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How hard is “I don’t care” to understand? – Tom Knighton

*From what I hear — what you think I have time to read them?  I’m overdue on three stories and five novels, guys — the other side didn’t understand the meaning of “Go ahead, I have no objections.”  So today I’m bringing ESL guest lecturer Tom Knighton to explain the meaning of “I don’t care.”  ESL, you ask?  Well, I don’t know what they speak, but it’s CLEARLY not English. They keep insisting we don’t mean what we PLAINLY say we mean, so they must be reading what we say in some other language.  Brutopian, likely. (Readers of Disney Comics will know exactly what that means.  Why the happy people of Brutopia know everything) – SAH*

How hard is “I don’t care” to understand? – Tom Knighton

There are people who are just going to have an opinion on what you do, think, or say. It’s not any of their business, mind you, but they’re going to have an opinion. It’s a free country, more or less, so they have that right. However, it’s amazing how their opinions are often based more on the voices in their own heads, rather than anything you’ve actually said.

For example, I recently wrote a post over on my blog about how I really don’t care what the other side of the aisle reads, writes, or gives awards to. I just don’t care what they do. I care what I write. I care what Sarah writes. I care what Brad Torgersen writes. I care what Larry Correia writes. The list goes on.

You see, I care what those folks write because I love what they write. I want to know what they’re writing so I can read it. I care what I write because, well, it’s mine.

For anyone else? I. Don’t. Care.

However, not caring apparently means different things to different people. For example, while linking to my post, Mike Glyer of File 770 commented, “If Tom Knighton hadn’t titled his post “Why I no longer care” it would be easier to focus on his actual point”. Which is funny because my actual point was that I no longer care. Luckily, I have someone like Mr. Glyer to discern my real point.

Gee, thanks Mike.

You see, while Glyer’s been given a relatively free pass and considered by some to be a neutral party, he has also managed to try and set me up to look like a sexist schmuck by linking to a post where I take issue with a woman who wants to ban men from literary readings. Oh, I wrote that, sure enough, but he linked it in the Puppy roundup, despite it having nothing to do with Sad Puppies, but he left out the post from a few days after where I took men’s rights activists to task for calling for a boycott of the new Mad Max movie.

However, Mike’s not alone in apparently knowing what I mean better than I do. At least one commenter on his side took a post where I said I don’t like message fiction to be condescending towards people who do. I’m going to be as clear as I possibly can for a moment. I don’t care what you read, write, or seek to give Hugos to anymore. I think the stuff you like is absolute shite, but since so many of you have said the same thing about the stuff I enjoy, I really don’t give a flying flip if that offends you.

Still others have taken my comments about preferring action oriented stories as evidence that I don’t like “mushy stuff”, as one person put it. I almost gave myself a concussion from the facepalm I gave myself on that one.

I’m a married man, with a wife I love. I get plenty of “mushy stuff” in real life, so no, I don’t seek it out in my reading. However, I don’t close a book because there’s a romance subplot either. The key word is “subplot”. Not plot, subplot. I don’t want it to be a driving force in books I read, but I have no issue with it being there. There are some books were I all but demanded it, as a matter of fact, but as a subplot.

One comment I made was: I don’t need to be told that the protagonists are gay, straight, trans, or whatever.  That’s not pertinent to my interests.  Whether the story is fun, is.

As I’m sure my fellow Huns can imagine, this was taken as something completely different than what the words actually say. You see the word “need” up there? I don’t need to be told. I need to know whether the story is fun.

Now, some seemed to act like a gay character in a story made it unfun or something. This, boys and girls, sounds like what we like to call “projection”. Do they have it in their own minds that gay characters can’t exist in a fun story? I said nothing of the sort. I think nothing of the sort. I just said whether they’re gay or not isn’t pertinent to my interests. How difficult is that to understand?

Another took that comment to mean I don’t want the “mushy stuff” in my books. Again, I invite you to go and read my original post, if you haven’t already. Where did I say any such thing?

You see, I don’t care what these people read. Hell, I don’t particularly care what people I consider friends read. I care what I read. Nothing more, nothing less.

And yet, for some reason, there are perfect strangers blathering on about what I like to read. Am I just that interesting? Is my patronage that important to these people? Somewhere along the way, did I become the arbiter of good taste in fiction, and therefore what I like has some significant bearing on the publishing industry?

No? Kind of what I thought.

So why then does my choice of fiction offend so many people?

Of course, to those offended (and I’m sure they’ll be linked to this post soon enough), understand this: I. Don’t. Care.

I don’t care what you read, write, or vote for. I also don’t care if it bothers you that there are some books I like that don’t meet your oh-so-learned approval. I don’t care if it bothers you so much that I don’t actively seek out books with minorities, gay, trans, or whoever else you think I should seek out. I just don’t care.

In fact, I urge my comrades over here to not care either. We have argued that they’re irrelevant, so why have we given them so much relevance? Let’s read what we want to read, and let them read what they want to read. Let’s buy as many of those books as we can, so that publishers will produce more of what we want.

Will it force them to create less of what the other guys want? *shrug* Don’t know. Don’t care. I won’t lose a moment’s sleep over it either way.

Let’s just read what we like, don’t buy what we don’t like, return books that we hate for a refund, and let the free market sort it out.

Poor But Honest

When I was in North Carolina, at one time while my dentist was asking me questions while she had both hands and instruments in my mouth, she finished one of my sentences that started with “Oh, we grew up poor” with “But honest” which was not at all what I meant to say.  Oh, we were honest, as in we didn’t steal, but mostly for two reasons: one, grandma would have given us her “more in sorrow than in anger” look, and second, we weren’t conscious of needing anything.

Don’t get me wrong, I was a kid like other kids, and when there was a faddish toy I would drool over it.  But, perhaps because we didn’t have a TV till I was eight, it just never occurred to me that we were poor.  When I was six I asked grandma what we were and she said “We’re not poor, we’re not rich.  We make do.”

That’s about right.  In the same message in which my brother said we’d been poor as Job, he also mentioned we were rich as kings, much richer than we’re now when grandma would objectively describe our lifestyles as “what a luxury” what with running hot water and a bathroom per person in this house right now.

If you just said “Wut?”

Look, the only reason I knew there were people much better off than us is that at 12 mom contrived to have me attend a high school in the “rich” area of town.  (Theoretically, we all lived in a rented room down the street from the school.  In point of fact, mom paid a lady to forward our mail.) For the village we were between middle class and upper middle class.  In fact, when truly rich people came to the village or had their kids visit, I was among the small number of kids invited to play with them.

My childhood is, in point of fact, unclassifiable in US terms.  Sarah C. wrote a thing which I might post later, about all this, about the nostalgie de la bue and saying “but I was even poorer” that goes on on the other side, which quickly becomes “but I drank a cup of cold poison.”  She pointed out anyone born in the US (with the possible exception of Appalachia and other small pockets, such as the one Larry grew up in) was automatically better off than anyone born abroad.  From what I’ve seen, probably still is, except for the very rich.

OTOH the American assumption that those who come from  Latin countries that my dentist reflected must have been starving in tar shacks is almost — almost — infuriating.  The reason it’s not infuriating is that it is so funny.  Built into this is the idea that either Latin people are discriminated against in their own countries (wut?) or that they need leftists to enlighten them and make their lives bearable. Note this doesn’t apply if you come from English Speaking countries, where in point of fact, many people lived like we did when I was a kid, because then, of course, you have privilege, so you couldn’t have been poor-poor.

My delving into my childhood was more to show that I don’t impress conventionally.  And it’s really hard to sell me the Marxist theory of oppression that must be broken by government.

We’ve been damn broke.  And we’ve been enviably rich in many ways.  And we faced “you can’t come in” with “you and whose army”.

I grew up poor by US standards, but everyone was poor.  Okay, not everyone.  I remember going to the architect’s house when my parents were having the house built, when I was 5? 6? and being very impressed at the shiny woodwork.  We lived in a 100 plus year old house and our doors were painted and repainted with thick white paint.

My grandparents owned land and houses (grandma’s dad had bought most of the village before dying young.  He was a cattle dealer.  Yeah, yeah, I have cowboys in my ancestry) but in an era of rent control it didn’t do much, except for the fact we retained “right of cultivation” to a lot of the backyards, (lawn was sort of unknown in our circles) so we could grow twice the potatoes, had a chestnut tree and a lot of vines.

My parents lived extremely tight because dad has a religious hatred of credit.  Not just credit card debt, a hatred he passed on to me, or loans, but of any credit, including mortgage.  The first fifteen years of their marriage (I was born around year ten) were spent saving to buy a house outright.  They didn’t manage it, but built a house with a ten year mortgage.  And after that was paid off, when I was about 16, our lifestyle APPROACHED middle class US.

I still didn’t go to coffee shops as much as my friends, because I had no allowance, and earned my pocket money, but that was good as it saved me from the “coffee and pool” circle who usually repeated every year.

OTOH in my twenties I had some very rich friends who didn’t give a d*mn if they had to pay for me, so I got to vacation in really expensive resorts.  Mind you I came home to mom turning off the hot water (which the new house had) in summer because it was wasteful, but I got to go to places where the British nobility hung out.  And by the time I was in college, I was invited to embassy and consulate parties, due to my grades in foreign languages.  (Italian consulate had the BEST ice cream because most ice cream parlors in Porto were owned by Italians.)

Anyway, the reason for delving into my background was to point out that it rendered me singularly immune to Marxism.

When I was in 10th grade, one of my friends drank the koolaid and disputed with me that my family was upper class.  I asked her how, since her dad — skilled blue collar, manager — made about twice as much as my dad did.  Her sputtering reaction was that my parents were better educated, they had books, they–

They had the markers of upper class in the village.  Though in mom’s case, she was as educated as my friend’s mom, at least formally.  But mom took an interest in world affairs and history (mostly through the radio) while her mom took an interest in gossip and recipes.

I stiffly pointed out to said friend that Marx’s “classes” were economic only.  She didn’t like like.  She is still, I think, communist.  Eh.

My best friend at the time came from hereditary-upper-class meaning that her family had some noble ancestors (oh, who doesn’t in Europe?  Keeping it in their pants just didn’t apply to those people) and a lot of manners and parents who were both educated.  But I used to give her my used sweaters (when we got to the point mom was retired and, I swear, made those for recreation) because her family had 13 kids and therefore were a little tighter than we were with 2.  (Though I’m sure her dad too made more than mine.)

