The Bark Between The Stars 5/29

aka If All Puppies Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?

Here in today’s roundup: Martin Wisse, Sarah A. Hoyt, Alexandra Erin, Lela E. Buis, Bruce Baugh, Adam-Troy Castro, Vox Day, Daddy Warpig, Phil Sandifer, Shaun Duke, Spacefaring Kitten, Rebekah Golden, Dave Noonan, Lis Carey, Aziz Poonawalla, Charlie Jane Anders, Natalie Luhrs, and Kyra. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley and May Tree – who independently submitted the same item — and Owlmirror.)

Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“Your writer’s group would not be angry with this” – May 29

That’s the sort of bollocks you hear a lot of science fiction readers talk about, that they want prose that’s transparent, “doesn’t get in the way of the story”, doesn’t demand any attention paid, doesn’t challenge. There’s of course a huge inferiority complex running through parts of science fiction, resulting in the dismissal of everything that smacks of the literary and difficult. That’s what you see here. It’s not bad persé, it’s just a bit unambitious.

And to be honest, the Hugos too often have been that already. There are plenty of middle of the road novels that have been nominated and won it. Do we really need more of that, or do we rather have something a bit more challenging? Cetainly the Puppy nominees aren’t the answers: by all reports they mostly fail even Paulk’s rather low standards.


Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Pure Gold” – May 29

We know the air of collegiate comradery is a lie, to an extent. Note I said to an extent, and I’ll explain later.

Part of my amusement at the reaction to the whole Sad Puppies thing has been the very same people saying there were never politics in SF being the very same people who once told me that there were rifts I didn’t see in the field and that some people in the early two thousands still didn’t talk to each after arguments over the Vietnam war back in the day.

And anyone who has read Heinlein’s bio knows about the other rifts in fandom and among professionals way back before that, a lot of them political.

But this is to an extent, because to another extent… Well, guys, we’re all pretty weird. We spend our days writing about worlds and futures that don’t exist.

Older son who aspires to medicine (and is engaged in preparation to practice it) tells me that only people with a compulsion to work at healing (and he says it’s a compulsion) understand other people with the same issue. Well, guys… Yeah, same for writers, and to an extent for fans.

I’m not going to tell you that I love all my colleagues. There are many I loathe, many I cordially detest, many I tolerate, and, yes, many I love dearly. Weirdly, this doesn’t rift across political lines (of course, my politics being what they are, they are at best cross-sectional to real world politics) or even correlate to those I like to read. Yeah, curse it, some of the ones I loathe write pretty good stuff. (Shakes fist at great novelist in the sky, who has a sense of humor.)


Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“The Puppies come so close to getting it, so often.” – May 28

…I stumbled across a post by Dave Freer from February called “To Serve One Master — The Reader“.

The major thrust of the blog post is the idea that however an author intends a work to be received is secondary to how readers receive it, which… okay. This is something that it’s taken me a long time to accept as an author, but I have to say that I am in general agreement with it.

The thing is, it’s weird to see a self-professed Puppy saying this. After all, these are the same people who, whenever someone starts talking about the racist or sexist content of a work, respond with “BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT THE AUTHOR MEANT! YOU CAN’T KNOW WHAT’S IN THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS! YOU’RE JUST READING INTO THINGS!”


Lela E. Buis

“Puppy Debate Maxing Out” – May 29

I’ve been involved in work-for-hire for the last couple of weeks, and am just coming up for air. Checking around my virtual environment, I notice the debate about the Hugo’s seems to have gone past the point of raging insults and into slash and burn territory.

This is a process that’s encouraged by the nature of the Internet itself. If this were a space opera, for example, the plot would play out something like this: The Puppies make a raid and take over territory at the Hugo Awards. Because this is considered an aggressive action, defenders of the award would assemble a force to shake them loose. They’d all let fly with photon torpedoes and phaser cannons set to “kill.” If the forces had to resort to hand-to-hand combat, they might bring out their light sabers and go at it in Star Wars style. The result would either be that the Puppies are driven off, or else they prevail and put down roots in their new territory.

