Pixel Scroll 10/27 Return To Hedgehogwarts

(1) Bad science in sf I’m used to. On the other hand, this expose of Monty Python by medievalist Kathleen E. Kennedy is shocking! Her post for The Mary Sue, “Coconuts in Medieval England Weren’t as Rare as Monty Python and the Holy Grail Made You Think”, claims England was practically awash in coconuts – had he existed, King Arthur would have had no problem acquiring one.

(2) As a fan, when I see something like “15 Facts You Didn’t Know About the Original ‘Ghostbusters’”, I start jonesing to tell the headline writer that the original Ghost Busters was the working title of a Bowery Boys movie. But carry on….

Imagine Eddie Murphy and his fellow paranormal firefighters battling a motorcycle-riding skeleton and a giant lizard monster from their gas-station base in a futuristic New Jersey. Who you gonna call? Ghost Smashers!

By the time it became an instant classic upon its release in 1984, Ghostbusters had morphed through radically different iterations, featuring bonkers plot points and unrecognizable creatures. Those mind-blowing details are chronicled by Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History, author Daniel Wallace’s revelatory, self-explanatory new book due out this week, just in time for Halloween.

(3) I stopped to watch Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters music video while researching the previous item. That 1980s video did some nice things with neon lights. But it can’t hold a candle *coff* to the Halloween Light Show set to his vocals in this YouTube video — four singing pumpkin faces, tombstones, hand carved pumpkins, strobes, floods, two Matrix boards and thousands of lights.

(4) At this hour it may be hard to find anyone who hasn’t already read John Scalzi’s Whatever post titled “Here’s the Egregious, Mealy-Mouthed Clump of Bullshit That is the 2015 World Fantasy Convention Harassment Policy”.

I am not a lawyer, but I expect that ReedPOP, the company that runs [New York Comic Con] (among many other conventions around the US) has maybe a few lawyers on its staff. If NYCC is utterly and absolutely unafraid to promulgate a harassment policy even though there is a legal statute defining what harassment means in the state of New York, I expect it might have been possible for World Fantasy to have done likewise, if they chose to do so.

And I recommend reading Jesi Pershing’s comment on the post. (I’m unable to link to specific comments on Whatever, despite both it and File 770 running on WordPress….)

(5) Trae Dorn’s story at Nerd & Tie, “World Fantasy Convention writes the worst harasssment policy ever” doesn’t live up to the hyperbole of the headline, but it reflects the prevailing mood of the internet.

(6) Jim C. Hines weighed in with “Trying to Fix WFC’s Harassment Policy Problem”.

Can this actually be fixed?

Well, no. Not completely. You’ve pissed off a lot of people, and you’ve got nine days before the start of the convention. You can’t fix it. But you can work to make it better. Here are my suggestions, for what they’re worth.

A compelling observation was quoted from Natalie Luhrs’ post —

Keep in mind that, as Natalie Luhrs pointed out, “three of the last five World Fantasy Conventions had harassment incidents that were publicized: 20102011, and 2013.” This doesn’t include incidents that weren’t publicized.

However, it should be noted that other recent WFC’s have had genuine anti-harassment policies – the 2015 committee is an aberration in that respect.

(7) The headline for Arthur Chu’s post captures just what I think was really controlling SXSW’s decision to have these panels at all – “This Is Not a Game: How SXSW Turned GamerGate Abuse Into a Spectator Sport”. Chu also is very informative about the history about the anti-harassment panel proposal.

  1. Any “both sides” narrative is nonsense. Whatever harassment and abuse there was cannot have been at all symmetrical.

SXSW acknowledges this when they tell Randi Harper in an email they’ve “received numerous threats of violence regarding this panel (Level Up)” and a “civil and respectful environment seems unlikely.” You can see with your own eyes the degree of incivility and disrespect likely to occur at her panel by looking at the comment thread GamerGate left on PanelPicker. This started up in August and has only had time to fester since then.

