Pixel Scroll 3/10/16 Just Hook The TBR Pile Directly To The Vein

(1) DUALING READERS. Rob Dircks delivered an unexpected bonus to those attending his reading at Queens Library Sci-Fi/Fantasy Author Night – it’s titled “Today I Invented Time Travel”.

I was invited to read from my novel Where the Hell is Tesla? at the Queens Library Sci-Fi/Fantasy Author Night, and decided to write a short story for the evening — when an unexpected visitor showed up…

Here’s a clip from the story:

And my phone found me the top five reasons to go back in time:

  1. Stop George Lucas from making the prequels to Star Wars.
  2. Bet on the 1969 Mets.
  3. Talk to that girl you had a secret crush on in elementary school.
  4. Kill Hitler.
  5. Meet Jesus.

 

(2) TEMPORAL THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS. For writers determined to stick with real science there are a lot of details to work out, even when it’s only your imagination traveling to the future. R. A. MacAvoy, co-author of Albatross with Nancy Palmer, tells about those challenges.

This ingenious 25-year leap into the future turned from wiggle-room into a straight-jacket. It helped with the science, but not so much, as each of us kept coming up with new discoveries on the news that needed massive re-write. The Higg’s Boson companion (if it is what it seems to be). Gravitational waves.

And that was just the science!

Sweating, sweating, we began to consider all the other important changes in life which would go along with the advances in the sciences and which would touch the lives of the characters in the story even more than The Theory of Everything. In twenty-five years, we assumed, would people still be driving around in automobiles? Seemed likely – as this was not a Zombie Apocalypse novel. Petrol cars? Self-driving cars? Re-write. Rewrite.

Mobile phones. On the wrist, as part of one’s glasses? People still doggedly carrying things the size of card-decks in their pockets? Hey – at least a person in a self-driving car won’t be guilty of much as they babble or text into whatever form of phone they have as their cars zoom them to their destination. Or get lost in a daily traffic jam caused by the inevitable software problems.

And in a moment of O.C.D. we decided to eliminate all references to the daily habit of tea-time in the British Isles. It suddenly seemed too difficult to decide whether or not the increasingly technical lives we lead would have time for such an old custom. Eliminating all references to tea time was perhaps the silliest rewrite. But it explains, better than anything else, the straight-jacket effect of writing in the near-future.

This is only one aspect of the difficulty we found in writing twenty-five years into the future.

(3) TROPE CONSERVATION. Peter McLean on “Why We Shouldn’t Hunt The Trope To Extinction” at Black Gate.

The poor old trope had had a lot of bad press in recent years. A lot of people seem to want to deconstruct the little critter, or subvert it or discredit it. Basically people seem to want to hunt the trope to extinction, and I think that’s unfortunate.

Now I agree some members of the trope herd have got a bit long in the tooth and are probably due for culling. No one really needs to read another fantasy novel where a simple farmboy turns out to be the Chosen One / Long Lost Heir who is foretold by prophecy and destined to save the world, do they? No, so the “Farmboy” trope is probably due to meet the huntsman, and I think the “Damsel in Distress” has probably had her day too.

You very rarely if ever see these tropes in modern fantasy now, and that’s because everyone got sick of them. An overused trope can eventually outstay its welcome and evolve into a cliché, a completely different critter, and that’s when the huntsmen need to come after it. And that’s fine. The world moves on, as Stephen King would say.

But I don’t think we should tar the whole herd of tropes with the same brush just because some of them get old and go bad. Healthy tropes can be useful little critters. Tropes are what help to stop every novel being 1000 pages long.

(4) A SCALZI FIRST. “On The Wall,” John Scalzi’s first zombie story, co-written with Dave Klecha, appears in Black Tide Rising, the zombie apocalypse anthology edited by John Ringo and Gary Poole. The book is due in stores June 7, however, Baen Books has the eARC on sale right now For $15.

(5) ATTEND ZOMBIE TECH. Amazon is hosting a Zombie Apocalypse Workshop, where you can learn to apply Amazon Web Services technology to recover from the end of civilization. Bring your own laptop and shotgun.

Apocalypse Workshop: Building Serverless Microservices – Washington D.C.

Note: The AWS Lambda Signal Corps has recruited sufficient volunteers for our mission, and all registrants from now until March 10th will be placed on a recruit waitlist. Waitlisted recruits will be admitted if space permits on a first-come, first-serve basis so please arrive early.

Scenario: Zombies have taken over major metropolitan areas. The AWS Lambda Signal Corps has built a communications system to connect the remaining survivors.

Learn how AWS Lambda provides a platform for building event-driven microservices, all without the need to provision, manage, and scale servers. In this workshop, we will introduce the basics of building serverless microservices using AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon S3.

