A Throne of Chew Toys 6/3

aka The Knights Who say Ni Award

In today’s roundup: Vox Day, Lindsay Duncan, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, David Gerrold, Sara Amis, Dave Freer, Chris Gerrib, Lisa J. Goldstein, Lis Carey, Rebekah Golden, Russell Blackford, Camestros Felapton, Mabrick, Will McLean, Alexandra Erin and cryptic others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day sveinung  and ULTRAGOTHA.)

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“In the SF world rages a war” – June 3

Markku Koponen

[The translation of an article in Finland’s largest newspaper profiling Markku Koponen and Castalia House.]


Sci-fi literature enthusiasts in USA are in civil war. A conservative mutiny is trying to push out of bestseller lists and awards the mainstream, “tolerant” sci-fi. The battle is already being called culture wars – and one of the headquarters is located in Finland.

There is a man in Kouvola, and before the man, a computer.

Together, the man and the computer are in the front lines of a battle that is shaking the entire world of sci-fi literature.

The man and the computer were revealed to the world, spring this year.

At the time was published “the Oscars of sci-fi books” – Hugo-awards – nominees.

The entire sci-fi world roared: lists were full of works by religious extremists and ultraconservatives.

The surprise was so big that even The New York Times and Washington Post wrote about it.

And behind the entire surprise were a man and a computer in Kouvola.

The name of the man is Markku Koponen, and on the computer runs a company called Castalia House.


Lindsay Duncan on Unicorn Ramblings

“Tuesday Thoughts” – June 3

Behind all this kerfluffle is a tension between the idea that the quality of fiction, like all art, is subjective; and the action of presenting an award, which gives the veneer of some objective quality.  Let’s add one more statement to the narrative:  diversity is a good thing and necessary in a genre that builds upon possibilities, but we don’t want to set up a forced, artificial diversity.  (Already, you can see the questions bubbling up.)  What am I thinking of when I say “artificial” diversity?  It’s when a work rises to the top not because of merit, but because its author or subject matter checks a particular box.  It would be like saying that every novel awards slate has to include one urban fantasy, two epic fantasies, one hard science fiction novel and one soft science fiction novel … even if there were three amazing soft SF books that year.


SF Signal

“MIND MELD: Genre Awards: What are They Good for Anyway?” – June 3

[Bradley P. Beaulieu:] I’m saddened by the tactics that were chosen by the various Puppy campaigns to game the Hugos, but I’m confident the award will live on, and I’m hopeful that in the end the voting base for the award will be broadened. After all, as long as everyone is given a fair shake, how can giving a voice to more fans be a bad thing?


Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag on Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog

“Oh dear, not the freaking Hugos again…” – June 3

On Facebook, David Gerrold nails the problem with the slate nominations in the Hugo awards. Namely, the people who participated have developed a narrative of “evil liberals” rather than “good works worthy of nomination for the Hugo Award.” Part of the post was also quoted at File770. Of note is the fact that Gerrold has asked these questions repeatedly, and he describes the “answers” he gets from slate-voting puppy-supporters….

…The last question, #6, is a no-brainer. The excellence of the story is the only thing that truly matters. There have been some fantastic works by authors that I wouldn’t want to sit at the same dinner table with. And I’m sure there are awful works by people who completely agree with me on every major political point. Politics are utterly irrelevant to the conversation. Or, at least, they should be.


David Gerrold on Facebook – June 3

As long as we’re still talking about the sad puppies and the rabid puppies, there is one question that has not yet been asked.

Will Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen be attending the Hugo award ceremony? Will Vox Day and John C. Wright be attending the ceremony? What about the other nominees and the various puppy supporters?

I have been told that none of the major architects of the slates have attending memberships. So the answer is no, they will not be there.

(Some of the slated nominees will likely be there, but that’s not the question I’m asking.)

And that causes me to wonder —

Some of the puppy supporters have said this whole thing is about reclaiming “the real science fiction” from those who have hijacked it into the realm of literary merit. (Something like that.)

