Puppy! Klaatu Barada Nikto! 5/10

Day_the_Earth_Stood_Still_1951aka Through the Drowsy Bark: Slates, Fisking, & Puppies

Today’s sled is drawn by David Gerrold, Vox Day, John Scalzi, Alexandra Erin, Damien G. Walter, Lisa J. Goldstein, Mark Ciocco, William Reichard, P. Llewellyn James, Jeffro Johnson, Jim C. Hines and Logan Brooker. (Credit for the subtitle goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Dawn Sabados.)

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 10

My irony meter is broken.

I was reading Mike Glyer’s latest File770 report on the Hugos, and one of the sad puppy defenders said something about how intolerant those mean old SJWs are and how the sad puppies are really about building a more inclusive community. (ie. Including themselves, because obviously they’ve been locked out for like forever.)

I had to read it several times to make sure I had read it correctly.

Okay — if that’s truly how some of the puppies perceive the situation — that’s a very sophisticated iteration of the victim racket.

But it also shows something else that’s happening in the political arena. The conservative think tanks have been doing this for a long time — coopting the language of the left, so they can claim the moral high ground.

For instance, if a progressive leader talks about racism, the conservative opponent comes back with, “Now you’re playing the race card.” Another variation is how the democrats’ economic oppression keeps black people stuck in welfare. And of course, we’re also hearing how LGBT people are intolerant bullies.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“We’re not fighting fire with fire” – May 10

An SJW is an individual who fundamentally rejects the Ellisonian vision of science fiction as a place that welcomes dangerous ideas. All dangerous ideas.

For example, if you think there is no place for racism in science fiction, you are an SJW. It is no different than if you think there is no place for atheism or for women in science fiction. Either all ideas, however controversial, are welcome and legitimate, or the science fiction community is engaged in a straightforward power struggle to determine whose morals will be imposed on everyone else in the field.

Science fiction can either reject the SJW ideology and abandon all the imposed diversity thought-policing or accept a long and vicious war over which moral code shall be law. Rabid Puppies is presenting the SF community with two choices: either embrace and defend the idea of complete intellectual freedom in science fiction or fight us over the shape of the Science Fiction Code Authority of the future.

 

John Scalzi on Whatever

“The Hugos Not Actually Being Destroyed, Part the Many” – May 10

It’s been a week or so since I’ve posted about the Hugos here, so that’s good. But there’s a persistent shibboleth I see bruited about, which is that the events of this year have in some way destroyed the Hugos (most recently here, in an otherwise cogent set of observations). I’ve addressed this before, but it’s worth addressing again. Here it is:

  1. No, the Puppies running their silly slates have not destroyed the Hugo Awards. What they have done is draw attention to the fact that the nomination system of the Hugos has a flaw.
  2. The flaw: That an organized group pushing a slate of nominees can, if the group is sufficiently large, dominate the final ballot with their choices.
  3. The flaw was not addressed before because, protestations to the contrary, no one had run a comprehensive slate before. No one had run a comprehensive slate before because, bluntly, before this year, no one wanted to be that asshole. This year three people stepped up to be that asshole and got some party pals to go along.
  4. The flaw is fixable by addressing the nomination process so that a) slating is made more difficult, while b) the fundamental popular character of the Hugos (i.e., anyone can vote and nominate) is retained. There are a number of ways to do this (the simplest would be to allow folks to nominate three works/people in each category and have six finalist slots on the ballot; there are more complicated ways as well), but the point is that there are options.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“A Critique of Impure Reason” – May 10

If you start a syllogism with rhetorical premises, you reach a rhetorical conclusion. Vox freely admits that his oft-repeated line of “SJWs always lie.” is only rhetorically true (which you might recognize is just a fancy way of acknowledging it isn’t true). It’s a statement of rhetoric. The act of labeling someone a “Social Justice Warrior” is also similarly an act of rhetoric. You’re slapping a brand on someone and hoping it affects the way people see them.

If you take two pieces of rhetoric and put them through the form of a syllogism, you arrive at a conclusion that is also nothing more than rhetoric.

Or to put it more succinctly: Garbage In, Garbage Out.