(6) CAN ALTERNATE HISTORY BECOME DATED? Fantasy Literature reviewer Marion Deeds, in 1632: The tale is dated but I love its exuberance”,  makes it hard to figure out why there are (by her count) 23 books in this popular series. (And she may not know about the 1632 conventions…)

Flint lets us know in the prologue of 1632 that there’s going to be no discussion of quantum physics, magical portals, of clicking our heels together and going home. The story is an exciting live-action role-playing game with a small force of Americans who completely outgun the competition. The competition are evil mercenaries, so we don’t have to feel sorry for them as they are chopped down like a summer lawn under the blades of a riding mower.

There are also a few other things that are not going to be problems for twentieth-century people dumped into the seventeenth century. Here’s a short list: no one’s going to struggle with a sense of psychic displacement or post-traumatic stress; no one’s going to pine for family or loved ones left behind; no one’s going to question the basic premise that they are stuck in the 1630s. No one is going to turn, irrationally, on another group; no one is going to scapegoat anyone; no one’s going to have a spiritual crisis.

A few more things no one in the new America is going to have to worry about: sufficient food, clean water, sanitation, electrical power, medicine, radios or even TV, except they do have to create their own programming. That’s because all that stuff came with them. They have their own coal vein, and Grantsville landed next to a river in Europe, so they have water and fuel for steam power. The area had its own power plant and three machine shops, several doctors and a jewelry store, so that as the various couples hook up, they can all get wedding-ring sets. It’s nice. Knowing they can’t maintain their current level of technology for too long, the Americans decide to “gear down,” and convert to steam power, settling at late-eighteenth/early nineteenth century tech. This is smart. All of this clears away survival-level problems so that Flint can get on with what’s important; those battles.

(7) RICHARD DAVALOS OBIT. Best known for roles in East of Eden and Cool Hand Luke, actor Richard Davalos died March 8 at the age of 85. He also was in genre films The Cabinet of Caligari (1962) and Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983). And he was the grandfather of actress Alexa Davalos, who stars in Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle.

(8) MICHAEL WHITE OBIT. Rocky Horror and Monty Python producer Michael White died March 9.

His theatre production credits included the West End premieres of The Rocky Horror Show, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and A Chorus Line.

Born in Glasgow, White began his theatrical career in London’s West End producing plays such as Annie and The Rocky Horror Show.

He later went on to produce films, including The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1978, and those which have achieved cult status such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is still regularly screened in cinemas.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • March 10, 1876 — Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first telephone message to his assistant in the next room: “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.” (It is not true that the second telephone message was, “Do you have Prince Albert in a can…?”)
  • March 10, 1997 — The CW premiered Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There is an oral tradition that Buffy inspired the creation of the Best Dramatic Presentation (Short) Hugo category, and it did receive a couple of nominations before it went off the air.

(10) RABID PUPPIES. After a brief hiatus, Vox Day resumed announcing his slate with “Rabid Puppies 2016: Best Novelette”.

The preliminary recommendations for the Best Novelette category.

  • “Flashpoint: Titan”, Kai Wai Cheah
  • “Folding Beijing”, Hao Jingfang
  • “What Price Humanity?”, David VanDyke
  • “Space Raptor Butt Invasion”, Chuck Tingle
  • “Obits”, Stephen King

We have been repeatedly informed that homophobia and the lack of diversity is a serious problem in science fiction, and speaking as the leader of Rabid Puppies, I could not agree more. The decades of discrimination against gay dinosaur love in space by the science fiction community stops now, and it stops here!

Let’s face it, there are just three words to describe the only event that might happen in 2016 that I can imagine would be more spectacularly awesome than “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” winning a Hugo Award this year, and those three words are “President-elect Donald Trump”.

(11) HUGO LOVE. Joe Sherry at Nerds of a Feather: “My Favorite Stories Don’t Get Nominated: A Hugo Love Story”.

I love the Hugo Awards because in becoming part of the WSFS I get to add one small voice to the multitude and help pick the nominees for the five best novels / stories / whatevers. In 2014, artist Joey Hi-Fi was one nominating vote from making the final ballot for Best Professional Artist and becoming an official Hugo Award Nominee….

Collectively, a bunch of people who love science fiction and fantasy come together and say that these, these novels and stories and artists and fans – this is the best of what I read and watched last year. These are some of the best of what the genre has produced.

Then, when the nominations come out and also after the awards are given, we can all sit back and think…what the hell is everyone else thinking? Why are they so wrong? That book is terrible and this book that I loved is so much better.

Of course my opinions are right and everyone else is wrong. Of course this is true. Unfortunately, a whole bunch of people who are just like me except that their taste in great fiction isn’t quite the same disagreed. Or, maybe what I loved was their sixth favorite story and they can only nominate five. Or maybe they just never read it because holy crap there is a lot of stuff published every year. I read a LOT and I don’t even scratch the surface of what’s out there. What the Hugo Awards allows me to do is be part of a group where everyone looks at what they read and tries to figure out what the best of that is – and then collectively, the numbers come together and a ballot is produced.