By contrast, I don’t think anyone “anti-GamerGate” I’ve spoken to other than my fellow panelists was even aware a GamerGate panel was in the cards until it was announced last week. Feel free to search my own history on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc. to see if you can find any mention of it.

(8) Chris Kluwe went straight for the jugular.

What you did, what you’re doing, is providing the blueprint for harassers and hatemongers as to how they win. From this point forward, any fringe group of spiteful lunatics can point to this moment and say, “We will silence the voices of anyone we dislike at SXSW, any view we disagree with, because we know the mewling slugs in charge have not the backbone to stop us. All we need to do is confront them with our vileness, and they will fold.”

And the worst part?

YOU are solely the ones responsible for this.

YOU decided that it was appropriate to give a group of harassers a platform to continue their wretched campaign of ignorance. No one forced you to bypass the application process, to slide this selection of charlatans and liars along back alley channels into the conference. (And by the way, it is beyond ironic that a group ostensibly about ‘ethics in journalism’ required such an unethical route.)

YOU chose to ignore the warnings of the women targeted, to dismiss their voices as unworthy of respect or consideration, and then had the gall to act shocked that a ‘movement’ known for its corrosive toxicity slimed its oh-so-predictable foulness in your direction after you invited them in.

(9) Today In History:

October 27, 1938 – Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre of the Air broadcasts its adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. Joe Bloch comments —

People have debated for decades just why the country was so willing to be fooled by the broadcast, and the question of whether or not Welles had an inkling of what would happen was never answered. It is certain that he denied it at a later Congressional hearing, but in subsequent interviews he answered the question rather coyly, implying that he might have known what could happen.

(10) Stop snickering about aliens, d’ye hear me? Astrophysics profession Adam Frank, co-founder of the 13.7 blog, says “Maybe It’s Time To Stop Snickering About Aliens”.

Boyajian and her co-authors considered a wide range of possibilities to explain the strange dips in the light coming from KIC 8462852. Nothing they dreamed up provided a really, really good explanation. And in the absence of that really, really good explanation, at least a few others have been thinking: “Aliens!” As Ross reports, Jason Wright of Penn State is already working on a paper suggesting we might be seeing a signature of extraterrestrial construction, a “swarm of mega-structures,” on a planetary system scale.

Now, at this point, I could start telling you about Dyson spheres and Kardashev Type II civilizations that engage in solar-system-spanning building projects (or even Vogon Constructor Fleets).

But I won’t.

That’s because the point today is not what KIC 8462852, in particular, might be telling us. The odds are high that a natural explanation will be found for the star’s flickering that has nothing to do with aliens.

Why take that stance? Well, aliens are always the last hypothesis you should consider. Occam’s razor tells scientists to always go for the simplest explanation for a new phenomenon. But even as we keep Mr. Occam’s razor in mind, there is something fundamentally new happening right now that all of us, including scientists, must begin considering.

Kepler and the many exoplanet-hunting missions coming next (JWST, PLATO, etc.) represent an entirely new way of watching the sky.

Telescope time has always been expensive — and there’s a lot of sky. In the past, astronomers didn’t have the technical capacity to continuously watch zillions of stars for long periods of time. The suns we astronomers did come back to again and again tended to be remarkable in one way or another (they flared or blew up periodically). But the exoplanet revolution means we’re developing capacities to stare deep into the light produced by hundreds of thousands of boring, ordinary stars. And these are exactly the kind of stars where life might form on orbiting planets.

(11) Tom Knighton says it’s only a “Supergirl Kinda-Review” but he covers a lot of ground as he fills in readers about last night’s series debut.

First, the casting was interesting, and I mean that in a good way.  Kara (aka Supergirl for those who don’t know) is, like her cousin, raised by human parents.  Her parents were played by…*drum roll please* Dean Caine of Lois and Clark and Helen Slater, the original live-action Supergirl.  Honestly, it make my inner geek giddy right there.

