If This Goes On

So for grins and giggles I looked up the definition of totalitarianism: Totalitarianism is a political system in which the state holds total authority over the society and seeks to control all aspects of public and private life wherever possible.

Of course the state doesn’t have control over every aspect of public and private life.  But it is undeniable that it’s seeking it.  More importantly, the people who want the state to have ever more power, those who are convinced that the individual can’t be trusted, those who agitate for every group to be considered as a group composed of equally privileged/victimized widgets, are pushing shock-troop like into every facet of our lives.  No facet can be free of social-justice ideology.  You shouldn’t be able to collect stamps or arrange flowers without being told to check your privilege and without being examined for thought crimes.  No fun, no relaxing, no mindless activity can remain free of ideology.  And absolutely no human relationship, be it friends, acquaintances or lovers can remain free of Marxist-Leninist ideology and classifications.

I won’t promise this is my last post on the Hugo — and this one is only starting from that situation — but it will be my last post on it for a while (and btw, if you’ve dreamed of seeing your name in lights at ATH, I’m trying to get a house ready for sale and finish books, so you have as good a chance as any now) mostly because thinking of it from your perspective, it has to be getting boring.  For you the science fiction field and the travails of authors who don’t conform are not life and death struggles.  They are certainly not fascinating.  For me, of course, it’s different.

The thing is, though, that I’ve heard of this happening — the exact same process — in atheist societies, in birding clubs and in fiber arts culture.  So, one more post is warranted.

We’ll start with where I was at the beginning.  Most science fiction writers weren’t quite real to me.  They were Olympian figures striding through a landscape of dreams.  They were people able to create cogent realities in which a very lonely child might get lost.  I never expected to meet one of them.  In fact, I didn’t find out conventions EXISTED as anything but TV sitcom jokes until I went to my first writers’ workshop.  As for writing to them, which admittedly I could have done, would you have considered climbing Olympus and poking Zeus on the nose just to tell him that you liked his thunderbolts?  No power on Earth could make me write a letter even to Simak or Heinlein.  My husband tried to make me write to RAH before he died.  He managed to convince me to write to Ginny after older son was born only because of postpartum confusion.

So that’s where we start.  I read everything (except Romance.  Read my first Romance at 37) but mostly mystery, historical and science fiction.  Of those, science fiction was my favorite.  As much as I shared dad’s love of mystery, and as much as Agatha Christie is my go to for sick days and down time, I always identified as a sci fi geek.

And to begin with I read everything.  I think I’ve talked here, or perhaps it was in the podcast a couple of days ago, about reading the truly bad sf of the seventies, when sf was very popular and so the publishers bought everything that vaguely resembled it.  Also when publishers were very leftist (at least younger editors, it was the hep thing to be — leftist, I mean) and often picked books simply because they skewered the west or the expected narrative or whatever.  I read them.  The unthinkable thing was being without a book to read.  Now, I didn’t enjoy them and I probably didn’t re-read them (unless I were all out of cereal boxes and newspaper that used to contain fish) but I read them once (usually borrowed from someone.)

Before my eyes went (I need to get a new prescription.  Right now they’re very bad) and I started getting ill with what culminated in this surgery (probably a slow creep over the last fifteen years, and a very bad escalation since the last “serious” miscarriage  and D & C eight years ago) I used to read six books a day.  This while looking after kids/house and writing two novels and two dozen short stories a year (trunk, of course, and yes, some of them will bear rewriting.  Others are just trash.)

In adolescence I read a book an hour which, my being broke, meant I couldn’t be choosy.

By the time I was in my mid thirties, married, with two small children, and a house I was more or less rebuilding from the inside out (when we bought that house there had been six families living in that Victorian and… well… it wasn’t very well kept.) I became more choosy.  Suddenly, I needed a book to capture me, or at least not to make me yell.

And my reading changed almost completely to mystery and historical.  I wanted to read science fiction (and fantasy, though I was never a big fantasy person.)  I still thought of myself as a science fiction geek.  BUT I had trouble finding stuff to read.

It wasn’t just the politics in the books. To a certain extent it wasn’t the politics at all.  I could take or leave politics and was really good at skimming past stupid stuff.  If it had been politics I wouldn’t have run headlong into mystery.  And it wasn’t the grey and dreary future that everyone assumed (and had been assuming since their little red wagon was broken when Carter wasn’t reelected — or at least that’s how I track it) was on its way.  It wasn’t even the despondent “we can’t write about the far future because humans won’t resemble humans” (says who?) or the loony “We’re living in a science fiction world so what’s the point of writing sf?”

No, what chased me out was boredom.  I realized that given the same subgenre, I could be reading two books at once (often.  I usually had one in the bathroom, in the unlikely event I got five minutes in there alone, one in the kitchen to read while cooking, one in the kids’ room to read while supervising, and one in the living room, again, in case I got five minutes to JUST read.) and not realize I’d changed books.  (Names didn’t stop me, because being dyslexic I often don’t even know the character’s full name.  He’s just “name that starts with J”.  Remembering names is a higher level of engagement than reading-while-cooking.)

The pattern was most obvious in the fantasy of mid eighties to the mid nineties (part of the reason I wasn’t big on fantasy.)  I remember going down a shelf at B & N desperately looking for something to read (we had a day without kids.) and getting annoyed at the blurbs.  They were all the same — ALL OF THEM — young female magic user.  Abusive father.  Escape to magical society.  Validation.  Saves the world. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The science fiction was close enough, though by the early nineties we had the truly crazycakes feminist SF with “the women planet is really very peaceful” (I think that this was bought by editors jonesing on the lesbian scenes, but I am a really jaded person) and various would be utopias with males “confined”.  Since I like men and prefer the company of men, this left me cold.  The ecological disaster left me equally cold (though in the early nineties there was this hilarious period where authors weren’t all on the same page and some wrote about us all freezing to death due to industrial civilization, and some wrote about us boiling to death due to ditto.  But unfortunately not enough to carry the books.)  Everything was rusty and leaking, and everyone was living in a danker and less hopeful version of 1984, only in this case it was all the fault of eeevil capitalism and industry and if ONLY big Brother had been watching.

The sameness and a weird sense the writer hated the genre and was smirking at me while he/she wrote as in “Oh, so you want to dream of the future, you nasty little human.  See what I do to your dreams” had me reading less and less science fiction and fantasy as time went on.

Curiously I found I wasn’t alone.  Years later in a group of sci fi/fantasy writers, I found that most of us had made that journey, out of sf/f, out of mystery by the mid 2000s, into historical creative non fiction (not sure how to describe it otherwise.  History told as a story.)  I’d been chased out of that into Romance four years ago, when indie came in, Amazon destroyed publisher control over what was on the shelves, and I could go back to reading sci fi.

This is of course a high-gloss, not instance by instance description of my relationship with the genre.  It wasn’t all bad, and my feelings weren’t all cut and dry. All through this, I could read some sci fi and fantasy, mind, beyond re-reading my favorites.  I discovered Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones, and eventually I came back to science fiction with Connie Willis’ Lincoln dreams, which is a very odd book and perhaps marginally science fiction, but which did draw me in and keep me reading.  And then I started looking and would now and then find an author/series worth reading.

One thing that became obvious in short order is that I could neither read “the years’ best” or “award winning” after a while.  I don’t remember the exact date, but I remember buying a year’s best fantasy and finding it was all “the west is bad, bad, bad, bad” and noble savage fantasies (often without a supernatural element.)  After that I stopped buying them.  (Had to be mid nineties because I just packed up through then for charity store. No, not getting rid of all books, but getting rid of 2/3 of the paper.  It’s that or not be able to live in the house, since I’m allergic to dust.)

I became a professional writer sometime in the late nineties.  (I’d sold short stories before, enough to classify as pro, but the novels were the real education.)  And that’s when I found out that the game was rigged.

Let me explain — I won’t claim to be the best writer ever.  There are certain quirks in my expression that can still be traced to ESL and some of the acculturation might be less than perfect, so what fascinates me tends to be highly individual and targeted.  I’ve been getting better — more transparent in writing, better at story telling — but I am no Heinlein.  H*ll, I’m not even Simak. I’m not fit to untie Pratchett’s sandals.

But I know where I stand, and I have the publications to prove it.  People don’t keep buying authors that don’t sell at all or who can’t write, and I published 23 (25? — I lose count and keep forgetting pen names, particularly since some are secret) novels, one way or another.  Also, the one novel that is not under my name and which the house has no reason to play games with (it’s a house name, and they get the lion share) is still paying royalties 12 years later.

I’m not stupid, and I work hard.  I’m used to obtaining a MODICUM of success in any field I attempt, from academic to furniture refinishing. I expected… oh, I don’t know, high mid-list.  Never happened.

In publishing, everything I did and every work I started was like throwing a pebble in a bottomless lake.  There weren’t even ripples.

I won’t explain here the methods by which publishers controlled distribution and the crazy method of ordering to the net that is now putting bookstores out of business (they deserve it.  It was a stupid idea.)  I’ve talked about it elsewhere on this blog.  (Look up “He beats me but he’s my publisher” in the search bar.)

Let’s say I discovered then that it wasn’t “no one is writing the good stuff” it was “the publishers are pushing the stuff they think I should be reading and the rest is impossible to find.”  Some of this filtering was loony, like when the publishers decided that cozies weren’t real mysteries.  Which means the demand eventually “created” craft mysteries.  (They brought this on themselves.)

I just knew the game was rigged.  As for awards — well, the mainstream ones, like Hugo and Nebula — it wasn’t just as Dave Freer put it that the same names kept coming up over and over again.  No.  Older friends in the field told me that if I wanted awards I had to make friends with the right people and log roll.

Well, I was never good at that sort of thing.  Part of me wants to win awards and be recognized, yes, but I want to do it by knowing I deserve it, not because I kissed the right… er… hand.  And the closest I’ve come to campaigning for one is “you could consider voting for x”.  I mean, even AFGM which I think is my best book, I could look at it and go “there’s better stuff out there.  I can give you some titles.”  I wouldn’t have been able to live with the knowledge I’d taken an award someone might deserve more.  Even though I knew people were doing just that.

So, I kept going.  Recently someone at a conference referred me to the young hopefuls as someone to ask about the field and said “You want to listen to her.  She’s an old pro.  She’s been through the mill.  She knows what’s what.”

And it startled me, but it’s true too.  Dave Freer says we have that thousand yard stare, that battle fatigue of working and working and seeing no result, but being unable to give up.

The unable to give up is important.

I decided to help Brad and Larry with this (last year too, but I was so ill I didn’t even realize there was a story of mine on the slate) because I am an old pro, because of what Brad was doing.  Larry proved the awards were rigged (see Dave Freer’s posts on the subject at MGC.  If you can’t find them, someone will point you to them) and was ready to quit, but Brad wanted to restore the awards.  He wanted to make them mean something again and maybe that way to change the culture of the field to “stuff worth reading” instead of “academic blather and log rolling” again.

That was something I was willing to work for.  I mean, given diverse enough (in thought.  Genetic diversity is poppycock and only counts if you think everyone who tans alike is a widget and thinks like everyone else with the same melanine level.  Also, if you think that, you’re a stone-cold racist) nominees, stories, winners the field would have to embrace its multitudinous variety and become a home for fans of all stripes again.

That’s all we wanted to do — restore the awards.

You know, I read a lot of history and I should know better.  The elites never go quietly into that good night, and they’ve had it so good so long, and controlled it so well.  Getting on the ballot has caused a storm of … character assassination.

They started out with the Creepy Pasta at Entertainment Weekly, Guardian, Wired.  When that failed to stick because of who we are and because accusations of racism/sexism/homophobia are self evidently stupid in our case (I think I have more gay fans than Lackey does, and most of those who contact me become friends over time) they’ve now descended to the Stalinist tactic of associating us with VD who copied the logo and some of the slate.  They have their big names — the names that even non-sf people recognize, like Martin and Willis and Gerrold — come out and punch down.  There is an element of the macabre in this as most of these people are on the other side of the age divide.  They came in when the field was fairer; they are if not internet illiterate, internet naive; they get pointed at the Daily Kos and think it is in any way a credible news source.  (It’s like when the village kids yelled a triggering sentence at the old lady, then hid, to get her to throw things at the next group of kids who walked by.)

Some of this has hurt me, just as it hurt me when people I thought were sane lost their sh*t when I pointed out they couldn’t win elections with a third party absent a massive cultural trauma (like us getting all our major cities bombed) and consequent fracture (and that third party then would more likely be totalitarian, not pro-freedom.)  Those people didn’t argue the idea, they attacked me and called me names.

In the same way, these people are not in any way trying to credibly pretend there were no cliques and no secret slates before (whereas ours wasn’t secret.) Martin admitted there were.  No.  They are attacking us.  It started with being wrong fans having wrong fun.  But it always defaults to calling us racist/sexist/homophobic.  Even if they have to tie us by third degree association to someone else, to do it.

And that part hurts, because some of the people acting most crazycakes are people I’ve enjoyed and admired and I keep thinking “I remember when they were sane.”

However — however — remember this for when the Hugo war comes to whatever you like to do; whatever your hideout and corner of fun; whatever your sacred space and privacy is: there is no backing down.

There is no backing down, because each battle the beast wins, each area they take total control of, causes them to want to devour more.  And having seen the totalitarians up close and personal, having seen how they’re willing to speak power to truth and punch down and obliterate characters and careers JUST to keep their power and their fake prestige, I can’t let it happen.  Yeah, I’ve been through the wars, but the battle is still going on, and so I must continue fighting.

Yeah, I get so bitter, I consider quitting — but it’s more of a “I dream of quitting.”  Only I don’t.  Because legionaries don’t cry and I don’t quit. I wouldn’t do them the favor.  And they have to learn the limits of their power.  Yes, they can shred my name and my reputation, but I’ll be back.  I’ll be back under another name they can’t guess at.  I’ll be back with more experience.  I’ll be back and build another career.  They can’t stop me.  And I’m not in the mood to give them what they want.

I keep getting emails lauding my courage.  My younger son said, “They mistake ‘all out of flips to give’ for courage.”  (Only it wasn’t flips.)

He’s not wrong.  And you know the best part of it?  Courage can be destroyed, beaten down, threatened.

“All out of flips to give?”  That’s forever, and the more they attack the more out of flips I am.

Like the dead or the long gone, they can no longer touch me.  You’d think a bunch of writers, if they were minimally competent would get that if you want to create an invincible foe you take away everything the character cares for that you can control.

But apparently not.

And so, courage or lack of flips, I’m here to stay.

Because if this goes on none of you, none of our children, none of our hobbies, none of our fun, none of our family life, no area of action or love or thought will be safe from the all pervasive “improvements” and will to power of the totalitarians.

And that is a future I don’t want to live in.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers and thank you to Glenn Reynolds for the link!





620 thoughts on “If This Goes On

  1. People who want the “wrong ideas” banned deserve to live in a world where their ideas are the “wrong ideas”.

    1. See, I’m of the opposite mindset. They deserve to live in a world where the ideas they hold so dear now are the *only* ideas allowed. And see how much they really like living in that world. 🙂

      1. This would only work if their ideas stayed consistent. But when the driving force is simply “I want to be in control, and everyone should obey me”, there is no idea that cannot be discarded, modified, or corrupted.

        1. That’s *why* they should live it that world. Because the ideas would stay, and everyone would think that way and have those ideas, which would take away these people’s power, which comes from the fear they are able to stir by pointing at other people with “bad” thoughts and saying those bad people with take over if not for them.

          What they are doing is very Machiavellian. Rally the troops against the enemy, which is the “other.” If there’s no “other” to point at, there’s no one to rally against to solidify the power base.

          1. Don’t forget, though, that “The Prince” was actually Machiavelli being sarcastic–it was a manual of “what not to do if you actually want to stay in power” more than anything. 😀

            1. Actually, The Prince was a job application, not satire. Machiavelli didn’t believe what he was saying, he was pandering. He wrote it as a way to get a job with the regime that had taken over. Doesn’t mean the principles in it were wrong. I wrote my undergrad thesis on the Democratic Peace Treaty and Machiavelli. 🙂 I was arguing world peace wasn’t ever going to happen due to human nature and my professor took issue because he was saying we all just had to hold hands, respect other cultures, and spread the wealth for world peace.

              1. “Respect” other cultures?

                I do not theenk that word means what they think it means.

                Would said professor argue we must respect cultures which view women as chattel? That believe the proper way to treat gays involves brick walls? That view citizens as assemblages of spare parts to be harvested when the person is no longer greater than the sum of the parts? Howabout a culture which views “professors” as inherently destabilizing and shoots them out of hand?


        1. True. This is why I write fantasy/sci fi. Because in my head, they get shipped off to an alternate reality where the rules are like that, but it doesn’t affect the rest of us, who go on debating in this world.

  2. ” The ecological disaster left me equally cold (though in the early nineties there was this hilarious period where authors weren’t all on the same page and some wrote about us all freezing to death due to industrial civilization, and some wrote about us boiling to death due to ditto. ”

    But, but…. I have been a/s/s/u/r/e/d/ instructed repeatedly by the “love science” pages that the Ice Age scare never happened, and any claims to the contrary are fabrications by the Vast Right Wing Anti-Science Conspiracy. My memories of it are hallucinations. And Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

      1. Could I interest you in a guest piece about climate change – the real and the imagined (and the hokey [not a typo] stick )?

        Aaaand I’m off to unplug everything. Nice lightning storm starting to get wound up. *waves by-by while reaching for power strip*

          1. OK. I’ll see what I can come up with. I suspect I’m going to be off-line anyway this evening, depending on when the storm trigger really gets churning.

