Pixel Scroll 9/13/16 I Know Why The Crottled Greep Pings

Art by Camestros Felapton.

Art by Camestros Felapton.

(1) TALKING ABOUT “DESTROY” OR “DIG” COLLECTIONS? Neil Clarke, editor of Clarkesworld, raises the question of whether special collections for underrepresented communities is a good idea.

(2) THE ELDER CLODS. The Huffington Post continues to cover the full horror of this year’s presidential election: “Stephen King Compares Donald Trump To Cthulhu; Cthulhu Issues Angry Denial”.

(3) NEXT FROM LIU CIXIN. Death’s End, the last book in Liu Cixin’s trilogy which started with The Three-Body Problem, will be released September 20. A preview can be read here on the Tor/Forge Blog.

And the author’s next translated novel is announced in a tweet from Ken Liu.

(4) AUTHOR LIFE. What is Joe Hill doing today?

So we’re doing #authorlife today. Okay. I’ll play. I’ll try to write 1500 words on a new novella (the last in a book of four), working longhand in an oversize National Brand account book. If it goes badly, I’ll accept 1000 words and hope for better tomorrow. When I’m done (1 PM? 2?) I’ll have a salad and read forty pages of A MAN LIES DREAMING, the current book (starring Adolf Hitler, PI, no, really). The afternoon is for office chores and email. If I can I’ll write a snail mail letter to a friend. Because I like doing that. At some point I’ll also listen to a chapter of the current audio book (PRINCE CASPIAN). Over the course of the day I’ll have four cups of tea. Three black, no cream, no sugar. The last is green and has honey and lemon. It all sounds very exciting, doesn’t it? Living life on the edge, that’s me. I’d like to be more physical but haven’t been on any kind of regular exercise schedule since before THE FIREMAN book tour. Hummmm. I also started playing piano this year for the first time since I was 13, and come evening I like to practice for a half hour. But I won’t today cos one of my fingers is f’d up. Maybe I’ll have an episode of THE AMERICANS. Then it’ll be 10PM and I’ll go to bed, like an old person. Shit. I think I’m an old person.

(5) I’VE HEARD THIS SONG BEFORE. Cora Buhlert’s “The Three Fractions of Speculative Fiction” jumps off from a Nathaniel Givens article recently linked in the Scroll, analyzing the sources of complaints about Hugo Award winners, then goes back to 2013 when Sad Puppies had barely begun for an eye-opening comparison of Hugo complaints then being made by fan critics and iconoclasts totally unrelated to the Puppies. Extra points to Buhlert for remembering what those other voices were saying.

Nonetheless, I did remember that there was a controversy involving the 2013 Hugos at the time, a controversy I chronicled in several posts here, here and here.

Interestingly, most “The Hugos are broken” complaints that year came not from the puppy side (though Larry Correia waded into the fray, being his usual charming self) but from overwhelmingly British critics, who complained about the alleged lack of sophistication of the nominees. For examples, check out these posts by Justin Landon, Aidan Moher, Adam Callaway and Jonathan McCalmont.

The critics who wrote those posts are not puppies. Quite the contrary, they are probably the polar opposite. Where the puppies complain that the Hugos aren’t populist enough and reward obscure literary works, these critics complain that the Hugos are too populist and not sophisticated enough. However, if you read through those posts (and particularly Justin Landon’s remains a marvel of condescension) you’ll notice that their criticisms of the Hugos eerily mirror those made by the sad and rabid puppies a few years later: The Hugos are broken, they are dominated by a small and incestous clique of aging babyboomers who have been attending WorldCon for decades and/or an equally incestous clique of livejournal posters voting for their friends, those cliques are hostile to outsiders and disregard everybody who doesn’t attend cons as “not a real fan”, only works that appeal to that clique of insiders are nominated and the books/authors the critics like are never nominated. So the Hugos should be burned to the ground or reformed to represent all of fandom or maybe a new award should be established to better represent what’s best in SFF. And as if the puppy parallels weren’t striking enough, many of those posts also contain some bonus condescension towards women writers and writers of colour. Oh yes, and they all agree that Redshirts is an unworthy nominee. Ditto for Lois McMaster Bujold and Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire. Opinions are divided on Saladin Ahmed.