But to someone who is both invested in believing you and invested in believing themselves to be intelligent, reasoned, and calculating, it is elegant and attractive garbage. You’re describing what you’re doing with big, lofty words like “dialectic” and “syllogism” and “Aristotlean”, after all. You can show people the inescapable mathematical logic of if A and B, then AB, knowing that no one in your audience will bother to ask how you arrived at A and B. They’re taken as given. The form of the syllogism not only does not require you to question A or B, it doesn’t work if you do. As soon as you delve into examining the premises, you’re no longer engaging in syllogism.

The fact is that Vox stoops to engage in the actual construction of syllogism fairly rarely, compared to how often he simply bloviates on in a purely rhetorical fashion while peppering his speech with whatever words best flatter his and his loyal readers’ intellects. But even when he does, he’s not engaging in actual dialectic but mere rhetorical sophistry. He starts with unvarnished garbage as a premise, and so he arrives at a similarly tarnished conclusion.

 

Vox Day at Vox Popoli

“SJW summarizes SJWism” – May 10

Tolerance does not demand toleration. Inclusivity justifies exclusion. Did Orwell have them pegged or what? Black is white. War is peace. We have always been at war with Eastasia. And notice the claim that it is “their society”. Not ours. Not the moderates. The SJWs.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on inferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 6: Novelettes” – May 10

I feel like singing.  Really, I’m giddy.  I found a story on the ballot that’s pretty decent.  Oh, what a beautiful morning….

Ahem.  Where was I?  Right, “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale,” by Rajnar Vajra.  It’s from Analog, and it’s a typical Analog story — three EE (Exoplanetary Explorers) cadets get into a bar fight, and as punishment they are sent to a distant planet to help the scientists there dismantle their camp.  The scientists are returning home because they failed to establish contact with the planet’s intelligent species.  On the journey over one of the cadets, Priam Galanis, asks for a chance to salvage the project, and his superior grants him his request but with one condition: “If you can offer nothing new and useful… I will consider your triad as having failed this mission… Upon our return to Earth, you will all be discharged from the EE.”

This is how you do it, people.  Raise the stakes.  Give the characters something to be invested in.

 

Mark Ciocco on Kaedrin Weblog

“Hugo Awards: The Goblin Emperor” – May 10

Among high fantasy tropes, the goblin is not a particularly prized character. What you’re thinking of when I say “goblin” is probably some combination of attributes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s grotesque orcs in Lord of the Rings, the bumbling, low-level scamps from D&D (or, more recently, World of Warcraft), and maybe the terrifying codpiece of David Bowie in Labyrinth (amongst other, even more ridiculous 80s movies). Even more sympathetic portrayals, such as the goblins of Harry Potter, generally portray goblins as mischievous and greedy. For the most part, goblins are evil, villainous monsters that are, nevertheless, little more than cannon fodder in larger conflicts.

Katherine Addison’s novel The Goblin Emperor challenges this starting with the title of the novel itself. We’re clearly going to delve into the world of goblins here. While I’m not going to claim anything near a comprehensive knowledge of high fantasy, I know enough to be intrigued by the concept, and the possibilities are endless. The novel doesn’t quite deliver on that axis of potential, but rather tries for a more subtle novel of characterization. There is, of course, nothing wrong with characterization, but when that’s all there is, I’m usually left unsatisfied. This novel makes overtures towards a more gripping story, but generally seems content to stick with its character sketch.

 

William Reichard

“A new and improved Bistromatics? The power of Fandom” – May 10

I did not know about fandom until this week. It’s like finding out there’s an entire subterranean world beneath your feet–many such worlds, in fact. What goes on down there is just…dang. And it draws you in, because it’s about stuff you care about. You want to know. But you must be careful. You might never make it back to the surface.

It’s a primal place of demagoguery and mob dynamics and whispers and memes and shadowy monsters and a sense of what McLuhan called “moreness“–an insatiable need for the discussion to continue no matter what.

 

P. Llewellyn James on The Refuge

“Worldcon Loses Control of Hugos” – May 10

Presumably most of those have been drawn by the controversy over the nominations. Which side of the culture wars the new members are on isn’t known, but one thing is for sure. WorldCon attending members no longer control the Hugos.