Okay — but if we take that at face value — then why aren’t the leaders of the movement coming to the award ceremony to cheer for their nominees? If this is really that important, why aren’t they coming to the party?

Not attending the celebration makes it look like this was never about winning the awards as much as it was about disrupting them.


David Gerrold in a comment on Facebook – June 3

I did not know that Brad Torgersen had been deployed. I’m sure he will serve admirably and I expect him to return home safely. I might disagree with him on some things, but I wish him no ill.


Sara Amis on Luna Station Quarterly

“Hugos, Puppies, and Joanna Russ” – June 3

I always intended from the beginning to write about Joanna Russ. How could I not? It just so happens, though, that she is particularly relevant right at this particular moment.

So, there are some shenanigans with this year’s Hugo awards. And by “shenanigans” I mean “cheating” in the finest, most self-righteous, letter-but-not-the-spirit-of-the-law, but-really-we’re-the-good-guys fashion.

“But some white women, and black women, and black men, and other people of color too, have actually acquired the nasty habit of putting the stuff on paper, and some of it gets printed, and printed material, especially books, gets into bookstores, into people’s hands, into libraries, sometimes even into university curricula.

What are we to do?” —-from How to Suppress Women’s Writing by Joanna Russ

I might add, some of it gets nominated for Hugos, and even wins. What are we to do???


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Hugo Recommendations: Best Fan Writer” – June 3

This is how I am voting in the Best Fan Writer 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 368 Vile Faceless Minions or anyone else.

  1. Jeffro Johnson
  2. Dave Freer
  3. Amanda S. Green
  4. Cedar Sanderson
  5. Laura J. Mixon

With regards to Mixon, I still don’t consider a professional writer with five novels published by Tor who also happens to be the current SFWA President’s wife to be what anything remotely recognizable as a proper “Fan Writer”, but that ship sailed back when John Scalzi, Jim Hines, and Kameron Hurley waged their successful campaigns for it. No sense in fighting battles already lost. The more relevant problem is that Best Related Work would be a more reasonable category for a single expose, and Deidre Saorse Moen’s expose of Marion Zimmer Bradley was a considerably more important work in that regard. That being said, I don’t regard the Hugo Awards as being the place to recognize investigative journalism, otherwise I would have nominated Saorse Moen’s stunning revelations about Marion Zimmer Bradley as a Best Related Work. But regardless, Mixon did publish a credible expose and she is a legitimate, if not necessarily compelling candidate.


Dave Freer in comment #58 on the same post at Vox Popoli – June 3

“Freer’s been an ass to me, and incoherent at length to pretty much everybody” sniff. I shall wear this with such pride, just because it comes from Crissy! I am amply rewarded for the time spent pointing out he was mathematically illiterate and logically incompetent.

To be fair to Mixon (I do not approve of her biased reporting, but still) 1)I have 20 novels published. 2) Both Amanda and Cedar are independently published – and both quite successful at it. I suspect they outsell Mixon, who IIRC has day job and a husband to share cost (he also has a day job). Strictly speaking she’s more of a ‘hobbyist’ than any of the three of us. 3) I am not, and never have been married to the pres of SFWA. Neither have Amanda or Cedar or Jeffro. Speaking strictly for myself, I hope to avoid that dreadful fate.

I raised the same objection to my being nominated Vox does on MGC when I was first put on recommended lists and, um, never found out my name was still there. I actually didn’t know I had been nominated (the Hugo Admins didn’t succeed in contacting me) until the nasty messages started popping up telling me I was going to suffer for it and should immediately abase myself. I don’t bully well, so despite the fact I didn’t want to be there, or feel I should be, I still am. Screw them and the donkey they rode into town on (the difference is hard to establish, but the donkey is the more intelligent and prettier).

Jeffro seems a good guy, and I can vouch for Amanda and Cedar.


Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Hugos, Fan Writer, Rant Regarding” – June 3

First, per section 3.3.15 of the WSFS Constitution, Fan Writer (like Best Editor) is an award for the person. It is not, like Best Novel, an award for a particular work. It is thus perfectly acceptable to say “fan writer X is a jerk” and use that as a critique of their nomination.

Actually, it is entirely within the rules to vote based on any criterion, if you want to be a stickler for the rules. Or, people who insist on following the letter of the law do not get to lecture me on the spirit of things.

Second, David Freer is a poor writer, at least with regards to his blog. His posts are lengthy, poorly-thought-out, (see, for example, his 1500 word post on Hugo probabilities, discussed and linked to by me here) and not to me particularly entertaining.

Third, in general the Hugo nominees are asking me and the other voters for a favor. They are asking that we take time out of our day, consider their material, and in the end give one of them an award. I don’t know how things work on Planet Puppy, but here on Earth, if one is asking somebody for a favor, normally the person requesting the favor attempts normal human politeness.


Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot: All the Rest of the Novels” – June 3

I think the final vote on the novel will come down to what kind of sub-genre people like to read. Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword deals with galactic empires and planetary intrigue, but also plays with ideas about gender. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison is charming and elegantly told, a tale of manners in a fantasy setting. Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem dances out on the far edges of scientific speculation.  Really, any one of these could win and I’d be happy, but if I had to choose (and I guess I do), for me the best of them is Ancillary Sword.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Adventures in SciFi Publishing — Best Fancast Hugo Nominee” – June 3


This is the first of the Hugo-nominated fancasts that I’ve listened to. Briefly — it’s good.


Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Movie: Reviewing Edge of Tomorrow” – June 3

Altogether a fun little movie, well handled and nicely plotted. I haven’t watched it, wasn’t planning to, but am happy I did. I will probably rewatch it before I decide how it stacks up against the other movie nominees.


Russell Blackford on Metamagician and The Hellfire Club

“Rest Related Work nominations reviewed & discussed – Hugo Awards Voting” – June 3

Antonelli’s Letters from Gardner seems, from what I’ve read, to be about the author’s development, at a relatively late stage of life, as a well-published author of (mainly) short stories. It includes a considerable amount of Antonelli’s fiction, with much commentary and reflection, and amongst it some perfectly sound advice on the craft of writing. If it were up for a lesser (perhaps regional) award, I’d have no difficulty in voting for it. From what I’ve read, however, I just don’t think the book is good, distinguished, or interesting enough to be worth a Hugo Award. It does not stand up well against past winners. Your mileage may vary. It’s not a bad book, and I’d have happily read the whole thing if it had been provided in the Hugo Voters Packet.

“Why Science is Never Settled”, by Tedd Roberts, is a well-written and thoughtful discussion of its subject matter. It popularises certain ideas in the history and philosophy of science, and does a workmanlike job of it. It was aimed at an SF-reading audience, and it was doubtless of interest to many people within that audience, but it does not seem to me to be sufficiently distinguished or relevant to deserve this award. There is some relationship to science fiction – enough that it would interest many readers who are also SF readers – but it’s a rather tenuous one.



“Hugo Art” – June 3

Fan artist category was rather disappointing; while I don’t want to say that any of these artists are bad, many artists I’ve seen on places like Deviant Art or here on WordPress have impressed me more; I really just don’t feel like many of these are ‘best of the best’ quality in terms of sci-fi art, at least by what I’ve seen. The lone exception is Elizabeth Legget, whose work, while not really blowing me away, is evocative and impressive enough that she easily rises to the top in this category….

In the Professional Artist category, I’d almost say that Julie Dillon wins by virtue of including a much larger portfolio to better display the range of her work….

