Sunday, June 14, 2015

An appeal for help to all my readers

I'm sure you've been reading my posts about the Tor debacle over the past days.  It's time for action, and I'd be very grateful if each of you would please help by sending one e-mail separately to three different addresses tomorrow.

Vox Day came up with the idea.  Note that I'm not one of his 'Rabid Puppies' or 'minions'.  I'll simply take allies where I can get them, thank you very much!  I'm aware that some SJW's regard him as being in league with the Devil.  To that I can only make common cause with Winston Churchill:  "If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons."  So, Vox, this is my best Churchillian imitation!

Comments from two Tor employees indicated that some SJW's there (and elsewhere, although some of those sources have since been deleted) were blaming many of the e-mails sent to Tor and Macmillan (its US managing company) on 'bots':  artificially generated complaints that didn't come from real people.  In response, Vox has asked his readers to do the following:

It is time to prove to Macmillan that the senior SJWs at Tor are lying to them by sending ONE email apiece to the following people on MONDAY morning. (Emphasis added as a result of already seeing emails in my inbox.) Send the emails separately, do not CC them or send out one email to the three email addresses at the same time. The point is to make it clear that you are NOT a bot, you are a human being, and therefore the people at Tor Books are lying to their superiors at Macmillan.


The three emails should be short, straightforward, polite, and respectful. It should have I AM A REAL PERSON in the subject, CC, and address the following points:

  • I am a real person and not a bot.
  • I do not approve of the behavior of the senior people at Tor Books, specifically Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, and Irene Gallo.
  • . . .
  • I request a response to confirm that my email has been received and read.

Something to that effect, anyway. There is no need to mention any possibility of a boycott, tell them how many books you buy in a year, or anything else. The people at Macmillan are smart, they are professional, and they know what is at stake.

There's more at the link.  Vox is also asking his readers to request the resignation or dismissal of 'guilty parties', but I'm not going to go that far.  If you want to, of course, you'll find more information at his blog.

I'd be very grateful indeed if each of you, dear readers, would please do as requested above.  In particular, please send three SEPARATE e-mails rather than a single one to three addresses.  Send each e-mail to one of the addresses Vox provides, and please CC each of those e-mails to him (so he can calculate how many were sent, and we can judge the strength of the campaign).  If you'd rather not copy an e-mail to him, for whatever reason, please feel free to CC it to me instead, at .  I can tally the numbers here and pass them to him, if that's what you'd prefer.

What we want to achieve is to demonstrate conclusively to Tor and to its parent company, Macmillan, that our concerns are genuine, and that we're real people, not bots.  If they receive e-mails composed as outlined above, and we can demonstrate that we know (from CC'ed copies with ISP addresses) just how many were sent, this should disprove the 'bot' allegation once and for all (particularly if all the e-mails are sent on one day).  Just think of the impact if Tor and Macmillan get a couple of thousand of them!  It's bound to make them sit up and take notice.

I'll be personally very grateful to you, dear readers,  if you'll please help us get our point across.  Thanks in advance.



Mike_C said...

Peter, it might be good to point out exactly who Mr Weber and Ms Brown are viz their roles at MacMillan. Yes, it's trivially easy to look them up, but here are some links anyway:

Mr Weber's linked in account; the TL;DR is: Global Trade Chief Operating Officer at Macmillan.

Ms Brown's linked in shows she is the Executive Director of Legal Affairs for Employment.

Incidentally, Mr Brown's twitter feed quotes something apparently from the NYC Transit Authority which, despite its faintly sanctimonious air, is probably quite applicable in this instance: "Courtesy is contagious -- and it begins with you."

Personally, I'm not particularly optimistic about the contagious-ness of courtesy, but as you point out: "be [...] straightforward, polite, and respectful". I'd add, not only to Mr Weber and Ms Brown, but let's show some class in any references to Ms Gallo et alia.

I'll turn my personal sanctimony down now, thanks :-)

TJR said...

Hello Peter,
I did send 3 separate emails, but I am ashamed to admit I forgot to cc anybody, and only thought to ask for confirmation on one of them. I apologize. I had to send them tonight because I will be at work before daylight tomorrow. I didn't go so far as to call for anyone's job, but I darn sure left the impression that I was unhappy with either myself, or anyone that enjoys the fiction I enjoy being labeled as Neo-Nazis.

Brother Pilot said...

Mr Weber
I hope this email finds you well. I know you are a busy man so I'll get straight to the point, of which there are three: First, I'm an actual person typing this email, not a "bot" as some of your staff are claiming are filling your inboxes at MacMilllan. Real person here. Second, I find the behavior of some of your senior staff utterly reprehensible. Recent statements made by Irene Gallo, Moshe Feder and Patrick Nielsen Hayden comparing people they don't like with nazis, calling them homophobic, misogynistic, and racist are unacceptable and cast both those individuals making those false comments and the company they work for in a very poor light. Third, I would like some response that you have received and read this email.

