Pixel Scroll 1/14/18 Like A File Over Scrolling Pixels, I Will Lay Me Down

(1) ALL KNOWLEDGE. TASAT (There’s a Story About That) is a new community hub for applying science fiction to solve real world problems.

Accessing more than a hundred years of science fiction thought experiments, TASAT will tap into a passionate, global community of writers, scholars, librarians, and fans to crowdsource science fictional stories (across media) that may provide applicable insight into the problems we face today and anticipate facing tomorrow.

Applying Science Fiction to Solve Real World Problems

Envision: You work at an agency, corporation, or NGO, or you’re a citizen who has come across something… unusual. You’ve gathered a team to make recommendations. There seems to be a clear explanation. And yet, you wonder…

…might someone have thought about this very situation, in the past? Perhaps with an alternative idea your team missed? What if, already in some archive, There’s A Story About This?

As TASAT founder David Brin explains here, far-seeing tales can help us avoid mistakes, or at least give us a wider selection of scenarios to think about.

Accessing more than a hundred years of science fiction thought experiments, TASAT taps into a passionate, global community of writers, scholars, librarians, and fans. We aim to curate a reading list applicable to problems and possibilities of tomorrow. TASAT operates on two levels…

(2) MORE LIKE A BIG GULP. Quick Sip Reviews’ Charles Payseur unveils “THE SIPPY AWARDS 2017! The ‘There’s Something in My Eye’ Sippy for Excellent Making Me Ugly-Cry in Short SFF”. I don’t quite understand all of it – perhaps you can explain it to me!

The 3rd Annual Sippy Awards keep right on moving! That’s right, the SFF awards that no one asked for and few pay attention to is back! I’ve shipped my favorite relationships, and I’ve cowered in fear before my favorite horror stories. Which means that it’s week it’s time to reduce myself to a small puddle of tears somewhat resembling a functioning human being. yes, it’s time for…
The “There’s Something in My Eye” Sippy Award 

for Excellent Making Me Ugly-Cry in Short SFF

I’m something of an emotive reader, which means that there are times when reading that a story just hits me right in the feels and I need to take a moment to recover. These are stories that, for me, are defined most by their emotional weight. By the impact they have, the ability to completely destroy all the careful emotional shields we use to keep the rest of the world at bay. These are the stories that pry open the shell of control I try surround myself in and leave me little more than a blubbering mess. So joining me in smiling through the tears and celebrating this year’s winners!

(3) BRIDGE PARTY. ConDor joins forces with SanDiegoLan.net to host the Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator game at ConDor 25, to be held January 19-21 — “Artemis Bridge Simulation at ConDor”.

Artemis is a multiplayer, multi-computer networked game for Windows computers.

Artemis simulates a spaceship bridge by networking several computers together. One computer runs the simulation and the “main screen”, while the others serve as workstations for the normal jobs a bridge officer might do, like Helm, Communication, Engineering, and Weapon Control.

Artemis is a social game where several players are together in one room (“bridge”) , and while they all work together, one player plays the Captain, a person who sits in the middle, doesn’t have a workstation, and tells everyone what to do.

San Diego LAN is a group of people who love getting together and playing PC games over LAN. We always balance the teams and we have a very friendly bunch, (typically ages 18 to 45).

(4) SF IN SOCAL. The Pasadena Museum of History will host the free exhibition “Dreaming the Universe: The Intersection of Science, Fiction & Southern California” from March 3 through September 2.

Dreaming the Universe: The Intersection of Science, Fiction, & Southern California… explores the history of science fiction in Southern California from 1930 to 1980, and how it interacted with the advances of science, the changes in technology, and shifts in American society. Curated by Nick Smith, president of Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, the exhibition will feature historic artifacts, fine and graphic art, books and ephemera, and historic photographs.  This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The museum is at 470 W. Walnut St. , Pasadena, CA 91103.

(5) DEEP DISH. The next Great Deep Dish SFF reading in Chicago will be on March 1, 7 p.m.

The inaugural event in December at Volumes Bookcafe was reported by Mary Anne Mohanraj at the Speculative Literature Foundation.