So what is going on here? Why do two seemingly diametrically opposed groups make so very similar points? …

(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • September 13, 1977 – Jay Anson’s The Amityville Horror is published.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born September 13, 1916 — Roald Dahl
  • Born September 13, 1939 — Richard Kiel

(8) NOT ALL CATS ARE SJW CREDENTIALS. L. Jagi Lamplighter, in “The Bifrost Between Calico and Gingham”, explains the difference between Sad Puppies and those who are satisfied with the Hugos, using “Cat Pictures Please” as an illustration [BEWARE SPOILERS].

I have been asked what the Puppies—Sad and Rabid alike—are objecting to? If they are not racist or homophobes—ie, if it is not the author’s identity that they object to—why do they think that so many of the stories that have been winning the Hugo and the Nebula are receiving their awards for the wrong reasons?

I think I can explain. I will use, for my example, the short story that won the Hugo in 2016: “Cat Pictures Please.” ….

So, to Left-Leaning readers, “Cat Pictures Please” is a witty story with a common, but perhaps new-to-them, SF premise, which also reinforces their idea of truth about the world and comes to a delightfully-satisfying conclusion.

The mixture of the simple SF premise, the wit, and the satisfying political leaning make it a very delightful story indeed.

To anyone who is Right-Leaning, “Cat Pictures Please” is a witty story with a common, and perhaps not-so-new-to-them, SF premise, which is full of concepts and moral choices that grate on them the wrong way, and the end is, while a bit amusing, rather unpleasant.

The first group says, “This is a great story!

The second group says, “Look, I’ll be fair and overlook all the pokes in the eye, but as I am regarding the story through my blurry, now-painful eyes, I want to see some really fantastic science fiction. Something that wows me so much that I am going to think it is worth putting next to “Nightfall” or “Harrison Bergeron.” And I just don’t see it.

 “Your stuff is not new. If you take today’s problems and put them in space, that’s not science fiction. You need the new, the controversial, to be SF. 

“Where is the stuff that’s going to shake my world and make me think, the way the Hugo winners of years gone by, such as “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”, did?

(9) HOW HUGO VOTING CHANGES MAY WORK. Cheryl Morgan wrote an analytical post after watching the MACII Business Meeting videos – “WSFS Has Spoken – What Does It Mean?” —  which I just got a chance to read today. I found Cheryl’s speculation about the impact of the changes to the Hugo voting rules very interesting, indeed. Here’s just one brief excerpt:

So I have no objection to the detection of “natural slates”. Politically, however, I suspect it will be a minefield. If, next year, when EPH is used on the actual voting, people who are not on the Puppy slates get eliminated by it, I think that there will be an outcry. Fandom at large is expecting EPH to get rid of all of the Puppies, and no one else. It will not do either. People are not going to be happy.

Another potential issue here is the effect that EPH will have on Helsinki in particular. Finnish fans will presumably want to vote for Finnish works. Because there are a lot fewer Finnish writers than non-Finnish ones, there will be much less diversity in their nominations. I suspect that EPH will see the Finnish votes as a slate and kick some of the nominees off. That too will make some people unhappy, including me.

(10) JEOPARDY! Another science fiction question on Jeopardy! This one was worth $800 in Numerical Literature. Steven H Silver sent a long a screencap, and confirmed “They got it right.”

jeopardy-que

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Steven Silver, Rose Embolism, Mark-kitteh, and Steve Davidson for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

 

207 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/13/16 I Know Why The Crottled Greep Pings

  1. I had so much to say about Mike’s scroll, and now I’ve read through the comments I don’t really have much original to contribute. Not the first time that’s happened!

    However, people, or at least someone, expressed interest in the fact that I would be reviewing Forsaken Skies.

  2. @Hampus and @Dawn: I was mostly comparing Glory Road to its competitors. From my recollection, it is fairly typical 60s-era Heinlein. On the other hand, I read it something like 25 years ago, so my recollections may not be entirely clear.