(12) All the other old-timers showed up in the latest Star Wars trailer. Where was Mark Hamill? The director has an answer — “J.J. Abrams addresses Luke’s absence from Star Wars trailers”

When asked what’s going with Luke’s lack of appearance in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailers, director J.J. Abrams stated it’s part of the plan.

“These are good questions to be asking. I can’t wait for you to find out the answer,” he said. The fact Luke is being kept away from the promotional materials is “no accident,” he continued.

It actually goes a bit deeper than that. There was a leaked image of Luke Skywalker wearing what seemed to be standard Jedi robes that made the rounds, but Disney went to work pulling as many copies of the image from the internet as possible, including Twitter embeds.

(13) Gail Z. Martin suggests “Five Reasons Why Authors Do Blog Tours (And Maybe You Should, Too)” at Magical Words.

What’s a blog tour and why should you consider doing one?

A blog tour provides the opportunity for an author to be featured in guest posts on a number of other blogs, thus gaining visibility to the readers on all those sites. Likewise, an author who has a blog can do a tour on his/her own site by featuring a number of other authors on the site in a given period of time.

Two crucial elements separate a ‘blog tour’ from merely being a guest for the day on someone else’s blog. First, a blog tour generally involves guesting on multiple blogs or hosting multiple guests on your blog. And secondly, the activity occurs within a pre-defined (and advance-promoted) time period—perhaps a week or a month. In fact, blog tours work best when the bloggers and the guests promote the upcoming post—much like when a celebrity promotes being interviewed on TV. The author gets visibility, and perhaps new readers. The blogger gets traffic and well as visibility—and perhaps some of those visitors will come back time and again.

(14) Harlan Ellison is among the contributors to Jewish Noir: Contemporary Tales of Crime and Other Dark Deeds, to be published November 1.

The stories explore such issues as the Holocaust and its long-term effects on subsequent generations, anti-Semitism in the mid- and late-20th-century United States, and the dark side of the Diaspora (e.g., the decline of revolutionary fervor, the passing of generations, the Golden Ghetto, etc.).

(15) And rather like Harlan Ellison, Wil Wheaton thinks the writer should get paid. His post “you can’t pay your rent with the ‘unique platform and reach our site provides’” tells why he told HuffPo to take a hike.

(16) Here’s somebody you don’t see at fan-run conventions every day… but he’ll be at Gallifrey One in 2016:

Sir John Hurt, who brought the ‘missing link’ in the Doctor’s past — the War Doctor, from the 50th anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor” — to life, will be headlining the 2016 Gallifrey One convention, in an appearance sponsored by Showmasters Events.

(17) Remember that how that old statue of Lenin in a Ukraine town was rededicated to Darth Vader the other day? Well, sounds like old Darth is up to no good – just check out this story: “Chewbacca Arrested During Ukraine Elections”

The Wookiee is handcuffed and detained after supporting Darth Vader’s bid to be elected as Mayor of Odessa.

Yes, my friends, there’s trouble in unpronounceable city!

[Thanks to Steven H Silver, Martin Morse Wooster, Francis Hamit, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Jonathan Stray and Mr. Norwich Terrier 6/1

aka A Bark and Hungry Puppy Arises

June is bustin’ out all over which may account for one of the longest roundups ever. The pack includes lead dog Brad R. Torgersen, Alexandra Erin, Ian Gillespie, Jim C. Hines, John Scalzi, John C. Wright, Larry Correia, Dave Freer, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, Vox Day, Chris Kluwe, Lis Carey, Dave M. Strom, Pluviann, Chris Gerrib, Russell Blackford and Brianna Wu. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors May Tree and  Soon Lee.)

Brad R. Torgersen

“Sheepdog staring at the horizon” – May 31

As my friend and author (and Sad Puppy critic) Eric Flint recently noted, he’s put his body on the line for what he believes. Other people spew a lot of hot air about being “warriors” for social justice. Eric’s a man who can actually claim that title, and be taken seriously; by allies and opponents alike.

