Reflections

So my eyes on Twitter who secretly hates me and wants me to go rabid and start biting the cats or something, has been reporting on the very deep musings of one of the SFWA SJWs. Normally, you know, I read these and shrug, or rolls my eyes so much they’re in risk of falling out and becoming cat toys. But this time, this time the random musings of this special (unfortunately, Alas, not wall) flower struck me as odder than normal and as betraying strange assumptions about the world.

I’m not going to name her, not because I’m afraid she’ll troll this blog – I’m fairly sure she does, at least intermittently and that it fuels her mini-rages – but because there is something vaguely indecent in making fun of the mentally ill.

In the same way we’ll sort of gloss over her latest reported eructation which is that many people need to sit down, shut up and listen. THAT is just because this young (waggles hand) woman is not just privileged, she is one of the very privileged who have never had to face any hardship from birth and never had to work for a living. Which has allowed her to preserve the unconscious egotism of the three year old stomping her foot and wishing the adults would just shut up and listen!

That’s not interesting. It is chortle worthy in an adult woman fast approaching what at any other time and place would be considered middle age, but not interesting.

It just makes me roll my eyes again, and think if we really banned bossy (not the word but the stupid order-giving behavior of women (or men, for that matter) without the life experience or authority to run their own kitchen, this woman would go around with duct tape across her mouth, or possibly her fingers.

And while that image is funny, it’s definitely mean.

So, we’ll avert our eyes from it and go into her other… uh… insights.

Apparently, our hero (well, she would object to being called heroine, because the same vagina she glories in cannot be acknowledged when referring to anything she does, because apparently she’s so convinced a vagina is a handicap that any terms implying one has one – heroine, actress, lady – is immediately an insult) has been to a science fiction convention, (and how thrilling this must have been for the other people) and would like to inform the world that there are a lot of old men in science fiction who mistakenly think they are relevant to science fiction.

This was the pronouncement that made my jaw drop and made me stare at the screen.

We’ll start at the end, shall we? What the heck is “relevant to science fiction?” No, I’m absolutely dead serious.

Sure I can tell you, looking back at the history of science fiction that some writers and some editors were very relevant to the history of science fiction. The field would be completely different without say Campbell, Hugo Gernsback, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov or Bradbury.

There are two reasons these people were so influential and we know they were influential. The first one is that the distribution went through a bottle neck. Not a huge one. There were a lot of magazines publishing stories, but even so, if you wanted to publish a science fiction short story, you had to go through the magazines.

And the second is that these people hit a current of work that was highly popular and resonated with the mass of people in their time. These people pulled readers into science fiction and made them dream. This meant a lot of the kids reading those magazines grew up wanting to write like these men.

And that’s what made them “relevant” and now part of the “relevant history.”

It wasn’t some proclamation from on high, or some pronouncement from above, but the simple fact they were very popular.

So… our SJW is doing what to be very popular and “relevant” to the field? Oh, yeah. Screaming we must be inclusive and have more minorities and women. And that science fiction serves the ends of “social justice.”

Puts hand to forehead.

Look, I’m not saying there are no women or minorities who read and write. I’m not stupid. In fact there are many more than those paraded as tokens at the awards. And there have always been.

They are a minority in science fiction – the minorities, not the women, who despite being considered a minority are actually a majority, in science fiction as in the rest of things – because they are a minority in the population. But that’s all right because a field that enjoys reading about purple tentacle aliens won’t even register someone who tans a little better as a character, and many of the white, male (and female) authors write minorities without making a big deal about it.

The Social Justice (a compound name that denies both the parts) otoh is a problem, because even at its best, where it reflects an actual problem in or current society it is – at the very best – reflecting a problem in our society right now and projecting it to the future.

Yes, I know. All literature classes in college – I have a degree in the stuff, okay? – told you that science fiction is only permissible because “it’s a disguised critique of today’s society.” They were wrong, okay? Oh, sure, the masters, like Heinlein, included aspects of today’s society in their books. They were after all writing for today’s people. But – and this will be really hard for the SJWs to understand – people don’t read fiction to reflect on the wrongs of society or the very deep problems of our day.

People read fiction – except that “literary” fiction that is read to show your friends how smart you are. That can be as boring as you wish – to be entertained. Most of them know the problems in society today, and if all you’re doing is moaning about how bad things are, the book is going to go against the wall and they won’t buy others from you.

Can you slip a new insight into their minds, while entertaining them? Sure. Can you slip one in while berating them? Only if they have some sort of psychological problem.

Yes, sure, you can right now write or edit a book that hits all the Social Justice Whiners’ points, and which will win all the awards. But what portion of the reading public – not just the public who attends conventions – will remember this book in ten years? In what way is that book relevant for science fiction, except to make people write more books like that as bait for increasingly irrelevant (if not counterproductive, sales wise) awards?

And that’s the other important side of it. “The reading public who attends conventions” is probably what 1/100th the people who read, even the people who read science fiction and fantasy.

I was recently advising a friend on what to do with his first novel, and had to tell him that he had to make a choice depending on what he wanted. He could go for a long wait, a small advance and some name recognition at conventions (I don’t think he’d get high name recognition, at least with only one book, but I could, of course, be wrong) or he could go with putting it on line, making the equivalent of an advance in the next three months and being an absolutely unknown at conventions.

I don’t remember it if was Hugh Howey (but I think so) who, having sold a bazillion (give or take) books was a total unknown at a con.

So our hero has some issues when she says that these “old men” are totally irrelevant to science fiction.

First I’m going to assume these “old men” are men who are about ten years older than our brave SJW, since that’s what she was calling “old” before. Oh, older than that too, but starting at about that point. So they’re middle aged and came in when the system was far more concentrated and there was no competition from indie.

That means they’re more likely to be known with the public at large than just about anyone who has published/will publish in recent times. Because it’s a matter of market share, see? These men’s books were in grocery stores, or at least in bookstores back in the times of yore when people actually went to bookstores.

Yes, sure, in the history of sf written by SJWs these men will be ignored. Okay. But who will even read those histories, except college professors who were always more than a little sneering towards our field? And who cares what they think?

Which brings me to the next point – and a point that’s relevant not just to science fiction – (yes, which is why I’m burying it this late in the post. Deal. I haven’t had caffeine): Who in heck goes through life aiming to be “relevant” to something or other? By which I assume it’s meant making an impact in something or other that makes them part of the history of the field?

“Well Sarah, do you want to be irrelevant?”

Uh. To be blunt and honest, there are things I’d like to change and habits of thinking I’d like to illuminate/examine. As for “relevance”? It’s neither here nor there to me.

I have published 23 books. I have two more under contract, and a bunch more started/almost finished. Will I be relevant to the field? Will anyone remember me two minutes after I’m dead?

Pardon me if I don’t give a good goddamn about it.

Oh, sure, assuming there is an afterlife where one still takes an interest in what goes on on Earth, it might be a case of warm fuzzies to have fans acclaim me after my death. Or perhaps it will be more a case of embarrassment, you know, like finding out your kindergarten class still reads your essay on how much you love your dog every year thirty years later.

I can’t even imagine a mind set in which that matters. I want to write now; I want to be read and making a living from it now; and I want to know that I did what John Wright mentioned in an essay recently “my book came to someone on her darkest day, and made that day better.” I want to do that because I have had books do that for me. I’ve had books that if they didn’t save my life saved my sanity that day or week or month. They provided me a place to hide when reality was unbearable and allowed me to regain my balance.

That I’d like to do – as a stretch goal. The first goal is making a living – That is a worthy endeavor. But being “relevant” and having college professors make appreciative noises over my books? (Shrug.) As if I could care.

And it hit me that the problem with these exquisitely indoctrinated flowers of social justice is that they never think. They were taught in school that history moves in one direction and that you have to be “on the right side of history” and they believe it as piously as any religiously indoctrinated group.

They think that their “progressive” beliefs will be validated and applauded in the future. (In this they ignore history, like the history of the USSR or most Eastern Europe or for that matter, even China.) They think if they carry the ball of Marxism just a little further and score a touchdown, or even just repeat previously won goals, they will be acclaimed by future generations, world without end.

It never occurs to them that the future – if there is to be one – might take a sharp turn towards more individual freedom and get rid of the unproductive and deadly miasmas of Marxism. It never occurs to them the future might point and laugh at their oeuvre or, more likely, considering most of them aren’t read now, completely ignore them.

They live their lives posing for the future, like supermodels pouting for a camera that might be there.

But what they’re actually posing for is a mirror, and it’s as shallow and self-obsessed as they are.

It never occurs to them that Shakespeare – to name someone who is remembered and who had an influence in the world outside literary criticism – didn’t go through life trying to strike “progressive” poses so the future would admire him, and didn’t write so that he’d have an influence. They never think that he wrote because “Susannah needs shoes. And Nan has been nagging again about living next door to my parents, and when can we build the house I promised her when I came to London?”

And they never, ever, ever, think that “relevant” is the verdict of history written by people yet unborn, in a future that we (despite our profession) really cannot predict.

This is because none of them has ever had to live in real life. All they know about life, all they know about relevancy comes from books, movies and college classes.

So in the end, while I won’t tell them to sit down and shut up, mostly because when they don’t they are so dang entertaining, it never occurs to them that it is they, themselves, who are irrelevant or that their work will never give a moment of real pleasure or amusement to someone in a really bad place.

Go forth, my friends and labor to entertain, to amuse and to make a living. And let us be cheerfully irrelevant to a history that might or might not justify us.

We’re alive now. That is what matters. Better to labor and live and be forgotten than to have never lived except in dreams of honors to come.

508 responses to “Reflections

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    A month or so ago, there was a story about some authors writing books or stories that would be “put in a box” to be opened some number of years in the future.

    IMO that’s the mindset of these people.

    They aren’t writing for people to read now but are “writing for the future” so that the future can see how “ahead of their time they were”.