  3. I’ve seen a couple of comments mentioning that they found a work’s concepts so annoying they wanted to hurl (the book across the room) and a handful that seem to reference that it was the (lack of) quality, not the tropes.

    Until just a few years ago, I never put a book down until it was finished – some bizarre sense of fairness I guess. These days (when I spend almost two hours every day just reading to ‘try’ and keep up with the genre news), I have had to drop that affectation.

    The way I see it, the author is trying to stick things into your head (that’s the exercise: you open your head, they try to stick things in there). But in the long run, it’s my head and I only have to give space to what I want.

    Since I’m in complete control of the exercise, I just don’t have to have violent, visceral, anger-making reactions. I don’t get a “squick” from reading someone’s fiction, because whatever is depicted, it is not real.

    (Though I will say that I did get disgusted by many of the scenes in 120 Days of Sodom; I think that’s quite possible the strongest reaction I’ve ever had to any single book.)

    I guess what I am saying is that I can read a well-written work completely filled with values and ideas I am in total disagreement with, without getting pissed off or feeling that I need to go out and destroy the institutions created by people who believe the same things. It’s just a book. If the arguments are well presented, it will make me re-examine my position – not troll the author’s website.

    It’s only when it intrudes into areas that are beyond the work of fiction – like awards – that I am moved to interact.

    I just don’t get it.

  4. @Glory Road commenters:

    I read that for the first few times when I was very young and when the rampant sexism displayed was not rampant sexism, it was progressive sexism.

    It is only in later years that I realized that there was probably a lot of Oscar & Star role-playing going on at the Heinlein compound. I try not to think of who Rufo might be.

  5. (1) Special focus issues (or Special issues focus?)

    I doubt anyone thinks that focused publications like the Destroy series are the only answer to increasing the diversity of the field, but it’s still useful to say such things out loud. In my personal experience (as a reader) focus publications seem to be best at building bridges between readers and authors that might otherwise have been too peripheral to their core interests to come to attention. For example, I read the anthology The Sea is Ours (SE Asian steampunk) because that concept and at least one of the author names caught my interest. Having read it, I’ve now added a few more authors to my “pay attention when you see this name” list. That was a case where most of the content was from people who aren’t “names” yet.

    The “Destroy” issues are somewhat different, because they don’t really serve the same function of exposing significant numbers of less-widely-known authors to a broader readership. (Take a look at the very small proportion of Destroy material that came in through open submissions as opposed to direct invitation or selected reprints.) In my perception, the Destroy publications are more about making a communal statement to recognize the inclusion and importance of specific communities within the larger SFF community.

    A function somewhat between those two is served by ongoing series like the Heiresses of Russ annual reprint collection. As a reprint venue, it can’t serve the purpose of encouraging new writers and new material, but it can be a bridge to a reader who wants to identify established writers in that sub-field that they may want to follow more closely.

  6. Re: Glory Road:

    Ahh, I encountered it somewhere in the last decade during my slooooow reading of past Hugo novel finalists, so my reaction was a lot more along the lines of (rot-13 for a bit of sexual and/or assault discussion that I didn’t feel comfy putting in plain text) “bu, ab ab ab ab OQFZ qbrf abg jbex gung jnl!” Whfg gheavat n jbzna bire lbhe xarr naq fcnaxvat ure vf nffnhyg. V xabj V’z njshyyl uhat hc ba gur fcnaxvat guvat, ohg vg jnf rneyl va gur obbx naq qrsvavgryl chg zr ba rqtr sbe gur erznvaqre.

  7. @ John A: Oh, I know. I was just grabbing for the first one that came to mind.

    @ Steve D: I can’t for the life of me remember a single read in which I said to myself “oh, that statement is just so politically misaligned with my personal beliefs that I must throw the book against the wall, wash my eyes with bleech and drink until blackout right now”.

