Canterbury Tails 5/27

Aka Mansfield Puppy Park

The wisdom of crowds is supplied by Ruth Davies, Adam-Troy Castro, Nancy Lebovitz, Gabriel McKee, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Lyda Morehouse, L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Alexandra Erin, Vox Day, JDZ, Lis Carey, Joe Sherry, Lisa J. Goldstein, Rebekah Golden, Joseph Brassey, John Scalzi, Katya Czaja, plus less identifiable others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day rcade and Kary English.)

Ruth Davies on The Hippo Collective

“Taking a Literary Step Backwards: the Hugo Awards 2015” – May 24

This scandal is clearly worrying; such regressive views placed upon particular literary genres, such as science fiction and fantasy, must have implications for other genres, and the larger literary field. Literature is key in its power to evolve and combat the oppression of minority groups, by allowing a voice and platform (although being well heard often unfortunately relies on getting ‘discovered’ and subsequently published). Right-wing action is also more concerning when involved with such canonising activity as literary awards. Awards often help shape the (Western) literary canon, which contains a lot of the West’s most famous and widely read literature. Therefore right-wing attitudes, such as those of the ‘Sad Puppies’ and ‘Rabid Puppies’, merely blocks diversification of the canon – discouraging the cultural change that the West still desperately needs.

However, the question still remains: how do we overcome such regressive strategies in literature? The democratic fan vote should appear the fairest and least problematic strategy, yet as seen, it has its fundamental drawbacks.

 

Font Folly

“Tom Puppy and the Visitor from Planet Clueless” – May 27

A Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy supporter posted an op-ed on the men’s rights site Return of the Kings (he links to and heavily paraphrases one of the Sad Puppy podcasts), “How Female-Dominated Publishing Houses Are Censoring Male Authors” that is a great example of several of the issues that I believe underpin the Sad Puppy position. Never mind that the statistics show that men make up more than 65% of the annual publishing lists of most of the publishing houses, and male-authored books comprise more the 80% of books reviewed in the major publications, this guy is here to tell us that men are being censored!

 

Adam Troy-Castro on Facebook – May 27

(Sigh) No, I am not saying, nor am I ever going to say, that the organizers of the Sad Puppy nonsense need to be “boycotted” for what they have done and said, and I am most certainly not saying that the writers they advocated for need to be boycotted for the actions of those who supported them.

This is after all me, the guy who has made such a regular habit of arguing for separating the art from the artist, most of the time in more extreme circumstances. If I can distinguish between Bill Cosby and “Bill Cosby,” if I can praise the occasional film by Roman Polanski, if I can struggle in vain to discuss the filmic achievements of Woody Allen without being slammed by the same stuff that artistic discussions of Woody Allen are always slammed with, if I can further regularly wax enthusiastic about work by writers like Stephen Hunter and Dan Simmons who exist so far from me on the political spectrum that we are almost on separate rainbows, then why the hell would I tell anybody to boycott the work of {Gay-Basher McManly-Nuts}, to name one, just because I think it’s fun to summarize his persona as {Gay-Basher McManly-Nuts}? Ditto with {Hurt-Feelings Harry}, {Steely-Eyed Rage-Monster}, Beale The Galactic Zero, and the rest of that crew. I mock them with abandon, but want *none* of them subjected to organized boycott of any kind.

I have said nothing advocating otherwise, and anybody who represents me as having said anything of the kind is, in precise measurement, a goddamned liar.

 

Nancy Lebovitz in a comment on Making Light – May 27

At Balticon, someone asked Jo Walton about the Hugos at her GoH speech, and she said that ideally, the Hugos are a gesture of love and respect, and campaigning for the Hugos is like persistently asking your partner whether they love you. It just isn’t the same.

 

Doctor Science on Obsidian Wings

“Problems with the Hugo Nominations for Pro and Fan Artist” – May 28

[Doctor Science vetted the sample art in the Hugo Voters Packet and says she discovered most of the material from Nick Greenwood and Steve Stiles came from another eligibility year, and that among all artists he traced 14 items to periods before 2014.]