I love the Hugo Awards even when everyone else obviously gets it wrong because at its heart, the Hugo Award nominees are selected by a group of fans who are passionate about science fiction and fantasy. It’s a group of fans who, ideally with no agenda beyond love of genre, point to something they love and say “this, this is awesome.”

(12) LOOSELY WRAPPED. Kate Paulk has a small update on what Puppies can expect at MidAmeriCon II at Mad Genius Club.

Planning for the Puppy Presence at Worldcon continues under wraps until we have things sufficiently stable to make an announcement. The goal there is to be at the convention, have fun (lots of fun), and meet friends face to face. If I can arrange it there will be a PuppyGate in honor of the Jeopardy question and visitors will have to cross the PuppyGate to enter the fun zone.

(13) TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THAT OTHER THING. Attorney-at-Work blogger Jared Correia finds an excuse to write about a favorite show – “The Truth Is in Here: Lawyer Lessons Buried in ‘The X-Files’”:

The point is that Duchovny did not again discover wide popularity until he made it back to TV, for his turn as debauched author Hank Moody, on Showtime’s “Californication.” Now “Californication” has wrapped, and he’s back on “The X-Files.” Accepting that Mulder was the best role that he’s had, and coming back around to it, feeling at home in it, is the best end for his story.

Sometimes, you can take the circuitous route back to where you belong — but, there’s something to be said for recognizing that you should never have left in the first place.

I don’t think Jared Correia is any relation to Larry, although the click-through ad over Jared’s column “The way attorneys get paid” is very Larry-esque.

(14) GREEN PLANET. CBBC answers the question “Could vegetables grow on Mars?”

The team wanted to find out what could we grown if humans try to live on Mars in the future.

Although they didn’t have real Martian soil, they used dirt supplied by Nasa, which was taken from a Hawaiian volcano that’s thought to be very similar….

But there’s still a long way to go – no one ate the experimental vegetables, because substances in the soil including arsenic and mercury might have made them poisonous.

Now the team are trying to find a way to grow vegetables that are safe to eat.

Wait a minute. So there would have been arsenic in Watney’s potatoes…?

(15) MAD SNACKS. An aeropress is a thing for making coffee. The 2016 Australian AeroPress Championship will be held March 17 —

Australian Aeropress poster COMP

On the night, Australia’s best brewers will be stirring, steeping and pressing coffee generously supplied by Condesa and roasted by the punks at PMC.

Inspired by the Thunderdome of Mad Max, there’ll be beers, industrial disco balls, heaps of food (unlike the Thunderdome), a DJ in full Mad Max dress (not conformed) and, no doubt, some crazy revellers (confirmed), but weirdly the original Mad Max, Mel Gibson, declined the offer to MC.

(16) PUPPY IN ORBIT. Galactic Journey’s time traveler has the latest (really late) space program news in “[Mar. 10, 1961] Dog and Puppy Show (Sputnik 9)”.

We are definitely not far away from a person in space.  The Soviets launched another of their five-ton spaceships into orbit.  We’re calling it Sputnik 9; who knows what they call it?  On board was just one dog this time, name of Chernushka, who was recovered successfully after an unknown number of orbits.  It is pretty clear that the vessel that carried Chernushka is the equivalent of our Mercury capsule, and once the Russians have gotten the bugs out of the ship, you can bet there will be a human at the controls.

This is not to say that the American program is standing still—one of our astronauts may go up on a suborbital jaunt as early as next month.  But the Atlas booster, the big one that can put a man in orbit, won’t be ready until the end of the year, at the earliest.

(17) A WRITER WHO WELDS. No, it’s not the Emergency Backup Hugo – it’s Nancy Jane Moore’s “Post-Apocalyptic Spaceship”, at Book View Café .

(18) THE ROCKET’S BLUE GLARE. The New York Times has a story on Amazon owner Jeff Bezos’ private space program — “Jeff Bezos Lifts Veil on His Rocket Company, Blue Origin”.

Blue Origin is part of a shift of the space business from NASA and aerospace behemoths like Lockheed Martin toward private industry, especially smaller entrepreneurial companies. Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, founded by another Internet entrepreneur, Elon Musk, has been the most visible and most successful of the new generation of rocket companies. Last Friday, it launched another satellite to orbit, but an attempt to land the booster on a floating platform again ended in an explosion.

Much more quietly, Blue Origin has also had big space dreams, but until now did not give outsiders a look at what it was doing.

For almost four hours, Mr. Bezos, who only occasionally talks to the press, led 11 reporters on a tour of the factory and answered a litany of questions over lunch. He talked garrulously, his speech punctured by loud laughs. “It’s my total pleasure. I hope you can sense that I like this,” he said.

