Making Blight at Tor

So everyone thought that the last of the fallout from the Sad/Rabid Puppies and the expanded field of nominees for the Hugo award and finished falling and now it was safe to come out and gambol happily in the fields of science fiction and fantasy? The much revered semi-retired founder of Tor, Tom Doherty made a handsome and diplomatic statement, stressing the fact that in no way were the opinion of MS Irene Gallo, the creative director at Tor, as posted on her personal Facebook page early in May of this year, to be mistaken for being the opinion of the publishing firm itself. But the stuff is still falling, and it’s not rain.

MS Gallo had opined on said personal Facebook page (but a page which appeared mainly to be for publicizing Tor projects) , when someone asked about what the Sad Puppies were all about: “There are two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups, called the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies respectively, that are calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy. They are unrepentantly racist, misogynist and homophobic. A noisy few but they’ve been able to gather some Gamergate folks around them and elect a slate of bad-to-reprehensible works on this year’s Hugo ballot.” When massive attention to this unequivocal statement was paid by outraged science fiction and fantasy writers and readers who were in sympathy with the Sad Puppies, many such felt themselves to be slandered and insulted. MS Gallo did post one of those mealy-mouthed “I’m sorry if you were offended” non-apologetic apologies farther down in the original comment thread which together with Tom Doherty’s statement appeared at first to tamp down some of the fury.

But the discussion of the matter of Tor continued rumbling, especially among writers who felt most particularly insulted on several levels by being smeared as neo-Nazis, racists, misogynists and homophobes. Some of them had intense and life-changing experiences; Peter Grant, for example, was a veteran of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Sarah Hoyt grew up in Portugal in interesting times, and R.K. Modena is the daughter of an anti-Marcos journalist who wound up serving as a diplomat in East Germany and Israel – just to name a few. A diverse lot, on the whole; just not in the manner favored by the establishment diversity warriors. On various Puppy-sympathetic blogs the matter continued to be chewed over by commenters. One of the points made was that MS Gallo’s remarks appeared to be symptomatic of a long-existing institutional bias at Tor towards authors who tended to be more inclined toward a traditional conservative or libertarian frame of mind. I commented on one writer blog, on how this may very well have long-term implications: “From an executive manager’s point of view, allowing this kind of openly-expressed hostility will be disastrous in the long run for Tor. How many excellent writers, potentially best-selling writers who are of an independent, libertarian or even conservative turn of mind will choose not to work with Tor, on hearing about such a work atmosphere there — and take their work to other publishers. It’s just bad management, and over time it may sink Tor entirely.”
How willing would anyone be work with employees of a corporation who personally despise you and have no inhibitions about saying so, either directly or by implication?

And what ought to be the response of those who feel deeply and personally insulted by employees of Tor, such as MS Gallo, and those who clearly stand in agreement with her ill-considered remarks? And what ought Tor to do, over what they already have done? Clean house seems to be the basic consensus; leaving the precise details up to Tor. And to effect that? Some of the offended recommend and are participating in an outright boycott. Some of them – like me – have tastes that run to other and non-Tor published authors, and haven’t bought anything from Tor in years. Others favor purchasing their favorite Tor authors second-hand, and hitting the authorial tip-jar with a donation. I still have the sense that for many of us – after having weathered numerous comments along the same line as MS Gallo’s without much complaint – this was just the final straw.

(Crossposted at

9 thoughts on “Making Blight at Tor”

  1. It’s worth noting one thing about her comments.

    One of the nominated authors of said bad to awful works also publishes books with Tor.

    Another author actually had Tor-published books nominated this year.

    irene was so hideously unprofessional as to not only insult her fans and authors who support SP/RP, but to throw the authors and books Tor publishes under the bus,

  2. May I also strongly recommend taking a look at some of John C Wright’s work. His Night Lands and Matachronopolis books are both excellent.

  3. }}} “There are two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups, called the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies respectively, that are calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy. They are unrepentantly racist, misogynist and homophobic.

    Wow, that’s such a blatantly lying piece of dreck I’m surprised some of the Sad Puppies don’t get together with an attorney and sue them for libel. Not so much to really take it all the way, but to slap the bitch for making such a blatantly wrong statement. If you know anything of the main drivers behind SP, you’d know that they include a lot of people that none of those terms can possibly include.

    I hadn’t paid attention to the Hugos in years, but this makes me want to buy in just so I can vote against everything Tor publishes, and for SP — not on the merits of anything I’ve read, but just because any time someone feels the need to tell such blatant lies, the opposition MUST be doing something correct.

    It seems rather clear to me that the editorships of more than one of the publishing houses need some serious housecleaning of ideological nitwit SJW types.

  4. Well, she didn’t malign anyone specific by name, IGB, so no one had grounds – but it was a pretty sweeping statement. And I’d guess that this boycott or buy around, coupled with writers of a conservative bent not shopping their MSs to Tor will eventually have an effect. I mean, talk about hostile work environment…

  5. Leftists have been calling Republicans Nazis since FDR. The use of “Nazi” as an all-purpose insult has spread from the Lililan Hellmans and FDRs of the world to everyday idiots. Since Fascism and Nazism were invented, Communists, their sympathizers, dupes, fellow travelers, and activists have always smeared their opponents as Nazis. Since when has a Democrat/Communist/Feminist/Leftist ever said their opponents were anything less than racist/sexist/homophobic Nazis? It’s a winning hand, or has been for eighty years.

    The idea that Gallo behaved unprofessional is an attempt to hold her to a standard of capitalist-white male-homophobic oppressors. She won’t change. Were she in charge, no books with which she disagreed would be published; that is, her publishing house would sell only propaganda.

    I have no suitable analogy for Leftists: they genuinely believe everyone who is not a Leftist should be silenced, punished, re-educated, or destroyed. Leftism is the total abandonment of all Christian and Enlightenment virtue. Only circumstances prevent them from sending non-believers to the centres, camps, and gulags.

  6. The communist left did not call everyone to their right Nazis/Fascists until after Hitler attacked the USSR. Before that, especially after the non-aggression treaty in 1939, the communists were in bed with the Nazis in European/American politics. After the war, they started their successful attempt to make everyone think the Nazi/Fascist Parties were not socialists.

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