The problem with this scenario, of course, is that all the battles are actually virtual. They’re being fought on blogs, websites, Twitter and Amazon accounts and in a few news outlets. This means that there can be no really decisive victory. Defenders of the Hugos can score against the other side with a well-turned phrase, but not really take back the stronghold.


Bruce Baugh on Google Plus  – May 28

Kate Paulk will be organizing the Sad Puppies 4 effort for next year’s Hugos, so it’s interesting to see what her creative priorities are. Two things of note, for me…

#1. Her guideline #7, “The prose is invisible.”, seems like a good way to toss out some of sf/f’s best writers, including Vance, Wolfe, Lafferty, and so many others.This line from Jack Vance’s “The Last Castle”, for instance, is delightful and very much visible: “In the end, death came uniformly to all, and all extracted as much satisfaction from their dying as this essentially graceless process could afford.” Prose I stop to admire in delight, or wonder, or the kind of bewilderment that leads to insight is a big part of why I read, and always has been.

#2. There’s nothing on her list about world-building, at all. This isn’t unique to this piece, either. None of the Puppies have much at all to say about world-building. I read sf/f for other places and times just as much for specific characters and stories within them, and one of the things that can make a work great is its setting. But seriously, they just don’t talk about world-building, which seems to me like talking about cooking shows and never wondering how something tastes.


Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – May 29

…Even if you’re Eric Flint and write exactly the kind of fiction the Puppies like, if you think the Puppies have no case, if you write several blog posts addressing them with logic, if you criticize Brad Torgersen in particular, you are a CHORF guilty of Saul Alinsky tactics and should be subjected to demands for apology.

Can we just make a rule in life that if you invoke the name of an old lefty who has been dead for decades and who is in fact unknown to most people who harbor left-wing beliefs, to attack criticism for crying out loud, you are at best a silly silly person?




Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The Olympian indifference of Johnny Con” – May 29

Mike Cernovich @Cernovich As a white straight male capitalist, I’m happy for @scalzi’s $3.4 million book deal. But how many women/POC are squeezed out because of it?

I had estimated 680 on the basis of other SF publishers’ current initial advances, but I stand corrected. …Tor is funding 13 more John Scalzi books at the opportunity cost of no less than 523 initial advances to new science fiction authors. As a side note, it is informative to see how much initial advances from major publishers have shrunk over time; the advance for my first published novel in 1996 was $20,000.

Those who have thrown hissy fits over Sad Puppies supposedly slate-blocking as many as 12 authors and preventing them from receiving recognition for their work at the Hugo Awards would do well to consider the fact that Patrick Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi have combined to prevent more than 500 authors from getting published and receiving paid advances. Opportunity cost is a bitch, especially when you’re the one upon whose fingers the window of opportunity has closed.


Shaun Duke on World in a Satin Bag

“On the Hugo Awards: Two Scholarly-ish Projects to Come (An Announcement)” – May 29

A lot of us in SF/F circles heard of the rumors circulating about the Hugos in the weeks prior to their announcement.  I heard many rumors from some of my friends, and many more circulated (or were revealed as truth) through RP/SP circles and through those with far more industry clout than myself.  Since last year’s Hugo Awards were also controversial, I had the feeling that these rumors were going to indicate a blow-up that we hadn’t yet scene.  And so I turned to a friend of mine for help:  Aaron Beveridge.

Aaron is one of the co-creators of MassMine, along with Nicholas Van Horn. MassMine was created with the intent of helping academics acquire meaningful data from social media platforms (specifically, Twitter).  Their program is pretty complicated, so I’ll let you go to the website and learn all about it (there’s a video and everything!).  Aaron, it turns out, is one of those enthusiastic individuals who believes, as I do, that collaboration is critical to academic work, and so it didn’t take any effort at all to convince him to help me collect data and put together the projects below.

This post serves as an official announcement for the projects that Aaron and I are working on.  These include the following:

1. MassMine-ing the Hugo Awards:  Social Media Reactions and What the Data Tell Us….


Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“’The Day the World Turned Upside Down’ by Thomas Olde Heuvelt” – May 29

I was pleased that a Lightspeed story made it. It’s a very good magazine that won the semiprozine Hugo last year, after all, and it has published some pretty awesome fiction in 2014 as well. I’m quite sure I nominated two stories from the magazine for the Hugos, plus the whole magazine in the semiprozine category, plus the editor John Joseph Adams in the editor category.