He described an image on a wall in the company’s central area, which showed two tortoises holding an hourglass and gazing upward at a stylized image of the planets and cosmos. Below is Blue Origin’s motto: “Gradatim ferociter,” Latin for “step by step, ferociously” — no cutting of corners, but no dillydallying, either. “You can do the steps quickly, but you can’t skip any steps,” Mr. Bezos said.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Rambo, Cat Eldridge, Mark-kitteh, Seth Gordon, Will R., and Tom Galloway for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day RedWombat.]

294 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/10/16 Just Hook The TBR Pile Directly To The Vein

  1. JJ, whether you thought I was demanding, insisting, contending, maintaining, or otherwise expostulating, it hardly counts as paraphrasing when what you said is right there – no link required!

  2. Brian Z: whether you thought I was demanding, insisting, contending, maintaining, or otherwise expostulating, it hardly counts as paraphrasing when what you said is right there – no link required!

    Actually, a link or quote is required, if you’re going to “paraphrase”. And here it is:

    JJ: You do not speak for me. You do not speak for anyone else here.

    Nowhere did I claim that you were demanding that other people had to agree with you — that’s not a “paraphrase”, it’s just a garden-variety Brian Z. Lie.

  3. But it was already quoted in full.

    For someone whose stock in trade is “let me fix that for you” you’ve got a oddly flexible definition of lying.

  4. Brian Z: But it was already quoted in full.

    Yes, it was. And nowhere did I claim that you were demanding that other people had to agree with you. That’s not a “paraphrase”, it’s just another garden-variety Brian Z. Lie.

  5. We had learned previously that “Sasquan” passed its data to MAC II, which provided it to someone who published an analysis of the numerical strength and voting patterns of political groupings within the membership in order to influence the upcoming vote.

    I certainly find the claim that the data was used to find voting patterns of political groupings within the membership in order to influence the upcoming vote pretty suspect. It is easy to read that statement as a claim there are other slates at work and that the person analyzing the data is figuring out ways to influence the upcoming vote so slates they approve of win. I’m also pretty sure that’s what JJ was objecting to, not the neutral statement of fact that “We had learned previously that “Sasquan” passed its data to MAC II” as you just suggested.

    In fact, looking back at his original comment, it’s pretty clear that’s what he objected to (though obviously you can correct me if I’m wrong, JJ). He also didn’t say you demanded everyone agree with you; I believe he said you wrongly assumed everyone agreed with you, (inadvertently?) sneaking in assumptions a lot of people here would disagree with. To me, your paraphrase of what he said doesn’t much resemble what he did say.

  6. Shao Ping: though obviously you can correct me if I’m wrong, JJ

    Got it in one.

    I’d suggest that you offer Brian Z. some much-needed tutoring in reading comprehension — but I wouldn’t be so cruel as to wish that onerous task on anyone, and certainly not on you. 🙂

  7. @Brian Z: JJ, whether you thought I was demanding, insisting, contending, maintaining, or otherwise expostulating, it hardly counts as paraphrasing when what you said is right there – no link required!

    Linking, quoting, context matters. Even if you’ve provided a quote you still need to link so people have the context.

    Around and around the tree we go. Where we’ll stop nobody knows.

  8. Brian Z:

    For “anyone else,” please don’t hesitate to make me aware of it if you think I’ve misspoken, whether you found my contribution to be wise and clueful or otherwise.

    *snerk*

    I don’t think you’ll have a problem there, dude.

    This is a masterful example of why I consider you a troll, btw. You came into a discussion full of serious introspection and pushed a ton of buttons. You got the reaction you were looking for, too. I’m a little impressed.

    What you call contrarian, I call being kind of a jerk. Resuming skimming past your posts now.

    /out like classic Clampett Daffy Duck (linked: “Porky’s Duck Hunt”) before the hail of octopodes. Woo! Woo hoo!

  9. JJ: “I’d suggest that you offer Brian Z. some much-needed tutoring in reading comprehension — but I wouldn’t be so cruel as to wish that onerous task on anyone, and certainly not on you. :-)”

    http://file770.com/?p=27918&cpage=6#comment-410043

    So let me get this straight: At this point in this conversation, you choose to bring up one of the main skills a person with a learning disability might have trouble with? I will try to remain open to hearing about how that’s a coincidence.

  10. @Shao Ping on March 15, 2016 at 9:46 am said:

    Where we’ll stop nobody knows.

    Spoiler: We won’t stop and just continue going around and around again.

    I figured at some point we’d pass out or get bored and take our ball home. I’m bored. I think I’ll close this tab. I’m not subscribed so I have a 50/50 chance of being done with the conversation.

    Brian, JJ, and others can continue although one would hope filers could find better things to do with their time.* I hear the deadline for Hugo nominations is coming up.

