Tales to Terrify, Rabid Puppies, Hugos, oh my!

I normally don’t talk about topical subjects here. I figure there’s enough of that stuff floating on the interwebz as it is and I don’t want to rally my voice to that pot. But this time I’ve been drawn into it. We all have.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d have heard about the Puppies, especially of the Rabid variety. If you haven’t heard of them, best to keep it that way. Abandon all hope yet who continue reading.


I’m not going to go into that now – enough ink and pixels have been spilled in just that. No, I’m going to talk about something else, something that concerns me and the whole team at District of Wonders.

Tales to Terrify, our horror podcast, earned itself a Hugo nomination.

It was on the Puppy slate.

The Rabid Puppy slate.


There’s a lot of stuff going on about the nominations, the places/people on the slate, and if it’s worth withdrawing solely based on the fact that these items were on the slates. George R. R. Martin nails it brilliant over on his blog where he says that withdrawing is the absolutely last thing anyone should do. It’ll give a certain glorified troll power and one sane person wants to do that.

On that same note, sending a Noah Ward (no-award, that is) nuke to anything on the slate as well? Also insane. Because Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, etc, were on the slate, it means we should punish them with a No Award, even though we’d have voted for them anyway? Beyond insane. Again, John Scazli, George R. R. Martin and others nail this far better than I ever could, check out their words on the matter.

But coming back to Tales to Terrify, the entire team has found ourselves in a very difficult position, none more so than Stephen, Scott, Philip and Laura. We’re in the middle of a mud fight we didn’t know we’d be dragged into. And it sucks.

But something has got to be done.

We’ve written out a letter for Tales to Terrify, distancing ourselves from the Rabid Puppies and their mangy jaws. You can find it over here. Please give it a read and share it around. It’s important people know we’re not a part of this mess and that we had no idea we were on the slate.

I’m not going to lie when I say this wasn’t easy. All the editors at Tales to Terrify were gutted – Stephen wasn’t able to sleep last night and Scott mentioned that he felt like he’d been kicked in the stomach. We hate the fact that we’ve been caught up in this. But we’re not going to pull out. It’s not about us. It’s not about hiding in a corner and waiting for it all to blow over. It’s about fandom as a whole. It’s about telling the Rabid Puppies that their bullying tactics are not okay. That we’re not going to dance to their tune. If we withdrew, we’d be telling them that they can do this every year and to everyone.

It’s a long, bitter and bumpy road ahead, and every bit helps. We’re prepared for the criticism, the smearing, and negative attention and whatever else comes with it. Because we refuse to give Day an inch and because we want to play it straight. Whatever happens, we’re standing our ground. We feel we’ve got something of worth going over at Tales to Terrify, and we’re not going to let the Rabid Puppies ruin that. We owe it to fandom. We owe it to the hundreds of authors, narrators, editors and fans we’ve had the privilege of having on the show. We want their work and their contributions to mean something. We’re not letting Day and his band of semi-literate misfits destroy that.

Sympathies to anyone and everyone caught up in this nonsense. It sucks harder than a baby whale. Amoung other things.

Stiff drinks all around.


For your consideration: StarShipSofa for a Hugo

So, ‘tis that time o’ year again. The team at District of Wonders wanted to let you fine fine people know that StarShipSofa is eligible for the Hugo Award in the BEST FANCAST category this year. Not BEST FANZINE, the award we won it for back in 2010, but BEST FANCAST.

So what did StarShipSofa do in 2015?

We did many, many things. We resurrected and played a story by the legendary creator of Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin. The story was first published in 70s and had been out of print since then – we were the first ones to ever put it online in any format. Our production of the story got the seal of approval from the man himself.

We also played a story by the god of cyberpunk, William Gibson. We played fiction by Norman Spinrad, Robin Hobb, Kim Stanley Robinson, Peter Watts, R. Scott Bakker, Carrie Vaughn, Paul Levinson, Allen Steele, Karen Lord, Neal Asher, Peter F. Hamilton and dozens and dozens of others. Each week we released another story out into the world. Every single one of these stories was narrated by some of the biggest voice actors in the short fiction business, including film actors, threatre performers and voice over artists.

