Of Science Fiction and Bed Making

In 2000 my husband had a traveling job. They were sort of the Marines of computer programming. If something was irretrievably mucked up on a computer system somewhere, they sent for this company who, for a high cost, flew their guys in to perform miracles.

Some jobs took three weeks, some three months.

For most of 2000 Dan was working on the computers of a Wall Street firm.

Now, his traveling was very bad for the family, which is why he gave up that job, even though it was fantastically paid (I refer to those two years as “when we were rich.”) Our then kindergartner was crying himself to sleep, our third grader was failing, and I couldn’t sleep without Dan at home. So he sacrificed his job for us. (Of course, if we hadn’t been stupid, we’d have taken the kids with him and become nomads, living in hotel suites and teaching the kids ourselves. We didn’t know we could teach. As in, we didn’t know we would be able to. Only discovered it when we were forced to get the younger kid out of middle school. Chalk that up to “regrets I have a few.”)

In the summer of 2000 we got two friends willing to take the kids for two weeks (oh, yeah, being a functionally single parent sucks, as I’m sure all the military spouses out there know. Even if you still have the emotional support of your absent spouse) because I was so burned out. I went with Dan to NYC. We refer to this as our second honeymoon, because it was that sort of idyllic time. Mind you, he was working 12 hours a day, four days a week. But I was writing All Night Awake. In the evening, we explored funky little restaurants. And during the days he had off we went off to museums and stuff.

Only one thing marred this idyll.

You see, like many such things, it was a last minute decision. A friend said, “Oh, I can watch them” and we rushed to make arrangements. The hotel Dan had booked for himself didn’t have weekend rooms. The only hotel we could find was the Embassy Suites at World Trade Center, so new cabbies didn’t know it existed.

The hotel itself was great and I loved hanging out in the common area looking out at people going to work while I outlined chapters.

But then…

There was bed making.

It will probably surprise no one here that I sleep like a whirlwind. Actually I used to think I could never sleep with my spouse because at sleepovers my friends invariably ended up on the floor or the sofa. I apparently do a good impression a windmill. Which is why we have a California king.

Well, in this hotel – king size bed – it was worse than ever. My feet kept getting tangled, and I’d wake up with the BOTTOM sheet in a knot around me.

So on the third day I watched the maids make the bed. I don’t know where this insanity came from (we stayed there five? Six? Years ago and they weren’t doing this. It might be the hotel was so new, they had no right size sheets) but what they were doing was draping a full size sheet sideways and then putting another one on top across it, so it barely covered the top of the bed.

You should have seen it. It was epic. Portuguese with Russian accent against Russian immigrant maids.

I told them to stop that right away and get a proper sized sheet.

Instead of giving in, they told me that it was “new Russian bed making technology.” (We still use this when the kids come up with a “new” bassawkward way of doing something.)

At which point I said, yep, it’s inefficient, has the wrong parts and doesn’t work. No, it’s not more comfortable. Get the right size sheet.

Suffice to say that I stood there long enough, arms crossed, that the sheet materialized, after they realized they couldn’t convince me this was new and improved.

So, what does this have to do with anything?

Well, I pointed out on FB – note I wasn’t crying, I was PROMISING – that they really don’t want to get me p*ssed off because even I don’t know what I’ll do, but it will be creative. (I have in past, if you pushed me past what I’m willing to endure, got REALLY creative. Look, I’m not malicious mostly because I’m really lazy. Give me a reason to stop being lazy, and I can turn my mind to making you miserable.) And then someone from the other side – mind you, a hanger on with obvious mental issues – told me that I had no reason to whine. We should have thought of the consequences before we set out to destroy the Hugo. We’d made our bed and now we’d lie in it.

Um….

First of all though this person is a mentally ill hanger-on, it was clear from his other comments he was repeating what he perceived as his leaders from the other side. A lot of it was the same cr*p that appeared in the coordinated attacks on us in the mainstream media. Then there was the “set out to destroy the Hugo” something the other side keeps saying, as though they think that I would help destroy an award won by Robert A. Heinlein.

Honestly, one wonders if they believe what comes spewing out of their fingers.

So I suspect the “made your bed now lie in it” is something he heard from his “betters”, an impression corroborated by threats of doxing and swatting that have had weakly attached people on the other side trying to warn me and my friends.

And so I’m going to speak to “bed making technology.”

  • Sad Puppies, if it needs to be said, didn’t set out to ruin the Hugo. It set out to restore it. As the Award that went to science fiction greats, since ever, we thought it should again mean something to the kids starting to read in the field.
    I mean, right now it just isn’t a good indication. The kids who got identity politics preached at them in school don’t want to read it for fun.
    And if I had a dime for every person I talk to about SF who says that “no one is writing the good stuff anymore” because they pick up a “best of” or an award anthology and find nothing they like in it, I’d be a very rich woman.
    So, yes, Sad Puppies put up a slate, which since Brad was running it this year was “Stuff Brad likes.” I found it hilarious that some people were accusing Sad Puppies of malfeasance because “he didn’t put up a full slate.” I’m not even sure what the heck that meant. I mean, first we’re accusing of giving too many recommendations and getting people to vote in lockstep (I’m fairly sure no one did, and the stats will show that, but never mind. If this bunch nominated lockstep it’s the first time they coordinated anything in their entire lives.) And then they accuse us of only having a few recommends in some categories. (Rolls eyes.)
    The thing is, Brad only liked a few things in each category, even with some of us making other suggestions. So fine, that’s what he put up.
    And then we told our fans they could vote for these or find their own, but they should READ before they nominated anything. And we told them HOW to sign up.  That was it. In fact, I didn’t nominate (despite having paid early enough to) because I hadn’t read ENOUGH due to being very ill.  So I couldn’t be sure Brad’s slate was the best.
  • This is not political. It would be really funny if it were. I have no clue what Larry’s politics are, except I don’t argue with him about much, and from the little I’ve heard, we pretty much agree. I suspect I’m nuttier “don’t tread on me” than he is, but he’s better armed, so…
    Brad I’d qualify as soft social-democrat, which only falls under “right wing” in Portugal where “to the right of Lenin” is right wing. Oh, wait, it’s the same in SF/F, isn’t it? Never mind.
    The people nominated range from anarchist to socialist and a good number of them honestly are “I have no clue.” This includes two of my personal friends, Kevin J. Anderson and Cedar Sanderson. Heck, even Amanda Green who is arguably one of my closest friends and I have never done a politics comparison. I suspect she’s more statist than I am (she’s more trusting that way) but for the rest, who knows?
    That the other side thinks this is a political attack tells you that THEY have been applying a political filter to nominations and votes. Because only someone blinded by a beam in their eye can see the spec in ours.
    I grew up in a country, at a time, when politics were raw and a matter of life and death. Weirdly what that meant is that you learned to carve out niches where politics didn’t enter, else life became unbearable. This means I grew up with friends of all political stripes. One of my brother’s best childhood friends and a family member to all intents and purposes was communist. Until party discipline demanded he drop us (but not my brother) we just didn’t talk politics.
    I still don’t with my friends, unless they are explicitly political friends, and sometimes not then. I mean some of my best friends I made in Libertarian blogs, but we’re as likely to discuss whiskey or books as politics.
    Also, because of the left dominance in the field and in all arts since forever we have ALL OF US gotten used to reading people from soft to extreme left and appreciating them around/despite that.
    In rereading Simak, for instance, I was surprised at the gratuitous pot shots at “right wingers” (there will be more on this, later, in podcast. The thing is those were … less venomous than now) and “religion” and even southerners. It was always there, but I filtered it out, so I didn’t remember it.  I read for the story.  I still do.
    Mostly we’ve gotten used to ignoring the politics of good writers.
  • Sad Puppies IS about quality. And before you tell me that quality is fluid and can be seen in many different ways, let me explain.
    As a fan of mine who is an art professor pointed out, what is receiving awards these days has all the markers of “high class art”. I knew that.
    For those who don’t know, in my misspent youth I took a degree in languages and literature (a few degrees, among other things I have a BA from the University of Millan, taken via the consulate. I only remember it now because I found the rather impressive diploma while packing up the house.)
    So I could see the “we are high literature” markers all over those stories.
    But here’s the dirty little secret: “literary” unless it refers to something more than 100 years old, which has endured the test of time, is just another genre. It is full of these “I am smart and erudite” markers which add nothing to the experience, except making college professors say “wow, this is literature.”
    Another dirty little secret is that “literary fantasy” (or sci fi) has the lowest sales numbers of all subgenres of F/SF. I know this because that’s where I broke in (early training, again) and I was told bluntly, while shopping for a third agent (the first I dropped after selling the first book because she’d lied to me and the second after the series crashed because he lost interest), that if I wanted to write “literary” fantasy, I needed a day job. A job teaching in college was suggested. I already had it, but I wanted to write for a living. And besides, honestly, what they told me was that “literary” almost didn’t sell. And I wanted to sell. I wanted people to read my stories. That was the whole point. So I changed. (Also I’d found writing literary was making me depressed, because it’s not natural nor fun.)
    So how come it has come to dominate not just the awards but the “publisher interest” in our field?
    Because other than Baen publishers are paying increasingly less (I mean 3k for a pro advance? REALLY? With the book taken out of circulation before they have to pay you royalties?) and so people have to have college jobs. And in college, being “literary” helps with reputation and tenure and all that good stuff.
    And that’s what was getting awards “books that impress college professors.”
    Now there is a place for this, and I read “real literature” occasionally. (I actually enjoy Borges, but if you’re not a genius, don’t try to write like him.) Though most of what I read in that is French and/or Italian and sometimes even Portuguese (though rarely, since they’ve gone the “signifiers of high lit symbols” route as well.)
    BUT science fiction is not the place for this. For well written stuff, sure. For story as status symbol, no. I mean If You Were A Dinosaur My Love has all the markers of “literature” – it is also an execrably researched and plotted story and is neither fantasy nor science fiction.
    Perhaps people will read science fiction as teens and then graduate to “literature” and perhaps people just wanna have fun. Or perhaps they’ll do both as I do.
    BUT one thing is clear: there is a hunger for science fiction and fantasy (look at games and movies and even indie authors like Nuttall and Dandrige and our very own Peter Grant) that “literary” isn’t going to satisfy.
    And why should the award that went to Heinlein and Asimov go to “post modern signifiers.” They have their own awards. Science fiction should be science fiction. (Note I’m not saying it shouldn’t evolve. Part of what I’m doing reading through the origins of our field is to note how much has changed because it NEEDED to change as people changed.)

 

  • Sad puppies is not against message in fiction. Sad puppies is against the message trumping the fiction. Or in other words “we don’t need no education; we don’t need no thought control.”
    If you think the point of reading is to have feminism or socialism preached at you, you’re missing the point of fun. Also, if you think that these messages are new and wonderful, you must have skipped school K-12 or be older than MY fifty years.
    We object to conventional messages, preached in a conventional way and designed only to curry favor with an increasingly calcified establishment.