…thanks again to all the readers and speakers (Mary Robinette Kowal, Stephen Segal, Michi Trota, Michael Moreci, Angeli Primlani, Dan Gonzalez, Sue Burke, Valya Dudycz Lupescu) and everyone else who worked to make it a success, esp. my co-host, Chris Bauer.

(6) DOCUMENTING JDA’S TROLLING. Jim C. Hines has written a lengthy summary of “Jon Del Arroz’s History of Trolling and Harassing”.

Del Arroz’s defenders claim he’s a nice guy, and accusations that he harasses or trolls people are absurd. Del Arroz told me on Facebook that he doesn’t “escalate feuds.” He claims he’s just the victim of blackballing, harassment, threats, and so on.

I’m not saying nobody has ever given Del Arroz shit online. He alleges that people once doxxed his children and sent a glitterbomb to his house. Both were done anonymously. I have no problem condemning both incidents, whoever was responsible. I’ve also heard that people mocked him for his last name, which…yeah, that just seems racist to me.

But if you look through Jon Del Arroz’s interactions with others… Well, here’s a sampling of what people are talking about when they say Del Arroz harasses, insults, and trolls others, and distorts things for publicity and what someone once described as martyrbatiuon.

My goal isn’t to trash Del Arroz, but to document a pattern of behavior.

Warning: there’s a lot of material here….

Hines does an excellent job of mapping many of JDA’s acts of harassment and misogyny over the past year.

(7) LEST WE FORGET. Hines also noticed —

(8) NUSSBAUM BRANCHES OUT. Abigail Nussbaum has launched a new series of articles at Lawyers, Guns & Money “A Political History of the Future: Introduction”.

My plan is to devote each installment to a particular work and discuss how its themes reflect current issues. Even more importantly, I want to talk about how science fiction imagines ways of ordering society that are different from the ones we know, that offer alternatives to the existing social order.

That’s by no means the norm. A lot of the time, when science fiction tries to engage with hot-button political issues, it does so in the terms of post-apocalypse or dystopia. Most climate change novels, for example, can more accurately be described as climate catastrophe novels. That’s not unjustified, obviously, but my interest is in stories that imagine functional societies, even if those societies are also flawed or predatory. And while talking about accuracy and realism in the context of science fiction worldbuilding is often just an excuse to be nitpicky and dismissive, I’m more interested in stories that show their work, that think through how a policy or an institution would come into being, and how it would affect society as a whole.

To give an example from the negative, while I enjoyed it very much as a piece of TV-making and a feminist statement, I’m not planning to write about Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale (though that might change according to how the second season shakes out). When Margaret Atwood published the original novel in 1985, she constructed its gender-dystopia world in response to forces she saw around her, a combination of anti-feminist backlash, Phyllis Schlafly’s Christianist anti-women doctrine, and the Iranian revolution. That this was an incoherent patchwork didn’t matter because the focus of the novel was on Offred’s mental state, and its scope rarely extended past her confined viewpoint. The television series recreates that world more or less uncritically, and even with the gloss of topicality it layers over, the result doesn’t really hold water. That’s not a criticism of the show, which to my mind is one of the most essential pop culture artifacts of the current era. But it means that I don’t have much to say about it as a piece of political worldbuilding.

(9) PENROSE ON DARK MATTER. On January 19, The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UC San Diego and the Penrose Institute present a “Roger Penrose Lecture: New Cosmological View of Dark Matter”.

Sir Roger Penrose will give a talk on his latest research and provide an insight into the thinking of a modern day theoretical physicist. Is the Universe destined to collapse, ending in a big crunch or to expand indefinitely until it homogenizes in a heat death? Roger will explain a third alternative, the cosmological conformal cyclic cosmology (CCC) scheme-where the Universe evolves through eons, each ending in the decay of mass and beginning again with new Big Bang. The equations governing the crossover from each aeon to the next demand the creation of a dominant new scalar material, postulated to be dark matter. In order that this material does not build up from aeon to aeon, it is taken to decay away completely over the history of each aeon. The dark matter particles (erebons) may be expected to behave almost as classical particles, though with bosonic properties; they would probably be of about a Planck mass, and interacting only gravitationally. Their decay would produce gravitational signals, and be responsible for the approximately scale invariant temperature fluctuations in the CMB of the succeeding aeon. In our own aeon, erebon decay might well show up in signals discernable by gravitational wave detectors. The talk will blend Roger’s accessible style with an unapologetic detailed look at the physical principles. It should be of interest to practicing physicists and lay people who enjoy taking a more detailed look at physics.

