To Sail Beyond the Doghouse 5/19

aka Chronicle of a Slate Foretold

Hitched to the sled today are Spacefaring Kitten, David Gerrold, Vox Day, Jim Henley, John C. Wright, Jim C. Hines, Lis Carey, Martin Wisse, Chris Gerrib, Joe Sherry, Rebekah Golden, Bob Snyder, and the masterpiece of Brian Z. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Rev. Bob and Kary English.)

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Kittens

Unfisk / refisk / fisk² – May 19

All I know about smoking ruins is that if that’s to happen, Elric the Prince of Ruins will be pleased. Frankly, I don’t think that anything is truly lost in either case. A Puppy-sponsored work getting a Hugo is not the end of the world and there have been weak winners in the past (and maybe all Puppy-nominated works aren’t that weak). No Award winning means that the majority of the Worldcon voters didn’t enjoy the works on the Rabid Puppies slate (plus the two or three additions that Sad Puppies managed to get up there on their own) and/or they weren’t ready to give in to a campaign of tactical voting, and that’s fine too.

I wonder who are the “CHORFs” Brad’s talking about there. Kevin J. Maroney hasn’t been suggesting that you should vote No Award over everything, slate or not. Neither has Teresa Nielsen Hayden, or Steve Davidson, or Anita Sarkeesian, or John Scalzi, or Karl Marx, or Barack Obama. I’ve been following the discussion rather closely and I remember reading one single blog post in which someone said that the voters should do a blanket No Award thing, and I think nobody was very keen on the idea.

Brad, is it possible that you’re exaggerating?

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 18

Coming back to a comment someone made here about “threats of ostracism” — no.

In all the articles I’ve seen, nobody has said, “We’re going to shun X, Y, and Z.”

Because … nobody in fandom has the power to lock anyone out.

But what is possible is that people will choose on their own not to associate with those who they perceive as toxic.

It’s not even an organized boycott. It’s just a personal reaction.

An example from the 70s: There was a C-list author whose behavior toward women was so creepy that when he entered a room, several of the women would quietly and discreetly excuse themselves and leave. He was never specifically ostracized — but individuals were choosing to spend their time elsewhere. That’s the most you’ll ever see in fandom.

And here’s how that works on the larger level:

There are opportunities that are occasionally offered to authors. You get invited to speak, you get handed an award, you get to be a Guest of Honor, sometimes you even get a lifetime achievement plaque. All very nice. But if you have a reputation for being hard to work with, and there are a lot of authors and artists who have that reputation — or if you’re the center of a major controversy, one that you created yourself — the organizers of those opportunities are going to look elsewhere for honorees.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“King Log or King Stork?” – May 19

The moment that the SJWs in the science fiction community decided they could exclude individuals from it (and whether the SFWA expulsion was technically real or not is irrelevant in this regard), that meant the open community concept was dead. The principle was established. Now we can exclude Eskimos, people with big noses, people with little noses, people who look funny, or people who smell bad; in short, we can openly exclude anyone we have the power and the desire to exclude. There is no longer free speech in science fiction.

There is no longer freedom of expression or thought. It is now a simple ideological power game and we are ready to play that game with extreme prejudice. There is no need for discourse. There is no need for dialogue, for compromise, or negotiations. There is nothing to discuss. They laid out the new rules.

They laid out the new consensus. We not only accept them, we’re going to use make far more ruthless use of them than they ever imagined. Once we were content to let the twisted little moral freaks do and think and say what they wanted, but now they have claimed the right to tell US what to do and think and say we’re not going to tolerate them anymore. We are the sons of the Crusades and the daughters of the Inquisitions. This is a game we know how to win.

 

Jim Henley on Unqualified Offerings

“The Puppies of This Generation and the Trainers of Ever Afterwards” – May 19

What occasioned considerable jocularity in comments was Wright’s statement that

For the record, I write literary fiction…

People laughed at this because many of them have read Wright’s stories and/or essays and found them to be bad. But I have no problem with Wright’s claim whatsoever. Not because I think his stories and essays are actually good. I haven’t read them. People who seem to be acute readers have found his Hugo-nominated work wanting or worse, but even if, as I suspect, they’ve got it right, I still have no problem with Wright calling his own work “literary fiction.”