 

 

  • Sad Puppies IS revolutionary. Because for years the establishment has been this sort of coagulum of the “shock value” of New Wave and the dregs of “revolutionary Marxism” now infused with the militant misandry of the 4th generation Marxists and “literary markings” of “academic literature”.
    This was reflected in what won awards and in the direction of buying from big publishing houses. (Yes, they also bought low brow, they had to survive.  But what they trumpeted were these “literary darlings”)
    Like all TRUE revolutionary movements we are grass roots and chaotic.
    Yes, there was a suggested slate, and I know, just from the people who asked me if they could nominate this or that of mine that the individualists failed to organize.
    Even the ones who asked couldn’t agree on which story of mine to nominate.
    So, the slate simply called attention to some works and the people who got on the ballot simply attracted more grass roots votes. Where this coincides with the Sad Puppies slate it’s almost a miracle. (And that the people who accuse us of lockstep slate also accuse us of somehow being guilty for letting Vox in, tells you a lot. More on that later.)
  • Sad Puppies is not responsible for the universe.
    The people who accuse us of being in league with gamer gate are just echoing Empress Teresa’s nutty slander. (She probably sees Gamer Gate under her bed, and it’s the Gamer Gate of Law and Order.) For one SP 1 was long before Gamer Gate and if Larry has a time machine and hasn’t shared – the bastage – we’re going to have words, even if he has way many more guns than I do. (Perhaps he found it on the… “Dark Net” — cue ominous music.)
    The evidence for this seems to be that Larry welcomed gamer gaters to one of his post updates. Yes, he did. Because the other side’s shrieking and hollering got their attention and they started coming around to see what this was all about.
    I’m not a gamer. My kids are. Bluntly if you attract gamegaters, you’re going to get trounced not by 500 votes but by 10k ones. They are much bigger in numbers than we are and more willing to drop money on things, just to upset people. Fortunately most of them don’t care that much about written sf/f, so we get to play in our little sandbox.
    Yeah, there are some crossovers, like Daddy Warpig, but they are a minority who like both games and written SF/F. Is this forbidden now? Are they wrongfans having having wrongfun?
    I refer you to my middle fingers for an answer to that. You’re not the boss of us. You’re not the boss of anyone. And you don’t get to tell anyone how to have “correct fun.” I’m sorry, that’s over.
  • Sad Puppies is not Rabid Puppies.
    This is the favorite accusation of the establishment, that we are “allied” with the blogger I call VD so as not to attract trolls screaming about nothing else. Yep, he was banished from SFWA. Yep, he’s the most hated man in the SF establishment. Yep he put up his own slate, whose logo looks like SP. Yep, he paid the artist to modify the SP logo for his use. Nope we don’t care.
    Some of us think he’s a shock artist and sort of roll our eyes at him. At any rate, we were not in collusion with him. No, we didn’t leave openings so he could slip in. We left openings so ANY ONE ELSE’S NOMS could slip in, but mostly because our “slate” was “things Brad likes” and we can’t make Brad like exactly five things or however many (I didn’t nominate, remember?) per category.
    My opinion on Vox is the same I’ve repeated over and over on FB “He is not my problem. He’s annoying but not more annoying or nuttier than about half the people in SF/F. You don’t want him in? You have issues with him? Great. YOU STOP HIM. Not my circus, not my flying monkeys.” I won’t lift a finger to stop you. I also won’t lift a finger to stop him. Again NOT MY CIRCUS. I don’t have a dog in this fight. I am not required to fight battles on the “correct side.” My battle is different and my answer to YOUR specific battle is as follows “A plague on BOTH your houses.” (Yes, I protested his expulsion because it was extralegal and because SFWA shouldn’t be in the business of judging moral/political or any other kind of purity. It’s supposed to be working for professional writers, even those in jail for murder. Opening the can of worms of “purity testing” then led to the Resnick Malzberg debacle. And it has diminished the association. It is possible to stand on principle without liking either of the sides.)

 

In the end, the establishment has created an SF/F field that was all about politics, purity tests and the genetics of the writer. If the story mattered it was only insofar as it showed or didn’t show “literary” markers.

Now, this new “bed making technology” might suit many people fine. And it allows them to make much of the paltry small sheets they have. And perhaps people didn’t complain and metaphorically speaking just booked another hotel.

It’s not a coincidence in this metaphor that Sad Puppies has the help and allegiance of two people of Portuguese descent and was started by a Portuguese. Metaphorically speaking, we’re the crazy Portuguese chick, maddened by two nights of no sleep, standing over the maids going “There hasn’t been new bed making technology since Ogg invented the bed. Now go find the right sheets and stop short-sheeting me.”

The bed we are trying to make is not political; it is not restrictive, either. You want to continue the spotlight on literary fiction? Fine, you make your slate, you tell your fans, you push what you like. If more people like it, it will win.

The game is open to everyone, as it should be.

Because in the end this is not about the will of a few “taste makers.” What should win awards is what the fans want period.

There are no wrongfans. There is no wrongfun.

People vote for what they like, and if they are opening their wallets to vote for what they like, great. Then the new people coming into the field will know what to read.

Fan involvement is the key.

This is not the playground of the powerful and privileged few. It is OUR playground, and in this case by “our” I mean the playground of those who love science fiction.

And if that hampers some academic careers, too bad, so sad.

They can always create yet another award for them, like the half dozen that already exist.

Hugo Gernsback was pulp. He was what people liked to read. His award should be for what people like. No more no less.

Beds? Threats of swatting?

Get a grip on reality. The more you sneer and the more you threaten, the more likely you are to turn the cry of “just another wrongfan having wrongfun” into “aristo, aristo, to the lamppost.”

Now that’s a bed I’d not like you to make.

456 responses to “Of Science Fiction and Bed Making

  1. If anyone really cares, which I doubt, I identify as apolitical. I don’t like any politicians. 😛 I’ve much better things to do than dabble in that particular cesspool we call the elected officials.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Sorry Cedar, but you’re an ultraconservative male now, whether you like it or not.

      • I grew up a tomboy, so the male bit amuses me. The ultraconservative part really makes me laugh. They wouldn’t know that if it bit them on the hinders. I’ve seen that, lived under it’s control… there’s a reason I’m soundly moderate.

      • Christopher, have you seen the size of her cleavage? And the skill and dexterity with which she artfully and yet modestly displays such prizes of nature?

        Scratch that. Have you seen her children? I know there’s surgery to make fake cleavage, but there’s absolutely no way to make fake children!

      • I am a warrior. Warriors are, by definition, apolitical. We are sworn to defend the nation and its people. Warriors may be male, female, any race or nationality, any religion or gender preference. As a group, we don’t put up with whining, lying, cheating, or trying to crush the spirit of others. Most of all, warriors are defenders: defenders of standards, of what we consider appropriate behavior, and the right of choice. Many of us like science fiction, but that’s only a portion of what we read. We also read history and biographies, geographies, letters, math and science, even literature. We read to learn, to experience, to prepare. We’re strong enough we don’t have to be spoon-fed, or to be led by the hand like some two-year-old. And most of us are head and shoulders above the “professorial” types that want to control how people learn, what they learn, and how they think. We Warriors are getting damned sick and tired of the twits that wish to limit us.

    • That’s awful Extreme of you.

    • Well, I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t run for office in the last election… 🙂

    • anarchist!!!!!

    • There are really only two political groups. There is the civil party and the hater party. (I was going to name the latter troll, but I realized that was an insult to good trolls.)
      They are not identified as such, in fact the hater party uses ‘civility’ as one of their many war chants. When two civil people meet, they can share and discuss ideas. They often disagree on some points, but they can listen intelligently to the other point of view, perhaps offer counterexamples; at the worst, they agree to disagree.
      The hater when discussing ideas with the civil person, solves all disagreements by name calling and STFU. They are never wrong. When two haters meet, they either spew the same unicorn pablum at each other, or it is somewhat like matter and anti-matter meeting.

  2. For all the criticisms that can be leveled at (former) Baseball manager Tony La Russa, I’ve always appreciated the fact that he and his wife home-schooled their kids, dragging them through every city in both the American and National Leagues. For a job which carries such burdens and imposes such challenges (never “at home” more than two weeks at a time) to elect the additional challenge of making so much time for the family is remarkable.

    So I have now remarked on it.

  3. “Colorful, creative, and extremely unpleasant.”

  4. Being a bad person, I will point out in regard to not destroying an award that Heinlein won, you break the glass after the toast so that it can never be used for a lesser purpose.

    In regards to threats of SWATing, those warrent anything up to and including deadly force in self defense just like any other immediate threat of deadly force does.

    • Were not threats of SWATting and other such exactly what they charged Gamergaters with doing to intimidate them?

      Does this mean they only object to such when it is done to them or that the threats are only credible when from the Right?

      • Progressive means never having to say you’re sorry.

        OK, sometimes you have to say it, but you never have to mean it.

        • Ain’t that the truth.

        • Progressive state of the world:
          1) Progressives are never wrong.
          2) When a progressive is found to be wrong, see rule one.

          Warrior rule #2: Failure to acknowledge error is a weakness. Warriors should never display weakness.
          Warrior rule number 5: Arrogance must be met with overwhelming force at all time.

      • But that’s DIFFERENT!
        Someone “commenting” on Mark Shea’s blog kept repeatedly insisting that intimidation campaign against a small pizzeria MUST be a “rightwing false flag operation”, because real gay activists would never do such hateful things.

        • Heh. As recently pointed out:

          “The problem in this instance, then, is not that companies like Angie’s List threaten economic sanction, although the prudence of such action in this particular case is debatable. These businesses will have to answer to their stakeholders for their choices, and rightly so. The problem, rather, is that the freedom to discriminate is claimed by such companies for themselves but not extended and recognized for others. Boycotts against discrimination as such thus depend on the very thing they oppose.”
          Dr. Jordan J. Ballor, The Logic Of Economic Discrimination

          Their objection is not to discrimination, it is to being discriminated against. They don’t like repercussions for their actions.

      • I’m in gamergate, and yes they do like to throw the SWAT claim around. The simple truth of the matter is no SWATing have been proven to be related to either Gamergate OR those opposed the movement. Some doxing haave happened, from both sides of the drama. It’s almost like both groups have a small number of trolls just wanting to troll. On the internet!! I know, I couldn’t believe it either.
        I know Sad Puppies has been shared a lot in gamergate circles lately, and some in the movement are avid sf/f fans and have a passion for this. The vast majority of us are content with following events however and cheer the Puppies on if you will, they do seem to manage to bark just fine by themselves.
        There is definitely a great deal of sympathy towards Sad Puppies from us, we know the frustration of what they face and we have become quite familiar with the alienating and fearmongering associated with certain groupings and media online.
        Sorry for the long reply.
        Sincerely,
        A terrible gamer.

        • “Sorry for the long reply.”

          You must be new here.

          • GIGGLE. Considering hte length of the posts!

            • The Other Sean

              Post? You mean that wasn’t a master’s thesis?

              • I simply don’t have the time to write more briefly.
                um… my Master’s thesis was 30k words. Typed out on a manual typewriter. Halfway through editing I got so frustrated I started cutting off paragraphs and gluing the thing back together in another order.
                Yes, this was in the middle ages.

                • AnotherOldNavyChief

                  That was back when cut and paste had concrete meaning…

                  Glad you seem to be feeling better.

                • You and Blaise Pascal. (He ended one of his “Lettres Provinciales” with “I apologize for making this letter so long because I did not have time to make it shorter”)

                  • I have to work to make things longer, because I have to unpack a lot of assumptions on what I think people know. ‘Cause some things make perfect sense to me, but are completely undecipherable to other people, largely because my method of understanding things is kind of twisty-turny (not timey-wimey).

                    • I have that problem too! Also, I get yelled at for not spending enough time describing the scenery or whatever. Like….You’ll only find out what color the kitchen floor is if it matters to the plot/characters. Otherwise, imagine it whatever color you want, OK? It’s ‘kitchen floor colored!’

                      Apparently that makes people nutty because my world isn’t ‘rich’ enough? But if I’m reading a book where the author gives lush descriptions of every scene, I either stop reading or skim until the plot comes back.

