Pixel Scroll 5/30/16 You Only Five Twice

july-1942-patriotic-pulps

(1) MEMORIAL DAY. Honoring service and sacrifice — James H. Burns’ 2015 tribute to the WWII generation:

Yet, one of the biggest influences on that generation has remained generally uncommented on. Decades later, it can almost be viewed as a secret text, or a  vast compendium, that may well have helped prepare our country’s youth for the immense challenges that awaited them.

In the 1930s, during the height of the Great Depression–still the toughest economic calamity that ever faced the United States–ANYONE could tune in, on the radio, to the terrific adventure series, comedies and dramas that were performed LIVE, for national broadcast.

It didn’t matter if you were rich or poor, or what race or creed you encompassed. There was a wide array of delights simply waiting to be discovered….

(2) LLAMA DROP. Kameron Hurley has a book out tomorrow that she expects to be controversial. She recommends several rules of engagement to her readers, beginning with —

Hey, hey folks, my first essay collection, The Geek Feminist Revolution, drops TOMORROW, May 31!

In anticipation of its release, here are some things you should know that I know and some things you should know about how I’ll be comporting myself online during the launch:

  1. Some people (the minority, but oh, what a vocal minority!) will HATE this book, even and especially those who’ve never read it and have never heard of me and have no idea what it’s actually about. I fully anticipate several pile-ons. I expect lots of garbage in my social feeds. But fear not! All of my email is screened, I’ve muted the majority of the worst accounts and keywords on Twitter, and buttoned up other things to ensure this goes as smoothly as possible. I WILL BE FINE. CHIN UP.
  2. This leads us to THIS point, which is: NO WHITE KNIGHTING. All I ask if there’s a pile-on is for you to NOT tag me if you argue with trolls. My troll policy is mute and ignore. I’ve found that very effective. You are, of course, free to argue with whomever you want on the internet, but as a courtesy, I ask that you keep me out of it, or I’ll have to mute you too, and we don’t want that! In related news: DON’T POINT ME TO BAD REVIEWS or TELL ME TO READ TERRIBLE COMMENTS. I mean, unless you’re a troll? But I don’t think you’re a troll. Like, I mean, for real, folks? I never, ever, read the comments, and I’m not going to be reading bad reviews, even funny ones, for months yet. Thank you….

(3) LLAMA THUMBS DOWN. At Fantasy Literature, reviewer Bill Capossere’s verdict is The Geek Feminist Revolution: Just didn’t do it for me”. I’ve heard of “damning with faint praise,” on the other hand, this review is devoted to “damning with faint damns.”They follow after a three-paragraph confession of the expectations he brings to a book of essays.

The pieces certainly aren’t badly written, but there just wasn’t enough there for me, whether in terms of style or content. Often, the thrust of the piece wasn’t all that fresh. What does it take to succeed in writing? Persistence. How does one succeed? One has to be willing to fail. Women are horribly trolled on the net. Writers have a responsibility to consider the impact of how they present their worlds and the people who inhabit them, etc.

Now, I don’t have an issue with covering territory that has been covered extensively for a long time or, in the case of more contemporaneous issues, has been covered extensively elsewhere (well, maybe I have a little issue). But if you’re going to present me content I’ve seen lots of other places or have been reading for some time, then you need to do something else for me. When I talk to my students in creative writing I call this the “so what” issue with non-fiction. You have to give the reader a reason to keep reading something they’ve seen before. Maybe it’s the beauty of the language, maybe it’s the stimulating structure. But something.

With regard to structure, the essays in The Geek Feminist Revolution are almost strictly linear and mostly singularly focused. As for language, it’s adequate for communicating the ideas, but rarely rises above that. It’s conversational, passionate, but nothing will have you linger over the phrasing or is particularly dense with meaning.

(4) CHINA SF CON. Shaoyan Hu’s article at Amazing Stories covers “A Time to Share, a Time to Enjoy – The Closing Ceremony of the 8th Shanghai Science Fiction & Fantasy Festival”.

In the main hall, the ceremony was incorporated with the final stage of a mind contest called ‘Useless Superpowers’, in which the participants were encouraged to come up with ideas of superpowers that had no practical values but could become interesting under certain circumstances. They were requested to present the ideas with any means of their choice, such as videos, pictures, stage performances, and so on.

The winner was a student from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The imaginary superpower he had fabricated was ‘Immovable’, which meant the owner of the power could prevent anything from moving by simply touching it. Now, just imagine, someday in the future, if an asteroid is going to crash into the Earth, guess who will be sent out to the space to stop it?

