Pixel Scroll 2/24/16 Happy Jack Wasn’t Tall But He Was A Scroll

(1) PAID REVIEW WORTH IT? Jeb Kinnison evaluates Kirkus Reviews’ reception of sf.

So I was leery of spending my publisher’s money to get a Kirkus review done. The review was glowing, but without the coveted star that tends to get notice from other reviewers and purchasing agents. I was interested in how they had treated other genre books, so I did a quick survey.

It appears that in the past, Kirkus assigned reviewers who were less than sympathetic to the book’s genre and intended audience. This review [of GHOST by John Ringo] made me laugh: …

But other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln? This is Ringo. His books aren’t likely to be accidentally purchased by people like the reviewer, so the review is useless for deciding which violent testosterone-infused male fantasy adventure book to buy for people who enjoy that sort of thing.

One of the best writers of science fiction and fantasy, Lois McMasters Bujold, never got a starred review from Kirkus. Here’s the summary of their review of middle Miles Vorkosigan in Mirror Dance: “A well-conceived series, solidly plotted and organized, though heavy going in places and, finally, lacking that spark of genuine originality that would blazon it as truly special.” Kind of missing the point, no?

(2) DOCTOR WHO PUN OPPORTUNITY. We ought to be able to do something with a character who is married to River, and whose series will be hstreamed on Amazon Prime beginning in March.

Welp, it wasn’t the longest of national nightmares, but now it appears it is over. Last week, I wrote about how and where you could watch Doctor Who following its abrupt pulling from streaming services on February 1 of this year. But it wasn’t to last, it seems; Amazon announced today via their Twitter that Series 1-8 of the show will be back on their Prime streaming service beginning in March.

(3) WHEN DID YOU FIRST SUSPECT? I got a kick out of Sarah A. Hoyt’s “Ten Signs That You Might Be A Novel’s Character” at Mad Genius Club. Number 10 and the Bonus sign are especially funny.

1- Nothing is ever easy, nor simple.  Say you are walking across the street to get a gallon of milk.  A rare make of car will almost run you down.  The store that sells the milk will be out of milk. You’ll have to walk across the most dangerous area of town to get to the next store.

This means someone is making you terminally interesting….

(4) FROM REJECTION TO ANGRY ROBOT. Peter Tieryas details “My Experience Publishing With Angry Robot” at Fantasy-Faction.

My journey to being a writer almost never happened. With my new book, United States of Japan, coming out, I wanted to reflect on how I got here and what it’s been like working with the fantastic Angry Robot Books.

Perfect Edge

Back in 2009, almost seven years before I joined the robot army, I’d gotten so many short story rejections, I wondered if I was even meant to be a writer. While I’d had a series of short stories published when I was younger, there’d been a gap of about five years where I’d only gotten one piece accepted. I was devastated when I received that issue and found all sorts of typos and formatting errors in my story. What I thought would be a brief moment of victory had been ruined…..

As the decision to publish was made by the whole of Angry Robot and Watkins Media staff, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It took USJ about four months to get to “acquisitions” which is the meeting where they make their choice to “acquire” or not. I got an email from Phil the week of the acquisition meeting telling me when it was going to happen. I could not sleep the night before and kept on hitting refresh on my emails, awaiting final word. The notification came from Phil on March 5, 2015 with a simple subject line: “You’re in.” Even though it was late, I got up and started dancing in what might be better described as an awkward fumbling of my hips.

(5) HOLLYWOOD READIES SF/F MOVIES. News of three different sf/f film projects appears in Deadline’s story “Ava DuVernay Set To Direct Disney’s ‘A Wrinkle In Time’; Script By ‘Frozen’s Jennifer Lee”.

EXCLUSIVE: Selma director Ava DuVernay has just been set by Disney to direct A Wrinkle In Time, an adaptation of the 1963 Newbery Medal-winning Madeleine L’Engle fantasy classic novel that has a script by Oscar-winning Frozen writer and co-director Jennifer Lee. Deadline revealed February 8 that DuVernay had been offered this film and was also in the mix at DreamWorks for Intelligent Life, a sci-fi thriller scripted by Colin Trevorrow and his Jurassic World collaborator Derek Connolly. DuVernay now has the offer on that film and is in negotiations on a pic that has 12 Years A Slave Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o attached to a fable about a UN worker in a department designed to represent mankind if there was ever contact with aliens, who falls for a mystery woman who turns out to be one. That film is produced by Frank Marshall, Trevorrow and Big Beach principals Peter Saraf and Marc Turtletaub.

(6) TRUST & SAFETY. Here’s Twitter’s announcement of the Trust & Safety Council in case you want more info, tweeted February 9. It lists all the members of the Council. (Somebody may have put that in a comment here already.)

As we develop products, policies, and programs, our Trust & Safety Council will help us tap into the expertise and input of organizations at the intersection of these issues more efficiently and quickly. In developing the Council, we are taking a global and inclusive approach so that we can hear a diversity of voices from organizations including:

  • Safety advocates, academics, and researchers focused on minors, media literacy, digital citizenship, and efforts around greater compassion and empathy on the Internet;
  • Grassroots advocacy organizations that rely on Twitter to build movements and momentum;
  • Community groups with an acute need to prevent abuse, harassment, and bullying, as well as mental health and suicide prevention.

We have more than 40 organizations and experts from 13 regions joining as inaugural members of the Council. We are thrilled to work with these organizations to ensure that we are enabling everyone, everywhere to express themselves with confidence on Twitter.

(7) AXANAR SUIT DEVELOPMENT. Inverse discusses why “Paramount Must Explain ‘Star Trek’ in Court or Lose Ownership”.