                      Anyway, if I ever get back to seriously writing fiction again (instead of writing ‘whatever I can get a regular paycheck of writing’), I’ll have to find some way to balance my love for plot and character with the fact that there’s apparently this large crowd of people who want to know if the carpet in the bedroom was berber or plush or white or beige or GOOD GRIEF PEOPLE, WHY DO YOU CARE? If you asked me, I’d be unlikely to accurately describe my OWN carpet to you. Who spends that much time thinking about carpets??????

                      Not that I have issues. My inability to take feedback that seems nonsensical is one reason why I had to give up on writers groups and say “Forget it. I’ll just write what I feel like, and if no one wants to read it, well, that’s fine.”

                    • Well, I was specifically referring to commenting, but it works in writing, too. Then again, I’m also one who can visualize the setting from just a few clues, and don’t need to read long descriptions, unless for some reason the EXACT surroundings are important to the story, though I realize that sometimes, giving detailed descriptions allows one to add a clue or some foreshadowing, yet conceal it amongst the rest of the clutter.

                    • I’m approaching that point. The delay has been tremendous.

                  • I seem to recall Churchill had a similar comment about speeches and the time required to prepare one – several examples, inversely proportional. (I’m being a little ambiguous ’cause in this crowd, I would prefer not to make an inaccurate quote – and I too am out of time.)

          • Yes, but he is very polite. Now, I suppose that some games like GTA, Military, the SIMs?? are ‘reality’ based, but a lot of them are either future/high tech (SF) or magic realms (Fantasy). Duh! Why would anyone imagine that gamers that play SF/F derived games may also like to read SF/F literature? Are the SJWs implying gamers are illiterate? I know they have leveled practically every other bat term they can think of at them already.

            • In the 1980s when anime was just starting to hit the US, it used to be joked that subtitling anime was an insidious plot to get media fans to read.

            • RandomStranger

              Well I mean it’s not like games use any form of media beyond pure graphics and voice. It’d be insane to use something as trivial as words to try and convey a point, especially when there’s finer forms out there such as interpretive dance.

              The only time I can think of a reason to have writing in a game would be to do something anachronistic like having books, or email, or websites simulated in the game itself. But it’s not like books themselves ever play a part in fantasy, and I can only laugh at the thought of having them in a high-tech setting.

      • With the truth being that neutrals and gamer gate related people were the ones swatted.

        Given how much fuss they make waving the “bloody shirt” of all the “death threats” and AS’s university appearance she canceled, you’d think a genuine swatting would be the shirt they wave if they had it…

    • When I was one of the original board members of a local Tea Party, one of the other members (a corporate lawyer of no mean skill and also on the board of a small but significant local corporation) warned us very early on that coming out in the open politically would mean that we would likely be the subjects of oppo research … and that any potentially embarrassing skeletons would be paraded out. (This was a prediction which came true BTW, for one of our members who DID have a skeleton the size of a brontosaurus). At the time, we all carried on, cheerfully – me saying that not only did I have a few amusing skeletons, but that I had put every one of them into my first book, and on my first blog. My skeletons were there for the purchase, on Amazon – and I would appreciate the traffic, actually.
      As the Duke of Wellington is reported to have said when approached discretely by a lady of negotiable virtue looking to publish her memoirs – but would skip certain episodes for a consideration – “Publish and be damned!”

  5. Hi, great post.

    Very very minor correction:

    “Because only someone blinded by a mote in their eye can see the spec in ours.”

    I think it should be this:

    “Because only someone blinded by a beam in their eye can see the mote in ours.”

    • Thank you. I got confused by the book title. 😀

      • Anytime you think about that Hugo Award Winning, If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love; naturally you will have cognitive dissonance and confusion for a short time after.

        • Minor correct tion: IYWADML was only nominated for a Hugo. It won a Nebula.

        • It didn’t win the Hugo. It was just nominated for the Hugo (Bad enough.) It won the nebula.

          • I had to go check out and read it. Holy. Mother. Of. Pork. I needed brain bleach afterwards. We need a SF version of the Bulwer-Lytton Award for awful writing. Let’s call it “the Barney” or “the Barney Swirsky”.

            • NCT, that is my story too. A couple days ago, I was out looking for new, creative ways to combine swear words (SJWs seem stuck in the swear, swear, repeat cycle) and ran across a link to the beloved Nebula Award winner. I thought:
              1)drek.
              2) Isn’t there a cube-square relationship between lung capacity and body volume that makes extreme scale changes leathal? Perhaps 5′ T-rex isn’t too extreme.
              3)drek.
              4)Why is ‘my love”s transformation “magic” and a mate being genetically altered chickens? Oh, I get it, a science-fiction and a fantasy story in one.
              5)drek.
              6)Can anyone determine the sex and race a person that would be told all these hostile terms?
              7)drek.
              8)Now I understand why Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing. Nothing would be such an improvement over taking the time to read this…
              9)drek.

              • You forgot #10

                10) Someone wrote this pretentious POS and got it published – makes you wonder just what was in the incriminating photos that were attached to the submitted post-it note. (That wasn’t a manuscript…)

                • At some point in the early 2000s I got on a spam list of, Ghu save us, “granny porn”. The individual entries were revolting enough, but all I could think of (with a horror that made the Call of Cthulhu SAN loss comprehensible), was a) Someone actually thinks there’s enough of a market for this to take the trouble to make it / assemble it and b) it’s been going on long enough that they’re probably right.

                  At which point I realized that a visit from the Great Old Ones might actually be deserved…..

              • While you’re at it, reflect:
                Why doesn’t this bar have a bouncer?

                Gin? Were his attackers hipsters? Or did this take place in Georgian England, in Hogarth’s Gin Alley?

                Paleontologists spend their summers in howling wilderness breaking up rocks with pick-axes. This generally does not make you turn out like a sissy.

            • Such an award should have the added requirement that it be nominated for an (allegedly) serious award–whether it be the Nebula, the Hugo, or the Prometheus, or what have you. Anyone could write dreck, but it takes *real talent* to write award-winning dreck.

              George RR Martin is on record claminig that we should create our own awards. (We already did: it’s called the Prometheus. But that’s besides the point! Actually, I would go so far as to say that the “Nebula” and the “Hugo” are supposed to be for *good* works, and if you want to award dreck, you should come up your own awards for those.) If Sad Puppies can’t reclaim the Hugo, I would propose that we might want to start the Heinlein, and throw in this award as well. (And to keep the Heinlein on its toes, we should make it clear that being nominated for a Heinlein makes the work eligible for the Swirsky as well.)

              (Full disclosure: as appalling as I found “If You Were a Dinosaur My Love”, I also sort-of liked it. Not exactly Hugo or Nebula material, of course, on account of it lacking a certain…oh, I don’t know…Sci Fi/Fantasy element to it…so it’s a pity that there aren’t awards available for such work, is it not?)

      • Speaking of Motes: “And on the gripping hand….”
        I’m just a self-published (and probably otherwise unpublishable) schmoe, but I’m a self-published schmoe who feels a LOT better about struggling through the sticky point in his second novel, even though I neither need nor want to make a living from it, because I can see the genre democratize again and be “safe” for people who just want to spin a yarn.

        //toodles off to try to get past page 58 and onto page 72 where all the cool stuff starts happening again.

  6. Over a hundred years ago, G. K. Chesterton wrote about the failings of what we now call “literary fiction.” Here are two bits from his book Orthodoxy, which can be read for free on Gutenberg.org.

    “But in the modern psychological novel the hero is abnormal; the centre is not central. Hence the fiercest adventures fail to affect him adequately, and the book is monotonous. You can make a story out of a hero among dragons; but not out of a dragon among dragons. The fairy tale discusses what a sane man will do in a mad world. The sober realistic novel of to-day discusses what an essential lunatic will do in a dull world.”

    That sums up so many books I’ve been unable to finish, or was forced to pretend to read for class years ago.

    “Just as we all like love tales because there is an instinct of sex, we all like astonishing tales because they touch the nerve of the ancient instinct of astonishment. This is proved by the fact that when we are very young children we do not need fairy tales: we only need tales. Mere life is interesting enough. A child of seven is excited by being told that Tommy opened a door and saw a dragon. But a child of three is excited by being told that Tommy opened a door. Boys like romantic tales; but babies like realistic tales—because they find them romantic. In fact, a baby is about the only person, I should think, to whom a modern realistic novel could be read without boring him.”

    And THAT sums up the people who LIKE those boring books.

    • That also explains anime “slice of life” shows. Usually nothing exciting or scary happens; it’s just a pleasant little story about life every week. And yet the other descriptor for such shows is “iyashikei,” healing.

      Of course, “pleasant,” “life-affirming,” and “healing” are not how one describes most fiction today that is set in the real world.

      Oh, my. I just realized that Elizabeth Goudge books need to be made into iyashikei anime. Mwahahaha!

      • On my list of favorite anime is a very laid-back slice of life show, and “pleasant,” “life-affirming,” and “healing” are all good descriptions (as well as “relaxing”). The one thing that’s necessary for such a show to be enjoyable is that it has to evoke a sense of wonder, at the setting or the characters, something that doesn’t go well with modern literary fiction. It’s like a travel show; most people that watch travel shows are interested in seeing the beautiful and exotic, not the ugly and familiar.

        • Yes – this. The beautiful, the exotic, the different and above all — the interesting!
          Me, I find history interesting, which is why I chose to write about it. All the interesting, contradictory, exotic things that readers generally didn’t know, or if they did, appreciated me writing about them in a knowledgeable and affectionate fashion.

    • This sums up most of both books AND other media today. I’m so very tired of the whiny anti-hero who is as unlikable as the antagonist.

      It all seemed to have started somewhere around “The Blair Witch Project.” Everyone was going on and on about what a great movie it was. I was mostly angry because I wanted all of the characters to die – on screen – with my help. None of them were the least bit likable anyway! I dragged my now-husband out the next night to see “The 13th Warrior” just to get the taste out of my mouth. MUCH better movie.

    • Feather Blade

      You can make a story out of a hero among dragons; but not out of a dragon among dragons.

      Oh, I don’t know… E.E Knight did alright at it… ^_^

  7. youretheworst

    It’s like you’re the voice in my head.

  8. Christopher M. Chupik

    Right now, the Usual Suspects are on Twitter trying to tie Brad to the Church of Scientology.

    No. I’m not cutting and pasting examples. I’m not going back there. You can’t make me!

  9. The thing is, Brad only liked a few things in each category, even with some of us making other suggestions. So fine, that’s what he put up.

    Oddly, John Scalzi advocated pretty much this same thing in his denunciation of the Sad Puppies “Attack On Hugo” (see the anime series!)

    Scalzi announced his intentiion to vote only for works he found worthy and then “No Award” the category.

    Of course, Scalzi started the “slate nomination” thing nearly ten years ago, six years (if I’ve calculated it rightly) before the first attempt to address puppy related sadness.

    Not that I am suggesting what is good for the goose is good for the gander; we all know that “historically under-privileged groups” do not have to play by the same rules they demand others observe.

    That would be madness! (This. Is. SPARTA.)

  10. Friends of mine have actually been SWATted, and by that I mean held in handcuffs at 2AM as police searched their house at gun point in response to a false 911 call alleging an active shooter at their address.

    I am not amused.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      They try it even once, we raise HELL.

      • I really, really hope they have the sense not to go there. The likelihood of someone ending up dead is much too high.

        I wonder, should the higher profile individuals warn their local sheriffs and police that they’re in an internet disagreement with people who have threatened SWATting? Maybe I should ask the deputy across the road down the street what he’d advise if I catch him out and about the neighborhood?

        • Do it.

          I know we’re good, because my husband does some work with the local cops who would be called for such a thing, but if you don’t have that….

          I wouldn’t contact the cops officially unless there’s been specific threats, but anybody can talk to a neighbor, or (for those who are reservists and have some cops on the team, or even just talk to your intel guys) a co-worker.