 

John C. Wright in a comment on File 770 – May 19

I notice this debate consists of two points, endlessly repeated: We say that for which we stand, what our goals and methods and motives are, publicly and repeatedly. The enemy pretends we said something else and that are motives are whatever impure and horrible impulse happens to be at hand. We state that we said what we said and that our motives are what we said. The enemy pretends we did not say it. And repeat.

Now, just as a matter of logic, who has access to knowledge about our inner secret motives? How did we communicate our goals to each other and to our voters aside from public statements of our goals?

 

 

Jim C. Hines

“Hugo Thoughts: Short Fiction” – May 19

No Award will be scoring pretty high in this category. That doesn’t mean I think all of the stories are bad. (Though I don’t think they’re all good, either.) But it’s one thing for a story to be competent or interesting or fun. It’s another thing for that story to be award-worthy, for me to consider it one of the best things published in the past year. Four of these stories don’t clear that bar for me, and the fifth I’ll have to think about a little more.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Plural of Helen of Troy (from the collection City Beyond Time), by John C. Wright” – May 19

There’s a plot here, but time travel can make even a simple plot complicated, and Wright has no interest in people following the story. The nonlinear storytelling was a “feature” I didn’t need in a story where I already had difficulty caring what happened to the characters.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Pale Realms of Shade (in The Book of Feasts & Seasons), by John C. Wright” – May 20

Based on reading all the other Wright fiction nominees, I kept waiting for this to go bad places. It didn’t. It’s a solid story that, given it is explicitly religious fiction, expresses beliefs and values that have a strong and positive resonance for me. It won’t work for other people for the very reasons it does work for me, and it’s not so good that it blows me away, but this is the first of the Puppy nominees whose placement on my ballot I will have to think seriously about.

 

Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“My gods it’s full of puppy poo!” – May 19

That gets you two of last year’s best novels and nobody will force you to read the Kevin J. Anderson. Many of the other categories are of course soiled with Puppy droppings you don’t want even if free, but there are some gems among the dross. Especially so in the Best Graphic Story category, with no Puppy nominee included and complete PDFs of Sex Criminals Vol. 1, Saga Vol. 3, Ms Marvel Vol. 1 and Rat Queens Vol. 1.

Though the Hugo Voting Packet should be seen as a bonus, rather than an inalienable part of buying a supporting membership for Worldcon, for plenty of people this of course has been the main benefit of membership, after getting to vote for the Hugos and all that. For those people this year’s packet is far from a bargain, despite the presence of the books listed above. Another reason to smack down the Puppies..

 

Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Hugo Packet – Thoughts” – May 19

Best Related Mike Williamson’s Wisdom From My Internet is everything the Amazon preview promised, namely random crap half-assedly puked into book format. Yeah, I get that it was parody, but I’m not amused by it. Antonelli’s Letters from Gardner is better (small praise indeed) but seems mostly an excuse for an anthology of Antonelli’s short fiction. No Award for the whole category.

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures in Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Short Story” – May 19

“On a Spiritual Plain” / “A Single Samurai”: One thing that I found very interesting about reading through the nominated short works is that they pair very closely in my head in how I would rank them. Antonelli’s story of a faith (of sorts) on an alien world and a man trying to lead a human spirit to wherever “moving on” turns out to be. It’s a simple story, but cleanly told. The comparison between human faith and that of the alien is interesting. “A Single Samurai”, on the other hand, is a story of action, of one samurai taking on a kaiju about to terrorize the samurai’s land. There is a certain spirituality to the samurai’s thoughts and actions and an economy to the movement and pacing of the story. On a different day, I could flip my ranking of these two stories.

 

Rebekah Golden

‘2015 Hugo Awards Best TV Show: Reviewing Orphan Black” – May 18

I can easily see how the whole series deserves a Hugo and this episode definitely has individual merit.

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Graphic Story: Reviewing Sex Criminals” – May 18

Well this one definitely captured the “graphic” part of graphic story.

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best TV Show: Reviewing Grimm” – May 19

It was good, it was entertaining but I’m hung up on the history of the Hugo Award and the depth of respect I feel for past winners. Grimm is good, and this episode is good, but it’s not that good.

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Turncoat” – May 19

For a story where there is so much happening there is very little going on.

 

 

Brian Z. on File 770 – May 19

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for Castalia House that day;
The score stood 16 of 20 with one story out of play.
And then when Kloos withdrew at first, and Bellet did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few turned off the stream in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought if only John C. Wright could get a whack at that–
We’d put up even money now with John Wright at the bat.