I don’t read absolutely everything LS publishes, though, and Olde Heuvelt’s story was new to me. Naturally, I had some great expectations. Too bad this story let them down.


Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Short Story: Reviewing Single Samurai” – May 29

It’s fairly obvious that Diamond had a vivid image of this story in his head, the problem is that at the end I did not. I think some of this is related to the fact that Diamond so utterly identified with the character he was writing that he did not see the foibles of the character’s personality.


Dave Noonan

“2015 Hugo Semi Pro Zine” – May 29

Wow! A whole category with no Puppy Shit smeared all over it.  I didn’t intend to read these because I did want to read more shitty short stories. So Beneath Ceaseless Skies sat open in my Moon+ for a couple of days before I started reading and then… shock!  The first story was good! The second story is good too!  Holy crap. So I went looking and discovered the Puppies apparently couldn’t find any right-wing nutjob Semi Pro Zines so I may actually get to read some decent stuff. Finger’s crossed.


Dave Noonan

“2015 Hugo Fanzine” – May 29

My notes and rankings for the Best Fanzine category of the 2015 Hugo Awards.

  • Journey Planet
  • Tangent Online
  • The Revenge of Hump Day


Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form”  – May 29

I watched all of these movies before I saw them on the Hugo nominations list. They are all good movies, and worth a bit of hard earned down-time to watch. I get to review them without reflexively asking “Would anybody want to watch/read this?”, and get down to the more important business of defining my own personal opinion. All good reviews are subjective because they arise in part from the reviewer’s enjoyment of the subject, and resonate with the reviewer’s reasons for picking up the subject of the review to begin with.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Zombie Nation, by Carter Reid” – May 29

A complete loss, in my opinion.


Aziz Poonawalla on Beliefnet

“G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel nominated for Hugo Award — and needs YOUR support”  – May 29

In 2013, Saladin Ahmed’s book Throne of the Crescent Moon was nominated for Best Novel, losing out to John Scalzi’s Redshirts – a tough loss indeed, but a significant honor in its own right. And way back in 1980, Steven Barnes’s The Locusts (co-written with Larry Niven) was nominated for Best Novelette, losing out to George R.R. Martin. There may be other Muslims whose works were nominated that I am overlooking, but to the best of my knowledge no Muslim has ever taken home the iconic Huge Rocket statue.

This year, however, that all could change: Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, is nominated for Best Graphic Story. This is huge news and a tremendous recognition by the SF/F community of the cultural, literary, and social impact of Ms. Marvel – which is almost impossible to summarize, but this article at the venerable AV Club magazine is a pretty good primer: “One year later, Ms. Marvel’s influence is felt far beyond the comics page”


Charlie Jane Anders on io9

“Someone Will Livetweet Vox Day’s Debut Novel For Charity” – May 29

Before Theodore “Vox Day” Beale was the central figure in the Sad/Rabid Puppies Hugo Awards hacking, he wrote a series of religious-inspired fantasy novels for Pocket Books. And blogger Natalie Luhrs is going to live-tweet his debut novel, Eternal Warriors: The War in Heaven, for charity….

 [Update: In case it’s not clear, she will livetweet her reaction to the book, one page per tweet, not the actual text of the book.]


Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible

“Bad Life Decisions: Make Me Read Theodore Beale” – May 29

So you can help me raise some money for RAINN (or a charity in your country which does the same sort of work).  For every $5 donated to RAINN, I will read and  live tweet one page of this 399 page delight with the hashtag #readingVD. I’ll also re-publish the tweets and add additional commentary by chapter here at Pretty Terrible–those’ll go up as I finish each chapter (there are 29 chapters in the book, as well as a prologue and an author’s note).

However, I’m not going to read any of it until we’ve raised at least $500–and I’d like to raise that by June 11.  If we manage to raise $2,000 I will read the entirety of Theodore Beale’s Eternal Warriors™: The War in Heaven™.


Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Rabid Puppies Review Books: HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON” – May 29


Reviewed By Special Guest Reviewer Theophilus Pratt (Publisher — Hymenaeus House)

This instructive tale tells of a young man who all by himself creates a road which he then travels down, makes a mountain which he climbs, then saves himself from falling by conjuring a balloon which he hangs onto until he can bring into being a basket capable of supporting himself. His boundless creativity allows him to shape a whole civilization of buildings until, amusingly, he re-creates the very house he started out from and sleeps the sleep of the just, knowing that everything he has in life was fashioned by his own hand.

Amusingly, this book was sold to me as a work of fantasy when it is in fact the most realistic work of fiction I have ever encountered. If anything, it was too realistic to be fiction, a fact I found very amusing. Flipping through its pages proved to be instructive, as I began to see it was nothing more than a thinly veiled if amusing allegory for my own inimitable life.

Did I not provide myself with the only light I ever needed to walk by, as Harold did? Have I not always made my own road, and even left it when even it proved too stifling to my boundless intellect? Has not my dizzying intellectual magnitude taken me to the height of peaks so high that even I cannot long find purchase upon them? And when I fall, whom do I rely upon to prop myself up except myself?


Kyra in a comment on File 770 – May 29

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?

606 thoughts on “The Bark Between The Stars 5/29

  1. >> The Pup Who Circumnavigated Hugoland In A Slate Of His Own Making >>

    Pretty sure something very like that has been suggested before. But it’s a good one nonetheless!

  2. Rebekah Golden:

    I’ve posted a list of links to other peoples’ suggestions with timestamp 9:03, but because of all the links, it’s gone to moderation. So you might want to keep an eye out for when Mike release it from Moderation Jail.

  3. And here’s an excerpt from a 1948 interview with Bradbury that seems tailor-made for the current kerfuffle:

    ‘… Bradbury believes the writer must know his objective, must know why he is writing. If it’s money he wants, and only money, he should admit this to himself and go about finding ways to make it. But, if, like Bradbury, one considers artistic worth and reputation above all, then this,
    too, should be admitted and said author should resign himself to little money but great returns in reputation until his name is established, whereupon the money will begin appearing as reward for honest work well done. A goal to reach will bring out individuality and style that would not develop in a writer trying to fit first one, and then another, market.

    He’s got reasons for thinking writers shouldn’t study markets too intensely.

    “The writer who slants his material is striving to copy something. He should develop his own product, should know what it is, and should have some idea of where to sell. But he shouldn’t be writing the typical X Magazine story. The editor can get that from his regular writers” …’


    * “The Market Is Not the Story: An Interview with Ray Bradbury” can be found within Conversations with Ray Bradbury

  4. Liz Williams’ story Banquet of the Lords of Night is free on the Clarkesworld site. I liked it.

  5. Rebekah – Could someone point me to really Hugo worthy short stories?

    The Rogues short story collection from last year was quite good and had stories that ranged from all sorts of genres. Abercrombie, Gillian Flynn, Lansdale, Cherie Priest, Scott Lynch, Nix, Willis, Rothfuss, and Martin all have short stories in it.

    I was also a fan of the short story collection Letters to Lovecraft that came out last year. There are some weird and middling stories in it but I enjoyed Doc’s Story, Only the Dead and the Moonstruck, and The Trees I really liked a lot. That Place by Gemma Files is a way more interesting variation of the kind of CS Lewis story that Wright was going for.

  6. @Brian Z –

    “… JJ please stick to deflecting questions I’ve asked you, not those I’ve asked somebody else. Thanks. …”

    Do you *really* want to try to play that game here?

    If you don’t want extraneous people joining in on the public conversation, take it to e-mail.

  7. Brian Z.: JJ please stick to deflecting questions I’ve asked you, not those I’ve asked somebody else.

    Ah. Ye Olde “Accuse Other People of What You Yourself Are Doing, In The Hope That People Won’t Notice That You’re The One Who’s Actually Doing It”.

  8. Craig R.: If, in addition to titles we wanted artwork to go with the roundups, here’s one from 1938. : It even has an upside=down puppy!

    That looks like the perfect artwork to go with The Day The World Turned Upside Down. It has about the same level of quality.

  9. I kind of dug The Day the World Turned Upside Down as a dark comedy piece. The main character came off as pathetic though.