    If there’s any justice, they’d live to see that box opened and the “future” saying “what sort of junk is this”. [Evil Grin]

    • and they will be sorry to learn just how wrong they are about the future going by how wrong all those older books are about a lot of the things. And, it seems the more you try to be predictive, the less accurate you end up being.

    • One of the people doing that was Margaret Atwood.

      I, for one, am glad I’ll be dead when her contribution is published so I know I won’t have to read it, even at gunpoint.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Yep. Nothing I heard about her work makes me want to read her work.

        • That’s because you’re a barbaric throwback who expects entertainment from their books. The absolute nerve!

          • Let’s not disparage us barbarians. We’re the ones that hold the world together in the end, because we’re not squeamish, will voluntarily enter the fight and preserve life as WE know it. I am PROUD to be a barbarian, one who not only reads books for entertainment, but writes them. I am proud to join the ranks of my fellow barbarians such as Robert Heinlein and Larry Correia. Being “civilized” is so limiting!

            • And this is why I love you guys and I love this group.

              Of course, being a barbarian is the perfect response to “social _______”, as while barbarians have a society with rules and structure and the rest of it, they are also fiercely independent, and have little patience for nonsense.

              >

        • I read the ‘Handmaid’s Tale’.

          Aside from a completely unrealistic scenario, and very unlikable characters, and a rather creepy disturbing feeling that she actually gets (ahem) ‘excited’ by the events in the book, and a massively unsatisfying ending – what’s not to like?

          • I actually like that book, but I’ve got a thing for dystopian fiction. And change the underlying assumption behind the ruling class and it’s a pretty good model for how a fascist or totalitarian society develops (right down to the hypocritical corruption.)

            Of course, nothing’s going to beat 1984 for sheer horror. Still one of the most terrifying fictions I’ve ever read, and I sometimes go for horror novels.

            • The first 1984 movie… (Shudder.)

              I just wish I didn’t feel like some folks in Washington are looking at it and going “Hey, it’s a How-To manual!”

              • They’re using Atlas Shrugged, too.

                  • Yeah, I’m not seeing much 1984.

                    Yet.

                    IMO, it’s still largely Brave New World, with a bit of Atlas Shrugged mixed in. Now since BNW seems to require a certain amount of industrial functionality (lots of drugs and tech toys to keep the citizens blissful in their ignorance), then the influence of the latter might cause the BNW model to break down. In that case, I expect a shift toward the 1984 model.

            • Jordan S. Bassior

              Heinlein did it better in If This Goes On …, a famous science fiction novella published in 1940 and almost continuously in print thereafter from the 1950’s on, including in 1985 when Margaret Atwood recycled the theocratic-dicatorship angle and combined it with the Sterility Plague popular since the after-the-bomb stories starting in the late 1940’s. The offensive part is that Atwood claimed her great originality, and refused to back down even when fans pointed out that the basic concept had been done to death from the 1940’s through early 1980’s.

              • Had somebody done that sort of meme-mining in, say, African-American Literature the accusations of cultural appropriation would have flown. Fortunately for Atwood, looting the legacies of dead white males is considered retribution.

                I remember my shock one Sunday in the Eighties upon discovering a high school classmate had made the NY Times Sunday book section cover with a science-fiction novel. We had been in Creative Writing together our senior year, 15 – 20 years previously, and let us just say that he had not then struck me as the classmate most likely to read, much less write, SF. Perhaps my 17-year-old self’s antennae were over sensitive, and I can’t specifically recall his ever openly sneering at my professed preferences, bit …

                Never did read his novel, in spite of the NYT’s endorsement.

                  • Well, when we used to hand around stuff to critique in class nothing of his particularly impressed me. I am sure he had improved, but … certain feelings linger long and taint one’s objectivity.

                    I don’t think he was the classmate pushing Herman Hesse … I also recall him as editor of the school’s Literary Magazine, which I am sure was very fine stuff but the one or two editorial staff meetings I attended quickly persuaded me that it was not my metier and that my opinions were not likely to have much influence.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        With the advances in medicine that are coming left and right, you might make it.

      • Jordan S. Bassior

        Margaret Atwood — who is most famous for writing an incredibly derivative science fiction novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, then claiming that it was an utterly brilliant and never seen before concept — and when called on it, claimed that none of the dozens of earlier gender-tyranny stories or theocratic dictatorship stories were relevant because they were “mere” science fiction, unlike her own lit-critter excretions.

    • alternatively, folks are going to open up those time capsules and say “another rare example of early 21st century — what did they call it? – ah! ‘Paper’. Let’s run it thru the analyzer and see if we can determine where it came from; first step, get rid of the dirty black contamination on the surfaces of all these lovely sheets. Oh? That was some form of communication? Who knew…?”

    • Amusingly enough, I remember Ray Bradbury years ago saying that he went back and burned all his early, unpublished writing because he didn’t want some hack scholar dragging out his appalling early attempts and tutting scholarly nonsense about it.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      People of 2114:

      “Who’s Margaret Atwood?”

      “I dunno.”

      • People of 2114:

        “Who’s Margaret Atwood?”

        She was some lady who wrote a book that was made into a movie starring the great Robert Duvall. It was pretty hard to understand but apparently it involved Republican Evangelicals taking over the United States and adopting Sharia law. Like I said, it didn’t make much sense but that’s the kind of movies hipster people made in the 20th century.

      • She was the literary version of Margaret Mead – shifted an entire field into the weeds for two academic/literary generations.

      • It can be an interesting experience to look at lists of popular and influential authors of past decades adn realize how forgotten they have become. Edna Ferber, for example won a Pulitzer Prize (for her book So Big) and had works adapted into major Broadway shows (Showboat, Stage Door and Dinner at Eight), Oscar-winning films (Cimmaron and Giant) and today the Algonquin Round Table* member likely isn’t well enough known to make a good answer on “Jeopardy.”

        *It is likely that the best (only) known member of that famed gathering of literary wits is the only one known for his silence, Harpo Marx.

    • Jordan S. Bassior

      I really pissed one of the SJW’s off a couple months ago by pointing out that her equivalent 100 years ago was arguing for eugenics and racial segregation, so she had no guarantee that her equivalent 100 years from now would agree with her “enlightened” concepts. History makes them angry.

  2. old men in science fiction who mistakenly think they’re relevant.
    skipped over…
    skipped over…

    Go forth my friends and labor to entertain.

    Quandary intensified. Need help. Someone want to read my unpublish work and tell me if I should upload it to Amazon? Or just upload it and let it ferment, unnoticed. .

    • Skandia,

      Why wait for some random stranger on an internet blog’s comments to be your gatekeeper? Look, to be perfectly blunt and knowing not a single thing about your writing beyond your comments here, if you haven’t written very much or gotten much feedback on it, your writing is probably at a decent beginner’s level. You can either put it out on the market, or you can keep writing without feedback.

      The worst that’ll happen if you publish is you sink the time, effort, and some expense into learning how to publish, and your work might drop like a stone with no sales and no feedback. If that happens, you’ve learned how to publish, and that’ll make your next story, and the one after that, easier to get out there. No telling which story will be the one that breaks through, but I guarantee that it won’t be an unpublished one.

      The best that’ll happen if you publish is after you sink the time, effort, and expense into learning how to publish, people like (or hate) your stories, (either way, you got paid!), and you take the feedback (alcohol definitely helps if you read your reviews) and make the next book better and stronger. In three books, you look back at your first one, and debate whether or not to pull it and rewrite / edit / pull off the market, because you’ve improved enough it makes you cringe.

      Authors used to have “trunk novels” – the first four or five stories they wrote that got rejected over and over, while they kept reading, studying craft, and writing. Usually the fifth or sixth or tenth novel written would be the first one that actually got accepted, and by that point, they looked back at the early efforts and salvaged the story inside into a better, stronger novel later.

      With self-pub, we no longer have to trunk the novels; we can put them out there, receive feedback from readers, and learn how to tell a better story without waiting years through the rounds of rejection.

      Are you ready to deal with readers? Is your work ready to deal with readers? If so, go forth and publish, and remember – you don’t have to be Heinlein or Pratchett. In the very beginning, they weren’t Heinlein or Pratchett. You just have to tell a good enough story to entertain the readers.

      • ^This.

        Less than a year ago, I made a comment similar to yours, skandia. I was essentially ordered ( 😉 ) to publish something and see what happened. Well, hundreds upon hundreds of sales of that work later, I published another short story and a novel. I’ve gotten all the feedback I really needed to know I have the talent to make it as a writer.

        Put it out there. The worst thing that happens is you get some bad reviews. Some you can just ignore. They’re people who can offer you nothing. Others will provide you information you can use to grow.

        You do not need a gatekeeper. If you’re thinking you might be ready to publish, then publish. I suspect plenty of people will read your work. We’ll pay to read it even, and then give you any constructive feedback you could use.

        Plus, you’ll have money in your pocket. 🙂

    • Doubt is that voice that keeps you from doing what you ought to do, it is not that voice that keeps you from walking at tightrope across Grand Canyon (that would be the voice of self-preservation). Doubt does not keep you safe, doubt is what keeps you from success.

    • I’ve been beta reading for a couple of people here. If you feel the need, send it to me at qed1961 at yahoo dot com.

      • For me, Jerry is a very valuable Beta reader. He gets back to the writer fast. He’s going to give you his opinion, whether you’re ready or not.

        And that’s valuable. He’s made me think about how I’m approaching things more than once.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        I was going to point out that getting some people to beta read would be a good start, if you haven’t already. Several people here are usually willing to do beta reading, or you can ask your friends in other areas or forums.

        If you’ve already had beta reading done and edited to fix whichever criticisms you find valid, toss it out there and see whether it floats or sinks. If I can ever actually FINISH anything, that’s what I’m going to do.

    • Prior to publishing, the only people that you need to have read it are the friends that are armed with the little red pens – i.e. the ones who will go through it and look for misspellings, incorrectly substituted words (possibly by a “friendly” spell-check that “helpfully” substituted the wrong word), grammar issues, and similar items.

      If those friends make it to the end, then you know it’s worth publishing.