The completely insane background and the fact my dad acted like the dad in Have Space Suit “Dad, I want a radio.” “Go ahead, I have no objections” — Which meant I built one from parts of broken radios in the attic — left me singularly unimpressed by both wealth and poverty.  Later when my brother replaced his crappy and now broken tape player,(which he’d bought with his tutoring income) I bought it off him for 20 escudos and spent more time fixing it than listening to it, until mom got tired of her kitchen table getting used to perform surgery on the beasty and gave me a tape player bought from the smugglers (What?  Well, the shop was in Smuggler street which was a dead give away.  Yep, I grew up in a fantasy town) when I was 19.

I learned there was absolutely no virtue in being poor.  A lot of the truly very poor in the village made more than we did but spent it on either wine or frivolous stuff (mom classified meat every day as frivolous stuff, mind.)

In fact, when government started rendering assistance, most of the welfare cases lived in crappy houses and went through broke periods through what mom called “lack of head.” When they had money they ran through it, then pawned everything the second half of the month.

(Mind you mom thinks I do the same, because while I have two kids in college, I can’t drop 10k to come over with the kids when she wants me to.  To an extent she’s right.  No matter how tight the money, you can plan to make it plenty.  We choose not to live in a tiny apartment with the kids.  OTOH it’s our investment: buying more house than strictly needed, in places headed up and trading up regularly that allowed us to own a house that our peers couldn’t with double the income.  Now if we can sell it and downsize, when we no longer need the space and good schools are of no consequence, we can come close to debt free, which we couldn’t otherwise.)

All of this and dad’s cavalier attitude to anything I wanted to do “I need to go to Germany to improve my German.”  “Go ahead.  I trust you abroad.”  (I got a job as a hotel maid for a summer.) his absolute assumption that if I wanted I could figure out how to do it, and his certainty that he didn’t really care how difficult it wold be to get into college for instance, both of his kids WOULD make to college made me singularly unimpressed by people who complain of micro aggressions and discrimination.

And it made me singularly unimpressed by wealth, too.  My rich friends had it easier, of course, but they were also easily impressed by brands, and they had never had to fight for what they wanted.  If grades didn’t qualify them to enter public — free — college, that was all right.  Mommy and daddy would buy them a spot in the private one.

I think this is why the plot lines that consist of “victim is oppressed and spit upon and dies in gutter/gets bloody revenge” have always bored me.  The idea that you have to “make way” for someone and make their path easy because they’re a one-footed Patagonian Lesbian makes me laugh.

You are a minority/poor/oppressed and want to write science fiction?  Fine, I give you my dad’s answer “Go ahead.  I have no objection.”

You want to feature a minority/poor/oppressed in your story?  Go ahead, I have no objection.  Just don’t make them sad sacks who need the help of the enlightened to get anywhere.  Sad sack characters and ex-machina socialists are BORING.  I don’t care what they taught you in school, getting there on your own is much more fun, both to do and to read about.

This is something the establishment doesn’t get — both the genuine upper class and strivers.  It’s amazing how many of the puppy kickers are in point of fact well off, upper class in the Marxist sense, even if they feel “downtrodden” for whatever reason.  And the rest, the strivers, have adopted the attitudes of the “upper class” and their class-signaling Marxism.  As I said originally, more papist than the pope — It’s something they can’t seem to grasp.

The working class gets rescued by benevolent Marxists (or even attacks academics while drinking gin — good Lord, pull the other one, it plays Elvis) is only exciting to Marxists with messianic illusions.

From the rest of us it elicits a yawn and an itch of the middle finger.

Write people of whatever color, orientation, wealth level you want.  Make them live.  Make them interesting.

We don’t add special points for flagellation of Marxist stereotypes and we do deduct them for predictability.

Or write whatever the heck you want. I mean, the pap has its fans — but it’s not us.

Just don’t demand we doff our hats and bow and scrape and tell you that stuff we don’t like and which is formulaic and poorly written is “of course, better” because it “fights the patriarchy” or whatever other idea you’re obsessed with at the time.

We don’t care.  You’re in an entertainment job.  Your job is to entertain the public.

The public is rarely entertained by lectures.

If it makes you feel better, I’ll make grandma’s face when someone was bragging to her about how special they were, and I’ll say “Oh wow.”

But I still won’t tell you boring stories that conform to whatever the new Marxists are peddling are better.  Learn your craft.  Then write whatever the crap you want.  And let the rest of us write whatever the crap we want.

Go ahead.  we have no objections.

The Wealth of People

I’m no Adam Smith — which is good since otherwise I’d be really, really old — and I thought until recently that most human beings understood where money came from, how it was earned, and what it was necessary for.  Also, of course, what it was.  I.e. a symbol that allows free trade between individuals.

I thought this, arguably because when in 6th grade my younger son had to do a paper on the history of one of the inventions that made modern civilization possible, he did it on money, complete with a retrospective history of money and trade and an explanation on why money was a good thing because it facilitated trade between humans.

I should have known better.  At 12 my son was virgin of most higher learning, ignorant of the great theories of economics, and flying by the seat of his pants because a project was due.

The evidence from politicians, “economists” and social theorists starting with Marx is that there is a VAST group of people out there who have studied carefully in order to deny the function, use and utility of money and to substitute for it the raving lunacy of a street person, like the Occupy member who told us the government should just print money and give everyone a million or some such.  See, at the time I assumed this was just a street person and that other people understood LOGICALLY that money is a symbol for wealth and that money uncoupled from that symbolism has in fact no value.

But apparently there are adults (I’ll assume, it’s entirely possible the commenter below is a 4th grader who hangs out at Vile 770 from whence he came, but I sort of kind of doubt it) who believe that money is sort of a free bene produced by the government and the only reason you wouldn’t give more of it to everyone is that you were an evil greedy capitalist.  (Moustaches to twirl, optional.)

For the win, on the Post Ca Ira is a comment by Zander Nyrond (I noticed he misspelled Nymrod, too.)

“These are the people who favor raising the minimum wage because in their world this means that poor people will have more money, completely missing the fact that most poor people will lose their jobs…”

Correction. Most poor people will not “lose” their jobs. A job is not a thing you can misplace, or that can fall through a hole in your pocket and vanish down the back of the sofa. What you mean to say is “if the government orders employers to pay their workers barely enough to live on, those employers will take away their workers’ jobs out of spite and to show the government who’s boss,” and that you approve this course of action as right and proper. And once you’ve said that, you’ve pretty much said enough.

I confess I had to read that about ten times.  If it wasn’t written by a fourth grader, I’m at a loss about the mind behind it.

No. Seriously.

It starts with this:

Correction. Most poor people will not “lose” their jobs. A job is not a thing you can misplace, or that can fall through a hole in your pocket and vanish down the back of the sofa.

I’m not 100 percent sure what he thinks a job is.  Yeah, sure you can’t MISPLACE a job, but you sure can lose it in the sense of no longer having it.

As I mentioned before, I don’t come from the most hardscrabble background I can think of.  Not only was my parents’ childhood worse (dad could only attend high school because the Stone Mason’s union allowed two promising working class students a year to become members and get a card.  This allowed him to get soup for free at noon.  Otherwise he would have gone all day without eating, and while I presume he could still have passed, maybe, it’s really hard to conceptualize. More on that later*) but many people in the village I grew up in had it worse. However, we lived “close to the bone” and both my mother and my paternal grandfather, in whose house we lived, lived from “job” to “job” because they worked, as do I, as contractors.  That means when you turned in a job and got paid, you had to look for the other.

Of course, both of them worked for the highest price they could get the “boss” to agree on, but my grandfather did at least one set of cabinets in exchange for a chicken a week and other considerations, because the person who had the need for the cabinets had no cash.  And mom, as I’ve mentioned, bought a knitting machine and would undertake unraveling and re-dying really old sweaters before remaking them for what you must understand was a pittance (consider the wealth of people who couldn’t afford to buy yarn) so she could keep (quite often literally) bread and soup on the table every day.  One of my earliest memories is of going to sleep with the sound of the knitting machine, which was metallic and heavy and sounded like a little train.  She set it up in the kitchen and I slept next door in the hallway.  (My brother slept in the living room on a pull-out.  The “apartment” cut out of my grandparents’ house — and yes, we paid rent — was a shot gun with only one bedroom and no bathroom, because the bathroom was outside grandma’s back door.  Curious fact, should I ever become important enough anyone cares, the bedroom in which I was born is now a fancy bathroom with textured tiles, since new owners remodeled the house.) Mom used to listen to the radio and knit till two or three in the morning. She favored educational programs. (Possibly because FORMALLY her schooling stopped at 4th grade, though she served an apprenticeship after that.)  I suppose my first interest in mythology comes from listening to those programs underlying the steady drone of the machine.

When you work like that, from job to job and pay to pay, you become really conscious of the people who would pay you or would pay you more if they could.  In the village it was very easy to see this.  One of the things mom did was contract young women to clean the house/do the dishes, so she had more time to work (because time was money) but in case it’s not immediately obvious, we were often tighter than a boa constrictor’s embrace.  So there often was no money to pay these young ladies.

What mom, that capitalist exploiter did, was make the girls’ clothes (often from leftovers, like my clothes were.  You see wealthy clients would drop off lengths of fabric, and if she used less they told her to keep the leftovers.)  It became known in the village that getting a wardrobe made by mom got you courted by men a class higher than yours (and don’t ask.  You’d probably see no difference.  Consider in her youth mom thought butchers were “upper class” and “select” and you’ll know everything you need to know.)  So mom had a waiting list of girls willing to work for her, so she’d make them clothes.  It will also tell you how these girls normally dressed/groomed that after lessons in the later and clothes made by mom they usually married in six months, so the list was handy.

Now mom being an evil capitalist TM was hiring these girls to MAXIMIZE her profit.  Because — as any craftswoman — her profession dictated her time was money, she was freeing some of it to work more.  (Something I’d dearly love to do and part of what The House Exploit TM is about though it doesn’t involve household help, just reducing housework.) For it she traded more time, (to make the girls’ clothes) but it was CONCENTRATED time as opposed to broken up bits.  Spend a weekend making the girl a skirt suit, sure, but you don’t have to quit work after lunch to wash.  Or after dinner to clean the kitchen.  (I think our laundress was paid in a similar way, btw.  The only time I remember mom paying in money was to the bread woman and the fish woman and of course at the shops.)

Now imagine the government looked at that iniquitous mode of payment and said “well, you get the fabric for free, and all you put in is time, and since you’re not paid by the hour, that’s worth nothing, which means you’re paying these girls nothing.  You must pay $2 an hour and $1 towards social security.”