(5) BALTICON AUTOGRAPH MACHINE. See George R.R. Martin sign and sign and sign in Chris Edwards’ half-minute video on Facebook.

(6) WISCON WARNING. Wondering what happened.

(7) CAPTAIN AMERICA SPOILER WARNING. With the mandatory warning out of the way, here is Brad Torgersen’s warning about violating fans’ expectations for a franchise.

Of course, the whole Captain America = Hydra Nazi thing, is a stunt. It will be eventually written up such that this shocking reveal is just the top-most layer on a plot cake wherein good old Steve is still true-blue American, and so forth. But by then the writers will have gotten what they wanted out of said stunt: attention, eyeballs, chatter, and (theoretically) sales.

Or . . . not?

Sometimes, stunts like this can dramatically backfire. If the audience suspects that it …is being shown contempt (by the creators) then the audience may very well turn its back. Superheroes are treasured icons for fans across the spectrum, and if you mess with those icons too much, you truly are playing with fire.

(8) IN A CAPTAIN CRUNCH. Echoing one of Torgersen’s notions about the fans no longer accepting the authority of the creator, comics veteran Gerry Conway has been besieged by fans trying to tell him the history behind Captain America. Here are a few examples from the Twitter exchange.

However, not everyone is engaging in the Captain America controversy with the same firestorm intensity….

(9) AUDIO BANDERSNATCH. Diana Pavlac Glyer’s Kickstarter funded – in fact, later today it achieved its first stretch goal.

I’m walking on SUNSHINE!! We met our funding goal for “Bandersnatch Goes AUDIO!!” Michael Ward will be narrating this book, and I am absolutely THRILLED. We still have one more day to meet some delicious stretch goals: I’d love to give each and every backer a copy of the 20-page discussion guide, and I’m still wondering if James A. Owen can draw a bandersnatch blindfolded. But for now, here’s the important thing: this is a real dream come true. This  audiobook will really really happen, and I want to thank YOU for taking part. I’m so excited and so, so grateful. WOOT!! Bandersnatch is going AUDIO!!

10) FAMILY REUNION. Fanac.org has uploaded video of “Science Fiction’s 50th Anniversary Family Reunion” from Noreascon 3 (1989). After the Sunday brunch, many of the greats reminisced – including Isaac Asimov, Terry Pratchett, Jack Williamson, Samuel Delany, Fred Pohl, Forry Ackerman, David Kyle, Connie Willis, and others.

(11) IT WAS A NEEDLESS TRAGEDY. The Onion has learned “Leaked Documents Reveal Studio Executives Knew About ‘Gods of Egypt’ Before It Released Onto Public”. Gasp!

Suggesting that the disastrous events of three months ago could have been averted, federal investigators stated Wednesday that a trove of leaked documents confirmed high-ranking studio executives had full knowledge of Gods Of Egypt long before the film was released onto unsuspecting Americans….

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Michael J. Walsh, and Leslie Turek for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

135 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/30/16 You Only Five Twice

  1. About banal or irrelevant superpowers–Surprised nobody has mentioned Stross’s The Annihilation Score, which is sprinkled with the likes of Channel Switching Boy. It also addresses the issue of unregulated super-folk in a much more satisfactory manner than Civil War. The Laundryverse strikes me as much more relevant and scary than anything Marvel Studios has cooked up (as much as I enjoy watching the work of the actors and SFX people they hire).

  2. @alexvdl

    Re: Campbell nominees – I can tell you that DeCastell’s first two books in his Greatcoats series qualify him for consideration. I don’t know what they are putting in the packet. Perhaps you could try the “free sample” over at Amazon?

    I still haven’t seen the official packet notification, so I’ve bought all (5) of the best novel nominees.

    —–

    I’m working on Ancillary Mercy right now and have read all of the other four. FWIW….

    1) Nrebanhg’f Jvaqynff – Zhygvcyr CBI jvgu fbyvq pbaarpgvbaf gb obgu “tbbq” naq “onq” punenpgref. Terng fgbel nep. Fbyvq abiry.

    2/3) Hcebbgrq – Terng fgbel nep. Gur raqvat xvaq bs zhfurq sbe zr. Abg nf pbzcyrk nf NJ.