      😛

  3. How many of these whiners even have work out for public consumption?

    I mean, is this someone who actually has books out, or someone who hit those three sales to pro-level magazines and has been riding it since? The SJW crowd has both, after all.

    • This person is an editor of a micro-press. One I worked with and failed to be impressed.

      • Was this someone who also claimed that people who signed a certain petition wouldn’t be eligible for their works… EVEN THE PAYING ONES? 😉

      • Ah, well — if she is a micro-press editor then she is of course a person of influence and relevance. She gets to keep a gate untainted by the filthy corporate greed of big (er, ‘scuse me) Big Publishing or pandering to the degenerate tastes of Teh Masses. Hers is a pure artistic pursuit of excellence and insight, one full of sensitivity and empathy.

        I think I recently saw her in a video of a San Francisco restaurant invasion, although perhaps she was the one referred to as “Snow.”

        • I never have understood the aversion to profit.

          • Zero-sum mentality. Those who profit must be leaving someone worse off.

            Plus the obvious historical tendency of the greedy to indulge in force and fraud to gain profit.

            Plus envy, of course.

            • Wayne Blackburn

              I think it’s more of an Elitist mentality. Only the grubby commoners and the greedy Robber Barons work for money.

              These people look down their noses at the whole notion of money in the first place, and think that they should be free to “be transported on wings of inspiration into the stratosphere of enlightenment” and deliver their enlightened messages to those worthy to appreciate them, without having to stoop to the base level of working for pay. That is beneath them.

              • That founders on their historically obvious tendency to demand the money be paid them for their wonderful wonderfulness and not to those who earned it.

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  Well, they say that consistency is the last refuge of small minds, right?

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Well, it could be argued that they prefer that money doesn’t exist but while it does, they deserve it more than the people who work for it. [Sad Smile]

          • Also, it’s because they’re incapable of producing something people are willing to pay for. Think of it as Sour Grapes on the grand scale.

          • I suspect it’s the carried forward version of the traditional view of the European aristocracy toward work. You need to find something to occupy your time so that you can demonstrate you’re not a complete layabout and wastral. But you also need to show that you’re well enough off that aren’t influenced by such crass concerns as a desire for a paycheck.

  4. If these people (the Social Justice League) are happy with accepting mediocre work simply because it’s in-line with their warped ideas of “equality”, more power to them. They can keep themselves in cruelty-free shoes and hair dye until the money is exhausted, as long as they quit trying to shoehorn themselves into relevancy.

    • Knowing folks who’ve worked in retail, I’m pretty sure nothing bought in the States is entirely cruelty free…

    • Wayne Blackburn

      “Social Justice League”? Oh, why did you have to do that? Now I have visions of a team of Social Justice Warriors going out to “Defend the World against the Evil Racist Gendernormative Patriarchy!”

      • That could be a delightfully satirical short story!

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          I’ve had thoughts about a “super-hero” with the Powers of Superman with the Beliefs of ELF (Earth Liberation Front). [Very Big Evil Grin]

          • CombatMissionary

            So, you’re basically talking about The Tick on steroids? 😀

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              I’m talking about somebody who would destroy “polluting factories”, logging camps, etc.

              No “due process” at all.

              He’s “Super Defender of the Earth”. He doesn’t need to obey human laws. He answers only to Gaia!

              • So…

                Captain Planet?

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Captain Planet would be a pansy compared to him. Of course, Captain Planet depended on the Planeteers to “call him” and in theory Gaia could rein him in. This dude believes he’s acting to defend Gaia but there’s no Gaia to rein him in.

                  • The late, lamented game Monsterpocalypse had a kaiju faction that consisted of “gaia’s vengeance” type monsters supported by eco-terrorists. Though I use the word “supported” very loosely, as the monsters didn’t exactly return the “support” or even acknowledge it. And since the monsters didn’t exactly communicate, the reason why people thought of them as “Gaia’s Vengeance” creatures was because Privateer Press (the game maker) said so.

            • Do not mock The Tick! 🙂

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                From what I’ve heard about The Tick, he’s not actively evil like as ELF is. [Frown]

              • SPOOOOOOONNN!!!!!

              • CombatMissionary

                I’ve been fond of the Tick since middle school, when I saw the cartoon. Recently I binge-watched the entire series with Patrick Warburton (which turned into one long eye-roll fest with Wife). I LOVED that one. I thought Batmanuel was one of the most hilariously written characters ever.

        • They could join up with Captain Planet and the Planeteers and save us all from evil corporations and the Evil League of Evil.

        • I want to draw them… There’s the Accuser, the Weaseler, the Slut which of course is the woman who cries rape if you look at her. The downtrodden, who changes into the shape of the oppressed minority du jour. And the panic attacker in honor of the anarchist in Denver during the 08 convention who was all big and bad till the Denver police came on on horseback, and then started saying “I’m having a panic attack!”

          • I am trying to envision a passive-aggressive fight scene.

            You might also include the Empathizer and the Self-Attacker (you know the ones who stage racist/sexist/homophobic attacks on themselves in order to draw attention to “important issues”) or Conversation Starter.

            It sounds like a rather week “Whose Line Is It?” sketch.

          • Don’t forget Statist Josh who just hangs out in the back ground not, helping, and just ironically pointing out how and the plans not going to work and why.

            Comic relief guy.

          • All super-powered beings have weaknesses, of course, and I instantly realized “The Slut” would of course crumble under the Male Gaze, and find herself Objectified, literally.

        • As important as who they do fight would be those they decline to fight: Wall Street Occupiers, Ferguson rioters and the politically oppressed of Western Civilization. They would also refuse to act against those nations which have valid (for certain Socially Just values) critiques of Western Civ, thus allowing Islamic to continue to tip walls onto homosexuals, mutilate the pudenda* of females and crucify, mutilate, behead and otherwise inconvenience advocates of Crusader philosophies.

          *A distinctly politically incorrect term, derived as it is from the Latin word meaning “that where of one ought to feel shame.”

        • Sounds like an issue of Wonder Woman to me.

      • Admit it, it’s better than 90% of the “Justice League Is Actually The Villain” stories ever written, and totally justifies the traditional “League of Evil Mutants” type name structures. (owning the slam)

        • There’s a new comic at DC called Forever Evil. Apparently Villains are cool or something.

          • *headdesk* If you’re, like, a rebellious 12 year old or something…..

            I suppose it could be one of the ones where the villains aren’t really villainous, which I don’t mind at all, but the recent fad of making villains the hero by dragging down the good guys has me burnt out.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Apparently, it involves the evil-counterparts of Justice League invading the “main” DC universe. Some of the Justice League members are missing/trapped but others are free and “get” assistance from the villains of the “main” DC universe.

            Mind you, some of the villains of the main DC universe have “fun” since the heroes are missing or trapped or busy dealing with the main threat.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forever_Evil

          • They’re just jealous of the Evil League of Evil.

      • Started with an idea for a satirical short story and ended up with an idea for a satirical anthology! I do so admire y’all!

  5. “in the long run, we are all dead” J.M. Keynes. One of the few things he got right (but did so in the wrong way). This makes me think of 1776:
    Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Don’t worry, John. The history books will clean it up.

    John Adams: It doesn’t matter. I won’t be in the history books anyway, only you. Franklin did this and Franklin did that and Franklin did some other damn thing. Franklin smote the ground and out sprang George Washington, fully grown and on his horse. Franklin then electrified him with his miraculous lightning rod and the three of them – Franklin, Washington, and the horse – conducted the entire revolution by themselves.
    [pause]
    Dr. Benjamin Franklin: I like it.

    I think if most people on the left had to get real jobs and ever worried about where the next meal was coming from, they’d worry less about history and more about getting things done.

    • Yep. I don’t write JUST because we need the money, but I write because we need the money. Even if most of my money goes to d*mn taxes.

    • HOLY C**P!!! John Adams was the father of Science Fiction?!?!?! Who knew? I always laid that at the feet of Jules Verne, but John Adams. I’d never have guessed. I hold him in even higher esteem now.

      And, just like Ben, I like it. 🙂

      • CombatMissionary

        Yes. The first SFF story was going to be about Ben Franklin and his alter ego, “Super F!” Whose catch phrase, as he blasted the king’s minions into ash heaps with lightning, would be, ‘Eff YOU!’

        [THOUGHTFUL PAUSE]

        Can we clone Super F! and have HIM fight the Imperial Forces of Meddlesome Ignorance in our nation’s capitol? We could use more people like him nowadays.

        • We’ll have to expand the cloning chamber in Sarah’s volcano lair – we’re going to need a lot more than one clone of Super F. *SIGH* I was so hoping I was done with the digging…

          • Digging? My dear sir, this is what C4 was made for. Cut a chunk of this, put it there, and swing this mining hammer overhead! Fun will happen, instead of digging!

            • First, you think entirely too much like I do. Second, I’d still have to shovel it into the cart to be hauled off (probably by me). Third, AMFO might be a better choice. And fourth, after that comment, your husband is a lucky, lucky man. 🙂

              • ANFO? Heck, I’ll donate the generator system I’m designing for a story It takes ten tons of ANFO just to get the pistons moving!

                • I find it gratifying that I am in company that caught that typo. I am amazed by the sheer number of people in the general public that not only have never used ANFO, but don’t even know what it is.

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    it’s probably for the best, though. Otherwise too many idiots would be experimenting with it. Not that I care about the idiots, but the collateral damage would be unreasonably high.

                  • Somewhat vaguely related: Housemate, after digging through the ‘broken computer shit’, decided to try put together a computer from faulty and broken parts to see if it’d blow up or burst into flames.

                    It booted up instead.

                    Me: MUA HA HA HA HA! IT’S ALIIIIVE! IT’S AAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLIIIIIVE!

                    Housemate: goddamnit I fail at failing.

                    Me: Your last explodybox is my main computer now.

                    Housemate: Damnit.

                    • At one time Dan did this to get rid of computer corpses in the house. He either gave the boxes away to needy kids, or sold them for $20 on Craigslist. It amused him.