Enter the lawyers. Obviously, they can claim to own Star Trek because they acquired the series from Lucille Ball’s Desilu Productions in the late 1960s. Now they’ve been merged with CBS and that’s how we’re getting both a new TV series and a continuing film franchise. But the Axanar team has a card up its sleeve.

The Paramount lawsuit claims that this infringes upon “thousands of copyrights” and the Axanar team has asked the simple question: “Which ones?” Because Star Trek now exists over several different universes, time periods, and casts, it’s not so simple. The universe is so spread out, it is almost impossible to define what Star Trek actually is. To that end, the burden is on Paramount to explain what Star Trek is — in a legal sense.

(8) CLIFF AMOS OBIT. Louisville fan Cliff Amos passed away February 22 after a long battle with heart disease. Bob Roehm wrote a fine appreciation on Facebook:

Louisville fan Cliff Amos passed away February 22. Cliff was the founder of Louisville fandom, creating both the Falls of the Ohio Science Fiction Association (FoSFA) and RiverCon. I first met Cliff around 1970 while he was teaching a free university course in SF at the University of Louisville. We had both separately attended the St. Louis worldcon the year before, but had not met. Seeing an announcement of the Free U. meeting, I began attending the weekly gatherings. A year… or two later, the local fan club was organized and in 1975 Cliff chaired the first RiverCon (combined with DeepSouthCon that year). Cliff continued to head RiverCons for several years and was a regular at Midwestcon and Kubla Khan. He was given the Southern Fandon Confederation Rebel Award in 1979, and also chaired the second NASFiC, NorthAmeriCon, that year. His interests were certainly wide-ranging and eclectic (for example, he once appeared on Tom Snyder’s late night talk show as warlock Solomon Weir), and he will be missed by his many friends both within and without the science fiction community. There will no funeral service or visitation but a memorial wake is being arranged for the near future (probably this coming Sunday); details forthcoming.

(9) GAMBLE OBIT. Australian childrens’ book artist Kim Gamble passed away February 19 at the age of 63.

Tashi cover

The much-loved, award-winning artist is known for illustrating the best-selling Tashi books, written by mother and daughter authors Barbara and Anna Fienberg.

Gamble created the lively, elfin boy with the towering curl of hair and gypsy earrings, who looked nothing like the authors initially imagined, more than 20 years ago….

Anna Fienberg called Gamble’s imagination “a magic gift which he shared with the world”….

“Working with Kim was like learning a new way to see. It was perhaps the magical appearance of Tashi that inspired us to go deeper into the mythical land of dragons, witches, giants, ogres … the world lying beneath.”

…Gamble’s favourite book as a child was Moominsummer Madness, by Finnish writer Tove Jansson, and artists he admired included Marc Chagall and Odilon Redon.

When asked about the success of the Tashi series, Gamble said, “It’s very popular because he’s the smallest kid in the class and in every story he’s up against the odds … and he uses his head, he doesn’t fight to get out of the problem. I think kids really just enjoy how cleverness beats brawn.”

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born February 24, 1786 — Wilhelm Grimm, historian and, with his brother Jacob, compiler of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
  • Born February 24, 1947 — Edward James Olmos

(11) MORE MARK OSHIRO COMMENTARY. Mark Oshiro updated his Facebook readers about the response to his complaint about sexual harassment at ConQuesT.

3) MidAmeriCon II was the first to make a public statement, which you can find on their Twitter account. I wasn’t expecting a response from them, so I appreciated a very direct message about their commitment to safety for this year’s WorldCon. I *am* going to be at WorldCon, even if some of the people who were responsible at ConQuesT are on staff/the board. WorldCon has become a tradition for me because it was my first introduction to this community, so I will be there and be on programming. Say hello if you like!

4) Chris Gerrib was the first to apologize to me, and I appreciated and accepted the apology. I respect that he did so without being asked to.

5) Yesterday, Kristina Hiner sent me an apology. I am keeping it private because I see no reason to publish it. It is a *very* good apology, and I accepted it, too. I am very thankful for her response, and more so than anyone else, she was the only person I really *wanted* an apology from. I have also informed her that at this point, I actually don’t need each of the complaints followed up on at this point. It seems redundant to me. Everyone knows about the post now, and I don’t need an apology from anyone else. I just wanted someone to inform these people that their behavior was unwelcoming, rude, or hostile. I’ve now done that, so I think the board and ConQuesT can devote time and energy to future conventions instead of last year’s.

Mikki Kendall used the discussion about Oshiro to launch her post “On Bad Cons & How You Kill An Event in Advance”.

I get invited to a lot of cons that have a diversity problem. I also get a lot of requests from cons that claim to want to create anti harassment policies. Aside from my feelings on an expectation that I donate hours of work to strangers for events I have no interest in attending, there’s the sad reality that many small cons are so entrenched on reinventing the wheel they’ve missed the window to do better. Younger fans, fans of color, disabled fans…they don’t have to keep going to cons that aren’t welcoming to be able to connect with other fans. They can go to the big commercial cons, to the smaller cons that do get it & to social media for their community needs. So no, they won’t keep giving cons with bad reps chance after chance. They won’t be patient with serial offenders or the places that enable them. Why should they donate that time & energy to some place that doesn’t want them, that thinks they deserve to be hazed, deserve to be mistreated in order to prove something to bigots?

Bluntly? Most small cons will age out of existence because of bad behavior, because of a focus on the past that prioritizes the social mores of the dead over the actual experiences of the living.

(12) THE LIGHT’S BACK ON. The Wertzone says Pacific Rim 2 re-greenlit for 2018”.

It was on, off and now back on again. Universal and Legendary Pictures are moving ahead with Pacific Rim 2, probably for a 2018 release date….