So you will pardon me if I can’t spare much serious thought for those who think being some guy who gets pissed off on the internet, is somehow going to make a difference — a real, lasting, actual difference.

Which takes me back to a point Larry Correia and I have both made, about the Hugo awards: loads of people loved to complain about how the Hugos suck, and almost nobody was doing anything to make an impact. I say “almost” because there were interested parties working hard to effect the kind of change they wanted — Seannan McGuire didn’t get five Hugo nominations in a single year on accident — they just didn’t conduct their operations in broad daylight, nor on a scale to compare with Sad Puppies.

Which takes me back to a comment Michael Z. Williamson once made: we’re bad because we’re competent?

Well, whatever people have against Sad Puppies 3 — legit, or imaginary — it’s clear that the various narratives will continue without my input. I can only restate the obvious, in the hope that it sticks with people who have not decided to be dead-set against us. We (Sad Puppies Inc.) threatened nothing, demanded nothing, and closed no doors in any faces. We threw the tent flaps wide and beckoned to anyone and everyone: come on in, join the fun!

 

 

Ian Gillespie

“Blank Slate” – May 31

Putting aside the reasoning behind the Puppy slates – which is, admittedly, thoroughly objectionable to many of us all on its own – I’ve yet to see anyone offer a cogent, clearly articulated explanation for what makes the machinations of these melancholy mutts categorically different than what’s been done, without controversy, in years past.

I’d like to humbly suggest that the anti-puppies have been sucked into debating a strawman. While most of the prominent denunciations of the dispirited dogs have focused on their use of slates, the real problem with the pessimistic pups isn’t about slates at all, but rather tactical voting.

By linking their Hugo recommendations to a larger cause – namely, putting those insufferable progressives in their place – the Puppies have effectively encouraged their small-but-loyal pack of supporters to nominate works based on a political agenda – not the works themselves, not even their own individual preferences. That’s the issue. Not campaigning for particular works, but rendering the works themselves a meaningless consideration.

 

Ian Gillespie

“Paulk the Vote” – May 31

According to Erin, Kate Paulk has been tapped to take over the dog pound, and she’s already promised that next year’s puppy-approved slatecraft will be done in a “transparent and democratic manner”.

If this is truly the case, I have a modest proposal to make:

Let’s rock the vote.

No slates. No cheating. Just show up 7 months from now and vote for the same SJW message fiction, or the same gun-totting monster mashups, you were gonna nominate anyway. If it’s really democratic, then the outcome won’t be any different than a normal, unpuppied process anyway. Right?

 

Jim C. Hines

“Publishing 101” – June 1

In the wake of Scalzi’s Big Book Deal, folks have been saying some rather ignorant or ill-informed stuff about how publishing works. I wanted to address a few of those points here.

Let’s start with the easiest, in which folks over on Theodore Beale’s blog claim that by Tor giving Scalzi a $3.4 million advance, they’re “squeezing out” approximately “523 initial advances to new science fiction authors.” In other words, Beale claims that “Patrick Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi have combined to prevent more than 500 authors from getting published and receiving paid advances.”

This is a particularly egregious bit of ignorance coming from Mister Beale, who fancies himself a publisher.

Publishing is a business. As a business, Tor not only spends money on things like acquiring and publishing books, they also earn money by selling said books. Assuming Scalzi shut out 500 authors assumes that Tor is simply pissing away that $3.4 million. This is a rather asinine assumption. John Scalzi has repeatedly hit the NYT Bestseller list, earned a Best Novel Hugo, and has several TV/film deals in development for his work. Tor buys books from John Scalzi for the same reason they buy books from Orson Scott Card: those books sell a hell of a lot of copies, and earn Tor significant profits.

Very often it’s those profits — the income from reliable bestsellers like Card and Scalzi — that allow publishers to take a chance on new and unknown authors.

 

 

 

 

John C. Wright

“You Got My Attention By Libeling Me and Desecrating What I Love” – June 1

With a combination of pity and dismay, I read this

http://file770.com/?p=22824&cpage=3#comment-272798….