Lastly, I’d like to note that it’s been interesting to see how the Fan Writer category is playing out. When I think of Fan Writing, I think of Algis Budrys and Baird Searles, who wrote on topic about notable books, movies and television that was relevant to fans of Speculative Fiction. One strange notion I’ve seen floated is that a Fan Writer should be writing ABOUT rather than TO the fandom, yet ironically those Fan Writers who have been writing more about the fandom than to them are paying the price, to an extent, for doing so. I enjoy the Mad Genius Club, but the rants about culture wars type stuff are going to come off to dedicated culture warriors about as well as Ann Coulter telling that Muslim girl to ride a camel. Meanwhile, many of those who don’t find pdfs an inaccessible format (sometimes grudgingly) acknowledge that Jeffro’s kept a laser-like focus on important works of Science-fiction and Fantasy, so we’re starting to see sort of a ‘man, we kind of want to hate this guy, but he’s actually writing about and bringing attention to some great authors!’ reaction. Given Jeffro’s decidedly apolitical approach (not ‘this is conservative/liberal’, ‘this is feminist/anti-feminist’, but ‘this is awesome’) to his subject matter combined with some of the backlash against Mixon (for myriad reasons), I think he has a pretty good shot in this category.


Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Championship B’tok” – June 3

This novelette lacks several of the critical elements that any string of words needs to tie it up into a story; the most glaring of these exposes itself as a regular disregard for continuity. It is impossible to tell if this story is actually a chapter of a larger story, or it is just half-written. I get the impression that this author may be able to wrote, and write stories, but this is not one of them. I will eventually pull out a reasonably good excuse for awarding one whole star to this novelette.


Camestros Felapton

“The Puppy Works – Ranked from Bad to Okness” – June 3

So below the fold is an attempt to rank all the Puppy nominated works (not including dramatic, editorial or artistic) altogether from the worst to the least worst. I’ll spoil the suspense by revealing that “Wisdom From My Internet” not only came top but also provides a neat demonstration why rankings can be inadequate when what you need is some kind of measurement scale.


Mabrick on Mabrick’s Mumblings

“Skin Game A Novel of the Dresden Files Book 15 by Jim Butcher” – June 3

….That was a two paragraph introduction to the review of “Skin Game” by Jim Butcher, for which I am somewhat sorry to inflict upon you, but felt compelled to clarify for them that know of the Hugo Award drama. There are strong feelings on all sides of this issue and some will feel like I have somehow betrayed them by listening to and reviewing this book. Poppycock. Jim Butcher is a New York times best-selling author. He didn’t get there because of the Sad Puppies and he deserves a thoughtful and respectful review of his work just like I’ve done with all the other nominees so far (as part of my Nebula Nominee reviews.) Thinking otherwise is puerile behavior as bad as that exhibited by the Sad Puppies. I don’t believe this applies to all authors and publishing houses on the ballot, for some of them were self-serving in the extreme, but it does apply to Jim Butcher and Tor Books, his publisher.


Will McLean on Commonplace Book

“Nutty Nuggets” – June 2

“What are we looking for again?” said Liu, the technician from Mars Spacefleet.

“Ejecta from Perdita, of course.You saw the images we got from Alaunt. One of what hit Perdita shredded the cargo module and blew debris on a diverging course. The hydrogen tanks were holed too, but we’re not going to waste time looking for hydrogen in space. You have the cargo manifest.” Church, agent for Tranjovian and its insurance agency, was a stubby, thick-lipped, stocky man with heavy eyebrows. Perdita had gone silent on an unmanned low-energy trip to the Jovian moons and Alaunt had found what was left of her hull after a tedious search of her extrapolated course.

“Right.” said Liu,  as a document came up on his screen. “Spare parts and luxury goods: single-malt scotch, Napoleon brandy, macadamia nuts and cashews.”

“The liquids will have frozen that far out, so we’ll be looking for nutty nuggets. A pretty unique spectral signature beyond Ceres.” ….