 

Jeffro Johnson on Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog

“Hugo Packet Sent” – May 10

Hugo Packet Sent

The Hugo Packet Coordinater contacted me last week asking for “up to four short examples of your work from 2014?, so this is what I gave them:

 

Jim C. Hines

“Gender Balance in Hugo Nominees” – May 10

I’ve seen a lot of back-and-forth about whether or not the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns were racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. I highly doubt Brad Torgersen (leader of the current Sad Puppy campaign) was deliberately, consciously, and intentionally trying to favor men over women. That said, the effect of the campaigns is pretty clear here, and breaks a pattern of better gender balance going back at least five years.

 

https://twitter.com/woodenking/status/597564428049993728

 

408 thoughts on “Puppy! Klaatu Barada Nikto! 5/10

  1. By the way, all you folks who read Ancillary Justice, do you think Radch teach their children to perform distinct gender roles or dress them in gender-marked clothing?

  2. By the way, all you folks who read Ancillary Justice, do you think Radch teach their children to perform distinct gender roles or dress them in gender-marked clothing?

    Would seem weird for them to do so since they don’t consider it important. Like politics I’d imagine it would be a personal private detail unless the person chose to flaunt it. In the book for the Radchaai Empire it doesn’t seem like it’s worth even gender marking clothing for. It’s in the book 🙂

  3. Conquered cultures might retain gendered clothing from their pre Radch culture.

  4. Hell while we’re just asking, slightly more than the 2013 writers were over the age of 40, slightly less than half under the age of 40.

    What could this mean?

  5. Hi Matt Y, yes, that’s what I figured too, since the protagonist is so frequently puzzling over gender markers like clothing when others use them. [MickyFinn: yes, indeed.] I just wondered, since I got criticism after saying so, if others read it different.

    Also, on the old subject of whether concepts like this idea about gender can tend to “overpower” the story – I don’t think it does in this case, but I did wonder if a more seasoned writer might have been able to show us by the use of pronouns and other word choices in various situations without resorting to breaking into frequent asides that tell us what the protagonist is thinking as she speaks. Its a good novel, but a first novel.

  6. “slightly less than half under the age of 40”

    Changing of the guard?

  7. Ahh, “I’m going to bed after you all told me I was wrong, and tomorrow I will say the exact same things and act surprise when you again tell me I’m wrong: A Tuomas Story”

  8. Brian: Breq spends a bunch of AJ outside the Radch empire, or in newly conquered areas. It is in this context that the puzzling over gender matters happens.

    I’ve seen people objecting to Breq having problems with the gender markers of different societies on the basis that “surely that information could be figured out, or be in the databanks”. For me, the fact that an AI from an empire that imposes its culture on the conquered wasn’t designed to learn about the ways of other cultures seems somewhat unsurprising. Even when Breq is limited to being within one human brain+implants, it is still not an off the rack human mind. The way individuals, even fairly traditionalist citizens, do things within the Radch Empire might be a bit different to the way AIs built according to the priorities of Anaander Mianaai do things.

  9. alexvdl,

    At least it’s a change from Tuomas Vainio: Master of Stating the Bloody Obvious as Dazzling Revealed Truth (hits include “Whoever gets the most votes wins”, “There are more worthy works than nominations”, & “Different people like different things”).

  10. Snowcrash: he is also Tuomas Vainio: Person Who Just Wants To Discuss Some Things and Definitely Has No (puppy) Dog In This Fight.

  11. I did wonder if a more seasoned writer might have been able to show us by the use of pronouns and other word choices in various situations without resorting to breaking into frequent asides that tell us what the protagonist is thinking as she speaks.

    Left Hand of Darkness yo. It’s a narrative device in AJ that serves the story, while in Left Hand it’s a central theme to it.

  12. Tuomas Vaino strikes me as attempting to use other people’s arguments in places they weren’t originally designed for and don’t really fit.

    Women writers in the US appear to be more like 45% or so.

    BTW, to be fair, Peace, the Puppies originally had 2 women writers in the fiction section, didn’t they? Kary English and Annie Bellet, who later withdrew? That is still only 10% of the slots when women write 45% of the fiction, but it’s a little better than 5% of the slots.

  13. Changing of the guard?

    Random statistical information. We could also go eye color, how close they live to water, favorite food, etc.