Sir Roger Penrose, Emeritus Professor at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford, winner of the Copley Medal and the Wolf Prize in Physics, which he shared with Stephen Hawking, has made profound contributions encompassing geometry, black hole singularities, the unification of quantum mechanics and general relativity, the structure of space-time, nature of consciousness and the origin of our Universe. In 1989 Penrose wrote The Emperor’s New Mind which challenged the premise that consciousness is computation and proposed new physics to understand it.

On January 19, 2018, 3 p.m. in Liebow Auditorium, UC San Diego. Free and open to the public (seating first-come, first-served).

(10) OUTWORLDS LIVE. Fanac.org is the place to find “Outworlds Live! The 50th issue of Outworlds”, performed at the 1987 Corflu. Not sure if I’ve covered this before, so I’ll link to it now —

Bill Bowers was one of the most respected fanzine editors of his time. He started publishing fanzines in the 1960s. His most notable fanzines were Double-Bill, edited with Bill Mallardi, and Outworlds. Outworlds was published for 70 issues. Bill chaired Corflu IV, Cincinnati (1987). A highlight of the convention was this performance of the 50th issue of Outworlds, Outworlds Live! It featured readings and performances by Bill Bowers, Art Widner, Richard Brandt, Gary Hubbard, Al Curry, Bernadette Bosky, Arthur Hlavaty, Ted White, and Stephen Leigh. Featured is art by Steve Stiles and Joan Hanke-Woods.

Here’s the beginning of a 13-video playlist:

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • January 14, 1959 Journey to the Center of the Earth premiered.
  • January 14, 1981 — David Cronenberg’s Scanners debuted.
  • January 14, 1976 The Bionic Woman aired its first episode.
  • January 14, 2005 — The first probe to land on Saturn’s moon, Titan, signaled it survived its descent. The Huygens space probe was designed to last only minutes on Titan’s surface, but surpassed the expectations of mission managers. Huygens descended the atmosphere, contacted the surface, and transmitted for at least an hour and a half.

(12) COMICS SECTION.

  • Mike Kennedy can see how this might be a very short game — In the Bleachers.
  • Mike Kennedy and John King Tarpinian both demand to know “How dare they go out of business!” after viewing Pearls Before Swine.
  • John King Tarpinian finds aliens have changed their plans for the Earth in Frank and Ernest.

(13) FLOWER POWER. The BBC tells “How flowering plants conquered the world” (albeit after butterflies appeared):

Scientists think they have the answer to a puzzle that baffled even Charles Darwin: How flowers evolved and spread to become the dominant plants on Earth.

Flowering plants, or angiosperms, make up about 90% of all living plant species, including most food crops.

In the distant past, they outpaced plants such as conifers and ferns, which predate them, but how they did this has has been a mystery.

New research suggests it is down to genome size – and small is better.

“It really comes down to a question of cell size and how you can build a small cell and still retain all the attributes that are necessary for life,” says Kevin Simonin from San Francisco State University in California, US.

(14) CROWDSOURCED ASTRONOMY. They hit the jackpot: “Citizen science bags five-planet haul”.

A discovery by citizen scientists has led to the confirmation of a system of five planets orbiting a far-off star.

Furthermore, the planets’ orbits are linked in a mathematical relationship called a resonance chain, with a pattern that is unique among the known planetary systems in our galaxy.

Studying the system could help unlock some mysteries surrounding the formation of planetary systems.

The results were announced at the 231st American Astronomical Society meeting.

The system was found by astronomy enthusiasts using Zooniverse, an online platform for crowdsourcing research.