        • As I said above, several conservative bloggers have had this happen. Warning the cops is an excellent idea.

    • Amazing what happens when you threaten the status quo of SJWs by simply existing and having a different viewpoint than them, eh? Who has the high moral ground now? That would not be the ones calling in the SWATting. Go figure.

      Is this what they mean by things being “intersectional?” Who knew that reporting on a terroristic bomber or protesting SJW takeovers of silly video games or writing wrongthink science fiction/fantasy could get the same result.

    • What would be the result if you contacted your local police emergency response headquarters and advised that you had bee threatened with SWATting? That you do NOT want them to ignore any emergency report from your home but that they should be sure to document the source of the report.

      Would it be better to warn on FB anyone thinking of SWATting or to simply wait and sue if it happens?

      • Unless you are friends of the Chief of Police / County Sheriff, nothing.

        Of the dozens of SWATings, I know of only three that has been prosecuted. – and only one of those did not involve a celebrity.

        • Let’s be just. Many SWATtings are rendered anonymous by those responsible; it still can be hard to trace a given phone call.

          • My concern is only that either someone targeted for SWATting or an innocent police officer/deputy will get killed.

            I know what I’d assume of anyone breaking into my house. There are such things as costume stores and we live where the nearest deputy could take an hour to get here: we don’t have the luxury of calling 911 and waiting.

            • Like that poor Chief of Police who’d be dead if the highway patrol hadn’t bullied him into taking a vest immediately before they went into what they thought would be a bomb maker’s house?

              I suspect part of why there aren’t a lot of known-to-be-prosecuted SWATTings is that it can be a pain and a half to find out the original story was false in the first place– in the above situation, the initial one was spread at least regionally for a full day, then was mentioned on a regional level for one report that the call wasn’t made from any phone in the house… by the time it’d worked through that the kid (mid-20s, married, working, zombie fan) was not only totally innocent, but was a local and was horribly upset that what he’d thought was a home invader was the chief of police that he knew and liked, and that they’d identified the person who actually made the false call, and oh by the way it wasn’t a bomb in a school it was a bomb in a community center that has head start…. you were on the county level, or maybe just the nearest three towns.

          • No Mary, No! If we are just, doesn’t that mean we are 1/3 the way to being a social justice warrior?
            You are correct, but I bet they could get the NSA to trace the call.

      • What these people do is hack the Caller ID system so it appears the call is coming from your house.
        I would tell the police so that the warning is there before it happens.

    • Thankfully, those I argue with don’t know where I live. 😀

      • That’s why threats of Doxxing combined with threats of SWATting are so worrying. If someone takes the time and puts in the effort, they can find out where you live.

  11. I ran into this a couple of days ago:
    http://archive.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/16-02/st_thompson
    I’m going to post about it soon, but it seems to me as if the literary types are pushing into OUR sandbox because they’ve ruined their own.

    • Oh yes.

      And this downright insulting: this Clive person thinks Heinlein (and Philip K. Dick) had ‘positively deranged notions of the inner lives of women…’

      Clive baby, I’m a woman and I quite identify with some of his heroines. You are telling me that I don’t know how women think?

      Riight. (Well, maybe he just has a limited sample to draw from when it comes to women and their inner lives. Perhaps he should try to get to know more people with backgrounds different from his own? Perhaps even from other social classes? Or [gasp!] different political stances?)

      • But if you don’t agree with the Movement, you must be somehow crypto-male.
        “Palin’s greatest hypocrisy is her pretense that she is a woman.” — Wendy Doninger

      • Positively deranged notions = politically incorrect notions.

        Keep in mind that they accuse all woman holding such “positively deranged notions” as suffering false consciousness. So if you don’t fit into their definition it is you as is invalid.

        • What about Star in ‘Glory Road’, Empress of the many worlds, absolute ruler with lifetimes of wisdom? One would think that would be a positive role model for women. No glass ceiling here!

          • ALL Heinlein is BAD-think and double plus ungood. This is a core principle of SF SFWs as a way of demonstrating their rejection of the old patriarchal order.

            Plus it is a basic tenet that No – nada – zero – none – not any Heinlein female character can possibly resemble any actual woman, living or dead, no matter how closely it resembles any woman with whom he lived. This is a prime example of FALSE Consciousness and to even entertain the possibility is to condemn yourself to the outer reaches of SF Fandom, even farther from Hugo consideration than Orson Scott Card.

            Heinlein characters are motivated by logic, thoughtful consideration of various courses of action and anticipation of consequences. Such examples can lead the unindoctrinated naive into bad ideas such as self-discipline and assignment of responsibility by criteria other than victim/privilege matrices.

          • Donald! Do you know what I resemble when deep into a book? Yep, Star with personally infusions. Dan just sighs.

          • I recently reread THE WEAPON MAKERS, and reflected: Are the CHORFS going to say the Empress Isher is not a Strong Female Character? Because she does not personally fight a dozen Weapon Shop guards?

          • Star? Oh, she was completely colonized by the Male Patriarchy.

            (I wouldn’t mind doing a little coloni- what?)

      • wanderingmuses

        ” Perhaps he should try to get to know more people with backgrounds different from his own? Perhaps even from other social classes? Or [gasp!] different political stances?)”

        Well, now there’s a novel idea. I, too, just love how they tell me that’s not how real women think/act. Yeah, well maybe in your tiny little world, but in my brain I’m seeing it the other way ’round.

  12. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    You should make the bed you WANT to lie in.

  13. Since I found (True. It was on the hallway floor) my first Martian Chronicle, all I ever wanted was a good story. You(don’t mean you Ms Hoyt) want to preach? Go to church. Just write a good story. Please. That’s all I ask for and the only thing I want to spend money on. A good story.

    • I wouldn’t go that far. But if you’re going to preach, you need a really good story to wrap it in. Especially if you’re going for a longer form than the traditional parable or fable.

      • Preaching in a really good story? Does not compute…error…error…doesss nnooootttt ccccompu…erererreree

        In a really good story I’ve never noticed the preaching. I’m too busy dodging pulsed lasers or a dwarfs axe. .

        • Sigh… A Few Good Men… Not preaching, but message. However, it’s written through the fights 😉

          • That is really in the queue. I got distracted by Correia’s MHI and Grimnoir books and then I saw Gannon’s Terran Republic books mentioned by Torgersen and finished 1 and 2 and I’m rererereading GRD’s Dorsai and Dragon books while also reading some series of books that has something to do with Shifter something or other.

            I also differentiate between preaching and messaging.
            Preaching: beating you over the head with something.
            Message: drawing (mostly)oblique notice to something.

            Maybe I’m shallow, but that’s how I read. It’s also the reason I didn’t try any new authors for 5/10 years. I just kept rereading every book I had/have and buying the books of authors I have been reading since high school. But they keep disappearing for some reason.

            I know I ramble, that’s why I don’t do much commenting, anywhere, so I’m just going to go back to lurking and leave you alone now. Thanks for letting me share my disjointed and confusing thoughts.

            • Hey, no need to keep lurking. Your avatar indicates that you and I could be very good friends.

              • That’s a Goliad Cannon. And thanks, but… I’m not coherent enough most of the time for commenting. And so this “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” would be better for me.

                • I think you fit right in.

                • Trust me, these folks put up with a lot of incoherent.

                  Possibly because I suspect a lot of them can see me waiving my hands in the “you know, that thing, with that guy?” manner when I’m trying to get words to do what I want them to. 😀

                • Although if you do mostly lurk, you’re still in good company. There’s even a couple of folks over on the facebook page who read but don’t comment (here).

                • Coherent is not a requirement. They put up with me.

                • Commenting is great deleting typing practice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten halfway through a comment and realized, “I just don’t know how to make the point I was trying to make when I started typing in a coherent manner” and deleted the whole thing.

                  But sometimes, I’ve had some true pearls come out. It gives you the warm fuzzies when someone tells you that you’ve said something far better than they could (usually, I’m the one saying that, rather than being told that, but it has happened once or twice).

            • No, no, don’t lurk. Here everyone rambles, starting with me. And your journey is close to my own.

            • Unfortunately, Preaching-Message-Cultural reaction to some special science or magic of book, sometimes is a matter of degree, and different for each reader.
              I just finished “Tracker” the 16th of Cherryh’s Foreigner novels; the Atevi – Lawyers out, Assassins Guild in. But for the culture in her books, it is a wonderful and practical alternative to a just legal system for all. Now SJWs certainly wouldn’t approve because Assassins have *guns*. Now, L Neil Smith’s “Pallas” I considered it far too preachy to enjoy. Not that I fault the concepts of such a libertarian society, but he was simply ‘in my face’ to much with philosophy that didn’t further the plot. Your mileage may vary, in both cases.

              • While conservative authors can at times be Ayn Randian preachy with message this is recognized as authorial failure and not a basis for praising the book. While SJW authors can occasionally write an entertaining tale this is generally acknowledged as authorial failure as it risks undermining the message of the story (because such entertainment generally requires characters be recognizable as human — not cardboard cutouts — and behave in realistic manner.)

              • Haven’t gotten that far myself, just finished listening to “Precursor” today while driving. Cherryh is an extremely talented writer, but I’m not sure she has ever written a human character that I actually liked. She manages to be a good enough writer to keep me coming back periodically to read more stories, but the Channyr (sp?) novels are the only ones I’ll likely reread. Because I like most all of the nonhuman characters, and since there is only one human in those books, wellll.

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            Well, the Usual Suspects say that we claim we don’t want *any* message or deeper meaning at all, and gleefully point out our “hypocrisy”.

            You know, just once I’d like these folks to actually spend a little bit of time reading — not skimming, but actually READING — what we’ve been saying on this subject. If we’re going to dominate their conversation, the least they could do is actually learn our actual views.

            • But if they did that they would be exposed to badthink, which might prompt them to reevaluate their beliefs, which could result in them changing their minds, which would mean that they were *gasp* wrong. And wouldn’t that mean all of their bad behavior wasn’t redeemed by their goodthink, but was instead a result of them being an ass?

              No, far better to skim until offended and then knock down some strawmen. Much easier to feel superior that way.

            • They may be too self involved to follow anyone elses story through an entire book.

            • WE’RE not dominating their conversation; their Feelings about us are dominating their conversation. We are not worthy of study, y’see, because we’re all false consciously saying impossible things nobody could mean, ’cause all the real people are like them. Riiiight.

          • ALL good literature has a message at its core, because it incorporates a definition of how the world should be. The problem is when the message is forced, and the story fitted by Procrustes.

        • Sure you can preach in a good story. You have to figure out your issues, and who’s hurt by them, and who would fight on what side and how they are all deeply involved in it. . . .

          Casablanca preaches that people should get involved in fighting Nazis.

          • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is kinda preachy, too.

          • “Grease” taught that you need to change your looks and give up your morals to get the guy. Though it had great music.

            • wanderingmuses

              OMG! There’s someone that actually agrees with me about Grease lol. I loved that play up until the ending. I was quite ticked!

              • LOL! I’ve been calling “Grease” a morality play for years. Just not any morality I’d subscribe to . . .

                • Same thing with “Saving Private Ryan.” The villain in that movie is the clerk, who’s every instinct and action is wrong. He manages to get almost everybody else killed, by infecting them with his nebbishness (totally a word.) Then kills the prisoner in the end just out of spite. He is the perfect example of how not to act in war.

      • I wouldn’t go that far either. I always was underwhelmed by Bradbury. I suppose he was capable of a good story, but certainly not great.

      • I have little problem with preaching…so long as I know that going in. There’s little worse than getting 100 pages into a book and putting it down in disgust b/c it turned out not to be a good story, but rather a lecture disguised as fiction.