  14. MickyFinn, that’s a good analysis. Remember when Delany in Stars in my Pocket had his protagonist meet a minor character, a sort of municipal employee, if I recall correctly at a dinner party, who immediately rattled off an account of the protagonists’ recent comings and goings and visitors based on knowledge of the household’s garbage? That was like 1983, but he gave us a feeling of what it might be like to live inside a planetary network with just a bit of dialogue. That’s where I suspect Leckie faltered slightly: not in thinking about culture and empire, just in the presentation. And she’ll get better, and I look forward to it.

  15. Matt Y, “in Left Hand it’s a central theme”

    Dude, I never said it is the central theme of AJ. I actually think the opposite: that it could have been profitably explored in more depth. Maybe in subsequent books?

  16. I didn’t say it was either? I said it’s the theme of Left Hand of Darkness, as in you were interested where its explored further which is why I made the suggestion; while in AJ it’s a narrative device. Not a theme.

  17. For me one of the most interesting aspects of the story is how we encounter stuff that seems liberal/progressive to us (say, gender blind society) interlocked with stuff that seems ancient and barbaric (say, conquest empire). Note my knowledge is basically an extrapolation from the Hugo excerpt last year – but I have the book and I’ve put it back on my night stand as it were since the series does not seem to be losing steam.

  18. Saying that Ancillary Justice is about gender issues is like saying that The Hound of the Baskervilles is about Holmes’ Meerschaum pipe.

    It gets mentioned a few times but it’s merely an aside and not part of the actual story.

    Brian Z, you would be well-served in future not to comment on books you haven’t actually read and things you don’t actully know; you’ve ended up frequently looking like someone who proclaims loudly how much he knows, when he actually knows next to nothing.

  19. – but I have the book and I’ve put it back on my night stand as it were since the series does not seem to be losing steam.

    I hope you read it and enjoy it. Personally I had issues with the story, I really enjoyed the middle but the beginning and end were…well I thought pieces of it were more interesting than the whole. There’s a character who has been in cryostasis for 1000 years, so you can experience some of the concepts through a character who find them strange as well!

  20. Maybe I should just say that if any of you, lurkers, trufans, puppies, crusaders, glittery warriors, whoever you are, has read and thought about the entirety or even only the first 70 pages of any of the Hugo nominees and would to comment on what you’ve read so far, I am (speaking for myself) interested in hearing what you think about them. We’ve all read an awful lot and plan to read more or we wouldn’t be here on File 770 yammering at each other, even the Vox Day cronies or the people who only like the books with the most buxom space princesses (whatever the hell that even means).

  21. Brian Z

    Another good first step for an offer like that is to share your views as well, or if you already have somewhere else, put it in a link to it.

    Frex – this is mine for the short story nominees, and for The Goblin Emperor

    http://file770.com/?p=22445&cpage=2#comment-259822

    Hope to be done with 3BP by the weekend, but so far I must say I’m a little surprised as to how negatively the Cultural Revolution is portrayed in the opening pages. The cynic in me says that that’s probably the current party-approved dogma, but the level of acknowledgment is certainly surprising. And welcome.

  22. Would be fun to have some sort of discussion page, I always fear saying too much as I don’t want to spoil anything for those still reading.

  23. Matt Y: “Would be fun to have some sort of discussion page, I always fear saying too much as I don’t want to spoil anything for those still reading.”

    There’s a spoiler discussion thread for The Three-Body Problem over at Making Light.

  24. JJ – Wow, worth it alone for the Major General Trisolarian post already. Thank you!

  25. Matt Y,
    “cryostasis”

    ***SPOLIERS*****

    LOL, now I’m going to do something that will really get me in trouble! 😀 You got me curious so I skimmed to the middle (I know, I know!). You are right the Seivarden stuff is more interesting, though it is more or less convincing me that the gender blindness is an important and central issue:

    As for Seivarden, I was under no illusions as to where her sympathies would lie, given a choice between citizens who kept their proper places along with an expanding, conquering Radch, or no more annexations and the elevation of citizens with the wrong accents and antecedents.