Thank you for your time.

Third of three sent. I must confess I'm a bit doubtful that anything will come back from it.

Brad Richards said...

Sent off this morning, cc both to you and to Vox Day.

This will either be a dud (with half-a-dozen emails) or a flood (with thousands). Wonder which...

thenoisyrogue said...

Already sent mine before we were asked to cc in you or Vox. Stating that here so you can add me to the tally. Keep up the good work fighting the good fight.

Salt said...

Sent 3 emails this morning.

WyrdBard said...

I have also sent in my e-mails and BCC'd them to the requested address.

Anonymous said...

Three of three sent, bcc to Vox.
Not too hopeful of a response, but we'll see if the fact that these emails are now international is noted by the publishers.
Bryn, Isle of Anglesey, UK.

tweell said...

You should have three more copies in your 'in' box, Peter. No swear words, but I am angry and am showing it. It would be hard to call these messages bot-written, but integrity doesn't appear to be in oversupply in Tor/Macmillan at the moment, so we'll see.

James Dixon said...

> This will either be a dud (with half-a-dozen emails) or a flood (with thousands). Wonder which...

From what I've seen, the absolute minimum is going to be 500. I'd expect at least a thousand.

Murgy Troyd said...

Send an email to Mr D, at tor, with edited copies to Ms Brown and Mr Weber. I expect it to do as much good as King Canute trying to hold back the tide, but then again, many drops can turn a mill.

CC's to the appropriate address.

Leonidas said...

E-Mails sent.

The Overgrown Hobbit said...

Done. I should note that once again I failed, utterly, failed, to follow a "leader" of the "puppies" movement and wrote my own letter with my own subject heading explaining my own reason why I'm fed up with the public meltdown of Tor's management.

But yeah, we're all just block-voters marching in lockstep to Brad or Vox or Larry.

Cedar said...

Jagi Lamplighter (John C Wright's wife, and a talented author in her own right) has had a good idea to put up photos of all the books us 'bots' read.

ticticboom said...

My contribution:

First off, I would like to state that I am, in fact, a human being, as apparently some of your employees claim I do not exist. Sadly, that is one of the less offensive things Tor employees have said about me. 

Not only am I a human being, I should be your ideal customer. I am a voracious reader, especially of Sci-fi, and actually pre-order hardcovers once I'm a fan of an author, although these days I've gone over to Kindle. Since I live in a cramped Manhattan studio, it's been a Godsend. My place is a fire hazard.

That said, even before things escalated over the last few years, I noticed I'd been buying fewer and fewer Tor books, eventually only those by authors I considered reliably entertaining. If I picked a Tor book by a new author off the shelf in Barnes and Noble, within a few pages I put it back. At this point, Drake, Weber, and Wright are about all I still read from Tor, or were until I found out that I am an unperson as far as Tor is concerned.

By now, you are no doubt aware of the outrage surrounding Irene Gallo. This probably came as a surprise to you. However, if you are aware of the actions of other Tor employees such as the Neilsen-Haydens and Moshe Feder, it was inevitable that there would be a straw that would break the camel's back. For many, it was being libeled as racist, sexist, homophobic neo-nazis, especially when that was also directed at Tor authors like Kevin J Anderson.

Let me reiterate, this was not an isolated incident. You would not be seeing this groundswell if it hadn't been preceeded by a decade of constant attacks against anyone to the right of Mao. Rightly or wrongly, when people hear 'Tor' they don't think Tom Doherty, they think Patrick Neilsen-Hayden and his significant other.

They also do not think of good editing, active marketing, author support, or fair contracts. I remember one prominent case where Girl Genius simply wanted their rights back and offered to buy the print run entirely. I would suggest you look into how that was handled. You might find it enlightening.

So, over the years Tor's reputation has declined on practical grounds. On top of that, high profile people associated with Tor have worked very hard to alienate well over half of your customer base. The Neilsen-Haydens fondness for 'disemvoweling' (removing vowels so what is left is gibberish) comments they disagree with displays a contempt for the written word that is unbecoming in an editor, on top of the sheer disdain for the interlocutor.

After ten years of this, I and many others have come to the unavoidable conclusion that the corporate culture at Tor despises us. That begs the question, why should I give money or word of mouth advertising to a company that me for an accident of birth and my political affiliation?

And just in case you still don't believe I am a human being, or that I don't buy Tor books to begin with, please see the attatched pictures. If necessary, I can bring those books to your Manhattan offices, and you can have them back. For some reason, I find it harder to enjoy a product when its maker says I have no right to exist.

If, on the other hand, you put your house in order, and once again have employees who value your customers and authors, I look forward to giving you money. I had been eager to read the latest Safehold novel, although I was hoping it was better edited than the last. Weber is a great author, but needs to be reined in, or he neglects the main arc of the story. His current editor has proved insufficient to the task.

Also, I would appreciate a reply to this e-mail, do I can be certain you are aware that I am not some kind of bot. As I said, I can show up at your NY office if you do not believe me.