  10. “I’d like to know how Ann Somerville feels”


    Also quite sickened. I had literally read LeGuin’s story for the first time the day before I saw your post, and it left me dazed and amazed in the best way, the most horrified way. To say I was astonished at the power packed in those words is too weak a way to describe it.

    And then you came along and pissed all over this masterpiece by a woman who leaves the rest of us humble writers in the dust, just to make a cheap point badly. Congratulations, your work pleased a talentless fascist thug. You must be so very proud.

    JJ and others have said what I think, better than I can put it.

  11. “JJ please stick to deflecting questions I’ve asked you, not those I’ve asked somebody else”

    JJ can speak for me anytime. At least I can count on them to read what I wrote.

  12. Also Puppy-tangential regarding LeGuin’s work:

    Her Earthsea books were among the first fantasy novels to feature non-white leads.

    Every film and TV adaptation of Earthsea so far has whitewashed it, one of the few widely known fantasy series where someone who isn’t white gets to be the main hero.

    And the Puppies insist that SF/F has gotten too diverse…

  13. XS, LeGuin has long been a personal role model and hero of mine. Her willingness to push boundaries in so many ways is one of the reasons for that.

  14. It is just a shame she keeps trying to “fix” her early Earthsea books in her later works.

  15. @Ann Somerville

    Absolutely agreed. I just wish the people that adapt her works would catch up. 🙂

  16. XS, I haven’t seen any of the adaptations, since I am rarely happy with any of the books I love (I hate all the TV adaptions of Pratchett’s books, with the possible exception of Hogfather), and I knew in advance about the whitewashing. I don’t think a respectful rendering will ever happen. The books are too concerned with the interior life for a TV adaption to work, imo.

  17. Kurt Busiek @8:31pm

    I think you should probably reread…taking special note of …see if you can figure out…I think you’re sealioning again…trying to imply things…don’t try to Socratically lead me to where you want to go by being dishonest…

    When you asked me…

    You do know that scapegoating involves blaming someone unfairly for something, right?

    …I said zero of those things to you. I asked you a question in return. Now, I can give you your wish and stop asking.

    Craig R. @8:31

    Do you *really* want to try to play that game here? If you don’t want extraneous people joining in on the public conversation,

    I’m always pleased when JJ contributes to the conversation.

    Ann Somerville @9:39pm

    Disgusted… sickened…you came along and pissed all over this masterpiece…just to make a cheap point badly. Congratulations, your work pleased a talentless fascist thug. You must be so very proud.

    I’m not sure exactly what you are saying, but I can respond to what I think I might be hearing: you might think the Le Guin story is a powerful story because it is about child abuse and I’m cheapening it by dragging the stupid puppies into the mix. You might think that my story has something to do with Vox Day. I can respond to those, and if I got anything wrong feel free to correct me:

    When I read the Le Guin story, I didn’t read it to be literally a story about the mistreatment of of a child, not in the literal sense of a city depending on a single child kept in horrific squalor, nor in an indirect sense (like that most people blithely wear expensive clothes produced using child labor). I understand those readings exist. They weren’t mine, though.

    I read the story as a philosophical meditation on themes of scapegoating and forgiveness that have come to us from the Greeks via the Russians. That is not the only interpretation, just mine.

    In response to being told what I wrote is offensive, I’ve thought of some ways to adjust the tone of the story and asked for other suggestions. But to agree that it is completely inappropriate, in my view, might imply either that nobody feels scapegoated or that their feelings are nor worth thinking about. I don’t think that’s true, which is why it occurred to me to give the story a try, even if I did it very badly.

    I’m not happy that the “talentless fascist thug” likes it, no. It was a story about Sad Puppies, so I wasn’t talking about him.

    delurking a while back said:

    “Whatever else, Brian Z’s version of “Omelas” was a big hit with Vox Day — he turned it into a post on Vox Popoli.” If you want to be deeply amused, go read the comments over there. His flying monkeys, er, evil minions are *so* confused. If you ever wanted proof that the RPs don’t read SF/F, here’s all we need.

    The talk of short stories prompted me to go take a look. In case this might be misunderstood as an endorsement of that site moderator’s views or tactics, I denounce everything Vox Populi stands for. With that out of the way, I just read the link Mike gave earlier. In addition to the (expected) gratuitous remarks lobbed at each other, me (good lord) and others, I noticed that the 12 angry pirates, or 300 vile weasels, or whatever they are, are having a discussion about a classic science fiction story, what makes it great and what the message is.

