Pixel Scroll 5/5/16 The Barnacles of Narnia

(1) LOST SIGNAL. John DeNardo shocked fans and writers alike by revealing today that SF Signal is shutting down.

When we started SF Signal in 2003, it was because we loved speculative fiction. Having a blog allowed us to share that love with other fans. We never dreamed it would have grown like it has. In these past 12 years and 10 months, we’ve shared our love of genre, we’ve provided a forum for other fans to come on board as contributors to also share their genre love, we gave authors a place to tell us about the exciting new worlds they’re creating, and I like to think we’ve made a ton of new friends. We even picked up a few Hugo Awards along the way. It’s been quite a ride.

But all good things come to an end.

It was a very hard decision to make, but we have decided to close down SF Signal. The reason is boringly simple: time. As the blog has grown, so has its demands for our attention. That is time we would rather spend with our families. We considered scaling back posts, but it felt like SF Signal would only be a shadow of its former self. So yes, it feels sudden, but a “cold turkey” exit seems like the right thing to do.

(2) GAMES OF FAME. Six classic games are being inducted into video game hall of fame – CBS News has the story.

game hall of fame

A video game that had players zapping space aliens with lasers and another that put them in covered wagons in 1848 have been inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame, along with four other games recognized for their influence on gaming and pop culture.

“Space Invaders” and “The Oregon Trail,” along with “Grand Theft Auto III,” ”Sonic the Hedgehog,” ”The Legend of Zelda” and “The Sims,” make up the class of 2016 honored Thursday at the hall inside The Strong museum in Rochester.

The winners were chosen from among 15 finalists culled from thousands of nominations from around the world. Contenders that missed the final cut were: “John Madden Football,” ”Elite,” ”Final Fantasy,” ”Minecraft,” ”Nurburgring,” ”Pokemon Red and Green,” ”Sid Meier’s Civilization,” ”Street Fighter II” and “Tomb Raider.”

(3) IT’S IMPOSSIBLE. Abigail Nussbaum, in Captain America: Civil War, launches her review with this lede:

It’s a bit of a strange thing to say, but I might have liked Captain America: Civil War better if it were a less good movie.  When films like The Dark Knight Rises or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice deliver rancid political messages wrapped in equally rancid plots and characterization, the reviewer’s job is made easier.  We can point to how a failure to recognize the actual complexity of a situation, or to imbue characters with full humanity, both informs and reflects the simplistic, quasi-fascist message of the movie.  Civil War is a trickier customer.  It tries–and on some level, manages–to be more intelligent and more thoughtful than something like Batman v Superman.  Its characters take the film’s central conflict seriously, discussing it rationally and trying to find a way to resolve it without descending into fisticuffs.  But even as they do so, they reveal the inherent impossibility of their project, the way the core assumptions of this entire genre combine to form a black hole that it can never escape.  I’ve said it before, but the minute you start taking superheroes seriously, and debating the rights and wrongs of them, only one conclusion is possible: that superheroes are a really bad idea, and that any fictional world that houses more than a handful of them will inevitably devolve into a horrifying dystopia in which the rule of law and the authority of democratic government are meaningless.

(4) SINGING IN THE SHOWER. Space.com told readers “Meteor Shower Spawned by Halley’s Comet Peaks This Week”.

Dusty debris that Halley’s Comet has shed on its 75-year-long laps around the sun slams into Earth’s atmosphere during the first week of May every year, creating an annual meteor shower known as the Eta Aquarids. (Another Halley-spawned shower, the Orionids, occurs every October.)

(5) SWIRSKY INTERVIEWS KOWAL. At Rachel Swirsky’s blog: “Silly Interview with Mary Robinette Kowal, intermittently teal storyteller”.

RS: A lot of novelists let short stories lapse when they embark on their novelling careers. You keep publishing strong short fiction, like last year’s “Midnight Hour” in Uncanny Magazine. How do you make time for short stories, and what do you get from them that you don’t get from longer fiction?