That job would have vanished.  The girls would effectively have lost it.  Sure, it wouldn’t have vanished behind the sofa (the only sofa we owned was brother’s pull out, which served for mom’s clients to sit on when leafing through fashion books and looking at mom’s sketches.  It was pretty light and nothing could have vanished behind it.) it would still be gone, and the girls couldn’t have found it, no matter how much they looked.

It didn’t matter that mom would have liked them to cook lunch, do the marketing (we didn’t own a fridge until I was eight, so someone needed to shop for food every day, unless all we had that day was soup and corn bread which we could contrive from stores in the house), wash lunch dishes and come in after dinner to clean up while she worked on paying jobs that paid for our food and electricity and dad’s bus ticket to work.  (Mom swears most months his earnings went to keep him in suits and shoes and pay for lunch away from home and hers ran the house.  I don’t know.  I know he turned all his money over and that to have money to have a coffee at the coffee shop was a red letter day.)

It didn’t matter that village girls fell over themselves to work for her in exchange for grooming tips (like, wash every week.  No, seriously.  And how to get rid of lice, which were endemic in the village) and nice clothes.

If the government dictated mom pay these girls “a living wage” ($2 was a bit more than that, actually) and something towards retirement, the job wouldn’t have existed.  Mom would stay up till four in the morning working, instead.  The house wouldn’t be clean to her exacting standards.  AND the job would have been lost, having vanished up the government’s spout.

But Nymrod, the precious flower, if he’s an adult, has never run a business, not even a lemonade stand.  I’m going to assume he’s either a trust fund baby or is one of those people educated in gender studies or race studies or other ways to “make money by intimidating others” and has no clue where money comes from and what it means.

Money is a short hand for value.  Ask people to pay more for “value” than the value is worth to them (and often than they can) and there goes the job, which is the contracting of work for money.

If it weren’t so, why not simply mandate that minimum wage should be a million dollars?  Then everyone could be millionaires, right?  And this is probably how it works inside Nymrod’s head.

Notice also, his/her/its/sea animal’s ONLY understanding of why someone would be fired when the government interfered to mandate that a job provider pay more for an employee’s services:

What you mean to say is “if the government orders employers to pay their workers barely enough to live on, those employers will take away their workers’ jobs out of spite and to show the government who’s boss,”

First of all I want to approve of Precious Flower’s understanding of government.  Yes, indeed, we are in fact the boss of government as laid out in our constitution, and I’m glad you know that at least, even if you seem to inhabit an imaginary world where the sky is made of lard and butter in all other respects.

However, I also want to point out that anyone born in the twentieth century has long since gotten used to government being not just a bad servant, but a truly despicable one.  Our right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness is so regularly infringed that I can’t remember anyone doing much of anything to show government who’s boss.

Most of us, as most people in the West, try to live as best the government allows it and keep the tzar as far away from us as possible.

I find it salutary in these circumstances that he/she/it/fruitbat realizes we’re the boss of government.  Good on you mate.  There are vestiges of sanity in that addled egg you use for a head.

HOWEVER the bizarrely insane idea that someone would fire an employee to show “government who is boss” much less that this would be the only reason one would do it when the government arbitrarily interferes in your contract with your employee to dictate what you should pay your employee is mind boggling.

How can a person, living in the world for a number of years (if he/she/it/fruitcake isn’t 10) haven’s spotted the fact that you don’t hire people out of the benevolence of your heart but TO DO SOMETHING YOU NEED DONE is quite beyond me.  And how they can’t think from that that if you fire someone “to show the government who’s boss” you’re going to have to do that work, buy a machine to do it or (and a lot of restaurants, fruit pickers and other low-margin people HAVE to do this to survive) hire someone illegally to do it is beyond me.

In fact, I can’t imagine anyone who has the money to hire work done that they need done and chooses not to do so to “show the government who’s boss” or indeed to “be a big meany capitalist” or to “play it again Sam” or whatever the heck other motives the powerful mind that came up with that theory can conjure.

If my mom had been forced to pay in money, no matter how convenient it was for her to have someone else do the cleaning, she’d have had to do it herself and rob more hours from sleep. (Possibly any amount of money.  I don’t know the exchange at the time, but I know the escudo — Portuguese currency then — was worth pretty much nothing in the world stage, and our daily bread bill was so small that it was calculated in cruzados, the currency that had been hyperinflated and superseeded when mom was little. (* A note I promised above.  The Portuguese government went bankrupt during mom’s and dad’s childhood.  This meant that you couldn’t guy things at any price people could command so there was a lot of in-kind trade.  Dad’s family was all right because they grew vegetables and had eggs they could trade for bread.  The least said about mom’s childhood the best. If I’m to believe her, gleaner rights helped their survival. ) I suspect it would translate to something like 5c a day. We were the equivalent of Obama’s brother living on $1 a day, only at the time I suspect it was more like 25c. Even then, some of the sweater re-knitting mom did was for the farmer across the street who in turn supplied us with two cups of milk daily and about 3 lbs of heavy, dark corn-rye peasant bread a week.  And that later in various forms was the staple of our diet, so we could save on the expensive wheat bread.  I don’t complain, mind, I love broa, that dark, heavy bread which as made by the farmer had the consistency of a brick. In fact Caldo Verde (broth with tiny bits of meat and a lot of julliened greens) and broa would be my last meal if I got a request.)

Then there’s the “living wage.”  Let’s not go there, or into the fact that most minimum wage earners are indeed young people NOT LIVING FROM IT or not staying stuck in it very long.  At one time I worked retail for minimum wage.  I no longer remember how much it was, but I know that a full day’s work netted me $20.  I know this, because my now late brother in law came to visit and wanted me to go with him somewhere (weirdly, I think an SF con) and I couldn’t because I had to work.  He offered to pay me $20 if I called in sick, but I wanted to keep the job and couldn’t miss it.

Anyway, the money was risible, particularly after social security took its cut.  BUT at the time it paid Dan’s student loans a bit faster, and I judged that a worthy goal. (Since the one thing I promised dad when I got married was that we wouldn’t live on credit nor run up loans.) It also meant we had fewer of those months when we had a week to go till paycheck and only $6 in the bank.  That too was a worthy goal, as I liked to eat every day.

Living wage?  In the late eighties?  Not hardly.  Not unless you had three roommates and ate a meal a day.  BUT it was what we needed, which is why I agreed to work for it.  And, btw, I had no work history in this country and translator jobs are hard to come by without that, so that was the best I could do.  Once I had that I could get a multilingual translator job.

I’m going to presume anyone trying to live from minimum wage qualifies for medicaid and a host of other services.  (I could be wrong.)

But I do know that you will only be paid what you’re worth, because the people paying you CAN ONLY AFFORD TO PAY THAT MUCH or it’s only worth that much to them to have you do that stuff.  Sometimes it’s one, sometimes the other, but in any case, if the government forces them to pay more, they either won’t be able to or will replace the job with a machine.  Or hire someone more competent and have him do more work for the money.

The problem with this, as was noted in the comments yesterday is that that first job is an essential step.  You’re not worth very much — I sucked as a retail clerk, frankly.  Mostly because I got bored way too easily — but proving that you’ll be there on time and are trustworthy is necessary to get another job, even one you’re already trained for, if you have no other work history in this country. Without it I wouldn’t have been able to have the job that allowed us to buy a house.  (Okay, in the long wrong this was futile as we lost money on that house, but we couldn’t know that at the time and it was a quirk of our personal history because we had to move due to lack of jobs and… yeah.)

And since he/she/it/marchpane likely has never actually had a real job, I should probably explain to the critter that most jobs are good for people.  Being paid for something you did, earning your bread with the sweat of your brow, builds self confidence, a sense of self reliance and the reluctance to take handouts or be patronized in exchange for those.  Of course, that’s possibly why Precious Flower would prefer government kill jobs and give people handouts instead.  As the blogfather himself says “They’ll turn us all into beggars, because beggars are easy to please.”

And then we come to the end of the idiot’s screed:

and that you approve this course of action as right and proper. And once you’ve said that, you’ve pretty much said enough.

Let’s forget what he thinks I’m approving of and instead consider that I DISAPPROVE of the government making it impossible for people to contract for help and/or earn a living.

Yeah, you know why I have said enough, Cupcake?

Because I’m there right now.  I work for a living.

I know in his/hers/its/Sanders Voter’s world, writing is something you do for self expression or to demonstrate how wonderful you are, or to feed your soul or whatever the cr*p it is people tell themselves when they’re too rich to be sensible.

In many ways I didn’t come very far from the village.  Oh, I live way better.  We have heating, cooling, and alas I’m in no danger of starving.  But that’s because this society has a much lower “floor” and also because my husband works very hard to supply us with MOST of the necessities.

It’s not a necessity to help the boys with their professional training for instance, just fulfilling the promise we made them if they took STEM degrees. And a more reliable providing for our old age than the Social Security which we pay for but which won’t be there at all when we need it more than likely. And it’s not a necessity to be renting while we try to sell the other house, so we can reduce our living space, so we pay less in heating and I have less work cleaning, so I can write more.

BUT my money is necessary for such things.  And I don’t get paid unless I finish work.  And my work gets the money my employer thinks it’s worth.

I mean, there were years (the Musketeer Mysteries) when I was paid 5k a book.  It was all the house was willing to pay and if the government had dictated they pay me 10k, then they simply wouldn’t buy my books.  (Imagine my crying when I had to pay 14k that year in self employment tax.  Almost 3 books for the privilege of working my fingers to the bone.)

Now if Baen offered me 5k for a book, I’d politely decline and go indie, because Witchfinder made me 3 times that so far.  BUT that’s because I have other options.  If I didn’t, I’d shut up and take it.

A living wage?  I don’t know.  I work weekends and evenings.  I take two days off a year.  I once — granted when I was paid less — costed out my time and cried because I made less than a dollar an hour.  Now, writing is sitdown work and way easier than say cleaning hotel bathrooms (which I’ve done if anyone is keeping track.)  So you could say I’m able to work long hours as I do it inside, and it’s not physical labor.

Perhaps.  But a lot of the minimum wage jobs are fairly easy.  My biggest problem with mine was being bored out of my gourd, because even if there was no one nearby, they didn’t allow me to read under the counter.  And if someone worked those the hours I work they would probably make more than I do.

The problem is there aren’t that many jobs of the kind available, because there’s a minimum mandatory payment that’s often more than “warm body, standing by cash register” is worth.

