The Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies have released their recommendation lists for the year… and I feature prominently on both of them. There’s just a few things I’ll highlight here:
- I am at the top of the list in the Fan Writer category on both of them.
- My work on Appendix N is singled out in the Best Related Work category on both lists.
- The Castalia House blog is recommended for Best Fanzine, Morgan (Castalia House’s resident scholar of all things pulp) is put forward for Best Fan Writer, and Castalia House columnist Daniel Eness made Best Related Work, all on Rabid Puppies.
- SuperversiveSF is down for Best Fanzine on both lists. (Note that these guys made my Top Gaming Blogs list last year– I think this one is well deserved.)
- Finally, there are now many gamers and game blogs on both lists. Zenopus Archives is on the Rabid Puppies Fan Writer list. Winchell Chung (the artist that created the iconic look for Steve Jackson’s Ogre Mark V) is down for Best Related Work on Sad Puppies. Ron Edwards and Charles Akins are both down for Best Fan Writer on Sad Puppies. Traveller creator Marc Miller is down for Best Novel on Rabid Puppies. And as I pointed out when I reviewed Ctrl Alt Revolt, Nick Cole is something of a gamer’s gamer; he is down for Best Novella on Rabid Puppies.
You know, I have to say… making the Puppies lists for Best Related Work was a real shock for me. That’s just not something that ever even occurred to me as being a possibility. Maybe it’s a bit ironic, but it’s actually humbling to have even a modest number of people think that well of me. I honestly don’t know what else to say, but “thank you.” So: thank you!
Earlier this year on the Superversive Livestream, L. Jagi Lamplighter wondered what it must have been like for me to be writing about Appendix N and then have it blow up as much as it has. (“Imagine that you were Jeffro…!” Heh.) Now, how it’s blown up has been very surprising– not to mention entertaining as wall. But to tell you the truth, I never had any doubt that this was a really significant story that would be of interest to all kinds of people outside of the game blogging scene.
I just thought it was crazy that so little had been written about the topic. (Though to be fair, James Maliszewski had written rather more than I was aware of at the start.) It seemed obvious that there needed to be a book on the subject for the sort of people that would read Jon Peterson’s Playing at The World, Lewis Pulsipher’s Game Design, and/or James Lowder’s Hobby Games: The 100 Best. And the further along I got in the process, the more surprised I was that no one had taken the time to do it before.
While I had no idea where exactly the series would ultimately lead me, I was certain that a great deal of the best sff writing on the internet was being done by game masters digging into the origins of vintage rpgs. The fact that people in the sff scene were largely unaware of it looked like a golden opportunity. I thought that if someone could take what they were doing, buckle down and put together a book length work on the topic that non-gamers could conceivably read, then… well… something would happen.
And here we are. My supersized gameblog posts have (incredibly to me) inspired the creation of Cirsova, a new semi-pro sff ‘zine dedicated to creating new fiction of the sort that I have spent the past year and a half rediscovering. I am (as of January) blog editor over at Castalia House. And people kibitzing about the Hugos right now are talking about the literary antecedents for the Dual Brain mutation in Gamma World. For a guy that set out merely to share his love of Car Wars with the rest of world, this is a real trip.
As to the controversy surrounding the Hugos, I get that a lot of people want to talk about that but really, I just don’t have too much to say that hasn’t already been said on the topic. Several people have suggested that we would better off writing about the books we love rather than fussing and fighting so much. And while I have a small stockpile of popcorn laid back for the coming months, I will say that I’m fairly well in agreement with that sentiment. Certainly, that attitude motivated me to write as many books reviews and game session reports as I did the past couple of years.
But there is far more going on than I or even the rest of the Castalia House bloggers can keep up with. We really could use some help! Whether you are interested in delving into the history of science fiction and fantasy or whether you have a review of a book or game that nobody’s talking about but which people should be discussing… we want to see what you can do. So if you’ve got something along the lines of Penny Kenny’s take on Legend of the Galactic Heroes or Warren Abox’s piece on En Garde! or even Misha Burnett’s ambitious Appendix X series… please talk to me about doing a guest post.
Because that’s another thing I’ve heard critics of the Puppies saying: that it’s a shame that the Sad Puppies process only ran for a few months; it should be a year round thing… and it should go beyond a mere recommendation with a handful of “amens”! Well, the Castalia House blog can be something like that– for the sort of people that are more interested in books than they are in the fandom wars. As a reader or a writer, I invite you to join us as we dig into the works people are going to be talking about next year. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.