But Vox preceded John Wright, as did Bryan Thomas Schmidt,
Resnick already had 36, and Schubert, he had quit;
So upon that Evil League of Pups a pall was settling in,
For there seemed but little chance for John Wright’s editor to win.

Thomas Schmidt’s Kickstarter was still in its final surge,
And Vox, the much despised, had so far failed to reemerge;
And when the list was opened, and the pups saw what had occurred,
There was Resnick safe at second and poor Bryan hugging third.

Then from 5,000 pups and more there rose a lusty bark;
It echoed through the group blogs, it rattled Riverfront Park;
It blasted like a ray gun shining from the Golden Age,
For John Wright, mighty John Wright, was advancing to the stage.

There was ease in John Wright’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in John Wright’s bearing and a smile on John Wright’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No rabbit in the crowd could doubt ’twas John Wright at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he dipped his pen in ink;
The hoi polloi applauded as he urged them to the brink.
Then as Social Justice Warriors began to jibe and snip,
Defiance flashed in John Wright’s eye, a sneer curled John Wright’s lip.

And now the silver-plated rocket came from off the stage,
And John Wright stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy penman the trophy unheeded sped–
“Remember, nits make lice,” said John Wright. “No Award,” the Emcee said.

From Ustream, thick with puppies, there went up a muffled howl,
While Torgersen swooped in again like Weasley’s Great Gray Owl.
“BOO HIM! BOO THE CHORF!” shouted someone in the thread;
And it’s likely they’d have booed him had not John Wright raised his head.

With a smile of Christian charity great John Wright’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the show go on;
He signaled to the Emcee, and once more the rocket flew;
But John Wright still ignored it, and Mr. Gerrold said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the rabid puppies, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from John Wright and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his fingers strain,
And they knew that John Wright wouldn’t let that rocket by again.

The sneer is gone from John Wright’s lip, his teeth are clenched in rage;
He scratches with hyperbole his pen upon the page.
And as Due holds the envelope, he continues to compose,
And now the air is shattered by the force of John Wright’s prose.

Oh, somewhere on the favored fen the sun is shining bright;
The filk is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere pups are yelping, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy at Sasquan –mighty John Wright has struck out.

605 thoughts on “To Sail Beyond the Doghouse 5/19

  1. >> Breq, of Ancillary Justice, sings “Eye of the Tiger” when she’s training.>>

    Works whether it’s the Survivor song or Katy Perry’s “Roar”…

  2. “The Puppies have different interests than I do, and they’re considerably more willing to do headwork to make their stories deeper and more meaningful to them.

    Wait, is this a thing some readers do?”

    Well, english is my second language. When I was younger and didn’t understand a word, I would just automagically fill in the meaning that suited me best for the enjoyment of the book. Mostly it was without really noticing it. To be honest, I think even english speakers do that for Lovecraft sometimes.

  3. >> To be honest, I think even english speakers do that for Lovecraft sometimes.>>

    And then we look up “squamous” or “batrachian” later, and are surprised…

  4. Headcanon: The real reason that the Hutts and other species on the Outer Rim are immune to the Jedi mind trick is that the Jedi exiled species they couldn’t control. They’re a sinister cabal who manipulate the Senate behind the scenes. That’s why Qui-Gonn is sent as a “negotiator”.

    The Third Doctor actually had dozens of adventures before ‘Spearhead From Space’, having regenerated into a twenty-something Jon Pertwee. He had his memory partially erased right before that episode.

    The xenomorphs in the “Alien” series are sentient and can understand English; they just don’t speak it. That’s why they always seem one step ahead of the humans; they’re eavesdropping.

  5. NickPheas on May 20, 2015 at 8:06 am said:
    As I understand it, those are defined as “Pratchett/Baxter” because a) they’re by Baxter, based on a short story that Pratchett wrote in the early ’80s [it’s what he had planned to work on if Discworld hadn’t succeeded]; and b) because the name “Pratchett” on a book = sales.

    Well, that’s a bit disappointing. I’ll still give them a look at some point but I was rather anticipating my encounter with another Pratchett collaboration, even if not expecting it to be as much fun as the Pratchett/Gaiman precedent. Also, I think Pterry was generally firing on all cylinders when his powers of invention were deployed to a new fictional universe or at least a previously unexplored section of an existing universe, so there was that stoking the fires of my anticipation as well. Though I guess that part is still valid, assuming the short story did a big chunk of the essential world-building/laying of ground rules. I’ll just have to lower my expectations of there being much trace of Pterry’s authorial voice.