I’ll stop here for the moment, and go on later to talk about things like: how I’m going to vote, what I think the problems with the categories are, and start some ideas about how to fix them.

For a start, though, I urge my fellow voters to click around the 2014 Pro and 2014 Fan collections at Hugo Eligible Art, to get a sense of what your baseline should be for comparison.

 

Gabriel McKee on SF Gospel

“The Way the Future Never Was” – May 27

For a lot of us, SF’s ability to deal with current problems in metaphorical terms is the whole point. It’s why we got interested in the genre, and why we’ve stuck with it—because there will always be new quesitons, and new angles on them. Does Brad Torgersen really want SF to be a genre about space ships and ray guns with no resonance with current society? Does he really want SF authors to abandon the time-honored tradition of exploring social issues with SFnal metaphor? That sounds to me like an SF that’s afraid of the future.

 

Gabriel McKee on SF Gospel

“The Way the Future Never Was: A Visual Appendix” – May 27

To get a better idea of Brad Torgersen’s problem with today’s science fiction, let’s take a look at some good, old-fashioned, reliably-packaged SF….

The Space Merchants cover COMP

Hey, this one looks fun. It’s got space ships and all kinds of stuff. Wait, what? It’s about the evils of capitalism? Bait and switch!

 

 

Lyda Morehouse on Bitter Empire

“Real Talk About John Scalzi, Vox Day, And That Big Big Book Deal” – May 27

Vox Day (Theodore Beale), if you recall, is the mastermind behind the Rabid Puppies (the super-far right organizers of this year’s Hugo debacle.) Beale apparently also sees himself as Scalzi’s rival. Beale has all sorts of “hilarious” nicknames for Scalzi….

So, as you can imagine, Beale’s head is near ready to explode.

He starts off with a simple report of the deal, but then it takes a hard right into God knows what. Beale says that Scalzi’s deal can really only be expected because Tor, his publisher, really doesn’t have any big name authors in its stables beyond Scazli, except maybe one other, and, more importantly, “It’s not as if the award-winning Jo Walton or the award-winning Catharine (sic) Asaro or any of their other award-winning authors sell enough books to support all the SJW non-SF they keep trying to push on an unwilling public.”

What.

Whoa, ladies, that was almost a compliment there for being all award-win-y, but nope. According to Beale, the only reason Walton and Asaro write is push the SJW (Social Justice Warrior) “non-SF” on all of us non-willing readers.

 

JDZ on Never Yet Melted

“John Scalzi Gets $3.4 Million Publishing Deal” – May 27

Scalzi has alienated a significant portion of his readership with sanctimonious hoplophobic blog posts (example) and by lining up with the Social Justice Warriors in the fighting over the Hugo Awards. My guess is that his backlisting powers will be declining.

 

L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright conducts interview on Superversive SF

“Interview with Hugo Fan Writer Nominee: Dave Freer!” – May 27

7) How did you come up with the idea for your current nominated story?

Eating cheese late at night. It was that or my concern for the state of a genre I love. I happen think all nice boys and girls should love sf and fantasy (and find sf and fantasy to love). I think all nasty boys and girls should too. I am delighted if the rare, nasty, odd, and possibly puke purple creatures crawling out of the East River do too. I just find it worrying when the latter group seems to have become so dominant that the rest lose interest and go and pursue other forms of entertainment and escapism.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Of Dinosaurs, Legos, and Impossible Hypotheticals” – May 27

There’s another work nominated this year that has stirred similar questions in a more limited way, perhaps more limited because the Dramatic Presentation categories are seen as less serious and crucial in a literary award than the literary categories, and perhaps because as a Sad Puppy pick it is taken less seriously to begin with.

The work in question is The Lego Movie, which contains a couple of scenes near the end that make explicit the implicit framing device for a movie about Lego characters in a world made out of Lego blocks: it’s all a child, playing with toys. It is this moment, in my opinion, that elevates The Lego Movie from merely being charming and fun to actually pretty sublimely brilliant. It explained so many of the odd quirks of characterization and storytelling earlier in the film.