HeroHog said...

When I get an Email with "I AM NOT A BOT" in the subject, it goes right into file 13. Put something in there that would sound like it was written by a human and not a chain letter or SPAM. "Hello, could you please address a few issues for me?" or some such would be less likely to get your missive shit-canned right off the bat IMHO.

HeroHog said...

My Message to Tor Books:

A serious question from a Tor Books customer

Why are the public actions of the following senior people at Tor Books, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, and Irene Gallo being tolerated when they exhibit their unabashed disdain for a certain segment of the publishing community with impunity when their action directly affects Tor? Is this segment of the market not welcome at Tor? Should they take their business, and your profits from them, elsewhere else? Is it OK that many of your customers are offended by the actions of Tor senior staff and their reactions to this may hurt Tot's bottom line?

These representatives of Tor are displaying their ignorance, bias and intolerance for the world to see. Anywhere I have worked would fire me in a heartbeat if I were to reflect so badly on my employer! Most businesses have a clause in their employment contracts stating just that. Is Tor leaving itself open to what this can bring or is this kind of behavior endorsed at Tor Books?

I would prefer to be notified that this message has been received and read please.

Angus McThag said...

Messages and bcc to you sent.

richard mcenroe said...

I made mention of the fact that I used to work for Tom Doherty back before he left Ace to debotificate myself.

Not sure if that offsets my being a Neo-Nazi pedophile or whatever it is I'm supposed to be this week, but I hope it helps.

richard mcenroe said...

The text of my email to Tom Doherty (edited appropriately for other two e-mails)

Hello, Mr. Doherty,

It's been an lot of years since we last met, but I still remember with appreciation your courtesy prior to departing Ace to found Tor when you gave me an interview for a possible promotion at Ace, even though I was in no way ready for the job (knew that even back then).

That's why I'm upset with the conduct of quite a few of your subordinates in this Sad Puppies/Hugo Awards imbroglio. Even the young snotnose I was then knew you didn't go around associating your own authors with neo-Nazis, and the hypocrisy of people who ran their own slates for years viciously attacking other people for doing the same thing within the rules appalls me.

Worse, I get the impression that their hidebound ideologuery has been leaking over into the content of your books, to Tor's disadvantage. When I was reviewing my own reading habits during this debate I came to the realization that the name Tor was not the promise of a book I'd want to read that it once was. I'd been browsing and putting them back on the shelf, and after awhile, I pretty much stopped browsing them. Worse, I came to realize that there were authors on your list who were suffering from that stigma undeservedly, which probably cost you and them money. Not many, but enough to regret: I came late to David Weber's Armageddon Reef series, and only discovered John C. Wright through the Sad Puppies, for examples. But there was just no guarantee that any new name from Tor would give that level of quality and reading pleasure.

Your subordinates need to be told that their business is to sell books, not to indulge their personal and political fantasies of whatever stripe as print runs and shelf-space steadily continue to shrink. Tor Books is not their personal Facebook page, no vanguard of any revolution of whatever political striple and they have no business trying to make it one with someone else's money.

Best wishes and hoping for the happiest resolution to this possible...

Richard McEnroe

Paul D Wirtz said...

3 emails sent. cc to peter

I was polite but made poit that by foing nothing they just imply that TOR agrees that Puppies are all the things their editors 'unoffically' said

Habakkuk21 said...

Peter, I had already emailed the two Macmillan contacts, sending them a picture of me holding a sign saying 'NOT A BOT! & NOT RIGHT-WING OR NAZI!' Don't see any point in re-writing those, but I did forward them to you (I think).
I did write a new email to Tom Doherty, and cc'd you on that one. It was an appeal to his sense of decency, and I believe he is a gentleman.

Francis Turner said...

Here's mine CCed to Bayouresistanceman

Dear Ms Brown,

I was very glad to read Tom Doherty's statement on last week. It gives me hope that I will someday identify the Tor logo as a mark of quality in the same way that I find the Baen logo to be. Sadly my own recent experience right now is that the Tor logo is a sign that - except for certain, mostly bestselling, authors - I should skip the book in question and look for something published by someone else.

Worse, the attitudes on display from a number of senior Tor editors on various social media sites suggests that they dislike both these bestselling authors and their legions of fans. Thus before that statement there seemed very little chance that this opinion would change.

I am looking forward to Tor "bringing readers the finest in science fiction – on a broad range of topics, from a broad range of authors."


Anonymous said...

Why not mail actual letters, pay for receipt notification and tell them specifically which book of theirs you are not buying to finance the cost of the receipt notification?
It's old fashioned, but there is no easy way to say its bots.

Sherm said...


kamas716 said...

I hand wrote out three letters tonight to various people explaining I'm not a bot, I'm just pissed off. I included my original email as well, just in case they hadn't read it.

John Dowling said...

E-mails sent but I fear it'll be like teaching a pig to sing :)