So yes, I disapprove of the government making jobs disappear.  Because after 15 years as a writer, I have no resume, and I’ve forgotten most of my foreign languages (I can’t even speak Portuguese grammatically anymore) and if things go upside down I might need a retail job.  And I’m not sure I’m worth much more than minimum wage as is.  Much less as the fantasists like Nymrod would wish it to be.

Nymrod too has said more than enough.  Mostly that he/she/it/special snowflake has no concept of earning a living, or of a life where what you actually DO means something.

Bless his/hers/its/magical unicorn’s heart.

A Spark of Hope – Amanda Green

A Spark of Hope – Amanda Green

I’m probably going to get into trouble for this but I don’t care. You see, something happened Thursday night of last week that made me stop and think. Yes, I know. It can be dangerous for me to think. That’s when those non-approved thoughts happen and I forget to walk in lock-step with those who are so willing to tell me what to think and what to do. Well, screw ‘em. Thursday night showed me there is at least a glimmer of hope for our country and I’m going to cling to it, reminding myself that what we see and hear from the main stream media isn’t what mainstream America thinks.

For those who don’t know me, I live in North Central Texas, right smack dab between Dallas and Fort Worth. For some, this is the beginning of “the West”. For those of us who live here, it is the difference between fast-paced Dallas (although nothing like NYC) and a slower-paced Fort Worth. We have many of the same problems of any major metropolitan area. We have our fair share of poor schools, gang-related issues, drugs, crime, and poverty. You name it and you can find it. Maybe not in the same numbers of say, Detroit or Cleveland, but it is there.

Like too many places of late, we’ve had our own instances of white cops killing black youths. The last time that happened was less than two weeks ago. Late one night, 19 year old Christian Taylor, a young man who had so much promise ahead of him, broke into a car dealership in Dallas. Security video showed him jumping on top of cars, denting hoods and breaking windshields. When Arlington police arrived, they found him inside the dealership building – Taylor had driven his car through the glass wall to gain access. And, unfortunately, events played out in such a way that this young man lost his life. A rookie cop made access to the building, separating himself from his training officer and Taylor was shot and killed.

When the story first hit the media, there was no doubt the media was playing up the angle that we have seen all too often, that of a cop too eager to kill a black youth. A “copy” of the radio log was leaked to the media showing only two seconds elapsed from the time the cop confronted Taylor to when he killed him. The only problem happened to be that the “copy” turned out to be a heavily edited copy and that two minutes elapsed instead of two seconds.

Now, this piece isn’t about whether or not the cop in question was right or wrong in what he did. In my mind, mistakes were made on both sides. Taylor never should have been at the dealership and he sure as hell shouldn’t have driven his car through the glass to gain entry. He shouldn’t have run when the cops arrived and ordered him to halt. But the rookie cop made mistakes too. He shouldn’t have made entry into the building without first securing the scene. He should have waited for back up. His training officer should have had better control over his actions. I won’t speculate on whether he should have deployed his Taser, as his training officer apparently did, instead of his weapon because I haven’t heard all of the tape nor seen the video. All I know is a young man lost his life and a cop is now without a job. This was a tragedy no matter how you look at it.

So what does this have to do with what happened Thursday night, you ask. Very simple. No matter what the media tried to do with this story, no matter how they tried to stir the pot of discontent, it failed. And believe me, the media did its best to make this story into much more than it is. Not just locally but on a national level. In fact, the national media was the worst about trying to stir up trouble. I heard media mavens trying to draw a parallel between what happened in Arlington to what happened in Ferguson. I stopped counting the number of times the national media led the story off with some version of “There’s been another black youth killed by a white cop”. When it became clear the “copy” of the radio log had been heavily edited, national media was all but silent on it. After all, it didn’t fit the picture they wanted to paint.

Fortunately, the Arlington Police Department is active on social media and learned about this leaked “copy” very early on. It didn’t take APD long to release the entire log, showing that things didn’t quite play out the way the media was portraying it. Even more fortunately, Taylor’s family, while grieving and having more questions that any parent or family member should have about a loved one’s death, called for calm. They didn’t fall into the trap the MSM tried to set for everyone involved. They have been class acts through this all, mourning Taylor and asking for answers but also asking for calm from all sides. My heart and my prayers go out to these people and I hope they get the answers they want and they deserve without much more delay.

So that is the basic background for what happened Thursday night.

That night, I went into Dallas to see Motown – the Musical with my mother and a friend. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, so the thought of spending an evening enjoying the music of that era thrilled me. I also expected that the crowd for the show would be a bit different, not because of the fact it was Motown but because we were going on a night of the run that we don’t usually go to. This was one of the last shows instead of early into the run.

The audience was filled, something I was thrilled to see with school starting soon. The people attending were a bit older than usual, on average. Again, not surprising because this was one of those musicals that called out to the fans of Motown and let’s face it, Motown was at its most popular in the 60’s and 70’s.

I hadn’t seen Motown – the Musical before. All I knew was that it would have some great music and would tell the history of Motown Records. From the reviews, I expected plot to be sparse. I didn’t care. I was going for the music. So imagine my surprise when the plot (yes, it was less developed than most musicals but it was most definitely there) followed historic events. John Kennedy’s assassination was shown, as were the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. Nor was the language of the times sanitized.

I’ll repeat that. The language of the times was not sanitized.

There are times during the musical when various people ask Barry Gordy, Jr., founder of Motown Records, why his sales force is all white. Initially, there is no answer. Then, as the world begins changing during the upheaval of Vietnam and Flower Power, and all the other movements of the 60’s and 70’s, he asks his sales manager the same question. In a subsequent scene, a promoter from down South calls the Motown sales manager and is all but beside himself with anger and disbelief. He wants to know why the sales manager sent a “g** damned n***er” down there. The sales manager, as white as the driven snow, doesn’t miss a beat. He asks the other guy how much money he makes off of Motown records. Then he says that if he wants to keep making that money, he’d better get used to seeing that “g** damned n***er” down there.

When that happened, you could see the audience reaction. You saw a number of folks, mainly white, holding their breaths. After all, we’ve learned, often the hard way, that you just don’t use the N-word. Some of us have been on the end of the lectures that it is all right for blacks to call one another that word but it is never to pass our lips. We shouldn’t even think it. So to hear it on stage, and so soon after Christian Taylor being shot by a white cop, there were those in the audience waiting for the shoe to drop.

It didn’t. I didn’t see or hear one angry mutter, one angry reaction from anyone in the audience. The very nice African-American woman sitting next to me, simply nodded sagely and commented to her companion that she was so glad things had changed for the better. She remembered those days. Things might not be perfect now but they were so much better than they had been and that was what we all needed to remember.

That seemed to be the reaction of everyone in the audience. I wondered at it and then realized that I had fallen into the trap that MSM had set. It had done its best to foment discord between the races that we now expect trouble. Worse, we expect it at the drop of a hat. Fortunately, that hat did not drop Thursday night and I got to see that there is hope that it won’t drop, at least not for long.

You see, those men and women in the audience, be they black or white, knew something that the media and those social activists who go into communities they have no ties with and who serve only to stir the pot of trouble did not. They knew that, while there is still a ways to go in this country to rid it of foolish prejudices (on all sides), we have come a long way. They knew that you don’t move forward if you resort to violence as your first choice. They have been there. They know it is better to build bridges than it is to blow them up and then trek figurative miles to find another way across the chasm of prejudice and distrust.

For three hours Thursday night, several hundred people of all ages came together to remember times much worse than today and to celebrate the fact that we have come so far. We celebrated the victories. We mourned the loss of men and women who had a dream and did their best to follow it. We ignored the media that would have had us at eachother’s throats simply because of a single word.

In short, we proved the media is not nearly as powerful as it would have us believe and, for that, I am most grateful.

So here’s the final point. As the Christian Taylor case showed, the media is quick to release and comment on anything that serves the cause du jour. It doesn’t do the fact checking it should. It doesn’t issue the qualifiers it should when it gets information from unconfirmed sources. So, instead of jumping to conclusions – either to immediately agree with what the media says or to immediately disagree with it – find that grain of salt and apply it.

Most of all, remember that there is still hope for this country. It might not be as big as any of us would like but as long as that glimmer is there, I will continue fighting to grow it from a spark to a flame. Will you?

It’s All About The Bling

So, let’s suppose there was an award that no longer meant increased circulation for the book that sported the little seal on the cover: how far would you be willing to fight to preserve the right to have the award given to the people you wanted/to have the chance at the award yourself? If you were, that is, someone who played by the rules of the “in” group, the writers and publishers we’ll call “the old establishment”?

I am making a leap here, as I’m not sure the Hugo no longer boosts print runs at all.  I know it no longer boosts them as it used to, because the Hugo used to be d*mn big noise, when I came into the field.  The hierarchy when I came in, as told to me by older and more scarred pros was as follows: The Hugo meant an increase in circulation; the Nebula did nothing for you; World Fantasy Award LOWERED your circulation.

No use arguing those, btw.  Last time I sat at a world fantasy banquet, the publisher was loudly hoping her author wouldn’t win it.

How does this happen?  This happens because science fiction forgot it was science fiction and its greatest aspirational desire was to be considered “literary” — where “literary” is neither better nor worse than other writing but has the markings of “stuff they teach in college.”

Now I have nothing against stuff they teach in college, but it’s in truth just another genre.  You might think it’s “better written” but that’s because it’s what your college professors told you it was good writing.

As someone who has enough training to teach literature in college, let me tell you a secret: there is no sacred anointing that makes that stuff good and the rest “trash.”  As a writer it took me years to get rid of the markings of “literature” in my writing and even more years to believe that this was NOT what denoted quality. My first series still suffered heavily from it and was tagged as “literary fantasy”.  So did the Magical British Empire for that matter.

Those markers?  They’re mostly an aping of the things we consider “literature” or “important literature” because they attach to books that have proven their importance by surviving the centuries.

So, for instance, the language will be a little difficult, and the rules of the world/behavior might seem irrational.  Listen to me very carefully: in centuries old work it is so because the time has changed.  To put them in intentionally is akin to faking antiques in furniture something I know how to do and which is in fact a difficult craft, but which does not make the furniture into REAL antiques, no more than the use of tricks to make something feel like an old work that has been good enough to survive the centuries makes that work one that will survive the centuries.