I suspect the Rabids aren’t fans of SF so much as they are “members of the cult of Vox Day.” Partly, this is the only thing that truly seems to explain the works on the slate — the ones that aren’t published by Beale’s own press anyway — the point isn’t that they are any particular thing, the point is that he chose them, and there they are.

But to my infinite amusement, I read the reply: There are, as of last count, 367 vile, faceless minions of the Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil Authors.

 

 

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“Back from New York, BEA Recap, and Updates” – June 1

I had some very interesting business conversations, many of which I can’t post about in public. I was worried that I’d catch flack because of all the negative media attention related to Sad Puppies, and the many CHORFs screaming about how I’ve ruined my career, will never work in this town again, blah, blah, blah. Basically, most of the publishing industry hasn’t heard or doesn’t care about the Hugos, it is a non-issue to them, and those who did talk to me about it were either on my side, or weren’t on my side but thought the stagnant little pond still needed a rock thrown in it.

There were also some interesting political conversations. The vast majority of the publishing folks live around and work in New York and are usually politically liberal. Everybody is nice, but at party conversations, people like me are a weird fly-over, red state curiosity. No, really, I do own like that many guns. I had a fascinating and too brief conversation about how Simon & Schuster realized after Bush’s reelection that there were actually lots of people in America who are not liberal and did not think that way, and maybe they should start some imprints to publish conservative political books, and New York publishing was all like no way, nobody believes that stuff. But S&S started some imprints aimed at conservative audiences and shockingly enough, made buckets of money.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“This JUST In” – June 1

So if you are a Puppy reading this, here’s how you convince the rest of the world that you mean all those high-minded ideals more than the snipping and sniping:

Next year, try actually spreading awareness of the open nature of nominations. Don’t buy into the slate. Don’t take your recommendations and hand them off to someone who may ignore them while assembling a slate of their own picks. Instead do what countless other people have done for years: post your own recommendations directly, as recommendations.

Add an explanation that anyone who buys a supporting membership to Worldcon can nominate their own picks, and bam… you will have just raised awareness of the nomination process.

What does participating in a slate do that furthers that mission? What does making vague, unfounded accusations that past nominees/winners benefited from some shadowy affirmative action program do to advance the cause? What does all the noise and mess and deliberate provocation and stirring up controversy have to do with anything? What does it add?

 

Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club

“Signals across the void –awards and other signs.” – June 1

Of course people can argue about what the signal meant in the first place. Take the various ‘literary’ awards. What were they intended to do?

1) A recognition of excellence by one’s peers?
2) A recognition of excellence by the public?
3) Promote such excellence – signal to others that that is excellent and they should look?
4) A pat on the back for one of the ‘in’ literary clique’s chums?

Different awards have different purposes, and different values. As a reader and writer only (3) ‘Promote such excellence – signal to others that that is excellent and they should look at the work’ is worth much. Most awards, without careful custodianship, head for (4). At which point they lose their historical value and gradually vanish. They have less and less value as (3), and really (1) and (4) are something only the insecure want, unless they feed (3) – which (4) never does and (1) does badly. To put it brutally, if you need and support an award being (1) or (4) you’re a loser, not big enough for what is a tough profession.

(2) is a different kettle of tea. In real terms you could only get there by systematic polling. It does have a lot of (3) value too, because, true enough, we’re not that different. A book which is really the most popular book around, is worth a look-in. The nearest approximation in sf-fantasy is the Hugos. And it isn’t a great approximation (the sample of readers, by who attends/supports Worldcon is obviously inaccurate, and various problems in the nomination have been exposed by the Puppies. (they’re game-able, they’re not demographically representative of the sf readership) – but it’s the best we’ve got right now. As such it could do a good job for sf. It used to.