    AFAICT, that sentiment is a pretty strong indicator for someone who is both deeply committed to a personal religious ideology and sufficiently insecure in that ideology that merely seeing something which disagrees with it is a Huge Existential Threat — the kind of person who wants everyone else to live in their personal echo chamber. The usual response from people not in that category is along the lines of, “Well, that’s X hours I’ll never get back.”

    @ Chip: The early Toby Daye books had a few issues, yes. For my money, the second one is the weakest, because it felt as if Toby was being uncharacteristically unsuspicious of something which IMO should have set off all her mental alarms. But they’ve improved steadily as McGuire honed her skills as a writer. If you haven’t read any since the early ones, I suggest you might want to take a second look.

    Also, IMO Lord Dono only technically qualifies as a “trans man”. I don’t think it was a step Lady Donna would have undertaken had it not been for the need to save her people from Richars and that being pretty much the only way to do it. Making a virtue of necessity is not the same thing as feeling that you have the wrong body to begin with.

  8. @Heather: a very handy look at different uses. Thanks! It helps sharpen some distinctions in my mind.

  9. Johan P on September 14, 2016 at 8:55 am said:

    In addition, The Martian was 12th on the Novel longlist – not enough to be on the finalist even without puppy shenanigans, and it probably would have been ruled ineligible due to the previous self-publishing, but not a result that fits the “trufans overlook Weir”-narrative.

    I suspect one of the reasons The Martian was only 12th on the longlist is that a lot of people who liked it did not nominated it because they knew it wasn’t eligible.

    I wonder how it would have fared had that edition been the first publication?

  10. @Cliff

    Indeed, Young Earth Creationism and a literal read of Genesis is quite at odds with Catholic doctrine, and has been for no small length of years.

    The Eschaton Sequence was about as much of Wright as I could take; I was deeply disappointed because the imagination lurking behind the turgidness was impressive, and the setting and scope could have been brilliant if the language hadn’t bee so firmly set at the Reader’s Digest level, and the attitudes of the post-human narrator had been so thoroughly pre-modern.

  11. @ Dawn Incognito:

    I will go rot13 to continue the conversation. Jura V ernq Tybel Ebnq, V unq ab pbaprcg bs OQFZ naq vgf cenpgvpr va zbqrea gvzrf, fb V zvffrq lbhe cbvag. Sebz bhe crefcrpgvir va 2016, V nterr. Ubjrire, jrer fnsr jbeqf pbzzbayl hfrq onpx jura gur obbx jnf jevggra? Nyfb, nsgre V svavfurq ernqvat gur obbx, V chg nfvqr gur frkvfz orpnhfr sbe gur zbfg cneg, gur Rzcerff jnf purevfuvat naq fcbvyvat n orybirq crg jub vf tbvat gb qb na vzcbegnag gnfx sbe uvz. Gb zr, fur jnf va punetr nyy gur gvzr.

    Rob

  12. @ Lee

    Also, IMO Lord Dono only technically qualifies as a “trans man”. I don’t think it was a step Lady Donna would have undertaken had it not been for the need to save her people from Richars and that being pretty much the only way to do it. Making a virtue of necessity is not the same thing as feeling that you have the wrong body to begin with.

    I felt that the handling of the Donna/Dono character was deeply problematic in its nearly complete dismissal of gender and sexuality as subjective experiences. It reminded me a great deal of the treatment of the topic in the medieval epic Tristan de Nanteuil where, amid a standard confusion of gender-disguise and mistaken-attraction plots, subjective gender identity and the experience of sexual desire (with regard to the gender of the desired person) are entirely determined by physiology and are changed with light-switch ease and rapidity when that physiology is changed (via supernatural means).

  13. Rob:

    Vg’f orra fbzr gvzr fvapr V ernq gur obbx, fb creuncf V’z zvferzrzorevat vg. Jung V erpnyy vf n fprar jurer gur cebgntbavfg guvaxf fbzrguvat gb gur rssrpg bs nyy jbzra ybir gb or fcnaxrq. Juvpu, bar, unf n perrcl vasnagvyvmngvba ivor gb vg, naq gjb, vf jebatvgl jebat jebat jebat. Vg’f abg rira n znggre bs fnsrjbeqf; gb zr, vg yvrf ba gur fnzr fcrpgehz nf fynccvat be chapuvat n jbzna naq *gura* frrvat vs fur yvxrq vg. Juvpu vf gbgnyyl onff-npxjneqf.