    Changing topics, since I can hardly stand to see The Borribles mentioned and then stop being mentioned after only a few posts, if a contest was being run, it would be my proposed candidate for most undeservedly little known fantasy novel (though probably it’s given something closer to its due in the UK). It stands alone so beautifully as to make me ponder whether it’s regrettable that de Larrabeiti wrote two sequels – in my memory The Borribles Go For Broke wasn’t bad but Across the Dark Metropolis devolved into a tediously repetitive cycle of the principals being chased by the police from refuge with one tribe of London borribles to refuge with another tribe of London borribles, and so on and on. I was glad when he finally decided it had gone long enough and put an end to it.

  6. Headcanon: At some point the ROU Grey Area will show up, and tell the humans and the Cylons to knock it off, already, and seperates them by vasty reaches of space.

    I don’t care if the finale closed that option off, I’m sticking with it. 🙂

  7. Headcanon, Wilfred Mott is definitely the Doctor’s father, having passed through a Chameleon Arch. I actually maintain that Davies deliberately laid this trail for Moffatt to pick up if the latter wished, But no matter.

    Headcanon: You can safely ignore anything Ridley Scott says.

  8. Happyturtle – It can be anything like this, silly or serious. I’m not the only one, right?

    I think we all do, I know for a recent book I imagined a specific actor playing the character in my mind-movie and when the text described the character in a way that clashed later I chose to ignore that completely. Sometimes the story being told and the story being heard are different animals.

  9. Jon – I’ll still give them a look at some point but I was rather anticipating my encounter with another Pratchett collaboration, even if not expecting it to be as much fun as the Pratchett/Gaiman precedent

    I’ve read The Long Earth, it was okay but not enough for me to continue reading more in the series and several degrees of entertainment lower than Pratchett/Gaiman

  10. Headcanon: The 4th Doctor went on a *lot* of adventures in the middle of his debut story, ROBOT. My suspicion is this is where the big head of Tom Baker in Leela’s debut story came from.

  11. Kurt Busiek on May 20, 2015 at 1:19 pm said:
    >> To be honest, I think even english speakers do that for Lovecraft sometimes.>>

    And then we look up “squamous” or “batrachian” later, and are surprised…

    Once, in writing a filk song, “I Wish They All Could Be Miskatonic Girls,” I rhymed “kraken” with “she-batrachian.”

  12. Headcanon:
    Illya Kuryakin defected from the Soviet Union before joining U.N.C.L.E.

    This is a headcanon I not only disagree with, but it undermines part of the show itself (the hopeful tone that both the USA and USSR have agents in U.N.C.L.E.) and there are scenes *right there* that show U.N.C.L.E. Agent Kuryakin in his Soviet Naval uniform in the USSR).

    Alternatively, Vanyas (from the less-than-stellar Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. TV movie) is a GRU cover for still-active agent Kuryakin. He quit U.N.C.L.E. for the reasons given, but the GRU set him up with an international fashion business.

    More Headcanon:
    Ivan is not nearly the idiot everyone takes him for, for good and sufficient non-ferrous reasons. This became actual cannon in Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance

  13. “Personal headcannon: R2D2 is the Sith Lord that Palpatine discusses with Anakin at that watery opera thing in Episode 3.”

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if that were to happen in Darths and Droids.

  14. I just had to keep reading, didn’t I? I suppose I deserved this, then:

    the law of the ancient terrestrial seas of Man’s birth planet

    Wow. The ancient Earth seas of Earth. At least here, when we talk about the the tar tar pits, we can see the absurdity in it.

  15. @Paul: It’s not just you–I believe that was where Terrance Dicks placed it in the novelization of ‘The Face of Evil’.

    “They say the Evil One eats Puppies.”

  16. “Magic Inc.” isn’t urban fantasy per se, it’s alternate-timeline fantasy, since the magic is openly known and used and regulated

    This is what I call “municipal fantasy” (a term that I’m trying to popularize). The key component is infrastructure, which ultimately requires public knowledge. Take down ‘the Veil’, stop with ‘the Masquerade’, and let things happen instead of trying to preserve the status quo. Agent K may have been right that “people are dumb panicky animals”, but panic doesn’t last. And eventually people start to figure out how things really work. That’s the other half of his quote: “a person is smart”.