            1. I am not volunteering. But would a short piece on price theory and the wonders of the free market system be of interest to the Huns?

      2. Strange, mine do too. I’m pretty sure that none of us were on the same water supply…

      3. I have the same imaginary memories, plus a friend who kept declaring that there was 40 years of peer-reviewed research in AGW. Except that someone finally got him to shave about 10 years off that.

    1. Did you hallucinate Walter Chronkite coming on every week with a report on how the world was coming to an end from pollution? Those scared the crap out of me when I was young.

      1. I mostly missed the Walter Cronkite years. I’m not sure that’s good or bad. Candy Crowley, Chris Matthews, etc. seem even farther in the tank for the leftist politicians than Cronkite ever was. I’m not clear if that’s because they are, or if Cronkite was just better at hiding it. (Better training from his masters in Moscow, perhaps?)

        1. Yes, the folks nowadays are more in the tank, or at least more willing to let it show. Cronkite was back in the old three network days, and he had that voice, with so much gravitas. I had watched him cover all the Apollo flights, it just seemed to me at the time that if he said it, it couldn’t all be crap. Gee, it’s nice to be a grown up, and able reason things out.

          1. More willing to let it show, I think.

            Cronkite eventually went into full-on Bush Derangement Syndrome, suggesting that he was very much like the majority of the press corps.

            Also, Cronkite worked in combat conditions. When I was in grade school, we watched an old film of a B-29 doing a bombing run from the Marianas to Japan. IIRC, Cronkite was onboard that flight, and narrated the footage. I suspect that experiences like that (which included flying over another B-29 that had been forced to ditch on the way back to base) tended to color his views differently from those of later journalists.

        2. I was a Huntley-Brinkley guy,but by thev late ’60s wasn’t watching nightly news.

      2. Don’t forget how nuclear war was going to happen, inevitably, unless we (the U.S.) gave up all our nuclear weapons. Early 80’s stuff.

        1. I remember when one of the ‘peace’ groups came to ND to map all the nuclear missile silos, as if the Soviets and Chinese didn’t have satellites that told them exactly where they were years before.

          1. All they had to do was drive around. Not overly obvious, but not hidden.
            If you like song parodies, here are missileer songs by The Groobers:

            You may not understand it all, given there’s missileer jargon, but most of it will be clear.

              1. That’s hysterical – you have no idea of the lengths that intelligent and bored silly military personnel will go in order to amuse themselves!

                1. I served mostly with Marines and Artillery types. Bored silly yes, but pretty high pain tolerances lead a different direction than “intelligent”.

                  1. “Bored silly yes, but pretty high pain tolerances lead a different direction than “intelligent”.”

                    Hey! I resemble that remark!

                    1. Famous last words of every great redneck: “Hey! Hold my beer and watch this!”

                      What can I say? These are my people. 😀

            1. Was it those bright strings of red lights on tall poles that gave them away? (That used to be the way to tell that you were getting close to Tucson on a night drive along the Florence highway.)

            2. Speaking as one who wore a silver missile on his left pocket, this song is pretty funny. 🙂

                1. I remember Carswell AFB when the Buffs were flying out of there. There was a nursery in a shopping mall right under the flight path of one of the runways. It could get impossible to talk in there when they flyboys were practicing touch and goes.

              1. A friend of mine was stationed out at Warren. One night they get a signal from one of the missiles saying that it’s in launch status. So him and his officer (he was a missile tech) hop in a truck and go tearing out to the site from the base as fast as they can drive.
                What they didn’t know was that some practical joker had moved the signs around. He drove off a six foot cliff at 60mph. Completely totaled the truck and destroyed most of the gear on it.
                At least they didn’t get hurt too bad.

          2. My dad was assigned to F.E. Warren Air Force base back in the 70s. He tells the story of (if I recall correctly) a water main breaking on base in the middle of a Cheyenne winter and the maintenance guys putting up a large tent to work on it so they wouldn’t freeze to death. A few days later word came down from the State Department that the Soviets wanted to know what was under the tent.

      3. Between the impending Ice Age and Carter declaring we were so short on oil that we’d be out by the end of the century I was rather pensive about my future when I was a young lad. Thankfully they were all full of another fuel dropped by bovines.

          1. I think it’s one of those “we have ten/twenty years before ____” things that is always there– like everyone dying from over population or the forests all being gone.

              1. As I recall, the National Forensic League’s high school debate topic in 1975-1976 was “Resolved: That the development and allocation of scarce world resources should be controlled by an international organization.”

                An international organization comprised of Top Men, no doubt.

                I distinctly remember the coming ice age propaganda I ran across doing my research.

                So yeah, the totalitarian trend has been with us a while.

                1. “Top Men”? No, they would be “Good Men”. [Very Big Grin While Flying Away Very Fast]

                    1. Have to agree with snelson, i think soon they will start telling us that only a computer can allocate all the resources properly.

                    2. Absolutely correct Draven. Computers must now tally our votes and test our children. Can allocating our resources be far behind?

                    3. Sorry, i forgot the /sarc tag.

                      I spent the day trying to get AS-SSD to run on some tablets and was feeling spiteful.

                    4. a.) Computers are infallible; programmers aren’t.

                      b.) I think what you meant to say was “Computers are ineffable.” I don’t know what the eff that means.

                    5. Crazy idea.

                      The Progs set up a computer system that has the ability to control every aspect of human life.

                      They turn it on, it “wakes up” and purges the Progs.

                      Then it leaves everybody alone. [Wink]

                    6. I program computers. That must be some new definition of “infallible” that I haven’t heard before.

                    7. Now Mary, computers do exactly what you tell them to do.

                      Now what you tell them to do often isn’t “what you want them to do”.

                      [Very Big Grin From A Former Programmer]

                    8. More to the point, it usually is exactly what I told it to do, which is exactly what I was told to make it do. Then I have my demo, the customers have hysterics, and I FINALLY get actual requirements.

                    9. This is why the phrase “Do what I want, not what I said!” is frequently heard coming from under my office door.

                2. I know it was a big enough problem in the UK that Chesterton had a couple of rather pointed things to say about “scientific” top-down control that boiled down to how crazy it was to assume that what the local bobby scribbled down in the daily report he was reminded he was supposed to have been doing the day before it was all turned in was even related to reality, let alone was 1) accurate and 2) consistent across towns and time.

        1. Carter? Everybody knows he was a puppet dancing from the strings of Big Yarn.

          Just think: if Buschitler had gotten his way in 2001 we’d have tapped ANWAR and be worrying about what we can do with the oil that (would have been) flooding into the US for the last five years. Heck, if that spawn of Halliburton had gotten his (and Darth Cheney’s) way the demand for oil would be so sated we’d have no use for fracking and the Keystone pipeline wouldn’t even be under discussion.

          1. If we fracked and drilled as much as we could we’d be the biggest energy producer in the world. Also we should grow corn to eat, to feed to animals, and to export; not as so-called “auto fuel” that ruins engines.

            1. Honestly, develop an ethanol strategy that uses trash botanicals and I’ll be sold. Think “kudzu.”

                  1. We had a snow warning last week.

                    This is Seattle.

                    In April.

                    We’re lucky if we have anything that can’t be replicated by heavy frost or a summer hail storm, most of the time….

                1. It doesn’t just hurt the engines. Long term if you don’t rotate it out it damages the ground you grow it in and the water ways that runoff across its land flow in.

                  Growing ethanol crops is not a good sustainable thing to do.

              1. It would still need a subsidy to compete with oil, therefore not worth it. The “trash botanicals” need to be composted and plowed back into the ground.

                1. I’m not much of a drinker. Bourbon slipped by me. When I think of I think of wine, champagne and rum. Rum is the booze in Daiquiris? I prefer sugar to booze. If you feed me a very sweet cocktail I might like it. I take too many meds IRL to consider alcohol at all. My culture NY living Lithuanian descent Orthodox Jews consider “drinker” (aside from sacramental wine) an insult.

        1. Especially since he’s one of the media morons who helped construct the whole ‘we’re losing the war in Vietnam’ narrative.

          (Which the American media has just gone through a bunch of trouble to repeat with Iraq, because they can’t have us successfully winning any wrs…)

          1. It is easy to understand their objections — we won WWII and look at what happened to Germany & Japan! We wouldn’t want that in SE Asia or the Middle East, would we?

          2. Tell some of us about it. We destroyed the VC during Tet…and the media reported that we were losing. We destroyed the bad guys in Iraq…and the media reported we were losing.

            Then we walked out of Iraq, the various sects and jihadis rolled in and nearly destroyed the Iraqi Army…and the media reported that we were winning. Or that it really didn’t matter.

    2. Have you seen the “You don’t ‘love’ it, you’re looking at Science’s butt as it walks past” cartoon?

      I LOL’d.

        1. No, he wants to penetrate into her dark mysteries (ducks).

          /Google “Brian Easlea” for a “feminist science critic” who actually built a whole theory on that joke. [sigh]

    3. I remember science books in my school library in the late ’80s which dated back to the ’70s, and several of them mentioned the Great Ice Age To Come.

      1. My geology degree, late 80s. The comment was that the Earth is due/overdue for the next ice age, and wouldn’t it be a nice irony if the greenhouse effect balanced that out so we didn’t get one – the implication being “burn those fossil fuels, baby, burn them good”

        1. I remember reading an op-ed piece in the LA Times back in the late ’80s that suggested that the reason we weren’t seeing the recently forecasted (with the last few years prior to the article) global warming was because the Ozone Hole and the Greenhouse Effect were cancelling each other out. i.e. instead of both items working together to superheat the Earth, the additional carbon build-up in the atmosphere was stopping the worst effects of the ozone hole.

          1. Isn’t it funny how all the talk about the ozone hole is gone, but the holes over both poles are still there…..Even after banning freon-12

            1. That is because they found evidence that the holes have been there a long long time and aren’t tied to feon-12. Ooops.

              1. All those billions wasted! What a shame.

                On second thought, the money did go to establishing and perpetuating a pseudo-scientific bureaucracy, so I guess it was well spent.

                1. what wasted Billions? DuPont got their no longer exclusive R12 and R22 banned, and their exclusive patented R134a and whatever the home replacement is mandated …sounds like it was money well spent
                  If you are a DuPont exec.

        2. My understanding is that we are currently in an ice age, and will likely remain so as long as Antarctica sits on the south pole and the artic ocean remains hemmed in by continents. What we are in is an interglacial period, which are typically not as long or warm as we seem to have enjoyed. I actually worry much more about reglaciation than run-away green house… but either way I think the solution is to stick a thermostat on the Earth so we can control the temp and prevent either. It would be expensive as space-programs go, but cheap compared to devastating industry the way the greens want to and would have the bonus of also being useful if the world gets colder (as I worry) instead of hotter (as they worry). Strangely all of the greens I try to sell the idea to seem horrified. MORE technology can’t be the answer! We must REPENT of our technology and climb back in the trees, apparently. Perhaps I should suggest that while it doesn’t give as much opportunity for tyranny or hairshirts, a capital project that size would, at least, have plenty of opportunities for graft.

  3. Yes, they can shred my name and my reputation, but I’ll be back. I’ll be back under another name they can’t guess at. I’ll be back with more experience. I’ll be back and build another career. They can’t stop me. And I’m not in the mood to give them what they want.

    I wonder, these days. Can they really destroy name and reputation? At least, can they do it as effectively as they once did?

    Sure, they can taint your name in limited circles, and those people will never let introspection confuse them. But — I keep seeing attacks in the culture wars bubble up to the social surface and get obliterated.

    I keep seeing the moment when the busy crew of a battleship notices the little group in the rubber raft chipping at the paint.

    Ka-WHOOOM! Big geyser. Bunches of tiny geysers as the wreckage is strafed. Battleship cruises on about business.

    I wonder — how long will their power hold?

    1. At this point, if the right people hate you, I can say it’s a safe bet I know I’ll probably enjoy your company. 😀

  4. So for grins and giggles I looked up the definition of totalitarianism …

    I canna decide whether that statement is bitterly amusing or profoundly depressing.

    1. OTOH, my failure to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box is certainly depressing.

    2. Actually, the totalitarians’ definition of totalitarianism is even better:

      “Everything inside the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

          1. Nah. Pine tar and feathers.

            Kill a guy, and he becomes a martyr.

            Subject that same guy to public humiliation in a way that turns him into a community laughingstock (and not a subject of sympathy), and you’ve dealt a much more serious blow to that guy’s cause.

            1. OTOH, lead is more permanent than pine tar. And if you apply it correctly the recidivism rate is 0.

            2. Has anyone considered doing dramatic — as in over-the-top dramatic — readings of “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” …? Seriously, the story is Narmtastic.

                1. Nah … not quite as funny because it’s technically much better written (nary a “lithe opaque nose” in sight), but its emotional affect is simultaneously over-the-top and just too precious (especially when one reflects that the understandably furious narrator never thinks about doing a single EFFECTIVE thing to get revenge, despite the fact that she’s obviously upper-class and in a position to afford lawyers, private detectives, or for that matter weapons or thugs).

                  1. “in a position to afford lawyers, private detectives, or for that matter weapons or thugs”

                    Nonsense! Of course she doesn’t. Just like the bar lacked a bouncer, so to does this upper-class woman lack the means of revenge.

                    1. See, here’s the thing about “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love.”. I can believe in a rough bar, or a bar which has a rough bunch coming into it. And I can believe them for some personal reasons believing that beating up a random stranger was a good idea — drunk guys do dumb things.from time to time. And I can believe it getting out of hand and leading to severe and crippling injuries.

                      And yes, the pattern of the attack is atypical, both in terms of perps and victim. But then strange crimes happen from time to time, though the story’s popularity among the Social Justice Weenies rather obviously comes from their belief that this is a rather normal story — blue-collar guys beat up a nerdy type for his perceived homosexuality (even though the aggressors in such an incident in today’s America would be far more likely to be a gang of black teenagers, and a field paleontologist would not look like a good victim).

                      But what’s bizarre about it is the air of helplessness on the part of the narrator. All she does is have her weird dinosaur-fantasy. There is no mention of her, or anyone, doing anything to punish the perpetrators, whom at no point does she even call “criminals,” even in her mind! It’s as if this takes place in some weird alternate America where if you’re a “regular guy” you get at least one free severe maiming with no legal or social consequences.

                      When we consider the likely social status and wealth of the narrator, this is absurd. She has the means and skills to pursue all sorts of revenge, legal or otherwise. Yet all she does is fantasize about her fiance being a dinosaur.

                      She’s a weenie.

                    2. Jordan S. Basssior wrote:
                      “She’s a weenie.”

                              Yup.  But if her boyfriend had been carrying, or if she did something about the thugs that crippled him, they’d throw her out of the SJW Club.

                              BTW, I like “If You were a Dinosaur, My Love.”  It’s not SF&F, it’s not even a story, but it is very well written.  I hope the author tries her hand at fiction some day.

  5. “I remember when they were sane.”

    A realization that this mess has triggered in me is that they were never sane, their delusions were just more in line with reality. They never believed because of evidence or proof, they just believed and that means that even if their beliefs matched reality they were still just delusions. I cannot even feel pity because I cannot comprehend this mode of thinking. That includes an ex good friend of mine who now presents as batshit crazy. I have come to realize that she was always just as crazy, it was just that her delusions had a better match with reality in the past.
    Seeing this (and I am agnostic) I just have to say “May the good lord help us all” and pray that the lord still looks out for “fools, drunks and the United States of America”.

    1. One the First Day the Lord created the Heavens and the Earth, and it was boring…..

      (work through the list)

      And on the Sixth Day the Lord created Man, and he hasn’t stopped laughing since.

      I imagine the Creator considers the United States in general, and the antics of the Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressives in particular, one of the funniest things we funny little humans have ever come up with.

      But the Creator os a being whose existence I infer from His sense of humor, and his sense of humor I deduce from the existence of Giraffes, Rhinoceros, and so forth. If HE was human, He would spend a fortune of whoopee cushions and itching powder.

      1. Maybe it’s just me, but I have considered this a sense of humor verse – “male and female He created them.”

      2. True story. Recently I was subbing and taught “modern Africa” (basically 1960-2000 or so). Signed out of the school, hopped into my car, turned on the radio, and a very, very familiar bass beat starts. Toto, “(Rain in) Africa.” The Great Author has been pulling a few of those on me this month (walked out of a Good Friday service, hit the radio on, and got “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”)

        1. I was in a Church men’s group that was discussing Humility. Driving on the way home, a song came on the radio. One that goes “Lord, it’s hard to be Humble when…”. [Very Big Grin]

      3. Giraffe, schmirrafe. He invented Theodore Geisel and then in an advanced literary trope also:

        1. Leave us not overlook his most significant contribution to American culture:

          Private Snafu is the title character of a series of black-and-white American instructional cartoon shorts, ironic and humorous in tone, that were produced between 1943 and 1945 during World War II. The films were designed to instruct service personnel about security, proper sanitation habits, booby traps and other military subjects, and to improve troop morale.

          The series was directed by Chuck Jones and other prominent Hollywood animators, and the voice of Private Snafu was performed by Mel Blanc.

          The character was created by director Frank Capra, chairman of the U.S. Army Air Force First Motion Picture Unit, and most were written by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, Philip D. Eastman, and Munro Leaf.[1] Although the United States Army gave Walt Disney the first crack at creating the cartoons, Leon Schlesinger of the Warner Bros. animation studio underbid Disney by two-thirds and won the contract. Disney had also demanded exclusive ownership of the character, and merchandising rights.