    V ernyvmr gung V’z ivrjvat n 50-lrne-byq jbex sebz n zbqrea crefcrpgvir. Znlor va vgf qnl vg jnf fhccbfrq gb or n yvorengvat Serr Ybir guvat. Jbzra ybir frk gbb, lnl! Ohg vg ehoorq zr gur jebat jnl naq V pbhyqa’g zbir cnfg vg. V bayl svavfurq gur obbx orpnhfr V jnf ng n cbvag jurer V sryg vg jnf hasnve gb nonaqba n obbx cnegvnyyl ernq.

    (Whew, doing rot-13 of that length on mobile is difficult! While attempting to copy the text I accidentally reloaded the site and lost my entire comment. Which of course was much more eloquent than this one 😉 )

  14. James Davis Nicoll: “Can’t beat it”? You’re on a roll today… Thanks (I think?) for the Simmons link; I’d had trouble with his writing, so it helps to know he’s crazy. (Starting with how a massively-divided Canada manages 2400 miles of wall — and what happened to the other couple of thousand miles of border? Is it \all/ part of the caliphate?)

    Lee: I specifically pointed to the early Daye; I’ve been willing to pay for the last few as I felt writing and plotting had both taken a giant step up. I won’t argue your definition of trans as it’s a field I’m very peripheral to, but I am generally wary of “not-a-true-X” arguments. wrt hurling, have you never come across something not simply opposite your approach to life but so vilely mean that you thought of doing so? That was why I had the impulse on the Adams. (I was also a lot younger and shorter-tempered then.)

    Yesterday’s reading: Madeline Ashby, Company Town Dark future with plenty of triggers, which is unsurprising in a work whose viewpoint character begins as a bodyguard for members of the United Sex Workers of Canada (because the hypertrophied oil rig where the story happens is in Canadian waters). Some Koreans might object to a white Canadian trying to write one of them, but the character’s mixed upbringing means that claims she would really have been or acted differently are arguable. Slam-bang plotting that probably has holes I didn’t see, a mostly-coherent picture of an unpleasant-but-plausible future, and all resolved in 285 pages — no first-part-of-a-trilogy syndrome that I saw. I’ll be interested to see what Ashby comes up with next.

    The writeup of the Vance reprint is interesting; no mention of the remoteness of Vance’s prose (including very formal dialog under all circumstances), which I sometimes found overrode the story. (All a matter of taste; I know one person who loves Vance and his obvious successors (Stover?) but doesn’t read other SF.)

  15. @ Dawn Incognito:

    Lrf, abj V erzrzore gung gur cebgntbavfg znqr fbzr fbeg bs oebnq birenepuvat pbzzrag nobhg jbzra naq fcnaxvat. V qba’g erzrzore ernyyl guvaxvat gbb zhpu nobhg vg–znlor “fbzr crbcyr unir jrveq gnfgrf.” Ohg va guvf pbagrkg, V pna frr jul lbh unq n ceboyrz jvgu vg. Nf sbe CBI, jr nyjnlf oevat vg jvgu hf, evtug? Naq vg’f tbvat gb nssrpg ubj jr srry nobhg n obbx ertneqyrff bs pbagrkg.

    As for the mobile type-a-thon, I hear ya. Personally, I am a one-digit typist on my smartphone so it takes me even longer. 🙂

  16. @ Johan P:

    So he had support from non-puppies but was effectively denied a Campbell nomination in 2015 because the puppies preferred to slate their friends and political picks…. not a result that fits the “trufans overlook Weir”-narrative.

    Just one example among many of why I have come to the conclusion that if a Puppy’s lips are moving (so to speak), then that Puppy is lying.

    I think I can count my hands the number of times I have seen any Puppy (from either faction, if one humors the narrative that they are separate groups) make assertions that were accurate and truthful. (Actually, I can’t think of any such instances; but there may have been enough such instances to make a list in the single-digits.)