    The dialogue gets a little more interesting:

    “How do you find the Radch after a thousand years, Captain?” asked someone behind me as I accepted the tea. “Much changed?” Seivarden didn’t retrieve her own bowl. “Changed some. The same some.” “For the better, or for the worse?” “I could hardly say,” replied Seivarden, coolly. “How beautifully you speak, Captain Seivarden,” said someone else. “So many young people these days are careless about their speech. It’s lovely to hear someone speak with real refinement.”

    But the clunky telling-not-showing doesn’t go away either:

    “I thought I knew what you were when you came,” she said, after a long silence, thankfully following my language switch. “I thought I knew what you were doing here. Now I’m not so sure.” She glanced at Seivarden, to all appearances completely undisturbed by our talking. “I think I know who he is. But who are you? What are you? Don’t tell me Breq from the Gerentate. You’re as Radchaai as that one.” She gestured slightly toward Seivarden with her elbow.

    “I came here to buy something,” I said, determined to keep from staring at the gun she held. “He’s incidental.” Since we weren’t speaking Radchaai I had to take gender into account—Strigan’s language required it. The society she lived in professed at the same time to believe gender was insignificant. Males and females dressed, spoke, acted indistinguishably. And yet no one I’d met had ever hesitated, or guessed wrong. And they had invariably been offended when I did hesitate or guess wrong. I hadn’t learned the trick of it. I’d been in Strigan’s own apartment, seen her belongings, and still wasn’t sure what forms to use with her now.

    She laughed, short and bitter—whether because I’d chosen the wrong gender for the pronoun, or something else, I wasn’t certain. “I think that’s my question to ask.”

    Leckie can do a lot better than this.

  26. Ouch, I forgot to write SPOILERS at the top of that!!!!!!!! Sorry!!!!! Quick, Mike, please edit!!!!

  27. snowcrash,

    “share your views as well, or if you already have somewhere else”

    Sure – as you may have noticed I have been joining these threads primarily for the metadiscussions, and didn’t want my personal opinions of this or that story to get in the way, but now it is clearly time to shift gears, so thanks for the invitation.

  28. You got me curious so I skimmed to the middle (I know, I know!).

    Boo.

    Like I said I’d absolutely recommend reading it, in order 😛 , to have the best understanding of it. 3BP certainly has some characterization issues but I still feel it’s the best for the ideas involved, and there are some great stuff going on in AJ (regardless of my person opinion on the story going on). You’d do yourself a disservice not to read it in the intended order and discover for yourself.

  29. Matt Y, I didn’t skip much, honest! I swear to never to it again. 😀 Seriously, thanks for cluing me about the middle chapters.

  30. Matt Y: “worth it alone for the Major General Trisolarian post”

    I know, isn’t that absolutely brilliant? I’m just in awe of the guy’s ability.

  31. It seems to me that the Radch corpse soldiers would necessarily be programmed to be non-sexual at an individual level; it might well be part of that programming to make them blind to gender differences. This would carry over to Breq when she is all that remains of Justice of Toren. The AI Toren might have been able to switch those parts of her brain on again to make Breq a better fit to society, but it probably had other other things on its mind at the time.

    I’m not a great linguist, but the one other language I know moderately is Japanese. In Japanese, though they have gendered pronouns, they aren’t generally used; it’s more usual to use a person’s name, or job-title, or simply “that person” or “this person” when starting to talk about the topic, and then simply to leave that information out of all following sentences, so that they are sentences without subject, only bringing in names or other indicators again to reduce ambiguity. Similarly, hito, “person”, tends to be used in preference to the words for “man” or “woman”, except when the gender is appropriate to the topic.

    Not completely gender-neutral, but not far from the Radchian ideal. It’s worth noting that Japan is not a really what you’d call a gender-neutral society. Woman generally don’t get to have careers, and LGBTers are more underground than in many parts of the USA for example.

  32. Catching up with snowcrash on May 11, 2015 at 9:17 pm:

    Hope to be done with 3BP by the weekend, but so far I must say I’m a little surprised as to how negatively the Cultural Revolution is portrayed in the opening pages. The cynic in me says that that’s probably the current party-approved dogma, but the level of acknowledgment is certainly surprising. And welcome.