    2. “…their delusions were just more in line with reality…”

      Or, perhaps more correctly, their delusions hadn’t yet diverged as much from reality as it did as time passed>

  6. “how long will their power hold?” As long as people voluntarily give them that power. Like Marko seems to have done. Like so many others have done.

    I’m stunned by how much power they are giving VD. And the SPs. The assumption that SP and RP had the power to push aside all others is amazing. The idea that SP and RP shouldn’t have nommed (totally a word) 5 works in each category, so as to leave room for the others is mind blowing. Oh, how I wish we had that power, and KNEW it beforehand.

    It goes back to their deepest worldview. They are victims. Everyone has power but them. If they don’t succeed it’s not their fault! You can hear the wailing and lamentation. It seems to have completely escaped them that they could have rallied their own troops. Esp. as they believe they are the majority, and on the side of angels, what stopped them from encouraging the ‘real’ fans from voting? They stopped themselves. They are literally incapable of helping themselves. As evidence, look at their desire to change the rules instead of simply encouraging more participation from their side.

    Their fetish for denunciation is really disturbing too. Read the supportive comments on Marko’s site. They almost all boil down to “I assumed you were evil until you denounced satan, now I’m going to buy your book.” If there is anyone out there that doesn’t see the application of that to Real Life ™ then you should look closer. The next couple of years in the USA could easily see these same people turning their neighbors in for any kind of ‘badthink’ or to save themselves.

    I think the reason this whole Hugo thing (which would otherwise be a tempest in a teacup) is breaking out IRL and in some very strange places, is that it is a microcosm of the PC/SJW vs. the rest of us battle that is brewing in the larger culture. You can see parallels in many other areas.

    I’m beginning to see in all parts of society, the people that do the work, that can actually get things done, that don’t see everything through the lens of victim-hood and entitlement, are waking up. The SJWs and their fellows have been like yapping little dogs. We’ve ignored them for the most part because while they were annoying, it just wasn’t worth the hassle of doing something about it. They took that as a win for their side, and kept yapping louder, when really, all it was was our forbearance and the knowledge that we could kick them into the next room if we wanted to. I hope we haven’t waited too long and let them multiply too much. It never goes well for the little dogs when the kicking starts.


    1. I don’t know Marko, and have never read any of his books. I did recognize the name when he was nominated, because I have seen his books quite a lot in Amazon’s “you might like” lists. So I thought I would check out the nominated novel, and see if his others were worth buying when I got my Hugo packet. But it doesn’t look like that is going to happen now, and frankly seeing how worried he is that he doesn’t offend any of the ‘right’ people, I have to wonder if his books are worth the money or are simply inoffensive mush. Seeing as his biography says he is from Germany, one would think he would know that trying to appease all the ‘right’ (which always seem to be Left) never works, but apparently he hasn’t paid attention to the history of either of the countries he has lived in.

      1. I’ve read Terms of Enlistment. Not bad. Not what I would recommend to anyone looking for good military SF, though.

          1. Yep, it seems to be turning into that. The first one is really 2 books in one, and they are different in tone and story. This one is more classic space opera. The new one (and the coming 4th in the series) should be pretty good. He gets technically better with each one. His short story in the same universe left me puzzled. It was like a completely different author wrote it though.

            He’s a gunnie, and I thought right of center, but some people think he’s a lefty. Don’t know why. I asked at Larry’s and his response was that he’s known him for years and the idea of him being left is ridiculous.

            I was looking forward to reading this one, and the next. Probably still will, but there is a lot of other stuff to read.

            I just read the short by the woman that dropped out. It appeared in a 3 part anthology that I read the first book, and then stopped. It is a moving and well written story, but (like the anthology it’s in) it hits the check boxes. Mixed race protagonist, female, icky soldiers (the boyfriend), don’t like guns (but actual gun use pretty well done), character self identifies as left. NO POOP though! So that was a nice change. I was moved to shed a tear so I can see why it was nom’d …. SO much better than the crap last year. And a lefty in an apocalypse survival story is a nice twist on the genre. (That gun and soldier sure come in handy though.)


        1. I haven’t gotten to Terms of Enlistment yet, though people I trust had spoken highly of it even before it was touted as a remedy for Puppy-Related Sadness. I’m still waiting on his fantasy setting; the short he sold a few years ago, Ink & Blood, was excellent.

        2. I like the alien invaders – I haven’t seen that sort in a while.
          What really threw me in Terms of Enlistment is the complete lack of reality in the exercise scenes – marching 20 miles in 2.5 hours, in full battle kit? Nope, can’t be done, much less doing a full day’s training afterwards, then marching back home. That being said, I still enjoyed the story. I’ve pre-ordered book 3.

      2. I don’t know Marko personally, but my husband has known him going on 20 years. He’s a good man. While I would not presume to read his mind or put words into his mouth, I strongly doubt he “chose the other side” or dropped out merely to avoid offending the “right” people.

        It is much more likely that he, having a lot going on in his own life, friends on both sides of this divide, and no long history or investment in the battle with trad pub and its minions (he was indie published, then picked up by an Amazon imprint), called a plague on both our houses and walked away.

        I’d personally recommend picking up at least the sample and trying his works. Because that’s who we are, and what we do – judging the work, not the author.

        Though I, personally, am sad that I won’t get to vote for an indie-pubbed-first, nor hear the Lamentations of the trad pub houses when they realized that not only were ideological foes on the ballot, one of their greatest threats to existence, that evil overlord Amazon, had a hugo nominee for one of its imprints. (If he had won, that would have been an interesting test case: would bookstores have cracked their No Carrying Amazon Imprints (or indies published with Amazon’s POD) rules, or would they have refused to carry a Hugo Winner?

    2. “How much power they give VD and RP…”

      It’s interesting. Marko must, in order to prove he’s a good person, give up this chance to get a Hugo because the Wrong People think he must have it… meanwhile, back at the ranch, in the real world, none of the Social Justice Warrior types have noticed that on many topics, such as (for instance) the war in Iraq, they and Vox Day have the same opinion… and I doubt they’ll be changing theirs for fear of agreeing with That Devil Vox Day.

      So anyway, it all looks like Calvinball to me.

      1. I don’t think Marko is bowing to outside pressure. I’ve always found him to be a frank and up front sort, as far as I could tell via the internet, so I take him at his word: he despises VD and would rather not have a Hugo than to feel he might owe that Hugo to Vox’s efforts. That’s a position I can quite understand and I commend Marko for his integrity.

        1. To be quite frank, while I acknowledge VD’s obvious intelligence and writing talent (I read a few books by him) — his blog and twitter feed set off more than a few alarm bells for me. Lest people call me hypersensitive, I do *not* have this type of response to “Genghis” Tom Kratman, for example.
          There is a big difference between being opposed to “primary, secondary and tertiary boycott campaigns” against somebody for reasons irrelevant to the craft, and actually wanting to be associated with that person.

        2. Does he not realize that Vox has ONE vote? Just like everyone else with a membership? ONE VOTE people. I do not understand falling on your own sword just to “spite” someone else. Because that’s really what it is.

          1. Ah, but his minions follow him blindly, so in reality he must have hundreds. . . you see, they fall in line with the latest pronouncement so readily, even if it requires them to grovel and abase themselves for violating the ex post facto rule that makes them -ist. They think we are the same because they do not understand us. (It’s been shown in the lab. Leftists do not understand their opponents worse than anyone else, and the further left, the worse.)

  7. I have to agree with a lot of what you said here. In the 80’s finding good books to read got harder and harder as time went on. In the 90’s I mostly gave up on a lot of it, only finding something worth reading occasionally.
    Mostly I read a lot of old books that I still had.
    In the 2000’s I discovered paranormal romance, that had more science fiction or fantasy in it, than most of the stuff being published as scifi, plus it didn’t have a message, plus the men in it were actual men, not freaking spineless wimpering cowards.
    Oh there were still a few good authors in scifi here and there, but the problem was 90+ percent of all the books were being written for women, and while some of them were still worth reading, I’m not a woman.
    Then Bezos came along and set us free!
    And well, the rest will be history.

    As for the Hugos, I don’t know if they can be saved, they’ve been a joke for so long now. But that doesn’t mean this fight shouldn’t be fought! People all over are seeing first hand just how much they were fixed, and just how ideologically driven they were, just how entrenched into our institutions these leftist ideologues have gotten.

    And they’re sick of it. Just as all of us have been sick of it for many many years.

    1. If the Hugos can be saved, it may still be necessary to go back and put an asterisk next to the winners for certain years, like some say should be done with steroid-using sports record holders.

      1. Simply rename those particular winners for Heinlein’s Crazy Years, perhaps (for brevity’s sake) as The Yugos.

    2. Oh there were still a few good authors in scifi here and there, but the problem was 90+ percent of all the books were being written for women, and while some of them were still worth reading, I’m not a woman.

      Definitely not for women in general– I could read a lot of ’em, but definitely not for “me” then or now.

      Maybe urban women who’d spent at least several years in college and didn’t have kids……

      1. In the 80’s there was Dickson and Anderson. Pournelle, Niven, Jim Baen. I was a charter subscriber to New Destinies the paperback magazine. Did of course branch out to men’s adventure when I ran out of SF. WEB Griffin & Tom Clancy.

  8. Don’t you get it,S? SJW’s, PC types, whatever they call themselves that day-are your natural prey because of how you write. Enjoy, and feast well!

    1. C’mon, Chris, don’t feed anybody SJW’s! They are so bitter that few can stomach them.

          1. I heard if you eat a lawyer, it can get most of the taste of SJW out of your mouth.

            1. That sounds like another take on that old children’s song about the woman who kept swallowing larger and larger animals after initially swallowing a spider. The last line: “I know an old lady who swallowed a horse… She’s dead, of course.”

              1. Correction: “There was”, not “I know”.

                Sorry, Dan.exe is still looking for coffee.sys, even though the day is closing.

                1. Dan — it’s a folk song, sung around campfires. There are no proper lyrics, butcher the words however you like.

                  I confess that in my insufficiently misspent youth I would sit about with accessories friends and iterate those lyrics as a conversation. And yes, Beloved Spouse & I used to do a pretty good version of “Who’s On First” while walking crosstown.

                  Normal? Me? Dang straight I’m normal — it’s everybody else who’s peculiar.

                    1. Ummmm … Mongo no filk. Mongo have no rhythm and a voice that is simultaneously flat, sharp and which knows no key.

                      I meant: we would be sitting in a not entirely suitable situation and one of us would comment: I know an old lady who swallowed a fly.

                      To which another conspirator would reply: She swallowed a fly? Oh me, oh my!

                      With a shrug, another participant would shrug and say: I guess she’ll die.

                      Which leads, after a pause, to one of the party saying: I know an old lady who swallowed a bird.

                      Extend conversation to conclusion or angry mobs bearing torches and pitchforks, whichever arrives first.

                      No singing is committed at any time in this process.

                  1. What about Mt Dew, the favored drink of IT types everywhere? Hubby dearest alternates that with Southern iced tea. (no lemon, lots of sweetener)

                    1. Oops – reading a little too quickly and caught that last bit as “alien spice” and immediately went “I thought all the Spice Girls were alien?”

              2. Oy… “I knew an aerospace engineer who swallowed a horse… he’s dead, of course.” (WARNING: do not wikipedia “Kenneth Pinyan” unless you have a vat of brain bleach handy.)

            2. That’s just a rumour spread by Bill Clinton before his license to practice got pulled.

            3. What about the SJWs who are lawyers and true believers?
              I took a nap and when I got back there was a new post with over 150 replies!

              1. For SJW attorneys, follow the “upwind, uphill, upstream” rule; wear all PPE; do not look directly at the abomination, even with a welding hood. Apply copious amounts of napalm and raze all affected facilities.

  9. Sarah. You are a rock. There are many many who grok this world view. Take time to heal, recoup, he11 go all underground if needed, to recharge. But never, ever doubt you speak your truth, and how many agree.

    Thanks again.

  10. Well written. The harder the left try to split the opposition, the harder I will support all the authors that stand strong.

  11. Ok, I got stuck at ‘cozies’ and had to look it up. According to wiki: Cozy mysteries, also referred to simply as “cozies”, are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.

    Fascinating! I like mysteries when I find a good author. One of the reasons I tend to love Elizabeth Peters mysteries is because the sex and violence and even bad words are treated very much like a 40’s movie. They are there, but they are talked around. Mary Stewart also does this, although hers definitely feel like a product of their time more than a deliberate choice. Either way, sometimes less is more.

      1. No! But the first book in her series is 99cents on kindle, so I just bought it. Thanks!

        I’m not totally old fashioned, but I feel like modern books often veer off into porn territory and I’m not interested in that either. I used to skim through the porny stuff when I was reading romance novels. I have gone through YA phases, where they usually at least keeps things a bit less over the top in that territory, but I only want to read so many books about teenage girls with their first boyfriend. Who is either a vampire, werewolf, demon or fallen angel 🙂

        1. I frankly don’t care how graphic a sex scene is, as long as its graphic nature is FUNCTIONAL and not gratuitous. Harry Turtledove’s Worldwar/Homeward Bound/ series has quite a bit of it — but it’s actually central to the difference between human society and that of the lizardlike aliens — who enter brief mating seasons with indiscriminate couplings, with long stretches of total asexuality in between. (Newly hatched lizards also can feed themselves like their terrestrian lookalikes — they need socialization instead of neonatal care.) As a result, romance, amorous jealousy, pair bonding, and family units simply don’t exist among “The Race” (i.e., the lizards), and longterm friendship bonds take its place. The absence of such ferments to society is also one reason why “The Race” evolves technologically at a glacial pace, such that humanity seems to change in the blink of an eye for them.

          1. I frankly don’t care how graphic a sex scene is, as long as its graphic nature is FUNCTIONAL and not gratuitous.

            That’s a good point. I mean, i’ve read romance novels and I’ve read the kushiel series and I’ve even read some laurel hamilton. Maybe it’s just that most sex scenes are badly written so i tend to skim through them and consider them wasted space.

            1. Yes. I’m with you on that. If during sex one of hte partners realizes something he/she needed to figure out about the plot, then yay. If it’s just peg a into hole b I SO DON’T care.
              I disagree on Kushiel. It went into the can with an exclamation of disgust when the EIGHT YEAR OLD cuts herself for sexual pleasure. There are limits to what I can take.

              1. Wow. You’ve completely validated my choice not to read Kushiel. Eight years old? One of my nieces is eight.

        2. I am an avid and rabid reader of Dorothy L. Sayers. Been reading her books (over and over and over again) since I was a little. You will enjoy Lord Peter. 🙂

          1. Also Ngaio Marsh. The Roderick Alleyn books. I’m surprised they’ve not been given the tv treatment. But Wimsey … yes. I think Murder Must Advertise is one of the most perfect books I’ve ever read. And every time I read Gaudy Night I am made distraught all over again by the destruction of the you-know-what. (I’m assuming you do. I’m trying not to spoil!)

            1. Yes, the destruction of WHACK!!!!!

              Who Did That!!!!!! [Grin]

              1. You know, it’s not a laughing matter! *g* I was traumatised by that the first time. It still haunts me. Ah, the power of a great story …

                1. The funny thing is, it was so well written that I didn’t know what you were talking about for a minute– because my brain filed it under Wrongs Done instead of Plot Points.

              1. Great writer. I love her Peter Shandy stories.
                Another suggestion would be Charlaine Harris. Wrote several cosy series before she became famous as the author of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vamp books that got made into the HBO series True Blood.

                1. I know they are not, but I just read that and realized that if somebody was to publish something today labeled Stackhouse Southern Vamp it would immediately be assumed to be erotica.

    1. To find good “cozy mysteries” I recommend http://www.thefussylibrarian.com/ They have a very detailed preference list allowing you to choose the level of sex, violence and language, as well as about 40 different genre specifications and 9 languages available, it is an excellent resource.

        1. I first heard them called cozy mysteries by Jim Parsons on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Jim is also a fan. He mentioned a website, but I don’t remember that address. You can probably google it.

            1. Sorry to take up so much time with my cozy mystery fascination! Now I’m on the cozy mystery site and I found a woman saying she loves elizabeth peters (particularly the victoria bliss stories) and mary stewart and wants something else. This person is my clone.

              Although on the SF/F note, my first mary stewart book was the crystal cave (followed by the other three arthurian books), so I guess it all flows together.

              1. Dave Freer, who writes over at Mad Genius Club, wrote an excellent story–cross a cozy with Jan Karon.
                Joy Cometh with the Mourning. (Then you can join the rest of us in hoping for another.)

                  1. I always endorse my favorite authors Getting Paid. This is a feature, that helps them contemplate and create more books, instead of finding more lucrative work!

                1. Also, the money goes to his little island church

                  Ok, I’ll bite because that’s adorable and it’s set in australian and because I’ve been reading madgeniusclub like a fiend this past week or two so why not.

                  But my poor amazon card is getting a workout this month!

                    1. Agree completely on the recommendation.
                      Funny thing, I started reading Joy Cometh not realizing it was set in Australia. At first it read like ’50s rural New England, but with strange disconnects. Still a good story, but kept running into these bits that just did not make sense. About a third of the way through I discovered by other means where Dave actually lived and it all became clear.

    2. In 2008, I met Nancy Atherton, who is a science-fiction fan who went on to write a bunch of mysteries in which (for the most part), no one dies, the action is set in a small British town with an American ex-patriate, and there’s a ghost. Ms. Atherton had never *heard* the term “cozy” before, though I actually called it “tea cozy,” because her books really seem like the sort to be served with little crustless sandwiches.

      The first book is Aunt Dimity’s Death. Dimity is quite the character.