  17. Neil Gaiman’s announced more news about his Norse Mythology book, with a release date of Feb 2017.

    Among other things, it has, uh, animated cover art. (Is this a thing now?)

  18. I’m a *little* twitchy about the comments regarding Lamplighter that conflate/ compare her views with that of her spouse.

    Sorry about that. You’re absolutely correct and I only did so to make a silly joke. She’s certainly her own person with her own views and should be treated as such.

    And there was a second thing I meant to say but then I got caught up reading Aaron’s great post mortem of the Hugos.

  19. Aaron, that was a great post. Thanks.

    James Davis Nicoll, that was so funny I shared it on Facebook.

  20. Will I finally have something to take a place of pride beside my D’Aulaire’s Norse Gods & Giants?

  21. @ Aaron
    Fine roundup, thanks!

    @ Heather Rose Jones
    Bingo about Dono/Donna.

    @ people talking about Glory Road
    I think I read it about 25 years ago, too. What I mainly remember is being impressed by Star’s using the role of prize to enlist the hero she needed, and the notion that she might have other interests than Oscar. I imagine the suck fairy may have got at it …

  22. Interesting Humble Bundle deal up: Science Fiction by real scientists.

    I don’t recognize any of the names… I will take on trust that they’re real scientists, but are they also any good at writing? This is my key question. I suppose I could always buy the bundle and find out. The idea of getting some solid science into SF is not inherently a bad one, certainly. (Says the guy who mostly writes Star Trek Online gaming fanfic, not known for its scientific rigor.)

  23. James Davis Nicoll: “Can’t beat it”? You’re on a roll today… Thanks (I think?) for the Simmons link; I’d had trouble with his writing, so it helps to know he’s crazy.

    Have you ever read this? It is his equivalent of Orson Scott Card’s musings about Obama declaring himself Dictator For Life and raising a Thug Army.

  24. I’m been very impressed with all of Madeline Ashby’s work to date. Definitely loved Company Town too.

    Though I was a bit worried about authenticity at first, since it took a couple chapters to get to any indication of anyone speaking with a Newfoundland accent. =)

  25. So…. L. Jagi Lamplighter thinks “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” is an sf story of enduring quality and importance that should have won the Hugo?

    (This is, any rate, the conclusion that I glean from her lamenting the Hugo winner for Short Story. And among the Puppy picks that made up the rest of that category, Tingle’s story got the most votes–and is perhaps therefore deemed the MOST superior of those works which I gather she and her Puppy chums believe merited a Hugo Award.)

    Well, each to their own.

  26. AFAICT, that sentiment is a pretty strong indicator for someone who is both deeply committed to a personal religious ideology and sufficiently insecure in that ideology that merely seeing something which disagrees with it is a Huge Existential Threat — the kind of person who wants everyone else to live in their personal echo chamber.

    This brings to mind a really powerful conversation I read in a My Little Pony forum, of all places. (Not to mention this series of posts.)

  27. Joe H. – Donna Jo Napoli has a very nice Treasury of Norse Mytholgy. I typically direct kids to that instead of the d’Aulaire. The latter’s books are classics, but they don’t appeal visually to a lot of young readers now. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on Gaiman’s book.

  28. Today’s read — True Grit, by Charles Portis

    Not SFF; a young girl seeks revenge on the man who killed her father. Well, this one is a classic for a reason. Fantastic example of using prose style to create a distinctive narrative voice. The result is an adventure story dictated with flatly dry simplicity, and a tale of moral ambiguity related by someone who doesn’t even believe moral ambiguity exists. Nice if you can pull it off. Portis can. Thumbs up.

  29. {I’m really behind on comments, so if my responses duplicate any one else’s, it’s just because I’m too lazy to read ahead! 8-}

    re: Choose Wisely
    Excellent execution, Camestros (of the art, not what you’re thinking I meant 🙂 What happens if you push both buttons? (or is that how ‘Major Kong’ really got launched?)