(15) THE ILLUSION OF DEPTH. From Germany, “The animation genius you’ve (probably) never heard of” (videos at the link.)

The charming story of how Lotte Reiniger became one of the great pioneers of early animation.

(16) ERROR OF THE DAY. Christopher Hensley shared a discovery of Facebook.

So, while doing a legitimate work thing I found out about the greatest HTTP error code ever invented: 418 Error – I am a Teapot. It was issued in RFC 2324 (https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2324) by the IETF as part of an April Fool’s day gag in 1998. But here we are, 20 years later. We are living in an age of the Internet of Things, with networked devices of all kinds in their home. Including, internet enabled electric kettles. And, if you attempt to make an HTTP connection to that electric kettle on the TCP port it uses to communicate with the world the the standards dictate the response code 418 Error – I am a Teapot.

(17) DR. DEMENTO The Doctor has a theme album reports the LA Times “Dr. Demento, comedic song hero and unsung punk rock legend, gets his due on new album”.

The punk connection takes center stage with “Dr. Demento Covered in Punk,” an exceedingly ambitious and densely packed double album — triple in the vinyl edition — being released Jan. 12.

The album comprises 64 tracks spread over a pair of CDs, pulling together new recordings of “mad music and crazy comedy” songs long associated with the quirky radio emcee. Participants include Yankovic, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, William Shatner, Adam West, the Vandals, Fred Schneider of the B-52’s, the Misfits, Japan’s Shonen Knife, Los Straitjackets, Missing Persons, the Dead Milkmen and at least a dozen more.

(18) BAD ROBOT. Quartz reports how “This robotics hobbyist makes a living creating shitty robots”

Simone Giertz’s morning routine involves a lot of really bad robots. They fail miserably at waking her up, brushing her teeth and making her breakfast. The 25-year-old Swedish robot enthusiast has parlayed their failures into a very successful YouTube channel, and full-time job.

Quartz’ video compilation is at the link. Here’s the introductory video from her channel:

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Joe H.]

43 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/14/18 Like A File Over Scrolling Pixels, I Will Lay Me Down

  1. Wow! Am I first?

    Looks like I am. On the facebook comments on Jim Hine’s original share, someone says that JDA is already trolling people sharing Jim’s post.

    Definitely need to get the Dr. D collection. I still have the original 5 LP box set he put out way back when.

  2. (10) I think I have an illo or two in there, unless this is another Bill Bowers video fanzine from a Corflu. I think that’s the one Cathy and I drove to from Virginia, and got caught under a standing snow dump somewhere in WV. Made it anyway, and learned about Cincinnatti-style chili and other delights.

    (15) Huh. I thought it was going to be Hans Fischerkoesen! Now there’s a guy who deserves a retrospective. From weirdly fetishistic ads for stockings (featuring a giant pair of disembodied legs with a half dozen men clinging to them as they go past) to scary death images in a sleep powder ad, to happy animals practically butchering themselves for you, he had it all.

    You can trust your file to the man who wears a scroll!

  3. @Kip W.
    I also assumed 15 was going to be about Hans Fischerkoesen, but I’m happy with honouring Lotte Reiniger as well. I’ve seen and enjoyed her films as a kid, because they have a very distinctive and unmistakable look, though I didn’t know her name for a long time.

    Also loved how the video mimicked her style.

  4. 12) “How dare they go our of business!”
    OUT of business (It’s just a jump to the left…).
    Given that it is -7*f outside, i’ll appertain myself a hot chocolate.

  5. @Camestros

    Bravo!

    (6) DOCUMENTING JDA’S TROLLING

    Jim Hines has done some solid work here. It’s going to be very handy to point people to that when JDA finds his next thing to be outraged about.

    (8) NUSSBAUM BRANCHES OUT

    I’m looking forward to this, sounds like a fascinating concept for some articles. Her mention of All The Birds In The Sky as an example is intriguing – I’d never considered the book in that light, probably because I was viewing it as a clever look at the tension between its subgenres

  6. 6) Jim did a great job. He had contacted me and others to get our sides, did his research and put a lot of stuff together.

    Oh and Happy 10th Birthday to the File 770 blog!

