirring up additional publicity around the whole mess—including this very blog post. But then, that’s how these things tend to work.
I do wonder whether the opposing exhortation to buy more Tor books today will have any effect. It would be interesting to see if it was reflected in Amazon purchases. Maybe Hugh Howey should consider taking an Author Earnings snapshot to see if Data Guy can tease that out. (I’ve emailed him with that suggestion, in fact.)