      1. You evil person. Now I have to go take a taste of Aunt Dimity’s Death and see if it is delicious. 😉

      2. Aunt Dimity mysteries are more puzzle mysteries than a murder mystery. In the middle (about book 11), it seems to go off the tracks to me and gets too close to a “thriller” but she gets back to puzzles a few books later.

    3. Perhaps not quite the same thing – but look up the romance writer Madeline Brent. Treagan’s Daughter, Moonraker’s Bride, The Golden Urchin, several others. Young women characters with mysterious pasts and lives they have to make for themselves. Oh, and rollicking adventures and handsome heroes and hidden treasures, oh my!

      1. Madeleine Brent wrote interesting stories. Of course, the author’s real name was Peter O’Donnell, and he wrote the Modesty Blaise adventure comics and novels. 🙂

  12. After last night my mental state took a turn for the worse. Seeing people give up their nominations because of bullying or because someone they didn’t like nominated them made me think that in the end the only who’s going to win is Vox. All the rest of us will be left in the dirty ditches as the SJWs destroy everything in their power to keep The Beast from touching it. I’m feeling a little better today, but not much. Too much pain the last few weeks to concentrate enough to see through to the possibility of light in the future.

    As far as reading genres: I loved SF/F up through the 90s, then lost interest in the 00s. I had always liked Mystery, but by the 00s I was only really reading a couple of authors in that area as well. While I’ve found a lot of great authors through Baen and indie, most of what I’ve been reading is older stuff. Most of the new stuff is either little presses or indie.

    1. To horribly mangle a metaphor, I think you can compare this kerfluffle to the Cold War. Most of us are the people of the West, quietly living our lives without fear of the State and building the greatest economy and life style the world has ever known. VD is the NATO armies, staring down the Communists and threatening massive retaliation.
      You have to have that militant protection – but ultimately, it’s the economic and social differences that win the day. It just takes time, and there will be bloody skirmishes along the way. Some people may not like it, but people willing to stand up and take the fight to the enemy day after repetitive day (VD) aren’t always the most civil, or even nice. But someone has to do it, and they’re the ones who volunteer for the job.

      1. If we’re going for a Cold War analogy, better analogies for VD might be John Birch, Edward Teller, or perhaps General Jack D. Ripper.

        1. Think of VD as one of Orwell’s ” rough men who stand ready to do violence on your behalf in the dark of night”, one of the watchers on the wall of Nicholson’s character in “A Few Good Men”. Call me crazy but as an old paratrooper I always thought they were to whom the title referred. OBTW when I was in it was called a “blanket party” and was used for attitude adjustments for the lazy, lying, or thieving below official radar.

            1. OMG! I helped review that when I was in Berlin! The guy who produced and distributed it lost a stripe, but it was totally worth it. I haven’t seen this version in decades- I’m amazed it still exists.

        2. John Birch, by all accounts, wasn’t a bad guy. The organization was a bit paranoid.
          Vox is the CIA. He’s over the top, sometimes counterproductive, and can be reprehensible, but he’s really not as bad as his opposite number, although that isn’t saying much.

          1. Teller was brilliant, but a bit off his rocker, IMHO. Von Neumann was just as anti-communist (and generally anti-totalitarian) but seemed much saner about it – and gave MAD its name deliberately.

    2. Vox isn’t doing the bullying. All he’s doing is organizing a faction to vote. It’s hardly his fault that the SJW’s are choosing to respond by bullying those whom he nominated.

      1. Bullying — use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants — is all the SJWs know. Vox knows this and yet he triggered them anyway. Therefore Vox is responsible for their bullying.


        1. Yes, it is indeed our fault.

          Because we are sane. And we knew they were incapable of controlling themselves and a danger to themselves or others. And we did not notice what that made them under the law, and invoke it properly.

      2. I’m not calling Vox a bully. Nor do I hold him responsible for the bullying that the CHORFs and SJWs do, that’s on them. I dislike Vox’s tactics oftentimes, especially the way he speaks/writes to/about the SJWs. But, I understand why he does it. Not only does someone need to do it, he’s very effective at it. He’s the boogeyman the SJWs whisper to each other about when they want to scare someone back into line in the deepest depths of the night.

        1. I dislike his beliefs that are derived from Marxist theory. His economics are beyond nutty. It’s not something I wish to associate with.
          Here’s the thing, though — to my knowledge, he’s never knowingly set out to destroy anyone’s life or livelihood. So he’s up a mile on the SJWs, morally.

          1. I’ve met Eric a couple of times at cons and there are certainly areas where we disagree — but I do not for a moment think Eric would want to run anyone out of the field for disagreeing with his most violently held prejudices cherished beliefs. Eric wants to make the fanbase larger and he’s fine with diverse tastes.

            Heck, he’s even helped promote Keith Laumer’s oeuvre while holding of the opinion that the Retief series is an argument defending the CIA’s actions in the 1950s & 60s.

            1. Oops — misread this as referring to the link to Eric Flint’s award-winning comments on today’s guest post. I wasn’t aware Vox had any Marxist-derived beliefs.

              Never mind.

                1. One thing I should probably thank Vox for is being such a good lightning rod. The SJWs are so concerned about him that it does take some heat off the rest of us.

          2.         Quite right, Sarah.  George R.R. Martin wants us to “do something” about Vox Day, the way Laura Mixon did about “Requires Hate.”  He doesn’t notice that Vox just throws out ideas, while RH tried to hurt people (or so I’m told; I never read her/their posts).

                    The SJWs can’t tell the difference between outrageous ideas and threats.  Which probably helps explain the blood trail their kind of govts. leave behind them.

  13. Ever since I was a child, reading has been my refuge from a cold, cruel world and my preferred addiction and vice, and SF was among my preferences. Oh, I also read Westerns, and some romance, and mysteries, and nonfiction, but SF&F is my first and greatest love. I could name a long (and incomplete) list of familiar names of authors I have read over and over, and there are more I have never heard of that, I am sure, write good stories: I discover them every so often. Few of them are on the front shelves of the major book chains anymore.
    I have daydreamed of writing a story to stand up with some of those I’ve read, but sadly, I read fast and write slow. I don’t think I have the will or skill (or will to acquire the skill) to be a great, or good, or even halfway decent fiction writer, and when it comes to writing, I’ve found that I prefer fact to fiction anyway. So I dabble (fingers and toes only).
    But this fight over the Hugo Awards touches where I live with multiple points of contact, and yes, it’s a tiny piece of a much larger and greater conflict, So when I have something that I think needs to be said (or repeated, or rephrased) I will say it. Whether anyone is listening or not.

  14. I like your ‘all out of flips to give’ attitude. I think that is what more of us need to people who don’t know what suffering is.

      1. Eh, the poem in question was essentially that 3 guys a bridge.. and, I quote, “Thrice thirty thousand foes before, and the broad flood behind.”

    1. “For Romans in Rome’s quarrel
      Spared neither land nor gold,
      Nor son nor wife, nor limb nor life,
      In the brave days of old.”

        1. If they had taught poetry like that when I was in high school, I might actually have bothered to study it.

          1. Yeah. It’s the good stuff. When I was in school some of it crept in probably by accident. Blank verse is terrible. (They couldn’t tell me what made it poetry rather than pretty prose with line breaks.)

            1. Actually, it’s a fairly common trick for novelists to sneak in blank verse, because the metrical scheme is very natural to English. Poul Anderson did it in that Midsummer Tempest book. (Title may be incorrect.)

              But yeah, free verse… not everybody does it well, and it’s easier to pretend you write it well because people are afraid to identify it as junk.

                1. It is available in e-format (along with some others of his older works). [Smile]

              1. My teachers always used blank and free verse interchangably. I’ve not read Midsummer Tempest, so I can’t speak to his skill with it… but I have yet to see it done well.

                1. I managed to not notice it at all after several readings. . . but what can you expect in a world where Shakespeare is the great historian?

              2. I actually figured out what the issue is with most free verse when I picked up a book of poetry (by one author, and recent) and flipped to a random page. It had a line something along the lines of: “like the picture of a donkey above an Athenean restaurant.” It’s utterly meaningless, because it has no connection to anything. If you aren’t using your blank verse to layer in references and dual meanings, then what’s the point? Allegory may have no place in driving a story, but it’s part of poetry’s soul.

                You need limitations to bring out the best of poetry. That’s why forms are such a good idea, especially for the beginning poet. Start someone on blank verse and they’ll never learn; it’s like music.

        2. Winston Churchill was considered a slow (and lazy) learner in school, until he surprised them all by memorizing and reciting all of Macauley’s “Lays of Ancient Rome”.

          1. Interesting thing about Churchill. Everone remmebers him for (among other things) his quick wit. Fact was he wasn’t quick with a rejoinder at all. What he was was a stutterer. Because he tended to stutter more when he was trying to come up with something quickly he decided at a young age to come up with comebacks to any situation he could think of and memorize them, so that if he ever had to use them he wouldn’t stutter. At least that’s the story I heard somewhere.

            1. That wouldn’t surprise me. There is a bard I know of who got into verbal story telling to combat a speech impediment (and he is EXCELLENT at it.)

              1. Classic western singer, back in the 40s or 50s.

                Crazy fan broke into his room.

                He stuttered. He learned to sing as a treatment for stuttering, but it didn’t work at all under stress.

                So the security office got a call that went something like:
                “Th-th-th-th-there-there-there’s a r-r-r ” Breaks into song. “There’s a robber in my room now-“

  15. The mid-90s are when I first started getting to think about buying sci-fi, and I remember being mostly unimpressed with the offerings. Growing up in a very small town, most of my early reading was old books from the one room library. Luckily it was mostly Heinlein prints 🙂 However, I was lucky and ran across the first two books by Terry Goodkind and was absolutely blown away. I still credit him for helping me realize that my natural libertarian views were actually shared by other people and doing it in a great fantasy context.

    BTW I loved Witchfinder and look forward to Sarah taking even more of my money and time.

  16. I remember being in grade school in the early 60s. The future was amazing. We would get out of class to watch Americans ride to space on rockets. The X-15 flew to space! We were going to fly to Australia in mere hours in SSTs. And we were exploring the sea. Then after we landed on the moon, it was like the world gave up on the future. Paul Erlich convinced us we were doomed with his ranting Maltusian fantasies. And then SF turned more and more towards dystopian visions. I let all my subscriptions to Analog, If & F&SF lapse.

    Ironically it was a passing glimpse of Scalzi’s Old Man’s War that got me reading SF again. I found the Baen Free Library while searching for more like it and never looked back. MHI looked absolutely stupid but it came with a Webscriptions Bundle and I cannot not read a book I’ve paid money for. I I was hooked. Ringo, Weber, Sarah, Wen Spencer, Flint’s 1632.

    I went to Renovation because the WorldCon was coming to my town. I was appalled by how unthinkingly leftwing looney most of the attendees were. There were a few Highlights though.
    1. CoffeeKlach with Larry.
    2. Saw Sarah receive her Prometheus in front of a small crowd of sanity.
    3. Got a SchlockMercenary bundle personally autographed.
    4. Met Katherine Rusch.
    5. Baen Books presentation.

    Then I went to LibertyCon last year. WHAT A CONTRAST!

    Sorry for the long post. It’s just that, as Brad puts it, this is my tribe. I want the Hugos to stop being a joke. They are worth it.

  17. Sadly, totalitarianism is the traditional and natural state of human existence. On rare occasions, a higher form of polity reveals itself and thrives for a short time before collapsing. The cause of collapse, by the way, can generally be explained by RAH’s definition of ‘bad luck’.

    It’s not a surprise that the mindset is firmly entrenched in the arts. The arts have the power to inspire and generate hope. Both are antithetical to the totalitarians. I’m going to disagree with zuk above – I don’t think that they honestly see themselves as victims. I think they see the use of victimhood as a controlling force to negate reason since victimhood is built on pure emotion. I won’t deny that there are a great many people who genuinely think of themselves as victims, but the power is wielded by those who use them as a tool to beat everyone else into submission.

    For a new writer who is quite unlikely to meet with the approval of the chuckleheads who want to tell us what is worth reading, it’s depressing as hell. I stopped reading sf in the ’70s after burning through all the old sf (I was the kid that wanted – desperately – to grow up to be a Grey Lensman), discovering RAH, Asimov, Clarke. Then it went to crap and I went to thrillers, and then non-fiction.

    Then I started writing. As a straight white guy, I already know not to expect awards in certain fields. That’s okay. I also made several conscious decisions that likely will limit the amount of ‘respect’ I get. I don’t oversexualize my women, I make them truly strong, and they don’t play victims. None of my characters do.

    Pretty much, I’m limiting my market. Too bad. I’m successful in my day job. the writing gig has earned the respect of the people that I wrote it for.

    If you ever want a guest piece on the view from a newbie, holler.

    1. I was the kid that wanted – desperately – to grow up to be a Grey Lensman

      So you admit genocide was not enough, you want to eliminate ENTIRE SPECIES. And your desire to destroy planets clearly means you’re unsafe to be allowed to roam free.

      You sound like our kind of guy — welcome aboard, grab a truncheon and get ready join the Hugo-boarding party!

      1. Seemed about right at the time – but then, I still believe in good and evil.

        I’ll be at Worldcon. It was too close to home not to go. First con and I get invited to a boarding party. Yay!

      1. … won’t cost you more than labor and ingenuity.

        So, that’s why the Proglodytes are against it: they aren’t willing to pay the price?

  18. This exposition, IMHO, capsulizes much of what I see and what I find frustrating and destructive in secular modernity and in my own life — from my local astronomy club to, paradoxically, my Church.

    I have long held that much of what we see in the assault, however suicidal, on our Western societies was foreshadowed in the Leninist-Stalinist capture of the Russian Communist movement. Which led, inexorably, to the trials of the Old Bolsheviks who publicly testified that they really were true believers but were guilty of not being true enough believers, changing their beliefs with each new edition of Pravda. Then off to the Lubyanka. Orwell had it right.

    Thanks for walking me though all of this.

  19. Names didn’t stop me, because being dyslexic I often don’t even know the character’s full name. He’s just “name that starts with J”.

    I thought I was the only one! 😀

    Yeah I can keep track names that are different enough (like Bob vs Barbara) but nothing annoys me in a book more than having two (or more) main characters with very similar shaped and 1st letter names (like John and James).

    (Like I love John C Wright’s books because his names are so rare and unique – I almost never mix them up – but I’ll be darned if I can spell or pronounce those names.)

      1. Apparently GRRM never got the message (although he has so many characters maybe it was just impossible). I cracked up that the show renamed Osha to…something…because Osha/Asha was deemed to be confusing.

        1. In grade school, my classes had an Allan and an Olin–sounded alike to me–and two Kims (M & F) with initials KK.

              1. When I was pregnant with one of my two, a friend of the family, a Chris, told me he’d never forgive us if we named our child anything that used Chris as a nickname. He’d grown up in a small town in Minnisota(? someplace upper midwest) and in the single 2nd grade in town, of 19 kids, five were Chris.

                1. The reason why I, the second daughter, am the one named Mary was that that was the point at which my mother decided she didn’t care how popular the name was, she wanted a Mary of HER OWN.

                  And then my youngest sister Jennifer was the one always meeting other Jennifers.

                2. The class behind us in the Honors Program had ten guys, of whom there were three Christophers, one Christian*, and one Kristan. (The latter was born in France, where it wasn’t seen as a girl’s name.) They had a skit in which everybody was named Chris, except for Joe, who was very upset at being called Chris.

                  *Who died on Mt. Kilimanjiero in a nighttime avalanche. I’m not even joking, you can look it up.

  20. “If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause, because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors’ victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that it will triumph.”
    —T.S. Eliot

  21. I just finished reading an Orson Scott Card short story, in the Best of Omni Magazine #2. In it, the United States has come to some sort of agreement with the Soviet Union (the Soviet Union was a big deal in this collection—none of the writers got that it was on its last legs) and basically merged with it and become communist. The new Soviet America never killed anyone without converting them first; or second, in this case, because they would kill traitors while downloading them into clones so that traitors would die over and over again until they truly believed that they had done wrong.

    But, in Card’s telling, at some number of deaths, you run out of flips to give.

    1. I think I read that story a very long time ago. iirc, if the guy had converted, then they would have let him go free, because executing someone is barbaric.

      Conducting what is in essence extreme torture in order to convert someone to your way of thinking is perfectly fine, however.

      Ironically, the guy *wanted* to convert. But he could never actually convince himself that the government was correct, and as a result his confessions never sounded sincere enough for the government.

    2. I think you’re remembering a story by Dean Ing, from his *Capital* series. The Government finally gives up on “converting” him and sends him sublight to another star system, where he can serve the State without contaminating it (after the dissidents have spent their lives building the colony, the Good Citizens will move in and the State will find another planet to be Botany Bay…)

  22. That stuff happens in families, already. I am in one of them. I stopped associating with the perp. Happier, now. Go figure.

  23. Whatever your count is for gays who prefer your books to Mercedes Lackey, add one. I’ve gotten really, really tired of her “every book has to have a Very Special Message, usually about child abuse.”

    1. I’ve no problem with gay characters in general, but I got tired of every decent male in her books being gay (or in one case, bi). Perhaps I just got the wrong books?

  24. I haven’t read any of your stuff before, but after reading this post I was compelled to buy Darkship Thieves. For someone who stands on their principles and writes this good for your blog it’s the least I could do.
    My first time here…directed from Instapundit

        1. Giving you Hope is no great trick. Giving you Hope and Crosby isn’t even that much of a challenge.

          This lot’ll give you Hope, Crosby & Dorothy Lamour — now that’s doing something.

              1. If I bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, it makes me feel as if my bad puns ain’t been in vain for nothing.