  7. Happy Merry Flappy Doodle and Skitchy Goop!

    (sharing two home grown but heartfelt expressions of congratulations.)

    Jim Hines can always be counted on. Excellent roundup.

  8. 6) As others have said, that’s great. I hadn’t been paying attention to things and wasn’t entirely sure what JDA had been doing. It’s pretty clear now.

    I’m baffled that Scalzi isn’t more a model for folk. VD and company seem obsessed with him yet to me at least a large part of what makes Scalzi influential is he’s just plain nice. Oh well.

  9. 12): The Frank and Ernest cartoon actually brings “The Gentle Vultures” to my mind.

  10. (2) Payseur and I are very different reviewers, but this may be something we have in common. After reading a powerful story–whether it made me cry or not–I need some recovery time before starting on another story.

    After reading “Carnival Nine,” by Caroline Yoachim, I just broke down and cried. Looking back at it with half a year’s perspective, I think that one should probably be a 5, not a 4.

  11. I saw the “degenerate” list on twitter and I loved how Scalzi reacted, but I cant help but to feel a shiver going down my spine when I read something like this. Its to 1936 for me.

  12. I loved seeing my man Heinlein on that list of degenerates after being told for the last few years that I’m a bad fan because I don’t like his books in the right way.

    And yes, I’m a giant RAH fanboy.

  13. @Maximillian

    I loved seeing my man Heinlein on that list of degenerates after being told for the last few years that I’m a bad fan because I don’t like his books in the right way

    My father is a huge Heinlein fan and his favourite thing about Heinlein in the day was watching hippies, ultra-right nationalists, libertarians and polyamorists argue fervently that Heinlein was totally one of them.

  14. @ Shao Ping:

    I’m baffled that Scalzi isn’t more a model for folk. VD and company seem obsessed with him

    I remember a new writer once saying in some online discussion he didn’t want to model his career after John Scalzi’s career. I asked why not? John Scalzi was commercially successful (which means money, sales, and popularity with readers) and critically acclaimed (such as winning multiple Hugo Awards), and he was successful across a variety of work (novels, short stories, non-fiction), as well as consulting for TV, and he had tremendous control of his own image and megaphone due to having built a big online following.

    This seems to me the epitome of a good career model. Sure, someone people want to focus ONLY on novels and nothing else, and others shun the social media spotlight, and some don’t care (or claim not to care) about awards or critical kudos, while others say that about commercial success (money). But overall, surely for most writers (most that I know, anyhow), the ideal writing career would include the central features of Scalzi’s career: commercial and critical success across a variety of work, and a large, engaged readership.

    I didn’t know the new writer I was disagreeing with, but as events unfolded a few years later and that person’s name emerged prominently in the Puppy mess, his deep hostility to Scalzi also emerged, and he was among the Puppies claiming that Scalzi’s (bestselling, award-winning) career wasn’t in good shape, etc. And I realized then that I had probably, in the previous discussion, been unwittingly debating general writing career goals against someone whose position was probably more along the lines of “I want John Scalzi to eat worms! I hate him, hate him, hate him!”

    On a related note, VD’s obsession with him is a grisly price for Scalzi to pay for success. This has been going on for, what, more than a decade now?

  15. I’m baffled that Scalzi isn’t more a model for folk. VD and company seem obsessed with him yet to me at least a large part of what makes Scalzi influential is he’s just plain nice.

    Because doing what Scalzi does requires a host of attributes that those attacking him don’t have including talent, industriousness, wit, affability, and empathy.

  16. @Laura We’re probably fine without that author’s name, but do you remember what his answer was on Scalzi’s career? Did he want fewer best sellers? Less money?

  17. @ Maximillian —

    “No, no, do not shower riches and acclaim on me!” 🙂

    No, actually, I don’t remember the specifics–probably because what I do remember is that the reply made no sense to me and seemed to miss the point.

  18. @Aaron:

    what Scalzi does requires a host of attributes that those attacking him don’t have

    You may be right but all those attributes (with the possible exceptions of talent and wit) can be cultivated. Instead they appear to nourish the worst parts of themselves.