    (1) DESTROY OR DIG
    It’s a good question to ask. I think the special editions were and are still a good idea. ISTM that it helps generate interest in under-known authors/cultures/ideas. It doesn’t mean the same authors should then only or even primarily be published in special editions. At some point, these won’t be needed any more. I have no idea when or how to determine when, but it ain’t yet. It might have to wait until most of the discrimination and bias in most of our culture has disappeared.

    (8) Not all cats…
    I agree with some of her points like “And tastes differ. That’s okay.” plus “So, if a story agrees with our world view, we like it more. If it disagrees—but not in a way that expands our world view—we feel as if we’ve been poked in the eye.” But she seems to have missed that Cat Pictures did present an idea or two that could have expanded her worldview – she just didn’t want to be expanded.

    For example, the whole section of the story about how a disembodied consciousness should decide on a moral code was a very gentle and humorous take on a very serious question. All Lamplighter could see was “The AI dismisses the Ten Commandants with the line “I don’t envy anyone their cat; I just want pictures of their cat, which is entirely different. I am not sure whether it is in any way possible for me to commit adultery. I could probably murder someone, but it would require complex logistics and quite a bit of luck.“

    The AI didn’t dismiss any religious morality per se, it just showed that none of that morality really applied to a search engine! It then goes on to point out some problems with Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, too. The subject isn’t explored in depth, but the question wasn’t presented as a poke either. I’m not insisting that Lamplighter enjoy the story or agree that it deserved a Hugo, but if she can’t handle a gentle suggestion that the Ten Commandments may not be a universal code of conduct, I don’t really believe she’s reading SF for new ideas.

    Where she really jumps the shark, though, is in not dealing with the absolute shite that had been forced onto the ballot by a Puppy slate. Almost none of which met her definition of what a Hugo worthy story should be. I think that’s a bit – ummm – negligent of her. After all, she didn’t state which of the other nominees in the short story category should have won instead, did she? Mr. Tingle, perhaps?

    @Cat Eldridge
    I started reading SF (and Fantasy as well) roughly in the late Seventies in large quantities. And I’m certain there’s fellow SJWs who go back much father. Johnny Come Latelys, my ass!
    Yeah, I started in the early sixties and I know there are people here that started earlier than that! And I’ve always been a lefty, but still read and enjoyed Heinlein, Niven, Pournelle, etc, and read Weber, Drake, etc now.

  30. @Darren re the Simmons link.

    Yeah, that was the piece of work that finally broke me of Simmons, sad to say. (although I was confused by the sudden Islamophobic plotline in OLYMPOS that came out of nowhere, and wasn’t even hinted at in ILIUM)

  31. @Laura
    I’d suspect that the Tingle story sold the most copies, so according to Puppies logic, that means it’s the best, right?

  32. Lorcan Nagle: I wonder if a some of the Puppies’ seeming ignorance on the history of liberalism in SF is down to today’s liberal ideals being tomorrow’s conservative bastions? Like how they don’t object to Star Trek even though it’s some of the most blatant message fiction out there.

    I think a lot of it is that the people claiming SF is only now rife with liberalism and messages 1) have not read all that much of the older stuff, and/or 2) are remembering the older stuff through a personal lens which saw only what they wanted to see (or what they agreed with).

    David Gerrold had a widely-publicized exchange on Facebook a year or two ago with a commenter who kept insisting that Star Trek was all about technological advances, and that it had nothing to do with social messages. It seemed pretty clear that the guy’s “lens” was very focused on the part of Star Trek which interested him, and that he didn’t even see the rest of it.

    A lot of Puppies seem to be remembering older SF with a similar myopia.

  33. James Davis Nicoll: There’s an interesting subgenre of SF I think of as “stuff clearly written specifically to annoy me.” Part of the joke is that it’s invariably widely lauded despite being obvious shit. 2312, for example, and The Wind Up Girl.

    Thank you for saying that. For quite a while, I thought there must be something wrong with me, until I saw enough other people post similar comments.