I mean, it changed the movie’s version of Batman from “weirdly out of character, but okay, it’s funny” to “…that’s freaking brilliant” because it wasn’t Batman as adult comic book fans understand him but Batman seen through the eyes of a child, with way more focus on the cool factor of everything and of course he has the coolest girlfriend and of course even the grimdark angst seems kind of fun…

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Hugo Awards 2015: Best Novella” – May27

This is how I am voting in the Best Novella category. Of course, I merely offer this information regarding my individual ballot for no particular reason at all, and the fact that I have done so should not be confused in any way, shape, or form with a slate or a bloc vote, much less a direct order by the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil to his 367 Vile Faceless Minions or anyone else.

 

  1. “One Bright Star to Guide Them”
  2. “Big Boys Don’t Cry”
  3. “The Plural of Helen of Troy”
  4. “Pale Realms of Shade”
  5. “Flow”

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Rat Queens, by Kurtis J. Wiebe (writer), Roc Upchurch (illustrator)” – May 27

ratqueens

Booze-guzzling, death-dealing, battle maidens-for-hire.

This is so not my thing. The art is excellent. The writing is quite good. There’s a plot–but here’s where I run into trouble.

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures In Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Related Work” – May 27

Letters from Gardner: Lou Antonelli’s collection is an interesting one. It’s part memoir, part short story collection, part writing advice, part I have no idea. It shows Antonelli’s development as a writer, some of the revision progress, and how influential some of those early rejections from Gardner Dozois were. It’s not necessarily my cuppa, but it’s not bad.

No Award: No Award continues to rear its ugly head. I read half of Wright’s Transhuman and Subhuman collection (approximately), and I bounced off of it. His essay on fiction writing directed at a nonfiction writing friend was fairly solid, but I had issues with the rest of what I read – mostly in that I disagree with much of what Wright has to say and his essay writing style does little to encourage me to continue reading even despite my disagreement. I can’t get into specifics here because each time I bounced off an essay, I moved onto the next. That said, he’s not wrong that Ulysses is a terrible book.

On the other hand, Wisdom from my Internet is truly a terrible book that has no place anywhere near this ballot. I can understand, more or less, why people may have enjoyed / appreciated Wright’s collection. I’m not his audience, but many people likely are. Michael Williamson’s collection of non-sequiturs and jokes is sort of organized by topic, but most are not at all entertaining and what, exactly it has to do with the field of science fiction and / or fantasy is completely beyond me. But it isn’t so much the lack of relation to SFF that gets me, it’s how bad the jokes are and how disinteresting the whole thing is. I may not think that Wright’s collection is worthy of an Award, but I don’t think Williamson’s should have been considered for nomination. I may never understand how or why it was….

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“There can be only one SNARL” – May 27

Where did such a foolish name as “Sad Puppies” come from? Larry apparently likes cutesy names; he was co-founder of a gunshop he named “Fuzzy Bunny Movie Guns”. The gunshop went under, but the enduring flikr record of it shows racks of plastic-furnitured AK-47s, and glass cases with handguns lovingly laid out for display. “Sad Puppies” is a name derived from the kind of immature humor that wants to be irony when it grows up.

The idea for “Sad Puppies” pre-dates the Hugo kerfluffle. On Larry’s blog one of the first posts he tagged with “Sad Puppies” is a reactionary commentary-style rebuttal to a September 2009 POTUS speech to a joint session of congress, and the next is a similar reactionary commentary to the 2010 SOTU. So “Sad Puppies” in Larry’s mind is political in the strictest sense of the word. Yet somehow everyone else is really political people –whether they say so or not- and poor Larry is just trying to give his embattled writers the only chances available because he perceives them as having been shut out.  And the only way to get “his” writers a fair shake is to shut out any competing works that might try to leverage some unfair literati elitist advantage by not being crappy.