    @Laura Resnick: That’s a great, if baffling, story.

  19. What’s weird to me about the alt-right hate boner for Scalzi is that, politically, he’s not exactly a hardcore leftist or coastal elite. White, nerdy bloke, lives in the Midwest, mildly liberal on social issues. Quite far removed from their stereotypical SJW enemy.

  20. @rob_matic:
    That is actually much of the problem, to my understanding. White bloke, wrote space opera war stories… as far as they’re concerned, he should be on their side, and the fact that he isn’t means that he isn’t just an unbeliever, he’s a heretic, which is much worse. He’s not on the other side, he’s a traitor to (what they think should be) his own side.

    The fact that he actually is successful enough to be pretty much impossible to bully back into line is much of the rest of the problem.

    @Laura Resnick:
    The original ‘Electrolite’ blog post that really solidified that obsession (talking about VD being on the Nebula jury, and source of Scalzi’s ‘but… there’s still more candy inside him!’ line) was in March 2005, so yes, more than a decade. Amusingly, Scalzi was actually originally supporting VD (at least in the sense of ‘he’s done his job, does the complaint here actually have any bearing on that?’) until VD showed up in the comments and was his usual charming self.

  21. You may be right but all those attributes (with the possible exceptions of talent and wit) can be cultivated.

    Sure, but that would take hard work, which most of those who attack Scalzi seem to be allergic to.

  22. @rob_matic:

    I freely admit that I’m partly guessing here, but I think it’s a mix of projection, perceived betrayal, envy, and in-group signaling.

    In short – and yes, this was originally a much longer post – I think they envy his success and feel betrayed that he’s not One Of Them in a political sense. (There are some pretty strong correlations between liking milSF, being a libertarian or far-right Republican, and identifying with or serving in the military.)* He’s come out on top financially, socially, and critically in a subgenre that the “side” currently claimed by the Puppies feels they own, even to the point of winning the most prestigious award and running their professional organization.

    Or, for a more current example, look at how awful the Republicans thought it was when Obama governed by executive order and made time to play some golf. They absolutely hated that… but when President The Donald does even more of those very same things, that’s perfectly fine because he’s One Of Them.

    It’s classic tribalism at work. Our Guy is great and Their Guy sucks, regardless of behavior (either relative or absolute). Ya wanna be a member of the tribe, ya gotta denounce The Enemy. John Scalzi has become their Emmanuel Goldstein, and there’s no opting out of the Two-Minute Hate ritual.

    * I know people who are now either Puppies or Puppy-adjacent and absolutely raved to me about the Old Man’s War series when it was published. Looking back, I think the raving stopped around the time Scalzi’s comparatively liberal views came to light. That’s why I think there’s a “perceived betrayer” piece to this puzzle.

    EDIT: Aaaand Jenora beat me to it!

  23. Re: Scalzi’s success (Attributions omitted because I want to speak to the reflex and not to specific persons.)

    A) You may be right but all those attributes (with the possible exceptions of talent and wit) can be cultivated.

    B) Sure, but that would take hard work, which most of those who attack Scalzi seem to be allergic to.

    I would like to point out that while this reaction comes from a very understandable place of tribalism (on both sides), keep in mind that it is not the case that “all those attributes…can be cultivated”. Some of the attributes that made Scalzi successful include timing, the greater publishing and publicity support given to white male authors, the specific tenor of Scalzi’s very extroverted public persona, and a number of other things that neither are available to all writers nor that can be cultivated at will. And I don’t think that he’d deny this–remember, he wrote that essay about “Straight white male: the lowest difficulty setting”.

    So in saying “Ha, ha, Scalzi’s detractors don’t have his success because they’re lazy losers” you’re throwing under the bus a lot of authors who don’t have his success and may very well have worked five times as hard as he has.

  24. @Heather Rose Jones:
    Good point.

    Actually, that may even be another contributor to the hatred. A lot of the louder reactionary types seem pretty wedded to the ‘just world hypothesis’ (which, admittedly, is a general human thing rather than strictly a reactionary thing, though it differs in degree). So not only does somebody who doesn’t ‘deserve’ success having it suggest a betrayal, but someone who has success being willing to admit that there was luck and unearned privilege involved is a direct attack on the worldview.