Alexandra Erin on A Blue Author Is About To Write

Sad Puppies Review Books: THE POKY LITTLE PUPPY – June 3

poky-little-puppy-248x300Reviewed by Special Guest Reviewer James May

…Here’s the dividing line and the crucial issue: I don’t care what you do. I don’t care about any of your initiatives. What I care about is it is never expressed without dehumanizing men and whites as racist, women-hating, homophobes who have conspired and continue to conspire to keep everyone but the straight white male out of SFF. That is a lie we have proved with facts over and over again. The history of SFF as portrayed by SJWs is a hoax. It has never been any more exclusionary than Field & Stream.

433 thoughts on “A Throne of Chew Toys 6/3

  1. My opinions on the fan writer category have been registered in this space before. I was considering leaving it blank. I think I may have just changed my mind.

  2. @Mark “I’m very surprised that someone who identifies a trend away from real-world religion in fantasy books in the 80s, and who has read the excellent Playing at the World, then discusses Deities and Demigods without even a side-note about how early 80s moral campaigning changed the use of real religion in D&D.”

    That is a very hot topic and I have written snarky things about the renaming of Deities & Demigods and Sunday Drivers– I have written about that directly in my Appendix N series, but I ended up editing it out. That is a seriously hot topic and one which I have a hunch that what I think I know does not quite line up with reality. (Do you know the feeling?) I would not want to weigh in on that in a “general audience” retrospective of mine without first having some more facts and details to back up what I say. I did post some fascinating snippets from Space Gamer on that topic to my personal blog last year, but I want to know more.

  3. I’m with Meredith on The Day the World Turned Upside Down. I really liked it as it was, and I wonder if it would read better in the original version. I normally give a percentage or two leeway for translated works. Ashes to Ashes though read to me just like those Golden Age stories the Puppies say they want. About the best that can be said is it didn’t quite finish on a note of triumphalism.

    Funny thing. I followed Erin’s link back to the original James May comment, but it was the comment above his that really drew my attention. The guy says he wasn’t really happy with the end of Cowboy Bebop. For those of you who don’t know, Bebop is considered one of the seminal anime series and “The Real Folk Blues” is on a LOT of peoples lists for top finales, “ambiguous” ending and all. A puppy not enthusiastic about a lack of cut and dried ending really rings true to the stereotype of them I have in my head.

  4. @Meredith – That’s an interesting idea on the Heuvelt story. It never occurred to me that he wasn’t supposed to be sympathetic.

    Thinking about it more deeply, I’m wondering if some of the deeply disturbing parts didn’t play as black humor and it doesn’t come across because of cultural differences. Humor often doesn’t bridge cultures even that share a language. Speaking for myself, I’ve never understood why Brits think putting a guy in a dress is automatically laugh-worthy.

  5. I can’t think why someone wouldn’t want the entire world to know they were leading their army from the front rather than the back.

    Probably for the same reason he says “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 368 Vile Faceless Minions or anyone else.”

  6. And now that I know what schmuck means I can describe people who want to destroy the Hugos as schmucks, though Shakespeare has far, far better insults…

    Schmuck is not American English, it’s Yiddish, a language just as rich and capable of subtle insults as anything Shakespeare ever wrote. I think I picked it up the same way I picked up mensch: from rec.arts.sf.written. Or .writing.For the substance of your point I agree with you, however.

  7. @Jeffro Johnson

    Great Britain is Scotland, Wales and England. 🙂

    I thought your work was much closer to fan writing than the other Puppy nominees, who seemed very invested in hating on swathes of fans. When I read through the samples in the voters packet your enthusiasm was palpable. I appreciate that you’ve kept culture warrioring to a minimum, as Worldcon ought not to be about culture wars specific to a single country. I think its a shame that you can’t see why slates are bad for the Hugos.