MRK: Honestly, these days I start a lot of the short stories while I’m teaching my Short Story Intensive. Part of the process is that I write along with the students in order to demonstrate how to start from a story seed and then develop it into a story. I often have a market in mind when I’m doing these, so the demonstration does double duty. The thing that I love about short fiction as a writer is that I get to experiment with a lot of different styles and ideas without the huge time investment of a novel. Plus, as a reader, I find that a short story can often deliver more of a sucker punch to the emotions and I kinda like that.

(6) SMACK ATTACK. J. R. R. Tolkien is pitted against George R. R. Martin in the latest installment of Epic Rap Battles of History. Tolkien’s shots include: ”You’re a pirate, you even stole my RR!”

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • May 5, 1961 — Astronaut Alan Shepard became the United States’ first man in space in a brief sub-orbital flight from Cape Canaveral.
  • May 5, 2002 Spider-Man is the first movie to top $100 million on opening weekend. (Remember when $100 million was a lot of money?)

(8) RARE ENDORSEMENT. John Picacio gave a strong boost to nominee Larry Elmore in an April 27 post “The 2016 Best Professional Artist Hugo Award”.

Larry Elmore is a legendary and deeply influential fantasy illustration icon, who has had a huge impact on generations of Dungeons & Dragons fans — game players, writers, artists, editors, publishers, designers, filmmakers, convention organizers — and beyond. More to the point, he has a major body of published eligible work in 2015 and that work doesn’t take extensive sleuthing to discern whether it’s eligible. His book The Complete Elmore Volume II contains over 700 drawings from a career dating back to 1981, and was produced and first published in the fall of 2015.

Was Larry Elmore amongst my nomination selections? No. He wasn’t.

Do I believe that ‘No Award’ is an option this year? It’s the Hugos. It’s always an option.

No disrespect to the other finalists, but Larry Elmore winning a Hugo would not be a lifetime achievement award but it would recognize a lifetime of professional art achievement by someone who is legitimately eligible this year.

The history of that winners list would be shinier with his name on it.

Larry Elmore responded in the comments –

thank you for all your nice words, I am honored to be nominated. I never, in my wildest dreams, ever thought of being nominated. I came from the gaming industry (my first big breaks) and it seems like that type of art has been ignored for many years, but I agree that game art has had a large influence on a couple of generations…and still does. Because I take the award seriously, I feel more than honored to be nominated. I have had a career that has spanned over 40 years, I have loved it. I am 67 and I paint or draw every day…I am obsessed I guess…..but I love it, I keep trying to get one good painting!!!!

(9) DIVE! DIVE! If you’re having this problem, Fred Kiesche offers a technological solution.

(10) DAMAGED. Kukuruyo, the artist behind Hugo nominee #GamerGater Life, is under attack. Like some of last year’s slated nominees he’s unwillingly become a ball in the game —

Since i publicy became a gamergate supporter, the ammount of reports i’ve gotten on art sites have increased, many times in very underserved cases (i got a drawing pulled because the characters had sweat. Yes, sweat…) as well as the amount of people lying about me on blogs and such. And i don’t mean making critiques of me, i mean outright lies (one guy even wrote about how i voted for some candidate in the past US elections, which is interesting considering i’m a spaniard living in Spain). Not only that, but my website began to have attemps to break in. At some point i was receiving more than 50 attempts to break in each day, until i upgraded my security.

But this broke into a new level when i was announced as a finalist for best Fan artist at the Hugo awards. Then people in the social justice circles discovered that i support gamergate, and since then, interesting things have been happening one after the other (aside from the wave of verbal attacks, of course).

First one of my gamergate related works got reported and banned from deviantart. Then someone picked a cheap fanart that i was commissioned to do, about a half nude Ms.marvel, and tried to frame me as a pedophile, because aparently the character has 16 in the original canon (something i even didn’t know), ignoring the fact that the character body was adult. This story was writen about in (as far as i know) a blog and then in a comic news article, expanding the idea that i’m a pedophile for an anime style fanart thats no different than the millions upon millions of anime character fanarts out there, and that i was somehow a terrible threat for teenagers out there who have their heroes destroyed by evil me. I was reported in devianart for “pedophilia” and the drawing was taken down. I got reported on twitter. The attemps to break into my website have come arround again. Then they contacted my advertising affiliates, telling them i was hosting child pornography, so they would cease to advertise with me. They acepted a middle ground solution at first, but then they changed their policies, and now i can no longer receive their service. Yes, and advertising website changed their policies just because of me… and just yesteday some guys where trying to get MARVEL to SUE ME because of a fanart!