    *gosh I hope I’m not implying some kind of superiority or anything like that. Dawn your on your own if you continue participating here. I’ve done my Katsu duty.

  11. I hear the deadline for Hugo nominations is coming up.

    On that subject, I have a review for Updraft that should be posted later today.

  12. Will R.: So let me get this straight: At this point in this conversation, you choose to bring up one of the main skills a person with a learning disability might have trouble with? I will try to remain open to hearing about how that’s a coincidence.

    There are a couple of reasons why someone might have poor reading comprehension, including deliberate misreading of others’ comments — which Brian Z. has, at this point, pretty much acknowledged is what he is doing.

    I guess you’ve gotten tired of your Junior Troll status in Brian’s shadow and have decided to show yourself his equal. You’re not there yet, but you’re certainly making progress. Well done you.

  13. @JJ Yeah, I’m sure no one would have thought you meant that after, you know, you accused of him of having a disability.

    Meanwhile, yet again, you answer by baiting and deflecting and calling out to straw bogeymen instead of just acknowledging what you’re doing.

  14. Will R.: @JJ Yeah, I’m sure no one would have thought you meant that after, you know, you accused of him of having a disability.

    The people here who aren’t trolls know that my apology to them was genuine.

    As for the trolls, I don’t really care what they insist on thinking.

  15. That’s the problem with trolls: they just like to lure people out onto thin ice.
    It’s kind of damned if you so, damned if you don’t.
    It is painful to see people posting things that annoy, appall, misrepresent, etc. without responding to express disagreement or set things straight.
    Just letting things sit makes you feel complicit in what is posted.
    Or, at the very least, as if you were leaving dog turds out on your front sidewalk, where someone might step in them, or think you are okay with them sitting there.
    But engaging isn’t much better, given that, by definition, trolls don’t engage in good faith discussions, but rather they just keep trolling along.

    Cue sound track:

    Ole Man Troller, that Ole Man Troller.
    He don’t know nothin’, but he must post somepin’
    He keeps on trollin’, he just keeps trollin’ along.

    He don’t answer the questions he’s gotten.
    And them that ask ’em he just treats rotten.
    And Ole Man Troller, just keeps tollin’ along.

    You and me, we reason in vain,
    When facts get twisted we feel the pain.
    Block that slur, try to stay kind,
    But ya get a little mad, maybe cross the line.

    I gets weary and so sick of tryin’
    I’m tired of postin’ but I hates that lyin’
    And Ol’ Man Troller, he just keeps trollin’ along.

  16. @Shao Ping

    “We had learned previously that “Sasquan” passed its data to MAC II, which provided it to someone who published an analysis of the numerical strength and voting patterns of political groupings within the membership in order to influence the upcoming vote.”

    I certainly find the claim that the data was used to find voting patterns of political groupings within the membership in order to influence the upcoming vote pretty suspect. It is easy to read that statement as a claim there are other slates at work and that the person analyzing the data is figuring out ways to influence the upcoming vote so slates they approve of win.

    It’s not easy to read it that way unless you make the wrong assumption that I want to get you to believe in some kind of Hugo conspiracy theory. I don’t.

    If you clicked through to the linked earlier discussions, you’d find what Quinn actually said was “I don’t want to give all the results away but here are a few, now that people are actually voting for this year’s Hugos.

    “There were some weak correlations among non-puppies, but nothing that remotely rivals the puppies’ coherence.”

    “raising the average works per ballot per category from 3 to 4 (33% more votes total) would probably have been as powerful in terms of promoting diverse finalists (that is, not all puppies) as adding over 25% more voters.”

    “In other words: if you want things you vote for to be finalists, vote for more things — vote for all the things you think may be worthy.”

    I’m also pretty sure that’s what JJ was objecting to, not the neutral statement of fact that “We had learned previously that “Sasquan” passed its data to MAC II” as you just suggested.

    In addition to your reading being based on the wrong assumption that I’m a Hugo conspiracy theorist, it is also not what JJ objected to. JJ objected to my using the words “we learned” in describing an announcement made here.

    In fact, looking back at his original comment, it’s pretty clear that’s what he objected to (though obviously you can correct me if I’m wrong, JJ).

    But he didn’t object to that. He expressed “outrage” with boldface and all caps over my allegedly trying to “speak for” everyone here. (I didn’t.)

    He also didn’t say you demanded everyone agree with you; I believe he said you wrongly assumed everyone agreed with you, (inadvertently?) sneaking in assumptions a lot of people here would disagree with.

    No, he claimed that I was telling a deliberate lie:

    “Nothing has been revealed which would “influence the upcoming vote” in any way. This is just more of your lies. And I’m tired of you repeatedly spouting your lies here.”

    And I stated no assumption about in what way Quinn’s report would influence the vote. That Quinn wanted to publish his report ahead of the vote and offered advice in it about how to vote strategically is not an assumption.