  8. Best editor nominee VD needs an editor to make “I still don’t consider a professional writer with five novels published by Tor who also happens to be the current SFWA President’s wife to be what anything remotely recognizable as a proper “Fan Writer”” into non-garbled English, but to address the next part of that “sentence”, “but that ship sailed back when John Scalzi, Jim Hines, and Kameron Hurley waged their successful campaigns for it.“, I’ll just point out that that ship sailed almost half a century ago, when Ted White won the Fan Writer Hugo in its second year, and it’s had numerous other passengers since then, as I pointed out in a comment here several days ago, responding to something Ann Somerville had written. Prominently on the passenger list are. Terry Carr, Wilson Tucker, and Bob Shaw, among others.
    And Cirsova has a very odd view of what Fan Writing is, if their model for fan writing is two professional reviewers. Did either Searles or Budrys ever write for “semiprozines or fanzines“? I only ever saw their reviews and other critical writings in the prozines and in books.

  9. @Meredith,

    I do not know what I would do if I could do this over again. There have been a lot of surprises in the past few months. Probably the biggest one is the fact of self-described SJW’s reading my stuff… some of them for years. (I had no idea!) The fact is, if you are really into classic sff and vintage games, I consider you a part of my “tribe” and I’m happy to look at creating some kind of space where we can meet each other half way after setting all this culture war stuff aside. I do exactly that when I run game sessions at cons. I’ve been doing that for years even. I think people already do that more than we realize with sff in general.

  10. Yep that Poky Little Puppy review was just as exhausting as the first time I read it.

    I think the straw used by May could feed half of India for a week.

  11. Speaking for myself, I’ve never understood why Brits think putting a guy in a dress is automatically laugh-worthy.

    They don’t, in this century. Unless you mean Eddie Izzard, who wears a dress not for comic purposes but because he likes it.

  12. @Tintinaus

    I have a suspicion that my generosity for Ashes to Ashes and Triple Sun may stem from being so very, very irritated with the novel fragment nominees. At least Ashes to Ashes and Triple Sun have a beginning, a middle and an end. I should probably reread them before voting ends to make sure I’m not wearing rose coloured spectacles. 🙂 I don’t think they’re Hugo-worthy, pink sf vision or otherwise.

    @World Weary

    I have a few Dutch friends, and their sense of humour is on the black and odd side. I didn’t quite recognise it through the translation, but if I squint, I think your theory may be correct.

    As far as humorous dress wearing goes, we’re trained from early childhood by watching very talented pantomime dames. 🙂

  13. Cat wrote:

    “I don’t think I’m intolerant of message fiction — but if you’re going to present something to me as good and right it needs to be something that is not obviously unfair.”

    At the risk of cosplaying Mr. Obvious, that seemed to me the entire point of Job: A Comedy of Justice, along with any other reference to Abrahamic faith in Heinlein’s fiction from Stranger in a Strange Land forward.

  14. Will on June 4, 2015 at 8:31 am said:
    Props to @Jeffro for coming here to discuss.

    And being very civil about it.

  15. @RedWombat, thanks for the suggestion on the TED talk! Sounds intriguing.

  16. @Morris

    When I refer to Algis Budrys and Baird Searles, I was speaking more in terms of the quality of their writing and their approach to subjects rather than the venue in which they were published. They were certainly fans of their subject and wrote both analytically and evangelically about it.

  17. @Jeffro

    That’s one reason I don’t like the Puppy campaigns; they’re an overt and deliberate intrusion of culture war us and them rhetoric into sf/f fandom where before there was fans, talking about stuff and having enthusiastic debates. Aside from you and Kary English, every time a Puppy has turned up here its been dragged into culture war, whereas the rest of the time we’re pretty happy arguing with each other over whether this character was sympathetic or that character was passive, and whether the science holds up or the fantasy elements were fantastical enough.

    I think people from any political stance can enjoy and read and watch and play the same stuff, and I don’t appreciate, for example, Day’s attempt to divide works into “pink sf” (bad) and “blue sf” (good).