But hey, i’m sure all of this is just a coincidence! this has nothing to do with the Hugo awards or gamergate. I’m sure it’s just that a whole lot of people randomly decided the same week to try to fuck me up in every way they could, right? this can’t possibly be related with people from a particular ideology, pissed off because someone with the wrong opinions got a Hugo nomination.

(11) TINGLE IS HARD TO TROLL. The Daily Dot compiled the nominee’s tweets to show how “Chuck Tingle counter-trolls the Gamergaters who nominated his erotica for a Hugo Award”.

As hilarious and thorough as these VOXMAN owns are, mere Twitter owns aren’t enough to defeat a campaign whose main goal seems to be attention for Day. He’s expressed, in so many words, that hate can only make him stronger.

That’s where the third prong of Tingle’s trolling makes a difference. As the Daily Dot’s April Siese discussed in her recent profile of Tingle, the hard and sexy author’s true identity remains a mystery. He cannot very well reveal himself by showing up to an award ceremony. So, in his place, he has invited perhaps the one person internet alt-rightists and Gamergate-adjacent agitators hate most.

Zoe Quinn, game developer and anti-harassment activist, was the original target of Gamergate after an ex-boyfriend revealed alleged details of her sex life online. She’s the boogeyman (boogeywoman?) Gamergate frothingly rose up to “defeat,” their imaginary platonic ideal of a “Social Justice Warrior.”

(12) WHAT YOU KNOW V. WHAT YOU CAN PROVE. Andrew Liptak finds a great deal of hearsay to repeat in “Gaming the System: The 1987 Hugo Awards” at Kirkus Reviews. On the other hand, it’s hearsay that a lot of people haven’t read before.

During the lead-up to this convention, Hubbard’s interests seemed to have helped beyond mere sponsorship of convention booklets and workshops. Fans have alleged that Hubbard’s followers worked as a block and voted in such numbers that Black Genesis, the second of the Mission Earth series, found itself a Hugo finalist for Best Novel.  Ian Watson, writing in Conspiracy Theories, noted that the presence of the book as a finalist, was suspect.

“Did all those who nominated [Black Genesis] in the first place merely have supporting memberships — suggesting that the only reason for buying the membership was to nominate BG? Furthermore, how many of the people who nominated BG only nominated BG and nothing else? If we could discover this information from Paul Kincaid [Award Administrator] then we might have an indicator of whether BG was in fact “bought” on to the ballot.”

(13) CURING AWARD FATIGUE. Joe Sherry at Nerds of a Feather, in “Other Genre Awards: Or, So You’re Tired of the Hugo Awards”, suggests awards alternatives to revitalize your jaded taste buds.

So, you’re tired of reading about the Hugo Awards, are you? All the fighting and arguing and gnashing of teeth got you down? Do you still like Awards and the recognition of good things? We have some awards for you! If you’re newer to this whole genre awards scene, the first place I would recommend you start (besides this article) is the Science Fiction Awards Database. There’s quite a bit to peruse and a full directory of all the genre awards.While it is certainly possible that they are missing something, it does seem pretty darn exhaustive. Since there are a horde of genre awards out there, the real question, then, is “What are you looking for from a literary award?”

(14) RULES IDEA. Kevin Standlee’s next proposal – “Plus 2”.

Here’s yet another proposal to try and counteract bad actors (I call them “Griefers”) trying to disrupt the Hugo Awards by deliberately nominating works that they expect will be disliked by the majority of the membership as a whole, taking advantage of the “first-five-past-the-post” nature of the nominating round. The other proposals I’ve written up depend on the entire membership participating in a second round of voting, either with 3-Stage Voting (members vote down potential finalists) or Double Nominations (members select finalists from a list of top 15 semi-finalists).