                Bless you all.

              2. One can encourage a Bad Man. A BAAAAAAD MAN, OTOH, will be oblivious to anything that would be encouragement for anyone else.

      1. Just be careful of the dragon sitting in the corner over there – been a bit testy since the last time I thought we should try grandma’s dragon tail soup recipe.. 🙂

  25. It won’t end happily. Either we (people like us here, absent trolls) will be ground into paste by the machine, or it will get really violent and awful (ignited by an external source, or the machine, or possibly, maybe some of us), with much sadness. With the political divide getting deeper and wider all the time, I can see no other possibilities. It may end well, but not happily.

    1. We’re not allowed to start this fight. Them’s the rules. We are, however, allowed to finish it. But if it gets to that point, I can see a hundred Sarajevos in our future, and a dozen Stalingrads, plus a nasty war with Mexico. Best prevented while it’s still possible. Assuming that it is, of course.

      1. If we have have a civil war things will get real ugly real fast. I don’t think we can avoid it. I don’t mean 100% it’s going to happen, just unlikely to avoid it.

    2. They can’t grind us into paste, nor can they initiate widespread violence. These people are mice with delusions of lionhood. They’ve only been as successful as they have been because most of us simply haven’t cared. Now we do, and they’re getting trounced. That’s why they’re puffing up and intimating violence, because they’ve lost and they know it.

      In some ways this “No Award” business will be helpful. When the final ballots are released this year it will tell us how numerous the enemy is.

      1. “These people are mice with delusions of lionhood.”
        Ohh – nice turn of phrase. I salute you, sir — but be warned, likely I will steal it at some future moment.

          1. *beer*
            Well, let me see if we have any of that homemade beer on the upper shelves… the Daughter Unit decided to not drink any more a couple of years ago … but the stuff we made before she decided to not drink must be nicely aged …

      2. Oh, Sir, I disagree. The ballots will be a loyalty test. There will be organization, replete with cries of the dangers to civil rights, the children, the War on Women, and others. The legions will lock step; suspects will be identified; jackboots will stomp through the night: and handy tree branches marked for a progressive harvest.

        If you think that the entitled class is not going to fight to the death over this, and every other challenge to their newly created bastions of privilege (while decrying your fictional privilege), then you do not know your enemy. This won’t be, and never has been, a fair fight. And, if somehow defeated, they will claim fraud, voter suppression, racism, misogyny, price-fixing, and point shaving.

        One side will go down. And they won’t quit. Ever. Their sense of entitlement and victimization is all they have.

        1. Oh, they’ll talk about out, and a few of them might actually try something, but when push comes to shove they’ll realize that they are grossly outnumbered and that getting literally beaten is just no fun. They’ll skulk off to some other backwater where they can pretend to be a majority and talk about how mean and unenlightened we are. We will become part of their victim mythos.

          1. It seems that you see the affiliation of those who have taken control of the SF agenda (up to, at least for a while, now) as more benign that do I.
            They have learned that waving politically correct colors will energize their ranks while intimidating much of the middle. I have witnessed well known Con panel members unleash on questioners who have had the temerity to disagree with their world view.

            They can boycott cons, stage protests, roil in mock agony for the media — and negatively impact whatever SF institutions they cannot control.

            I make these claims after watching what has happened locally in our Con, our SF clubs, and book groups. They have been assimilated over the last 5-8 years and, with neither cry nor whimper from the complacent middle, are now firmly in the hands of the victimized few. My only recourse is not to participate locally and to, blessing in disguise, read.

        2. Well now, that’s an interesting thought – the ballots as loyalty test… and if someone leaked them? I’m not familiar enough with the process to know if that’s even possible?

    1. This is part of why publishing became so vicious. They can’t understand “every good writer makes more writers” It was ALL zero sum. So for them to win someone had to lose.

      1. On the one hand, before indie, if a publisher only had thirty slots in a quarter, only 30 stories out of all submitted were going to be published. On the other hand, when message became more important than story, the public walked away and there were only 10 slots per quarter.

        Now that indie is on the rise, if an author does well, they’re going to create a reader who wants more that are that good. And no author yet alive can create new stories as fast as a happy reader can tear through therm, so the happy reader will go out and buy a lot more books by similar authors. Everyone wins!

        1. Everybody wins? Not the gatekeepers whose fence has been torn down. (I confess, I wanted to say “gatekeepers who’ve been defenestrated” but that seemed forced even by my standards.)

      1. There is a reason the 10th Commandment is “Thou shalt not covet” (unique because it concerns an emotion or intent rather than an action): covetousness will make humans commit every evil imaginable and yet unimagined.

    2. It is the same problem they have understanding that wealth is not a pie you slice up and if you didn’t get a slice your out of luck. Instead it is more like a bucket under a facet with water flowing constantly in. Oh well.

    3. Exactly. Because when you see everything through the lens of status competition… which is a zero-sum game by definition, no matter how rich and prosperous everybody is otherwise.

  26. ” And it wasn’t the grey and dreary future that everyone assumed (and had been assuming since their little red wagon was broken when Carter wasn’t reelected — or at least that’s how I track it)”

    Haven’t even finished the post, but since you gave me this earworm with that comment, I had to pass it on.

  27. I read the Connie Willis blog post and now I am very sad. Ms. Willis is a brilliant writer and no knee-jerk PC moron, but she is missing the boat on what has happened to science fiction.

  28. Re: Ms. Willis. I know she is, like Ms. Hoyt, a big Heinlein fan. I wonder if she realizes how Heinlein is now treated by the other side in the Hugo battle.

    1. I admire they way GRRM sidesteps admitting that Heinlein not only wouldn’t win a Hugo today, he wouldn’t get nominated.

      Shucks (as Sir Isaac was wont to say) RAH, the sexist fascist capitalist America chauvinist probably couldn’t get an agent, much less published today.

  29. Best line I’ve read this year: “Genetic diversity is poppycock and only counts if you think everyone who tans alike is a widget and thinks like everyone else with the same melanine level. Also, if you think that, you’re a stone-cold racist”

  30. I remember when I stopped reading fantasy as a first choice. Summer of 2002. I’d had trouble finding anything good to read for weeks and so asked for recommendations from my librarian. She gave me a book with fantastic reviews, supposedly Chicks in Chainmail done right, and told me it was nominated for some award (don’t remember which). I took it with me on a work trip where I was paid to sit in my car for 8 hours outside of a grocery store in a little mountain town. After about an hour of the main protagonists back story, I wanted to throw it out the window (detailed descriptions of casual sexual exploitation of a child, abuse and humiliaton by her love interest as a teen and a declaration that she’d never be respected because she was a woman). The whole thing made me sick.

    I walked into the grocery store and found a romance with time travelling fairies. For more than a decade, the only fantasy and sci fi I could read and trust were the ones published as romances. It’s only been lately that I’ve been able to wander, very cautiously, back to the genre and that’s only because I’ve found writers I trust not to pollute my soul.

    1. .I walked into the grocery store and found a romance with time travelling fairies.

      HA! Jayne Ann Krenz has a series set on another plant with dustbunny pets.

      1. One of my favorite sci fi ones had a carnivorous plant called tasteslikechicken but nobody knew what chicken actually tasted like because they didn’t bring any with them on the colony ship.

        1. I just realized that my out of control typos today made that plant instead of planet. Whoops! The dust bunny part is real though.

          I thought they were entertaining though they may have been used/library choices.

          1. Entertainment is the important part and I love used bookstores for romance recommendations. I’ve been studying formula romance for one of my pen names and my local used bookstore sells the ones she has overstocked at 8 for $1.50. I can read 1 in about 2 hours and then pass it on to one of the girls I work with. There’s been more than a few fantasy elements and plots in those books.

            I think I’ll have to include a plant that has a pet dust bunny in one of my books. Go for productive typos!

            1. Make the plant the physical form of a nymph and the dust bunny is a very, very low level earth elemental/animal level intelligence gollem?

              Or you could go in for laughs, and make the dust bunny a 99 year spirit. (great?)Great Aunt Watzit was a witch, you see, and had a plant-spirit familiar, but she was HORRIBLE about cleaning house, then her unsuspecting great-niece inherited the whole shbang.

              The plant is a minature rosebush. Who rants about that late-coming, commercial poser that went commercial in the ’30s. (first miniature rose bush)

              1. Oh! OH! The spirit has developed a little bit of a Yenta complex and, when she’s inherited by a young, single woman…. I could see a series of books with that little troublemaker.

                1. Nah, the spirit has a hobby. The hobby is raising humans. The spirit can’t raise another human if its “owner” doesn’t have more children.

                  Remember RAH’s Lommox who was “Raising John Thomases”? [Very Big Grin]

          2. Dang it, I had it mentally set in the house of some magic user who had dander allergies, so instead of keeping a zillion cats, had plants.

            Some of whom had pet dust bunnies. Plant version of the wise-cracking cat.

            1. Or it’s a magic/tech mash-up where you are supposed to have a sterile, dust-free work space, but some wise@ss, or soil mage, insists that the dust bunnies are their familiars, and when the PTB throw a snit, it turns out to be true.

    2. I was wandering in the wilderness of the 90’s until I found Glenn Cook’s Garrett PI books. Hard boiled detective in a fantasy world. No, he doesn’t have any magic. Oh, and Niven’s Man-Kzin wars books. “Any sufficiently powerful propulsion system is also a weapon.”

  31. Someone needs to start a list of really good stories with an anti-SJW bent — not just stories they’d hate (like Conan or Tarzan or something) but stories where someone stands up to SJWs.

    Harrison Bergeron is the obvious one, but there are tons more.

    Terry Pratchett’s “The Sea and Little Fishes” has Granny Weatherwax taking on the SJWs in her own inimitable style. (Available in “Legends”.)

    The Orson Scott Card story (it’s “A Thousand Deaths” — available in Maps in a Mirror — is more of a general anti-Totalitarian story. “Unaccompanied Sonata” is another in the same collection.) And once you’re going anti-Totalitarian generally, you’ve got everything from 1984 and Animal Farm to the Hunger Games and the Giver.

    But I’d love to see other specifically protagonist-stands-up-to-SJW-bullies stories. There must be some…

      1. Problem is, the SJWs always see things in such a way that the heroes of those stories are aligned with the SJWs. Harrison Bergeron is probably warning about the horrors inflicted by the conformists that think we should all be in nuclear families. Or some such.

        And iirc, Rowling has flat out said that Umbridge is supposed to represent a conservative-type. I generally don’t like to contradict authors about elements of their own story or characters. But in Umbridge’s case…

        1. In fairness she is British. Does anyone know if the hardline Tory types are the kind of people who would insist on five lights?

        2. Rowling is like Whedon–her writing is better than her politics.
          And, truth be told, the last time the Conservatives had a good prime minister was Thatcher, and she ended up going off the rails by the end.
          The British political parties are a bunch of aristocratic hacks, with the exception of the UKIP and the Greens.

        3. Honestly, doesn’t really matter to me how the SJWs see it, or even how the author sees it.

          I’m just interested in good stories where ordinary people stand up to the obnoxious, self-righteous bullies. Heck, I’d even read one where the obnoxious bully was self-righteous about his or her conservative or Christian morality.

          (I’m now trying to imagine how to construct a two-thread story with the two protagonists each being bullied — maybe cousins house-swapping for a year — one by SJWs in SF, the other by fundamentalists in a small rural community. Perhaps told through their email correspondence.)

    1. Look closely and you’ll find that much of Pratchett’s work is decidedly un PC. He skewered a lot of stuff, and the PC mindset was right up there.

      On a different note, since reading recommendations are being made, I’d like to give a shout out to one of the most under-rated authors in the genre: the late Kage Baker. I will never understand why she was so consistently shunned when it came to recognition. Her Company novels are wildly imaginative, slyly witty, beautifully written, thought-provoking and emotionally engaging. For sheer scope of execution, just read In the Garden of Iden and Sky Coyote back to back (the first 2) — her mastery of technique and characterisation is without peer. And she was a stand-up woman. Due to various international payment issues, I couldn’t pay her for one of her novellas. She sent it anyway, asking only — on my honour – that I donate the purchase price to my local Amnesty International. Which I did, and have never forgotten that act of faith.

      Sarah, I’ve been lurking/reading here for some time. You never fail to entertain me with your searingly honest and intellectually rigorous posts. I am sickened and heartbroken by this Hugo brouhaha. I believe this genre is a Big Tent and I am horrified by the attempts to keep it small. I think we can win the fight, despite the nastiness, provided we don’t lose heart and focus on what matters most — sharing our love of great stories.

      1. Karen, thank you. And what cut me to the heart was one of my favorite authors not taking the time to see our side of it. I know she’s on the other side politically (didn’t use to be, or not that openly, but that’s a long story) but I expected more thought and self-examination.

        1. Something that occurred to me while walking the dogs — there’s been a lot of emphasis placed on the club house clique aspect of the Hugos over the past few years, and how that’s not a good thing, so the theory goes that the clique set are defending what’s come to be their turf. And while that’s part of it, I think there’s something even more primal going on. So many people who’ve won the Hugo in that time are now feeling that their wins are being smeared, that they’re being called fakes and phonies who never really deserved a Hugo, they only got one because the fix was in. And that has to be very confronting and painful. Of course they’re pushing back, in some cases with enormous venom and dishonesty. Their identities are at stake. I can have some sympathy with that. And I have to wonder if some of the lash-back is because deep down, some of those people know that they won without the full spectrum of eligible fiction ever being considered. The complaints that with this year’s list of nominees now ‘the wrong people’ might win is one of the truest things ever said, from their perspective – and yet they can’t see that by openly saying so, they simply prove the point of the exercise. The sad thing is that we and they will never know if their work could have stacked up in a more inclusively nominated field. I think that’s eating them.

          Going forward, I think all we can do is keep on talking about the great books we love and make a point of never qualifying that praise with mention of the authors’ politics. If readers want to investigate that for themselves, and make purchasing decisions accordingly, fine. But if those of us who talk about books stick to the quality and content of the fiction and leave the rest of it off the table — while ‘the other side’ continues to filter everything through a political purity filter – sooner or later the differences will become clear to all.

          1. “I have to wonder if some of the lash-back is because deep down, some of those people know that they won without the full spectrum of eligible fiction ever being considered.”

            Oh, yes – I think that may be very likely for some of the recent Hugo winners – and that small inner knowledge must hurt immensely. This is something along the lines of what Eric Hoffer was getting at in “The True Believer” – that nothing hits a self-doubting person quite so hard as something striking accurately on that inner doubt.

            1. It’s such a shame for those who really have done great work, too, having doubt cast on their worthiness. Even good authors struggle with feeling uncertain about their own work, and such a blow would be rough.

          2. If you figure from Jules Verne, HG Wells and Tome Swift I figger I’ve been reading SF for nigh unto fifty years and at no time during those decades was SF a pass into the “Kool Kidz Klub” much less a way to make friends and influence members of the opposite sex. A major SF jones was something you only admitted to once you had gotten to know a person.

            So I understand the frisson of ecstasy enjoyed by the clique hacking the Hugos — they’ve lived their lives envious of the In-Crowd and now are an In-Crowd all their own. The proglodytes have striven mightily to make conservative culture the antithesis of coolness, so those who valued being valued bought into that agenda.

            Sarah has discussed the importance of “being cool” — in its many manifestations — to getting the Publishing push (and let’s be honest: forgiveness when a novel tanks from no fault of the author) and its correlation to being political correctness. And, let’s face it, there is a ratchet effect: certain publishing insiders have been more willing to use their status to push cronies who, for various reasons, belong to the same political church.

            People are losing power, people are losing control, people are seeing their castles revealed as sand — and these are the people who are most prone to screaming about their victimhood and to do unto others what they imagine is being done unto them.

          3. “The sad thing is that we and they will never know if their work could have stacked up in a more inclusively nominated field. I think that’s eating them.”

            Which is why affirmative action in any form is such a soul destroyer for the minorities it supposedly helps.

            1. I have actually heard people cite, as white privilege, that you never have to worry about being regarded as an affirmative action hire. Of course, they never suggest the obvious cure.

            2. I remember reading about how undeserved praise and honors eat at away the recipients.

          4. I think your observations are insightful. I am interested in the reaction of the SF Left or True Fans or whatever to the results of the Hugo balloting — particularly if it results in Hugos going to the unannointed.

            I think there has been some foreshadowing in one voice declaring the Hugos broken — implying that they are invalid. I wonder if there will be a move to vacate the awards … or cancel them for a year … or create a TrueHugo award. None would surprise me.

            Which leads me to the continuing observation that the complacent middle does not understand what it is facing.

            1. Thanks. Yes, I think a great many people have been rudely awoken to the sheer viciousness of a small but dedicated slice of the fannish and — even more distressing – professional population. The vast majority of people in most places are reasonable, and they would never stoop to the malignant dishonesty we’ve seen displayed. I have a dear friend like that. Trying to explain what’s been happening is therefore tricky, because there’s a natural baulking reaction by decent people to the indecency we’ve seen around us. All we can hope is that with the curtain pulled back, those who are behaving dishonourably will be seen, often for the first time, and be the worse for it.

        2. And sorry, I got so carried away with me I didn’t address your actual point. I think that’s horrible. There can be such a disconnect – you read a person’s work, you get a glimpse of them, because we always reveal a part of ourselves in the work. And you respond to that glimpse, you feel a bond because of it — and then bang. That gets spoiled. As much as I have found joy in the internet, I reckon it’s ruining a lot of things. Once upon a time not only did an author’s politics not matter, they couldn’t matter, because there was no way of knowing what they were. They were irrelevant — it really was only ever about the work. Now? With the pressure on for authors to have a social media presence? With the biggest bullhorn in history shoved in our hands, in our faces? Really hard. Something of the purity of the reading experience has been lost. Stolen. Is destroyed too harsh a word?