    To me, your paraphrase of what he said doesn’t much resemble what he did say.

    If I had been paraphrasing, I would have provided a factual summary of what JJ said by restating his remarks in an abbreviated form. But what JJ said was already short, already linked, and already quoted in full. The idea that someone could have literally “demanded” agreement from everyone on this blog is obviously absurd and not the case. Since my intended tone was clearly signposted by lots colorful words like “the corpus of English literature,” “Occupy 770,” “triple scourge,” “hallowed Fannish ground,” “the Pussycats,” “heat of battle,” “Knights of the Round Table,” etc., there is a reasonable case to be made that people reading along could tell that I was exaggerating for effect.

    Having gotten that out of the way, you do raise an interesting question. If there WAS a “Hugo conspiracy” and a “secret slate,” would it be helped or hurt by Quinn’s recommended voting strategy? What do you think?

  17. @ Dawn Incognito,

    You got the reaction you were looking for, too.

    I wrote an angry response to this, but on reflection I’ll just say that I’m disappointed and withdraw my thanks.

  18. Brian Z.: But he didn’t object to that. He expressed “outrage” with boldface and all caps over my allegedly trying to “speak for” everyone here. (I didn’t.)

    I objected to both your usage of “We” and your claim that the upcoming vote had somehow been “influenced” by the non-revelations Mr. Quinn posted.

    I also did not use all caps. (or is that false claim just more of your “intended tone”?)

    And yes, when you used “we” to describe what we had supposedly “learned”, you were presuming to speak for others here, despite your continued claims that you weren’t.

    Brian Z.: The idea that someone could have literally “demanded” agreement from everyone on this blog is obviously absurd and not the case. Since my intended tone was clearly signposted by lots colorful words like “the corpus of English literature,” “Occupy 770,” “triple scourge,” “hallowed Fannish ground,” “the Pussycats,” “heat of battle,” “Knights of the Round Table,” etc., there is a reasonable case to be made that people reading along could tell that I was exaggerating for effect.

    When your “intended tone” is indistinguishable from your intended lies, it indicates something. I suggest that you spend some time in introspection on what that might be.

  19. Brian, your reply to Dawn was crude, unpleasant, and totally uncalled for. You may have deleted it, but you are well aware that a number of people will have seen it, and what you’ve left in its place is no apology.

  20. @Brian Z.

    I’m torn between snark and sincerity in addressing you here. Assuming you are actually hurt at the reaction you’ve received from other posters I’m going with sincerity in this post.

    A very simple question is: why are you here? Is it to hold a discussion? If so, you may want to reflect on the behaviors that seem to trip you up in having a discussion. Some advice, unsought, and worth every farthing and pfennig of free Internet advice:

    1. Stop attributing motives.
    An interesting discussion of the impact of changes to voting patterns due to slating reaction could be had. By framing it in a way that calls the integrity of Jameson Quinn, the Hugo admins , etc. in question you cut that conversation off. You make it about their ethics and people are going to be first interested in defending well respected members of the sci-fi community. This is only the most recent instance of implying bad faith and is only one example. It’s a repeated behavior that leaves you looking poorly. If you don’t want to be taken as a conspiracy theorist stop questioning the good faith of everyone that disagrees with you.

    2. Read what other posters are saying for content and not talking points
    Your post replies frequently lack understanding of what other folks are saying. Intentionally or unintentionally you mis-quote their meaning and use it as a springboard to continue your main point EVEN when they point out their meaning was different. It gives you an air of dishonesty. If you’ve misunderstood, stop, and acknowledge instead of hand waving it away.

    3. Stop redefining
    When your definitions backing your premises come under question don’t change the definitions to retroactively shore up your premises. You don’t have to immovably adopt a position but if your definitions prove to be wrong, stop, acknowledge, and either modify your position or explain why you are changing your definitions. Otherwise you appear to be engaging in sleight of hand to win instead of discuss.

    4. Stop abusing deceased equines
    If you find yourself repeating the same argument for the nth time realize that the conversation isn’t going anywhere, acknowledge that we won’t achieve agreement, and move on. The constant reiteration of the same point becomes annoying and counter-productive.

    5. Don’t rely on ‘markers’ to distinguish sarcasm or hyperbole
    While you may believe you’ve included outrageous language to cue the audience, written communication is the most difficult form of communication and sarcasm and hyperbole don’t easily translate to the page. There are no visual or auditory tonal cues to indicate you meant anything at less or more than face value. Assume folks will believe you meant EXACTLY what you posted and adjust your post accordingly.

    6. Engage in something other than Hugo politics.
    When you talk books or filk you have interesting insights. I don’t always agree with them but they are still worth reading. You don’t have to abandon the Hugo discussion (indeed it’s a lynchpin discussion here) but at least try to engage on other topics. A single issue poster becomes tedious after awhile.