  14. The cry that “no award” is just about ethics in Hugo nominating is disingenuous. Slate nominating only works when the ratio of voters to eligible works is large. Quite recently there were fewer than 1000 nominating ballots cast, with 5 slots per ballot that means it is entirely possible for there to have been more worthy works (there are thousands of SF works released each month, but most of them – even by their author’s admission – aren’t worthy of a Hugo) than total nominating votes. In such a regime it doesn’t take much organizing to effect bloc voting. A whisper here, a recommendation there, and suddenly a bunch of the stuff you favor is pushed above the foam.

    Sad Puppies dramatically increased the number of voters – nominating ballots have doubled over the last four years – that makes it harder for bloc voting to work. Semi-random fluctuations are going to ensure most quality works have a large absolute number of votes, and it’s going to take a lot more coordination to get politically correct names above the 5% threshold. In my opinion, that’s why the anti-SP forces are making a big deal about bloc voting: that’s what they’re going to try next year to reestablish control. We’ve grown the voter pool too large for their subtle techniques to work, so they’re going to brute force. I don’t think they fully understand how big this can get.

    The other aspect is they may change the rules to their benefit. If that’s the case we need to set up an award on the same terms as the current Hugo, call it the Heinlein, and watch WorldCon collapse into irrelevance.

    As some no-talent wrongfan put it: In the end we win, they lose.

  15. Great read, My one objection would be “Fortunately most of them don’t care that much about written sf/f, so we get to play in our little sandbox.” I’m an avid Gamer and still grew up reading Asimov and Kim Stanley Robinson, There is quite an overlap in two very geek populated spaces.

    • yes, of course there’s a good number of you who are both (like my kids) — I meant MOST of them. Unfortunately the younger kids don’t read that much. :/

      • You should fix that tbh =) Reading at a young age does wonders =) i know it did me.

        • No, my kids are readers. Both of them. I meant most kids don’t seem to be, judging by their friends/acquaintances.

          • Perhaps, in your copious free time, you could write a kid’s book to get them hooked. Worked for Rush. (Retreats at great speed, ducking carp.)

            • sure it worked for rush….. but what about J. K. Rowlings. minor little author that not many people have heard about. (how many billions $ does she have now)

              • wanderingmuses

                Can’t stand when folks belittle the HP series. (I know you’re not doing that…I’m just using your post as an excuse to make a point 😉 ) I love JK for one big thing in my own life. It got my teenage nephew to realize you can actually read for enjoyment! GASP! Now he’s near 30 and reads all. the. time. That right there makes her a hero in my book.

                • It got younger son to read. Up till then we weren’t sure he COULD and since he was seven, we were somewhat worried. (OTOH I realized a postriori — my postriori is QUITE large and sometimes blinds me –) that he’d been reading my mysteries and misshelving them. Having learned to read on their own, neither of the kids knows the ORDER of the alphabet. Makes it fun when they have to use a paper dictionary or phone book.

                  • princespolkadot

                    I may need your parenting manual. Neither of mine seem to grasp that OR the concept that letter make specific sounds. Learning to read for them is rote memorization, as nearly as I can tell.

                    • Oh. Second son learned to read by learning to write. seriously. He’s very kinetic. He wanted to write stuff (mostly orders to his stuffed animals, really) so he would come to me and say how do I write “Stop” and we’d go through it letter by letter. No don’t ask why his stuffies needed to stop. Great imagination…

                    • I suspect I may wind up at something of a loss when it’s time for my own children to learn to read. Apparently I did it by being read to and by bringing my parents alphabet magnets: “What letter is this? What sound does it make?”

                    • As far as I can tell, I taught my son to read by reading to him all the fun books (Dr. Seuss, etc.), and answering everytime he asked me, “What does this say? What does this say?” He about drove me crazy, especially when we were driving, and I didn’t necessarily see the sign he was pointing to.

                    • My kids really like Starfall dot com … it probably helps that I can remember driving my mom and myself to tears trying to get her to phonetically spell the names of the letters, because I didn’t know how to ask other than “How do you spell ‘A’?” Trying to grab stuff and turn it over to figure out what they might actually mean has helped a little.

                      Also picked up a Beka phonics book at Goodwill, which we haven’t gotten beyond the vowels in, but the front page’s “letter, picture, word” setup worked really well for my girls to connect the sounds to words. The Baron is just two and has no idea what the ABC song means, but he’ll sing it and randomly say “Letter, sound!” or “Letter, mumble, sound!” (it’s how we figured out that “ab-owe” is “apple.”)

                      I don’t know that it’s worth six bucks, but this is the one we’ve been using.
                      http://www.amazon.com/handbook-reading-Phonics-textbook-program/dp/B0006PFT28/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428685499&sr=1-3&keywords=beka+phonics

                  • Wait, you mean letters don’t get ordered in regiments by the color they are in the refrigerator magnets? We’ve been doing it all wrong!

                    Watch out! The blue letters are invading the greens!

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  What annoys me are people who think “I didn’t like that author so nobody should/can like that author”.

                  For various reasons, I could not get into the Harry Potter series but nothing I’ve heard about the series leads me to believe that nobody should like it. [Smile]

                  On the other hand, “Need a wizard? Call on Harry Dresden not that Potter kid”. [Very Big Grin While Flying Away Very Fast]

                  • I first heard of “Harry Dresden” on a Web site called “Wizards Named Harry Rock”.
                    The proprietor of the site would probably ask if you have ever heard of the excluded middle.

                • Many here will sing praises of Rowling. She may be a left-wing nutcase, but her portrayal of government ministries, bureaucrats and the Press have helped sow seeds of distrust of those institutions in a way few other authors have managed. She allowed the story to overcome her politics and that is worthy of praise.

          • Oh, yeah, then i do agree. I’m still crossing my fingers that devices like the Kindle or even Ebook reader apps for Ios/Android might fix that though. At the very least there might be some commuter readers.

            • Mind you my kids are 23 and 20. But they cracked their reading teeth on Heinlein juveniles, and they’ve been reading ever since.

              • Ours are 7 and 9, but working on this crate of books that my dad left me with abbreviated versions of all the classics, phasing in English as you go along, The first few books will have about one word in English per sentence, the last is entirely in English. My disappointment that they read the short version of ‘Treasure Island’ is offset by them learning a language =)

          • Hi Sarah and thank you for the wonderful piece. I think you might be low balling the number of crossover fans. Particularly in Gamergate. Observing your kids will tell you about the youngest generations of gamers. But Gamers span three full generations these days, going from the old farts such as ourselves down to the playground Pokemon and Minecraft crowd. The largest percentage of active self identifying gamers are in the 30+ age range, and Gamergate is a very broad coalition of all generations, with the 30 and 40 something’s being a huge part. So crossover with SF/F fans is likely in the 50-60% range just judging from the off topic chatter on most game web forums. (Probably a little higher crossover with comics). So there is a huge pool of SFF readers there. But until Sad Puppies, we never knew we could contribute and nominate and vote on the Hugo’s.

            • Ah, neat! I’d kind of assumed that… well, “gamer” meant “current flashy FPS,” when my style has always been 2D platformer (though a few 3D series have won me over) and, as of recently, Minecraft. Thought I’d be laughed outta town if I got closer. 😛

              I’m usually a lurker, so that wouldn’t usually be an issue. But this whole thing has inspired me to fanart, and I haven’t known where to post it.

              Ah, what the hell.

      • I think that younger kids are no longer readers because they’ve been chased away. The new stuff is overpriced and just isn’t worth picking up on a whim and finding a corner to read in anymore, by and large.

        • I blame movies made from books tbh, they think the movie will be just as good as the book.

        • And what they make them read in school… Even my kids didn’t like that.

          • I had to read the Hobbit and Animal Farm in 197mumble in high school. Are those still used in schools?
            Never cared for Animal Farm by the way.

            • I liked Animal Farm, but it was forbidden at my school, so…
              My kids read 1984 and Brave New World and Dickens. The rest their evil mom got them Cliff’s Notes for or in the case of “magic realism” and other such Pink Monkey Notes (I THINK. Or it was that when younger kid was in high school.)

            • They were in the mid-80s. That would have been sixth grade.

              My class was odd in that we actually *liked* The Red Badge of Courage. Apparently, most classes treat it as boring.

            • The entire novel of Alexander Key’s The Forbidden Door was in our reading books at school. Heheheh.

            • I read Animal Farm to my kids as a bedtime story, with funny voices for the animals. Only book without pictures they wanted me to do again. 😉 They love the movie. Both covered The Hobbit in 7th grade. So far, most of the high school books have been “Literature. ” You know, boring stories with horrible endings, designed to waste the time they could have been using to read enjoyable stories.

            • The class a few years ahead of us got to WATCH “Animal Farm”– the animated version. Graduated in ’01. Was gone by the time we got there. (My mom had a copy, we grew up watching it.)

              Didn’t read any of the long form of stuff, except for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Gatherer” and “Bridge to Teribithia.” (The one good story among them of which I avoided having ruined by reading the whole thing the first day; thankfully I’ve got a bad enough speech problem that I was not usually required to read out loud. [it is, I kid you not, that I sound like a skipping record; I lose track of if I’ve said a phenome or morpheme; I don’t notice it, but it annoys everybody else])

              Lots of short stories. “The Lottery” is an example of a good one– I only don’t want my kids to read it. 😀

            • Animal Farm’s claim to fame during my High School years was that it was a very short book. I read it for fun in the late 196mumble. For my book report, I chose Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy, all 3 volumes.

          • princespolkadot

            I finished Tom Sawyer in a few days, rather than the semester set aside for it in 7th grade English. So my teacher would foist a new novel off on me every few days. Apparently the selection in her possession was thin on the ground, as a few weeks into this, she gave me “Clan of the Cave Bear.” Probably wildly inappropriate for a 7th grader and the reason I now read through anything I put on the shelf for MY kids before I give it to them.

            • Aannddd you are about my age, because I was given the original Clan of the Cave Bear trilogy for Christmas at about that age. I don’t remember who gave them to me, but I had read the first two, and was so sickened by the green feminist utopia schtick that I never finished the third one. But when my mom started to read them she about went through the roof, for entirely different reasons. 🙂

              • At the time, the feminist utopia schtick went over my head, I think. And I was at the age where I could identify with the “boys are jerks” undercurrent. RIiiiggghhhttt up to the rape scenes.

                Apparently said teacher thought I would identify with Ayla, as being quite a bit brighter than her peers. I’m guessing she, herself, had not bothered to read more than the backflap. There’s a gag here about judging a book by it’s cover that would apply to our little SJW friends, but Imma leave it alone.

          • Books I had already read and liked, I was sick to death of by the time we finished them in class.

        • They’re also given crap to read in school, so they don’t think that reading is an enjoyable thing.

      • I blame that on the education system. The reason my ex-SiL didn’t like any of the Honor Harrington books? There was too much math. The best piece of fan-fic I’ve ever read was written by a gamer. He completely scripted out a sequel for Novalogic’s “Tachyon: The Fringe” – for both paths in the original game, and made it tie into the original without having to rewrite history. It was interesting, plausible, and made me want to spend money that I didn’t have! (And Novalogic’s response was there there just wasn’t any interest in space or science fiction based games)

        • To be fair to Novalogic*, space combat sims were pretty much in the toilet as far as sales went at that point in time, and TtF didn’t do so well in sales in and of itself as I recall.

          * I still have difficulty with doing so even almost a decade later. After 9 patches they STILL didn’t have all the bugs in TtF fixed before they finally gave up on it, and even when bugs weren’t an issue the end result of the game was disappointing other than having Bruce Campbell voice the player character.