 

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

“The Hugos again” – June 1

Of particular interest to me is this notion of giving people who you don’t like bad reviews on books you haven’t read. Let me make this absolutely clear: This is bad behavior. It is wrong. If you have read a book and don’t like it, then it’s fine to give it a bad review.

If you attempted to read a book and found you couldn’t finish it because it was so bad, then yeah, give it a bad review.

But if you simply don’t like the author? Giving their book a bad review without reading it or trying to read it (in good faith) is every bit as bad as, say, nominating a bunch of works for the Hugo awards without reading them first because somebody put together a slate. Yeah, I’m comparing people who give bad reviews based on how they feel about the authors to the self-called “sad puppies” and “rabid puppies”. Both actions are bad faith. Both actions are wrong. Both actions are not worthy of intelligent people.

As David Gerrold says, “If you’re claiming to be one of the good guys, you gotta act like it.”

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The descent of literary criticism” – June 1

Natalie Luhrs will be live-tweeting her feelz about THE WAR IN HEAVEN, beginning June 11. I wonder if she’ll like it?:

Before Theodore “Vox Day” Beale was the central figure in the Sad/Rabid Puppies Hugo Awards hacking, he wrote a series of religious-inspired fantasy novels for Pocket Books. And blogger Natalie Luhrs is going to live-tweet his debut novel, Eternal Warriors: The War in Heaven, for charity. Here’s how it works: You donate money to RAINN, a charity that operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline. (Or to a similar organization in your own country.) You send proof of your donation to Luhrs. And for every $5 you donate, Luhrs will livetweet a page of the book, starting June 11 with the hashtag #readingVD. She will also republish her tweets, with additional commentary, on a chapter-by-chapter basis, on her site, Pretty-Terrible. If people raise $2,000, she’ll do the entire book. (She is currently at $920.)

Yeah, probably not. I’d be considerably more impressed if she’d chosen A THRONE OF BONES instead. And it’s kind of a pity that she didn’t choose THE WORLD IN SHADOW, I would have been genuinely interested to see her reaction to that. I’m rather dubious that 300 tweets that alternate between snarking about how bad the writing is and how stupid the author is will prove to be very entertaining for long.

 

Chris Kluwe in a comment on io9  – May 29

As someone who livetweeted Milo Yiannopolous’ “poetry” book, Eskimo Papoose, all I can do is wish her the best of luck. That shit is more toxic than Godzilla poop on a radioactive dump site.

 

Geeky Library Voting Guide

“The 2015 Hugo Awards”

[Combination infographic and voter survey, with a page for each category. Need to log into Twitter to vote.]

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Tangent SF Online, edited by Dave Truesdale” – June 1

One of the 2015 Best Fanzine nominees. This is a review zine, focused on reviewing science fiction and fantasy short fiction. I did not find that its style or judgments engaged me at all. However, that said, it’s perfectly competent and professional, and for those who connect better with the tone and approach of Tangent Online, this is a valuable service.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Dark Between the Stars (Saga of the Shadows #1), by Kevin J. Anderson (author), Mark Boyett (narrator)” – June 1

The prose is pedestrian, and just to be absolutely clear: “Pedestrian” prose is not “transparent” prose. Transparent prose requires real skill and craft. The prose here is no more than adequate. It’s certainly no compensation for diffuse and distracting plotting and barely-present character development.

 

 

Dave M. Strom on Dave M. Strom: author of Holly Hansson, superheroine & writer

cropped-tucker-me-holly COMP

“Sad Puppies? Or Eye of Argon?” – June 1

At least the Eye of Argon was consistent about spelling out numbers. Although it violates hulls in a slightly grander fashion.

“The disemboweled mercenary crumpled from his saddle and sank to the clouded sward, sprinkling the parched dust with crimson droplets of escaping life fluid.”

There’s more. The same supposedly Hugo-worthy short story [Turncoat by Steve Rzasa] has this sentence. So much wrong in so little space.

“Disabling an enemy warship is not enough; they must be crippled, damaged, destroyed.”