    My apologies for the wall of text.

  21. @Mark:

    Aw, thank you. That first post hit a tender button after a very tiring day.

    A timeline, chez Dawn:

    *gasp* He’s completely misinterpreted my post! He questions my sincerity! I meant that apology! I must return and expla-ooooooooooh.

    *toasts to world peace*
    *puts phone AWAY*

  22. @Stoic Cynic,
    Well said.

    You’ve articulated the reasons why I avoid interacting with Brian Z. To that I’ll also add his recent habit of posting personal abuse but changing it during the five(!) minute edit window. Those of us who get email notifications see the original unedited posts. I’m aware he’s done it at least twice, most recently at Dawn Incognito in this thread. The earlier instance was directed at me.

  23. @Dawn Incognito
    Noticed this thread was still active. My sympathy and support to you being the latest victim in Brian Z creative use of the edit button.

    Drinking with you to world peace and wanted to add I’m proud of you for putting the phone away.

  24. Ahahah Tasha I was literally coming to post that non-engagement is harder than it looks.

    To the tune of “I Talk to the Trees”:

    I talk to the trolls,
    But they never listen to me.
    I try to be calm,
    But they only flame me.
    No one has the time
    To correct all that they say.
    I talk to the trolls…in vain.

    (believe it or not, that’s been bouncing around my brain for several days)

  25. I’ve always thought of ‘piss off’ as more of a light Monty Python-level interjection.

    I used the edit window because I had resolved not to let any of you goad me into posting in anger. I’ve never said anything that isn’t already lobbed against me here, but I did speak back sharply once back when a number of Filers were cackling over child abuse wisecracks. After that, I thought enough is enough. If you don’t like using the edit window to improve angry replies, maybe Mike can draft a policy that it may only be used to add more puppykicking.

    I generally don’t demand apologies, although, considering that many of you are big on that kind of thing, it has been getting hard not to notice that most of you have been real quiet about JJ’s conspicuous failure to offer one. But to accuse me of pretending to take offense just to get a reaction? Piss off, and take your damn white knights with you.

    @Stoic Cynic, if I can make a clarification and a criticism in return. 1) I don’t have doubts about the Hugo admins’ and Jameson Quinn’s motives. Quinn’s were openly stated. I asked for an explanation from the Hugo admins and eventually got one, though I find it unsatisfactory. At the same time, you don’t need a crystal ball to see that a lack of trust about the Hugo administration will continue through August, or to think that more transparency is one of the only things that might help salvage the award’s reputation in some quarters of fandom. 2.) When you think the various categories of mistakes or “behaviors” you perceive me making, I wonder if you see me as being the chief or only culprit on File 770 who might, say, give the appearance of doubting somebody’s motives or stoop to making a rhetorical remark. From where I’m sitting, those arguments – and I thank you for stating them in a relatively civil, albeit highly condescending way – tend to get wheeled out primarily when someone goes against the groupthink.

  26. @Brian Z I used the edit window because I had resolved not to let any of you goad me into posting in anger.

    I’ve found typing the angry posts in a memo, in word, somewhere else, saving them, and taking time to think works much better than typing directly in blog comments. Once you’ve clicked comment/ok it’s been emailed and people have seen what you’ve said causing them to comment on your edit.

    I do this all the time for comments to file 770. I do drafts in iPad’s memo feature until I feel like I’m ok with everyone seeing what I’m saying. Let’s me take breaks and get perspective as well as do research to find links and quotes and make sure I know what I’m talking about. Then I copy it over, read it again, frequently change it once or twice more, then click comment.

  27. Brian Z.: most of you have been real quiet about JJ’s conspicuous failure to offer one

    I apologize for giving you the benefit of the doubt, and I accept your acknowledgment that your repeated bad behaviour is a deliberate choice.

  28. @Brian Z.

    I’ll cop a plea for condescending tone in the first degree. *shrugs*. It was composed quickly without a proper edit. Even then though, given my premise, I probably could only have marginally improved on tone.

    I’ll also concede that there are multiple posters, probably including myself, who could be called on the same behaviors listed from time to time. We’re human each and every one.

    I think you need to look carefully at them anyhow. For consistency of making those errors I see you make them more often than anyone else. A lot of folks here have tried to say these things to you in a variety of ways (usually with good intentions so far as I can tell). You have consistently brushed such advice off.

    I’m assuming, again, your goal is to have a conversation. To my observation these behaviors are crippling your ability to do so productively. If your goals are otherwise then ignore them. Also your inner voice may say I’m wrong and maybe I am. If so ignore the advice as well. If your goal really is to have a discussion though you may want to mull them over.

    And feel free, in any case, to tell me to go to hell. It’s presumptuous unsought advice after all.

  29. @Stoic, sorry for the delay to reply.