    3/2) Frirarirf – Guvf bar ernyyl sehfgengrf zr. Vg unq n terng cybg jvgu terng punenpgref. Ohg ur zvffrq ba gur fpvrapr va fb znal pehpvny jnlf. Jvgu snagnfl, gurer vfa’g gur punyyratr bs trggvat gur fpvrapr evtug. Fb V’z abg fher jurer gb chg guvf.

    5) (cebonoyr) Gur Svsgu Frnfba – Juvyr V rawblrq gur fgbel n terng qrny. Vg jnf greevoyl qnex jvgubhg nal uhzbe gb rvgure uvtuyvtug gur ybjf be gb tvir gur ernqre n oernx. Gung jnf pbzcbhaqrq ol gur snpg gung gur punenpgref gubhtug gung n fbpvrgl ohvyg ba pynffrf/enprf jnf whfg svar jvgu gurz….nf ybat nf gurl qvqa’g raq hc ba gur obggbz bs gur cvyr.

    Napvyynel Zrepl – V’z 1/3 gur jnl guebhtu naq abg ernyyl trggvat jul guvf unf fb znal crbcyr rkpvgrq.

    Sbe obgu NZ naq SF, V’ir ernq fbzrguvat orggre.

    —-

    Learned a new term over at Ms. Hurley’s site. Hrm….sea lion….who know that being civil towards others was considered a negative.


    Regards,
    Dann

  3. FWIW, I never got an email notification about the packet, but if you just go to the voting page, you can find the link for all of the downloads. (Each category gets its own download button this year.)

  4. Learned a new term over at Ms. Hurley’s site. Hrm….sea lion….who know that being civil towards others was considered a negative.

    It’s not the civility of sea lioning that is viewed negatively.

  5. No one knows why Oreos are called Oreos.

    Obviously they are named after oreodonts.

    In retrospect, a more charismatic extinct species would probably have been better for marketing…

  6. It’s not the civility of sea lioning that is viewed negatively.

    I’ve seen cases of “sea lioning” as an attempt to derail a thread with legalistics. But I’ve also seen just as many times someone accused of sea lioning when they are doing nothing more than disagreeing with the prevailing opinion at an echo-chamber site as an excuse to dog-pile on the questioner. (Looking askance at a certain blog network with the initials FTB.) It isn’t a very useful term because it is easy to twist it to mean “anyone who asks questions who doesn’t agree with your opinion.”

  7. Am pretty sure I pre-ordered Kameron Hurley’s collection (I like her non-fiction prose more than the novel I tried–though I’m interested in her more recent work).

    *dashes off to check Kindle*

    ETA: Yep, got it!

    And regretted the few moments I spent reading the review, although James May’s comments has completely blacked out my sexists on the internet Bingo Card, yay!

  8. Sea lioning: I think of it like the kid who keeps asking “But why?” to every single one of your answers. The first few times you answer might be relevant to the conversation, but it quickly becomes a derail. And the “But why?” kid never stops.

  9. Ooh, do I really get to be the first person linking to the latest Tinglegram, Special Report Billings?

    I know that there’s logic in not voting for Tingle this year, and nominating him for related work next year instead. But given what happened with Alexandra Erin, and given how much joy he’s giving me with these updates, not to mention SRBI, I just might.

  10. I should mention: The HAIL HYDROX art is not my work.

    It was sent to be by someone, but I don’t remember who, and they’re far enough back in my Twitter timeline that I don’t think I could find them.

    And I don’t know if it’s their work either.

  11. Next Ant-Man swore allegiance to HYDRA and changed his name to Hydrant.

    Make Captain America Great Again!

  12. “… In the realm of useless Super Powers was the film THE MYSTERY MEN. …”

    “Who put your father’s head into the bowling ball?”
    “The guy at the pro desk”

  13. Currently reading Adam Rakunas’ Windswept; a rather fun novel set in a deeply corporatized interstellar diaspora. Planets appear to be deliberately left on the unviable side of economics in order to keep them in line, and the only resistance to the corporate powers is a union that handles employment of folk who’ve escaped their corporate indentures. When someone starts to contaminate the sugar cane that’s one world’s sole cash crop, things rapidly go literally down the sewer.

    This is space opera from the other side. There’s a big universe out there, but here people are just trying to build a better life for themselves and drink a little rum. The main character is well written, as are her compatriots and antagonists, and you get to learn a lot about the plumbing of massive molasses plants. And sewers.

    I’m now looking forward to the sequel which I just pre-ordered.

  14. @Craig R:
    I believe it was more along the lines of:

    “You put your father’s skull into a bowling ball?!”
    “Of course not.” … beat … “The guy at the pro shop did.”

