Sad Puppies Review Books: THE POKY LITTLE PUPPY

Editor’s Note: Some wags (no pun intended) have claimed that our normal Sad Puppy reviewer of books, Mr. John Z. Upjohn, is not actually representative of the diverse opinions, tastes, and political ideologies of the Sad Puppies as a whole. Some have even suggested that he is little more than a ridiculous, over the top caricature. So in the interest of fairness, I have brought in another Sad Puppy for today’s review, to give this webpage generally and the SPRB feature in particular a more balanced perspective.


poky little puppy


Reviewed by Special Guest Reviewer James May

We are already aware you are blind to your own activism. You support a bizarre race-gender cult obsessed with patriarchy. It is anti-white, anti-male, anti-Western and even anti-Anglophone it is so steeped in racial hate, misandry and heterophobia. I regard it as nothing more than a hate movement, and that’s using your own paper-thin standards. How you get around that is by claiming the “marginalized” are never racists, sexists, misandrists, etc. I reject that.

Here’s the dividing line and the crucial issue: I don’t care what you do. I don’t care about any of your initiatives. What I care about is it is never expressed without dehumanizing men and whites as racist, women-hating, homophobes who have conspired and continue to conspire to keep everyone but the straight white male out of SFF. That is a lie we have proved with facts over and over again. The history of SFF as portrayed by SJWs is a hoax. It has never been any more exclusionary than Field & Stream.

We have also proved with facts over and over again that SJWs do exactly what they claim we do: namely advocate for and discriminate against people based on their race and sex.

You claim you are against Vox Day and John Wright but in fact you were throwing us under the bus in swaths of no less than 100 million people before you ever heard of them. You are a protected and privileged class of goofball feminists who will never pie-chart a military cemetery as long as you live because intersectional gender feminists are liars.

The idea we as an entire sex and racial group oppose women, gays and non-whites entering any arena whatsoever is laughable. Pretending we are all conservatives is Bigotry 101: paint an ethnic or sexual group as an ideology. Boom! Done. Let the Anita Sarkeesian “critiques” begin. We are aware of what your so-called “allies” have to do to escape the shame of being straight white men and so escape their “ideology” by showing their bona fides. We are aware of how quickly you turned on “ally” GRRM. Crime? Oops! He reverted to a straight white male and forgot to only torture men in his books. Concern for the in-group while ignoring the out-group is just more classic bigotry. Either you’re against violence or you’re not.

And notice how I myself have gone out of my way to show you are not liberals or Marxists and nor do I light up entire demographic groups. Although your cult laughingly pretends to represent all women, gays and non-whites – with radical feminist shit-titles like “Women Destroy SF” – you don’t. Gays are not the problem – gays who are bigoted supremacists are. Women are not a problem – female bigots are. Non-whites are not a problem – non-white racists are. If you claim to be human, then claim those human failings, since it is so self-evidently true of your cult. Whites are not a problem – white supremacists are. And that is a principle any race or sex can embrace. Wake up to that. My pushing back against this cult is no more pushing back against women, gays and non-whites than pushing back against the KKK makes me anti-white.

SJWs continually use random demographic spikes as if they are Jim Crow – but only if they benefit you. Otherwise random demographic spikes are fine as long as they aren’t straight white men. Boxing, Arab film, Samba, the NBA – no prob.

Say this over and over again: demography is not ideology.

Say this too: group defamation is always wrong – ALWAYS.

Stop lying and pretending you critique anything but our race and sex. No matter what we say, no matter the facts, you move the goalposts so straight white men remain in the crosshairs. Go look at Nebula Awards Weekend. It is a disgrace. Literature? LOL

I am not interested in your stupid con game or your hateful brand of feminism which pretends to be the successor to equal rights feminism, a thing I do support.

We cannot even converse until we agree on rules that work for all, not just some. This is called a “principle.” We have rightly portrayed your cult as one which rejects principle in favor of identity.

I reject everything your cult stands for.


Late Afternoon Update

My decision to basically play triage with my throat has turned out pretty awesome.

This morning before I properly woke up, I was coughing so hard that I was a little worried that I’d been kidding myself that my cold was getting better and it had just migrated south. Then I realized my cough, as horrible as it was, was completely non-productive… my throat was just so irritated that the smallest things would set it off.

I had a good supply of lozenges and ginger candy already, because I made a point of stocking up on that stuff before WisCon… con crud or no con crud, a convention can be murder on your throat. But I also have this giant stockpile of mint tea that I started laying in back when I was mostly off of caffeine. When I started drinking soda again, it started to fall by the wayside and then when Dorian died and I re-arranged my entire office, I lost my tea station and never bothered to set it back up again.