This proposal invokes the subjective judgment call of the Worldcon Committee (in practice, of the Hugo Awards Administration Subcommittee), hereafter just “the Committee” or “the Administrators,” to add works to the final ballot. This proposal would authorize the Committee to add up to two additional works to the final ballot. The Committee’s selection would be limited to adding not more than two works from among those works that were among the top 15 nominees or that appeared on at least 5% of the nominating ballots cast in that category.

(15) THE VIEW FROM SP4. Kate Paulk catches up on her Hugo commentary in “Not An Action Report”.

Let’s just say I do not have much patience or goodwill for those who seem to think that I wasn’t sincere in congratulating the Hugo finalists last week. Sweetheart, just because you can’t lie straight in bed doesn’t mean that other people aren’t capable of honesty.

As for the charming specimen who wants to chase up the ballots of all puppy-aligned voters and throw them out (presumably without refunding memberships – even though every one of those ballots was cast by someone who paid for the privilege, no mention of this little issue was made that I saw (although I freely admit that I could have missed it even if it was in huge flashing neon letters)), mine bears very little resemblance to anyone’s lists, including the Sad Puppies 4 list.

Why? Because SP4 collated a whole lot of people’s preferences. My preferences don’t look like anyone else’s. There might be some overlap here and there, but I’m weird even by geek standards.

The second paragraph doubtless is a response to ideas discussed in Facebook’s Journeymen of Fandom group thread, as quoted by Vox Day this week.

(16) DESIGNATED DRIVER. How did this sober advice get on the internet?

(17) INSEUSSANCE. RedWombat made a metrical prediction in a comment.

“Pooh-pooh to the fans!” he was grinchily humming.
“They’re finding out now that No Award is coming!

They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!
Their blogs will be blogged and their cries will be cried
My Xanatos Gambit will not be denied!

That’s a noise,” grinned the Grinch, “that I simply must hear!”
He paused, and the Grinch put a hand to his ear.

And he did hear a sound rising out of a tweet
It started in sour but then it went sweet!

And this tweet wasn’t sad!
Why this tweet sounded glad!

Every fan down in Fanville, (well, not quite all)
(Getting fans to agree is an order quite tall)
Was laughing at Tingle’s great big brass…fortitude.

He hadn’t stopped fans from enjoying the Hugo, just the same!
He tried to stop fandom, but fandom still came!
(Though not quite like in books with Chuck Tingle’s name.)

And what happened next? Well, on Twitter they say
The Grinch’s gall bladder grew three sizes that day.

And so the Grinch stands, while elk snivel and whine
Claiming “Don’t you all get it?! Victory’s mine!

Stop thinking it’s funny! Stop having fun!
Why won’t you acknowledge that I’ve really won?!”

But in Fanville it’s Christmas, and fans know it is true–
That this time the Grinch lost to…Literally Who.

 [Thanks to Doctor Science, JJ, Mark-kitteh, Hampus Eckerman, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

194 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/5/16 The Barnacles of Narnia

  1. dann665 on May 6, 2016 at 11:47 am said:
    A couple days ago, it was suggested that conservatives are the only bullies worth worrying about. I disagreed and was promptly hit with predictable requests for citations.

    Later on Camestros did acknowledge that obnoxious behavior can be found anywhere, but suggested that such behavior isn’t simply coincident with alt-right ideology but is instead informed by that ideology. I didn’t respond any further, but I’ll add now that obnoxious behavior is equally informed by extreme leftism…at the very least

    You appear to have very much misunderstood what I said.
    Firstly I did not say ‘conservatives’. I talked about a much narrow group of people, specifically ‘the modern alt-right’. Nor did I imply or suggest they were the only source of bullying behavior – indeed I implied the opposite. “They do this because, having abandoned almost everything that was ever interesting about conservative politics (from free-trade to individual rights) they have nothing left but to raise the tactics of the common schoolyard bully to the level of an ideology.”