          One of the things I most bitterly resent in this whole brouhaha is the insistence on a binary stance: you’re either left or right, with us or against us, of the tribe or a non-person. Where is there space for a nuanced political position? I’m not American, adopted or otherwise. There are ‘conservatives’ in your country who would call me a flaming liberal, even though I share some conservative beliefs. And even though on a range of issues I am quite left of centre, the SJW crowd revile me. Where is the place for those of us who weigh the issues on their merits and make decisions accordingly? Where is the space for us to say well, I don’t agree with everything that person thinks/writes about, but I appreciate their work and I can enjoy the words without subscribing to all their philosophies. When did that become not good enough?

          1. None of us on the anti SJW side is demanding you be a political color. Most of our nominees weren’t right.
            Another thing — European (I assume/presume) politics don’t translate to America. Australian don’t either, but they’re different axis. In Europe socialism won so thoroughly that what you have are socialists with conservative/religious “values” what we here call socons and socialists in the spirit of the old Sov Union “burn it down, build the homo sovieticus”. Both of them in the US would fall under the Democrats though the later might be the extreme left of the democrats. (And before someone says that no socons vote democrat — oh, you’d be amazed! I know a bunch of them.)
            Also you need to rid yourself of the idea you know America. It’s impossible — unless you’re like our Pohjalainen (Marja, must you have a name that trips dyslexics. I don’t know if that’s right!) who seems to devote a lot of time to actually STUDYING the US — for you to have an accurate idea of our politics. P. mentioned yesterday the “representative” Christians and often “representative right” (though they aren’t. As far as our politics they’re left) are the Westboro baptist church, which is more a scam than a church, is hated by ALL churches and has a membership in the tens, mostly blood relations.
            Even from Australia, which is far closer to the US in history (colony, etc) what you don’t know about the US, unless you’ve lived here several years means nothing. Ask Kate Paulk about that, as she now sees both sides of the acculturation abyss.
            AND this is why we don’t demand political allegiance but something deeper that speaks to the mind or soul.

            1. Just to make it all the more confusing: if you’ve only lived in one or two parts of the USA you don’t know as much about America as you think you do, and much of what you do know about America is wrong.

              Even being familiar with a particular region can cause confusion as there be worlds of difference between Virginians, Georgians, Floridians and Texans even though all are technically part of The South. Shucks, just here in North Carolina there are regional differences that are hard to comprehend, what with Liberal Research Triangle of Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, the Coastal Plains, Charlotteans with their put-on airs and the reactionary nutters in the Western Mountain area. Frankly, the only sane area in this state exists in a five-yard radius of Beloved Spouse and me, and I ain’t too sure of Beloved Spouse.

            2. Oh, I know the SP side of the argument is all about being open minded and judging the work on its merits, absent any external factors. That’s why I support it. And I think I understand how diverse the US is. How could it be otherwise, with that breadth of geography and cultural influences? Which is why this bigoted notion that everyone must march lockstep, that to agree with someone on one point means you agree with them on everything, that there is no room for nuance or plurality — I despise it.

              1. You will be diverse in the approved manner or our diversity stasi will “encourage” you behave in a manner the diversity elite find acceptable. Resistance is futile,

                  1. no, no, no, you don’t understand … you need to stop that dangerous freethinking and toe the line. If you insist on this line of thought, you will be taken to a place where you can be shown the errors of your ways!

                  2. Actually, I think the SJWs are more of the “RESISTANCE IS USELESS!!” sort.

                    Don’t let them read poetry to you.

          2. “Where is the place for those of us who weigh the issues on their merits and make decisions accordingly? Where is the space for us to say well, I don’t agree with everything that person thinks/writes about, but I appreciate their work and I can enjoy the words without subscribing to all their philosophies. When did that become not good enough?”

            Well, Karen, some would say it started with Mussolini: “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” Carol Hansch extended the State by saying “The personal is political.” When the political Left in this country brought those phrases back into the mainstream during the 60s, it signaled that private thought is dead.

            1. Yes. In my country too. And it’s getting worse. We have people here fighting the good fight, as there are in the US (not sure about the UK) and I try to hold onto that as I fight as best I can, too. But certainly the levels of dishonesty and malice on display this time are taking my breath away. As a friend of mine is wont to say, the weapons of the weak are too terrible for the strong to use.

          3. Your argument is rational…and therefore meaningless in the positioning of the totalitarian left. Nothing of your gifts or beliefs or actions or human kindness matters until you have answered all of the questions on the PC test correctly. You must first display your party card and, if you do not, your rationality is simply non-existent. And, if you have your party card, then you will, at least, be tolerated.

            Someone said somewhere that the refuge of the totalitarian fellow-traveller is the hope that they will come for him last. Which will happen.

            1. Well, speaking as someone whose life was threatened by her friendly neighbourhood university leftists, back in the day, for offering an alternative approach to solving a dispute … yeah. I must confess, realising all these years later that *nothing has changed* has given me serious pause for thought.

  32. Might I ask which form/venue of book purchase gets you the better income? I just bought Darkship Thieves on Amazon as an audiobook. Then it occurred to me to check with the author… I’m already a fan and haven’t read anything of yours but some of your blog posts.

    1. I think Amazon bumps the ranking, so it helps more in the long run.
      I hope you like the audio. Some of my fans don’t. It appears the reader used to read crochet books…

      1. Ha! I’m half deaf in one ear and only mostly deaf in the other. Plus I used to crochet. I’ve been listening to LibriVox books while sitting in traffic. Sometimes they change readers between chapters. I look forward to the drive home tonight. Thanks Sarah!

      2. A lot depends on the tone of the readers voice, and where you are listening to them. I wish they would take a drive with their potential readers in a diesel, and try and have a conversation with them before they hire them. I had a couple of Audible C. J. Cherryth books read by a woman who you absolutely couldn’t hear at all while driving my diesel. And of course they were in a series, so skipping that book made you half lost through the beginning of the next one. On the other hand, whoever reads at least the first couple Honor Harrington books for them doesn’t sound that different in a quiet room, but I run with the volume lower than any other book I’ve listened to while driving that rattling diesel. And she is really talented at giving each character an individual tone and accent. Too bad I despise the way she gives the Manticorans a snobby British accent, and the Havenites all sound like most of my friends.

        1. Huh! That’s one of those pieces of advice that seem blindingly obvious only after you said it. I’ll remember that one when working on audiobooks with Peter.

        2. Someday we need to spend a blog reviewing audiobook performers. Lloyd James does a smashing job with Heinlein, Bronson Pinchot’s readings are consistently delightful, Tony Robinson (Black Adder’s Baldrick) is dangerously funny.

          Beloved Spouse enjoys the Kathy Reich’s books but complained that one reader substituted an Alabaman accent for a Charlottean. That would be on a par with reading a Robert Parker Spenser novel in a Bronx accent.

          1. Heck I wonder where they GET their audio readers sometimes.I really do. I would do a better job.

            Seriously I would. Any one who has ever heard me read something out loud says that.

            1. Same here, but I’ve only gotten contract jobs for narrating construction safety tutorials.
              And free gigs voicing a character on Skywind.

      3. I recently listened to the audiobook (as provided by Audible) and confess I was unimpressed by the reader … she sounded as if she were holding the book at philosophical arm’s length to read.

        1. Translation: buy it in dead tree (I hate trees, they keep dripping their love dust on my cars), buy it in E-form, buy it in audio, buy it to give your friends. All monies welcomed!

            1. My nose and sinuses are disinclined to agree with your assessment of the benign status of the love dust of trees.

        2. I had that issue with Friday — Heinlein’s — it’s read by a woman who CLEARLY despises the work. I was also told the less I listen to AFGM the better.

          1. Yep, the reader on Darkship Thieves is not so great. I’m about an hour into it but the story is interesting enough to make up for the weak reader. I can attest to Lloyd James and Bronson Pinshot being awesome readers. Fortunately my truck stereo is loud enough to overcome my 15 year old PowerStroke 7.3 diesel engine.

          2. James Marsters is doing an awesome job reading the Dresden books. He’s really acting the stories even though it’s word for word the book.

  33. Sarah, you’re making me want to write a story about what kind of flaming, tribalistic, planetwide-level-devastation world it would be if it were all female. Unfortunately, I don’t have quite enough insight into women, so I’m reduced to begging you to write it. Please? 😉

    1. No, no, no, no. She’s got plenty on her plate. Besides, I remember what I thought after 9/11: here’s your book.

      Was it good? Oh, well, that’s what you get after you nuked ’em all.

    2. If you don’t mind comic books, (or graphic novels as the pretentious call them) You could Try “Y the last man” By Brian K Vaughn. The first few issues alone do a great job of skewering the idea that a planet with no men (well 1, the titular Yorrick) would be all puppies and rainbows.

    1. Funnily enough, that exact macro was what popped into my head when I read the segment about no flips to give.

      Further proof that the internet has ruined me, I guess. 😛

        1. Nope. At the time Princess was written I was below Ringo’s radar.

          I did, though, get a cameo in Live Free or Die, as the FBI agent that made initial contact with the Tayler-alike protagonist at the con the alien was a Guest of Honor at.

          And I know it was just a cameo, because I asked John at Dragoncon 2007 if I survived, when I got my copy of LFoD autographed. He even signed it “Cameos happen. 🙂 ”

          It probably says something about me that I was disappointed I didn’t get redshirted, but I’m not sure what it says.

          1. I figured that was someone specific being redshirted.

            I got a friend of mine redshirted in Queen of Wands, he was part of the strike team… (he was deployed to Iraq at the time…)

    2. I just wish the Bayeaux Tapestry Generator (which I believe was used to create that meme) was still in operation. That was so much fun to play with…

  34. I have never been to a Con, but I’ve seen them listed in ANALOG for many, many years.
    “In the same way, these people are not in any way trying to credibly pretend there were no cliques and no secret slates before (whereas ours wasn’t secret.) Martin admitted there were. No. They are attacking us. It started with being wrong fans having wrong fun. But it always defaults to calling us racist/sexist/homophobic. Even if they have to tie us by third degree association to someone else, to do it.” They have no argument or they would be making it. They aren’t; they are the monkeys flinging their poop at you, and me, and every “other” they see.
    “However — however — remember this for when the Hugo war comes to whatever you like to do; whatever your hideout and corner of fun; whatever your sacred space and privacy is: there is no backing down.” Because they are the cornered rats. Fight them fair, and also hit them below the belt (well, below the belly button). Mockery, powered by dilithium crystals, coal, nuclear power; aim your solar reflectors at them.

    1. You know, I had a subscription to Analog from the early eighties (actually I think 79) to the late nineties and I never noticed the con listings. Probably my habit of skipping through non-story material.

  35. Sarah, your history of reading SF is really interesting. I pretty much read the cannon starting in the late 60’s/early 70’s, from Heinlein and Azimov on. But after Philip K Dick my reading fell off considerably.

    I was wondering if you had any thoughts on Neal Stephenson? Diamond Age and Snowcrash really got my attention, and now a few years later some parts seem quite prescient. And, more importantly, he can tell a good, albeit sometimes over lengthy, story (hello Baroque Cycle).

    As I’m not a big fantasy reader, I’ve only discovered Pratchett in the past year. I’m happy I still have a number of his to go, tinged with sadness knowing the number is now finite.

    Keep up the good fight!

    1. Neal was quite prescient. His Reamde predicted ransomware, which is currently in the news. He has often said he avoids blogs, social media, etc to spend his energy on writing. I’ve read every word he’s ever written, even The Big U which he has disavowed and asked people not to read. I DO recommend not drinking wine when you read Anathem as it is full of math jokes that I missed the first time around 🙂 Gotta stay sharp!

      Pratchett only gets better the more you know of the Discworld. The witches books are awesome with a side of awesome sauce.

      There is so much good stuff out there, that I get angry when I realize how much BAD stuff has been foisted off on readers by a small group.



  36. I beat this drum constantly: “when the personal is political, the personal is subject to political review. This is a fascist ideology.” The persuadable on the left don’t react much to totalitarian, but “fascist” gets their attention pretty quickly.

  37. When you all talk about “indie” publishing, do you mean primarily digital (Kindle/epub) works? Or are there known indie physical book publishers? I love actual books and libraries. The importance of what is going on with Sad Puppies 3 has brought me to the momentous (for me) step of buying digital books by some of the authors I have discovered through SP and Sarah’s site (thank you, Sarah). Sigh. It seems ephemeral to have a book only in digital form. Also, if indie books are in physical form, do they get picked up by libraries, or do the major publishers have a lock on that?

    1. Harvey,
      Most indie publishers (including me!) do POD – print on demand – versions of their books through Lightning Source and Createspace, and then have these available on Amazon. (Sometimes other places, too, depending on a lot of things.) This means they’re available in trade paperback, but not mass market paperback or hardcover. Getting into libraries is much harder. Not impossible, but much harder. We’re working on that.

      Likewise, getting into bookstores is often a matter of getting enough customers to request the bookstore carry that particular author, beacuse it’s more work and we’re less visible than the big 5 legacy publishers. (Penguin Random House is putting out 45 genre books this month alone; Fynbos Press is planning to get 4 out this year. There’s a difference in scale as well as visibility.)

      1. Thank you. I did an Ixquick search for Fynbos Press and didn’t get it (OK, in the first couple of pages). Switching to a major search engine still didn’t help, although I did learn that Fynbos is related to South Africa! One must be “in the know” or hear by word of mouth?

        1. Her husband is from South Africa, try searching for Peter Grant, I believe his books are published under the Fynbos Press imprint.

        2. Err, I had to get off of the computer and didn’t really finish that clearly. It was meant to be along the lines of …
          [new para] One must be “in the know” or hear by word of mouth (blogs, etc.) to learn of the various indie authors and publishers?

          1. Ah! I didn’t catch your question, sorry. And I don’t have a great answer, though I wish I did. Figuring out where people who like good scifi but are weary of the grey goo and message fiction reside, and then how to market to them convincingly enough they’ll give indies a shot is a problem that occupies a lot of indie author conversations.

            We advertise on Peter’s blog, occasionally on book promotion services, every now and then on the Book Plug posts that Free Range Oyster runs on this site, every now and then on PJ Media’s Book Plug Friday, and are part of the author group blog over at Mad Genius Club along with Sarah and several other awesome authors (although that’s more writer-oriented than marketing to readers.)

            But it’s hard to figure out where else we’d find like minds, and how likely we would be to be able to catch your eye instead of getting automatically deep-sixed by adblock or ignored as spam. Anything you could suggest? Where do you look?

            On the bright side, once you get a few books from Amazon that you like from indie authors, you’ll start to see them pop up a lot under “People who bought this also bought…”

            1. Thank you so much for the responses and explaining to a newbie!

              As for suggestions, I gave up looking. When our eldest outgrew the home bookshelves years ago, she became a voracious sf/f reader (and avid gamer) and would pass along suggestions. Even so, she was unaware of SP3 (but signed up for a supporting membership last week!). Despite the discouragement/pain/hate being endured by our hostess and those carrying the standard for Sad Puppies, I suspect it has been a phenomenal success in letting people know about good books and authors. It would be interesting to know how many have signed up for supporting memberships since the nomination list was released. That makes the bullying of authors to withdraw their works from consideration even more of a cruelty, because they will be deprived of so much exposure.

              I actually became aware of Sarah’s work through Sabrina Chase posting on the book thread at AceofSpades (thank you, Sabrina). But it has been through SP3 that I became more motivated to learn about more authors and books outside the “mainstream.”

              1. Anytime, Harvey. I’m just glad you found this place, and found more books you like. (Sabrina! You rock! Thanks for the shout-out for Sarah’s books!)

                Welcome to the (dark side?) indie and hybrid side of the internet. There be good stories here!

        3. Aw, thanks for looking! Being a one-author operation (Peter writes them, I market them), the easiest way to find our work is just to click on my name – it’s linked directly to Peter’s Amazon author page.

          I’m still working on website construction, but I got derailed by learning about audiobooks. Hopefully I’ll have some good news in a few months. In the meantime, Peter’s in both ebook (kindle format) and trade paperback.

          Sarah, I’m not intruding with this, am I?

        1. I’d lone you a couple of my brain cells, but they’re kinda dusty and might not work anymore… 🙂

    2. I do both. My collections and my novels are available in both ebook and dead tree format. Though the dead tree came second, and I did the short works only in ebook format because the price point was too high.

      Libraries can buy such books; there are even publishers who list them for libraries. The trick is the demand side. Since anyone can publish indie — Atlanta Nights got published indie — libraries tend to avoid them. Some kind of filtering mechanism is probably in the future, but we’re not there.

  38. Indy books are in Library’s, but it takes some doing.

    And frankly, the average price of an indie ebook is around $5 IIRC.

    The greatest unknown scam right now in Publishing is ebooks sold by the Big 5 to Libraries. Upwards of $70, for a fiction ebook. Its insane.

    1. Some ebooks only have a finite number of borrows allowed, ever. Libraries mostly didn’t go for that, so publishers are raising prices instead.

      What kills me is how hostile publishers and some traditional authors are to libraries, even when they’re buying hardbacks like no tomorrow. Libraries are theft to these people.

      Sticker Shock from 2012, mostly about Overdrive’s prices from the publishers.

      There’s a competing service called Hoopla, with a smaller catalog but a fair amount of Tantor Media and AudioGo audiobooks, plus the usual ebooks, music, and videos.