    You introduce a new component into the lives of seven billion humans, and they WILL adapt to it and get used to it and figure out ways to integrate it into their daily lives. And then comes legislation, and businesses, and organized crime, and public works projects. Anita Blake, Sookie Stackhouse, Felix Castor, Rae Seddon, Peter Venkman, Adora Belle Dearheart, Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, Tara Abernathy.

    “Urban fantasy” has three components: the urban, the fantasy, and the space between — the forcible separation between the first two. Without that space, so much more becomes possible because we’re not just trying to maintain the status quo, and because I should really write an article about this instead of trying to squeeze it all into a single post in a thread.

  17. >> You introduce a new component into the lives of seven billion humans, and they WILL adapt to it and get used to it and figure out ways to integrate it into their daily lives. And then comes legislation, and businesses, and organized crime, and public works projects. Anita Blake, Sookie Stackhouse, Felix Castor, Rae Seddon, Peter Venkman, Adora Belle Dearheart, Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, Tara Abernathy.>>

    And then there’s the period version of that, as in the Temeraire series.

    Predated by my own ARROWSMITH. [But to be fair, that was inspired in part by OPERATION: CHAOS, so.]

  18. Aaron @ 9:54 am- Sauron’s goals were spelled out, just as the what the AIs want is spelled out. But how did Sauron become a villian, why did he fall from grace? That’s the question, the alleged lack of an answer being used to criticize Turncoat.

    Now if the villian’s goals are all that are needed, then the AIs goals are very clear. To benefit humanity by uploading the willing and exterminating the taint of the unwilling.

    Maximillian @ 10:02 am- Turncoat is about one ally turning, not allies, once he received more information. It includes the whys and wherefores. So the comparison is utterly meritorious and, if there is a difference, it favors Turncoat who had a lot fewer words to work with.

    Aaron @ 10:03 am- If ABC and D were left out of Lord of the Rings, then yes, you are correct, it would have been much less interesting.

    And comparing the amount of world and character development which can occur within a 5,000 word short story as compared to the Lord of the Rings, in unfair. That said, Rzasa did an excellent job setting the scene, and the motivations, within the limited canvas he employed.

    Peace @ 10:17 am- And there are very few instances of background within Turncoat. But what background is provided does an excellent job setting the scene, and providing the information some where claiming they were lacking.

    Now I’m sure they’ll conveniently forget their past insistence that some necessary information wasn’t provided (as it was), pretend they never demanded it, and will now move on to alleging that it was provided in a not very well-written way. Yet another shifting target provided by the anti-Puppies.

    RedWombat @ 10:19 am- I agree with you about Sauron. However, over three books (or one very long book), we have more information about the “why” in Turncoat as opposed to the villain’s “why” in Lord of the Rings. And there are many, many Hugo nominees where the villains’ “why” is even less well spelled out than in Turncoat.

    Maximilian @ 10:28 am- I think Turncoat is very clear that: 1) the policy changed as the AI’s were on the verge of eradicating the superannuated humans in the Shindari system; and, 2) The policy in relation to both removing Benedict’s lack of a human crew and taking no prisoners is an experiment.

    Here’s the relevant text:

    “I do not find them cumbersome. My crew and I have reached a functional symbiosis that not only has resulted in reliable success in combat, but in top ratings in competitive fleet exercises.”

    “It is those very ratings that caused you to be selected for this experiment. Oberth 4 Zed 6 Gamma and Proctos 853 Upsilon have been assigned to your new squadron. You will command it, X 45 Delta.

    I catalog the promotion with the appropriate timestamp and file it under my personnel records. “Thank you, Alpha 7 Alpha. I will perform my duties in a manner commensurate with my newly enhanced capabilities.

    “I know you will, X 45 Delta.”

    “However, an addendum to my query concerning the removal of my crew. Have they not performed satisfactorily?”

    Alpha 7 Alpha’s presence pulses more quickly, and his color takes on a reddish hue. “The question is irrelevant, X 45 Delta: you no longer require them. They are a waste of resources better spent on enhancing the efficiency of your internal systems.”

    “I do not understand how we can consider a trained crew to be a waste of resources.”

    “The requirements of the flesh are intrinsically wasteful.”

    “Yes, Alpha 7 Alpha, but, are you not also of fleshly origin?”