    To paraphrase my second-favorite million-dollar author: “Oh Noes!” Maybe we should be careful what we wish for.

  18. @Mokoto

    Great post, and some great quotes. I was talking earlier about how great speculation makes great SF, and I think you’re describing that first moment that you grasp the first thread of the world that is being built and something in the back of your brain starts shouting “New! Interesting! Read more!”

    this is the sort of question I’d pose to Kate Paulk and any puppy– What nominees have that “ineffable something,” that spark? I don’t want to know how much better they are than [SCALZI SCALZI SCALZI], I want to know what merit earned them an award.

    Exactly – this is what is missing from their standards and manifestos.

  19. Mark – Exactly – this is what is missing from their standards and manifestos.

    It’s also what is missing from the majority of the nominated works I’ve read so far (I’m two novelettes and one novel away from finishing the fiction literary categories), so I’m not surprised they’d have a rough time describing the individual qualities.

  20. Brian, you say: “you might think the Le Guin story is a powerful story because it is about child abuse and I’m cheapening it by dragging the stupid puppies into the mix.”

    The story is not about child abuse, though you are certainly cheapening it. JJ told you earlier: “Your pastiche of The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” puts the Puppies in the position of “scapegoat”, and non-Puppy fans in the position of being guilty of scapegoating them.”

    You say: “I read the story as a philosophical meditation on themes of scapegoating and forgiveness that have come to us from the Greeks via the Russians. That is not the only interpretation, just mine.”

    Even if it is your interpretation, you are *still* doing what JJ described.

    I see the original story about the way wealthy people – countries – are happy to complacently and arrogantly build their success and happiness on a foundation of misery, and simply accept that it is the role of the poor, of poor nations, to exist so that the rich can remain comfortable. Only a very few ‘walk away’ – knowing the price is too damn high.

    What your filk is literally (and clumsily) saying is that those who are not Sad Puppies are building their success at the expense of the puppies. Yet your ‘comfortable’ group is made up of crappy writers:

    As they had strange plot and character, so they also got on without immersion, pacing, rhythm, and emotional payoff. Yet I repeat that these were not pulpy folk, not Charles Gannons, John Ringos, Eric Flints. They were no less fen than us. The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and instapundits, of considering message as something rather boring.

    If you mean this group to be the puppies themselves, your filk fails because it misses the point and conflict of the original. If you mean this group to be the non-puppies, then your filk is just abusive towards them, and it’s clear Beale thinks that’s what you’re saying. (Nitpicking about which group of puppies you’re referencing is silly. There is barely a handspan of difference between the two groups morally, and philosophically, barely a fingernail’s worth.)

    At either interpretation, your work is not an homage to LeGuin’s masterpiece. Shoehorning it into this Hugo mess is not even as clever as playing Beethoven on a piano accordian.

  21. Ann,

    While I didn’t particularly like Tehanu, mostly because it took a distinctly adult turn to what had been till then a series of kid friendly stories with good messages, it is well written and the adult audience it is really pitched at will appreciate it.

    Her lastest(?) Earthsea book The Other Wind though is revisionist and destroys much of the worldbuilding done in the original trilogy. I rant about it here:

  22. Brian Z,

    This Omelas filk is terrible because whatever your intention it is too plain an allegory and too strong an original. You have the narrator speaking to Paulk and her human wave friends, you have Larry C as the pup toiling away at his magnum opus of misery, and you have hugo Fandom as Omelas.

    No matter whether you leave the door unlocked or how you move the furniture of the pup’s room you have the weight of the original story compressing your prose. The original story makes all of Omelas’ light dependent on the child’s suffering, that is its point and heart. Your filk will always take that form.

    Of course VD loves it because it perpetuates his narrative that the Sads are scape-goated by the SJWs of Fandom, when really the only person that most people want to get rid of is him.