This has unfortunately meant that Guillermo Del Toro will be unable to return to direct, having already moved on to other projects. However, Del Toro will still co-write (with Jon Spaihts) and produce the movie. The new director is Steven S. DeKnight, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer veteran who went on to create Spartacus and is currently working on Netflix’s Daredevil. The film will be DeKnight’s directorial debut.

(13) THIS COULD RUIN ANDY WEIR’S SEQUEL. This video argues we can reach relativistic speeds using new technologies.

Imagine getting to Mars in just 3 days… or putting points beyond our solar system within our reach. New propulsion technologies could one day take us to these cosmic destinations making space travel truly interstellar! NASA 360 joins Professor Philip Lubin, University of California Santa Barbara, as he discusses his NASA Innovative Advanced Concept (NIAC) for energy propulsion for interstellar exploration.

 

(14) ADMIT IT, YOU DO. Motherboard asks, “Why Do We Feel So Bad When Boston Dynamics’ New Robot Falls Down?”

Even though all the things the engineers do to mess with the robot are done to showcase its ability to correct itself, recover from falls, and persevere in performing tasks, the human tendency to anthropomorphize non-sentient objects is so strong as to override our common-sense knowledge that Atlas is an object incapable of feeling. Engineers commonly kick robots to demonstrate their ability to recover, and it always feels a tiny bit cruel. It’s a strange quirk of the brain—though the tendency is stronger in some people than in others.

(15) A LONG TIME AGO IN DOG YEARS. Some Sad Puppies writing on Facebook are grieved that I have not excerpted Stephanie S.’ “Opening a Moderate Conversation on Fandom with ‘Standback’” atThe Right Geek.

Let’s talk first about what I like to call the “pre-history” of the Sad Puppies. For the past fifteen years (at least), the character of fandom has shifted in a way that many Puppies find very troubling — and by the way, for the vast majority of our number, this has nothing to do with race, gender, or sexuality. A significant number of us are women who accept the precepts of first wave feminism at the very least. A number of us are “people of color.” And a number of us are gay or, at minimum, amenable to leaving gay people alone to live their lives as they see fit. No — what has disturbed the Puppies is the increasingly strident tone that many fans have adopted in support of their favored cultural and political causes. In our perception, the vague “codes of conduct,” the “shit lists,” the pilings on, the endless internet flame-wars, and the non-falsifiable accusations of racism/sexism/homophobia/etc. have all created an environment that is extraordinarily hostile to points of view that don’t hew to a particular left-wing party line. The result? We’ve felt unwelcome and stomped on for what, to our mind, should be recognized as sincere and well-meant differences of opinion.

Over the same time frame, the Puppies have also become concerned about the artistic direction of our field. The “Human Wave” movement, the “Superversive” movement, and the more generalized complaints about “message fic” and “grey goo” that started gaining steam before last year’s Sad Puppies campaign are all flailing attempts by the Puppies to describe the flatness we’ve perceived in many recent award winners — particularly in the shorter fiction categories, where the stylistic sophistication and emotional catharsis beloved by creative writing professors and MFA programs the world over appear to be crowding out more accessible stories with identifiable plots and recognizably science-fictional ideas.

(16) EDIT AND GET CREDIT. Michael J. Martinez singles out for praise and award consideration five editors who worked on his fiction in 2015.

Yes, these are editors I’ve worked with. Each one of them has contributed both to the quality of my work as well as my ever-ongoing education as a writer. They are also lovely humans, which goes a very long way with me.

(17) ANY SUFFICIENTLY ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY. Radio Times found a very funny site: “Someone is pretending to be the IT guy at Hogwarts and it’s hilarious”.

Let’s be honest: magic is great and everything, but if Hogwarts didn’t have WiFi, we probably wouldn’t be so interested.

A Tumblr account called The Setup Wizard took this premise and ran with it. The blog is the fictionalised account of an American muggle named Jonathan Dart working as Hogwarts’ first IT guy. The somewhat grumpy character is constantly solving problems and handling the struggles of being a Muggle in a magic world.

How is it that the first person in this school I’ve successfully been able to explain network bandwidth to is the 500 year old partially decapitated ghost?

Today I taught a centaur how to use a hands free Bluetooth headset. Apparently he really felt the need to make phone calls while wielding a bow and arrow.

[Thanks to Will R., Michael J. Walsh, Reed Andrus, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

892 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/24/16 Happy Jack Wasn’t Tall But He Was A Scroll

  1. then we’ve got a significant amount of common ground.

    Divided by a shared interest.

  2. In short, you are imposing the moral values of your political religion on people whose morality comes from ‘God’ and not postructuralist philosophers.

    As someone who teaches and studies philosophy, here’s some needed, Biblical advice: “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”–Proverbs 17:28.

  3. Brian Z on March 1, 2016 at 2:29 am said:

    The reclones are an idea further developed from Home Fires, sure, and I believe Home Fires is the superior book – but what he did with it here is still chilling and to my knowledge completely original. I’ll have a think about why I seem to have found the noir narrator conceit more successful than you did. Perhaps one reason I thought it worked is that the structure of this story was made deceptively simple and yet it still packed the usual Wolfe punch.

    I still haven’t read Home Fires (or Pirate Freedom).
    What I was getting at was the way A Borrowed Man seemed to echo The Land Across and The Sorcerer’s House.
    Weird House – that needs to be explored and which contains mysteries that aren’t really resolved.
    Missing father character – who also has to be looked for.

    I’d feel happier if he said overtly that these three books are a trilogy about the same thing. Partly because of that way Wolfe makes you feel like you are missing the point and hence has you scrabbling around looking for it

    Yes the borrowing people from a library is an interesting idea but it really didn’t make a lot of sense in the society he describes (particularly as nobody really seems that keen on borrowing any of these people) and so it only works on a metaphorical level. There is more to world building than interesting ideas and I don’t think Wolfe really cred that much about that idea. To me it felt more like he wanted to tell the ur-story he has been trying to get at (the weird house with the missing father) but this time in a 1950s science fiction short story with one of those 1950s short story ‘wouldn’t it be crazy if…’ like premises.