  18. @ Stevie:
    I’m a Shakespeare Institute alum (’98-’99) – nice to meet you! (I kept reading SF throughout my MA, for sanity preservation, if nothing else …)

  19. Meredith on June 4, 2015 at 8:45 am said:

    […]whereas the rest of the time we’re pretty happy arguing with each other over whether this character was sympathetic or that character was passive, and whether the science holds up or the fantasy elements were fantastical enough.

    and the role of dairy products in SF/F, of course.

  20. Chris Hensley – on Wright.

    Sigh. First, I need to preface this with that I was born into a Roman Catholic family, raised up with the usual religious education and went through 8 years in Parochial schools run by the Sisters of Mercy and 5 years in an all-boys’ high school run by the Salesian’s (a religious order dedicated to teaching youth) and ethics and science taught by a Jesuit “loaner.” At some point I found myself unchurched (not atheist or agnostic, but without co-travellers) for a long time. When I did finally settle back to an “established church,” it was to the Episcopal Church in the USA

    His remarks about how his then-fellow atheists treated those Not Of Their Flock is something that can be said of those of any religious persuasion at all, and I would be more sympathetic of that being part of his conversion if he were not exhibiting a fair amount of that same activity himself.

    He says he did have, indeed, a true experience. I am not he.

    On the other hoof, I also have to be honest and say that, for the view I have had of the spiritual interior life and dialog that inform my own faith as a Christian, his views do not match mine

    One of the paradoxical elements that give me very grim amusement is that those who have converted to Christianity now find their faith so strong and unassailable. For someone like me, who grew up in faith, I am continually calling upon myself to test my boundaries of that faith, of that belief. To be always wondering, what else is there? What else can I see, learn, try to understand, about the lives and world, both spiritual and mundane, that surround us.

  21. @Will
    “Question for the hive mind: Has anybody ever made Heinlein a character in a book?”

    Besides Heinlein? =P

  22. @Anna Feruglio Dal Dan

    and the role of dairy products in SF/F, of course.

    That’s the most important debate of all! No true fan opposes cheese-related subplots. 😉

    I should start Churlish Cheeses to get a full slate of dairy product related speculative fiction on the ballot.

  23. @Learned

    I really like that quote – my edition is sadly lacking in the foreword, though.

    If I had to make a distinction, Wright starts from the idea that all art comes from the muse or genius, whereas Le Guin suggests that you may, once, be visited. But it was just an idle musing on what he may have meant, rather than a serious dissection.

  24. Will: I haven’t read it (or any book in the series yet), but Paul Malmont’s The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown has Heinlein as a major character–as well as Asimov and L. Ron Hubbard. It does look like a fun series; the first is The Chinese Death Cloud Peril, which apparently follows William Gibson (who wrote “The Shadow”) and Lester Dent (of “Doc Savage” fame) investigating the possible murder of H.P. Lovecraft . . .

  25. @Will

    I don’t know about books, but as RPGs have entered the conversation today I’ll mention the adventure The Big Hoodoo for Trail of Cthulhu

    The Big Hoodoo is Lovecraftian noir in 1950s California with a ripped-from-history plot centered on the explosive death of real-world rocket scientist, science fiction fan, and occultist Jack Parsons in a garage laboratory in 1952. The investigators are iconic figures active in the science fiction scene at the time of Parsons’ death, and their inquiries lead them from the mean streets of Pasadena to the edge of the Mojave Desert and the mountains of southern California as well as the beaches of Los Angeles.

    Play sci-fi great Robert Heinlein, his ex-Navy engineer wife Virginia, renowned editor and mystery writer Tony Boucher, or a young Philip K. Dick as they confront the lunatic fringe in La-La Land, and find themselves caught in a charlatan’s web of chicanery, mendacity, and deceit-laced with a strong strand of Mythos menace.

  26. @Will – Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov starred in the novella Green Fire by Eileen Gunn, Andy Duncan, Pat Murphy and Michael Swanwick in the April 2000 Asimov’s. The story had to do with a curious incident when they worked in Philadelphia during World War II, if I remember right.