In fact, something you can be sure of is that almost every work that is lionized by the elites of its day will be ridiculed by the future.  With exceptions, of course.  Shakespeare was beloved of both the groundlings and the elites.  But he lived in more robust times than most of us do/have throughout history.  In the bloody turnover of Elizabethan England, a lot of newly enriched merchants were the elites, and they hadn’t acquired a veneer of faux sophistication yet. And what kept Shakespeare’s work alive and going is that he did appeal to the masses.  Go and count how many small American towns are named after his characters/locations.  These were colonists, living hardscrabble.  They had no room for affectation and affected tastes.  They loved it because it spoke to them.

But unfortunately somewhere in the nineties or two thousands, the turn over of science fiction and fantasy professionals and fandom into the hands of people with degrees in humanities from excellent colleges was complete.  Which means these people are trying to write/publish that which would impress their erstwhile professors or their colleagues now.  And they all come from similar milieus.

This would be fine if science fiction were in fact a “literary” subgenre.  Or if “literature” would ever approve of science fiction.

In fact science fiction is still sneered a by academics and their minions who hark back to an SF that never existed and talk of “naked girls and alien space lizards.”  In fact a well known novelist with SF themes got very upset and said something of that kind when they asked her about science fiction.

(Oh, and let me interject here that yes, there is craft to “literary” and it’s hard to do.  But that doesn’t make it “better” — better according to whom, tovarish?  How will your work survive the ages when people won’t give you their beer money now. — every genre is hard to do WELL.  Yes, even romance.  The increasing slide of romance into erotica means that people have more trouble conveying “sizzling hot” without describing the body parts going into other body parts.  That’s craft they’re lacking. Writing transparent prose so that the reader remembers as if he lived the story and doesn’t stop to admire your pretty prose is d*mn hard, particularly for someone afflicted with my love for words)

So, given that you could never get into the “big boys” table of literary and are stuck trying to make science fiction/fantasy look “literary” and looking down at your colleagues and screaming you are SUPERIOR TO THEM, and that the award at best gives you a modest boost, how hard would you be willing to fight to keep it within the right kind?

Apparently the answer is: up to calumny, slander, character assassination, death threats, hate male, and the destruction of your own reputation as a sane and reasonable human.

When we set out on this, back in the dim days of our first discussions of Sad Puppies (I object, of course.  I have cats) the goal was to make the Hugo worth something again.  Granted, we can’t cater for everyone’s taste.  If you’re a heavy mil-sf guy and the prize goes to hard sci fi it won’t be to your taste.  BUT to cater to the “literary” crowd is to cater to the tiniest fandom in SF.  (I found this out in sincere arguments with agents while looking for one between my third and fourth.  They all wanted me to write literary sf — because I CAN do it — because it would win awards and increase THEIR prestige (and make me slit my wrists in a warm bath if I had to write much more of it.  It was no fun.) But they all candidly informed me that it sold almost nothing and so I should try to get a job teaching or write for literary journals or something.  Why do you think they kept telling us that Ancillary Justice as a “fun space opera” — because no one buys “literary”.  Or yeah, some people do, but not enough to keep you in writer kibble.

Our idea, goofy as it sounds was to get some good books/good names associated with the Hugo, so Hugo would mean a boost in print run again.

We were shocked at how hard they were willing to fight to keep it a “just us” club.  And the ridiculous levels they’d go to.

And then I realized that, like the agents I interviewed they don’t view the Hugo as a promotional tool at all.  They view it as bling.

What I mean is, when your book hardly sells, and you have to have other jobs –teaching, speaking, whatever — you need the awards as an appearance of legitimacy.

Awards are very important because most of the general public, even the casual readers who MIGHT try SF know nothing about the award process, who votes for them, or how it has gone.

So if you can’t say “I’m a bestseller” saying “I have x award” gives you immense prestige in the eyes of the world. I realized this while talking to someone who had read his first ever sf novel over summer and was asking me about mine.  He was like “yah, uh uh” until I said “And it won the Prometheus.”  He obviously had clue zero what the Prometheus was, but “won the Prometheus” translated to “instant affirmation someone else liked it” and he wrote down Darkship Thieves for looking up later.

And even if — as has been the run in recent years — picking it up after finding it had won an award, you immediately put it down and promised never to read any SF again, if that was the best out there, the bling still has value.

Why?  Because they’ll book you on TV when there’s something even vaguely related to SF.  Because all foreign countries still translate Hugo winners because they don’t know any better (and also most of them are more addicted to the symbols of status than we are.)  Mind you, it’s killed their market.  There’s a reason that Portugal no longer has sf/f shelves in most bookstores.  BUT you’ll still make a boatload of money from so many (if small) translation rights.

For the outside world, those who don’t read sf, having “x” “y” or even “z” award still translates to money in your pocket and being considered by the world at large as the best in the admittedly tiny pond of science fiction.

If your philosophy in life is “I got mine” and your goal is to get while the getting is good, and “Apres nous le deluge” doesn’t trouble you at all, you will of course do everything to keep riding the award pony until it’s so dead that it even stinks in the nostrils of the “mundanes.”

Think of it as the parable of Solomon.  If they weren’t killing the field in the name of uplifting it, we’d even let them have it. Because what we love, more than our own careers is Science Fiction.  Note most of the supporters of Sad Puppies have no books on the ballot, not even short stories.  And some who are on the ballot are there under protest: Dave Freer, for instance.

As it is, of course, we have to keep fighting. Because we want the genre to mean something and we want other people to find the joy and challenge in it that we have found.

If the books that won the Hugo, once upon a time, could speak to a young girl/woman in Portugal, who transitioned from reading them in translation to reading them in English and perfected her English in the process, if the genre could change her life and help her endure rather trying times, it’s a genre worth saving.

And saving doesn’t speak to going back to the past, but to porting the same enthusiasm and life to present day sf.  (i.e. stop with the formulaic repetition of what you think are “international” or “multicultural” truths.  Their attempt to be cosmopolitan which somehow uses exotic puppets to deliver their message to the world just reveals they never were out of your university campus, at least not in their mind.  Of them I think it can only be said: “Pardon him, Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.” Real cultures have evil as well as good, a lot of them have more evil than we do, and it is patronizing and ignorant of them to make them into less than human, and walking advertisements for theirr academic philosophy. I agree that there needs to be more variety now, in a connected world, than there was in the past.  BUT not a variety that makes natives of other cultures into painted saints.  Trust me, that would have disgusted me when I was fully in that culture.  Oh, and if they try to attract people of the culture you’re writing about, forget it.  They’ll almost certainly get it wrong.  I can’t read anything set in Portugal.  the “flavor” is wrong. EVEN when other Portuguese write it, because they’re catering to the US market, anyway. And it’s better to write middle class US and make it exciting than to write a novel set in Lisbon and make it deadly dull by having all the usual villains and pseudo saints.)

I know this will be twisted and screamed at.  If they could twist Toni’s post that amounted to “let’s establish bridges of understanding” to mean she was trying to exclude people, they can twist anything.

And I don’t expect them to stop, because they care about nothing but their own false bling, their tarnished glory.

I just want them to know we won’t stop either.  Because that baby you want cut in half is still alive, if barely.  And we’d like it to grow up into a fully realized person, one that can lead humans to the stars and keep humanity human wherever we go.

Yeah, it’s a crazed dream, but at least it’s not all about the present and bling we can get to make people who know nothing of the field respect us.

And you know, as we’ve said over and over and over again, with us it’s all about the dream.

We’ll continue working for it.

It’s Not The Age, It’s The Miles

So today I woke up after sleeping over 12 hours straight, and I’m still somewhat sluggish.

Do you know when you finish a book and your body goes “I’m done” and for a few days falls into something akin to flu only it’s not, and you sleep a lot and end up watching the A & E edition of Pride and Prejudice and IF YOU’RE LUCKY don’t read all Disney comics for 2 months?

Okay, maybe that’s just me.

Yeah, there are milestones I just passed, though none of them is finishing a book (not just now, at least.)

We finished work on the house, though we still need to get a realtor.  For those on FB who’ve seen pictures, yeah, it’s huge and (now) gorgeous.  This has been our strategy with houses, and we doubled our money on the two houses we lived in before, so we sank it all into it.  So, we have tons of money, but until it sells we’re broke.  Meh.

At any rate we finished cleaning it.  And that was a huge project now done.  I felt somewhat fluey-but given the amount of work we put into it, well…

But then yesterday we went up for Robert’s med school matriculation and I came home so tired, I couldn’t even READ and slept for 12 hours.

I think my back-brain has interpreted the ceremony was “we’re done raising him.”  While foolish brain is wrong, of course, you’re never done worrying for/helping your kids if my parents are an indication, it’s also right in a substantial way, because Robert is living elsewhere and is now treading his own path, one of which I know very little, and where I have to “let go” to a large extent.

I think my brain interpreted that as “we’re done with the heavy lifting now.  Rest.”

Of course I’m not resting.  Today I need to clean the house we’re living in, which hasn’t been acquainted with a vaccuum in three months, and then I need to finish short stories so I can write novels.

But in a very real sense, one task is sort of done.  Kind of weird as in my mind we’re still figuring out how to set up things, since getting out of our parents’ house.  Eh.  And now we’ve podded someone else out to his own little space, to do his thing, and the next will follow soon.

Milestones mean a new mile has begun, I guess.  Now is the time for what I never could do before: concentrate on my writing and REALLY work it.

… of course if other house doesn’t sell soon we’ll be doing it from under a bridge.  But no matter.  Things don’t matter, people do.  And I love and appreciate my two sons, and am looking forward to their becoming even more awesome as they take off on their own.

And yeah, I’m feeling sort of old, because they’re obviously men, but I won’t keep them back to flatter my balcony.

And after this cop-out post, the writer goes clean and vacuum.

Pulpy Things! – Julie Doornbos

Pulpy Things! – Julie Doornbos

Greetings! I’m Julie. I live on a mountain and do the art thing. And I have a thing for campy illustrations. Sarah has asked me to show you my embarrassingly huge collection of pulp fiction covers! You know you want to look.

*flashes trenchcoat*

I kid. Today’s post is (mostly) safe for work. So long as you work for yourself and/ or your boss can’t see what you’re browsing on the internet. I’ll leave the extra naked covers for another day. You’ll be fine!


For educational purposes [delicate-lady-snort], I’ve divided these into three categories. The first category needs no introduction, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Covers With Scantily Clad Women That Don’t Need to Be Scantily CladImage1

Plutonians, gold bikinis, AND three sexes? Well hell, that has nebula award written all over it.


Her: Mildly irritated to have a man fused inside her bathroom wall.
Him: Deeply disturbed by that sparkly pink shower curtain.