                    • He’s a new superhero whose power is to make broken computer parts into a functioning computer.

                      Congratulations on the baby and feel better soon.

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  A friend and I have wondered if it would be possible to build a piston engine that uses tiny nukes for the explosion… Perhaps wrapping them in ice and buffering the piston from the plasma cloud with a magnetic field would soften the blow of the explosion?

              • William O. B'Livion

                Use the right amount of C4 and you can vacuum it into a mining cart.

                Well, with the right kind of vacuum anyway.

            • That’s how you get flying safes a la Acme. (True story, involved Marines, C4, a Saddam Fedayeen safe on the forth floor of a building, and ended with the safe outside, ground level, and a safe-shaped hole in the wall.) I’m not saying it wasn’t fun, though.

              • Since dad retired and my two brothers got out, I have really missed the “No s**t, there I was…” stories. That’s part of what makes the Kratskellar feel so much like a second home. 🙂

              • Kinda like my friend’s story about the grain silo that jumped. Let’s just say a retired contractor with an explosives license and a great idea is a daaaanerous thing. 😀

                • CombatMissionary

                  “Knowledge comes from experience. Experience comes from lack of knowledge.”
                  -Attributed to Confucius

                  “Hold my beer and watch this.”
                  -Redneck’s last words

                  • A rule for living. Never do anything that requires your giving up your beer.

                    M

                    • CombatMissionary

                      Let’s pass a law. From henceforth and forever, no American politician shall ever consume any adult beverage other than beer. I think this would do wonderful things for our political landscape.

                    • But that would be outlawing the consumption of ‘shine!
                      .
                      .
                      .
                      .
                      Wait, that already is outlawed.

                    • Nor ever anything that might inspire you to utter the phrase ‘watch this’ where this is not a movie or play. I will not vouch for the safety of ‘watch this’ in concert with Youtube videos.

                    • You could argue that many if not all the physical achievements in US history are a result of “watch this.”
                      Kennedy’s speech on the lunar expedition is just a long winded yankee version of “hey y’all watch this!”

                    • @CombatMissionary (after reading your comment out loud to hubby, who is reading Sniper One nearby)

                      Me: Turn it Aussie? (ergo, like this – more insults, less politeness, and possibly more entertaining)

                      Rhys: The hangovers alone would cut down the yelling.

                    • CombatMissionary

                      I tend to think governments the world over would do less damage and cause less problems if every meeting was preceded by a kegger and a bluegrass festival. My cultural ignorance begs me to ask if Australia would be willing to supply the world with Foster’s, or if that’s just pop culture hiding the good stuff from us? 😉

                    • *laughs*

                      I’ll preface that none of the lads at the house, nor myself, drink beer, but we do have a ‘beer economy’ – well, more properly a ‘booze pay’ informal economy, where for a favor one is paid in liquor goodness. (Example: during the last social get together, Rhys was the sober one to be the designated driver. He also had access to a van. Via Beer Economy he was paid petrol costs and a large bottle of Woodstock or Jack Daniels. Or both. There were a lot of people he ferried around.)

                      As for Foster’s, I’m never really sure if they’re having me on, but the thing seems to be the running joke Australia has done to the rest of the world / is baffled why people like it so much / ‘the rest of the world likes piss-flavored fizz water?’ / we don’t want it that’s why we export it. It’s an opinion prevalent enough to have made it to TVTropes (LandDownUnder)

                      The ads for Foster’s – see Testosterone Poisoning – have some grains of truth. Specifically, the ‘Tourist’ one, but not the ‘ferocious predator’ part. I regularly hear stories of idiocy done by tourists, usually involving emus, provoking koalas, wombats and kangaroos. I rather imagine that the tourists in question are of the same stripe as the OWS idiot who put her kid on a train track and said she had faith in humanity that the train driver wouldn’t run them over. The train, and the animals, have physics on their side, and just coz an emu mummy looks all fluffy and like a brown ostrich doesn’t mean that the thing running at you at the speed of cruising car won’t result in painful injuries.

                      Oh, and… if you get handed fast food while near emus, swear at the person who did so, and prepare to run / be chased by the whole damn flock.

                      And I just asked one of the non-beer drinkers and “Victoria Bitter” and “Toohey’s Extra Dry” were ones he remembered off the top of his head as ‘not shite.’ (The lads prefer scotch, whiskey, rum or bourbon.)

                    • CombatMissionary

                      Personally, I don’t drink either, but like I said, government could only be improved by making laws that all legislative sessions had to be conducted with beer in hand, and if you run for office, you’re giving up anything BUT beer.
                      Oh, legislative sessions with beer in one hand and a fishing rod in the other! On the lake! And no limos, you’ll be driving around in the 30+ year-old pickup truck of your choice for your entire term. Even when going across the country to get from your home district to your legislative body.

                      All members of government should be DOWNWARDLY mobile.

                    • I think the senatorial performance of Teddy Kennedy stands as complete refutation of your argument for the non-sobriety of legislators. I have heard of himself being called many things, but sober was ne’er on that list.

                      Beware elected officials saying “Hey, y’all, watch this!”

                    • CombatMissionary

                      It certainly proves that, when it comes to politicians, there should always be an adult in the room. Maybe a retired enlisted man with a shaleleigh with authority to roll his eyes, whack the senator on the head, and say, “Now, senator, let’s apply common sense here, shall we?” Or maybe one of those grouchy Catholic school nuns you hear about on tv. Like Mark Gugnor mentioned: “I had a class on Hell that was taught by this one nun… she taught like she’d been born and raised there.” 😀

                    • I thought that’s what the sergeant at arms was for

                    • CombatMissionary

                      Well, somebody needs to tell him to get off his lazy butt and do his job. I haven’t seen him slap any senators around lately.

                    • CombatMissionary

                      And I always wonder about those hippies on YouTube that want to cuddle koalas. “Don’t you guys know those are WILD animals? And YOU! KOALA! Why are you acting DOMESTICATED! SHOW HIM THAT YOU’RE A WILD ANIMAL SO HE CAN LEARN HIS LESSON!”

                    • Oh, and… if you get handed fast food while near emus, swear at the person who did so, and prepare to run / be chased by the whole damn flock.

                      The running of the Emus!

                      Also, I don’t know why people would think that looking like an Ostrich is a good thing. They may not be as deadly as a Cassowary, but a kick from an Ostrich will mess you up.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      I’ve heard that some idiot at Yellowstone tried to put their child on the back of a Bison for a picture. When stopped, they said that it wasn’t dangerous because the Rangers would keep *wild* animals away from humans. [Frown]

                    • Back in the days when I drank beer (back when I was obvious rather than being a parent) I enjoyed finding and consuming out-of-the-ordinary beverages* … there was Morte Subite, from Belgium, and Theakston ale’s Old Peculiar, but one of my favorites was (apparently an import) KB Lager from Tooth’s. Sadly, it disappeared from local suppliers and I later fell out of the habit, so I’ve no idea how superb (or mangled) was my judgment.

                      *This was about a decade before the fad for boutique breweries developed, so discovering odd and palatable beers was a true adventure, somewhat like finding out-of-print books before advent of Amazon. Kids, you don’t know how easy you have it; when I was your age if we wanted an old volume of quaint and forgotten lore we had to go out and hunt it down, tracking it through yard sales, vintage (a euphemism for “dusty”) book shops and library disposals. There was none of this googly-Amazon stuff, we had to trek across snow-laden barrens, interrogate strange men in musty bars and — if we were so lucky — drag the carcass home to be devoured.

        • It’s been done, at least in art. (Also check out Reagan riding a velociraptor.)

  6. “But being “relevant” and having college professors make appreciative noises over my books? (Shrug.) As if I could care.”

    Ah, but THAT is where the real reward is! Not in some namby-pamby green folding stuff that’s actually USEFUL.

    That’s their mentality. It’s not about whether something is good or entertaining, it’s about whether it’s impressive enough for OTHERS who they see as the judges of whether it’s ‘good enough’.

    Me? I’ve almost made it up to ‘L-Level author’ on Correia’s list of Author Rankings – http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/07/24/the-official-alphabetical-list-of-author-success/

    I is happy. 🙂

    • But if you are an academic, that is all that really matters: the social approval of your peers. That is where you gain status, that is where you advance your career. Because, for an academic, commercial success is indicative of artistic failure, of having produced something accessible to the hoi polloi’s unrefined appetites.

      Peer-reviewed publishing — that’s where the academic action is!

      • Yes – I think many of the SJW’s, having thoroughly identified with said college professors when in school, are now college-professor-wannabe’s. Even if they aren’t actually in an academic career, that’s where status IS, for them. And (especially if they are presently making a living as a glorified clerk with a degree in some publishing house, or whatever), making a living is nowhere near as important.

      • Why would anyone want to be an academic? It sounds repugnant to me. Lots of people have done research outside the academy.

        • Tenure. Also known as immunity to consequences.

          • Never underestimate the allure of the exercise of petty power over others, nor the pleasures of introducing young minds to new ideas.

            • “nor the pleasures of introducing young minds to new ideas.”

              This is a pleasure that most academics are entirely willing to forego.

              • Admittedly, not all academics have new ideas or would even recognize one if it bit them on the arse.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  One aspect of “introducing new ideas to students” is that the ideas are new to the students.

                  Of course, the “new ideas” that the academics want the students to have may be garbage. [Very Big Evil Grin]

        • One of the faculty members at my college was saying, just yesterday, that most academics are insane. Not necessarily “I think I’m Napoleon Bonaparte” levels of insane, but OCD or bi-polar or some other mental deficiency that makes coping with the non-academic world very difficult.

          I don’t know if it’s actually “most”, but I can easily believe that the proportion of mentally disturbed academics is higher than the proportion of mentally disturbed people in any other field. Well, outside of politics:-P.

          • I’d say they tend to be easily overloaded. Most of the literary/history/arts/[thing]-studies people I knew did best in a sheltered environment. Which may explain why I hung out with the fish ticklers, bush pushers, rock jocks, and map fiends (biology, landscape architecture, geology, and geography) students.