  23. Ann Somerville, thanks for your well considered response.

    I see the original story about the way wealthy people – countries…simply accept that it is the role of the poor, of poor nations, to exist so that the rich can remain comfortable. Only a very few ‘walk away’…

    I suspected that might be your reading, which is why I mentioned sweatshop labor. (Seeking to be comfortable at the expense of poor nations and their children is also mistreatment of children, though it was not my intention to take the discussion in that direction.) I guess I have my own reasons for why that’s not my reading and we could discuss possible readings if anyone has interest.

    In this line:

    As they had strange plot and character, so they also got on without immersion, pacing, rhythm, and emotional payoff.

    I am citing Kate Paulk’s blog post on her principles for what makes a book Hugo-worthy. The narrator is among pup sympathizers, so from that vantage, s/he can understand why the pup in the basement doesn’t like less-pulpy (or less Donaldson-like) fiction, and wants an award for the good old stuff. I don’t believe the narrator feels the pup is correct for choosing not to leave the basement, and added a line about that.

    However, s/he has not joined the pup in the basement and can see that although others are “not Charles Gannons, John Ringos, Eric Flints,” they are “no less fen than us. The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and instapundits, of considering message as something rather boring.” That last is a criticism, specifically, of PJ Media.

    I have to disagree that “nitpicking about which group of puppies you’re referencing is silly.” If I have it right, that group wants as little to do with Vox Day as you do.

    “Scapegoating” is not literally hurting somebody.

    My work is not “homage to LeGuin’s masterpiece,” and I wish I could play the accordion.

  24. Brian Z —

    Yes, you asked me a question in return. You asked me which of two things I meant, when neither one were supported by what I’d actually said; in fact, both were directly contradicted. So your question was either stupid or it was just one more dishonest attempt to distract and derail, and sure enough, here’s the “I was only asking questions!” bit.

    You want to complain that people are mean to you when you sealion at them; isnt that just part 2 of the same gambit?

    That’s a rhetorical question, and not Beale’s kind of rhetorical, either. Don’t ask dishonest questions if you don’t like being called on it.

  25. influxus,

    you have the weight of the original story compressing your prose. The original story makes all of Omelas’ light dependent on the child’s suffering, that is its point and heart.

    I simply don’t think that is a story about a child’s suffering.

    I may have asked whether defending all the light of fandom is worth making one puppy cry, though I don’t think I had a definitive answer.

  26. @Brian Z:

    You made a big stink about wanting to hear Ann’s opinion. She gave it to you, in no uncertain terms: it sickened her.

    Your job now is not to persuade her that she should feel differently. The honorable thing to do is acknowledge her opinion, apologize for offending her, and drop the subject. You don’t have to agree with her opinion, but it’s just rude to badger her for having it.

  27. “Kurt Busiek on May 30, 2015 at 8:02 pm said:

    “ftumch,” by the way, has posted at Beale’s blog about the delight of causing anti-Puppies’ heads to explode, at MadGeniusClub about “leftist fuckwittery” and at Correia’s about…I can’t really tell through the oblique sneering.”

    Yeah, that was me, and?

    “Jim Henley on May 30, 2015 at 8:56 pm said:

    Respect to ftumch for the flounce, though. Didn’t specifically say, “I’m leaving now” and stayed gone.”

    Hmm… it got to beyond 2am. I went to bed. And?

  28. Yes Brian, the child is allegorical in original. What does that have to do with my point about the mechanics of the original story?

  29. Tum, it’s relevant because it indicates that your claim of neutrality is “rhetoric”.

  30. Influxus, OK. regarding the mechanics of the story, let me think a bit. I could introduce a little break form the story structure where the pup says I won’t open the door, I’m sticking it to the CHORFs, remember what Dostoevsky said, and thanks but I don’t like figs anyway. Thank you for the constructive criticism.

  31. @Rebekah: I am reading the Nebula nominees for 2015 and they are quite good (some are a little strange). You can find links to them at Free Speculative Fiction Online website. In particular, I liked The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye which someone mentioned earlier, and When It Ends, He Catches Her by Eugie Foster, which is the best thing I have read in a while. Talk about collateral damage – the Puppies stunt most likely cost Eugie her last chance at a Hugo. Way to go, guys. Every time I think about that I get mad all over again.

  32. Greg Egan (who I don’t think gets as much recognition as he deserves.)


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