We interviewed Andy Weir, author of The Martian. We interviewed Ellen Datlow, Joe Abercrombie, Becky Chambers, Seth Shostak (director of SETI), Ana Matronic, and Christoph Riley, a professor at NASA, to name a few.

We opened up to unsolicited submissions for the first time, our sister site Far Fetched Fables following suit.  We added two new staff members to our rosters and hired over twenty five extra narrators to our databases, and counting. Hundreds of people worked on StarShipSofa in 2015, which is super awesome in of itself.

All of our episodes published in 2015 can be found here. To be more specific, everything between episode #369 to episode #416.

If you believe that StarShipSofa is worthy of a Hugo award in the BEST FANCAST category, your consideration would be very much appreciated. Voting closes on March 31, so whatever your choice get them votes in quick. You can vote over here.

On the same note, we’re also up on the Locus poll for best magazine/fanzine. Again, do toss in your vote to the venue you feel the most deserving. You can do that here.

That’s all folks!



PS: Actually I lied. That’s not all. Below are the following reprints that StarShipSofa published in audio that were first released in 2015. At this point the list is not complete, but these will be added later. Again, if you feel these stories deserve a nod, you know what to do.

Karma Among the Cloud Kings by Brian Trent
The Merger by Sunil Patel
An Immense Darkness by Eric James Stone
The End of the War by Django Wexler
Between Screens by Zach Chapman
Price of Allegiance by Alex Shvartsman
Redemption Awaits by Mike Brooks
Behind the First Years by Stewart C. Baker
Usher by Jay Werkheiser
12 and Tag by Gregory Bossert
A Forgone Conclusion by Connor and Sylvia Spruck Wrigley


StarShipSofa: Final Slush Update

Hello everyone,

The slush is done. It’s done. It’s over. And now I know how Frodo felt after throwing the ring into Mt. Doom.

I’ve been so ridiculously busy. Over the course of the submissions I’ve suffered two illnesses, traveled around the globe and back, and a bunch of other personal issues that I’d rather not discuss publicly. On top of that I’m in my final semester of university, and I’ve barely had a second to myself. But you guys all understood and gave me your unending patience, and for that I am grateful. I’ll definitely be looking at getting both an intern for StarShipSofa permanently and a few slush readers to help me out. But right now, I’m so busy that I don’t have the time to hunt down an assistant to help me out because I’m so busy. If that’s not a paradox, I don’t know what is.

It’s been an incredible experience for me, not as just as an editor, but a writer as well. I’ve never really been on the other side on the coin, as they say, in terms of submissions and shifting through slush. But the experience was worth it.

There have been stories I absolutely hated letting go off. There were some that I wrestled with for days and days, completely unsure of what to do. Damn, do you people write fantastic stories. I hated myself for saying no, and writing that letter came with a heavy heart. But the decisions have been made and the acceptances and rejections have been sent off.

For those of you who got acceptances, I’d have given you my personal email address. If you haven’t already, please send your story file and your bio (pasted in the email) over to it. Do not try to reach me via the submissions email – that’s purely for reading slush.

StarShipSofa will absolutely be reopening to submissions. When? I don’t know. I definitely need to graduate from university first, and we’ve got a lot of stuff to sort out over at StarShipSofa. When I get a second I’ll be writing more detailed blog posts about my experience doing slush and the common pitfalls, what to avoid, etc, etc. And if I rejected you, don’t give up. Drag yourself back up and shoot me a story that kicks me in the gut (not literally) and one that I cannot say no to. But more on that later.

It’s been an absolute blast to read your excellent stories, and it’s going to be even more fun working with you all and seeing what the final production looks like. I’ve heard some of them already and they’re excellent. I’m hoping you guys will be as proud of them as I am.

Until then, thank you all so much. And never, ever, ever give up.