    So to reiterate. There are bullies. There are conservatives. The two groups are different. One section of people related to conservatism (many of whom eschew the label ‘conservative’) have decided to elevate the tactics of bullies (which hirtherto have been bipartisan) and use those as a replacement for core principles of conservatism that they have abandoned. In doing so other kinds of bullies have not vanished.

    I hope that makes more sense to you now.

  2. Oh Heather, wow…that was fantastic. I’m so glad it moved you. Thank you!

    (Can I swipe a pull quote from that for the next Kingfisher book?)

  3. Every website I’ve ever put up has been subjected to hacking attacks, from paintball to science fiction.

    Script-kiddies – all the time and wherever they think they might get results.

    Others – run of the mill bot planters to targeted attacks from people who did not like me/the things on those websites.

    Not ALL of Amazing Stories down-time has been due to server/host issues. Some of it was clearly identified as directed attacks.

    Pretty sure I know what inspired it, and more than likely they don’t share my politics.

    Rather than point out to the entire world that my website might have vulnerabilities, we just quietly went about restoring service, adding security features and keeping mum publicly.

  4. I suspect that if somehow the people behind Kukuruyo’s troubles were tracked down then they might well turn out to be more leftist, or at least “leftish” than the average internet group of arseholes. They might even be leftish gamergators, who I am assured exist. I’m very confident that they would still be a bunch of arseholes who shouldn’t be doing it.

    I have a sliver of sympathy for Kukuruyo; Vox Day has invited him to the party but does not seem to have seen fit to inform him that he will have to pay his own way and that not every guest will be pleased to see him.

    (I’m slighty reminded of MZW who last year posted a, how shall I put it politely, tweet in somewhat poor taste following a tragedy. He seemed surprised at the response, pointing to previous tweets in bad taste from before his profile was raised by a Hugo nomination.)

  5. “Chuck Tingle” may be the best work of fantasy on the Internet this year. If there was a Hugo for Best Comedy, he’d be on my shortlist.

  6. Yay for the new nominees, especially “Cat Pictures, Please” which I totally nominated.

    Speaking of Naomi Kritzer, I am utterly taken by her idea of having ribbons saying “secretly Chuck Tingle” and would like to make that happen. Are there people who also want that ribbon at Worldcon? Does anyone have a ribbon maker that they particularly favor? I’m thinking probably rainbow colored?

  7. As far as web traffic goes, all sites are under constant attack – attempts to brute force FTP/SSH logins, attempts to brute force WordPress logins, attempts to exploit bugs in various PHP-based software, etc., etc..

    This. Every computer on the internet gets hacking attempts. They’re automated. There are vast server farms, a lot of them in Eastern Europe and a lot more made up of already-compromised computers, that spend all day performing automated attacks on everything they can find. The more popular the site, the more they get, because they’re higher-value if a malware distributor cracks them. Any moderately popular site is getting hit by thousands of hacking attempts a day. (Most of them bounce right off, because they’re indiscriminate. Sites that don’t run WordPress get hit with WordPress exploits, and so on.) Of course people are trying to hack his site. They always have been. It’s alarming if you’re noticing it for the first time, but there’s zero possibility it started after the Hugo announcements. Absolutely zero. His logs will be full of attempts going back to day one.

    Though DDoS attacks – those are more rare. Usually they involve younger folk who are involved in some pissing contest, or governments doing the same (that’s a lot more rare).

    Bear in mind, too, that DDoS also just looks like running out of webserver connections. (That’s what a DDoS attack exploits, but it can happen naturally, too.) A site that’s not set up for large-scale traffic, which is more rare than you’d think, will go under very easily when linked somewhere high-traffic. A tweet from the right person on Twitter can make any site except the most robustly-prepared go down in minutes. That’s not DDoS, that’s just Stephen Fry or John Scalzi or Boing Boing or someone passing along an interesting link. His site going down when it was linked as a Hugo nominee, or in the wake of the Miss Marvel stories, is fairly unsurprising. That’s what you’d expect when a large audience discovers an average ISP-hosted site and all tries to go there after an announcement or news story from a large site.