But now after drinking hot liquids all morning, I’m back from my throat feels like someone’s taken a roto-rooter to it to feeling so normal I have to watch that I don’t overdo it with the talking. I have not needed any kind of cough medicine or even a lozenge since this morning.

But man… I forgot how good a good cup of green tea with mint makes me feel. What it does for my body and  brain. It’s like the perfect combination of the green tea’s mood boosting effect, the mint’s focus/creativity boosting effect, and the caffeine’s affect on dopamine… it’s like the thing that has been missing from my herbal supplementation these past several months.


Sad Puppies Review Books: STREGA NONA

strega nonaSTREGA NONA

Reviewed by John Z. Upjohn, USMC (Aspired)

If you want chilling proof of the radical feminist lesbian witch cult (also known as “Social Justice”) that has infiltrated all ranks of society, look no further than this book which blatantly glorifies witchcraft, matriarchy, and the creation of a loyal slave nation of emasculated beta male cucks.

Exactly as foretold in a literal straightforward reading of the Book of Revelation, this book portrays a near-future world where even the Catholic Church itself is in thrall of a woman. The church is no longer the Bride of Christ but the scarlet woman of Babylon.

“Although all the people in the town talked about her in whispers, they all went to see her if they had troubles. Even the priests and the sisters in the convent went, for Strega Nona had a magic touch.” If that isn’t straight out of the Bible then I don’t even know what the Bible says. I do know that it says to not suffer a witch to live, not to treat her as a valued civic leader.

I think we can all agree that this is an example of the kind of ideological, agenda-driven “message fiction” that has replaced real God-fearing SF/F that embraces and centers Christianity in the best traditions of classic science fiction.

This story shows a town that turns their back on God and then is almost crushed under a “flying spaghetti monster” of its own making. In their last moments they remember who made the heavens and the earth and cry out for Him to save them, and He, as was foretold in the holy book, looks down and whispers “no”. It is exactly what will happen in the end times, only in this fictitious example the witch returns at the last minute and spares them. When it really happens, though, she will find herself as powerless as the rest and the tide of pasta will roll over her with the sheep she led astray for Satan is the real “spaghetti monster” and like Saul Alinsky he is a great deceiver.

In the world that the SJWs seek to create, men don’t woo and win women as God intended but instead women go to a matriarchal elder and have a husband assigned to them and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Strega Nona decides she is too busy and important to keep a house, do the gardening, wash dishes, or do any of the things that women do for free. Instead she humiliates and browbeats a man who is denied any other employment opportunities because he is living in an upside-down society, forcing him to do a housewife’s work for no other compensation except security, food, shelter, and money.

As you might expect from a work of pure propaganda, the conflict in the book comes when her beta cuck housepet “Big Anthony” has had enough and decides to go his own way, daring to take for himself the power and prestige that Strega Nona decided only belonged to the approved feminist elite like herself. In a proper rollicking adventure story, his bravery would have been celebrated and duly rewarded. Because this is “message fiction” though he gets only bitter comeuppance for daring to seize power.

If this book is true to life in any way it exactly captures the nature of the backlash the SJW Hugo elite has had to the whole Sad Puppy campaign. I’m sorry, were we not supposed to touch your special pasta pot? Was it not polite to ram through a slate of nominees based on the fact that one of us said they were pretty good? Is that not how it’s done?

Well, I’m sorry if I’m not willing to “blow kisses” at the “sacred feminine cooking pot” in order to get anywhere, as this story suggests we all must do. Is it any surprise that the treasonous miscreants at the Caldecott Medal chose this book for an honor?

Two stars.

STATUS: Tuesday, June 2nd


The State of the Me

I’m at the stage of respiratory illness recovery where I feel completely great except for my throat, which is bearing the scars of the previous week’s drainage. So I’ll be doing great until something sets it off, and then I have a coughing fit that leaves it raw. Mint tea, crystallized ginger, and lozenges are the order of the day.

The Daily Report

It’s going to be a weird week, as my enthusiasm and energy conflict continuously butts up against the reality of my upper respiratory tract. Ah, well.

Case in point: I have a brand new microphone that I got shortly before I got sick the last time, and I’ve barely used it. Yesterday I was feeling so awesome I decided to try doing a test recording. That was a mistake. So, instead of trying to do anything big and bold, I’m easing back into creative writing after essentially two weeks without it.

Plans For Today

I’m declaring today a random write whatever day. Got to prime the pump.