  15. @Bruce Arthurs

    I also feel obliged to do the public service of noting that DC recently published Ennis/McCrea’s six-issue mini All-Star Section Eight, and has Sixpack and Dogwelder: Hard-Travelin’ Heroz on the docket.

    What a time to be alive.

  16. I’ve read all five of the novels now. Oh, wait, I didn’t get all the way through Seveneves, so I suppose that doesn’t count as “reading.” For me, trying to read Seveneves was like walking across a really sticky floor with really sticky shoes. You may get somewhere eventually, but is all the effort worth it? Shouldn’t you just leap somewhere else, clean off your shoes, and avoid that sticky floor?

    Loved the intricacy and craft in Fifth Season. I think I’ve talked about it before, but I loved the way the plot was structured and how it paid off. Sometimes tricky structure is just tricky structure (and that can be fun, too) but it’s so much better when it’s used to create indelible, unforgettable characters. Definitely one of my favorite books of the year.

    I also liked Ancillary Mercy a lot. Leckie’s writing is smart and elegant and just smashing all around. I liked this one lots better than Sword and a bit better than Justice. It’s so hard to stick the landing when you’ve set the bar so high. She really stuck the landing.

    Uprooted… I was torn. The beginning was fine, but it just seemed so obvious in some ways. Nf V fnj gur ebznapr pbzvat n uhaqerq zvyrf bss, V jnfa’g fhecevfrq ol gung cneg bs gur cybg, ohg V jnf chg bss ol ubj ubeevslvatyl njshyyl gur qentba gerngrq Ntavrfmxn. Naq gurer jnf fbzrguvat nobhg gur jnl nyy gur cybg ryrzragf jbhaq nebhaq rnpu bgure gung znqr zr srry yvxr V jnf fjnzcrq jvgu fgbel jura V jbhyq’ir cersreerq n pyrnare yvar, V thrff. V qvq xvaq bs ybir gur jnl gur fcryyf jbexrq naq jrer erhfrq sbe qvssrerag guvatf. Gung jnf pyrire naq vagevthvat. Ohg… Gur ebznapr whfg qvqa’g jbex. Gur Qentba jnf n qvpx naq jr arire ernyyl sbhaq bhg jul. Ng gur ortvaavat, V gubhtug fur zvtug raq hc jvgu Xnfvn, tvira gur jnl fur qrfpevorq ure. Vg fbhaqrq zber yvxr ebznagvp ybir guna sevraqfuvc, nygubhtu V ernyvmr gung gur byq fgbevrf qb fubj sevraqfuvc yvxr gung, rfcrpvnyyl orgjrra gjb oblf be zra. Tveyf abg fb zhpu. Naq gung jnf pbby, gung gurve sevraqfuvc jnf n znwbe qevivat sbepr va gur cybg. Ohg… Gur ebznapr FB qvqa’g jbex sbe zr. Naq V whfg ernyvmrq V sbetbg nobhg gur frk naq tnir zl pbcl gb n cer-grra jub ernqf n ybg bs snagnfl. V cebonoyl fubhyqa’g unir qbar gung. Ure zbgure znl or irel hcfrg jvgu zr. Anyway, there were things I liked, enough to keep it above No Award, but also things that bugged me on a level I’m not comfortable ignoring.

    I also realized I forgot about the sex and gave my copy of the book to a teen who loves fantasy, thinking the fairytale part would be right for her. Uh oh. Her mother is going to kill me.

    What does that leave? Oh, Aeronaut’s Windlass. It’s the one I read last. The fact that it stuck with me the least should tell you something. I mean, it was fine. Breezy. Cats. But I tend to fall asleep during battle scenes. Somehow my brain just doesn’t grok what’s happening and my attention starts to wander and then I pick up my iPad and check on my Neko Atsume cats (when will Frosty ever give me his memento, anyway?) and then I turn on the telly and eat five or six windmill cookies and check on the real cat and… By that time I have no idea what went on or where I was in the book. Don’t get me wrong — some of the ideas are keen — cats! — I substituted “house” for habble and saved myself a lot of annoyance, by the way — but it just felt so insubstantial when push came to shove. I don’t give a fig about real naval battles, so why would naval battles in space keep me interested? I felt, in the end, there was no there there.

  17. @BigelowT re: Uprooted

    Gur Qentba jnf n qvpx naq jr arire ernyyl sbhaq bhg jul.