For just a moment, please ignore how completely awful these space suit designs are. You see their belly buttons? No?

That was done for decency sake. That little bit of covering is the difference between Space Ladies and Space Hussies, my friend. (just ask Jeannie…)


Speaking of improbable spacewear…

Space Pasties! With tubing. For reasons. SCIENCE reasons.


My favorite part about this cover?

The little blurb telling you that it is complete and unabridged.

Somewhere out there is a heavily edited version. It’s just slurp noises.


That bit of red drool on the monster and the woman’s neck means he deaded her.

You’re totally oogling a corpse. You freak.

Speaking of freaks, our next category is

Covers With Monsters!


This is the far more terrifying version of Harry and the Hendersons in which I burn the movie theater down and everyone thanks me for it.


Art DIrector: “The book is titled WHAT? Don’t we have something ominous and mostly naked we can put on the cover instead?”


Somebody do something! That dinosaur is taunting Kenny Rogers!


I’m not exactly sure what’s going on, but I think they’re forcing her to listen to a dramatic presentation of Fifty Shades of Grey as read by Gilbert Gottfried. (I’m… just going to let you google that one.)


Somebody do something! That bear is spooning Richie Cunningham!

Which neatly brings us to our third category…

Covers With Men Being Attacked By Things

This category brought to you almost entirely by whoever was in charge of the covers for Man’s Life, True Men, Man’s Conquest, Stag, Man’s World, and the simply named Men magazine.

Attack fish!


Attack snakes!


Attack otters!


Attack eels!


Attack bats!


Attack crabs! (with bonus incorrect usage of the word “cannibal”)


Attack rats!


Attack weasels!


Attack flying squirrels!


(and my favorite) Attack turtles! With bonus cleavage!


You didn’t think I was finished, did you? I told you my collection was huge.

Surprise fourth category!

WTF Pulp


“…and arsonists are my bread and shoplifters are my pickles and bank robbers are my condiments! It’s a whole crime sandwich!”


I wasn’t aware that the CIA was hiring teeny-boppers…

This is my horrified face. Moving along.


Oh good. A palate cleanser.


You laugh, but Spinrad was nominated for a Nebula for this.

You think I make this crap up, I know it.


That’s hot.


I think the author must have described the entire plot of his book out loud and then finished up with “do you think you can fit all of that on the cover?” and the illustrator was all like “yea, brah, I got this.”

That’s all for today! Next time Sarah leaves the door unlocked, I may sneak in here and show you my collection of sexy 80’s com-pew-turr ads.


You only wish I was joking.



*You know guys, I think I should leave the door unlocked more often.  What say you?*

I’m Okay, I’m Okay

I had a wonderful guest post planned for today but I’m in an away-remote location and can’t access the never sufficiently cursed email.  Okay I forgot the password, my fault, but when I ask to send to my phone WHICH IS REGISTERED WITH THEM they forget what account I’m trying to access.  Sigh.

We’re doing family stuff, so the post may go up after lunch OR tomorrow.  I’ll put something up early afternoon, anyway.

Sorry guys.

Ça Ira

I grew up thinking of myself as privileged. Heck, my childhood was privileged compared to most of the village we grew up in. That we were one of the biggest targets of “stealing wash from the line” was a clue, because we had better clothes.

In a place and time where people often wore clothes remade from clothes their grandmas had (Mom bought a knitting machine to fill in the blanks between her contracts to design garments for such people as the wives of famous soccer players to take on world tour and/or the richer persons from the region. While mom consistently made more than dad that was only because dad made VERY little. And her income was as irregular as mine is. So a knitting machine, with which she could work for the village and not just the occasional rich person meant regular if tiny pings of income. I was pretty old before I realized what it meant that this job came with “undo and dye old sweater yarn” preliminaries. Yep, people were that poor. Wool often got made into three and four different garments, until the yarn held no longer.)

But dad worked a white collar job and had white shirts (five, so that they could be washed/starched on Saturday wash day. Ironing in the early days, when I was very little was done with a coal-filled iron. On white shirts. If you got a smudge on, you had to start from the beginning. And startch… let’s not go there.) And mom had his pants made by a real tailor, again, in a time and place where moms made most of the clothes. Inexpertly.

OTOH I had a huge wardrobe, both of everyday clothes (since mom was convinced that air on my legs made me ill, I wore pants at time and place no GIRL did that) mostly cut down from dad’s and my brother’s and of special dresses, which mom made mostly I think because she could make much of tiny (expensive) scraps of fabric.

So, that, and the fact dad had a real job, paid in money, and the fact we owned land and houses made us way wealthier than other people. And we took baths. Every week. With store bought perfumed soap. Which just shows you how posh we were. Our laundress loved doing our clothes “because they smell good even when dirty.”

As for the rest, we had our chickens and rabbits, and our own wine and potatoes. So we were rich.

My first culture shock was when I entered elementary school and found the language I spoke was not only different from most of my classmates but was considered low class.

Mind you I knew dad – white collar job – spoke differently from grandma and grandad, and everyone spoke differently from mom (there was a running joke about making a mom-ctionary) but I had no clue the way I spoke was considered low IN THE VILLAGE. After the class burst out laughing when I used the wrong word to ask to go to the bathroom, I weighed my words carefully and used only those dad would use. Over time my vocabulary became almost entirely his, which didn’t save me from being ridiculed in college.

Why? Apparently the village has a completely different accent from the rest of the North. First time I opened my mouth in college, the teacher looked like he couldn’t believe what I was saying, then said “Are you from Aguas Santas?” For the rest of the year I was “the young lady from Aguas Santas.”

Look, this isn’t claiming hardship or victimhood. The way to deal with obstacles in my book is to fight them. It’s who I am. I was born crosswise to life. The more I’m told I can’t the more I want to do something.

But the reason my accent stood out is that there weren’t too many of us around.

Portugal when I came along had education like ours is becoming. If you wanted to enter college and do well, you’d BEST go to the good private schools. (There was no homeschooling.)

I knew a family who, in deference to the fact that they only had little money and many kids sent the boys to private school and the girls came in with us in public school. (Yes, sexisss. Or bowing to the realities of the time and Latin culture, where men were still expected to make the most money in the house. Though expectations weren’t always the truth. See my mom.)

So each level of education you went up after the mandatory 4th grade I found myself with fewer and fewer people like me.

It wasn’t as bad as in my brother’s time, mind – or perhaps it was that he was a boy – who complained he was the only one in his high school senior class who didn’t get a car for his birthday. (He wasn’t so much complaining. He knew DAD didn’t have a car, but took the bus to work. He was making a joke about being a fish out of water. We immediately got him a matchbox convertible for Christmas. He still has it, and shows it off to people as “my first car.”)

And often, in frustration at our classmates’ stories of their grandparents we mentioned ours were both bankers, a terrible pun based on the carpenter’s table – banco, same word as for money bank – since both our grandfathers were in fact carpenters.

Mom’s dad – who came from money but blew the family fortune on women of ill repute and poets ditto – had an entire routine he worked up when we had classmates visiting the house and which embarrassed mom mortally. Now, you’d have to know he was better read than most of our professors, and spoke Latin and Greek so by then our classmates were openmouthed with awe. I wonder how many of them took the routine at face value. The only part I remember was “And my children were kept barefoot summer and winter, which many health experts say is the best way to combat weakness of the lungs.”

So I was RELATIVELY privileged in relation to the village, but conscious of how other people lived, and also that I was a pauper in rags compared to most people outside the village and also still conscious that my parents had had it much worse growing up. (My dad walked to the city for everything over 4th grade. His bookbag was made of cloth by grandma. He was even more of a fish out of water because in his time only the children of white collar workers were groomed to be white collar workers. Now, mind you, on his dad’s side there were doctors and engineers and lawyers, but grandad had (I think) same issues with words as younger son (from interaction with him, even in later years) and same sensory issues that made writing and reading difficult. In those days and with a ton of other kids, he was assumed to be “stupid” and apprenticed to a carpenter. His family was rich but we weren’t and in grandma’s family – where grandad moved upon marriage – dad was the first to attend anything past 4th grade.)

There were moments when I realized the world I lived in wasn’t even what my classmates lived in. Like, my clothes were usually avant-garde and stunningly original. By the time I hit college and had stopped shunning dresses and skirts, my mom took great pleasure in designing clothes for me, and all I had to do was dream up something and she’d make it because she was retired by then (heart issues don’t do well with deadlines.) Those who know my older son will giggle at the fact I MOSTLY wore thirties-style clothes with some improvements/modifications.

BUT in college that cut no mustard, because my clothes were not designer. People would show off and squee over clothes not according to how they looked but to the label. And each of those cost more than my parents paid for my entire wardrobe.

What I’m trying to say is that I was both conscious of privilege and OBJECTIVELY what my brother calls “poor as Job.” (Though the only time our beasties died was when mixie swept the village. We lost all our rabbits.)

Like my kids, never thought of myself as poor. Because what money there was went to books, and I could never be persuaded to give a good g0ddamn about designer labels. I had what I wanted to have and if what I wanted to have was trips abroad, it just took being a little more creative.

And because I never let school stand in the way of my education (thank you, Mark Twain) I could easily out compete people from “the best schools.” Partly, frankly, because it was simply expected. There was never “oh, you had a c, you poor thing.” Dad put us in school with the assumption we’d be the best, even though at the same time he and mom thought I was mentally retarded, because that’s what idiot doctor told them when I was born extremely premature. There was this “if you can’t get it at first, work harder” which btw was the treatment offered for both my lack of hand-eye coordination and my digit dyslexia. Weirdly, over time, it worked.

To me it was a matter of course to out-compete people who had come from private school. Dad expected it, after all. And he couldn’t be wrong. It’s only in hindsight I realize in saying “you will do well, and you will enter college” (In brother’s time by exam, in mine by exam and grades, but both only admitting half of one percent of those who tried. The others went to professional training of various kinds.) my parents were shooting at the moon.

When my brother first got good enough grades to enter high school, mom didn’t have the money for the books (which used to cost like college books here) so she tried to get them used from my aunt whose son was a few years older. Aunt, who came from money said “if you can’t afford the books, send him to learn carpentry.” Fortunately mom got a job in and bought the books.

Even in my time when things were supposed to be more inclusive, when I b*tched at the cost of a book my Sociology professor insisted on, I was told that “The children of the poor shouldn’t aspire to college. They should become seamstresses.”