Because hope springs eternal…

…I went and left a comment on chief puppy Brad R. Torgersen’s blog, after reading the excerpt on the daily File 770 round-up.

My comment was prompted by his repeating a saw I’m pretty sure I’ve already seen multiple times from him: the idea that “social justice warriors” is a real thing that the people he spends his time taking written potshots at called themselves.

It’s a little thing, in the long run. But the insistent way in which the chief puppies stick to their guns about this is such a perfect representative example of the alternate reality they have constructed for themselves and from which they are conducting their campaign, and I just keep thinking—probably foolishly—that if they can manage to recognize the truth of this matter, it might make them more amenable to questioning the other fallacies they’ve taken as articles of faith regarding who their chosen opponents are and what we’re about.

I may be a poor choice for emissary, given how much time I spend skewering them… but the truth is the truth, whether it comes from a clown or a priest. The truth is still every bit as true when it comes from your most hated enemy as when it comes from your closest friend.

While hope springs eternal, my previous forays in bringing the truth to Brad Torgersen’s blog have not convinced me it’s worth sticking around to engage over there. So to that end, I’m reproducing my comment here (with a few typos and errors cleaned up). If anybody wants an actual discussion about it, I’ll be happy to have it here.


I’m sure I’m not the first person to try to tell you this, but the people who spew hot air about “warriors for social justice” are all over here with you. That’s not a thing people called themselves. It’s a pejorative made up to dismiss people, a la calling someone “PC patrol” or “feminazi” or “thought police”.

Some people have taken it as an ironic badge of honor or made geeky riffs on it (like “Social Justice Paladin” or “Social Justice Bard”), but by and large, you’re chiding people for not living up to the standards of a label that was foisted upon them in the first place.

Which is actually part of the function of the label. Most of the people I have seen getting slapped with the “SJW” label not only don’t describe themselves as social justice warriors, they don’t describe themselves as activists. They’re just people, living their lives, dealing with their own problems, and acting their consciences.

Example: I’m not an activist. I’m a writer. Like most writers, I try to write the books that I want to read. As a reader, it’s really kind of important that books 1) acknowledge the reality of my life, that people like me exist, or failing that, that they don’t 2) openly insult me, or 3) portray people like me in laughingly unrealistic ways that jar me out of the story. For “people like me”, you can read queer, women, disabled… any of that.

Now’s the part where you blather on about I-Dentity Politics and PC Police and imaginary quotas and the censorship you think I’ve just called for and wonder “What ever happened to telling a good story and not caring about politics?”

But is a story a good story if it is otherwise good yet portrays Christians all as being wrongheaded, narrow minded superstitious fools? I mean, can it be a good story if a significant cross section of humanity is rendered in an extremely unrealistic—say nothing of meanspirited, let’s focus on whether it’s realistic—fashion?

Some of this is subjective, obviously. We all have different life experiences, which means different things will ring hollow to us (which is one reason that so many thoughtful writers suggest having beta readers with different experiences). One example that I believe came up in the comments on File 770 is that it’s a sure sign a man wrote a piece if the female viewpoint character is described admiring her perfect breasts in the mirror. That’s a very small, very mundane, and fairly innocuous example of bad writing that happens essentially because of an empathy gap or experience gap, but it’s not going to jar every reader the same way.

Now imagine a book full of things that are all just “off” by that same amount.

Well, you probably don’t have to. You’ve probably read books that are like that, in their treatment of men, or Christians, or the military. And it didn’t just strike you as insulting, but also as bad writing. Right? Your ability to enjoy the story suffered, because while disagreeing with a writer’s politics is one thing, seeing yourself replaced by caricatures page after page is another.

When you talk about taking politics out of writing, what you’re doing is demanding everybody else stops noticing these things as they affect us, but you haven’t announced any plans to do the same.

Anyway, if all you wanted to do was open wide the tent flaps, then you weren’t competent. You were horribly inefficient. You stirred up a ton of bad will, you’re still spending your time and effort fighting the negative impression of you and yours that your actions have fostered, and you only succeeded in the wrong goal (getting a slate of nominees on the ballot isn’t “opening the tent flaps”, is it?), and if we are to take you at your word, you only did that accidentally (because it was demonstrably only the push from that totally-not-with-you guy and his rabid pack of dreadful elks that got any of your nominees on the ballot).

As I said on my blog: next year, if you want the world to believe that your goal is to raise awareness that anyone can nominate whoever they want for the Hugos, make a blog post that says, “Hey, everyone! Did you know that the Hugo Awards, one of the top awards for science fiction, is awarded by the members of WorldCon? And did you know that for $40 you can buy a supporting membership in WorldCon? Now’s your chance to nominate whoever you want!”