          • that makes a lot of sense.

  7. I think you are that sort of John C. Wright type author for me.

    I mean it’s silly. It all started with a naked woman running around on a space ship hitting people in the head with a boot. But you’re kind of a package deal. The fact that you could come out of the closet as the sort of person that hasn’t drunk the koolaid. The fact that you throw up a chapter on your blog every week and then publish it. The way you keep reminding me that the sort of stuff I like in science fiction didn’t just stop happening by itself… and that we aren’t crazy if we like to old stuff.

    You didn’t just put it in my head that I could go out and write something even if I’m way out in left field. (Or is this right field? I dunno.) You showed me how to do it… and more importantly, that I could do it without apologizing constantly. Honestly, I don’t even think I could have imagined it before.

    Thank you.

  8. Writing and reading are very subjective things. Hard to say what someone would like. You have to do it the hard way….. Actually read it.

    I personally can’t read boring stuff very long. I don’t throw it against the wall, I hate having to fix the wall later. But I set it down, and usually find something useful for it later, like using it to absorb a spill.

    In my reading, I have to admit I was spoiled early. I read Robert E. Howard in high school, while I was in the service, and shortly afterwards. I think he’s the gold standard when it comes to heroic fantasy.

    So, I’m at the other extreme. Much of what I like misses what some people look for. REH wasn’t known for the depth of his character development, for instance. Just non-stop action.

    The kool things about sf&f is that it’s always had a lot of variance. And it always attracted a wide readership, readers that would love some of it, and hate other parts. Personally I hated “Fahrenheit 451”, I found it boring and thought it sucked. {got an A on the book report anyways}. On the other hand, I loved “Starship Troopers” {Heinlein}, and “Battle for the Stars” {Edmond Hamilton}.

    What I’m saying here, is I’m seeing a tendency to judge the SJW work without reading it. My take on this is, deriding it is a waste of time. Let the market judge. That’s the only way you can be sure……

    • Sigh. Except I read it. Or at least the beginning of it. It’s not that most of it is bad. It’s just BORING.

      • The last book I bought that I thought “Hey, maybe I can try read hard SF again… this looks like a good bet,” turned out to be a massive SJW wankfest that I could get very Aussie in describing how bad it is. I spent the first three hundred pages trying to find the plot, skipped forward by closing the book and opening at random, landed on the possibly most squick-inducing hermaphrodite IKEA sex scene ever, and spent the rest of the year apologizing to Rhys for having spent the forty dollars on that book instead of spending the money on something pleasant, like a few kilos of chocolate, or junk food.

        When we landed in Melbourne, I looked at my in-laws’ fireplace and wondered if it would at least be useful in warming the room some more, because at least then I’d feel like we got SOME of our money’s worth out of it. Father-in-law thought I was thinking of curling up on the couch to read, and I said “no no no no” and warned him not to try reading the book with the kind of vehemence one reserves for entering the Gates of Hell. We thought perhaps of using it as target practice with brother-in-law’s bow, but given how thick it was, it really wasn’t a good idea.

        Rhys, who is a wonderful, wonderful man, took me out to the mall and bought me better books to read, in the hopes of at least soothing mine poor brain, and rekindled my enjoyment of Tom Clancy in the process.

        I still apologize for the book every now and then, and Rhys says that we’ll turn it into target practice some day, assuming it hasn’t gotten lost before then.

  9. Admiral Bob said it best:
    “I think of it as competing for beer money; this keeps me steady on course. My purpose is to make what I write entertaining enough to compete with beer. Not to be as great as Shakespeare or as immortal as Homer but simply to write well enough to persuade the cash customer to spend money on one of my paperback reprints when he could spend it on beer.”
    Heinlein – Channel Markers

    Note: anyone hoping to be a writer needs to acquire a copy of Channel Markers, a speech given by Heinlein at Annapolis back in ’73. Keep a copy handy and reread whenever you feel discouraged. His only two mistakes were being overly optimistic about the progress of space travel and a total lack of anticipation of the indie movement.

  10. Just wanted to pop in and say if I vanish / don’t comment frequently for a while, it’s because of health reasons. I wound up in the hospital a couple of days ago for blood pressure problems and the docs are keeping a very close watch on me.

    Lots of hugs to everyone and I hope you’re all doing well. 🙂

  11. By the way, in “Starship Troopers” the main character Juan “Johnny” Rico is a Filipino, Has any of these PC types written about a Filipino?

    • No, only the anti-PC. Specifically, Ringo – in both the Looking Glass series and the Prince Roger series. And the characters are pretty important supporting cast, too.

      • “Characters?” It’s clearly the same pocking character! 😀

        • It might be a decendant, but it is clearly the same pocking wrench.

          • Why are the magical artifacts everyone goes gaga over always swords, daggers, or jewelry?

            If they ever found the World-Builder’s Pocking Wrench and wielded it, now that would be an interesting fantasy!

            • The comic Erfworld had some atypical magical tools IIRC. There was a children’s hammer and a pair of needle-nose pliers.

            • Sure, and what couldn’t one do with the original Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman Multi-Tool?

            • For two reasons, one major and the other minor.

              The minor one is familiarity; they don’t jolt us and seem incongruous.

              The major one is that a magical artifact needs metaphorical congruity to its purpose to be taken seriously. A ring which you can put on or take off can be a metaphor for a lot of things that you put on and take off with it, but a sword needs to kill. A key needs to lock, or unlock things, physically or metaphorically. A train takes you to a fixed location by a determinant route — which is perhaps why there are more magical trains than magical cars. Magical cars don’t introduce a new metaphor that the age-old flying carpets, chariots, etc. don’t cover.

              Hmm. . . . may expand to a guest post.

      • Jordan S. Bassior

        I’ve noticed that the SJW types tend not to like the Filipinos, because they refuse to believe what Third Worlders are “supposed” to believe. Clamps claims to hate the whole nation — mostly because of Shadowdancer — and he has rationalized that this is because he hates the cuisine. He’s maybe the craziest Leftist I’ve heard taking this attitude, but it dates back way further, to at least the Cold War (in which the Philippines was a firm US ally).

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Well, Heinlein was an evil fascist Libertarian *and* a white male, so the fact that he wrote about characters of color does not compute with the leftoids.

      • And he didn’t make a big point of it, so it doesn’t count to them. Now let’s take Johnny: if he had based the whole story on Johnny being a Filipino, and what it meant to him and the people around him, and left everything else as just some sketches to fill in the background a bit, then it would count. Maybe. Let’s say, a poor Filipino boy (or a rich but dumb one) gets drafted in a war he doesn’t understand – maybe the whole war is either a swindle, huge natural resources of some kind have been found on the bug planets and the evil rich white people want them – or at least it started due to some mistake by the evil military leaders who pissed off the innocent bugs with their bungling… hm, that might have worked (for them).

        • Gag. And damn it, you’re right.

          • There was a time when I tried to figure out what might get (traditionally) published around here. The local stuff which does get chosen by local publishers tends to be rather literary – small market area so even in the best cases it doesn’t really pay all that well, and that makes for a great excuse (I doubt they’d need any, but I have seen something like that used at least once) why other criteria gets used for choosing the lucky winners. Cultural significance, makes people think (right thoughts) and so on… yeah, I think I have the formula pretty well figured out. 😦

        • Plus, Johnny was not an authentic Filipino, suffering false consciousness due to growing up in a fascist militaristic culture, forced to undergo in school indoctrination by The Man.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          I always thought that if that SoB who made that movie ever produced a sequel to his movie, it would turn out that the “evil human fascists” were responsible for the start of the war. IE that asteroid that hit Earth had been sent by the evil leadership of Earth. [Frown]

          • Two sequels, neither very impressive though the last one wasn’t as much of a stinker as the first and second. And someone did an animated version that actually held much more faithful to the book, bless their hearts.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          You know, I was once joking with Sarah, that if Starship Troopers were made into a movie (no, it hasn’t, shut up!), that’s exactly the plot they’d do.

          • The Other Sean

            I think it is entirely truthful to say nobody has made a movie based upon Heinlein’s Starship Troopers.

        • Wayne Blackburn

          Or if he had joined the military all gung-ho, but then found out that it was all a farce (a la your other explanations above), turned around and fought to out it to the public, so that public outcry would stop the war and save the innocent bugs. Probably being killed just after (or maybe just before) he was able to get his message out.

          *Hack! Spit!*

  12. Funny but true story from creative writing, fiction:
    Classmate: “You never describe the main character’s appearance.”
    Me: “Why would I? He’s a young teen boy, he doesn’t care what he looks like.”
    Prof: “we need to know what he looks like.”
    Me: “Fine.” Goes home and revises–it’s for a grade, after all.
    Class reads revision.
    Same Classmate: “Red hair? That’s not how I pictured him!”

    So I learned that while people expect physical descriptions, they don’t need them to picture a character. And pity the poor lit prof–she had three aspiring science fiction writers (the Comp Sci gal was really good), a post-apoc writer (may be the first time she’d ever dealt with a caliber debate in class) and only two lit writers. The prof was very good at saying “I don’t know the conventions of this genre,” though, and not one of those “That’s not real writing” types.

    • CombatMissionary

      If I ever write an adventure novel, it’s going to be based on my four-year-old. He had to be told to stop singing Airborne Ranger cadences in his martial arts class recently, as the one about “sharpening my knife” was apparently distracting to the other kids.
      Wife told him to not sing them in school or church, either. She has no sense of fun. 😀

      • ROTFLOL!!! That actually made me laugh so hard it hurt my back! Sounds like you’re going to be able to write a biography on him before he’s out of high school and have a best seller.

        • CombatMissionary

          Yeah, he’s the one that finally got my wife to take seriously my insistence on putting the kids in MMA. “Honey, look at him. He’s going to be just like your dad. And if he’s never, EVER going to walk away from a fight, we’d better make sure he has the skills to win them.” Luckily we found a great teacher for all the kids, and at a very reasonable price. No contracts, no uniforms, no over-commercialization. Just good combat-effective training and fun. Plus lots of religion and talk about ethics so he’ll hopefully at least channel his natural impulses in useful directions.