    I was pondering this. Here is an interesting video about the current permissibly of a museum about that era:

    The main thing to understand, particularly as a foreigner looking in, is that the massive popularity in China of a book discussing that period in history has nothing to do with anybody being interested in what happened back then. It is because science fiction (and in this case, basically alt-historical science fiction) is a way to comment on the present day.

    From an LA Times article on the Mao museum (I hesitate to overwhelm WordPress with links):

    He’s also gathering items on contemporary problems, such as migrant workers, food safety and the 2011 high-speed train crash in Wenzhou that killed 40 people and exposed corruption in the nation’s public railway system.

    “When the Sanlu tainted milk powder incident broke out, I rushed to the supermarket and told the shop assistant, ‘My baby enjoys eating Sanlu.’ So I was able to buy two boxes,” Fan said. “After the Wenzhou train accident, we were able to collect some doors and windows from the wreckage.”

    So I wonder if “talking about the past and future to think about the present” is why Chinese readers think 3BP is a great book, and if others agree.

  33. NelC,

    “part of that programming”

    *****SPOILERS******

    My reading (so far) would be that the gender blindness is linguistic habit and social conditioning,since Radch don’t think it matters and they aren’t used to paying attention to it – in a Sapir-Eskimo-words-for-snow kind of way. If it were more, why would the protagonist always say things like I’m not used to talking about gender, I’m not used to using gender pronouns, this gender marker wouldn’t matter back home, and so forth. I’d say she is invariably highly aware of the issue because she is emphasizing, kind of like you would if you were from any culture, a social marker of difference that separates – and, from the way Seivarden talks – elevates, Radch from non-Radch. So in that sense, I think your comparison with Japanese is very apt.

  34. @NelC Have you read AS yet? It dedicates a few paragraphs to the subject of corpse-soldier sexuality.

  35. Re: AJ

    I just hit the key passage that, for me, would have cinched my Hugo vote. It’s short, the part of chapter 14 where the narrator is contemplating the gradual fragmentation of “I” from the accustomed multi-bodied singular into a multi-bodied plural.

    Marvelously done, when you stop and consider the layers involved in that moment of reflection.

  36. @Brian Z: “since Radch don’t think it matters”

    I find that phrase troubling, and I’m not sure how to articulate why.

    To the Radchaai, it doesn’t matter. Not in a social context, and maybe not even in terms of inserting Tab A into Slot B. So far, I’ve seen one brief reference to procreation, some mentions of using sex to curry favor, and several stating that the Radchaai are (at least mostly) humans, so sex happens, but there’s nothing to indicate that heterosexuality is any different from any other combination. This may be a case of insufficient reader data (yes, Iphinome, I see your post), but it may also indicate that the Radch has simply discarded gender roles.

    Meanwhile, outside of the Radch, different societies have different rules and mores, and some of those do consider gender relevant in social interaction. For a being over two thousand years old, that shift is a rather significant one; I’m not at all surprised that Breq has trouble adjusting to that perspective. I see no need to stipulate any mental blocks or other “forced gender-blind” protocols to make the situation work; further, I would consider the existence of recreational sex between troops a strong argument against such artificial programming.

    They just don’t assign any importance to gender outside the bedroom, and maybe not even there. They’re not sexless, but their society is genderless. (Consider that sentence carefully before objecting, everybody. Words matter.)

    It’s not that the Radchaai don’t “think” it matters – that argument means that it objectively does matter, and everyone in the Radch errs in thinking and behaving otherwise. I don’t buy that, and it is certainly unsupported by the text so far (57%).

  37. This is very complicated. So I grew up and now live in a place where almost everyone is by necessity at least bilingual, and where possibly a majority of people would be trilingual at least.

    The most common language has gendered terms ie prince/ princess but does not have gender pronouns as such (NOTE: I’m not entirely certain if I’m using the grammatical terms (ie pronoun) correctly). However, gender roles are still strongly in place, at least as strongly as in Japan as per NelC’s comment.

    Another observation that did strike me was this. So I’ve grown up with people from various backgrounds and language abilities. One thing I notice about someone for whom the language above is their native tongue (ie, it’s the first, and perhaps only language they learn for at least the first few years until pre-school) is that some of them have considerable difficulties in figuring out English gender pronouns.