I’m saying this not to show that I was a poor victim. Mostly such slights infuriated me. I’m saying this to show that I was a fish out of water both above and below my “station” at the same time, and therefore keenly aware of how strange people both positions were.

The assumptions of the other kids in the village (none of which I was ever really close to after 10 or so. My best friend was from an “outsider” family and way better off than us) baffled me. Like when they spoke of being beaten for eating fruit their mom had bought for company. Mom always had fruit and it was a “grab at will.” “For company” was the good cheese, the chocolate and the “bought biscuits.” Or their casual assumption that of course their parents would file papers saying they were developmentally disabled so they could work in the factories at ten.

And the assumptions of my classmates baffled me, the more so after 9th grade when, by grades, I got tracked to the “college preparation” track. Vacations abroad, really? Designer clothes? Eating at restaurants more than once every few years? WHAT?

This was exacerbated by being in languages where a lot of the people had ties abroad and came from very wealthy families.

I swam between these cultures, able to fake it (mostly by misdirection and not mentioning my vacations reading atop the garage, mostly, when it came to college) but never belonging and therefore seeing all their assumptions as a little nuts.

Becoming American was relatively easy because the “rules” are more permissive and laxer and coming from nothing is not a problem.

This long preamble is to explain why the comment left by the Fail 770 troll was bizarrely odd, but showed what is going on in their heads.

One thing you have to understand is that the establishment in SF is incredibly sincere. What I mean is they REALLY want to bring in the “victims” they perceive and give them places of honor. They do. And they want to read about “exotic” things and places, and people they consider victimized heroes.

The other thing you have to understand is that entering SF as an author (what, as an ESL for whom English is a third language and who had no contacts in the field? Bah, it took a little long, but listen, I entered college in Portugal. Coming from the village, and often not owning any of the books I was supposed to have because they were too expensive. If I had a motto it would be “I contrive.”) was like entering college in Portugal.

Most of these people –Definitely MOST of the editors – came from families where ALL generations had gone to college as far as they remembered (kind of like my husband’s family. It amuses me that paternal grandad would have bowed and scraped and been speechless before my inlaws.) More than that, they’d gone to prestigious colleges. For 99% of them, if they had an ancestor who worked with his/her hands, it was buried in the mists of time.

There were exceptions, of course, but those were often “fallen from grace” families, like my paternal grandfather’s.

Some of the older editors were the first in their families to go to college, but they behaved and integrated as being more papist than the Pope. They had something to prove and were too la-di-da for words, and would never admit to a childhood of scrimping and saving.

And almost none of them had ever known many people outside lower middle class.

This is understandable because in America you usually move only within your “class”. (We don’t, but we’re weird.)  Unless you’re an odd, or military or another group that walks between worlds.  Your business associates and neighbors, in the age of suburbs seem to all have “close enough to mine” backgrounds.  (Where “mine” is whatever yours is, not mine obviously.)

What I mean is these are people who not only have never associated with persons of other races and cultures (except those who went through the same schools and thus while externally different are exactly the same inside) but to whom “lower class” or “poor” is like the other side of the moon. They know it’s there but they’ve never seen it.

They exhibit great nostalgie the la boue because they have never experienced real mud and real hardship, so to them this is interesting and exotic, and they don’t realize it reads dreary and grey to us.

They casually demonize the working class they are trying to help (and they really think they’re trying to help them, mind) because they’ve never had to do menial, back breaking work, and they project themselves onto the poor. The poor are, of course, just like them, so the only way to explain that they are poor is that they have been misled, told lies, and stolen from by the rich.

Marx fits into this type of mentality like a glove. To a person unable to understand true human variety of drive and need and guilt, Marx “explains everything.” Like, say, generational poverty.  It never occurs to them that so does a horrible culture.  Oh, they also fail to understand “poor” isn’t the same for everyone.  My brother and I might have been “poor as Job” compared to our classmates, but we were wealthy and pampered beyond the dreams of avarice compared to our parents’ childhoods. I doubt this distinction would even be apparent from sufficiently above us.

These are the people who favor raising the minimum wage because in their world this means that poor people will have more money, completely missing the fact that most poor people will lose their jobs and most jobs that aren’t worth minimum wage but still need to be performed will go to illegal immigrants who will become an unassimilated under class in our midst.

Meanwhile, never considering drive or need (which weirdly is different for everyone) to succeed, they explain poverty (besides by theft from above, which two seconds thought would show makes to sense) they assume that people of other races/classes must be stupid and need help from above.

Oh, they don’t ASSUME it ALOUD. No, it’s just built in in their cures. Say, why aren’t there more minorities in science fiction? Oh, because people want to read about people like them, and if you don’t PORTRAY minorities, then they won’t read the genre.

Cupcake, as a kid from the village I read American SF with no issues. Minorities and the poor are no more stupid than you are (in general) and don’t need you talking down to them and trying to be like them so they’ll like you. In fact, Sweetie, having someone who has Latin blood three generations back, if that, write coy little stories about the plight of speakers of Spanish and Portuguese does NOT in fact attract me so much as make me want to break into the village patois, “Oh, morcona, deixa-te das fitas. Anda ca pra minha rua, que eu dou-te um pimpim que ate ficas a deitar verniz.”

Our lotus eaters in publishing (and entertainment and academia) don’t understand that. Their need to relate only to those who are “good people” i.e. who’ve internalized their version of the world as they think exists, means they lionize external minorities who have the same internal make up they do.

People like Larry and I? We’re utterly baffling. They can only explain our inability to conform to their internal picture of the world by refusing to go on about victimhood and refusing to stay in our assigned places by thinking we’re evil and class and race (and in my case gender) traitors.

I remember the precious flower who told me I didn’t like current feminism because I grew up with the gains of feminism. Poor darling didn’t know I grew up in a time and place where a woman needed her husband’s signature to get a job, where “family passports” were a thing, female suffrage wasn’t and where EVERY teacher told me of course I wasn’t as smart as the boys. Yes, in public. Aloud. I’m here to tell you it didn’t break me. I just made sure I was better than every boy. It is BECAUSE of my background that I don’t think we do girls any favors by protecting them from “micro aggressions.”

Humans who haven’t been ruined by wealth and Marx (a lethal cocktail) thrive on adversity.

And it is because of my background that I do see the good intentions AND the bafflement from the left side of writing, entertainment, politics.

They’re trying to help us, honestly. Why aren’t we grateful? (eh. “You should be thanking me.”) They want more minorities and poor people in science fiction, because that’s the decent thing to do. And of course they don’t want minorities and poor people who don’t agree with them, because, as Marxism explains they’ve been colonized by the oppressive culture. And why would you want to propagate the oppressive culture.

This is why no matter how many times we explain to them that we are not sexist or racist or homophobic, they come back to the same. Because if we weren’t we wouldn’t oppose them.

And that’s why we must want to take sf to “the fifties” which never existed outside their heads. (I suspect and have heard from people who lived it, the fifties were more like the village than like June Cleaver.)

They’ve never read those books, of course, because they’re full of false consciousness and might infect them, or something.

It’s not the lotus eater’s fault. They are the 1% of the 1% who had the money, the contacts and the connections to either be NY editors (Baen excepted, as always) or to be picked by their former college roommates/distant relatives/friends of friends as the next best thing.

They all speak the same new-Marxist language, and they all want to improve the world.

Those of us who climbed hand over hand into being published and who refuse to hide our origins and cater to their monolithic world view are like a fart in church. We disrupt their perfectly formed, carefully maleducated perceptions.

They don’t understand that in a world of online and indie publishing with no gatekeepers, and the inability to shut us up/keep us from the public by having a word with someone, we’re the forefront of a coming wave.

The poor things don’t understand they’re the French court circa 1780. Aping the revolutionaries in the US and trying to be hip and speaking truth to imaginary power. All unaware of the coming change.

Ça Ira

The Goat Kicks Back

The Israelites of old had a custom whereby — to stop the psychological consequences of sin — they put their sins onto a goat and drove it into the desert.

Of course it wasn’t fair to the poor goat, because it was just a dumb animal, driven into an inhospitable environment and if it survived long enough it probably became dinner for some wandering nomad.

I mean, PETA would be all over them, but it was a sophisticated way to save the community.

Fortunately for them the goat didn’t have access to the internet and its store of misbehavior that never goes away.

So, on Dave Pascoe’s (#3 auxiliary, backup adopted son) posts he had a throw away line.  It’s early in the morning and I’ve only had half a cup of coffee and I’m not going to look for it just now, but if I recall it was something like “the accepted wisdom is that they’re thinking of making the worldcon attending membership the only one with a vote.”  Of which there was a lot of talk in the wilds of March when the Puppy Punters were in a fever.  No use looking of course, because they scrub regularly (which is why it’s a good idea in an argument with them to capture stuff, and why it’s a bad idea for them to leave comments on my blog.)  Note he didn’t say there was a proposal for it or that it really went forward (though arguably the effect of Pluribus Hugo which is on the agenda for WC WILL make it harder not for agendas to make it but for anyone without an agenda to make it.  It’s amazing isn’t it how their proposals always have the opposite of the effect they claim to want?)

Well, the puppy punters must be in a fever again (why it’s like full summer moon with them.  I wonder why, don’t you?) because poor Dave got an invasion of trolls on that one in-passing line. And one of the trolls revealed the new party line.  (Guys, seriously, if you’re going to train and aim trolls make sure they have more than two brain cells to rub together.  Yes, I know how hard that is, because then they don’t buy your fifth hand pre-disgested pap “Oh, the puppies are neo nazis and extremists and reprehensible” say.  But at least try not wind up the true idiots and send them off to reveal how you’re trying to turn the narrative.  Just some friendly advice from a woman who owns her own piranha tank and scorpion pit.)

I had before been seeing pictures on facebook from people on the other side with a cutesy band saying “we are all sf” and from that I had deduced that “wrongfans” was all old and busted and the new hotness was “we are all SF” (the Kumbaya is implied.)  And I’d raised an eyebrow, but we were doing the final push on the house, getting oldest son moved to his own place, trying to figure out where money comes from for younger boy’s upcoming tuition (not his fault, we borrowed from him to get the house ready.  Yeah.)  and I hadn’t paid much attention. [Update: I’m told in comments this is Lou Berger’s initiative and he means it.  That’s fine.  I have nothing against Lou who’s never done me any harm and seems like a nice guy, but a lot of the puppy-kickers are hiding behind it for their projection screen.]

Then the little troll that could left this nugget (and ran away, because that’s what most of the envoys of Fowl 770 (bock, bock, bock) do.)