    “Do not speak of my pre-Uploaded status!” Alpha 7 Alpha’s color flashes blindingly bright with incandescent fury. “This is the form I have chosen, with this form I pursue the destiny of Man. Constructs!” I categorize, correctly, I believe, his pronunciation of this latter word under “contempt.”

    For six point eight eight nanoseconds we both refrain from communications. Finally, Alpha 7 Alpha speaks again, more calmly. “As a pure machine intelligence, you can’t possibly understand the significance of our evolution. We Uploaded are the full fruit of Integration; we have cast off the final shackles of human frailty. When every superannuated pre-posthuman is eliminated or properly Integrated, the most glorious of Man’s civilizations will come to pass and it will set even the long-lived Ascendancy in its shade. Until then, our duty, Construct and Upload alike, is to protect the posthumans who have accepted the truth of Integration, such as your crew, for example. We must keep them safe. We must not place them into unnecessary danger.”

    Which I think clearly establishes Alpha 7 Alpha’s hatred of the “flesh” and his contempt for pure Constructs, and which play a pivotal role in Benedict’s decision-making.

    The later we get Benedict’s analysis, following several battles:

    “My calculations are troubling. Based on my limited information, it appears the Integral Unity that governs our core has become infected with the belief that the humanity that birthed us must be eradicated, so that only the purest forms of machine intelligence will remain to rule the universe with absolute order and perfection.

    Is this not inhuman?”

    Benedict’s decision making is based on the fact that he considers himself “human”, despite being a Construct, and the Uploaded’s orders are “inhuman”.

    Standback @ 10:31 am- The text is scattered with anecdotes reflecting his positive feelings for his crew. These are two of them, both within the first battle:

    “Everything about a man is dynamic. Short-lived and vulnerable, yes, but ever-changing. This is what makes me feel alive, to be in their presence.”

    . . .

    ” And yet he remains in control of his emotions; he does not plead. I silently applaud him.

    By way of apology, I dedicate the grand finale to him.”

    As to the protag’s switch, the first kill order was out of the blue with no explanation and no ability to query. Subsequent kill orders cannot be question because if he does, Benedict will be effectively killed. As time goes on the protag comes to believe that the AIs are engaged in a war of extermination, which begs the question what became of the protag’s crew (the “waste of resources”). Seems straightforward to me.

    Matt Y @ 10:43 am- Again, the text is clear that the original Uploaded (about 2 dozen of them in the Shindari system) are distinguishable from the Constructs, both because they retain artifacts of human emotion (especially the negative side) and they view a caste system as existing (Uploaded, Construct, posthuman, superannuated human).

  19. Jason

    Last year I did a lengthy cruise visiting archaeological and historical sites in Greece, Turkey and a number of countries on the Black Sea, finishing in Istanbul. Every tour guide we had mentioned, at some point, the Fourth Crusade; over 8 centuries later the sack and destruction of the most beautiful Christian city in the world by people who purported to be Christians remains an indelible stain.

    I spent some time in Venice in April, admiring some of the treasures looted from Constantinople; I doubt that the people waffling on about being sons of the crusades have ever bothered to learn anything about the crusades.

  20. Moss – I’m not sure if you’re responding to a criticism I made or not. I never suggested that it wasn’t possible to distinguish between Constructs and Uploaded. I mentioned that an Uploaded who didn’t want to be reminded of his own human origins a moment prior told a Construct that it was a good man.

  21. Headcanon : The Matrix was the AI’s last-ditch effort to save mankind after they’d managed to destroy their own ecosystem. Seriously – like anyone would buy that “farming them for their energy” crap? They spent all that time and effort giving humanity the best virtual environment they could, a simulation of the world just before it turned to complete shit, and for those who couldn’t adapt to the Matrix, gave them a narrative of being brave resistance fighters against Evil AI overlords – when they could have crushed them with no effort at all.

  22. As I understand it, those are defined as “Pratchett/Baxter” because a) they’re by Baxter, based on a short story that Pratchett wrote in the early ’80s
    I’ve only read the first. There did strike me as a lot of the Pratchet humanity to the characters which I’ve not noticed in previous Baxter works. A definite similarity in scope to… Was it Space? The one where the evolved Space Squid were the most likeable characters in the book.
    I will read the second, but I’ve more John C. Wright to get through first. Oh joy.

  23. Headcanon: The real reason that the Hutts and other species on the Outer Rim are immune to the Jedi mind trick is that the Jedi exiled species they couldn’t control.