          • Correction: 8 patches. The last patch was “h”, unless I’m totally misremembering (entirely possible, my memory can give black holes pointers on how to suck 😛 ).

      • Unfortunately the younger kids don’t read that much.

        Well, sure. If what you were given to read was the last couple of years of Hugo winners, how much would you read?

        We were lucky — when we discovered the field the Hugos were going to books by Heinlein, Herbert, Zelazny, Dickson, Anderson, Sturgeon, Simak, Garrett, Keyes, Schmitz and the like;

        Start with http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/1960-hugo-awards/ and change the 60 to 61 then 62 and so on.

        Or just look at the 1967 nominees:

        Best Novel
        The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
        Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany
        Too Many Magicians by Randall Garrett
        Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
        The Witches of Karres by James H. Schmitz
        Day of the Minotaur by Thomas Burnett Swann

        Best Novelette
        “The Last Castle” by Jack Vance
        “Call Him Lord” by Gordon R. Dickson
        “Apology to Inky” by Robert M. Green, Jr.
        “The Alchemist” by Charles L. Harness
        “An Ornament to His Profession” by Charles L. Harness
        “The Eskimo Invasion” by Hayden Howard
        “The Manor of Roses” by Thomas Burnett Swann
        “For a Breath I Tarry” by Roger Zelazny
        “This Moment of the Storm” by Roger Zelazny

        Best Short Story
        “Neutron Star” by Larry Niven
        “Man in His Time” by Brian W. Aldiss
        “Delusion for a Dragon Slayer” by Harlan Ellison
        “Rat Race” by Raymond F. Jones
        “The Secret Place” by Richard McKenna
        “Mr. Jester” by Fred Saberhagen
        “Light of Other Days” by Bob Shaw
        “Comes Now the Power” by Roger Zelazny

        • Good Lord,just the novel would be a hard choice, and I love TMIAHM.

        • Sigh…. those were the days.

        • From memory, I’ve read 3 of the best novel, can’t recall any of the best novelettes, and 4 of the short stories. In 1967 I was in 6th grade, and I’m certain that’s when I first read “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”. If any of the rest were published in Analog, I read them, just don’t recall them. The beginning of 6th grade year was when a friend lent me some of his father’s old Analogs and I discovered I could buy new issues at the local drug store.

  16. Oh Sarah, I do adore you. Well said.

  17. Sad puppies is not against message in fiction. Sad puppies is against the message trumping the fiction.

    This statement reminded me – In school (no idea what grade), I read a story, and I think I remember it being part of our school work, where this man was riding a train, and there was a mother and daughter next to him. IIRC, somehow, it came up that the girl didn’t like stories. After asking a couple of questions, we find out that every single story the mother told was a message story. Pretty much down to the, “And the moral of this story is…”

    So the man told the girl a couple of stories, which delighted the girl, because they were fun, while the mother looked disgusted ad asked what the morals of the stories were, and he told her that not all stories needed to have a moral, but even fun stories could have morals built into them.

    I know I’m describing this story badly, but I just remember it as being very much like the whole principle behind Sad Puppies, Human Wave, Superversive, etc.. And I read it at least 35 years ago.

    • http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/Storyteller.html

      Is that the one you want? If not, I suspect it’s similar.

    • he told her that not all stories needed to have a moral

      Watching kids shows with my little nephews, I feel like yelling that not all childrens shows have to be ‘educational’. Granted, some of them are fun but they are all trying to make you learn too. Kids are learning constantly, regardless. It just makes some stuff unwatchable to people who already know what’s being taught. Pfft.

      Another dirty little secret is that “literary fantasy” (or sci fi) has the lowest sales numbers of all subgenres of F/SF.

      This is an interesting, but unsurprising, tidbit. I feel like that dinosaur story was trying to be literary while also talking about imaginary dinosaurs and that…doesn’t go together. What SciFi and fantasy are great for is telling stories and morals in metaphor. If you try to be too explicit you are just going to ruin the story.

    • Your story sounds suspiciously like a message story

  18. Wondering Eye

    Hello.

    As a random guy on the internet who’s wondered in and became curious about all this. I’m curious about one thing.

    Sad puppies say there’s a clique that’s controlling sci-fi & the huguos. Sad puppies opponents deny this is happening.

    How can I, as an outsider, find out which is true? Do you have evidence? Is there somewhere where sensible people of both sides debate the question?

    • Some people are doing number analysis. I know my friend Kate intends to, and possibly Dave Freer. I haven’t because (as you’ll find if you read anything here) I’m recovering from major surgery and trying to finish a book.

    • Part of this is to consider the pattern of what got nominated. It was a very small clique and often re-nominated over and over. Now, as Jeff Gauch says below somewhere, with a very small number voting (sometimes only a dozen or so for some awards) you don’t need a conspiracy. Just someone saying “this is good.” Hence, bringing in a bigger group breaks that. the slate is just whatever that year’s voice likes.

      • Someone (I forget who) posted some sets of voting numbers a week or so back, that showed how the voting was very close , numerically, for pre- Sad Puppy, and non-Sad Puppy ballots in previous years. And when I say close, I mean a span of less than 10 votes for all three leading vote-getters in a category, whereas the Sad Puppy nominations were highly varied in their vote-getting.

    • You can get a clue just looking at the Hugo wiki. Look how many times the editorial staff at Tor swapped the best editor award. And Scalzi. Redshirts was the best book that year, really? How many books from Tor were nominees, as to how many DAW or Baen. If you start looking, the fact that something’s rotten starts to stare out at you.

    • If you read all the winners in chronological order, starting back 20 years or so (more?), you might notice a trend

      • All the winners? All the nominees and a selection of the works not nominated.

        They forgot the lesson taught the ambitious young Chicago ward heeler who, at his first election, reported to HQ that he had produced 100% votes for the party, only to be told to go back and cast some for the opponent so it doesn’t look too good.

    • Some research and thought experiments have been done. This is the third iteration of the “Sad Puppies” experiment. (It began in 2013 with Larry Correia.)
      http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/04/24/an-explanation-about-the-hugo-awards-controversy/
      http://madgeniusclub.com/2014/08/25/a-very-surprised-looking-sperm-whale-and-a-bowl-of-petunias/

    • In my case (speaking as someone who hadn’t considered anything about how nominations were placed), it was odd reading one category in last year’s nomination bracket and finding that half of the stories were about coming out. It was a weird sort of sameness. That category also had one of the two stories that did not appear to have any F or SF content to it. The other one—Novella category, I think—was odd because I kept reading it, thinking that it was well-written, but where was the SF? And then, Oh, here it is… no, wait, that can be framed as a hallucination. Oh! Here it is! THE VERY LAST PAGE, and irrelevant to the story.

      You know what? I don’t want to be reading the same story over and over again. I’ve been watching this whole business with a certain amount of bemusement, because I know folks on both sides and the level of vituperation seems far out of scale to the actual issue. (It’s… been an interesting week for me. I can’t understand the outrage and despair about this when there’s things of actual life-or-death going on in my community of friends and family.)

      TL;DR: I don’t give a flying leap about what a person’s politics are if it’s not being shoved down my throat. I like the Hugo Awards, think that getting a whole bunch of fiction with a membership is neat, and like to vote according to how I feel the stories deserve according to my own system*. I hate ideological purity tests with a passion and am tempted to declare myself as a particular opposition group even if I’m not when challenged, because it does not matter to my enjoyment.

      *Note for Hugo prospects: I like complete works. Yes, I will vote well on a segment of a series—if it feels like a complete work in itself. If it’s incomplete, I tend to rank it low, though I may want more.

    • Well, it’s not any kind of objective proof, but the absolute flipping out and flat denial that any influencing of the vote was possible when Sad Puppies 1 got going persuaded me that there was something wrong.

      At least one or two other folks spent a couple of days giving different methods that could influence what got voted on, in several different ways– back when I knew so little about Sad Puppies that I didn’t realize it was practical to get a supporting membership and vote and such– and… well, if someone told you that it was impossible for Sad Puppies to influence anything because there’s no way to buy enough memberships to make a difference, even after you explained exactly how this year’s Sad Puppies has worked, it starts to look kinda suspicious.

      I previously thought it was just that a pretty small group of folks were involved in it, kind of like how NasCar track ads are going to be influenced by the preferences of a group that doesn’t represent “everyone who thinks fast cars are cool,” but the sheer nasty makes me think that someone’s losing a lot more than, oh, a sort of Hipster “I was here before it was cool” thing.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Yeah, but there’s an obvious counterargument in Fail Burton’s mental illness theory.

        The diagnosis that he proposes as driving things can cause both emotional conviction and a sense of urgency without any rational basis.

        The difference between crazy, political, mean, and self interested can sometimes only be told in the long term across many changes.

        • If someone is consistent, I don’t consider them crazy.

          For example, there was a crazy lady who lived on the same street as me– I found this out when I gave her a lift to the bus stop, because it was raining.

          She believed her husband had bugged her house and was constantly spying on her with super military technology… and there was nothing that could touch that, aspects would change just to make SURE that she was being watched, no matter what. I’ve dealt with some folks who are paranoid about odd things, suggested using hair spray on anything that she suspected of having been bugged, because it doesn’t matter if you get video if all it shows is the fogged lens. They gained the ability to self-clean…which I figured out was a flashing warning sign not to push.

          And I don’t mean “don’t change” even in the sense that the solution for EVERYTHING is more gov’t control, because that can be justified as being able to fix things.

          • After people are treated for paranoia, doctors monitor for depression. Turns out that some people really like being the center of attention.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Dave Freer has done the bare bones of some statistical analysis.

      I’d suggest /How to Lie with Statistics/ as a start if you aren’t already quite fluent.

      Low numbers are statistically fairly meaningless, you have to get past twenty or thirty before you get into territory that might be compelling.

      Reading very many books is one option. Another is to look at admitted or advertised politics of authors, which is still a fairly hefty amount of research, and has a lot of confounding factors.

  19. Want a clue as to how fouled up the Hugos are? As far as I can tell, David Drake has never won a Hugo. For *anything.* Ever.

    Even if you think Drake is not The Best SF Author Ever (and I do not), he is a solid contributor to SF since the late 1970s. He writes good stories, good enough for him to make a living writing SF (and that is hard).

    And analogy would be going from the period 1955 to 1995 with Gordon Dickson or Poul Anderson never winning a Hugo.

    • Kevin Anderson had never been nominated. Think about it.

    • Not David Drake, and not David Weber. You’re telling me not ONE Honor Harrington novel, from the early space opera to the later complex political intrigues, was good enough to merit a Hugo nomination? Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

    • Some people can’t figure out the current color of the sky if you give them a color by numbers set.

      All you need to know about how sf’s usual reviewers read David Drake:

      They never noticed his literary, historical, and mythological references until he started putting a list of them in his forewords.

      He is often called a “carnographer” who loves war and writes war porn; whereas he thinks a lot of his catalog is cautionary stuff about the horrors of war.

      • “Voyage Across the Stars” is quite simply The Odyssey and The Argosy in space. Good stuff.

      • Read the Northworld trilogy. Norse epics in science fiction. And we are not talking the feelgood “Hagar the Horrible” kind of Norse stuff. We are talking the grim, “Ragnarok is just around the corner,” apocalyptic stuff that they lived and breathed at that time. Drake’s stuff can be a little heavy-handed at times, but he absolutely brings to life the soul of the culture.

        But yeah, all he does is war-porn.

        • wanderingmuses

          Now I know who you’re talking about! I read those years ago. They really are excellent.

        • It’s not war porn. He doesn’t make light of war.

          • “It’s not war porn. He doesn’t make light of war.”