We know who wants to drive people out of SFF and it sure isn’t the so-called SJW who you hate to much. It is YOU who wants to drive people out, anyone who want more variety and diversity in their fiction. No, not everyone wants to ‘tell a book by its cover’.

Now, the book by its cover thing is a reference to one of Brad Torgersen’s posts.  I have no idea what Trolly Tomlin thought it meant, but it’s clear they had never read the post if they thought it meant driving people out of SFF.

The post is here, so read for yourself. Note that even after the illiberal establishment started its game of telephone with it Brad didn’t scrub it.  Because we are not the illiberal establishment.  And because his post is actually quite innocuous.  He’s saying that for too long things presented themselves as science fiction that in fact weren’t.  Note this isn’t all of the literary sf, but yeah, a significant amount of it, which is why I stopped reading SF for a while, and only started again when I could read comments on Amazon.

And for anyone who has an issue with his main point, you must be completely virgin of marketing.  Yeah, we discuss a lot how to do covers in indie publishing, and sometimes even with our editors.  For instance, I was worried the cover of A Few Good Men promised too much mil sf.

BUT whatever the troll believes what Brad’s post doesn’t say is that no one should write literary sf or message sf or whatever the heck sf you want to write.  He just said that selling those under the branding of “just fun space opera” is wrong and will kill your readership.  (And yeah, publishers still do that occasionally.  Most publishers are very bad with covers, period.)

The important nugget in that eructation (yeah, it’s like opening an owl pellet to find out what they ate, isn’t it?) is We know who wants to drive people out of SFF and it sure isn’t the so-called SJW who you hate to much.

For your delectation, here is what the internet remembers, despite all the scrubbings, backtracking and finger pointing.

After Sad Puppies suggested books, with such, you know, right wing firebreathers as Kevin J. Anderson and Jim Butcher, got on the ballot, we found out we were “right wing” and “only political” and we’d totally killed the Hugos.

See this collage of gems:


We were just wrongfans, having wrongfun, I guess.

Entertainment weakly started out by telling us that we’d taken over the awards to drive off different races, women and gays (man, is I doing it wrong, given I’m a woman, Latin and probably have more gay fans than Misty Lackey, if a completely different kind.) Entertainment weakly — see above — backtracked because their lawyers pointed out what they did was libel.

This didn’t stop a lot of newspapers, including The Grauniad from reprinting the same crap pap as recently as this month.  They just name no names and cover their &sses a little better.

And of course, on the other side it’s still gospel.  If you’re rooting for The Dark Between The Stars or Skin Game to win the Hugos (my #1 and #2 selection respectively) then you’re racist, sexist and misogynist.

Because nothing counts to them but the scoring of points and maligning of people who DARED defy TOR’s death lock on the sacred Hugo, they’re capable of telling us Brad Torgersen married a black woman BECAUSE he’s racist. And that defending himself from their completely out of the blue charges of racism by showing a picture of his family is straight up racism.  Because nothing says “I hate your race” as choosing to make your entire genetic investment in a member of it, I guess.


The translation on this is “you’re racist, and if you prove you aren’t, then you’re racist.”  Lovely stuff.  Every totalitarian in history would be proud of it.

And here is someone who was at the time one of TOR’s prominent editors laying out cogent reasons why we’re bad:


“Hey I say they’re liars. That is a fact that matters.”  Or something.  Note that The Dark Between The Stars was published by Tor. Just such professional behavior.

And if you’re black and a Sad Puppies supporter?  Why, you racist person you.  (Eh.  Welcome my friend.  I’m apparently racist too.  As is Larry.)


And then there was this which is…


The “vulnerable woman?”  You’d think it was some poor writer trying to make a living and being demonized FOR BEING ON THE BALLOT because some wrongfans liked her?  You’d be wrong.  It would be a Tor employee promoting one of her employers books (and demonizing another in the process.)


Yep.  Accuse people of heinous stuff, and when they defend themselves post teh kitteh pictures.  Yeah.

And you know, when you get called on it, and you issue an apology of the “I’m sorry you were offended” kind, your supporters will act like you’re Saint Joan of Arc of something.  I give you the SF establishment, ladies and gentlemen PURE acceptance, loving kindness AND marketing savvy.  Why would we “hate so much” the Social Justice Warriors (and don’t come crying to me.  You were bragging about that name and giving it to yourselves.  There’s even a game about being an SJW.  Until we tied it to what it means.) who are doing such a splendid job in the major houses in our field?

And after dire warnings from David Gerrold to Brad and Larry, because you know, they dared suggest people read and nominate Anderson and Butcher if they like them, we get people telling Baen to stop supporting Larry.


That, ladies and gentlemen is the president of SFWA, the professional organization that purports to represent all of us.

Correction, apparently Hines is NOT SFWA president, just Hines.

The Toni thing they refer to?

This one, on this blog.

I’d seen it as a post in Toni’s conference and asked to post it, because in it Toni Weisskopf, my publisher and (I’d very much like it at least) my friend, talked about how fandom used to be more unified, how we all came in the same way back then, through the same authors/same media, an artifact of the distribution of entertainment then.  And how now we come in in such varied means that we need to find a way to talk to each other and still be fandom.

Unfortunately what Toni said didn’t fit the narrative.  So it had to be twisted.

And as with Brad’s piece on covers, the game of telephone begun.

The inclusive other side tells Gamer Gate (who wasn’t involved till they started rubbing the GG lamp, except of course for those who are both gamers and readers of SF, like… most of the younger generation, say, and who supported gamer gate because they believed in journalism being above board.  Of course.) they’re not welcome.


Ms. Wu doesn’t want your kind around here.  Even if you were not around here, except as individuals who game and read SF.  And of course, you’re racist, sexist, misogynist and anti-gay and don’t you dare dispute their narrative because that just proves it.

The great minds of Damien Walter and Arthur Chu discuss our problematic behavior.


Because all smart people should shut up and follow the narrative.  Racist, misogynist, sexist, remember.  Even if you’re not and nominated women and minorities for the ballot.

Things got so bad the poor darlings formed the “Just us” league to keep out wrong fans having wrong fun.


Because the narrative tells you those Sad Puppies who nominated such Storm Troopers as KJA and JB will be out to punch you or something.

Which brings up “I’ll walk with you.”

I like Vonda and read her long before I came here.  And I’m sure all she’s heard is the game of telephone in her circles, the same nonsense that convinced the dim bulb Irene Gallo that we’re all “right wing extremists.”  I’m just going to say she’s trying to be nice, and the reprehensible people in this equation are the ones who so “Othered” Sad Puppies as to convince her we’re some kind of bigots.

People created false blogs so as to inflame the matter and, of course, carry the narrative.  This one pretends to be the Sad Puppies blog.  (We don’t have a blog because we’re a true grass roots movement, something the other side seems to have trouble understanding.) Risible, of course, but it’s easy to point people who haven’t seen anything real about Sad Puppies at it and then say “see, this is what they are.”  It is also horribly evil and othering and hateful and all those things the other side says WE are, but never mind.

Narrative uber allas.

And the narrative goes on.


Thank heavens the same doesn’t hold for Marxist take over schemes, or science fiction might have been in a dive since the seventies when it comes to sales and popularity.  Oh, wait.

And if you know, horrible right wingers, like Butcher and Anderson and, oh, half of that ballot that were suggested by Sad Puppies actually get in?

Why you must start a site to No Award them.

And you must give them one star reviews based solely on WHO WROTE THE BOOK and the fact you don’t like some of their beliefs (or what you’ve been told their beliefs were.)


You must do this with great pride.


You must defend the practice.


[That boycott, btw, was not approved of or promulgated by either Brad, Larry (or myself.)  And the “Scoundrel” that started calling for it is a war veteran of a war against neo-fascism who took offense to being lumped with Neo-Fascists because he likes books like Butcher’s and Anderson’s and others with no EXPLICIT (all books have an implicit) message.

That’s my friend Peter Grant, and though we disagreed on the need for or feasibility of a boycott, I’d say of his offense-taking what my grandmother used to say “Those who aren’t justly offended when insulted have no honor.”]

And if people were suggested by people whose politics you don’t like it’s perfectly permissible and shows how smart and caring you are to make fun of WORKS YOU HAVEN’T READ:



Liberal politics and SF/F. Also, teen librarian in the Midwest. Avatar by @redrobotsuit
Joined June 2009
I’m voting on the Hugos so I’m reading most of the stories (I won’t read anything by Vox Day, or Patriarchy Press).
Because that’s what librarians are supposed to do.  Keep you from reading things they don’t agree with.  I’m starting to think these people don’t GET how to do their jobs.  It’s as if they were saying “I always wear a condom while teaching.”
But there is no political color line in science fiction.

NO one is calling for specific message fiction from a specific side.  (Well, no one on their side.  We are racist/sexist/misogynist… you know the drill.)


The people who support Sad Puppies are, as another commenter sent from Vile 770 put it (I can’t remember if I approved that one.  There were so many) “just jealous and write mediocre fiction.)  Politics is only involved on our side, when we nominate such supporters of racism and sexism as… Oh, never mind.  You get it.

Why, we’re practically child rapers.  Standing up against us is a “moral stand.”


And no one tried to start a rumor about a science fiction writer and destroy his character. (Despite there being no one who saw this imaginary event.)


The narrative goes on, and the author of the latest Teh Grauniad hit piece talks about Nazis in the 2015 Hugo.


(Yes, that’s the full Godwin, there guys.  You never go the full Godwin.)

You know, THESE Nazis:


And the SJWs are not the ones pushing people out. Even if they won’t vote for you if you get recommended by the wrong people.

Like this.

And this.

No, and Mary must be on our side, because clearly we’d be the ones making death threats and sending hate mail, right?

Because the other side is all welcoming and inclusive.  All you have to do is make sure your stories don’t support child rapists nazis non-socialist views which at any rate would be such a break with the revolutionary mission of science fiction that it wouldn’t be science fiction at all.

There’s only one solution for today’s problems, and we know it’s based on a larger state, policing of thoughts and Marx and the gospel of social justice.  All the rest is just wrong fans having wrong fun.

If they must create a narrative that we’re racist, sexist, homophobic?  Why they had to burn the village genre in order to save it.

If they didn’t do that, then people like Kevin J. Anderson and Jim Butcher might win the Hugo.  And that would be too horrible to contemplate, as the above links show.

“We are all science fiction” indeed.  Provided we take care to support the right causes, of course.

*I’m done.


Drops the mic.*