That’s all it takes. It won’t succeed in getting a slate of hand-picked nominees on the ballot and blocking people you think don’t deserve to be on the ballot because the wrong people like them for the wrong reasons…

But hey, that’s not what Sad Puppies is about, is it?

This JUST In

There is a game children play—or more often, try to play at—when they are caught doing something they know they shouldn’t. It’s called “I WAS JUST”.

Running around the pool deck? “I WAS JUST walking quickly.” No rule against that, right? The sign says not to run, not to walk slowly.

Teasing the new kid? “I WAS JUST talking to them.” Geez, don’t you want them to feel welcome?

Those of us who have dealt with bullying or harassment know how pernicious the logic of the JUST can be. JUST talking, JUST joking, JUST being friendly, JUST happen to be going the same way…

And while I think most parents don’t fall for the amazingly elaborate web of lies where a child claims they were JUST checking on the cookies to make sure no one else was stealing them, teachers and other part-time responsibility figures don’t feel comfortable moving against the worst, most entitled and self-justified troublemakers without a clear-cut rule and a red-handed violation of it. Challenging the lie doesn’t seem worth the headache. So the kids who make life hell for others while sleeping the sleep of the JUST grow up with the understanding that this is a winning move.

This brings us up to the Sad Puppies campaign, a mean-spirited and divisive campaign whose founders and leaders have never been shy about what they are doing and why… until people start calling them on it, at which point they pretend that no one said anything about poking a stick in anyone’s eye, no one on their side accused anyone of nominating the wrong works for the wrong reasons, no one ever alleged a clique was controlling the Hugos, no, no, nothing like that!

Oh, no. If any of that happened, we are supposed to ignore it because from start to finish, the Sad Puppies campaign has JUST been about raising awareness about the Hugo nomination process, so people know they have the ability to nominate whatever work or writer they think has been overlooked.

And who could object to a campaign that is JUST doing that? That would be like opposing a group that is JUST standing up for ethics in video game journalism. It would be like blaming children for breaking an expensive vase playing football indoors when they were JUST trying to get more exercise like you always said they should. Sheesh, what do you have against kids getting exercise?

To be real for a moment: I can buy the idea that some of the people involved in the Puppy campaigns have bought into this line. I think that even a lot of the children who proclaim that they were JUST have convinced themselves of the truth of what they’re saying.

So if you are a Puppy reading this, here’s how you convince the rest of the world that you mean all those high-minded ideals more than the snipping and sniping:

Next year, try actually spreading awareness of the open nature of nominations. Don’t buy into the slate. Don’t take your recommendations and hand them off to someone who may ignore them while assembling a slate of their own picks. Instead do what countless other people have done for years: post your own recommendations directly, as recommendations.

Add an explanation that anyone who buys a supporting membership to Worldcon can nominate their own picks, and bam… you will have just raised awareness of the nomination process.

What does participating in a slate do that furthers that mission? What does making vague, unfounded accusations that past nominees/winners benefited from some shadowy affirmative action program do to advance the cause? What does all the noise and mess and deliberate provocation and stirring up controversy have to do with anything? What does it add?

If you really JUST want to make sure everyone knows how the nomination and voting process works so more people can get involved, great! Focus on doing that. Some people might grouse about the outcome, but nothing in this world pleases everyone.

But no matter who is pleased or displeased with the final ballot or the perceived demographics of Hugo voters after such an influx, at least you’d be able to enter your house justified instead of JUST-ified.

Sad Puppies Review Books: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


Reviewed by John Z. Upjohn, USMC (Aspired)

There are some days when it seems like fighting the causes of puppy-related sadness. When the whole world is arrayed against us due to the vile calumnies of a tiny insignificant clique, when hit piece after hit piece is slipped into liberal rags such as The Atlantic and Popular Science, when no one who attempts to refute us bothers to keep track from day to day what our motivation is, I start to wonder, “John, what is even the point of it all?”

Then I read a book like this, and I remember. I remember why we fight.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is the tale of a young man persecuted past the point of all reason. Only in the sick world of so-called Social Justice would he be held up as a comic figure rather a tragic one to be rescued or, failing that, avenged.

Our story begins when the main character wakes up with gum in his hair. Yet when he went to sleep, it was safely and responsibly in his mouth, where gum belongs. I am sure the SJWs would say that it is his fault for chewing gum in the first place, that he was somehow “asking for it”. They hate victim blaming until the victim is a white straight “CIS-MALE” and then suddenly everything is the victim’s fault. I ask you, is this morality where a person is always wrong 100% based on the gender and race?