            My comment, “But yeah, all he does is war-porn.” should be imagined to be said in a deeply ironic, dismissive tone of voice, indicating contempt and exasperation at the slack-jawed, inbred, beetle-browed cretins who are ignorant enough to actually believe or dishonest enough to parrot such a ridiculous opinion.

            David

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Or his Books of the Elements. Those forwards are partly written for critics, I suspect at Tor, and they say a lot about people making those criticisms. The actual story to Monsters of the Earth felt almost heavy handed in trying to keep people from thinking he is saying that Rome-as-Carce is a good place. Yes, the main characters are patriots, yes, they are very subtly shown to be good fighting against evil, but that they fight for a good cause does not mean that all that they support is good.

        His first novel is heavy handed compared to later work, and the true villain makes his opposition through evil choices, and wants to see the world burn. That the heroes are not nice people is not an endorsement of that man.

    • Another author I like who has been there consistently since the 1970s and never won an award? Alan Dean Foster. I think a lot of fans from the late 70s & 80s were introduced to written SF merely because they picked up one of his novelizations, and then moved on to his non-tie-in work (usually the Flinx novels) afterwards.

  20. Thanks for the nod. : )

    I should be stand-offish and aloof, pretending to be above such things, but it tickles me when people I respect turn out to respect me back. Call me small, but it’s heartening.

    I love Science Fiction and Fantasy novels, I didn’t buy a video game until I was 22 (and a game console until I was 32). Before then, books and RPG’s.

    Reading SF/F is my first love, one that had waned. (Because, I found out decades later, of the cartel of whiny message fic writers and editors.) Jim Butcher and Larry Correia revived my passion for reading, convinced me to start branching out to other authors.

    I’m glad to have played a small part in Sad Puppies 3 (membership and nominating), and I look forward to participating in SP4. I expect Kate Paulk will knock it out of the park.

    Thanks to Patrick Nielsen Hayden for introducing my name to a host of people who despise me, but even more who don’t. You should know, though, that I’m not the poster boy for either GamerGate or Sad Puppies, much less existence proof of an invasion of the great video gaming unwashed. Sorry.

    And HI! (again) to the Huns. And to Sarah, my admiration and respect for you and your efforts knows no bounds. I am honored to be placed (even erroneously and maliciously) amongst such august company.

    Cheers! : )

    • The “other face” of Sad Puppies. That was Emmanuel Goldstein levels of hate you got there; hilarious.

      • They picked the wrong guy. I’m in #GamerGate: we get more hate before breakfast than most people get all year. : )

        (And the commenter performing a critical exegesis of my tweets to determine if I was or wasn’t part of GG was beyond hilarious. Why not just ASK? Heh.)

        • In asking, they would be implying that they really care what you think, as opposed to putting words into your mouth that support their party line.

          PROTIP: They don’t.

          😛

        • Why not just ASK?

          Because if you are like them you would lie, either way you answered.

    • “You should know, though, that I’m not the poster boy for either GamerGate or Sad Puppies”

      Nope, Daddy, not going to let you get away with that. Fact is, to a lot of people, you ARE the face of GamerGate. But that is a GOOD thing. I know that you were MY go-to guy back when things were hopping. I realize that there were a lot of other people in the movement, and I am not trying to minimize the work they did, but once AoSHQ started putting your GG posts in the sidebar, I know that the profile of GG among the commenters there went sky-high. So, I am going to go with Patrick Nielsen Hayden with this one, but in a GOOD way.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Well, strictly speaking, there are a fair amount of folks already with Sad and Rabid Puppies who are gamers, and who at least hold GamerGate in some esteem.

      I perhaps spend too much time on idle/incremental/clicker games to be considered a gamer, but only lack of time and energy prevents me from cheering you on louder.

      Did you know that videogames qualify for the Hugo? Do you know that language released in is not a restriction? It also looks like if an MMO releases an expansion in a year, it qualifies.

      We’ve also had some other folks come in from GamerGate to voice support.

  21. Me I want the t-shirt “Just another wrongfan having wrongfun” 😉

    • I was going to make one with a rocket, but then son #1 convinced me it needs to have a chick with a laser gun, and then a friend said “and a guy.” So…. Working on it.

      • Howsaboot “Animal Farm Was a cautionary tale, Not an instruction manual”

        • … Brave New World is more what they’re trying. 1984, too. Sigh. yeah.

          • After being involved with GamerGate for a while i can say that the awesome part of this is that all you have to do is stand your ground, they WILL eat their own eventually. Resistance is not only not futile, it’s damn easy and damn effective.

          • Picture of a pile of books, all the dystopias you can think of them borrowing from. (Don’t forget that CS Lewis one with NICE!)
            White block print:
            They’re cautionary tales, not instruction manuals.

            • I always took them so, but I guess it depends on your POV.
              dystopias- my favorite BTW. Since Sister Mary gave me an Andre Norton in the third grade.

            • Don’t forget Drake’s Lacey books.

                • Well, if we’re listing favorite dystopias that are good cautionary tales for inclusion on a t-shirt, I’ve got to include mine, right? And I still think those are Drake’s best work, which probably says more about my tastes than anyone wanted to know.

                  • My favorite? A Canticle for Leibowitz

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Well, I guess it is a matter of “what is a dystopia”.

                      It’s been a while since I read Canticle but I didn’t classify it as a dystopia.

                      To me a dystopia is a world that by internal standards is a “utopia” but the reader is not suppose to like that world.

                      The world of “Brave New World” is by internal standards is a utopia but the reader is not suppose to like that world.

                      IIRC Canticle is in a “after the bomb world” that’s beginning to rebuild.

                      Riffing off a Christopher Nuttall post (linked below), a dystopia is a world without hope. If the characters in a story can hope for (and work toward) a better world, then the story isn’t a dystopia.

                      https://chrishanger.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/hopelessness-and-helplessness/

                    • Ah, but in Canticle, the people are building, not having to fight off oppressors, which makes it an odd sort of dystopia. Whom would the SJWs take as a model?

                    • “If the characters in a story can hope for (and work toward) a better world, then the story isn’t a dystopia.”

                      There are two kinds of dystopia. 1984 and Brave New World are the literary type. “If This Goes On. . . ” is the pulp fiction type. (Fahrenheit 451 is kinda inbetween.)

                      The first one is all about the oppressive world. The second one is all about having a good large-scale villain to fight.

                    • I’ve started that 4 times

                    • I read it at 12. I was a weird kid.

                    • My first try was sometime around then. I liked the first scene in the desert but the monks were boring.
                      People keep recommending it, so I keep giving it a try, but usually end up sliding off into one of the other things I’m reading at the time.

                      Wish someone would pay me to read. :o)

      • how about one with an O.W.L. armed with a blaster?

      • Ayup — she should be in a midriff-baring spacesuit riding on the outside of a rocket ship (not side-saddle) firing her laser gun at Karla Marx, who’s tying a guy across the mouth of a Lunar electromagnetic launcher.

        • …and now I want a story behind that. Obviously I’m a wrongfan, not being satisfied with just message.

        • Or else she’s in a skintight bodysuit, unzipped about halfway down her torso, showing some great cleavage, and a few artistically-located rips in the material with maybe a little blood showing in a couple of them, and is back-to-back with a muscular, nearly Hulk-proportioned guy wearing only shorts and hiking boots, with a couple of tears in them. He would also have some cuts and scrapes with a little blood here and there. They’re clearly covering each other’s back, and are firing their weapons in nearly opposite directions. Oh, and she needs to have enough muscle definition showing through the material of the bodysuit to appear athletic, but not too much (kind of a toned-down Marvel style).

          • Margaret Brundage, you should be living at this hour!

            (Or not. Way too many NSFW covers with whips. But watching the splodey heads among SJWs would be glorious.)

          • He needs a blade in his off hand, and give her some kind of tool kit off to one side. And spare blasters.

            • Accessorize as you like. You’ll notice I didn’t mention backdrop, either. Could be jungle, urban, dystopic urban ruins, space station, etc. Maybe they’re both wearing HUD lenses on one eye. Maybe instead of a knife, he’s carrying a grenade launcher, and she has the knife. Or, turn the orientations a little, and she’s prowling forward, while he’s twisted around, covering the rear. All kinds of possibilities.

        • Tell us when it’s published!

      • wanderingmuses

        Definitely needs a big strong ridiculously muscled man! Need something for the ladies, too 😉

    • WrongFan?
      WrongFun?
      WrongAnswer!

  22. Pingback: Of Science Fiction and Bed Making | According To Hoyt - SciFi Picks

  23. Josh Kruschke

    🙂

  24. My husband has been an IT road warrior for 17 years now. I’ve joined him on several of his contracts He has been in one place for a year or more. It didn’t feel nomadic. It felt like a temporary move. Our hotel room was like a studio apartment. I made our room like home. We took our roku (tv box) with us as well as our ‘puters. I shopped in local stores and took local transit. I’ve been with him in San Diego and Portland, OR.

    On one contract, puppy and I were with him because he was working insane hours (15 hours/day 7 days/week, with a few 24 hour shifts).

    • yeah, it was harder BECAUSE of the kids. Without the kids — or now, if he got a job like that — I’d just go with him.

      • At a team dinner one night I was the only wife there

        • Well, that was the other reason he chose to quit. All his colleagues were either divorced or in unhappy marriages.

          • I was the only wife there because I was the only one without kids or a job. They all had wives who were at home minding kids and families.

            • And in the case of one of my better team members, sleeping around on him.

              Talk about the perils of modern technology, he found out long distance because as she and her paramour were getting started, she butt-dialed her cell phone —- to him. Didn’t notice. At any point. 8-(

  25. c4c

  26. Okay, I just posted my first “run-up to the Hugos” book review. Picking the first book to review was really a no-brainer for me: it HAD to be “Monster Hunter International” by Larry Correia. Although many others have joined with him, he initiated the drive to restore the integrity of the award.

  27. I did enjoy your rant, er article. as to making of beds. I was taught quite young how to. and then I entered the military. and found out how to do so correctly, with a D.I. Chief Petty Officer standing behind me, giving “advice”.
    enough said

    • My dad was taught how to do it correctly by his dad.

      I was taught how to do it wrong enough to not draw attention by my dad. 😀

  28. There is nothing so obvious as a small group of people dictating what should win. It’s a softer and more subtle form of influence. Publishers and editors talking up their favorites. Prestigious authors, doing same. Influentlal fans, the kind that organized panels and invite speakers, the same. Praise and smile at those who agree with you, be lukewarm to those who don’t. A snub here, a cold shoulder there, a behind-the-back snark there. All, normal fannish (and human) behavior.
    But, over time, you can tell there is a direction to it. You can even identify who the players are. Look at who has been writing dreck that has won awards and who praised and backed them, and who they are praising and backing. Look at who is screaming loudest about losing influence to the wrongfen. Look at their commenters for familiar names more quietly applauding them. Look for crossover from the SFWA and the Nebula Awards, which have gone to pot sooner and more thoroughly than the Hugos, and who has been praising that kind of work. I’m start to look into that.
    I got interested in space back in the days of the Gemini program which preceded Apollo, and Science Fiction came afterwards, as I recall. Jules Verne was the first, but Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Norton, and others to round those out. I haven’t been a convention-going fan or a big purchaser of books (I have relied heavily on libraries, but I’ve been around. I haven’t involved myself, but when bigwigs and wannabe bigwigs in the field start referring to people who like the kinds of things I do, with opprobrious epithets, and when they go about defending the literary merits of political correctness and perversion without even a decent story I can enjoy in spite of the stink, that’s invading MY safe space.

  29. If/When things completely fly apart, I think the new award should be given at

    WRONGCON: WRONGFEN HAVING WRONGFUN!

