"We have been repeatedly informed that homophobia and the lack of diversity is a serious problem in science fiction, and speaking as the leader of Rabid Puppies, I could not agree more. The decades of discrimination against gay dinosaurs in space by the science fiction community stops now, and it stops here!"
- Rabid Puppies 2016: Best Novelette
Yes, Space Raptor Butt Invasion is a Rabid Puppy nomination for Best Novelette. I say this as a genderless entity who usually can, but this time even I can't even.
I think everyone's initial reaction will be that this is just trolling. But let's look at it from the lens of 4GW and the lens of Distributed Thoughtware.
On the moral level of 4GW, Vox risks nothing. Some Sad Puppies might turn up their nose at it, but he played by the Sad's rules last year. Anti-Puppies already consider him (and the Puppies) the Anti-Christ. People who already hate him and want to destroy him will continue in that position. Oh no.
As a destabilizing move, this has potential to be Vox's ultimate kill-shot. If, somehow, SRBI makes it onto the ballot, the Hugos will lose all pretense of credibility. Let me make this clear: if you care about the Hugos, then your number one priority this year is ensuring that Space Raptor Butt Invasion does not make it onto the ballot.
Again, that might horrify some Sad Puppies (the only group Vox could potentially lose moral ground with), but for the Rabids, this is the stretch goal.
So the ultimate potential good is razing the Hugo's credibility and the ultimate potential bad is alienating a few Sad Puppies and neutrals. Not a bad trade-off, considering.
Even if SRBI doesn't make it on the ballot, the lulz will be good for Rabid Puppy morale. It's pretty funny and it's a great talking point ("why are you afraid of homosexual sci-fi erotica?") that allows for mass trolling. For a throw-away in a minor category, that's a pretty good stack of outcomes.
Shifting more towards Distributed Thoughtware, I expect Gay Raptor Gate to gain the most traction of any manufactured controversy at the 2016 Hugos. File 770 refusing to turn down a nomination? Humorous, but not damning. Nominating Video Games for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long-Form)? Intriguing, but not controversial enough. Dinosaur Sodomy in Space? Now that grabs headlines.
I mean, it did get me to start blogging about Vox again. I'm going to guess that other people aren't going to be able to let this one go either.
Frankly, it's almost a Rainbow Polka-Dot Flag Op (one of the openly political ones). Think of it as a "Mexicans are rapist and murders, but I guess some are fine" moment. It's going to suck all of the oxygen in the room away from everything else, and towards this (and hence, Vox).
There's one last way that this works for Vox, and that's the rhetorical level. First, it will be used to argue that the Rabids are a powerful voting block or to argue that the Rabids aren't block voters. Think about it:
SRBI Gets the Nomination: "We are legion! We are strong! We can get Gay Space Dinosaurs on the ballot!"
SRBI Doesn't Get the Nomination: "What block voting? If we were block voting, Gay Space Dinosaurs would be on the ballot!"
Either outcome can be effortlessly rolled into a Rapid Puppy talking point.
More importantly, this allows Rabid Puppies to build a mental link between diverse, transgressive Sci-Fi and Space Raptor Butt Invasion. I expect to see many people being asked why their favorite homosexual Sci-Fi novel isn't like SRBI. The point isn't that they're actually the same (we can all see that, right?), the point is that the question is even being (will even be being) asked.
Vox has conceded that Space Raptor Butt Invasion is less than 5,000 words and thus not eligible for the Novelette category. After the announcement picked up traction on File 770, that is:
Not sure what VD’s goal is since "Space Raptor Butt Invasion" isn’t even a novelette. The thing’s less than 5000 words. No one could No Award it since it’d get disqualified beforehand.
Call me a psychotic Vox apologist, but this was an intentional error. Think about it this way: what's the best way to get more people talking about Space Raptor Butt Invasion? Other than the title, naturally. Why, by making a Tar Baby error. "Oh no, mister File 770, please don't talk about my nomination! That would be ever so dreadful! Please don't shout about how silly I am to nominate Space Raptor Butt Invasion to the wrong category! Especially not when I still have plenty of time to switch its category!"
And lest you think I have fully succumbed to Vox-induced paranoid ravings, I was on the original Best Novelette thread yesterday, and comments mentioning SRBI's length kept mysteriously disappearing. Why? Because the gambit wasn't complete until the Anti-Puppies started talking about SRBI, and a chance to talk about how dumb Vox is is something Anti-Puppies never passed up.
Granted, that's a theory that rests on something that I subjectively noticed and didn't screen-cap. Maybe Vox did just poop the bed on this one. Take it with a grain of salt, but either way, this "mistake" costs him nothing and gets more people talking about Space Raptor Butt Invasion. Whether the win was intentional or a side effect of his systems is largely academic.
I'm calling it here. This is my falsifiable statement: if the 2016 Hugos are the Year of the Gay Space Raptor (ie, the biggest talking point and what people remember it for), Vox knows what he's doing.