  4. @Lis Carey Thank you for the extended reply.

    Okay. As you’ve seen me discussing earlier in the thread, my taste in fiction and that of Worldcon voters doesn’t necessarily align. In some cases, I’ve wondered how the heck something got nominated unless the author had an active Twitter feed and lots of friends with Worldcon memberships. The Day The World Turned Upside Down was particularly excreable. The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere reads like a mediocre piece of MFA student work (I know, I’ve read plenty). Neither compares to good literary fiction.

    My view is that the short fiction market is generating both a glut of work and a paucity of professional-quality work, and – thus – it’s increasingly hard for short stories to reach the nomination threshold, or for good work to be identified and promoted by a large number of people. The votes are spread too thin. There has also been a lot of discussion (I linked to some essays above) about whether the genre is ‘tired’, ‘exhausted’ or ‘backward-looking’.

    It is not unreasonable for someone with a different taste in fiction, in a different culture, with different political views, to come to the opinion that the rubbish work with gay, female or minority narrators and/or authors has been nominated *solely* to celebrate the author and/or narrator. There has been, after all, a lot of praise of diversity and expressions of boredom with straight white male protagonists. The trite solution is to nominate better short fiction and then no one can question *why* the work was nominated. Having read a lot of short fiction this year, I appreciate this is less easy than it looks.

    Is there any evidence that JCW is violent? Or has threatened someone’s life or health at a con? He’s not doing himself any favours ranting about tire irons, that goes without saying, but you’re claiming here that his incoherent one-liner about tire irons is a credible physical threat by JCW himself. Or else is so compelling an incitement to violence that someone else would be inspired to go out and beat people up. Do you think people are that easily swayed?

    Had Vox Day said ‘I love spree killers. Mass murder rocks’, then you’d have had a point. His actual argument was that the immigration situation in Europe/Scandinavia would have such severe future impacts that political violence by Brevik was justified. You can – and I would – argue that that isn’t the case and political violence was not remotely justified in that situation. However, the view that political violence is *sometimes* justified is not, in of itself, morally abhorrent. We have many cultural heroes who committed political violence.

    I would question, also, why exactly the Sad Puppies should disassociate themselves from Vox Day given they’re having an argument about fiction. People are not responsible for the political views of their publisher, the authors of the books they read, their fans, their work colleagues, their boss, and so on. They can, in good conscience, decide not to read or associate with certain people, but that’s their choice and they shouldn’t expect anyone else to share in their decision.

  5. FY’all’s I – I just checked out “The Sorcerer’s House” on Amazon (US) and it’s $2.99 for the Kindle version.

  6. Vivienne Raper:

    In all honesty, please FUCK OFF! We do not need a Beale-apologist who defends his statements avout Breivik. You can go to hell for all I care. Just shut up and leave the terroristlover by himself.

  7. Vivienne Raper, Had Vox Day said ‘I love spree killers. Mass murder rocks’, then you’d have had a point. His actual argument was that the immigration situation in Europe/Scandinavia would have such severe future impacts that political violence by Brevik was justified. You can – and I would – argue that that isn’t the case and political violence was not remotely justified in that situation. However, the view that political violence is *sometimes* justified is not, in of itself, morally abhorrent. We have many cultural heroes who committed political violence.

    Vivienne, you may have many cultural heroes who deliberately went out of their way to systematically kill children.

    I do not.

    No do I find the deliberate and systematic murder of children to be “political violence”.

    Your mileage, obviously, varies.

    Cassy

  8. @Hampus I’m trying to explain the damn argument. Explaining an argument isn’t apologising for it. I don’t think Brevik was justified, alright? Mass murder is not okay. It may be morally justified in some circumstances – Nelson Mandela’s MK being one – but even that’s debatable. There’s a reason why Gandhi is regarded as a nice guy.

    Can we all go back to talking about fiction now, please? I prefer to discuss the Puppies in the context of indie publishing, pulp fiction and Hugo nominee processes. It’s less inflammatory and more likely to generate thoughtful discussion.

  9. People are not responsible for the political views of their publisher, the authors of the books they read, their fans, their work colleagues, their boss, and so on.

    Shorter VR: “Why should people disassociate themselves from neo-fascists? Mussolini made the trains run on time.”

  10. @Vivienne Raper: “Pray tell, what are those things [‘rampant homophobia, disenfranchisement of women, religious / racial bigotry’] apart from oversimplified political views?

    Since when is bigotry a political view?

    And from a later message:

    Is there any evidence that JCW is violent? Or has threatened someone’s life or health at a con? He’s not doing himself any favours ranting about tire irons, that goes without saying, but you’re claiming here that his incoherent one-liner about tire irons is a credible physical threat by JCW himself.

    Oh, so it’s okay to advocate physical violence, as long as you aren’t the one actually committing it? Ridiculous.

    Had Vox Day said ‘I love spree killers. Mass murder rocks’, then you’d have had a point. His actual argument was that the immigration situation in Europe/Scandinavia would have such severe future impacts that political violence by Brevik was justified.

    How lovely for you, that you can regard the mass murder of children as even arguably justifiable “political violence” and somehow decouple praise for that act from praise for mass murder.

    I would question, also, why exactly the Sad Puppies should disassociate themselves from Vox Day given they’re having an argument about fiction.

    Because he’s a reprehensible thug, and that doesn’t change according to the topic under discussion. I also have no desire to exchange apple pie recipes with David Duke, nor engage in a discussion of musical trends with Charles Manson. Once someone crosses a certain line, there truly is no return to the ranks of civilized society.

