Sad Puppies 4 Update: My Readers Are Awesome!

Fans of Nethereal have been busy over on the Sad Puppies 4 Best Novel recommendations thread.

Throughout all of its iterations, Sad Puppies has been dedicated to making SF fandom at large aware of books that would normally have gone unnoticed by the much smaller Worldcon membership. SP has been particularly effective in helping to level the playing field between indie and big publishers.

The team behind Sad Puppies 4 have stated that their goal is to expand the pool of voters for the 2016 Hugos and bring in as much new blood as possible. How effective have they been so far?

It just so happens that I'm ideally placed to answer that question.

SP 4 is currently taking recommendations for the best SFF works of 2015. When polling closes in February or March, they will publish a suggested reading list composed of the ten most recommended works in each category.

I crunched the numbers, and if SP 4's Best Novel recommendations were released today, they'd look like this:

Sad Puppies 4 Speculative Top 10

Damn, can my readers punch above their weight!

And Sad Puppies gives them a seat at the table right up there with fans of Larry Correia, Jim Butcher, and Neal Stephenson.

Here's a secret: all authors are terrified that no one will like our books. The ability to overcome fear of rejection is the one skill that separates working writers from perpetual daydreamers.

When I wrote Nethereal, I had no idea if anyone outside my circle of family and friends would even buy it. Hitting Publish on KDP was among the most intimidating experiences of my life.

All things considered, I'm just a schlock SF writer trying to entertain people. If you want literary pretensions and civics lectures dressed up in SF clothing by writers who are too ashamed of the genre to write actual science fiction, you're in the wrong place.

I write for the quiet multitude that legacy publishing abandoned in its rush to be socially conscious--people who'd read SF for years and almost gave up, or did give up, on it for lack of the entertainment that was really all they ever wanted.

Unlike the dying legacy publishers who've been dragging the genre down with them, I don't think that a little fun is too much to ask.

It's extremely gratifying to know that my work is paying off. My readers are having a good time, and Sad Puppies is giving them the platform to let me know it.

But that's not the most amazing part. What blows my mind is the fact that more people have suggested me for the Campbell Award for Best New Author than Andy Weir.

Do you people understand what you've done? You have placed me ahead of the dude who WROTE THE FUCKING MARTIAN!

What's wrong with you? Whatever it is, don't change it.

Well, it looks like some folks are actually quite fond of the stories I throw together from bits and pieces lifted off of Frank Herbert, Masamune Shirow, and Dante. Guess I'll have to keep them coming.

Luckily, my next offering is due to arrive any day now.

I hope you have fun with it!

Update of the update: Best selling author and former Sad Puppies mastermind Larry Correia has declined a place on the Sad Puppies 4 recommended reading list, citing his renunciation of all Hugo nominations for his works. We can be sure that the SP 4 organizers will respect his wishes.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, David. Readers like you are why I do this.

      P.S. The beta read of your book is underway. Great stuff so far!

  2. I just bought Nethereal and Honor at Stake off of amazon. Eagerly anticipating both.

    Of these I've only got around to Somewhither, but it absolutely deserves its placement. That is the book I would have passed around when I was sixteen to all my friends and would have geeked out over.

    1. Thank you! May Nethereal serve you well.

      I just started reading Somewhither, and your description already rings true.

  3. Am I the only person who had warning bells start going off when I saw that an Ancillary book was a contender for the Sad Puppies nominations? I suppose it's at least theoretically possible for it to merit (I haven't read it and probably won't), but my gut reaction is to suspect entryists. Given that Sad Puppies are explicitly not-explicitly-conservative, they seem to me a likely candidate for O'Sullivan's Law, and that may be beginning. Of course, given the lack of focus (10 works per category) this year, I expect the Rabid Puppies to have more success than the Sad at the Hugos, anyway.

    Though SP4 may be the beginning of establishing an independent award, as opposed to continued scrapping over the Hugos. Not only have they apparently switched to an informal voting system for determining the list (SP1 and 2 were just Larry doing is thing, and SP3 was only, what, 3-5 guys making the final decision?), but their About page already mentions an "alternacon;" I don't know if that is what it sounds like, but it sounds like an attempt to get a convention to be for the Puppies like WorldCon is for the Hugos. But perhaps I'm overthinking this.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. My comments:

      You're not the only one raising an eyebrow at some of the books suggested for SP 4. There are a few 770 regulars camping over there.

      Declan Finn noted as much, and he pegged it as an attempt to manipulate the reading list. He doesn't seem too concerned, though. So far, the results back him up.

      For a number of reasons, it's probably a safe bet that RP will continue its dominance from last year, and most likely expand it.

      Based on my conversations with other authors who've had interest/involvement in SPs past, 2016 could rival last year's drama.

  4. Hopefully before Friday. I have long flights for a funeral this weekend, and Soul dancer to read would cheer me up.

    1. Eternal memory.

      I cannot promise that the book will be out by Friday. But if you would like to start with the finished manuscript, please email me and I will send you a free copy.

  5. Also, about the Campbell award, my thought was that, since Nethereal was a legitimate contender for best novel (the sense of wonder and mystery kept me turning pages), and since it was your first novel, it had to go on the Campbell page as well. It was obvious.

    I am glad that others agree with that assessment.

    1. Yeah, you and enough others to put me ahead of Andy Freakin' Weir!

      Don't you go changin' :)