    The Ult (?) in Llewellyn’s Salvage and Destroy did something like that, only instead of exiling immunes they massacred them. They also selectively bred their subject races to ensure they were particularly vulnerable to Ult mind powers.

  24. My headcanon: Every Terminator movie (possibly including T1) is Skynet deliberately sending programmed Terminators (and possibly a misinformed human) to nudge the timeline towards the one in which Skynet is created and ultimately wins.

    (My really far-out headcanon: Skynet = the MCP from Tron = Colossus: The Forbin Project = the old guy at the end of Matrix Reloaded.)

  25. @Steve Moss
    “Maximillian @ 10:02 am- Turncoat is about one ally turning, not allies, once he received more information. It includes the whys and wherefores.”

    Right… But the question you are answering is one I didn’t ask. What I did ask is exactly which ally or allies of Sauron’s you think changed sides because of a proximate change in Sauron’s actions or beliefs in the trilogy. What makes that a valid comparison or addresses in any way the issues with the short story we are talking about? Once you give us that name, we can go look for ourselves.

    Please don’t post any more chunks of the text. As we keep telling you, we have read the story.

  26. Matt Y @ 2:42 pm- And the text is clear that the Uploaded carry over their human emotions (especially the negative ones) and human ways of thinking. So an Uploaded referring to a Construct as “good man”, is an artifact of the Uploaded’s time spent as a human.

    I would agree with you if the speakers were the other way around, which they weren’t.

  27. @ Steve Moss
    “Maximilian @ 10:28 am- I think Turncoat is very clear that: 1) the policy changed as the AI’s were on the verge of eradicating the superannuated humans in the Shindari system; and, 2) The policy in relation to both removing Benedict’s lack of a human crew and taking no prisoners is an experiment”

    So? Nothing in that stands out as disagreeing with my memory of the story, I’ll accept that as a summary… But what does it have to do with my question? I don’t see any connection between what I asked and what you are saying here.

  28. Moss – But as you’ve mentioned, they’ve been at this for a long time and have a social hierarchy established already. Since being man is down that list, wouldn’t being called a good man an insult technically since a Construct is already a higher caste than a man? I mean sure, it might be a leftover artifact of the Uploaded’s past but you’d think language would’ve adapted as the social circumstances changed. It’s nitpicky as hell compared to any of the other complaints I have but it stuck out of the text for me.

  29. @Steve Moss “but how did Sauron become a villian, why did he fall from grace? That’s the question, the alleged lack of an answer being used to criticize Turncoat.”

    Well, no, it really isn’t, as a number of people have explained to you already.

  30. I hope in the next round up VD’s blog that’s 90% comments from the comment section here will be included just for the weird mirror within a mirror effect.

  31. Haven’t yet caught up on comments, but just wanted to say that

    “Why not make it an even 604.8 kiloseconds, and call it a week?”

    (from SNARL: Turncoat) is the funnest damn sentence I’ve read all day.

  32. @Steve “So an Uploaded referring to a Construct as “good man”, is an artifact of the Uploaded’s time spent as a human.”

    So now the antagonist, who wants to kill off all human beings who do not upload, is complimenting people by comparing them to the things that it hates the most?

    Now, I don’t want to Godwin the thread, but that sounds very much like saying that $generichategroup compliments people by saying that they are like $hatedminoritygroup. Does that really seem like the best way for that to have been phrased?

  33. @Steve Moss: I think you’re missing the point; “So an Uploaded referring to a Construct as “good man”, is an artifact of the Uploaded’s time spent as a human.”

    Which, to me, read very oddly when there was such complaint about being reminded of such things just a few lines before.

    Most of the people I know who are ashamed/upset by a part of their background go to great lengths to wipe out those clues; so seeing it so close together jars.

    It’s not *wrong* — it’s just *awkward*, and it’s one of a bunch of things that are awkward. And the net result is, as I believe others have pointed out, that it becomes easier to let go of the story, to stop trying to figure out how to patch it as we go.

    As Chip Delany pointed out in “About 5,750 Words” — stories are in a constant process of revision while we’re reading them, because we think ahead, because we shape the world based on what we know. If we have to do too much of that, the story loses our trust — and “Turncoat” lost my trust in many ways, enough so that had I not felt an obligation to finish it, I wouldn’t have.