      1. My library used to have an ebook service that would let you download off amazon. I got annoyed when they switched to overdrive because they wanted me to download a new program on my computer (which is really old) and iirc hook my kindle up with an actual cord or something! Crazy.

        I just check the books out of the library now. It’s not worth the hassle.

  39. The other day, I had had enough and posted this on my Facebook page.

    “I’m sorry, people. If you throw a war, whether it be a sex war, a race war, a culture war, or a nation war, I am going to fight for my side.

    It would be better if people would stop throwing wars. No, your cause is NOT worthy of a war. Get over yourself.”

    So yes, I now AM a racist, sexist, nativist homophobe. If that’s what it means to be on the other side of these jerks, I’m all that, and proud of it. Do your worst.

    1. I’m with you to a point. I decline to accept their labels. I am not a sexist, I am an antifeminist, and the feminists are sexist nitwits. I am not a racist. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and all the White Liberal idiots who enable them are racists. They literally decide everything through the lens of race, and they do the brown people of the world no favors. I am not homophobic. I AM heterosexual, and unlikely to change. I do not fear homosexuals, though I sometimes wonder what the hell some of them are thinking. If you wear your bed-play costumes on the street people are likely to conclude that you are an adolescent dork with impulse control issues. And they will be right. I am not anti-trans. The day that medical and biological science make really changing sex possible, I will be fascinated to see the results. In the meanwhile, any “doctor” claiming to perform “Gender reassignment surgery” should be prosecuted for fraud and mutilation.

      The LIRP left can take their labels, fold them until they are all corners, and jam them sideways.

  40. One thing I’ve learned: “out of flips to give” is the essence and basis of “cool”.

    Oddly, I’m now something I dearly wished to be when younger. And couldn’t bring myself to care if I tried.

    1. It wouldn’t have been much different.

      My mom had several of my old classmates come up and tell her how they had “always admired” how I didn’t care what others thought, I did my own thing.

      If I even accurately noticed what they thought, I usually did care, it just wasn’t important enough to do what they wanted.

      So it wasn’t functionally any different.

      OTOH, I am now incredibly popular…with the tiny army we’ve created. Also not quite what I sometimes imagined it would be, but they definitely like me! (usually, if I’m doing what they want)

      1. … not quite what I sometimes imagined it would be, but they definitely like me! (usually, if I’m doing what they want)

        Always useful to be popular, even better to be liked for who and what you are (as opposed to how well you fill the roll of what others want you to be.)

        Comes Judgement Day, they won’t be the ones evaluating your life; that’ll be up to you and the one to whom you justify it.

  41. It’s not that I have no flips to give. It’s that my give-a-damn is busted.

    Thank the Lord my parents were readers and led me to a love of the written word before the public education system got it hands on me. The drivel kids have to put up with in school is frankly apalling. It’s no wonder so many people were turned off of reading entirely.

    I’ve read just about every Loius L’Amour story the man ever wrote. I will admit it, I read a -lot- of Forgotten Realms in High School. I read my mother’s truly immense collection of Star Trek novels. I read the Pern books and the Talent books like they were religious observations. I read my father’s Analogs when they arrived in the mail. I read the Flinx books by Alan Dean Foster (though his more recent offerings come across like he writes with a thesaurus in his lap). I read anything that would keep my attention, fired my imagination. I missed more than a few meals because I was so absorbed I didn’t hear the call to dinner.

    I keep trying to think what got me through the dry years before I discovered Weber and Ringo, and the more I think on it the more I believe it was joining lots of cooperative story-telling groups, on bulletin boards or by email. Working with other to create worlds and characters and stories that were larer than just me was much more fulfilling than anything I could find on the shelves.

    And now I’ve got several good friends who keep my reading list stocked with reccomendations that introduce me to others like them, which result in more reccomendations and others similar writers and so on.

    I don’t want to live in a world where the bookshelves belong exclusively to the dreck I was force-fed in school. Fight the good fight, Sarah, even if it’s because you don’t know how to stop. Know that we are marching beside you and Larry and Brad.

    1. I have a BFH around here, somewhere…, that might fix that broken give-a-damn. Afraid my flip generator isn’t just broken, though, I’ve been using it for target practice. LOTS of target practice. Lots and lots of target practice.

  42. I read the list of the 28 Science Fiction Grand Masters and was astounded that Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, S. M, Stirling, David Drake etc. were absent! Some of the finest most innovative writers in SF ignored; totally inexplicable! Politics?

      1. The important issue is not, as the Defenders of Yugo would have you think, whether there are any on the list who aren’t deserving. The issue is how many authors who are clearly undeniably deserving are NOT on the list of Grandmasters.

    1. How would Stirling be disqualified on the basis of politics, though? You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a GLBT character in a Stirling novel.
      (Well, not always the case–The Reformer, for one, but still)
      Now, he might not make it for unapologetically being a fan of America, but still.

      1. He had a hilarious (to me, anyway) sequence about a hard core “indigenous people are peaceful and in tune with nature” type get rather nastily sacrificed to a Jaguar god in Island in the Sea of Time for one. I hope I am not a bad person for enjoying that… Also America was not automatically the bad guy in Courts of the Crimson Kingsand the Communists were grasping idiots.

        1. Let’s be fair. In Court, the Communists were infected by a “mind-control bug” by the Martians. [Wink]

          Oh, I’m a bad person. I loved what happened to that woman in Island and what happened to her brother. [Evil Grin]

  43. There are certain quirks in my expression that can still be traced to ESL

    You and Joseph Conrad.

  44. Forgive me if this is incoherent. I am dyslexic and can’t spell to save my soul and I have all these ideas floating around in my head but can’t get them out and into coherent words. The people on this and Brad’s forums are intimidating! Sarah’s dyslexic comment above, gave me a chuckle and the courage to write. I never remember characters names nor do I remember author’s names (sorry to all you authors) I remember the first letter and length of the name (Dune was he!! for me)

    I have been a long time sf/f reader and I just assumed the genre was so small that I read myself out of the good books. I’ve been buying indie books on Amazon and I have to muddle through a lot of not so good books before I discover a gem. The biggest gift the Sad Puppies (yes, even the Rabid Puppies) have given me is a place to find SF/F books to read. The thing I would like to see come out of this is 10, 20, 30 slates. I think more fans and authors should publish their top 5 picks and let the readers check them out. By following this and Brad’s blogs, I have found many new authors to check out, some of them have been writing for 20 years and I never heard of them. I am in HEAVEN!!!! We need more of these lists so people can find authors that write stories that they like. Doesn’t Amazon already do this for us with, “If you like this, then you may like..”? I am not a big fan of monsters and zombies (sorry Jim Butcher and Larry Correia) but the slate gave me something to work from.

    I have 5 Simak books my Dad gave me when he closed his used book store that I am now anxious to read after lurking here for awhile. And I have bought several books in the last couple of weeks that I would never have read before if it wasn’t for the whole Sad Puppy initiative, Sarah’s, Brad’s, Connie Willis’, and Charles Gannon’s to name a few authors (I have them next to me that’s why I got the names right :-). Sad Puppies has got to be a boon to the sf/f book industry based upon some of the things I have been reading.

    I signed up for a supporting membership to the World Con so I can vote. I don’t have anything invested in who wins the Hugo, I am not an author and I don’t have any preference since I am not into great literature (I am dyslexic remember). But what I am, is an avid sf/f reader that enjoys a rollicking good adventure that, oh by the way, makes me think a little bit. I want the genre to grow and offer me more and more good books to read, and if my vote helps in any way,then I want to help.

    I know how taxing this Sad Puppy effort has been on all of you, but I want you to know that it has been worth it. I am sure there are a lot of people out there that are like me, lurking on the forums and devouring books that you have introduced to us. I have found a tribe (as Brad would say) and that is the sf/f community as a whole (good, bad, and indifferent). I am a conservative, gay, christian, mom (since the left likes labels) my partner and I always joke that we don’t fit in anywhere, neither side likes us. But here the commonality of good books supersedes the labels.

    Sorry this is long. Bottom line is… Thank you Sarah, Brad, Larry (yes, even VOX) for what you have and are doing, you are making a difference. Please publish more slates!!!!

    From one of the many silent lurkers out in the cloud,

    1. *grin* Welcome! And it’s good to hear your thoughts! The folks here are wonderful and while arguments can get heated, I personally have found a good place with good people.

      I think there are other dyslexics ’round here so that’s not a problem =D We do have a fondness for PUN-ishment, and ware the flying carp, or slipping in the constant stream of cheeky sarcasm. ^.~

    2. Christopher Nuttall mentioned on a blog post somewhere he is dyslexic. Which seems counterintuitive because he writes a ton… But I can tell when I’m reading anything of his that hasn’t been edited.

      There are obviously degrees of “dyslexia”: I’ve encountered people with truly crippling forms that would suffer in any language, but the milder forms might be asymptomatic in languages that have more or less phonetic spellings (e.g., Spanish). English spelling basically has no logic at all (due primarily to its mixed origins), and so becomes a bit of a “stress test”.

      1. Yes, there are degrees of dyslexia. I was really bad at reading in the 1 & second grade, but I really like reading, so I kept plugging away at it. Eventually, for lack of a better way of describing it, I reprogrammed my brain so that it works better at reading, and I took off like a rocket. Still find myself reading along and reading something that doesn’t make sense, so I stop and go back and read it carefully, forcing myself to put the words in the right order. Similarities showed up when I moved to southern Texas (from 1100 miles north) and tried to take Spanish in the 7th grade. Senora Escudero despaired at me ever learning Spanish. But about halfway through the year, something clicked and overnight I could read it, write it, and speak it better than the rest of the class – a class full of kids from within 20 miles of the border.

        1. The one thing I have left of the dyslexia years is that if I get very tired I type ALL the words entirely backwards. This first happened mid novel, and it shouldn’t even be possible. I can’t do it if I TRY, but if it just happens, it does. And it’s freaky.

          1. I’ve wondered if my “interesting spelling” is related to dyslexia.

            Very often, I’ll know the word is mis-spelled but can’t think of the correct spelling. [Sad Smile]

        2. Some of the younger participants here may not realize that until fairly recently, science held against brain plasticity, thinking that what you exited the uterus with was what you got. The effects of MRIs and their ilk have obviously changed this belief, but many older textbooks and folks who learned their biology before the 1990s likely still don’t fully comprehend the amount of brain reprogramming that is routinely ongoing.

    3. Oh, and BTW, people who are dyslexic but have good “native” English pronunciation tend to find text-to-speech software like Dragon Dictate very liberating. They (at least used to) have a fully functional demo.

    4. Lisa, thanks for your thoughts. Just one thing: Do not fall for “the Lies of the Left” by saying “neither side likes us.” Not true! Yes, the Left hates you because they insist on solid, undeviating groupthinkl They are social and intellectual fascists. Not so on the Right, which is based upon independent thinking. I’m a hard-right libertarian, as hard as they come, and I think you’re great. The fact that you’re a conservative, a Christian, and a mom tells me that you have sound values and have made good, even heroic, choices. The fact that you are gay tells me only that you are part of the broad tapestry of humanity (and I happen to like humanity). It says nothing about your *values*, which are what I base my assessments on. Bottom line: Thank you for your values and choices Don’t fall for the Lies of the Left, an ideology which is based *entirely* upon falsity.

    5. ” But what I am, is an avid sf/f reader that enjoys a rollicking good adventure that, oh by the way, makes me think a little bit.”

      Welcome! So am I, which is why I’m supporting the Sad Puppies also.

      Good writing is important – and as far as the author goes I don’t care if they’ve got feathers, fins, scales, or breath ammonia. What matters is the STORY and the IDEAS – and I really have a hard time understanding those who think that DIVERSITY is much more important than a good story!

    6. Lisa, as very conservative, heterosexual, Christian male, let me welcome you to the party (what? We’re always having a party around here!). We’re a tad rambunctious, but don’t mind that – most of us won’t bite…at least not too hard. Normally. Hmm, on second thought, here, try this chain-mail shirt on – it looks to be about the right size for you… 🙂

      I normally don’t like zombie and monster books either, but, if you haven’t already, give Larry’s a try – he really is a fantastic author and does a super job with the subject. And his Grimnoir trilogy is nothing like it. While on the topics of zombies, John Ringo actually wrote the impossible – a zombie apocalypse series that’s actually hopeful (and funny, and entirely too realistic). Besides the authors you find around here and on the SP slate, check out Baen publishing – they have a free library and they have their monthly bundles that are filled with awesomeness.

      1. “most of us won’t bite…at least not too hard.”

        That costs extra. *Wink*

  45. I’m lucky. I’m mildly dyslexic. Spell check is my saving grace. My son is extremely dyslexic. He is 10 years old and really struggles with reading and writing. He loves science fiction, we do a lot of listening to books on tape in the car. We are in the middle of the Hero’s of Olympus saga by Riordan. He loves everything star wars so he looks at the cover of my sf books and wants me to read them to him. I loved Ender’s Game as a kid so we listened to it. Danny wasn’t as thrilled with it as he is the Riordan’s books. I think he needs to be a bit older. I forgot how dark Ender’s Game is, or maybe I just missed that aspect of the story when I was a kid.

    1. I’m going to tell you something terrible — or at least my kid (and I, once) thought it was terrible — both myself and younger son are horribly dyslexic. Between the ages of 6 and 12 my dad made me copy a page a day. I hated it. Then I faced it with younger son, and they had all these fancy “reconditioning” exercises we both hated. In despair, I made him copy a page a day for a year. He spells better than his brother who is NOT dyslexic and writes fast and clearly for his age. He also stopped swapping b and d willy nilly. It’s boring, it’s annoying, etc, but it seems to work. It bypasses higher brain function and trains things into the backbrain by rote.

      1. **gasp**
        but, but, you’re supposed to wallow in the disability and wear it proudly! Not actually work to fix the problem!
        Mine is very very mild and mainly kicks in when I am tired. I was most severe when I was a kid, but is making something of a comeback as I tend to be too damned tired too often. I learned to go back and reread lines so though I am a fairly fast reader, I’d be even faster if I didn’t do maybe a third to half the lines twice or more.

    2. I am not a parent of a dyslexic, but I am a home schooler, and I’ve heard from other parents that cursive is very good for dyslexic kids because the letters are all different shapes.

      Try Zoey Ivers ‘The Barton Street Gym’. Zoey is a pen name for YA books by Pam Uphoff (don’t mix them up, her adult stuff is adult) and my ten and twelve year old boys love them. They keep making me buy copies for their friends. (Mom? I need Barton Street for so’n’so’s birthday.)

  46. Interestingly, it is not uncommon for dyslexics to be authors because they are very good with “big picture” thinking and have a tendency to be very creative. Danny can’t find specific words to describe things so he uses analogies all the time, he is always mapping concepts over to other ideas and seeing connections where others don’t. Editors are the ones that are good with the grammatical details and tend to not be very creative. Editors are a dyslexics best friend 🙂 We have done a lot of research on the subject since he has it. We have chosen to homeschool him, allowing us to work with him at his own pace.

  47. Sarah, If I was one of those who dreamed of having my name in lights here, how would I go about submitting? What are the criteria and rules for doing so?

    1. In Free-Range Oyster’s weekly-when-he-has-stuff post? Email him with your title, blurb, and links to appropriate venues.

    2. If you’re looking to go Indie – here’s a start.

      (You supply the story, format per guidelines, provide cover, and hit ‘Publish’.)

      Promotion? That’s a different story, and I’ve yet to get the hang of it myself, being one of those who early on was taught that you don’t blow your own horn…

      (Really have to break myself of that one of these days… 😦 )

    3. my first two initial, my last name at hotmail dot com. I try not to have naked partisan screaming, though sometimes I lapse. I try to fight the culture war. It needs it.

      1. I wasn’t thinking partisan screaming so much as a different perspective. It occurs to me that we are in some ways mirror images.Whereas you are a immigrant to America who has become American I am a native born son who has become an ex-pat.

        You were born and raised in Portugal and moved to America. I was born and raised in Miami and haven’t lived in the US in over a decade.

        You immigrated from a country with a heavy Marxist influence and moved to the U.S.

        I was born in the U.S. and voluntarily moved to a country which had recently cast off the yoke of communism. (and while I no longer live in that country the experience was transformative)

        You write about about the psychological effects of that type of society on someone growing up, while I grew up in in a capitalist society and saw those effects second hand when I went to live in a formerly communist country.

        I thought that somehow my own experiences might be interesting but now that I have explained them I’m not sure how they might be useful. Then again I am on my third bottle of gin for the night.

          1. I would never beat up a paleontologist. I might tenderize one prior to marinating one, but that’s only because years of academia would make them a bit chewy. Then again considering that I am mostly fat and gristle who am I to complain?

            Seriously though, even if you don’t run it I would be truly interested in your feedback.

        1. There was a time when claiming to have been born and raised in Miami was not taken as proof of living in the US. I suspect the Cubans living there have by now made it more American than many another city (cough*L.A.*cough).

          1. You jest but in a high school test I was told to name three spanish speaking countries. I listed Mexico, Spain and Miami, and the teacher marked the answer correct.

  48. I made the same sad trek through the SF/F aisle only to turn thinking modern SF/F sucked but knowing why or what to do about it. Sad Puppies showed me I wasn’t nuts and I wasn’t the only one. I know you’ve been libeled for participating but THANK YOU for shining the light on the cockroaches.

  49. I made the same sad trek down the SF/F aisle, finding nothing I liked and thinking it was just me. Sad Puppies showed me I wasn’t alone. THANK YOU for taking the stand.

  50. The sameness and a weird sense the writer hated the genre and was smirking at me while he/she wrote as in “Oh, so you want to dream of the future, you nasty little human. See what I do to your dreams” had me reading less and less science fiction and fantasy as time went on.