    And yes, you are acting as a Beale apologist. You are trying to soften his stances into something more palatable to his opponents in hopes of getting those people to see them more favorably. That is precisely what an apologist does.

    @Isabel Cooper: “Count me as another person not interested in “getting on” with anyone who believes that my lifestyle, or those of my friends, are an offense against Nature or that we don’t deserve bodily autonomy. Hell, I’m not particularly interested in “getting on” with anyone who believes that the solution to systemic economic inequality is for poor people to just work harder, or who looks at a classroom full of dead first-graders and whines about their rights and traditions.”

    Me, um, fifth? (Although I will distinguish the second sentence from the first as being more of a political view, since that’s kinda my point here. Doesn’t change my agreement with you on all points.)

  11. @Vivienne

    No one needs VDs pathetic justifications for mass murder repeating ad nauseam.

  12. Is there any evidence that JCW is violent?

    In addition to his famous tire iron comment, he did express regret at not punching an invalid Terry Pratchett in the face, and penned an essay fantasizing about going down to the D.C. comics offices with an unruly mob and lynching the staff members there so the mob members could all dance and cavort while their victims died. JCW has an established pattern of conjuring up violent fantasies. People who do that often seem to start acting out on them at some point.

  13. @Vivienne Raper
    You keep bringing the politics in. The puppy leaders brought the American cultural wars in. We could do without them* in Worldcons and Hugos.

    We’d prefer if others didn’t bring politics into every book discussion. We certainly don’t need anyone explaining VDs crazy arguments for child killing murderers discussed here. People here were directly affected by that murder spree.

    If you could discuss books without dragging politics in we’d end up discussing books more. Although after that last just explaining the damn argument you may have lost some filers goodwill.

    *American cultural war

  14. @Rev Bob. I’m trying to create an environment in which it’s possible to separate the guy’s publishing house from his political views because – actually – I like a fair amount of their military SF and JCW’s fantasy books. Having looked at his RP2 ‘slate’, I liked some of his recommendations (e.g. Asymmetric Warfare). I like the wargame blogging on the CH website and the reviews of old fiction.

    You are genuinely treating SF&F authors as though they are prominent politicians or activists with the clout of such, and a similar ability to create widespread political change. You may be right in the case of Vox Day’s alt-right political activities, but I doubt it, and you’re certainly not correct with JCW. He’s a fantasy writer with an incoherent blog. He’s not a former leader of the KKK. He’s never stood for election AFAIK. He’s not a mass murderer.

    I personally do not want to live in a society where individuals are seen as having the destructive power of political parties, or where words are seen as interchangeable with physical violence. That would be an evil world.

    @Tasha I can argue with you forever about when politics entered SF&F. It’s probably always been there, but I agree with you. I’d rather not discuss VD’s views on Brevik because it upsets Hampus who is a regular. Once those views are mentioned, I prefer to explain what they are because then I can explain _why_ I find them abhorrent rather than just using vague ‘isms’. Unfortunately, some people abuse ‘ist’ and ‘ism’ words to such an extent that it’s important to clarify the views in question – in many case, it’s more debatable than VD’s views.

  15. I’m trying to create an environment in which it’s possible to separate the guy’s publishing house from his political views because – actually – I like a fair amount of their military SF and JCW’s fantasy books.

    You will fail, for two reasons. First, the product of his publishing house is driven by his political views, such as JCW’s often hateful and bigoted Transhuman and Subhuman. Second, because there’s a lot of fiction out there, and no one actually needs to support the work of bigoted shitstains like Beale and JCW in order to have plenty of material to read.

  16. @Vivienne: And I like “The Dunwich Horror,” but Lovecraft was a virulent racist.

    It’s fine to enjoy works by vile human beings–“talent” and “being a shitty excuse for a person” are not mutually exclusive, q.v. Polanski, RH, etc–and while I myself refuse to contribute to their upkeep, that’s a decision everyone has to make, and I’m not going to judge people for their purchasing habits.

    But you can enjoy the work without apologizing for the person, and maybe you should do that? Because those guys are in fact bigoted shitstains who praise the mass murder of children, I don’t really wish to disassociate them from that, and I for one would find “Yes, they’re awful, but sometimes they produce good work,” a lot less offensive than But Can’t We All Just Get Along? At least it’s less disingenuous.

  17. Can we all go back to talking about fiction now, please? I prefer to discuss the Puppies in the context of indie publishing, pulp fiction and Hugo nominee processes. It’s less inflammatory and more likely to generate thoughtful discussion.

    I don’t think the horse is going back into that bottle. The whole puppies project was initiated as a political project, using politics as their vector to propogate their claims. It’s a bit much to wonder why the people at the receiving end consequently won’t stop going on about their damn politics.

    One doesn’t have to think JCW is physically threatening anyone to find what he says morally repugnant enough to wonder why or how the people who give him the time of day are willing to overlook them.

    I can’t possible imagine why you think your restatement of VD’s argument makes it in any way palatable or a jot less reprehensible. There will come a time when that kind of murder spree will be rightly applauded? It’s both scare-mongering and a threat and a leering kind of ‘you’ll only have yourselves to blame’ that’s quite nauseating.

    Since the Puppies were always political, I fail to see how we are not to judge them by the politics of their leaders. Despite what you said in an earlier reply to me, there is politics is not a rarefied arena of cordially competing ideas, it is real, has real ramifications and can be enormously bitter and divisive, and people are under no obligation to make allowances for other people who hold political ideas they find reprehensible. And never have been. Political rancour is not a recent fannish novelty that leaves the rest of the world puzzled as to how these people with different views can’t seem to get on.