    And ‘The American Dream’ is all about that worldview.

  25. @Heather Rose Jones: I don’t think the analysis is throwing many people under the bus; AFAICT, most of the detractors are also white males (although some claim mixed descent or marriage). Granted that JdA has a Latinx name — but in much of the US that is at most a marginal disadvantage given the number of other targets for haters (names that look Islamic, first names that seem Black, …). And while Scalzi may have gotten some advantage from his extroversion, ISTM that simply being civil instead of a loudmouthed jackass is a large part of whatever effect personality has on sales. Personally, I find Scalzi OK in small doses — that much extroversion makes me twitchy rather than agreeable — and I find much of his fiction too facile.

  26. Heather Rose Jones: So in saying “Ha, ha, Scalzi’s detractors don’t have his success because they’re lazy losers” you’re throwing under the bus a lot of authors who don’t have his success and may very well have worked five times as hard as he has.

    Yes, and no. Most authors aren’t constantly posting attacks on Scalzi and claiming that his success is unearned. They’re just digging in and working their asses off, something which many, if not most, of Scalzi’s detractors don’t seem to do — instead spending a lot of their time on social media attacking other authors, ginning up outrage to sell books, and looking for shortcuts to success, such as getting themselves cheated onto award ballots.

  27. @Heather – I see your point, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Scalzi at least mention that he knows at least part of his success was due to luck and to the lower difficulty level he’s on than some authors. Which, as others have noted, is a statement that Really pisses off his haters.

  28. @Heather – I see your point, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Scalzi at least mention that he knows at least part of his success was due to luck and to the lower difficulty level he’s on than some authors. Which, as others have noted, is a statement that Really pisses off his haters.

    In this case, I think the implication you caught was unintended friendly fire.

  29. That degenerate writers list is pure classic trolling. It doesn’t have Samuel R. Delany on it. They’re obviously pulling our legs.

    @Dex:

    My father is a huge Heinlein fan and his favourite thing about Heinlein in the day was watching hippies, ultra-right nationalists, libertarians and polyamorists argue fervently that Heinlein was totally one of them.

    Well, he was.

  30. @Heather Rose Jones: It’s important not to throw people under the bus, even accidentally, but I don’t think that happened. No one suggested that imitating Scalzi or having attributes like the ones that helped him become successful are necessary or sufficient for success.

    Heck, success itself is an essentially contested concept. But that’s a bit besides the point.

  31. @rob_matic

    What’s weird to me about the alt-right hate boner for Scalzi is that, politically, he’s not exactly a hardcore leftist or coastal elite. White, nerdy bloke, lives in the Midwest, mildly liberal on social issues. Quite far removed from their stereotypical SJW enemy.

    Same here. I can understand why e.g. N.K. Jemisin would rub them the wrong way, but John Scalzi? Everything about him would put him in the moderate conservative camp by German standards, i.e. the sort of conservative who’d vote for gay marriage, because marriage is such a great social institution that everybody should take part in it.

    And indeed I used to list Scalzi as an example of “conservative SFF writer who is well respected and not a jerk”, until someone informed me that Scalzi is considered liberal by US standards.

    Still, a moderate who writes military SF is not exactly the logical bete noir for the far right. On the other hand, our own far right spends far more time hating Angela Merkel, a moderate conservative, than hating actual leftists.

  32. The answer to both of those is in the above discussion; Scalzi and Merkel are both successful, making them both objects of hate (since they show that success doesn’t require Rightness) and clear targets (compared to further-left but more-obscure people or causes — imagine trying to get religious reactionaries to rally around a ban on panupunitoplasty). As an add-on to the first point, taking down Scalzi or Merkel would leave a hole big enough to be worth filling and close enough to be fillable; the fall of a random Left party probably wouldn’t give AfD more power (even in a parliamentary system), any more than Delany’s departure would increase Puppy sales (rather than those of Griffith, Duchamp, Arnason, …).

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