The reason the Sad puppies can pee all over the Hugo process is because of complacency in fandom. When I talk about complacency I am mostly talking about myself. I ask myself “How can you make good nominations when you haven’t read more than a dozen SF novellas this year?” The nice voters packet provides a guided reading list; the trufans have done the heavy lifting. So far this year there are over 9,000 voting members of worldcon, and membership is open for a few more days. For $40 you can get a vote and a nice electronic voting packet; unfortunately many of the stories in it are crap. Some of the Hugo nominations this year received less than 30 votes. There needs to be some way of bridging the complacency gap so the large numbers of fans who care enough to vote for a Hugo are presented with a couple choices worth voting for.  Perhaps that means I need to get off my rear and wade through the vast number of published SF/F stories to make recommendations and vote during the nomination process instead of waiting until after the nominations list is published.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“Let Me Explain… No, There Is Too Much. Let Me Sum Up.” – May 27

One of my questions when I started was why the Puppies chose these specific stories.  And after all that reading, I have to say that I still don’t know, and the statements of the Puppies themselves don’t really help.  Larry Correia wanted to nominate stories that would “make literati heads explode,” stories with right-wing themes that would anger SJWs (Super-Judgmental Werewolves?) when they appeared on the ballot.  But we’re very used to narratives of straight white men doing straight white manly things, and even seeing those stories nominated for Hugos.  It’s all just business as usual.  I don’t know about other people’s crania, but my head stayed firmly on my shoulders while I was reading — though it did slip toward the desk a few times, my eyes closing, thinking, Ho hum, another one …

Correia also rejected “boring message fiction” — but then how to explain John C. Wright’s Catholic apologia, or Tom Kratman’s push for more and more weaponry?  And his final explanation was that people were mean to him at a convention.  Okay, but why these stories?  Was putting us through all of this his idea of revenge?

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Short Story: Reviewing J C Wright” – May 26

This is a parable told in the style of Kipling or of old Buddhist tales. It takes a mythology well known to the author and extends it into a second mirroring mythology like Zeno’s Paradox applied to christianity. It was clever and written well, if in a pre-Hemingway style, but overall not a story for me.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Fan Artist: Reviewing N Aalto” – May 27

Ninni had two pieces included in the Hugo Voters packet. Both were very well drawn and nicely colored. Based on her online portfolio I like her style and find her work pleasing to the eye. I suspect there are some in jokes I don’t get but that’s the nature of being the best fan at something. In short, nicely done.

 

Katya Czaja

“Hugo Award: Professional Artist” – May 27

Ranking Julie Dillon stood out as the clear winner in this category.

1) Julie Dillon
2) Nick Greenwood
3) Allan Pollack
4) No Award
5) Carter Reid
6) Kirk DouPonce

 

 

 

520 thoughts on “Canterbury Tails 5/27

  1. JJ — “The Gone-Away World”

    I don’t think I ever even heard of this one. Should I turn in my Fan badge and retire to the library with a DeLameter?

  2. Meredith: Re: keeping up with short fiction, a few questions for more knowledgeable types:
    Which of the magazines would be best to subscribe to for someone (me) on a limited budget?
    How many at minimum do you think someone would need to subscribe to to get a decent overview?

    Andrew has provided a great list of online free fiction here:
    Tor
    Clarkesworld
    Apex Magazine
    Beneath Ceaseless Skies
    Strange Horizons
    Escape Pod
    and I’d like to add a few to the list:
    Lightspeed Magazine
    Daily Science Fiction
    Giganotosaurus
    Galaxy’s Edge (disappears every 2 months to be replaced by the new issue, but a lot of previous issues are available on the Wayback Machine)
    Subterranean Online has ceased publishing, but all the old issues are here

    And if you ever want to find out whether a short fiction work is available for free online, or locate all the works for a particular author which are available for free online Free Speculative Fiction Online is a fantastic resource.

  3. Doctor Science: She gets ready to pierce one of his ears with a magical thingy, and he stops her and asks her to do the left one. “It’s a human thing.”

    No it isn’t, dude.