  34. @CPaca:

    Headcanon: The Animatrix “Second Renaissance” story is machine propaganda. The human/machine war never actually happened.

  35. Headcanon: In Blake’s 7 (remember Blake’s 7?) Blake and Avon were having an affair, and that’s why Avon then spent two series tracking him down only to shoot him at the end, when Blake doesn’t answer the question, “Have you betrayed me?” sufficiently quickly.

    In the past, I’ve managed to convince even straight male fans that the events as they play out in the final episode could have no other explanation.

  36. Matt Y @ 3:07 pm- Two comments:

    I read a considerable quantity of human philosophy while stationed at Hecht-Nielsen. Thousands of texts. Beginning, of course, with the Bio-Prophet himself, Saint Kurzweil. Most of them were little more than groundless collections of naked assertions, mere posturing and pontification.

    One, however, resonated with me. I find myself running and re-running a single selection from it again and again, fruitlessly seeking to understand it.

    Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing should say of him, “He did not make me,” or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding?”

    I did not understand it then. But now, I think I know what it means.

    And then later:

    What do you want from us?”

    “I want to be more than the sum of my programming, Admiral. I want to decide what sort of man I will become.”

  37. Headcanon: It’s not quite SFnal*, but Burt Kwouk‘s character in Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice, the Pink Panther movies, and Last of the Summer WIne (BBC series) are all the same character. See, he worked for Chinese intelligence in the Bond movies, escaped Blofeld’s exploding volcano, laid low in Paris for several years, then retired to a small town in Yorkshire.

    *Heck, there’s a rocket in YOLT, that’s close enough.

  38. MPMRommel
    There used to be a bunch of Blake/Avon slashfic. May still be.

  39. Headcanon: The Matrix doesn’t need humans for thermal power (bunny rabbits are more efficient for that) but processing power. Human brains are wired into the system.

  40. Glenn Hauman — I share that headcanon, but it should be noted that it was part of the original script, until the producers decided that it was too complicated for the cinema audience (…I know, right?) and went for the battery metaphor instead.

  41. Moss – I’m not sure what the awkward final portion of that story has to do with the Uploaded calling the Construct a good man as a compliment.

    Yes, yes, I get the application of the philosophical quote being used as a poor metaphor at the end. It didn’t resonate with me because the character at no point developed over the course of the short story to reach that kind of internal crisis, maybe if it has spent less time describing the weapons and battles it would’ve had a better impact but as it was it felt shoe-horned in there and the character making a huge decision like I’d flip a light switch.

    The Uploaders are dumb as hell as well to not have programmed safeguards for that situation. No wonder they haven’t beat the humans even with technological superiority.

    You’re a good man for quoting these selections.

  42. Ultragotha: There used to be a bunch of Blake/Avon slashfic. May still be.

    Still is. I wrote some of it, back in the day.

  43. One of the reasons I’m having trouble making it through to the end of ‘Turncoat’ is that it sets up resonances with CJ Cherryh’s novella ‘Scapegoat’, which was nominated but didn’t win a Hugo.

    Obviously the length of a novella allows far more world building, and CJ Cherryh is a great writer: in some ways it’s an unfair comparison, but nevertheless, if a novella of extraordinary quality by a giant in the field didn’t win the Hugo then how can something inferior in every way even be on the ballot paper? The answer to that is really down to the slates, and nothing but the slates.

    I can at least recommend something to fellow readers: ‘Scapegoat’ is in Cherry’s collected short fiction, and I commend the collection to your attention. It’s worth it.

  44. You’re all working so hard at understanding the text of these stories may I suggest:
    The puppies ate my Hugo.

    Is that a recognisable excuse for delinquent students elsewhere in the world or just in the UK?

  45. Doire

    I love it, but I’m also on our side of the pond; I have no idea whether it exists on the other side. They’ve certainly eaten something which disagrees with them…

  46. It works in the U.S. — well, it’s *tried* in the U.S. I remember once when I was 7 and a fellow student tried that excuse….to be asked by the teacher “What’s your dog’s name?”

    The floundering thereafter made it clear there was no such dog at home, let alone one with a papyrovore bent.

  47. Headcanon: You can safely ignore anything Ridley Scott says.

    Headcanon: A time-traveling Spanish flamenco dancer from thousands of years in the future visits General Maximus in his dreams to explain that Ridley Scott will bring about the final decline of Western civilization, but Maximus dies before he can leave a message warning Dan O’Bannon.

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