  18. Not to mention the main reason VD is unwelcomed in many circles isn’t so much for his views (bad as they are), but because he used his position in the SFWA to promote his views. No one would have any clue what he believed if he hadn’t used his position to promote them. But he did and they were bigoted in the extreme as well as racist attacks on other members of the sci-fi community and unsurprisingly most people want nothing to do with him.

    Similar arguments can be made about most of, if not all of, the other Puppy leaders.

    As always, Ms. Raper is willfully, I daresay deliberately, obtuse.

  19. @Vivienne

    Hampus didn’t tell you to fuck off because he objected to the political views in question. Get a clue.

  20. @Vivienne Raper: “I’m trying to create an environment in which it’s possible to separate [VD]’s publishing house from his political views”

    Considering he established his publishing house specifically to advance his political views, you are doomed to failure in this endeavor.

    You are genuinely treating SF&F authors as though they are prominent politicians or activists with the clout of such, and a similar ability to create widespread political change.

    False. I don’t give a rat’s ass how much (or how little) clout/ability someone has. That has absolutely no bearing on the repugnance of his opinions. Someone whose physical infirmities prevent them from acting on their desire to kill people does not magically gain virtue. His opinions do not become harmless or less foul through his inability to translate them into deeds.

    At this point, I strongly suggest that you meditate upon the First Rule of Holes before responding again – to me, or to anyone else here. I believe such contemplation would serve you well.

  21. You are genuinely treating SF&F authors as though they are prominent politicians or activists with the clout of such, and a similar ability to create widespread political change

    No, we really aren’t. We are taking them at their word, which appears to be poor form, or something.

  22. @Vivienne Raper: “I’m trying to create an environment in which it’s possible to separate [VD]’s publishing house from his political views”

    Hmm, well then I think we can evaluate that attempt as counter-productive to its stated aim.

  23. @Isabel

    Okay. I generally separate political views from personality, and from work, mainly because – in my experience – some very kind, generous people can have some very disagreeable political views**. And, yes, if they’re artists, they can produce good work too. I take your point though. And I certainly don’t expect everyone to get along 🙂

    ** I’m talking in the abstract, not about the Hugos/ fandom/the Puppies.

    [NB: I’m disappearing off the thread now as I’ve derailed it from the interesting book discussion, and I’d prefer it went back there].

  24. It’s not always that a person with violent fantasies eventually acts them out. To me, it’s more that when this person recounts these violent fantasies over and over, they may eventually cause someone else to act out. Like Fox News: “We just accuse people over and over… it’s up to our unstable viewers to decide what to do about them!” Just ask doctors at Planned Parenthood in the South, if you can still find any.

    See also: “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”
    See also: Billy Graham’s fatwa against John Lennon.

  25. Okay. I generally separate political views from personality,

    But there’s a lot of other stuff going on, driven by personalities who are driven by their politics. If they’d made it just about the works, this wouldn’t have been a kerfuffle. It still might have amounted to a kerf, though, admittedly.

  26. @Vivienne
    Yes I’ve pointed out politics have always existed in Fandom. So we agree on that point. Yippee

    I’m trying to create an environment in which it’s possible to separate the guy’s publishing house from his political views

    I don’t think you are in the right place for that.

    1. He got into publishing to promote his views.

    2. Many of us on file770 are quite comfortable Not separating artist from their espoused views. This is different from political views.

    1. Political view: my religion is against gay marriage & I think that should be the law of the land so I’ll vote legally to keep it so
    A. JCW states its natural for males to want to beat gays with a tire iron
    B. Orson Scott Card sunk money into other countries which were into killing gays and broke agreements/laws not to do certain advertising in the US

    BTW you might consider when talking about mass murderers whether someone might know the victims before being all theoretical. Use critical thinking if you don’t have empathy to consider the possibility.

  27. Vivienne Raper:

    Had Vox Day said ‘I love spree killers. Mass murder rocks’, then you’d have had a point. […] However, the view that political violence is *sometimes* justified is not, in of itself, morally abhorrent. We have many cultural heroes who committed political violence.

    Yes, political violence is sometimes justified. But this does not mean that all justifications are morally equal.

    Beale’s argument was that political violence is justified against political opponents in a functioning democracy. There’s an abyss between “it’s OK when the goal is to overthrow a violent dictator” and “it’s OK when the goal is to overthrow a democratically elected government”. If you don’t see that abyss, then I feel really sorry for you. (And I honestly have a bit of a problem seeing how that is completely different from “mass murder rocks”.)

    I would question, also, why exactly the Sad Puppies should disassociate themselves from Vox Day given they’re having an argument about fiction.

    Except that they are also – according to themselves – having an argument about politics.

    Seriously, when your best defense of the puppies is to completely misrepresent them, then maybe you should stop defending them?

  28. Okay. I generally separate political views from personality, and from work,

    Except in the case of the Puppies in general, and Castalia House specifically, you can’t really do that. Many of the Puppies works were pushed for the Hugo ballot for explicitly political reasons, and many of them were explicitly political works. Castalia House explicitly exists in order to advance its owner’s political goals. The Puppy campaign and the Puppy works were absolutely drenched with politics.

  29. I’m trying to explain the damn argument.

    I don’t think anyone needs the argument explained. We understand the argument. Many here find it repellent, but it’s not because it hasn’t been explained often enough.

    Add to that that explaining the argument involves trying to find logic and reason in the position of people supporting the guy who tried to murder people Hampus knows personally, well, not really a winning approach.

    If you don’t want to talk about politics, don’t. If you want to talk about books, do that. You’ve spent a lot of time talking about politics for someone who doesn’t want to, but you have the power to opine on whatever it is you’d prefer to opine on. Trying to get the last word and asking other people to stop engaging you has rarely worked on the internet; letting it go and talking about something else is remarkably effective.