    Nigel:
    the attacks are wrong, and occam’s razor would suggest that the likelihood at least of the perpetrator being of an opposing worldview to Vox and Co is high

    Occam’s razor suggests there is no perpetrator, just a normal site handling normal traffic that was unprepared to handle the uptick in media attention. Are there griefers of some sort DDoSing him, well, anything’s possible. But it’s not the most likely reason for his site to go down during a week of multiple big-in-fandom news stories.

  8. @Amoxtli

    Bear in mind, too, that DDoS also just looks like running out of webserver connections. (That’s what a DDoS attack exploits, but it can happen naturally, too.) A site that’s not set up for large-scale traffic, which is more rare than you’d think, will go under very easily when linked somewhere high-traffic. A tweet from the right person on Twitter can make any site except the most robustly-prepared go down in minutes. That’s not DDoS, that’s just Stephen Fry or John Scalzi or Boing Boing or someone passing along an interesting link. His site going down when it was linked as a Hugo nominee, or in the wake of the Miss Marvel stories, is fairly unsurprising. That’s what you’d expect when a large audience discovers an average ISP-hosted site and all tries to go there after an announcement or news story from a large site.

    Well, depending on the DDoS. When the distributed brute force attacks on WordPress sites started happening a few years back, those were often also effectively DDoS attacks. I was thinking more of DDoS via eg sending tons and tons of packets and either taking up all available bandwidth to a service provider, or knocking out their border routers through processing overload.

    But now that you mention it, yeah, I’m betting the DDoS we’re talking about here is what you’re talking about, more along the line of lots of people checking out the site. Like OGH’s recent crash after the Hugo finalist announcment. Though, who knows.

  9. By the way, I’ve seen the suggestion that “Chuck TIngle” should be awarded a Hugo for Best Related Work somewhere else now. I don’t know if I was the first person to suggest it or not, but I think I was the first person to suggest it here. No, no–no need to thank me. All in a day’s avoidance of work.

  10. @ James Davis Nicoll

    Sorry! They don’t tell us mere authors about this sort of thing in advance. I didn’t know about it until I saw it on someone else’s fb feed this morning.

  11. @ RedWombat

    Oh Heather, wow…that was fantastic. I’m so glad it moved you. Thank you!

    (Can I swipe a pull quote from that for the next Kingfisher book?)

    I would be honored if my first ever review-quote appeared on one of your works.

  12. I was watching a re-run of The West Wing today and this snippet cracked me up for kerfluffle reasons, don’t know if anyone’s posted it before:

  13. @Darren Garrison: OMG, thanks so much for the Luke vs. Mikos clip. I spent four years addicted to General Hospital in college in the 1980s. (It helped me meet girls, although I never got anywhere with them.) And the Ice Princess storyline was the best. Geez, tthis brings back memories.

    (I’m just trying to remember why Luke was in a very James Bond-ian tuxedo, since they were stuck on a Caribbean Island somewhere. Oh, well.)

  14. Would it be overly unkind to accessorize one of the parks with a pooper scooper and a “We Also Walk Dogs”* sign? Just a thought.

    * A reference to the Heinlein tale, of course.

  15. (I’m just trying to remember why Luke was in a very James Bond-ian tuxedo, since they were stuck on a Caribbean Island somewhere. Oh, well.)

    Mikkos Cassadine made his captives attend a dinner party and provided the formal attire.

    Super-villains used to be classy that way.

  16. Today’s read — Fire Touched, by Patricia Briggs

    Part of an ongoing urban fantasy series about a were-coyote (sort of, long story.)

    There was a time when I said that I would read anything Patricia Briggs wrote on a napkin and tossed out her window. However, now I’m starting to think the Mercy Thompson series is losing momentum, which makes me a little sad. The sixth book is the last one I recall thinking was truly great stuff. This ninth (I think) book in the series was pretty unmemorable, with a meandering plot and nothing gone into in any great depth. Oh, well.

  17. Today I finished Bloodlines by Claudia Gray which makes me want to read more Claudia Gray.

    I also read The Commuter, the rescinded Hugo story, and I gotta admit I liked it. I’m not sure Hugo worthy, but definitely a nice little yarn.

  18. > “Today I finished Bloodlines by Claudia Gray which makes me want to read more Claudia Gray.”