    So, is this a plot point? Or should I bail in disgust now?

    At the very least, I wouldn’t pick up “White Night” if that comment bothers you. You probably don’t need to read about Toe-mas The Exceedingly Flaming Gay Hairdresser.

    Butcher seems to be an oblivious but occasionally trying straight guy writing an oblivious but occasionally trying straight guy detective derived from the noir tradition. In the very few places he tries nodding to the existence of gays, it’s very awkward rather than homophobic.

  4. Nick

    I suspect that Harry is not the sort of guy who notices things like that; given his unfortunate track record with women I am not hugely surprised by it.

    After all, he very rarely sleeps with women, but there’s a lot of angst about it in most of the books. He has been known to go all emo over the angst, which makes him a distinctly counter-intuitive puppydum protagonist; I can only assume that they haven’t actually read the books, and are thrilled by a big guy wearing lots of leather waving his wizards staff around.

    I have nobly refrained from quoting Nanny Ogg on the question of a Wizards Staff, but if this conflict escalates I can’t promise to ignore her forever…

  5. NelC – it’s a first novel, so you can be forgiven. But, Dude, DO YOURSELF A FAVOR and pick it up.

    There are very few books that will explain the military uses of sheep, the reasons why ninjas are afraid of tupperware, or that have such a huge “What da fuq just happened?” twist in the middle…

  6. And, yeah, by the way, it includes *sentences* like this one:

    Sally pointed out that we had trucks; that our possession of and facility in the handling of trucks was key in regard to the identity as truckers, which in turn was key in regard to the pencilneck’s presence in our midst, that presence being a consequence of his desire to deploy those talents in the service of the populace and the enterprise for which he was plenipotentiary spokesperson, ambassador and man on the ground, and in whose short-term interest he now sought to bilk, cheat, con, and bamboozle us out of due legal and contractual protections in line with industry practice and good solid common sense, but whose shareholders would, like the aforementioned wider population, unquestionably look with disfavour and consequent litigiousness upon the inevitable wranglings and disputations resulting from said rooking, hornswoggling, grifting and humbuggery, should any ill befall in the due exercise of our discretion and judgement in the course of whatever hare-brained adventure the party of the first part (the pencilneck) chose to inflict upon the soft skin and girlish charms of the party of the second part (the naive and open-hearted drivers of the toughest and most competent civil freebooting company in the world).

    That sound you just heard was JCW grinding his teeth to the nubbins.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Gone-Away-World-Vintage-Contemporaries/dp/0307389073

  7. The whole “earring code” thing has fondly reminded me of Russell T Davies’ first swing at Doctor Who, back in the Wilderness Years when it was a novel. One of the Doctor’s companions winds up in the 80s and gets his right ear pierced, and winds up getting into gay culture without quite realizing why. 🙂

  8. NeIC – I’m with CPaca, I highly recommend it. One of my favorite books of all time.

  9. Holy cow Brian Z. deserves some kind of award for that Ulysses parody/homage. Sweet Jesus, people, go back to page 1 of comments and check it out. Solid non-puppy here, I take my hat off to it.

    Brian, that should probably be, like, a full thing. Like, turn it into an actual story & submit it somewhere.

  10. @ CPaca and Matt Y

    I’ve never heard of this novel, and I worked as a bookseller until just recently. It sounds amazing. Adding it to the upper tier of my architecturally unsound TBR pile.

    Huh, he’s John le Carré’s son. Unfair advantage or nice, healthy literary genes?

  11. @brian z You really do have the makings of a whole book of your efforts. I can see each year looking forward to your filcking almanack.

  12. @JJ: “1) If they’re all still pristine, he’s apparently only read them once, maybe twice, as a schoolboy. How accurate, then, is his remembrance of their content, decades later?”

    I have something of a fixation on pristine spines myself. Doesn’t mean I don’t/haven’t read the books, sometimes many times – I simply take care with them and keep them in good condition.