    Keep in mind that other people may still talk about politics. That’s their choice, since this is a fan site that covers the political flaps in SF as well as the books themselves.

    But you don’t have to respond. You can even build a macro or something, saying “I’d prefer not to talk about politics” and use that as a standard answer when you feel people are trying to engage you on politics.

    It’s under your control. Trying to get others to accommodate you by not talking about stuff you’re not interested in but that they may be, that’s not so much under your control.

  30. @Vivienne Raper: Given the discussions back when some of us were dutifully slogging through what they forced onto the Hugo ballot, trying to get a conversation going about Castalia’s output is a lost cause.

    Here’s my opinion of Castalia: They suck. I saw absolutely nothing in their output that I have read that makes me in the least interested in reading anything else they have put out.

    Fond as I was of the original There Will Be War series, I will not purchase any new entries in that series now that Castalia is publishing them. I have no faith that the editors who will have their hands on them would recognize a good story if it bit them in the ass.

    Castalia is a vanity press publishing half-baked crap written by the friends of the founder.

    I would rather read John Ringo or Stephen R. Donaldson (Coruscate!) than subject myself to anything from Castalia ever again.

  31. @Vivienne Raper:

    It is not unreasonable for someone with a different taste in fiction, in a different culture, with different political views, to come to the opinion that the rubbish work with gay, female or minority narrators and/or authors has been nominated *solely* to celebrate the author and/or narrator.

    Um, yeah, it really is unreasonable. A reasonable course of action would be to ask people who liked the story what they admired or found Hugo-worthy. The unreasonable course of action is to jump to conclusions and assume the majority of fandom is under a collective delusion / involved in a secret voting campaign / collaboratively engaged an an affirmative action program, not bothering to engage in discussion with people who had the work on their ballot.

    I completely believe that somebody could have arrived at that opinion you state, but I cannot agree that doing so involved clear reasoning.

  32. @Vivienne Raper:

    I think you will have trouble convincing people to treat as if neutral someone who has expressed strong admiration for the deliberate coldblooded murder of scores of children at summer camp.

  33. @Hampus Eckerman
    I’d like to send you my support in whatever form is appropriate – virtual hugs, warm thoughts, etc. If there is anything we can do in addition to jumping to your defense please let us know.

  34. @Shao Ping: As always, Ms. Raper is willfully, I daresay deliberately, obtuse.

    Nah. She merely holds Day et al to a lower standard than she does everyone else, and wants others to do the same.

    @Mark: Hampus didn’t tell you to fuck off because he objected to the political views in question. Get a clue

    I doubt that’ll happen. Vivienne is using a definition of “politics” that’s so broad that it’s useless.

  35. Vivienne Raper:

    “I personally do not want to live in a society where individuals are seen as having the destructive power of political parties, or where words are seen as interchangeable with physical violence. That would be an evil world.”

    I live in a county where hate speech is illegal and it is a very nice country compared to some others.

    Tasha: Thank you!

  36. @Camestros

    To me it felt more like he wanted to tell the ur-story he has been trying to get at (the weird house with the missing father) but this time in a 1950s science fiction short story with one of those 1950s short story ‘wouldn’t it be crazy if…’ like premises.

    Sort of. The Sorcerer’s House and A Borrowed Man share the idea of a house linked to something beyond. I guess that’s an idea Wolfe keeps returning to (didn’t it sort of appear in The Shadow of the Torturer?).

    But The Land Across is a Dracula/ghost story set in an alternate modern day Transylvania. Of course it has a couple spooky houses with spooky rooms in them – how could it not. I tried to track down the town Wolfe took inspiration from on Google Maps and I gotta say there sure were a lot of quaint old houses. Not the same thing.

    And a Borrowed Man is not a missing father story. It’s a noir girl asks a detective to solve her father’s murder story. Not very similar.

    I guess I see why the library idea seems contrived to you – but the whole society was contrived and artificial. There were George Jetson cars and robot maids for crying out loud. What’s going to happen when we can grow humans on an industrial scale and clones become a disposable commodity? You gotta wonder if each new batch will be automatically granted the full rights of human citizens.

    And what’s going to happen when brain scans are so fast and cheap that you get it when you go to the doctor for a checkup? That’s just medical data. Google will search it to recommend you products and services. The Feds will make Apple decrypt it in case you’ve ever spoken to a terrorist. Somebody’s gonna hack it. The government will try to put the worms back in the can. Like that old Bruce Sterling line, “They’ll take my Library of Congress when they pry it out of my cold, dead hands.” What will happen when the government falls?

    Wolfe is pushing the envelope the way science fiction stories should. Not his best work. Not even his best of the decade. But Best of the Year? I can’t say I’ve run into five better 2015 novels so far.

  37. Vivienne: Vox Day wants to remove my, and probably your, right to vote. Sure, he has no power to do so, but why does that make his desire to do so palatable?

    And yes, that’s politics. It’s also intensely personal. I find it repugnant and I don’t like to hang out with the repugnant.

    I know and respect a number of conservatives, but there is conservative and then there is bigoted.They are not the same, and pretending they are is a disservice to conservatives. Day is a bigot, full stop.

  38. I don’t agree with Vox Day’s politics or his rhetorical tactics. I’ve read where he called for a policy of halting the flow of refugees into Europe and repatriating or deporting recent migrants. But did he call for violence, or did he say that he thinks there will be more violence if that doesn’t happen?

  39. Bigotry can be a political view.

    That doesn’t make it less reprehensible.