    They know what gender a person is, they know the pronoun for that gender, but when speaking they somfetimes/ frequently arrive at the wrong one. I used to think that it was because they were formulating their response in their native tongue, then directly translating to English. Maybe some do. But I also think know that it’s because there is no distinction in terms of third-person pronouns for them.

    But like I said, despite this gender still plays a massive role. So for me, the language aspect of Radchai was the smallest feature of their culture. So when I first read Anc Justice (and to a similar extent, Lock In), I wasn’t too blown away by the language. What I found to be more SciFi was a culture where gender was simply not considered – not overcome, or considered equal or anything like that, but one in which it wasn’t even thought off. It was as much a criteria of the Radchai as the ratio between someone’s thumb and pinky would be on Earth.

  38. Brian Z — One reason it feels to me that there’s some cognitive deficit (beyond me not believing in a strong Sapir-Whorf effect), is that Doctor Whosis is surprised when Breq misgenders her. She has spent time in Radch society, so if it was a comon thing for Radch to misgender her surely she would expect it from Breq?

    Breq also reads to me sometimes like someone who is colour-blind talking about colour; she knows there’s this thing called “red” which is pretty similar in her eye to this thing called “green”, even though everyone around her can tell the difference, she doesn’t let it bother her, just calls everything that’s green or red “green”.

    But then that gets us into interesting territory about colour names and perception of colour; I could tell you about the Japanese colour ao, but I’ll leave it there.

  39. @NelC: “Doctor Whosis is surprised when Breq misgenders her. She has spent time in Radch society, so if it was a comon thing for Radch to misgender her surely she would expect it from Breq?”

    Except Breq is claiming to be non-Radch at the time. I have seen no indication that Radchaai and non-Radchaai are physically different, and the whole notion of Breq even trying to claim that cover implies otherwise. Even at the beginning, when the locals are hideously overcharging her, someone accuses her of being from the Radch… in the same way an American might call someone a Damn Furriner. If there were physical differences, that behavior makes no sense.

  40. Rev.Bob — But the doctor suspects that Breq is Radchai anyway, as I recall, so it still shouldn’t be a surprise if Breq misgenders her, just a confirmation of her suspicions at most.

    As to physical differences between Radchai and everyone else, I don’t see where you’re getting that from. I haven’t mentioned it.

  41. @Rev. Bob

    “It’s not that the Radchaai don’t “think” it matters – that argument means that it objectively does matter, and everyone in the Radch errs in thinking and behaving otherwise. I don’t buy that, and it is certainly unsupported by the text so far (57%).”

    I think that’s a very interesting point and it underscores something about language use.

    The phrase “so-and-so doesn’t think something matters” carries within it the implicit judgement that the thing does matter by some important dimension the author of the phrase, at least, considers relevant.

    On the whole people don’t think about things that don’t matter to them.

    There’s a serious difference, I mean, between actively thinking something doesn’t matter and not thinking about it at all. In the first case the thing clearly matters to the thinker and the thinker is not being honest.

    About the only reason I can think of for anyone to honestly actively think something doesn’t matter is if they are constantly challenged about it and have to respond. And even then my observation in real life is such people simply change the subject more often than not.

  42. @NelC: “As to physical differences between Radchai and everyone else, I don’t see where you’re getting that from. I haven’t mentioned it.”

    I was trying to figure out why you expected the doc to identify Breq as being a Radch citizen and thus be unsurprised by the misgendering. It seemed to me that you thought the doc should Just Know that and not be surprised, and the only dimension I could think of to support Just Knowing was a physical difference – which, as I noted, isn’t the case.

    So why shouldn’t the doc have been surprised by the misgendering? They’re on a non-Radch planet; the misgendering can certainly betray Breq as from the Radch, but that slip-up is still likely to surprise the doc.

  43. Rev.Bob — Enough time has passed that I’m unsure of the exact details, but my recollection was that the doctor was monitoring Breq and her junkie friend while they were in her house, in which case she would certainly have heard them talking to each other in Radchai.

    I’m reluctant to go back to AJ right now to track down the details — I’m midway through 3BP and don’t want to confuse things in my mind — but I was under the impression that she suspected Breq of being Radch, not to mention corpse-soldier, from their meeting.

    I admit, though, that my theory may have but weak support in the text, and I don’t expect anyone to positively agree. It’s more what you might call head canon.