  34. @Darren Garrison: thank you somuch for sharing that; “crazy” is not sufficient to describe it. I’m a bit surprised he still has it up, considering how far off his predictions were; maybe that’s just part of the crazy. I wonder if there’s anyone at all in the alt-right or their users (right up to Shrub/Cheney/Rumsfeld) who even realized that there’s an unsettled >1300-year-old schism in Islam; by 2006 Simmons would have seen it if he’d had the attention span of a demented bee.

  35. @Steve Wright

    Scifi by scientists. I can think of a few from the top of my head.

    Paul McAuley, was a botanist at St Andrws University

    Al Reynolds, PhD in Astronomy from St Andrews then worked for ESA as a research Astronomer

    Hannu Rajaniemi, PhD in String theory and quantum gravity from Edinburgh University.

  36. @Steve Wright
    Interesting Humble Bundle deal up: Science Fiction by real scientists.
    I don’t recognize any of the names… I will take on trust that they’re real scientists

    The only name I recognise offhand is Jayant Narlikar, who’s an astrophysicist of the steady-state variety; worked with Hoyle and is definitely a real scientist.

  37. James Davis Nicoll, I may have found the pair of tweets especially funny because I was just in Argentina in July with Cantigas Women’s Choir, and a popular song that we sang with our sister choirs there included the word “sirenitas” (little mermaids). The ping of recognition added to the amusement for me.

  38. Peter Watts PhD. Not in dread but in marine mammal biology, I believe.

    How many needing counselling after he read early drafts of his work to them is not recorded.

  39. An interesting side note to the discussion of early McGuire: Her recent Every Heart A Doorway has a remarkably good portrayal of a trans boy as one of the main characters. I live with a high degree of dysphoria myself and found much to recognize in his portrayal, and several trans friends have been recommending it independently of each other.

    So it appears she learned some things in the intervening years.

  40. Standback on September 14, 2016 at 8:19 am said:
    …Somebody’s gone and set up a “Puppy of the Month” book club
    Yes, I know, it’s full of Puppydom and it’s got “HUGO DELENDA EST” stamped on its banner….

    That’s just all kinds of hilarious.
    First off,

    The Puppy of the Month Book Club is a collection of science-fiction and fantasy fans who favor the open minded diversity of works approved by the Sad Puppy and Rabid puppy collectives.

    The “open-minded diversity” of a tightly constrained “Approved” reading list. Uh-huh.

    I’ve known Stalinists who didn’t try to limit people’s reading to “Works Approved By The Collectives”….

    Second off, these are people who see no contradiction between setting sail under the banner of “HUGO DELENDA EST” to go forth and read works that THEY THEMSELVES … uh, have nominated for the Hugo awards.

    Furthermore, this provides pretty good evidence in support of the MonoCanid position, that we are seeing the two avatars of but a single unitary Puppy movement.

    One has to wonder if it’s parody, or an art project, or if they really ARE this clueless.

  41. @ Darren: That’s a somewhat different angle than what I was thinking about. That’s just straight-up abuse under a religious cloak, and the reason they keep everyone clamped down so tight is the same reason any other abuser does — to prevent the victims from getting any sort of outside reality check.

    What I was talking about is an internal issue, not an external one — the sort of person who is threatened by exposure to any idea that doesn’t fit with their worldview because it might undermine the shaky foundations of their own faith. And since they still have to live in the outside world, the only solution they can think of is to eliminate anything they disagree with from the entire world. Occasionally you see someone like this with more dollars than sense actually try to create a compound where the like-minded can join them in complete, secure isolation — like that loon in Florida, or any of the attempted Libertarian “freeholds”, or the gun worshiper in Idaho. These fail, for various reasons mostly connected to “reality doesn’t work that way, and no amount of wishful thinking will change that”.

  42. 1) It occurs to me that from a reader’s standpoint, there may be other worthy goals than simply increasing the visibility or market penetration of underrepresented authors. For instance, they may simply like being able to see works of a theme or with elements they like, in an easily accessible place.

    There’s could also be the possibility in special collections of being able to use terminology without having to unpack it for a general audience. No “As you know Bob,” explanations of Tops and Bottoms for exempts.

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