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The official website of New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole

Last Build Date: Wed, 05 Jul 2017 17:04:26 +0000


Comment on About by Mike

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 17:04:26 +0000

Tsvortu would be pronounced "tz/vor/2" with for rhyming with "four." There never was a third volume because the publisher didn't ask until my schedule was much too full, alas. Still, might be a fun place to go now that Wordfire is publishing the books again.

Comment on About by Daniel

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 04:58:02 +0000

I just finished reading "An Enemy Reborn." I really enjoyed it! The story immediately pulled me in and wouldn't let go. I have two questions: what you would say the proper pronunciation of Tsvortu is, and is there any continuation to the story? I plan to read the first book when I can find a copy, but I'm really curious if you ever gave Len's new life a twist or two. Hope to hear from you, Daniel

Comment on Why Puppies are sad, and always will be by Mike

Sun, 19 Apr 2015 16:42:35 +0000

Brad, Thanks for the discussion. It will, indeed, be interesting to see what changes all this brings about in the future.

Comment on Why Puppies are sad, and always will be by Brad Fuhriman

Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:08:27 +0000

I appreciate your responses to the comments. We may not have ended up 100% on the same page, but it's been a decent, amicable discussion where new ideas and viewpoints are offered and considered, and that's what really matters :) I think you're absolutely right in that awards shouldn't matter all that much to authors in the final equation. The founder of the Sad Puppies campaign, Larry Correia, frequently offers similar advice to aspiring writers: The most important thing for professional writers to do is "Get Paid!" Whether or not you receive critical acclaim and awards, as long as you're writing material that's entertaining enough for people to spend their hard-earned money on, you're on the right track. I appreciate your suggestion on using the power of reviews to help promote our favorite writers. I haven't been very good about posting reviews, so I'll try to keep that in mind from now on, any time I finish a book that I particularly enjoy. That said, I do still hope that someday there is an award that better reflects a wider and more diverse cross section of sci-fi fans, whether it's a more inclusive Hugo award, or some new award. Because of the history attached to the Hugo, I'd love to see it go that direction. I think it would restore, and even expand upon the relevance it once had to the broader Sci-Fi audience. Either way, it'll be interesting to see what WorldCon decides. With as much outcry as we've seen from both sides the past few years, I think it's a near certainty that they'll make some kind of change.

Comment on Why Puppies are sad, and always will be by Michelle

Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:00:15 +0000

I think this is a great reflection from one of the most credible sources imaginable. When I was thinking about sci-fi books that I absolutely love that aren't "award caliber" (I will explain more about what I mean by that in a second), your Star Wars novels were the first ones that came to mind. I am glad that you are calling out Sad and Rabid Puppies for the essentially whiny and entitled nature of what they are doing and pointing out the reasons why they're wrong BOTH on their views on diversity and on their need to somehow claim the right to determine what 'award-winning' science fiction entails. I am the type of person that has roughly equal levels of appreciation for the type of art that wins awards and the type of art that doesn't win awards. Both can take a ton of skill and vision and can be very high quality. Both can also be super over- or under-rated by their respective constituencies due to popularity/reputation of creators, trends in the medium, the composition and culture of the fanbase and wider society, etc. Art doesn't exist in a vacuum, it exists in a social context and the puppies are confusing this fact with an imagined SJW conspiracy to take down white, male, conservative authors. I personally think that it is probably harder to make something that is both high quality and truly appeals to the masses. But that doesn't mean that we should be handing out Oscars to Guardians of the Galaxy, or giving Hugo awards to Star Wars novels. Guardians of the Galaxy and the X-Wing novels do not need that kind of validation to still be awesome and have resonance and meaning for their many fans.

Comment on Why Puppies are sad, and always will be by Mike

Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:14:57 +0000

I understand what you're saying, but here's where I think your analogy breaks down. 1) No SF/Comic book movie has ever won "Best Picture." That doesn't affect how much money they make, nor does it make those films appear to be worse or inferior in the minds of the public. Most folks, if they deign to notice the slight, dismiss it as the Academy's stupidity. 2) There are tons of books—award-winning and otherwise—that are poorly written in the minds of readers. I remember, ages ago, writing a story that all my friends loved. I submitted it to an anthology and the editor, Marion Zimmer Bradley, rejected it harshly, noting that it was so violent as to be pornographic. Ten years later, Roger Zelazny happily bought the story for an anthology he was editing. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as far as fiction is concerned. Slapping an award label on the book will not make it seem better or worse in the minds of most readers; and it won't change one way or the other the opinion they develop as they read the story. The key thing about fiction is that readers bring a lot of their own baggage to stories. When my novel Once a Hero came out—which is a great book and worthy of all sorts of awards—I was really looking forward to finding out what a female friend thought of it. She was a big fantasy reader and always had great insights on novels that I agreed with. When I spoke to her about it, she said, "I couldn't read it." When I asked why, she said, "I had an ex boyfriend named Neal, just like your hero, so every time I see that name, I think of him. I couldn't get through the book." So, it wasn't anything I'd done that made the book unreadable for her—except for giving my hero the same name as her ex (whom I didn't even know existed). The bigger threat to the genre, by the way, is quasi-literate work which publishers churn out just to make a buck. Look at 50 Shades of Grey. Utter tripe, but boy did it sell. And it sold to the greater public, not some tiny genre. The question of quality doesn't begin nor end with any awards committee, it begins and ends with the demands of publishing. As I noted above, the best bet for fans who want to support authors and promote work they think others should read, is to hit and Amazon and Barnes and Noble and iBookstore, write positive reviews and give books 5 star ratings. Those things will get books more notice than any award ever will. Instead of worrying about pulling weeds, to tax an analogy, fertilize and cultivate the plants you want to see thrive. You'll do yourself and the genre a great favor in that way.