    Ur gevrq gb zvavzvmr uvf rkcbfher gb gur inyyrl, nf vgf zntvp jbhyq gvr uvz gb gur cynpr. Ur jnf gelvat gb erznva ebbgyrff.

    Va bgure jbeqf, znyr pbzzvgzrag vffhrf, nccyvrq gb arne-vzzbegny jvmneqf.

  18. Have read the first section of essays in Hurley’s collection with great enjoyment!

    Bill C. is right about one thing–he’s not the audience for this book–and wrong about all the stuff he says about the book (or, at the very least, simply subjective in his evaluations which tells me that I can probably trust that his reviews will be the opposite of what I think)

    Often, the thrust of the piece wasn’t all that fresh. What does it take to succeed in writing? Persistence. How does one succeed? One has to be willing to fail. Women are horribly trolled on the net. Writers have a responsibility to consider the impact of how they present their worlds and the people who inhabit them, etc.

    Because everything a person writes/publishes should be absolutely original and never before said by anybody in the entire history of human writing and publishing……because clearly nobody needs to keep pointing out that women are harassed on the internet because misogynistic men have all stopped harassing women after the very first time this was pointed out!…….it is not written in a densely structured and layered style that is one person’s aesthetic preference that is expressed in language that verges on elitism (and I’d really like to hear some examples of this style of writing)…..finally, because clearly, a woman wrote it, and she’s doing it wrong.

    He claims to have read a lot about Gamergate, trolling, etc., but all I can say is that his discussion of Hurley’s work doesn’t show much awareness of the misogyny that Hurley is discussing. The review comes across to me as another man complaining about how women are always complaining about stuff (something that is not at all original, or new, or well expressed–and was probably old with 15th century reviewers, if any existed of Pisan’s _City of Ladies_). If you haven’t read as many essays by men complaining about women, then probably his review might strike you as fresh and original…..

    My response to the first section of essays (on writing as craft and profession):

    I became aware of Hurley’s work with her “women have always fought” essay got rec’d by feminist bloggers, and I loved it. I bought her _God’s War_ and was too much of a wimp to keep going (the world-building was amazing, but the protagonist and nature of events, as far as I got, made Martin’s grimdark look almost sunny in contrast, with the added attraction that it did not strike me as torture-porn which is why I stopped reading Martin. I donated my Martin novels to my sff club’s raffle, but I’m keeping Hurley’s works and might be able to work through them some day). I kept reading her non-fiction. I’m glad to have these essays (and yes, they are essays since there is no single official rule about what essays are–these are personal essays) in one collection, and I look forward to reading and re-reading them in this handy format.

    What I like: I like her angry and unflinching perspective that matches the inevitable cynicism that grows from engaging in feminist activism (and I do consider writing as a feminist to be an activist act) with her determination not to stop. I am now in my 60s and while I can read and enjoy fiction and non-fiction by younger women, it’s rare for me to find someone this much younger whose description of some of her experiences and anger is so similar to mine–let along someone whose love for Joanna Russ is so important and matches so well with my experience.

    I like the way she blends personal experiences with specifics about writing craft: and although many people including Kevin J. Anderson whom she credits talk about persistence being so important, it’s worth repeating (because, DUH, not everybody has read/heard everything that Bill C. has read/heard). I like her frank discussion of the importance of a day job (and her discussion of how it’s possible to earn a living with writing–and the importance of a dayjob). I teach creative writing, and too many of my students are idealistic/romantic about writing, and publishing.

    In this day and age (far too many years of the “self-esteem movement” going on in education in the U.S. at least), I admire somebody who will stand up and say it’s hard, and it’s going to be hard, and there’s no shame in stopping, but don’t expect it to stop being hard.

    It never does. And the difficulty is not just with writing, but with oppressive hierarchies that have existed and continue to affect marginalized groups.

    I don’t find the essays to be linear: some are in a mosaic pattern, interspersing events from different times in her life, with observations about writing, in an imagistic way in which readers are expected to draw inferences and conclusions from the juxtaposition.

    I like the narrative voice. I like the use of “fuck” as well (perhaps because I was in my 30s before I managed to actually say it out loud, given when/where I grew up).

    As Hurley says in several of the essays, and I nod in agreement, it’s important to keep saying these things so that others hear and know they are not alone. What is boring/unoriginal to Bill is vitally important to me.

    I’m fairly sure that when I finish I will be putting the collection on my Hugo noms list for 2016.