    I will recommend her YA “Evernight” tetralogy without reservation.

    The trilogy that starts with “Spellcaster” is also pretty good.

  19. @Kyra: Re Mercy Thompson series.

    I am loving the whole arc, movement, latest ratcheting up, and what is changing both for Mercy, for her friends, and for the pack–especially the latest one!

  20. @Kyra Re: Mercy Thompson series.
    Different strokes for different folks. I enjoyed the book very much. @robinareid touches on some of the reasons.

  21. I gave up on Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series somewhere after book four. I really loved the initial few, though.

    Right now I’m reading the kind of book where it’s worth reading the first page of a chapter but not the entire chapter. I think that’s even worse than detesting a book, which at least doesn’t require that I at least sorta learn how the ending was arrived at.

    3) IT’S IMPOSSIBLE – And once again I read something by Abigail Nussbaum and find so few points of agreement that it’s barely hyperbolic to say “none.”

  22. This may be disappointing for those who enjoy a good conspiracy but regarding site hacks, any WordPress site is far more likely to be targeted for its outdated plugins than for whatever political ideology. It’s entirely possibly (though I have no idea HOW exactly, not being a hacker or programmer) to use those plugins to give a saavy user all sorts of site permissions and access they shouldn’t have, resulting in websites dissappearing or being replaced (usually by spam links, resulting in a total cockup of their SEO ranking due to inevitable Google blacklisting, much to the ire of those trying to work on said rankings bah!) so it just goes to show for anyone: keep current site backups and make sure to keep all your site software updated. Also, PLEASE avoid giving your WordPress admin account the name “admin” and the password “password” (did we learn nothing from Hackers!? ha ha) You think I joke but it seriously still happens sigh

    I had a scary moment a few years ago when a hacker managed to install a fake bank phishing website on my domain, resulting in a very polite but still terrifying email from a Real Security Firm for Big Name Companies asking me to take it down. And my website has nothing controversial I can think of, it’s just a boring ol’ no-nudes art site. Even the best hosting companies occasionally have their own moments of server vulnerability, and if you happen to be on a shared server, if one site gets infected, only a matter of time before the rest of sites on there get infected. Not pretty to sort out, let me tell you. But again, the hacker probably never even knew your site existed, just sent out a script looking for weaknesses.

  23. Recent reading in these parts:

    Mr Dr is finishing “The Cold Between” by Elizabeth Bonesteel, but only because he’s stubborn that way. “I never imagined that a book with a smokin’-hot sex scene in the first chapter could be so boring,” he reports. Earlier, he finished “The Medusa Net” by Tim Powers, which he thinks is OK for him but more to my taste. So into Mount TBR it goes. After he’s done with the Bonesteel, he’s been feeling like a binge re-read of aaalllll the Dresden Files books, so he’ll do that until he gets bloated (like when you eat a whole box of donuts by yourself).

    Meanwhile, I pretty much gave up on McKillip’s “Kingfisher”, because I’ve never met an incarnation of Gawain I didn’t want to kick in the pants. I’m currently part-way through “Cuckoo Song” by Frances Hardinge, and the story keeps taking new turns.

    And our In-House Offspring read “Borderline” & loved it.

  24. Clicking a number of “people also liked” links (I don’t even know where I started) led me to S.K. Dunstall’s “Origin Series”, including “The Atlantis Gene”. Have any of you read it? Is it Stargate Atlantis fanfic with the serial numbers filed off, or is that just the way it sounds from the blurb?

  25. What a sad dystopian nightmare we live in when a man cannot break the rules of the website he’s posting art to by drawing underage pornography only to have the sites finally enforce the rules when attention was brought to him because his nomination was used as a weapon by someone playing 97th dimensional Roshambo with the Hugo awards. Truly we live in an era that even Orwell couldn’t have predicted.

  26. Or more bluntly, sure I have no proof that is was leftists. Nor have you any proof that it wasn’t. Proving a negative is frequently the more difficult task.