    It’s not calling VD’s misogyny “political” that’s the problem. The problem is insisting that VD’s opinion that women should not have the right to vote or to bodily autonomy is some how equivalent in stakes and acceptability to, say, my next-door neighbor’s opinions on property taxes in Boulder County. Property taxes are, generally, in the main, a subject over which reasonable people of good will may disagree and remain friends. Women’s rights, not so much. I am not going to sit across the table and enjoy a cup of tea in company with someone who considers my status as a human being with agency and rights to be up for debate. Disassociate from them? Hell yes. And also tell everyone I know that his views are vile, reprehensible, and dehumanizing.

    The word “politics” doesn’t act like some sort of magic equalizer, such that one can say “It’s just politics–what a shame you feel you have to disassociate from your fellow fen over politics!

    So, yes, misogyny, racism, and homophobia can very well be political views. That one can describe them as “political” does not make them harmless, moral, acceptable, nor those who hold those views anyone I ought to want to have anything to do with.

  40. Again, I don’t agree with Vox Day’s views on politics or his rhetoric. But I’ve only read something where he advocated a system of direct democracy in which every citizen has a vote. I didn’t see him calling for an end to women’s suffrage. Did he really do that?

  41. Kip W.

    It’s not always that a person with violent fantasies eventually acts them out. To me, it’s more that when this person recounts these violent fantasies over and over, they may eventually cause someone else to act out. Like Fox News: “We just accuse people over and over… it’s up to our unstable viewers to decide what to do about them!” Just ask doctors at Planned Parenthood in the South, if you can still find any.

    There is, in fact, an exact term for this.

  42. I found this on his “other blog.” Why women opposed women’s suffrage.

    Voting is not freedom. And freedom is not best protected by democracy, especially not faux democracy of the sort that involve asking a majority female electorate which of the two con artists on offer they would most prefer to rule over them.

  43. “It’s pretty clear to me that one of the most destructive forces in our society has been women’s suffrage. Women consistently and reliably turn towards government as a solution for perceived problems, which creates more intractable problems, which then is used to justify more government intervention. This process is unlikely to stop until the entire edifice collapses of its own weight.”

    and

    ““the women of America would do well to consider whether their much-cherished gains of the right to vote, work, murder and freely fornicate are worth destroying marriage, children, civilized Western society and little girls.”

    and

    “[F]emale independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills. Using the utilitarian metric favored by most atheists, a few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay for lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime, and demographic stability.”

    So…yeah.

    ETA: Also, I have now had to a) Google “Theodore Beale women’s suffrage” and “Theodore Beale acid”, and b) read that shit, again, and my apartment is not capable of producing enough hot water for the shower I now need. So thanks.

  44. @ Isabel Cooper,

    Thank you. It appears to me that on the migrant issue, he is advocating a policy change similar to Donald Trump et al: halt and reverse the wave of migration to Europe. (Again, I don’t agree with his views or with the offensive rhetorical tactics he employed to make that case.)

    On suffrage, it looks like he is playing Cassandra by predicting the imminent collapse of representative democracy.

    For example, this post in which he restates one of the arguments of the Founding Fathers against women’s suffrage:

    http://voxday.blogspot.com/2014/07/mailvox-contra-suffrage.html

    Events have proven John Adams correct. Free men are accustomed to voluntarily limiting the use of their power and not pushing it to the full extent of its capabilities. Women, to say the least, are not. Just as an angry woman does not pull her punches, women in politics do not restrain their instincts to attempt to control the uncontrollable. Abigail Adams is projecting: she wrongly assumes all men would be tyrants if they could because she knows that is true of herself and other women. And women do not hold themselves bound by laws in any case, regardless of whether they have had voice or representation or not. They are bound by fear.

    This is why a nation that wishes to remain wealthy and free does not permit female involvement in its governance, and why totalitarians from the Italian Fascists to the Soviet Bolsheviks have historically made a priority of female involvement in the political process.

  45. Snugs to all those doing the trolls research for him. How will he grow up and learn to Google if all the nice people keep doing his work for him? 30 seconds searching on Vox day suffrage brought up everything posted by others.

  46. Personally, I am completely unbothered by Day’s games of “I-never-said-that”s. Eric Flint described it beautifully:

    Beale is nothing but a petty chiseler. He chisels when it comes to his opinions, always trying to play peekaboo and slime around defending what he obviously believes.

    …This is a man—say better, pipsqueak—who rails to the heavens about the decline—nay, the imminent doom!—of western civilization due to the savageries of sub-human races and (most of all) the pernicious—nay, Satan-inspired!—willfulness of uppity women, and likes to portray himself as the reincarnation of the feared Crusaders of yore, all the way down to wielding a flaming sword.

    …The world trembles and shakes, just like it does in the imagination of a mouse whenever that mouse imagines itself to be an elephant. Except no mouse who ever lived was this stupid.

  47. @ Tasha, you are so offensively rude to me that I don’t really wish to respond, but perhaps it is important to clarify this.

    I was looking for a concrete statement of a political platform similar to the position on migrants.

    What I found by Googling was more like (sophomoric, in my view) debating tactics from a college debate club where one person speaks for a position and the other tries to find arguments against it.

    When I looked for a specific call to change the political system, I noticed that he didn’t say women shouldn’t vote in his preferred system of direct democracy.

    Again, I disagree with his political views and rhetorical tactics.

  48. By the way, on the question of whether discussing the pros and cons of restricting the right to vote to certain classes of people is within the bounds of acceptable political discourse:

    I was struck by a recent Bernie Sanders town hall forum where a felon stood up and asked what Sanders was going to do about all the Americans who are disenfranchised because they were convicted of a felony offence.

    Sanders launched into an eloquent speech about how it is an outrage that 5.3 million citizens should be denied the right to take part the democratic process. He said that his own state of Vermont doesn’t do that. But at the end he sort of shrugged and admitted that it’s really up to the states.

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