  19. @Tofu: So far, so good. I’m not as good at following totally unusual (to me) names in audio, so I believe I’ll need to make sure to listen every day, to keep things fixed in my mind. One thing that was slightly confusing was the second person being used while people were talking to each other – because, of course, when you talk to someone, you sometimes call them “you” as well, so it’s not clear when it’s the narrator or not. 😉 Mostly I’m following fine, though. We’ll see! I do prefer rereading via audiobook, though.

    BTW I really, really like Robin Miles as a narrator. I first (methinks) heard her on “Binti,” but I didn’t care for the story that much. But I’m interested in The Fifth Season, so a good narrator makes it that much better, in a way they can’t save a book I’m not that into.

    @dan665: I didn’t get an e-mail notification, either; I read about it here and went to MAC II’s site. If you’re a member, I’m not sure why you’d wait and not just go there, if you heard about it. Or am I misunderstanding the order of events, and you didn’t even hear about it till you’d already bought them? If so, gah, that’s a drag (and I really don’t know why they haven’t e-mailed the membership, but then, we’ve seen challenges with their e-mails before). Anyway, good to hear you’re liking some of what you’re reading. 🙂

  20. @BigelowT: I feel we did get plenty of explanations about why the Dragon was a jerk – various things that combine and add up.

    Gur jvmneqf gel gb qvfgnapr gurzfryirf sebz crbcyr orpnhfr gurl yvir fb ybat. Vg frrzrq gb zr gung ur jnf rkgen yvxr gung, gb gur cbvag bs boabkvbhfarff, orpnhfr bs ubj ur qerj cbjre sebz gur inyyrl ohg unq gb gel gb fgnl qrgnpurq sebz vg. Naq gura, lbh xabj, fabbgl hccre pynff thl zrrgf ybj pynff pyhzfl, fybirayl tvey – ur ybbxf qbja ba ure naq vf irel sehfgengrq ol ure frrzvat (ng svefg) vapbzcrgrapr. Naq pyrneyl ur’f abg gur grnpure glcr, lrg ur’f sbeprq vagb gur ebyr. Fb gb zr, vg nyy nqqrq hc naq znqr frafr (naq lbh xabj, fbzr crbcyr ner whfg wrexf; gung cebonoyl zntavsvrq rirelguvat).

    Abj, jul vg gbbx uvz fb ybat gb funxr vg bss (naq arire shyyl qvq), gung’f fbzrguvat ryfr (gb zr). Znlor whfg uvf vaangr wrexvarff, be znlor jvmneqf whfg gnxr n ybat gvzr gb punatr – yrg’f frr jung ur’f yvxr va bar, svir, gra lrnef. 😉

  21. Robinareid

    I don’t usually do this, but thanks to the nature of what you say about both the review and me personally, I’ll try to address your points

    “Bill C. is right about one thing–he’s not the audience for this book–and wrong about all the stuff he says about the book (or, at the very least, simply subjective”

    With regard to the audience, I think I pretty clearly implied this in both the intro paragraph and the conclusion. More generally, reviews by nature and definition are “subjective.” No reviewer presumes theirs is the “only” or the “right way to read a book, nor do they expect readers to wholly accept their viewpoint. That’d be silly.

    “Because everything a person writes/publishes should be absolutely original and never before said by anybody in the entire history of human writing and publishing”

    The obvious sarcastic exaggeration aside, I believe I refuted this reading of the review by explicitly saying: “I don’t have an issue with covering territory that has been covered extensively for a long time.” Seems a pretty straightforward disavowal of what you imply I said. I also said that while authors can use same old same old material, they should bring something fresh or a higher level of execution to distinguish their story/essay/TV show from that prior same old (I’m thinking for instance of all those bad Tolkien clones). I thought Hurley did neither, but of course, you’re free to disagree. But please don’t completely mispresent what I wrote if you do.

    “because clearly nobody needs to keep pointing out that women are harassed on the internet”
    Again, ignoring the sarcasm, the same holds here. One has to wonder if you actually read the review (at least as closely as I did Hurley’s work). Because this seems pretty clearly disproven by: “much of what she says is important and valuable.” I’m not sure how you leap from that to your complaint

    “one person’s aesthetic preference”
    A clearly stated preference for readers to take with them as they read the review and an acknowledgement early on that this may be more problematical for this review than most others I do. Did what I could here.