    We’d sell out in 20 minutes.

  30. Oy. I dunno. I think you are absolutely positively right concerning the ascendence of literature over readability since…I am gonna say 2008.

    Prior to that, the Hugo’s were pretty readable.

    I mean – the first best novel that really irked me was Jonathon strange in 2005, but I could see that from SciFi vote splitting. The algebraist should have won.

    I’m not as sure regarding social justice, cause the later winners mostly feel too clever rather than messagy.

    Still, here is the thing, I think the Sad Puppies nominees are better than a fair number of recent Hugo winners, but i’ m still not that enthused by them. And, because I enjoy annoying people, if I was nominating for sad puppies, I’d tend to just put up a list of best works without consulting the authors…it’d be fun. Imagine the shrapnel. I mostly don’t care about writer politics or race – I just want to be able to use the hugos to find new good authors. Anything you can accomplish along those lines will have my gratitude.

    • Problem with posting works without asking is that for writers, it is their livelihood, and the vicious vindictive former editors for TOR et. allia will see to blacklisting their careers.

      • Perhaps there is a solution: nominate SJW favorites so that they immediately become suspect.

        Of course, that would require first that they write something rising above the snicker-line of award-worthiness.

      • Yu-huh. Want to see them try at this point. Imagine if they managed to buffalo Roc into dumping Jim Butcher. Baen would snap him up faster than a coed jogging past an SAE chapter…

    • This is probably the only year that anyone has ever said anything about warning authors that they are being nominated, and it’s all because the tight little clique who thought they OWNED the Hugos wants to do anything they can to drive away anyone who could be considered to be remotely related to the SP campaign. If it weren’t for their intent to attack anyone that is nominated from the Sad Puppies recommendations, no one would even be talking about notifying authors of your intent to nominate them.

      • I’m not going to go back into Scalzi’s blog to test this proposition (because I’ve been to Scalzi’s blog once this year, which is more than enough) but I would wager he a) pimped works by authors other than himself b) didn’t ask those authors’ permission to recommend them and c) nobody complained. (Probably because, they will patiently explain, when Scalzi did it it wasn’t political, because it is only political when wrongfans do it.)

        Anybody interested in checking this should look in his blog posts in the first couple days of January each year, starting in 2006.

  31. Captain Comic

    Announcement: Special Panel

    In consideration of the recent events involving the Science Fiction Achievement Awards, commonly referred to as the Hugos, it has been decided to hold a meeting at Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention.

    It is tentatively scheduled to begin at 10 AM on Friday, August 21, the third day of the convention, with location to be determined.

    Panel: Hugos Unacceptable Activities Committee (HUAC)

    The formal seated panel will consist of real fans, those who love SF, who attend and work on WorldCon and other conventions. The fan community, the ones the Hugos truly belong to.

    Those in attendance may be asked to participate/answer questions by the panel. To make their position clear, a suggested introduction would be to place their left hand on a copy of Queers Dig Time Lords, raise their right hand and clearly state “I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of, affiliated with, or advocated for the Sad Puppies campaign.”

    I truly hope to see a strong, involved turnout for this very important gathering, although attendance is, naturally, on a volunteer basis.

    Seriously, of course it is.

    I mean, it’s not like we can make anyone do anything, right? There’s no negative effect we can put against your status or career.

    Anyway, hope to see you there.

    Sincerely,

    S. J. Woreeahr
    President, Socialist Fiction Writers of America

  32. At which point I said, yep, it’s inefficient, has the wrong parts and doesn’t work. No, it’s not more comfortable. Get the right size sheet.

    ….The neighbors think I’m laughing at them as I sit in the yard. All your fault. *laughs some more*

    • princespolkadot

      Oh, come now. It’s fun to mess with the neighbors. Try naming your wireless router “FBI Surveillance Van 2” and watch all the surreptitious looks up and down the street. Moreso if there are any vans parked there.

      • According to my smartphone, several folks at the nearby area I think of as “the Grandparent Zone” had their networks set up by their grandsons with a similar sense of humor.

        My husband wants to buy one of the gov’t surplus vans and tech it up. (One of the things that drives me nuts about TV and movies… most gov’t vans are WHITE, if they’re not painted a military themed color!)

        • My ‘serial killer van’ is former property of the Salt Lake County Health Department and is, you guessed it, white with tinted windows. I should get my husband to rename our router.

          ‘Serial killer van’ because when I describe it that way all my female friends can immediately find it. I suppose this says a lot about our mindset.

          • “Cereal killer van”? No Cheerio is safe?

            • Only when Bobbi Cat-Bane the dog is on board! (Seven-month-old is experimenting with solids. Dog is in heaven.)

          • Likely to be associated with a living person?

          • At least it has windows, omitting all side and sometimes rear windows is a common ‘option’ on .gov vans.

            • What it didn’t have was operable from the inside doors, and what it does have is neat little cut-outs in the plastic where there used to be a grate bolted into the frame behind the driver’s seat.
              When I’m hauling family around I’m not sure but what from the van’s perspective there’s no difference between the old job and the new job.

      • Now that’s funny.

      • Busy filing off the serial numbers to use on router at home.

        I like your warped sense of humor.

      • We actually have one within wifi scan range called “CIASurveillance”.

  33. Deirdre Mundy

    I haven’t been following the ‘Sad Puppy’ saga very closely–

    But it was fun to see, for once, books I’d eagerly awaited and read on the Hugo slate.

    And… Fine, Jim Butcher may not be ‘Great Literature.”But, boy, is he fun!

    • I think the last time there was a Hugo novel win I agreed with was Paladin of Souls. After that? Snooze.

      Tho I will cop to liking a few of the nominees since then (Warbound, Leviathan Wakes, Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Neptune’s Brood), but for the most part the novel noms just haven’t been that appealing to me.

      • I read that as Paladin of Shadows, and thought; Ringo won a Hugo for THAT?! Then after rereading it I thought; Ringo needs to write another in the series so we can nominate* it next year. Not only would it be worthy of an award, but a win for a ‘Ghost’ novel would quite possibly cause more splodey heads than a win for VD.

        *I know they aren’t science fiction, but they are about as close to it as If You Were A Dinosaur My Love.

        • Fantasy, Bearcat, those are clearly fantasy.

          Didn’t he get an award from the Romance Writers for Ghost?

  34. In addressing the reactions of the SJWs holding Hugo hostage, wouldn’t a more appropriate title for this post be “Of Science Fiction and Bed Wetting”?

  35. “Now that’s a bed I’d not like you to make.”

    You tell us this NOW? Do you KNOW how much research and practice goes into learning how to tie a proper noose?

    • I didn’t say it might not be needed. Just that I’d prefer it isn’t.

    • Bah, it’s easy– as long as you start early. My mom use to teach the kids how to do knots, if they were good while she was subbing.

      A noose is also great for those situations where a slipknot works itself loose, such as hanging a bucket or some supports. You can even use it to steady things, although it takes a bit of fiddling to tie it around something, and won’t work if it has to *start* tight.

      Normal tying: up, down, up across your hand, drop the string, grab the loose end below your hand, wrap it around the three “lines,” put through loop at top of hand, pull on bottom until that loop is gone.

      It’s probably even less easy if you’re not working with very light cord.

  36. On the subject of “literary” science fiction. Show of hands. When was the last time anyone felt an urge to go back and read “Dhalgren”? Or “A World Between.” When was the last time anyone asked themselves what Elric of Melniboné or Jerry Cornelius was up to these days?

    “Literary” science fiction, like “literary” mainstream fiction, is a parlor trick of its time.

    • I have to disagree a little bit there. SOME authors have the chops to pull off literary science fiction. I present for your edification the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons. Of course, the first book, Hyperion, won the 1989 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

      • Yes, but Hyperion had the chops to be both entertaining and literary. Same thing with Neuromancer a few years before. I don’t see the same thing happening with Ancillary Justice or Redshirts.

        • No offense meant to you…but…Redshirts?? That wasn’t entertaining or literary. The reading experience was closer to sitting around.while the author masturbated on you. Only without any sort of payoff. Glah. Precious hours of my life wasted.

    • Hey I liked Dahlgren and elric. I’m not much of a rereader though.

  37. Reblogged this on The Wandering Witchling and commented:
    Yeap

  38. Here is what I will be wearing to Worldcon this year.

    http://www.zazzle.com/sad_puppy_tee-235223653017979345

  39. http://www.openculture.com/2015/04/kurt-vonneguts-8-tips-on-how-to-write-a-good-short-story.html

    Specifically:
    7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

    Is that the root flaw?

  40. Note we are mad when lies are told about us, and the SJWs are mad we tell the truth about them.

  41. Pingback: _Of Science Fiction and Bed Making_, by Sarah Hoyt: "There are no wrongfans. There is no wrongfun." - #nerdalert

  42. I’ve always found “award winning” books to be virtually unreadable. Now to ask a question of the SJW whiners….what about SF with animals? One of my favorite short stories is about a dog named Buck who prevents Earth and another planet from going to war (or they going to whine because Buck is a male heterosexual dog?) And what do they think about crusty old retired military guys who project what would have happened to a lost infant daughter if she’d lived and ended up in the Ring of Fire having to run narrow-gauge military railroads? (Cedar, think back a few years on Baen’s Bar…you were awfully nice to that crusty old colonel 😉 )

  43. I mean If You Were A Dinosaur My Love has all the markers of “literature” – it is also an execrably researched and plotted story and is neither fantasy nor science fiction.

    All the markers? I’m not even sure that Dinosaur succeeded at that level. Calling it “execrably plotted” or a “story” is giving it too much credit. It’s a revenge fantasy done as a prose poem. I didn’t see it as “literary”.

    Wakulla Springs? That was literary. Duncan and Klages should have sold that to The New Yorker. It is a good story, and it’s literary. It’s just not actually science fiction nor fantasy. (The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere is also literary, and not very sf-f-nal. But it’s not as good as Wakulla Springs.)

    • Read “The Lottery” and then read it– they “feel” the same. Heck, grab a random “readings” book from a high school and you’ll find a lot of cousins.

      I thought it would’ve been an alright portion of a bigger story, but all alone it felt…well, like just a section. Like when you read a lamentation from ancient Greek plays, and nothing else from the play. “Sing sorrow, sorrow, but good win out in the end” from…one of the Oedipus Cycle, think it was the middle one, at least has the next boot dropping.

      A bit less literary, it left me with a feeling of “Where’s my Two Bits?

      • And it was inconsistent, because paleanthologists aren’t wusses. Rednecks don’t attack people just because. Rednecks don’t drink beer. And what kind of racists are just generic “racists” and not against a particularly group?
        That story is a vat of fail. But it does have literary markings.

        • It was simple where it needed details, and needed simplicity where it had details.

          I can remember ripping apart The Lottery for similar reasons– a lot of this stuff falls apart as soon as you think about it.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Correction: In the story they had been drinking Gin. Rednecks drink beer, not Gin.

          • You are correct. massive typo. I’ll blame painkillers. It probably wasn’t painkillers, but I’ll blame them anyway.

            • Err … no. Residual effects of painkillers. Terrible thing, can last for years, striking out of nowhere and disappearing leaving no other symptoms. Proven fact.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              It occurred to me to worry about your health, and the effects of the painkillers, but I couldn’t think of a way to express it that sounded right.

              Take care of yourself.

        • My wife’s crafts room sometimes has cat markings of much the same quality, aroma and significance.

  44. Pingback: Another redditor nails it how GRRM flubbed his response to Sad Puppies | elsparkodiablo

  45. Is there any reason why my link to some supportive comments apparently got deleted?
    http://lorenzo-thinkingoutaloud.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/sad-puppies.html