    Your praise of rational discussion is great, of course. Still, I was able to look beyond the gratuitous condescension and some slippery argumentation and false (I presume careless, not malicious) statements like that I don’t try engage on other topics in order to think about what you would like to say. Likewise, when I used your lecture as a springboard to reiterate an argument, then indulged in sarcastic rhetoric, it did not prevent us from continuing our conversation.

    It’s not that hard to have a discussion. But that’s not what happens here when someone goes against the groupthink, and it doesn’t just happen to me. One of the reasons I stuck around despite the high level of abuse for just raising sincere questions about geeky topics like elections and literature is that I am interested in better understanding the dynamics of this behavior, and could best understand it by participating.

  30. Morning, @Brian Z!

    You’ve mentioned groupthink a couple times. Certainly you’ve staked out a contrarian position. That is bound to generate heat on any subject that people are truly invested in.

    I don’t think the majority of the negative reaction you’ve received comes from that though. The subject is bound to be contentious but I believe it’s your approach, more than the subject, which gets you tagged as a troll and dismissed out of hand.

    Consider you’ve had defenders, on and off, the entire time you’ve been here. Most of those have ended up washing their hands after awhile. Ask yourself why. It could be groupthink but I contend it’s more about tactics. The lecture, as such, is highlighting things people feel leave you looking like a dishonest poster.

    I would not, and am not, saying to drop the subject nor go-along to get along. There has always been a whiff of ‘monkey, dance for me’, in the ‘Brian, just go back to filking’ posts. (Though I believe they have been well intentioned)

    The subject is obviously something you are passionate about. I believe though you would be more effective in representing your concerns and receive less heat by modifying your methods. People will engage with someone perceived to be an honest participant differently that someone seen as a troll.

    Your mileage may vary… 🙂

  31. @Brian Z

    It’s not that hard to have a discussion. But that’s not what happens here when someone goes against the groupthink, and it doesn’t just happen to me. One of the reasons I stuck around despite the high level of abuse for just raising sincere questions about geeky topics like elections and literature is that I am interested in better understanding the dynamics of this behavior, and could best understand it by participating.

    You don’t just raise sincere questions about geeky topics. Or if you are trying to do so you have much work to do in how you communicate.

    Having conversations online is hard work.

    I’ve offered genuine advice on how to change your communication style to be taken seriously instead of as a troll. But you continuously prefer to communicate in the manner of a troll rather than a poster in good faith.

    I feel sorry for you. Being unable to communicate in a way that gets you respect must be really frustrating.

  32. @Tasha Turner, maybe you can hire a social media consultant to help you understand why your social media advice isn’t working.

    @Stoic Cynic,

    It is true – if I’m not distorting your point too much – that people may engage with others in different ways depending on their words and actions. In fact, I count myself among them.

    I thank you for the advice about how to mend my errant ways, since it appears to be offered sincerely. But I’m still not clear. Do you think that the problem that someone with an alternative point of view may be dismissed, insulted, driven out with pitchforks, or what have you, is unique to me, and thus primarily a byproduct of the quirks of my styles of engagement? Don’t you think there is a larger problem with dissent around here? You don’t have to agree. I’m trying to figure out how you see it.

  33. Brian, the problem isn’t that you have differing views. Filers in general have spirited disagreements about everything.

    The problem is that you are a rude, condescending, sealioning troll. You’re capable of much better, you’ve demonstrated that numerous times, but lately even your filking is rather more nasty thanot funny.

  34. I respect and admire lots of the regular posters here. I respect and admire people’s commitment to trying to engage in respectful discussion with everyone who seems to be interested in constructive conversation. (For context, I’m a fourth-generation Northern Californian who is allllll about the touchy-feely consensus-oriented non-judgmental inclusive way of approaching interactions.)

    And Brian Z is a flipping troll. I don’t think it’s that he can’t take in other people’s points, I think he chooses not to. How many times do we all (the collective Filers “we”) have to traipse around the maypole of explaining things only to have the explanation bounce off a teflon wall before folks will stop engaging?

    Please, please, please, everybody, stop engaging. Does anybody really think he’s going to suddenly develop a core of integrity and engage with the substance of discussion?

    This must be one of the Geek Social Fallacies. “If I keep discussing and explaining, the other person will become reasonable!” No. That’s not gonna happen.

  35. @ Brian Z,

    Do you think that the problem that someone with an alternative point of view may be dismissed, insulted, driven out with pitchforks, or what have you, is unique to me, and thus primarily a byproduct of the quirks of my styles of engagement?

    I don’t think that you are at all unique in how you dismiss someone with alternative viewpoints, insult people, attempt to drive them out with pitchforks, and what have you – it is something you have in common with many other trolls, and as such it is directly related to and because of your chosen “style of engagement” (aka “trolling”).

    HTH, HAND

    // Christian

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