Comment on Why Puppies are sad, and always will be by Mike

Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:02:03 +0000

Thanks for acquainting me with the "other side" of the equation. I'd really not considered at all the idea that fans might not like the fact that their favorite authors aren't garnering popular acclaim or the awards which the fans feel they deserve. Fan discomfort is certainly a valid feeling. I respect that and apologize if I diminished it in any way. For me, that discomfort goes back to the point about wanting external validation. It really doesn't matter how many awards are heaped upon an author or her work; there will always be people who believe that the author is overrated. Or under-appreciated. Everyone has an opinion and, on the Internet, folks freely express them. And writers who want to drive themselves crazy get all happy with good comments and plunge into the depths of depression with the bad ones. I really appreciate, and feel humbled, that fans might be upset on my behalf about what appear to be slights to my career and work. Back in the late 1990s two books got published: The Encyclopedia of SF and the Encyclopedia of Fantasy. Despite having had over thirty novels published by then, and a half-dozen on the New York Times bestseller list, I'm not mentioned in either book. Now there's a slight—the editors decided to deny my very existence in those tomes which, at the end of the last century, sought to encapsulate everything that was SF. In their opinion. My lack of inclusion didn't stop me from writing. It didn't stop folks from reading me. It didn't stop me from believing that I'm a really good writer—one of the best in the field in my humble opinion. The fact that I wasn't in the books was a negative career review, but I'm okay with that. Since those books came out, I've still continued to write, to live off the income from my writing. To paraphrase a good friend of mine, the fact that I'm not mentioned hasn't affected whether or not I can eat. As I noted above, if participation in the Sad Puppies movement is based entirely on a desire to correct a perceived injustice done to certain writers, I understand that. To be quite honest, I think the energy put into this would be better spent writing glowing reviews on websites for those authors. That will do more for them, and do more to bolster the authors' images in the public eye than winning them any award. But that's just my opinion. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Definitely have given me more to think about.

Comment on Why Puppies are sad, and always will be by CarlosT

Fri, 17 Apr 2015 00:15:34 +0000

Whether we like it or not, in the minds of the general public, "award-winning" does translate to "top-tier". The Oscar nominated films are seen as a short list of some of the best films of the past year. Even though it's a tiny cadre of voters that participate ("I'd like to thank the Academy..."), it's usually not too controversial that the winner is a very good movie. If the same isn't true of SF/F, then that's very dangerous for the genre as a whole. If awards do not reward quality of writing or story telling, then a reader may well pick up a copy of something that's won "science fiction’s most prestigious award", and find that it's poorly written and boring. What does that say about the rest of the genre? If the "award-winning" stuff is crap, why even touch the stuff that can't even get nominated? The fact is, saying "the good stuff doesn't win awards" sounds ridiculous and lame.

Comment on Why Puppies are sad, and always will be by Brad F

Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:03:38 +0000

Mike, Thank you for the thoughtful reply. It appears my biggest point of contention (that the "Puppies" are all immature and incapable of adult conversation) may stem from that lumping of the Rabid Puppies and the Sad Puppies. I don't know enough about the Rabid Puppies group to have an opinion on their maturity or anything else. I do interact with people in the "Sad" group, however, and have found them to be generally mature and reasonable. I think separating the two groups is fairly easy, as the members/supporters tend to self-identify with which group they wish to be associated. I appreciate your view on the value of the award to the author (and I agree that, especially these days, the value to authors is fairly minimal), but I'd like to suggest that you missed the other half of the equation. While an author might not care about any validation conferred by an award, that author's fans might. We find authors we like, that we consider brilliant, and when we see others sharing that opinion, it makes us feel like we've connected both with the author, and with like-minded people. When we see these brilliant authors (like yourself, Tim Zahn, Kevin Anderson [ie, anyone who has written fantastic books that happen to be part of an existing franchise, such as Star Wars, or even their universe, but lacking pervasive social messages]) being snubbed over and over and over for awards that the "in-group" keeps telling us represent the best, some of us take it a little personally. I understand where you're coming from when you say the Hugos aren't truly representative of the best, that they're (historically) an award given out by the fairly small group of WorldCon die-hards. The problem, though, comes back to two things: First, those "TruFans" who have been more than happy to shout from the rooftops that the Hugo awards ARE truly representative of the best in all of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and second, the generally accepted view of the average person that a book with "Hugo Award Winner" on its cover does indeed fit that description, based on decades of seeing truly excellent works of fiction with that award attached. In the end, WorldCon has every right to go ahead and adjust their rules to keep out the non-"TruFans" and get back to being an award issued by, and for, members of their club. But until they do that, their cries of outrage that The Wrong Kind of People have ruined their club come off as incredibly childish and petty, especially given the fact that in the past, they've used that "Voting is open, so it must mean the winners are truly the best!" concept as a way to taunt anyone who complained that someone had been snubbed. Had they always maintained "Hugos simply represent the views of WorldCon attendees," Sad Puppies would never have happened. Ultimately, I hope that either the Hugos grows and accepts all these new voices, and becomes what most already see it as, an award for the best in Sci-Fi and Fantasy, or that another award rises up to fill that roll. Then maybe we'll see awards handed to authors such as yourself, and while it might not validate you, it would make some of us fans happy.

Comment on Why Puppies are sad, and always will be by Mike

Thu, 16 Apr 2015 18:00:02 +0000

Where did you see that I accused Vox of gaming the 2014 Awards. I didn't. I was responding to the gaming of the 2015 Awards. No false accusations anywhere.