    “in language that verges on elitism (and I’d really like to hear some examples of this style of writing)”

    I guess it depends on what one’s view of elitism is. Since only a tiny percentage of writers get published (ignoring self), it seems Hurley is, by definition, “elite”. Is that a bad thing? I confess too that it saddens me a bit that rich vocabulary or varied structure is considered “elitism” and that this is defined as some seemingly awful thing, though that’s a whole different conversation (I’ll just point out it’s the same expectation for high school and college comp classes—hardly palaces of “elitism”). As for examples: Judith Kitchen, Eula Bliss, Scott Russel Sanders, Mary Roach, Margaret Atwood, Ursula K. Leguin, Alan Lightman, Joan Didion, Leslie Jamison, Annie Dillard, Sarah Vowell, to name just a few. I don’t know if they’re “elite,” (that would seem to be the direct opposite of what, for instance, Roach aims at), and they’re certainly not monolithic in style (contrast Bliss and Roach for example), but they’re certainly all extremely good (in my subjective view)

    “He claims to have read a lot about Gamergate, trolling . . . his discussion of Hurley’s work doesn’t show much awareness of the misogyny that Hurley is discussing”

    What evidence do you have to imply these things? Have you installed spyware on my computers, been sniffing around my wi-fi? Can you support that in anything I said in the review? In any case, only one of us knows the truth of this, so I’ll just answer the point—you’re entirely, grossly wrong. Could hardly be more wrong. Plus, it’s just plain odd to think someone who reviews for a science fiction/fantasy website would be unware of Gamergate, or Rabid/Sad Puppies, of trolling, or say, of the issues at conventions. It would seem the common sense expectation—that of course someone steeped in fantasy/sci fi writing/publishing would know about these things—is ignored so as to maintain/confirm one’s predetermined opinion about the reviewer.

    “because clearly, a woman wrote it, and she’s doing it wrong.“ and “the review comes across to me as another man complaining about how women are always complaining about stuff”

    it’s too bad that rather than engage with what was actually written as it was written (as pointed out above, you either missed key sentences or just didn’t allow their existence to shake you of your predetermined response) you resort to this kind of ad hominem attack, which is really what this is, and to be honest the only reason I took the time to respond to this. To believe this, you’d have to ignore wholly all the quite specific reasons I gave for my opinion that Hurley did things poorly (not the same as “wrong”): the flat and repetitive language, the familiarity of the content, and sameness of structure. You’re more than free to respond differently to those elements, but instead you wilfully ignore them to give you a pretext to attack me as a misogynist. It’s cheap and doesn’t do anything to forward a conversation about the book’s merits or faults (or content for that matter). Instead it shuts the conversation down. It is more than a little ironic that this sort of distortion, misrepresentation, presumption/assumption, and personal attack is probably why Hurley doesn’t bother reading bad reviews or has shut off (justifiably) a lot of what comes her way. Something perhaps to consider.

    Finally, it’s a thing I have. Please don’t ascribe the word “boring” to my complaints. You’d be hard pressed to find a single usage of that word in the hundreds upon hundreds of reviews I’ve written. It’s a word we’ve long banned in our house (just ask our kid). I never once said Hurley was “boring.” Can’t stand that word.

    In any case, it should go without saying that I’d far rather people enjoyed reading this book than agreed with my view of how flawed it is. Because contrary to popular saying, misery doesn’t love company (not if misery’s a good person). And people who love reading and books want people to read and love books. So I’m sincerely glad you enjoyed it and I’m glad Hurley has a fan. I just wish you’d given the review and reviewer the same sort of respect I gave Hurley’s writing and Hurley herself.

  22. The issue of sea lions isn’t that they’re civil, it’s the fact that they feel their civility entitles them to your time

    It’s like a Jehovah’s Witness who comes to the door every ten minutes and is unflinchingly polite and just wants to have a civil discussion and surely you owe them that, since they’re so polite!

    Oh, you want to sleep or do the dishes or relax or…? But they’re being civil! If you refuse to answer because you have other things to do, you must lack the courage of your convictions, you must just be unable to answer their very reasonable questions, surely it can’t be them, they are oh so civil and addressing someone without insults entitles you forever to their time and intellectual labor…ark ark ark.

    I figure everybody gets a couple good faith answers, but it usually becomes obvious pretty quick who’s typing through their fedora, if you get my drift.

  23. (3) LLAMA THUMBS DOWN.

    I’m pretty sure that utterly-divorced-from-reality rant is something James May has saved in a doc file, and just pastes endlessly all over the Internet.

    It’s good for amusement the first time or two you see it, but after that it’s just “meh, this paranoid delusion again”.