If you say it is Alexander’s fault that the gum wound up in his hair, then you are saying he shouldn’t have had it in his mouth. If you are saying that he shouldn’t have had it in his mouth, you are saying he shouldn’t be allowed to chew gum. Who are you to say that he shouldn’t chew gum just because he is a straight white male, or as normal people who don’t notice sex or race would say, a normal person?

The rest of the book chronicles the world’s attempts to punish a young normal person for being normal. His brothers—doubtless good little sheeple who baa along to the SJW line—are given toys in their cereal while he has none. He is cruelly and arbitrarily denied a window seat. He is blamed for doing things that he clearly intended no negative consequences to come from.

When he loses his marbles down the bathtub drain, what is the lesson supposed to be? That it’s his fault? That he shouldn’t have taken his marbles into the bathtub? What man could live like that? What man would want to?

Even his beta cuck of a father—a man who has so little self-respect he allows his wife to drive him to and from work so she can have the car to gallivant around town from children’s shoe store to pediatric dentist office to wherever her little heart desires while he’s out earning a living to support her carefree lifestyle—chides Alexander for what is essentially his own failure to impose discipline.

The part that really struck home with me is the moment when his teacher chooses to praise—or “award” we might say—another student’s piece of artwork over his, just because the picture of a sailboat conforms more to her narrow-minded ideas about what art should be than his picture of an invisible castle.

Why should one person be put in charge of judging what is and isn’t art? Why should one person have to submit to a socialist public school teacher’s decision about whose art is allowed to go up on the board? This is exactly the attitude we of the Sad Puppies campaign took a stand against when we decided to nominate the books chosen by Brad Torgersen in order to make sure that science fiction stays exactly the one way we think it should be forever.

If at times during the book it seems that the victimization of the young white male protagonist is so blatant that it almost reads as a subversion of the Alinksy-approved SJW narrative, the end erases all doubt. They’re simply that open in their racist misandry these days. The book ends with the character’s mother writing off his troubles, minimizing them. So much for “listen and believe”!

She tells him that some days are just “like that”, as if it was all just a coincidence, as if she and the teacher and the carpool driver (all women!) hadn’t conspired together to make it happen.

But then, this is the same crew that wants us to believe that it’s somehow not a massive conspiracy when multiple news outlets cover the same story within a day of each other, isn’t it?

They must think we were born yesterday.

Two stars.

POEM: The Night Wind’s Ballad

My new poem “The Night Wind’s Ballad” is available as part of Niteblade #32. Niteblade uses a sort of hybrid sales/free model. You can buy the issue here, but once they have reached a total of $50 for the issue they will unlock the web-based version on their website (which currently only shows incomplete teasers).

“The Night Wind’s Ballad” is a piece I wrote on the plane while flying to Florida for Christmas last year. The title changed a few times before I submitted it. It was originally “A Night Song In Common Meter” and then “The Night Wind’s Lullaby”.

I think I like the lullaby title best, but I wasn’t sure it worked, given the actual theme of the words. It is in common meter, which makes it a “pick a tune and sing along” song, though for best creepy effect, I recommend reading it with “O Little Town of Bethlehem” in your head.

Niteblade has announced they are closing after their next issue. I am very pleased to have been able to make the cut before they vanish into the night.

Monday, June 1st

The Daily Report

I have to tell you, there is something in me that just rejoices at the perfection of a month beginning on Monday. I love it when things line up like that. I’m not 100% over being sick, but good enough to make the effort of going to work, especially since I would be kicking myself if I had the chance to start a work week cleanly on Monday and have it be the first of the month.

At the same time, I’m a little aghast that it’s June already. Where does the time go? I was sick twice in May, on top of the con. April seems to have disappeared without a trace this year. I spent much of the spring mired in a depressive fog, really.

Part of missing much of May means that I did not do nearly as much to promote Angels of the Meanwhile as I meant to do. Well, with a time-limited offer, it was probably inevitable that a certain amount of its impact would come down to the wire. I’m going for broke today, contacting people with larger profiles and asking them to help boost it.

In happier news: I now have my fourth published poem of the year. I will be making a separate blog post about that in a bit.

State of the Me

Well, I have a sore throat from all the nasal stuff that’s been dripping down it, and my nose is still slightly runny on one side. I am much better, though. Gone is the full body soreness and deep-bone fatigue that signals to me that I’m in a real fight. This is just clean up.

Plans For Today

Today is definitely a “get back into the swing of things” day. Or maybe “get into the swing of things”. I’m kind of working on establishing a new normal here, armed with fresh insight garnered from the con.