  13. Gone-Away World is definitely worth a look. Harkaway’s second novel, Angelmaker, wasn’t as good, in my opinion, but Tigerman was on my Hugo nomination ballot this year.

  14. curious reader – Huh, he’s John le Carré’s son. Unfair advantage or nice, healthy literary genes?

    Healthy literary genes. He’s published under the name Harkaway and while he doesn’t hide who his father is I haven’t seen it advertised on his books. Having read both I prefer the son to his father personally. Their writing styles are really different. Of his books Angelmaker is also good though really slow in the beginning (though finishes big) and Tigerman was my personal favorite of 2014.

  15. JJ – I agree, i was thinking of throwaway email addresses from public library computers for voting, not risking my info on those sites

    Kurt – I totally agree, from one viewpoint, but the deliciousness of creating a puppy slate that is more literary, more pomo, more weird, and more open than the supposedly already over-literary hugos, just tickles my funny bone…and isn’t turnabout always fair play?

    and i think there is something qualitatively different about voting in a private website straw poll than in voting for a widely recognized and respected (for now!) award

    just in the spirit of good clean fun

    it would also provide an opportunity to test the rigor of the puppies position that their process is open and democratic, not a shady backroom filled with scalzi wannabes chomping vegan chocolate cigars

  16. Oh, and if you do wanna read “Gone-Away World” do yourself a favor and stay away from places with spoilers like TVTropes. I found the middle twist incredibly boggling when I first ran into it – set up beautifully, and I did not see it coming at all.

  17. @Elisa:

    I almost wonder if I’ve seen a scene like that in one of the Thursday Next books. It’d fit.

  18. Kate Paulk has elaborated on her sad puppies principles (well, sort of): So What Is Hugo-Worthy Anyway?

    I liked her point # 10: “Things that help exterminate the SJWs.”

    I’m curious whether people here think that Hoyt in the post directly below is foaming at the mouth.

  19. @ Matt Y

    I phrased that badly, and I didn’t mean to imply nepotism. I was more being envious of the fact that lightning seems to have struck twice.

    CPaca

    Thanks for the tip. I don’t visit TVTropes much in any case, and I poked my nose into Amazon and then closed the window before I hit spoiler territory.

  20. @Brian Z:

    Yes, I detect definite frothing there. I am utterly unsurprised by this; she’s a charter member of the consequence-free speech brigade.

  21. @Rev. Bob,

    Huh, it does sound like it would fit, doesn’t it.

    OTOH – unlike Thursday, our poor fictitious author was sentenced to write a 10,000 word Novelette featuring protracted descriptions of weapons with not fewer than ten instances of unnecessarily precise measurements in non-standard SI units per recitation and detailed narration of unreasonably thick armor formed from immiscible metal alloys.

    She managed to up her prose velocity up to 100 sentences per minute just to get it over with.

    I am still kicking myself that I forgot to throw the weapons descriptions into the approved significant moments list!

  22. That earring code was already falling apart by the time I went to college in the mid eighties. In Ohio.

  23. Turning and turning in the widening blog
    The puppy cannot hear the puppeteer;
    Things fall apart; the Hugos cannot hold;
    Mere doggerel is loosed upon the fans,
    The canine tide is loosed, and in Spokane
    The ceremony of awards is drowned;
    The fest lacks all conviction, while the trolls
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some aggravation is at hand;
    Surely the Slated Hugos are at hand.
    The Slated Hugos! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image of a nominee story
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert prose;
    A text with turgid body and an end wholly bland,
    A phrase blank and meaningless about guns,
    Is moving its dull verbs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant reviewers’ words.

    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That sixteen nominees in fiction slots
    Were read like nightmares in my shaking Kindle,
    And what rough book, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Sasquan for its award?

  24. aw shucks Greg,

    Brian, that should probably be, like, a full thing.

    For a moment there I thought you were asking me to filk the rest of Ulysses. That we’d probably have to crowdsource.

    @Will

    You really do have the makings of a whole book

    A paper zine is awfully tempting, though, with others cranking out hot stuff and not just here. I wonder if Mike’s Ditto machine still works.