          For some reason, I think my parents worry more about my ADD-riddled batch of young-uns than all their other grandkids combined. 😀

      • William O. B'Livion

        And if my ‘chute don’t open round
        I’ll be the first one on the ground…

    • No, it’s simple. any detail someone will imagine, either let him imagine it however he wants, or specify before he imagines it.

  13. “That’s not interesting. It is chortle worthy in an adult woman fast approaching what at any other time and place would be considered middle age, but not interesting.”

    You’ve been reading Mark Steyn, I see!

  14. It wasn’t some proclamation from on high, or some pronouncement from above, but the simple fact they were very popular.

    But…but…but all the articles I read bemoaning how the stuff that’s Big Doin’s today show our True Character! (Because everyone knew what current books were Classics.)

    • Don’t you know, winning the George Washington award counts AGAINST Relevancy to these people. If people LIKE it, it’s not Good, because it doesn’t “challenge them out of their comfort zone.”

      • Have you been reading TOF Spot?

        http://tofspot.blogspot.com/2014/10/beyond-bounds.html

        Great opening quote— “The love of Theory is the root of all evils,” and follows up with a mention of supposedly subversive/transgressive authors bravely facing the praise of their peers. (…. Wrote piers, first….)

        • Any man living in complete luxury and security who chooses to write a play or a novel which causes a flutter and exchange of compliments in Chelsea and Chiswick and a faint thrill in Streatham and Surbiton, is described as “daring,” though nobody on earth knows what danger it is that he dares. I speak, of course, of terrestrial dangers; or the only sort of dangers he believes in. To be extravagantly flattered by everybody he considers enlightened, and rather feebly rebuked by everybody he considers dated and dead, does not seem so appalling a peril that a man should be stared at as a heroic warrior and militant martyr because he has had the strength to endure it. — G.K. Chesterton

  15. These are, by the way, the same people who will tell you that people who lived long ago were stupid–superstitious and primitive and racist and generally not conversant with reality–despite the fact that the old-timey people lived in a constant harsh reality and they mostly look at a glowing screen all day (as do I, but at least I don’t think that having air conditioning makes me smarter–it just makes me grateful for AC).

    • Put up a freaking pyramid with no power tools? Sorry, Boss, you need somebody smarter up in here.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        Yeah, THAT conversation would end well.

        • Better than the one fella who got halfway up and said, “Aah, boss, I think we got this too steep.”

          • Or “you wanted the burial chamber WHERE? I think we passed that level last week…” Thinking ahead is a particularly valuable skill when do-overs have to be done the hard, slow way.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            IIRC there was one pyramid that apparently collapsed because it’s sides were too steep. Another pyramid starts out with sides very steep but the rest of it are less steep. [Grin]

  16. I’d like to echo jeffro above, and say that you have been an inspiration in getting out there, putting stuff up, and then continuing to write more. I’ve written more in the last year than in the previous five, though my output is still a bit sporadic. But the encouragement to keep it up came at a time when I thought I would never be able to get my work published, and now I not only have 7 ebooks up, I also got the paperback of the first three done through CreateSpace (and an article here about how to do it penned by the inestimable Sabrina Chase). Holding the proof copy in my hand, feeling the weight of it, flipping through it’s pages and seeing my words… and I know I’m not the only one you’ve inspired to make the leap into indie. May your name be praised on high, even if the college professors despise you. Or maybe to make the professors despise you. Especially when their students give you filthy lucre.

    • yaaay! (Changes Effectiveness Rating from 0 to “1 milli-Sarah”).

      • OK, I too have to join in on the accolades. Only to all the MGC, missed the how to on paperbacks, but, one of you will enlighten me before I need it. I’ve been writing since 07. Got a full trunk and with the encouragement by everyone on this page and MGC, have A: Submitted a short story to Baen, lost; but, at least found the courage to do it. B: Began serious work on completing a series, (two actually) and start learning GIMP and the other stuff to get everything done. Would have left them on the hard drive without your encouragement.
        Uncle Lar was right in the comment below- All of you ladies are the real SJWs. Because you are seeking ‘real justice’

        • Has there been consideration of collecting MGC writing /publishing tips into a single e-book? Some folk might find that a handy reference. Title it something like “Why Are You Reading This? Write, Fool!”

            • Heh. My husband wants me to put all my keyword/cover/marketing tips in a collected book. I looked at him in horror. “It’s marketing, love! I put those posts up in July, and some are already dated!”

              • But the concepts of market analysis are not… what kinds of things should we pay attention to in covers? What are some of the subtle differences (such as how does one differentiate between a supernatural cover and a romance cover when both have sexy people embracing and the male is usually shirtless and the main difference I see is the supernatural has a darkly colored background and the romance a more lightly colored.) The examples may be dated but I doubt the analytical techniques will become so.

          • I’ve been thinking along those lines myself. The two main issues (other than the work involved) are those of ownership of all the bits and pieces, and as Dorothy points out down thread that due to the dynamic nature of the process some stuff ages off quickly.
            Still a good idea.

  17. … science fiction is only permissible because ‘it’s a disguised critique of today’s society.’ ”

    Ummm … isn’t that the only reason college literature classes think any fiction is permissible? Just as cats think the only reason any literature is permissible is as chew toys? Based on my experience, I value the opinions of cats more highly than those of college literature professors (not to mention the pretention-laden grad students actually teaching those classes.)

  18. In the same way we’ll sort of gloss over her latest reported eructation which is that many people need to sit down, shut up and listen. THAT is just because this young (waggles hand) woman is not just privileged, she is one of the very privileged who have never had to face any hardship from birth and never had to work for a living. Which has allowed her to preserve the unconscious egotism of the three year old stomping her foot and wishing the adults would just shut up and listen!

    Hey, that’s good.

    That gets me to something I’ve been pondering about #gamersgate: Is what really sets off these anti-gamer woman, the existence of men who really prefer digital images to them?

    If so, I have advice: Anti-gamer ladies — learn to be sweet.

    I kind of feel like I accomplished something today.

    • CombatMissionary

      “Anti-gamer ladies — learn to be sweet.”
      DANGER, DANGER! BADTHINK! BADTHINK! ALERT THE SWARM! ATTACK! ATTACK!

    • To be fair, the day that the Playboy centerfold was a videogame character should have indicated that something was wrong with our society.
      That the SJWs are attacking the symptoms rather than the disease is unsurprising.

      • The … what?

        Okay, now I’m curious, but there’s no way I’m typing any search phrase containing “Playboy centerfold” into Google, so I need to ask you. Which video game character was it? My first two guesses would be Lara Croft or Samus Aran, but I know there are plenty of Japanese games that are basically “porn with plot” (or sometimes “plot with porn”), which could have provided appropriate characters for such a thing. I’ve never played those games, though, so I couldn’t guess which characters might have been used.

        • I think it was Rayne from Bloodrayne–but I’m not sure. I know she showed up in Playboy when they did an issue called “Gaming Grows Up” in October 2004.
          (I looked up Bloodrayne on Wikipedia once. This is how I know this.)

          • Yeah, it was Rayne. I vaguely remember it mentioned in a gaming magazine I was flipping through idly once.

            • They had multiple female characters in that issue, iirc. My only recollections are of Rayne (the stories about the issue focused on her more than the others) and the poster girl for the MMO Tabula Rasa. I largely remember the latter because of the speed with which the resulting game collapsed (Richard Garriot was involved with that game, and the game led to his split with NCSoft). Yeah, I know, weird reason to connect the two.

              I can’t remember who the others were.

    • I have sometimes gotten the impression that the anti-gamer folk are envious of the attention they imagine gamer girls get. There’s quite a few gamer girl and guy pairings – and the women are often the type who take no shit from anyone else, suss out the C-monsters and clan destroyers, and will not hesitate to bring down the KOS if needed. And they swear as much, if not more, than the guys do.

      Then you have the ones who just want to have a good time and no dramas.

      At least, that’s my experience with the GOOD gamer girls. There are the vicious little e-whores and the c-monsters and the blackmailers too.

      Actually, now that I think about it, that’s really no different from meatspace, hey?

      • In other words, there are gamers who happen to be girls (but they’re gamers first and foremost), and then there are “girl gamers” — who are not truly gamers, but are adopting the “gamer” logo just to get attention.

      • Actually, now that I think about it, that’s really no different from meatspace, hey?

        Good point!!

  19. The problem is one of language. The SJWs don’t actually speak or write English, although the language they do use has many of the same words, just with widely varying meaning.

    Relevant (English) adjective
    closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand.

    Relevant (SJW talk) adjective
    supporting of the One True Way, no matter how completely disconnected from reality

    Thus, the story of Alexander the Great is powerfully relevant to any discussion of the development of the Western World conducted in English, and completely irrelevant to the same discussion conducted in SJW talk.

    Come to think of it, the entire world is completely irrelevant to any discussion of any subject in SJW talk. Reality absolutely cannot be allowed to intrude, because acknowledging it would require admitting that the SJWs are a bunch of ill informed, bigoted, arrogant, and fundamentally stupid blowhards.

  20. I just had a statist lady review my book “Family Law” – she felt it was entirely wrong to paint the judge who ripped my main character away from her step father as wrong. She felt Lee’s parents were abusing her by keeping her on a ship away from society and unable to provide proper clothing for an unexpected child. And she was kept in a ship with three evil nuclear weapons!!!!! So the judge was right.
    Her favorite character was the lawyer.
    It still shocks me to see people like this who feel it is the state who should tell us how to live in detail.
    She finds that the issues were not resolved in the book since Lee didn’t stay and work in the system… Going to war resolved nothing – because you know – the violence doesn’t solve anything meme I suspect.
    She found my 1984 style future US just flat wrong.
    The crazy thing is she gave me a 4 star rating.