    Oh, well, dann, if we’re just going for full-on silly season, I say that the aliens are crashing the site because the artist’s name in their language is the exact coordinates of the set of Nazca lines that used to hold alien air traffic control and the computers got muddled and keep hitting him with landing requests while they circle the solar system looking for a place to park.

    And you have no proof it wasn’t, and proving a negative is so difficult, as you say, so burden of disproving baseless pet theory right back atcha, bro.

  27. @Kyra

    just a word of appreciation for your book posts. They are the reason I read “Cuckoo Song”, and although I thought there were a couple of weaker joins in the plot, overall I thought it was very very good – indeed, Hugo worthy so I nominated it… to no effect of course.

    @Amoxtli
    Indeed, “slashdotted” was once a word for such accidental DDOS-ing, which happened almost daily at the time. Now, slashdot is not as relatively huge as it was then (and no other site has quite reached that level of relative effect), and websites are generally more resilient now too, but it certainly still does happen and not infrequently.

    The sites I know about (boring small commercial ones) get DDOSsed regularly for no reason (certainly no slashdotting!), but regularly is down to every couple of years now.

  28. RedWombat on May 6, 2016 at 9:23 pm said:

    Or more bluntly, sure I have no proof that is was leftists. Nor have you any proof that it wasn’t. Proving a negative is frequently the more difficult task.

    Oh, well, dann, if we’re just going for full-on silly season, I say that the aliens are crashing the site because the artist’s name in their language is the exact coordinates of the set of Nazca lines that used to hold alien air traffic control and the computers got muddled and keep hitting him with landing requests while they circle the solar system looking for a place to park.

    And you have no proof it wasn’t, and proving a negative is so difficult, as you say, so burden of disproving baseless pet theory right back atcha, bro.

    Or, in other words:

  29. I have ignited review-based controversy! Or, well, difference of opinion, anyway. 🙂

    There were definitely things I liked about Fire Touched — the return of Zee, especially. And I liked the *idea* of the book a great deal. Some stuff got resolved that really needed resolvin’, and the place where things ended up I can see as being a great springboard for future events.

    But the actual story fell a bit flat for me. Things kind of happened, and with the notable exception of the first incident on the bridge I never felt the kind of tension over the stakes that normally characterizes the Mercy Thompson stories. Much of it felt to me more like an excuse to wrap some things up and bring the rest from point A to point B than a story in its own right.

    But hey, taste and opinion varies. And I’m still likely to get the next book in the hopes of (what I would consider) a return to form.

  30. 10) Hmm, look who’s salty now.

    @Darren Garrison
    Yeah, GH Ice Princess nostalgia! Forgot how SFFnal that soap sometimes got.

    @Heather Rose Jones
    Just bought The Raven and the Reindeer (plus, 2 other T. Kingfisher ebooks), and I’m blaming you. 😉 Ok, I was planning to anyway so it was really just a reminder.

  31. @Kyra
    Review controversy LOL. I’ll agree it’s not the best book Patricia Briggs has ever written. I enjoyed your review even if I disagreed. 😉

    @Laura Just bought The Raven and the Reindeer (plus, 2 other T. Kingfisher ebooks), and I’m blaming you. ? Ok, I was planning to anyway so it was really just a reminder.

    I haven’t read The Raven and The Reindeer yet. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by the T. Kingfisher character. Hope you enjoy them as much as many of us have.

  32. The gentleman about whom I did that “subtweet” apparently has deleted his account on The Tweeters or has blocked me.

    This after three people commented about that tweet yesterday in very odd ways.

    Oh, drama. Especially among the intellectual elite of the genre.

  33. @Fred
    If it is who I think it is, you’re blocked. Don’t see the tweet where he complained about being quoted anymore though.

  34. @Joe H.: You wrote that Jack of Shadows is $11.15 for the Kindle. Oddly, it’s $10.69 at Kobo and $9.99 via iTunes. Yay for weird pricing?! 😉 (An old paperback may be a lot cheaper, but shipping . . . sigh.)

    /review-stalk

  35. What the…no confirmation e-mail?

    /REVIEW-STALK, I say!

    ETA: Er, okay, maybe it was on it’s way already. (blush)

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