  25. Brian Z – I’m curious whether people here think that Hoyt in the post directly below is foaming at the mouth.

    I’m with Rev. Bob in that is another example of the consequence-free speech brigade, though I do agree with the point she makes at the end when she says to write your own story, not societies. Frankly if she had made that more the theme of her rant other than trying to make a bunch of excuses I’d have probably agree with her more.

    Personally I prefer more real life descriptions because it makes the story feel more realistic and the more plausible it seems the more I connect with it usually. In the whole immersion thing Paulk talks of, and to use Hoyt’s example, if someone darts into a room with a machine gun and shoots 12 guys to death, I start questioning that like I do when Jean Claude Van Damme fights 50 guys but doesn’t have a scratch and his ponytail is intact.

  26. Rev. Bob,

    I can appreciate how parts where she ridicules Marxists are considered grade school level insults. But I don’t think it was until at least junior high school that I got an F on a paper for trying to say:

    Please note that Shakespeare’s political propaganda, though still co-opted by various contemporary regimes, is far less strong than his “universal to the human condition” plays, and that if he’d written only the “Tudors are teh awesome” plays he’d probably be only another Elizabethan author we have to trudge through.

    Sounds like a human being making points that one can listen to and disagree with to me.

  27. Brian: She may be making points that a person can listen to and disagree with, but she doesn’t seem to have mastered the subtle art of stringing points like “I like to play in traffic” and “marxists can’t shoot” into a coherent argument with any sort of focus.

  28. Frankly if she had made that more the theme of her rant other than trying to make a bunch of excuses I’d have probably agree with her more.

    I find she does a little too much eye-rolling, but at least seems aware of the problem. My favorite part of the essay was her system of planting her husband in the audience at panels with special hand signals to tell her when she needs to shut up.

  29. Brian Z – lol, that’s a good catch. My wife can do that with just a look. Good judgement to not hijack a panel either way.

  30. she doesn’t seem to have mastered the subtle art of stringing points like “I like to play in traffic” and “marxists can’t shoot” into a coherent argument with any sort of focus.

    MickeyFinn, I could appreciate ‘“My response to “you shouldn’t play in the middle of traffic” has been “Says who?”‘ by imagining the line being delivered by George Carlin instead. Yes, she’s telling us she doesn’t like to be lectured to and then saying we are stupid Maoists. It seems to be her blind spot.

  31. >> There are very few books that will explain the military uses of sheep, the reasons why ninjas are afraid of tupperware, or that have such a huge “What da fuq just happened?” twist in the middle…>>

    Okay. GONE-AWAY WORLD. On hold at library now.

  32. Brian Z: when you put together your Classic Filk From The File 770 2015 Hugo Comment Section Collection (I’d suggest coming up with a better name for it than that, btw, but its the best I’ve got atm), it might be awesome to put in a Fiction Recommendations section as well, as these comments sections seem to be adding a bunch of stuff to people’s TBR piles.

  33. @Peace: “Wait … Is pomo still a thing?”

    It’s always a thing.

    Wait. Clearly that 4 letter word is easily mistaken for a 5 letter one.Damn fonts.

  34. I know a few people who are local to Hoyt and Hubby and have had occasion to interact with them on panels.

    Basically, as far as the lead anecdote in the blog post goes, I’m sticking with “Video or it didn’t happen.”

  35. Oh, I do remember the core of the “smoking” anecdote. It’s Eric Flint. He edited out several anachronisms of James H. Schmitz’s stories—not necessarily smoking as there is still plenty in the tales—and not because of social conscience, but because he feels they make the otherwise futuristic books feel extremely outdated and that this hurts sales.

    And, unlike Hoyt, I have video:
    https://youtu.be/OKj90kndbe8?t=12m8s

  36. Brava Kyra!

    That made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. The original is one of my favorite poems…

  37. @Nick:

    Am I beginning to recognize faces? Is that Eric Flint and Nancy Kress up there? (Can’t watch video from here but can see a still).

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