  27. @Will: It’s been a long time since I read it, but I think that in Niven & Pournelle’s Footfall, when the government assembled a cabal of SF writers to deal with the alien invasion, one of them was named Robert Anson.

  28. I would like to have seen what Shakespeare would have done with Yiddish insults.

  29. Amy Griswold’s short story “Little Fox” also has a morally compromised narrator (she has been raised with a clone who acted as her personal slave), and the story is so beautiful that I can’t get it out of my head, which means I guess I’ll be nominating it for a Hugo next year.

    With Griswold, I got the feeling that the author did not share the narrator’s values. I didn’t get that from Heuvelt. Maybe that’s because I know of very few people alive today who would make apologies for slavery, but plenty who feel entitled to stalk their ex-girlfriends.

  30. @rek Yeah…I should have qualified that. I’m thinking more of a “Being Robert Heinlein” kind of thing.

  31. @mary @mark @david — thank you — those all sound great! Going to look up.

    @joe h — that book definitely needs to be on my list. What a great set-up. Thanks!

  32. @mark That sounds like a great story. I’m embarrassed to say my contact with RPGs is so slim that I’m not even sure what that would be–it’s like a setup for playing? Where would one read it? Thanks again.

  33. @Jeffro,

    Re: the hot topic. Fair enough, I see the argument for leaving it out, although it’s a fairly ancient topic by fannish standards nowadays. Incidentally, if you want a contemporaneous look into one of the players in that issue, read http://www.rpgstudies.net/stackpole/pulling_report.html from Michael Stackpole, which is essentially him responding in detail to one of the noisier talking heads on the issue, whose own personal tale is a rather sad one.

    Probably the biggest one is the fact of self-described SJW’s reading my stuff… some of them for years. (I had no idea!)

    Perhaps you could wonder to yourself if the idea of a monolithic bloc of SJWs causing this or that harm to the genre fits your own observations?

  34. Jeffro

    We have, in fact, already met, but remembering every exchange of comments is impossible; I inevitably read your review of Roger Zelazney’s Amber since I gravitate to anything to do with Amber, and I recall how delighted you are in discovering some of the early stuff.

    As for nationalism, notwithstanding the fact that I was born in Abyad, in the Egyptian desert, I am English; I therefore have Irish, Welsh and Scottish ancestors with some English mixed in. This makes me exceedingly English, because we are a motley assortment.

    And if you are wondering about the Egyptian desert then the military mindset provides the answer; only the Bedouin and the military like sticking stuff in the middle of the desert, and I’m not a Bedouin…

  35. Learned –
    My interpretation of that quote of LeGuin’s is that sometimes the Muse chooses you, and sometimes it doesn’t. And the times the Muse strikes are the times when you can glory with the energy and experience of the external idea that comes from Whence Knows Where, but the rest of the time you have to rely on your own creativity and the unconscious interactions of yourself and the world (and its denizens) around you to synthesize that inspiration.

    But that, no matter where the inspiration, then kernel, the spark of the idea comes from, you need to do all you can, in craft and imagination and talent, to bring forth the product of that inspiration, to marvel at.

  36. Msb

    Wow! I think we should keep quiet about this, otherwise news of the Shakespeare Institute SF cabal will trickle out and all our plans will be ruined!

  37. Heinlein is a fairly minor character in “The House of Rumour” by Jake Arnott.

  38. @Mark,

    Thank you for the link to the Stackpole piece. I was not aware that it was online.


    Well let it not be said that I’ve failed to have a proper respect for Desert Power. That’s an impressive origin story.

  39. Regarding “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” — I had a friend who also read the protagonist as deliberately unsympathetic, where I read him as just an un-self-aware jerk. There might be tells that we’re not supposed to be entirely on his side, but the story isn’t written with enough care or subtlety for me to feel like being charitable that way.

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