  44. @NelC:

    If there’s one thing an ebook’s good for, it’s finding a passage. 🙂

    Upon Strigan’s reveal in chapter 5, she reveals that she’s had the pair under surveillance since their arrival. My read of that scene is that the golden disc implicates Breq as Radchaai, but it’s also established that Strigan got tipped off by the person who rented Breq the flier. Strigan also assumes at first that Breq’s an ancillary, which I chalk up to successfully making it from the landing site to the house while carrying Seivarden, but Breq successfully throws that into doubt over the course of the conversation.

  45. Rev. Bob – Marvelously done, when you stop and consider the layers involved in that moment of reflection.

    I know what part you mean, between than an some of the ideas of what might happen to one psyche over multiple bodies is some great stuff. Even if it wasn’t my favorite work I could absolutely understand why people voted for it because of moments like that.

  46. @Jon http://file770.com/?p=22445&cpage=7#comment-260159
    I am afraid that you are putting words into my mouth. Fans often disagree and whenever there is a contest, someone is bound to loose. Hence although the nominations and awards were deserved, it does not change the fact how the result may leave some unsatisfied. The Puppies were unsatisfied earlier years, and this year the non-Puppies seem to be unsatisfied. It is bit like kettles and pots.

    As for puppy hangouts… I mostly keep an eye on the twitter hashtag for Sad Puppies. And read file 770. So, please, do give directions.

    @Whym http://file770.com/?p=22445&cpage=7#comment-260162
    It might be, but it does not matter in this case. Each nomination slot can be filled by either a woman or a man. Hence, it makes no difference even if an author claims multiple nomination slots. Not to mention how same complaint could be done for 2015 results, where some men were nominated for multiple nomination slots.

    @Annie Y http://file770.com/?p=22445&cpage=7#comment-260163
    I believe this might be the link you refer to: http://www.strangehorizons.com/2015/20150330/sfcount-a.shtml

    As for some criticism towards it: According to its description it only contains data for Science Fiction. Not for works of Fantasy that are also eligible for Hugo nominations. Moreover, not all works are reviewed. The latter is less of a complaint as Hugos work as a bit of a popularity contest and reviews do correlate with sales.

    Hence, if we use the percentages given in the article to do same calculations, then with 42% (US) and 39,9% (US&UK) this year’s absence of female nominations on the literaty categories is statistically significant in both scenarios with the 95% confidence interval. (The likely cause is John C. Wright’s multiple nominations in same categories.)

    As for my interest in this thing. You could say that I heard the noises and decided to investigate. As for what bothers me with the Hugos, mainly that they are so very far away. (It might be fun to see what the whole ruckus is actually about.)

    @Matt Y http://file770.com/?p=22445&cpage=7#comment-260165
    Commenters here made a number of claims that went beyond simply stating that they disagree. Hence I got curious to hear if they could actually back it up.

    As for your questions, I feel the answers can be found by reading my earlier post again. What I have not covered earlier: as for Worldcon being America centric, it is partly because it is an American award.

    @Cat http://file770.com/?p=22445&cpage=8#comment-260184
    I got the link you posted from elsewhere on the depths of Internet’s Blogosphere. The percentage for women authors was 42% in US and 39,9 for US&UK combined.

    And had Annie Bennet not withdrawn, then with the above probabilities of 42% and 39,9% the result of nominations would not have been statistically significant on the 95% confidence interwall.

    An interesting tidbit.

    I guess that is about it. I’m very unlikely to post anything else on File770 today.

  47. “According to its description it only contains data for Science Fiction. Not for works of Fantasy that are also eligible for Hugo nominations.”

    It doesn’t say that.

  48. Tuomas Vainio: “as for Worldcon being America centric, it is partly because it is an American award.”
    I think you have that backwards. Worldcons have existed for longer than the Hugos, and of the ten Worldcons that didn’t award the Hugo, 9 of them were in the US, and the other was in Canada. Worldcon has been “America centric” because it started in America, its future locations are voted on by members, and people have a tendency to vote for locations that are easy for them to get to. To the extent that the Hugo is “an American award”, that’s because Worldcons tend to be American conventions. Not the other way around.

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