I’m jerked from singular to plural. My sense of opposites is assaulted: in this context, disabled is a synonym for crippled and damaged. I offer this rewrite.

“Disabling an enemy warship is not enough; it must be destroyed.”

Simple, short, and direct. Even a Dalek would smile at that. As for these puppy stories, I urge a vote of no award.

 

Pluviann on The Kingfishers Nest

“The Parliament of Beasts and Birds – John C. Wright” – June 1

The ‘The Parliament of the Beasts and Birds’ is a beautifully written work. It opens with some excellent scene setting. Look at how wonderfully crafted this description is: ….

So, all in all, it was a bit odd. There are some very minor quibbles I can make: the past tense of shine is shone when the verb is intransitive. And Fox trying to wriggle out being called a thief by protesting that he stole meat not animals doesn’t really make sense. But overall, it was well done. The story started strong, meandered along fairly slowly but amusingly, and then took a decided turn for the strange at the end.

 

Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Hugo Thoughts, Novels” – June 1

I’ve been reading my Hugo packet. Over the weekend I finished The Goblin Emperor and abandoned all hope of reading The Dark Between the Stars. I’ll discuss why and what that means for Hugos below.

My problem with Stars was that I lost track of who was who in the zoo. Nearly every chapter brought new characters, with new conflicts. There were at least three main plot lines opened, and no obvious link between them. Also, I kept feeling that I was missing important bits of back-story, namely the war and relationships between the humans and the aliens.

Now, Goblin Emperor is by no means light reading. It has name issues, in that characters have different names and titles based on marital status and age. Having said that, I found it much less opaque. This was for two reasons – one, Sarah Monette (Addison is an open pen name) kept the point-of-view to one character, who as an outsider needed to have stuff explained to him. Second, the story was not set in a world where there were seven previous books written.

 

Russell Blackford

“Some more on the 2015 Hugo Voting Packet” – June 1

2. Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery – written by Curtis J. Weibe and illustrated by Roc Upchurch (nominated for Best Graphic Story). This bawdy fantasy romp, set in a Tolkienesque secondary universe complete with elves, orcs, and trolls, entertained me from beginning to end. The characters who make up the eponymous Rat Queens – a band of magical (female) adventurers – are unfailingly fun to watch, and are strongly distinguished in their individual designs and personalities. The action is fast-paced, and I’m all for the non-stop violence and low comedy. It’s a hoot, but does it have sufficient gravitas to merit a Hugo Award? Debatable, perhaps… but I wouldn’t be wanting to stand in its way. I rate it a bit below the next item, but it has its attractions.

3. Saga Volume Three – written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples (nominated for Best Graphic Story). Here we have a potential winner. I rate it below Ms. Marvel, but an earlier volume of this complicated, engaging space opera has already won a Hugo Award (in 2013). The characters are worth caring about; the storyline is intriguing; and the overall narrative, when it’s complete, could become a classic of its kind.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Sad Puppies Review Books: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” – June 1

alexander

Reviewed by John Z. Upjohn, USMC (Aspired)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is the tale of a young man persecuted past the point of all reason. Only in the sick world of so-called Social Justice would he be held up as a comic figure rather a tragic one to be rescued or, failing that, avenged.

Our story begins when the main character wakes up with gum in his hair. Yet when he went to sleep, it was safely and responsibly in his mouth, where gum belongs. I am sure the SJWs would say that it is his fault for chewing gum in the first place, that he was somehow “asking for it”. They hate victim blaming until the victim is a white straight “CIS-MALE” and then suddenly everything is the victim’s fault. I ask you, is this morality where a person is always wrong 100% based on the gender and race?

If you say it is Alexander’s fault that the gum wound up in his hair, then you are saying he shouldn’t have had it in his mouth. If you are saying that he shouldn’t have had it in his mouth, you are saying he shouldn’t be allowed to chew gum. Who are you to say that he shouldn’t chew gum just because he is a straight white male, or as normal people who don’t notice sex or race would say, a normal person?