  21. So my eyes on Twitter who secretly hates me and wants me to go rabid and start biting the cats or something, …

    Don’t look at me. I never forward you any of the things I find on Twitter. Especially not the things that didn’t happen and that Tom is lying about so much.

  22. Apropo to nothing, here is a link about one of your, and my, favorite fantasy authors, Terry Pratchett, and the firearms instructor who taught him to shoot a pistol… Also comments by the instructor and by Neil Gaiman… Thought it might take your mind off the SJWs for a bit…

    http://www.samizdata.net/2014/10/terry-pratchett-on-the-range/

    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6306

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/neil-gaiman-on-terry-pratchett-he-is-not-a-jolly-old-elf-at-all-9754917.html

  23. “All literature classes in college – I have a degree in the stuff, okay? – told you that science fiction is only permissible because “it’s a disguised critique of today’s society.””

    This is why 1984 and Brave New World are such hits: they are. They really can’t imagine fiction that’s not fundamentally about them.

    The thing is, in the country of the blind men, they practice sculpture. Tactile sculpture, of course. When they come to the country of the sighted, they don’t really believe in sight, and they evaluate all the sculpture as if it were tactile and not visual. It gives some — odd results. We have to soldier on, knowing our criteria mean nothing to them.

  24. “They think that their “progressive” beliefs will be validated and applauded in the future.”

    They will openly assert that history always moves in the progressive direction.

    They will give all sorts of odd reactions when you point out that this is because whenever a progressive direction does not pan out, they rewrite history to attribute it to anyone else. Prohibition? Segregation? Involuntary eugenic sterilizations? Don’t notice those, it’s not nice.

  25. Christopher M. Chupik

    “So my eyes on Twitter who secretly hates me and wants me to go rabid and start biting the cats or something . . . ”

    Yes, my plan is proceeding exactly as foreseen! 😀

  26. ““The reading public who attends conventions” is probably what 1/100th the people who read, even the people who read science fiction and fantasy.”

    There was a publishing house that once forbade con-going on the grounds it would warp their view of their audience.

  27. “Can you slip a new insight into their minds, while entertaining them? Sure. Can you slip one in while berating them? Only if they have some sort of psychological problem.”

    Right now I’m rereading “Gods of Mars”. (I came across a $2 hardbound original edition with the dust jacket mostly in tatters.) The action barely stops long enough for the characters to sleep (and that only for an hour or two), and the trenchant societal critique is priceless. Can be read as against religion, but really notes how any belief system (global warmers and SJWs I’m looking at you) can become entrenched through reinforcement–gag the unbelievers, then kill them before they can communicate their raving lunatic blasphemies.

  28. I ran across a reference to “The Getaway Car”, a collection of Donald E. Westlake’s non-fiction writing–which is mostly about writing fiction. He agrees that the purpose of fiction is to be entertaining/enjoyable–and for the writer to make money at it. Chapter 3, labeled “So tell me about this job we’re gonna pull”, has an essay he wrote in 1960 for Xero, a SF fanzine, titled “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” on pp 64-72. Basically, he says SF writing is too much trouble for too little pay. He can write and sell detective stories. His last paragraph explains that what the article tried to convey is that “science fiction is neither an artistic nor a commercial field”, and that in the comments on that piece, nobody ‘directly’ disagreed with him. (He makes some caustic comments about editors in the field then, especially John W. Campbell.)

  29. “And the second is that these people hit a current of work that was highly popular and resonated with the mass of people in their time. These people pulled readers into science fiction and made them dream. This meant a lot of the kids reading those magazines grew up wanting to write like these men”

    Not only to become writers but also scientists, engineers and astronauts. They inspired artists in other mediums than the written word to create works based on their stories/visions .
    What could be more ‘relevant’ than that?!

    • Take a look at some of the weakest SF ever to be popular — Satyr Trek: The Original Series* — and contemplate the cultural influence. An argument could be made for Roddenberry as more relevant than JFK.

      *I know — not the real name. Sometimes when you look at a typo (Satr Trek) you realize some corrections are more correct than others.

    • May I ask how you came by the name? Books or move?

    • I remember how tickled I was to read they’d made something like transparent aluminum several years back, and yes, they cited Star Trek IV as an inspiration.

      • I know the stuff you’re talking about, and those statements from them irritate the snot out of me.

        This is my pedant hat: It is NOT Aluminum, even though the molecules are based on Aluminum. It is a ceramic. It also happens to be an AWESOME ceramic, but it doesn’t qualify as “Aluminum” any more than does Rubies.

        Note – please understand that this is merely me ranting about a trend of making associations which are far too loose for comfort, and not griping about anyone in particular.

        • Which is inaccurate that it is Aluminum Oxynitride or that it is transparent? People misperception of what the name actually means is a problem of peoples assumptions. People think only of Aluminum as the metal, and they jump to the wrong conclusion.

          Surmet’s ALON® Transparent Armor 50 Caliber Test

          • Aluminum is the metal. If you want to say that it’s “Aluminum based”, that’s fine, but it’s NOT “Aluminum”. It is also not an alloy with an Aluminum base. It’s a compound, which is distinct from being an alloy, in ways I cannot remember because Chemistry class was far too long ago.

            We refer to table salt as “Sodium” not primarily because it is Sodium based, but mostly because the Sodium ion is the important part of the neurological biochemistry. We don’t refer to Ethanol as “Carbon”, nor do we say that we have made Copper a superconductor because there exists a ceramic which contains Copper and can also be made superconductive.

            To properly call something Transparent Aluminum, it would need to be pure Aluminum or an alloy which is primarily made of Aluminum, with a lattice structure that alters the energy bands in the structure to allow visible light to pass through it.

        • *laughs, pats comfortingly* I actually remember that it was a ceramic, but the inspiration for it came from the concept for transparent aluminum. They were rather specific about it in the article that I read… back when I was new to college, I think.

          • Wayne Blackburn

            Actually, it’s the other way around. The patent for ALON came the year before ST IV came out. I read that the writers were inspired by reading about that, rather than the other way around.

            This one is actually a minor irritation to me on the scale of mis-labeled achievements, but I’m kind of Aspie-like when it comes to story headlines misrepresenting the content, especially with tech things – I get bent all out of proportion.

            • I used to react that way to bad headlining – still tempted to, but am beginning to suspect at least some are like mis-spelled readerboard signs on businesses: intended to catch your attention on the “no such thing as bad publicity” theory. Cynicism as a counter to irritation.

  30. Am I relevant? No idea, I just wrote novels and history books about people who try to do the best with what skills they have, based on the world they know. Apparently readers like these, because they buy them. (OK, the secretary at St. Angus-in-the-Grass School [not its real name] might have thought I was relevant today, but that’s only because she needed a sub “ten minutes ago would be great”.)

  31. Not in response to any of the comments on this thread, but I just came away from a book club event in Fredericksburg, which went to overnight – the good people of the book club spotted me a gratis hotel room over night, since I had committed to leading a pair of walking tours of historic Fredericksburg and those places which featured in my books about the German settlers there. One tour for the members, then an evening do with wine and nibbles, then another tour the next morning for anyone who had read the little notice in the local paper. (15+/- each time, BTW)
    I had copies of my latest book available (that is the re-imagining of the Lone Ranger, only historical and without anything that the holders of copyright might frown heavily upon) and they went like hotcakes to the book club members. It’s a YA book; some of the Huns might have checked out chapters as I wrote them, in homage to our gracious hostess) and aimed toward tween boys. The Cowboy Code, classic adventure in the old west, et cetera, et cetera – and everyone who bought one asked me seriously about the content of the book – was it OK for tween readers, truly? The members of the group had nothing against sex – in fact, they were quite positive about it, as they were all happily married persons of certain years – but they did not favor having all the lubricious details thrust upon their grandchildren in print.
    I would suspect – and since I have had other potential purchasers quiz me about the appropriateness of my books for teens and pre-teens – that this may be a nice marketing niche. Deal with the great matters, the adult themes – adventure, chaos, sacrifice, duty to kin and friends – but go easy on things like profanity, explicit sex, and detailed descriptions of violence.
    I have some pretty explicit sex scenes in a couple of my books – but my bestseller is the one which is so totally G-rated that it could have been a Disney movie in the 1960s.This new one (Lone Star Sons) is pretty much of that ilk. In fact, one of the ladies askeg if I had a book of a girl’s adventures in the same time period… which gave me an Idea…
    (Stand back … She’s got an Idea!)
    Y’all’s thoughts?

    • Celia, I have sons who resemble that. Christmas is coming . . . My oldest has given darn near that description to the librarian. He’s twelve, just.
      In fact, I was commiserating with a friend today about the lack of newer books for kids who are good readers but not ready for the current fad of hot and heavy romance.

      • Hi, Holly – well, Lone Star Sons is totally G – a small bit of violence or threat of it, some more of encountering the aftermath of violence, not and no explicit sex – just some mild flirtation, or references to same.
        To Truckee’s Trail is also totally G – I’ve been told that some Christian-schooling neighbors have used it in their curricula when it comes to the pioneer wagon trails.
        As for the other books – there is a very brief ref in Daughter of Texas to adult intercourse between a married couple – but just in passing. Deep in the Heart and the first book of the Trilogy have a full-out and very explicit half-chapter – but seemed to me that it was called for. The following books in the Trilogy don’t have anything like that level of adult intercourse described – but they do have adult-oriented themes. I’d say OK for 16 and up.

    • Celia, I think there is a HUGE niche… but it is one that is hard to access (Note of conflict of interest here, Cuttlefish, Steam Mole, Without a Trace, and the one I’m prepping right now -Paddavissie, fit this niche precisely). They’ve certainly been popular enough with the right audience, but not at all with the traditional publishing industry or critics – where sex, preferably very odd shall we say, is a compulsory requirement. Fisting for pre-pubescents is the wort I’ve heard of yet, but yeah… too much for me. At the moment, that niche audience is getting their books, mostly as paper, and mostly via people of a certain age – like Grandparents, who like less sex in the tweens books, but are not buying them e-books. I plan to be on the ground when that changes.

