The Complete Debarkle: Saga of a Culture War

By Camestros Felapton

Rating: 4 stars

This was a comprehensive history of the Sad/Rabid Puppies kerfuffle from the middle of the last decade in which the author tries to put the campaign into the wider historical context of the culture wars that were happening, primarily, but not entirely, in the US at the time. The work was released, one chapter at a time, on the author’s blog and later collected and revised into a single ebook.

Felapton has examined the subject in great detail, starting from the early days of fandom, providing “dramatis personae” on all the major players and going through the events leading up to the kerfuffle itself, and finally looking at what happened afterwards and how the culture wars continued to develop after the puppies themselves stopped being relevant.

This last section is possibly the least successful, since it doesn’t tie into the fandom stuff at all, other than looking at what the leaders of the puppies, the so-called “Evil League of Evil” were up to at the time. The main event, however, is excellent. Felapton has read Vox Day’s writing so that I don’t have to. They comprehensively document the events leading up to and during the puppy slates, with many, many footnotes and long quotes from the major players themselves, with links back to primary sources. The only complaint I have about that is that the footnotes aren’t hyperlinked so aren’t as easy to read as I might have liked.

Despite meandering a bit towards the end, this is a really good piece of writing and was a worthy contender for the 2022 Best Related Work Hugo award (no slating required).

Book details

ISBN: 9798201696450
Publisher: Cattimothy House
Year of publication: 2021

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