  24. JJ, on his website, James May actually has a full manifesto of approx. 30000 words (well, last time I checked. He may have added another 20000 words by now) about the lesbian feminist SFF conspiracy against white men that only exists in his head.

  25. Cora Buhlert: on his website, James May actually has a full manifesto of approx. 30000 words

    It’s just that same comment he posted on the Llama review, pasted over and over 71 times, isn’t it? 😉

  26. robinareid: I bought [Hurley’s] God’s War and was too much of a wimp to keep going (the world-building was amazing, but the protagonist and nature of events, as far as I got, made Martin’s grimdark look almost sunny in contrast, with the added attraction that it did not strike me as torture-porn which is why I stopped reading Martin.

    Her Bel Dame Apocrypha (aka “God’s War Trilogy“) is absolutely spectacular — some of the most inventive and rich worldbuilding I have ever read — but grim, as Scalzi would say, “with such a quality of black to it that it was as if black coal had been wrapped in blackest velvet, bathed in the purple-black ink of the demon squid Drindel and flung down a black well that descended toward the deepest, blackest crevasses”.

    I absolutely understand why you had to put it down, but I hope that you can muster the spoons to finish it at some point. It really is fabulous.

    I found her Mirror Empire a lot more opaque, and when I finished it, my reaction was essentially “WTF was that???” I’m hoping at some point — probably not until the series is finished — to read it again and get a better handle on it this time.

     
    As far as ASoIaF, I’ve read the first four books twice, the fifth one once, and I’ll probably read the rest of the books in the series when (if) they come out — but I haven’t even bothered watching the series. GRRM is a great guy, bless his heart, but I’m just so over the whole thing. And I’d kind of like to box his ears, because his success with books of eight gazillion chapters and just as many characters has prompted all sorts of other authors, like Kevin J. Anderson and Alex Marshall, to attempt to imitate that style — with utterly dismal results.

    Unless the additional books are nominated for the Hugo, I probably won’t read them until the last one has been published and then just read them in one go. If I die before that happens, I can guarantee you that I won’t be lying on my deathbed having regrets about it. 😉

  27. BigelowT: then I turn on the telly and eat five or six windmill cookies

    Mmmmm… windmill cookies… 😀

  28. The issue of sea lions isn’t that they’re civil, it’s the fact that they feel their civility entitles them to your time ~ RedWombat

    QFT.

    For Reasons I haven’t read most of the Best Novel nominees yet – only the two of them I also nominated. 🙂 So obviously I liked those quite a bit…

  29. @kendall

    I didn’t get an e-mail notification, either; I read about it here and went to MAC II’s site. If you’re a member, I’m not sure why you’d wait and not just go there, if you heard about it. Or am I misunderstanding the order of events, and you didn’t even hear about it till you’d already bought them?

    I started buying them as soon as the finalists were announced. I’ve been checking back every week or so since then. Admittedly, I have not checked in last 7-10 days as I’m working on Ms. Leckie’s book to the exclusion of all else.

    I’m pleased to finally be in a position where purchasing five new books in a few weeks is almost trivial. That wasn’t always the case. There was a time when the choice was seriously between books and food/housing and even used books lost out on that round. (confidentially, I’m kind of glad to be in a position to be able to actually buy books in a way that directly benefits authors instead of relying in libraries and used books stores. Authors have given so much to me, it’s nice to be able to give something back to them.)

    I have enjoyed all five of the nominees to varying degrees. A couple of them I wouldn’t have put in the final round, but that’s why this is a group award and not a “Dann Award”, amiright?? **chuckle**

    In any case, thanks for confirming that the reader’s packets are now available.


    Regards,
    Dann

  30. @RedWombat: you have perfectly described sea lioning. Also an extra point for “typing through their fedora”.

  31. @JJ: I do hope to get back to Hurley sometime — unlike Martin (the tortureporn problem). I think Hurley’s book will join Charnas’ _Motherlines_ series and a good deal of Tiptree in terms of *excellent* fiction which is absolutely necessary and brilliantly done but which I can only read when I’m feeling strong enough to do so because the world-view is so bleak.

    Thanks for sharing Scalzi’s quote–that is PERFECT.

  32. Just caught up on the comments, whoa. I’d read only one of Bill Capossere’s reviews before. //Off-topic// It was for Ursula Le Guin’s “Gifts” which was an excellent book and quite under-read IMO. I was really happy that its sequel won the Nebula in 2008 //end off-topic//. I don’t think I agree with him about essays vs blogs, but that was a classy response and I’ll be following him more.

Comments are closed.