    • Deal with the great matters, the adult themes – adventure, chaos, sacrifice, duty to kin and friends

      One of the series I am planning revolves around these themes. As I’m aiming it at the older teen to early twenties bracket though, there are some sex and romance themes (more hot romance than explicit though). Skimming some of the YA books they have in the book section makes me raise my eyebrows in terms of what they’re writing, and how they’re approaching some themes.

      Though, looking back, I did read Julie of the Wolves fairly young.

      • I think a little blood-n-guts that is a necessary part of the story is OK, and animals eating things is part of life. I draw the line at serious kissing, gore just to write gore, and sadism (mental, physical, what have you). I’ve started leaving little notes for some of the junior-grades English teachers along the lines of “have you read [book on shelf]? If not you might want to – it might be a little heavy for 6th graders.” Especially since a gaggle of the 6th grade are 10-11 years old.

        • Yeah, nah. Some sweet, fluffy romance is alright, even good at the 6th grade level, since they’re at the right age, ditto necessary blood and guts and hunting and eating wildlife.

          Then again, I’m the kid who, at three or four, while watching the butchering of a hog for my younger brother’s birthday, made the observation that a pig heart looked a lot like a human heart. My aunt, a nurse, looked very disturbed by that observation. The notion of killing for food never bothered me the way it seems to do for a number of people these days.

  32. Sarah, sweetie, honey chile, you know I loves you like a kid sister, but on calm reflection I have come to realize that the only real true legitimate Social Justice Warrior Queen I know is in fact you. You achieve more good in a few well chosen paragraphs that these misguided poser wannabees will ever conceive of in life spans of whining, complaining, and kvetching over their imaginary wrongs.
    You and your cadre of like minded cohorts have IMNSHO done more to promote indie, defend freedom of expression for author types, and speak truth to power than any multitude of the lib/prog leftie bunch.
    RAH would be proud of you.
    I am most pleased myself to know you and all those rebel scum gathered here.
    Now let those fish fly.

  33. “…their work will never give a moment of real pleasure or amusement to someone in a really bad place.”

    Lois Bujold had said something once, in defense of Space Opera (in the early 90’s when “Space Opera” was a dirty word) to this notion… since she was a nurse and understood what people truly in the trenches battling life’s troubles needed most.

    There are a lot of words coined to refer to those sorts of authors who write “light” stories, adventures, romances, pretty things without substance… and I think that if a person worries about that, that they really do worry about it from the aspect of their own privilege and comfort… or the need to impress their friends.

    I bought a bunch of romances at a yard sale in Fargo many years ago and as I was paying for them the lady sort of hemmed and hawed over having them at all… after her husband died, she said, she was unable to sleep without sitting down with a happy, light, book to get her mind off her sorrow.

    Is there a higher calling than providing comfort or escape to people in those bad places? Why does anyone think that a downer ending to a story is better than a triumphant one?

    • Amen. Reality can be a cold, cruel, harsh place (reality amongst the SJW’s more so), and a good book that isn’t beating you up for being right of center can be like a warm, thick blanket – a little protection from the cold, a little buffer against sharp edges. So writing something that’s light and happy can be an act of true service.

    • Synova,

      If I want to read fiction that depresses me, I’ll read the New York Times. I read SF/F to escape and put myself in the place of the hero.

      😉

    • “Don’t be led away by those howls about realism. Remember-pine woods are just as real as pigsties and a darn sight pleasanter to be in.”
      ― L.M. Montgomery, Emily of New Moon

  34. Comment to find out why WP stopped sending comments to me.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Maybe you mistreated WP. [Very Big Evil Grin]

    • There’s been a lot of that going around lately . . .

    • Well if you ever had a kind word to say about WordPress and helped build its self esteem, possibly it wouldn’t be depressed.

      • Pshaw — I never have a harsh word to say about WP.

        What, never?

        No, never!

        What NEVER?

        Wellll …. hardly ever.

        ‘e’s hardly ever curst WP!
        Then give three cheers, and one cheer more,
        For the hardy Captain of the Pinafore!
        Then give three cheers, and one cheer more,
        For the Captain of the Pinafore!

    • That’s why I used the WP Dashboard. Although it has the odd habit of , when listing the replies to a blog entry, it leaves out the ones that are directed at me, half the time, but puts them up in the notifications icon.

      I think a lot of people use the WordPress Reader page, since it lets you reply to things that are below the nesting threshold. Although sometimes that breaks down if the nesting is TOO deep.

  35. Late to the game but . . .

    Anyone remember H. Beam Piper? A whiter-than-white-bread white guy from the 1950s and 1960s. His Federation were filled with blacks and Asians with Anglo-Saxon names, and whites with African and Asian names. He also regularly paired white wimmen with black or Asian men (See Nausaunce for an example). And characters of every race took their turn in the barrel as villain, hero, whatever. But SJW dismiss him as a dead white guy. (Besides, his stories have the unforgivable sin of being entertaining fiction.)

    Anyone remember Heinlein’s Tunnel in the Sky? (He’s another dead white guy.) Written in the 1950s. A juvenile. And the female romantic lead is black. And the guy? A lot of folks claim he is black, too. But there is no evidence of that. I pictured him as a white guy. So DWG Heinlein has a salt and pepper relationship in a 1950s juvenile. And pulls it off so cleverly no one really notices at the time. (Because *that* story is unforgivably entertaining.)

    Oh well.

    • Lots of people here have read a bunch of H. Beam Piper, and Heinlein is probably just this side of Kipling for a favorite writer for many.

      I seldom ever paid attention to racial keys unless they smacked me upside the head for some reason*, so I could not tell you many things about race in the books I read.

      * This does not necessarily mean that it was an obvious or overly-stressed cue. It’s just that certain times, things will catch my attention more than one would expect them to.

    • I totally missed that in Tunnel in the Sky.

      Alas, Piper was no SO bad of a DWG that it would discourage Scalzi from taking his turn at aping him.

    • What are the odds she sent (arranged to be sent) the email herself?

      • 99.9%. Apparently the email threatens her with a semi-automatic. On psychological grounds alone, what kind of person gets that specific? other than a vile prog seeking to “speak like a reich winger.”

        • In addition to which: conservatives tend to be fixated on results (e.g. “I will kill you”), it’s the vileprogs that are fixated on method (e.g. “..with an evil semi-automatic assault pistol” or whatever the email’s supposed to have said.) Most vileprogs get blindsided by the difference in POV.

        • Interesting — I hadn’t thought the actual threat worth reading, but your pointing out that oddly inspecific specificity does support the case. A true gun nut would cite weapon and load — S&W BODYGUARD® 380 using such & such bullets — not the general category of weapon you quote.

        • “On psychological grounds alone, what kind of person gets that specific?”

          Not just a semi-automatic but a semi-automatic rifle. Weirdly specific and weirdly unspecific at the same time. Granted it’s possible, but I’d expect someone to either be less specific or else list makes and models. Either “I’ve got guns!” or else “I have a Mossberg!” A semi-automatic rifle? That’s like… all of them? Unless you’ve got a bolt-action single shot… and you don’t.

          (When I read the text of the threats I wanted to say… hey, you forgot #5 Derringer. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/pictures/the-5-most-dangerous-guns-in-america-20140714)

          I figure it’s very likely that it wasn’t her but was someone trying to *help* her. I do hope they find the person and charge them with something, whoever they are.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            I’ve heard tell by way of gamergate, IIRC, AS apparently has a history of arranging such things.

          • Oooh! I have a bolt action rifle!

            Got it when I was ten, for Christmas. It’s a 22.

            That said, yeah, totally not someone with an actual gun, and probably someone trying to help.

          • “Semi-automatic rifle” – sounds to me like someone has half-listened when we repeated, over and over, that “those aren’t assault rifles, those are just ordinary semi-automatic rifles used for sport & hunting”.

            • Jordan S. Bassior

              What’s weird about this is that almost all civilian rifles are either bolt-action or semi-automatic; it’s not like there are many options.. Also, it’s not obvious why someone would be that much more afraid of a semi-automatic rifle — any .30-caliber bolt-action rifle shoots a round easily capable of achieving a one-shot kill, and the bolt can be worked fast enough to take more shots if the shooter so desires.

              • What’s weird about this is that almost all civilian rifles are either bolt-action or semi-automatic; it’s not like there are many options.

                Hey, when the zombies attack it’s the Winchester 30-30 that you are going to want.

              • Didn’t Oswald prove that?

                • Oswald’s rifle was an Italian Carcano action that had been originally manufactured in 6.5 caliber, then converted to 7.35 Carcano, then reconverted back to the original caliber. Similar cartridges were famously used to control elephants in Africa, the long 160 grain metal-jacketed bullets having phenomenal penetrating power. Up here in Maine, lever actions are a large minority of hunting rifles, Winchesters and Marlins dominating, but Savage and Browning guns fairly common. I had a Savage that I gave to my hunting nephew; I still have my Uncle’s Winchester M1894 32 special, built in 1914…

              • … the bolt can be worked fast enough to take more shots if the shooter so desires.

                As Lee Harvey Oswald showed.
                😉

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I don’t know if you or Sarah have been reading coverage of Gamergate.

        What I’ve seen suggests this might be a fairly common tactic on the other side of that conflict. One person in the article is, IIRC, known for it.

        http://daddywarpig.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/daddy-warpig-going-live/
        This discussed, early on, a certain Wu blaming certain threats on #GamerGate in a MSNBC interview, despite having been seen being told who really sent the threats by #GamerGate.

        It seems possible that this is yet another coordinated media thing,

        • That would have been me. 🙂 Wu was so advised, and deliberately ignored it. (Another individual, an author in the SFWA, was advised of a similar situation by me, and chose to ignore it.)

          (I’m gonna post excerpts form the show real soon now, if you’re interested.)

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      The libprogs are pushing VERY hard to end GamerGate right this second, probably because they don’t want a potentially embarassing investigation.