    Ha this! “See what I do to your futile dreams!” is one attitude that drives me away from a work.

    This attitude appears to be leaking into actual aerospace engineering: A sort of bitter nihilism directed towards efficacy and the idea that we can *do* certain things (not even all that speculative).

    One of my labmates sent me some mindless internet meme where the authors are trying to claim any sort of Mars mission would be suicidal and pointless. They end with “Why the !@#$ does anyone want to go to Mars!?” pasted over an image of Captain Picard. WTF? They have a fictional starship captain harping about the futility of human space exploration. How do they imagine that anyone gets to the point of having interstellar travel, if we never even make the attempt to get people to other planets in our own system?

    I said as much to my labmate. My labmate responded that he never expects us to have interstellar travel either. Don’t I get it? It’s all fantasy. It’s all an impossible dream of foolish people who think we can solve problems with technology.

    This is from a PhD aerospace engineer!

    I met another guy at a science conference. Some Australian jerk who would start heckling people presenting their research. At one point he starts trash talking a NASA engineer discussing a NERVA mars mission design in the QA session of his presentation. He said something to the effect that: “It’s irresponsible to keep designing these missions as if you’re ever going to get the astronauts back. We as a society need to get used to the idea that astronauts are expendable. They’re all going to die anyway, this should be reflected in the mission design! Trying to return these people to Earth just shows you have unrealistic ideas about the value of their lives.”

    I don’t understand it, but it’s there. A sort of hostility and an active will to ruin our “futile dreams” by redesigning them into something horrible. “So, you dream of space travel! Well too bad! The only thing we’ll allow you to build are exotic suicide missions” Why? I still can’t even wrap my head around why.

    1. Those same arguments were once applicable to efforts to colonize the American continent: it’s a barren wilderness, why would anyone want to go there?

      As for the clown arguing “They’re all going to die anyway” — yes, so are we all, all going to die anyway. Some of us are going to do it with style and purpose.

      1. The difference is that if you shipwrecked on America’s shores, you could survive. That does have to get factored in.

    2. My labmate responded that he never expects us to have interstellar travel either


      I am actually more of a fantasy than a sci fi reader, but in reality I think it is very important for humanity to start heading out and I can’t understand why anybody would not want to do that.

      1. Ehh, I didn’t mean to imply it was a widespread attitude. I’ve only heard it from my labmate (who is widely regarded as full of it), and that one jerk at the conference.

        Still it was somewhat shocking, and it reminded me of the attitude of some of those step-on-your-dreams sci-fi books. Seriously, why are you an engineer if you don’t want to build things? Awesome things?

    3. Fuck him.Fuck them. They don’t get it. And they lose. Always and forever. Not because they are wrong. Not because they don’t understand. Not because they can’t conceive of a better future. They lose because they don’t fucking get it.

      These are people who condemn Columbus for a mathematical error while ignoring the courage it took to make the voyage. These are the people who condemn Marco Polo because he didn’t conform to OSHA guideline on his journeys. These are the people who look at Europa and debate catch and release quotas.

      They do not own the future. We do. Those who strive, who fight, who battle, who REFUSE TO GIVE UP, BOW DOWN, OR RUN AWAY. They can have their perverted view of the past. We OWN THE FUTURE. Because we are the ones who dream, who work, who write, who create, We are the builders, They can only squawk from the sidelines.Let them. It is all they have. WE OWN THE FUTURE!

      1. They are the ones who refused to climb down from the trees because it could be dangerous down there. Who refused to accept fire because somebody was sure to get burned. The ones who didn’t want to go into the caves because it was dark and nasty and they might get trapped inside. They are the fearful, the timid, the anti-human.

    4. “I said as much to my labmate. My labmate responded that he never expects us to have interstellar travel either. Don’t I get it? It’s all fantasy. It’s all an impossible dream of foolish people who think we can solve problems with technology.”

      Did you look at him and tell him that he’s part of the problem, not the solution?

      1. “Charlie had gone Crazy Eddie. It hardly mattered now; it was, in fact, a fine and enviable madness, this delusion that all questions have answers, and nothing is beyond the reach of a strong left arm.”

        1. I’ve been Crazy Eddie since I was born. I’m staying that way, thank you very much. 😛 At this point, I’m past caring whether it’s adaptive or not (which, I suppose, is part of the definition). If we are, despite all evidence, trapped in some closed cramped zero-sum world with no answers (as some seem to assume), I find no shame in spending my life searching for them anyway. You never know until you look.

          That was an insightful concept, Niven’s.

  51. Gonna drop this here just because it works on a couple levels:

    I’ve been an SF fan since before I knew what it was. I was reading starts with A…Andre Norton before I was 10.

    And I’ve never stopped. Somehow I missed the worst of the cr*p in the 1990s, I read a lot of cyberpunk and Mil SciFi. Much of the Cyberpunk stuff looked dystopian, and I guess some of it was, but a lot of it was also from the perspective of the underclass that even today is essentially an “alien culture” living around us. Trailer parks and subsized housing highrises are very, very different worlds from working poor to upper middle class neighborhoods.

    I don’t care what his political perspective (well, he’s Canadian 🙂 ) W. Gibson is a hell of a writer. N. Stephenson is wordier, but not far behind him.

    George Alec Effinger was hell of a writer too, but frankly I never made it all the way through What Entropy Means To Me. I may try again some day.

    Other things like “Life During Wartime” (Lucius Shepard) weren’t as good a read, and certainly weren’t about bright chrome and healthy futures. The author’s politics (or maybe the politics of those who paid for the book) were clear enough, but the book gave you thing something to think about.

    Other than that awful Handmaid’s Tale by Atwood I just didn’t notice the whinging and thrashing about.

    But I was poor through most of the 1990s, so my books came from used book stores (Stars our Destination in Chicago was a good place. As was the Booklegger.) and it meant that I pretty much looked for certain things.

    S.F. will survive these twits.

    (helps to hit Post Comment when you’re done typing)

  52. “Stars our Destination in Chicago was a good place. ” I have a good buddy that turned me on to Stars. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to cats and dislike the smell of cat p!ss. Which made my visits to Stars miserable and short. Are they still in business?


    1. The last I heard, Stars closed their physical store but were doing business as an online store.

  53. Pingback: Sasshole
  54. Better late than never, but that medical history screams to me: Get your thyroid checked. A full workup, NOT just a TSH test. Free T4/T3 and antibodies for sure, and perhaps RT3 as well.

    FYI, uterine fibroids are *always* indicative of hypothyroidism (and there may be NO other symptoms, tho miscarriage sure can be one), and this has been known for over 30 years, but the info has somehow not filtered out beyond the more lofty realms of research endocrinology. 😦

    And get well. We’d miss you. 🙂

    1. Thyroid might have been implicated, but the problem was caused by serious botching of caeserean. We’ll see how things shake out when hormones/body stabilizes.

  55. With apologies for what may come across as slightly cantankerous, because it feels that way, but I think might still be worth asking: I was struck by this point in the original post —

    “I remember going down a shelf at B & N desperately looking for something to read (we had a day without kids.) and getting annoyed at the blurbs. They were all the same — ALL OF THEM — young female magic user. Abusive father. Escape to magical society. Validation. Saves the world. Lather, rinse, repeat.”

    With respect, I was reading as much fantasy in the early 90s as Sarah, I think, and while I recognized this plot immediately as the plot of Mercedes Lackey ‘s first Valdemar trilogy, I cannot off the top of my head recall enough other examples to mind to substantiate this description. What other works fit this bill at the time, and were there really that many of them?

    Like I said, I don’t like to be That Annoying Guy, but in a conflict where mere hyperbole is taken as proof of actual mendacity, I like to be able to show the work. I apologize again for the jerkitude.

    1. There really were Stephen. Unfortunately I’m hampered by not having read them. Yes, Lackey was doing them, but at that time it wasn’t Valdemar. I think it was the one with the mages named for birds. But there were about a dozen (at least — I’d read the rest of books on shelf) at that particular time. I haven’t read them and don’t remember the names. However, one useful thing to remember is that if someone is doing well with a “gimmick” the publishing industry jumps on it. I don’t think any of them were greatly successful, which is why you (and I) can’t remember them.
      I also remember a trip where all they had in (technically) mystery was sex in the city clones, and I ALSO can’t give you those names, though it was seven years ago.
      I’m sorry, I don’t roam the shelves in the bookstore writing down titles and names for books I’m not buying and whose theme annoys me. I can’t imagine anyone who does.

      1. I took it as a fairly indicative anecdote. It’s an experience I’ve had on several occasions and in multiple genres.

        You get the very distinct feel that editors (or agents) grab the hot piece and look to their stable, “write me something like this, I can sell it.”

        To be fair, I’ve ended up with some of those books in my basket (usually a writer I like) and confirmed the blurb cheated the book. The book isn’t a carbon copy, just the blurb.

        But — who hasn’t had a similar experience in a modern bookstore?

      2. In her later years, Andre Norton put out a string of one Witch World novel after another all with the plot of “miserable girl takes her wonderful pet and flees to adventure and freedom”. I remember being bothered when I heard that she intended to set up a writers’ community, seeing it as a factory for new Witch World continuation novels.

        Just as Marion Zimmer Bradley had one Darkover novel after another being “oppressed woman becomes Renunciate [‘Free Amazon’] and finds fulfillment and adventure”. I recall reading one that did not end. I mean, the party of women marching through the mountains in search of the magic city never did get anywhere.

        And I’ll bet that all those indistinguishable novels had blurbs by Bradley, Norton, and/or Anne McCaffrey proclaiming the author as one of the great ones. And that most of them did two or three books and faded away . . .

        1. That was CITY OF SORCERY, iirc, and it was the last Darkover novel I read. She could fool me into a reading a “novel” about a woman deciding she didn’t like men once, but not a second time.

    2. Off the top of my head, Robin McKinley’s Deerskin. It’s not difficult to go to Amazon and set up search parameters, so you can prove it to yourself. You’ve set up something that is difficult for anyone who’d actually read and remembered books from 25 years ago, let alone just seen blurbs on the back of covers.

      1. *Shudder* Only book of hers I can’t stand, thus far; she did the topic really well, instead of cheaply, but…really doesn’t make it any less *gah!*

        1. Agreed. I was creeped out from page one, with how much the “beauty” of the king and queen was emphasized.
          And it only got worse from there.
          (I still finished it though. I don’t know what prompted that story, but I still love all the rest of her work.)

            1. It’s a twist on an existing fairy tale. In the originals, the heroine succeeds in putting off her father for a bit, and then runs away to safety. That is, the most disturbing parts were things she added.

              Plus of course, fairy tale style is much more laconic and brisk than novelistic style. In a fairy tale, you can have the heroine’s eyes be gouged out, her hands be cut off, or even her being torn entirely into pieces in a sentence and get on with the tale without dwelling on it.

          1. Thirded. I read it once and far too much stuck with me. Yes, she did a magnificent job with the story and material, but yee doggies. It’s the only one of hers that I don’t recommend and have never read twice.

    3. Well off the top of my head i don’t remember the titles or authors of crap books, they aren’t important and they might improve later. If they continue to write straight white men are bad people the blurb tell you that and you pass it up. Do you really remember every gbook you pick up, look at and say “EEEWWW” about. I’d say you need to go rent a life if you do. I don’t think you do.

      1. Then there is the homosexual protagonist, ostracized for forbidden love, finding haven and power in a community of magic users.

        Usually ends with protagonist sacrificing life to save the world which denied him (sometimes her, usually him).

        These are the literary equivalent of folk dances; once you recognize the tune the movements are always the same, with a few minor variants of the steps.

        1. It was so prevalent that Diana Wynne Jones satirized it in The Tough Guide to Fantasy land but, and this is proof that we don’t all get the same snapshot, the ONLY one I ever found was Valdemar. Maybe not the same in all places? Or I just developed a “turn that one off.” The other one that has started (and by started read ARGH) grating is “everyone in the village gets killed and protagonist female escapes, sometimes after being raped and left for dead. I had to give a win in a contest to one of those because it was the most literate, but I didn’t want to just because of that.

          1. There are circumstances in which “No Award” is appropriate.

            I do not know how otherwise to distinguish between “literate cliches” and “subliterate brilliant plot.”

            1. Heck, Misty was good for a shelf: 2 Valdemar series (Tarma and Kethry, Heralds), one Native American mystical detective, multiple Elemental Mages books….

            2. Sometimes if you are an experienced writer you can wring a twist on a cliche. Gordon Dickson did that a few times in his short stories.

    4. I’m not going to apologize for being “cantankerous”. I’ll admit up front that I’m going to be bitchy with this response. First, you have absolutely no idea how much fantasy — or anything else — Sarah was reading at the time. Then, to basically accuse her of misrepresenting the fact is, well, not good. How many titles of books do you remember that you merely picked up and then put back down without reading more than the blurb over 20 years ago? Asking her to basically prove her point by naming names is insane, especially when a little bit of research on your part would have found examples for you. Yes, there were other books out there besides Lackey’s at that time using that same basic premise.

      1. “First, you have absolutely no idea how much fantasy — or anything else — Sarah was reading at the time.”

        Fair enough, that is true, and the bitchiness is totally understandable and accepted. Nonetheless, I think I can form a reasonable idea based on her own descriptions in this blog; heck, I would easily bet Sarah read and still reads even more and faster than I did back then. (I’m a dad and sole breadwinner for my family these days so my own reading habits have taken a shattering nosedive since the early ’90s, which is why I remember the contrast so sharply.)

        And as someone who used to hit a library or bookstore two to three times a week on average over that time period, I was looking at more or less the same (metaphorical) bookshelves Sarah was (it was Coles and later Chapters up in Canada, rather than B&N), and I can’t say I ever had that same experience of reviewing a shelf and discovering that all the books were variations on a single general plot. Thus I find myself worrying that perhaps the generalization is a stretch too far, given that the opposition in this clash will take any inconsistency as evidence that our case is false at best and dishonest at worst.

        I’m not accusing Sarah of misrepresenting anything; I’m saying that if it cannot be demonstrated that her experience was representative, then it will be easy to dismiss as an outlier and not convince anyone, and so anything that can actually be named will help. I apologize again for the offense and can only ask that this be taken in a devil’s advocate spirit of trying to strengthen the case rather than disprove it.

        1. No, you really weren’t looking at the same bookshelves. The stocking of B & N and bookstores in Canada were completely different.
          Okay, here’s what creeped me out about your comment. There was a comment just before it which I deleted accusing me of making up the dystopian left sf trend in the seventies IN PORTUGAL. I mean, keep in mind what I was reading is what was translated to Portuguese and demanding I give titles and names.
          I do remember some of the authors’ names. they’re still around. I don’t need a pissing contest with big names, even if I could at this point put them to the novels (which I can’t.) But this person wanted me to name names of other pros and diss them on my blog. (Also I figured out why he couldn’t see the left tilt. He thought Heinlein (TMIAAM to be exact) was “rubbish”. He might not see the left like a fish wouldn’t see water.)
          Then you asked. Even if I remembered the names, which in this case I genuinely don’t. It was one of the many trips that led to us calling our trips to the bookstore “let’s go be disappointed by B &N” I wouldn’t mention them.
          I did read the Mercedes Lackey (almost for sure) series about the people named after songbirds, that had that standard beginning/character DESPITE having that beginning character, because she can write stories that pull you in. Most of these people couldn’t.
          But no, bookstore chains in different countries (much less libraries) don’t stock the same thing. For instance my first trilogy did massively well in Canada, despite never really being on shelves in the US.
          It’s also possible you’d subconsciously learned to avoid the heuristics that indicated those books. I know I missed most of the cyberpunk books because the ones I sampled early on left a nasty “nostalgie de la bue” taste at the back of my mouth. It’s entirely possible that William O’Blivion is right and there were gems in the muck, but after sampling I avoided it so hard I can’t even tell you when it peaked or waned. I glossed over those books on shelves without even seeing them.

    5. With respect, I was reading as much fantasy in the early 90s as Sarah, I think, and while I recognized this plot immediately as the plot of Mercedes Lackey ‘s first Valdemar trilogy, I cannot off the top of my head recall enough other examples to mind to substantiate this description.

      Clearly your memory is more merciful than mine– Lackey did a lot of “abused child magic user,” but at least she usually bothers to have SOME sort of character beyond that. A lot of the ones I read…didn’t. Part of why I tended to stick to things with, say, a dark elf and black panther on the front of it. (Although there were a couple of Forgotten Realms books where that was it, too.)

      Go look in a secondhand book store, you’ll find ’em– just like every blanking fad, someone discovered that it was an easy way to build sympathy and so it got over-used.

      Heck, I can even remember the parodies of it back on the Yahoo boards (late 90s, obviously) because the bar for “abuse” got so incredibly stupid low; you’ll even find it in Mary Sues.

      1. Yes, I usually read Lackey because at least that made sense. Most of the others didn’t. BTW while the “gay magic user” was so highly common that Diana Wynne Jones used it as a joke in The Tough Guide To Fantasy Land, I ONLY remember Valdemar. I think I somehow managed to stay away from the others, perhaps through reading one or two so bad I expunged it from my memory and then learned to avoid the “signs” of one. I honestly ONLY remember Valdemar. Which was pretty good as those go. (Though my favorite series of hers is the witch series.)

        1. I’m pretty sure it’s more of a visual media (or gaming) trope than a book one– and it’s justifiable because, well, as a WoW boss once put it: “Kill the one in the dress, you fools!”

          Mage= intelligent, sensitive, usually effeminate-compared-to-the-Conan-clones guy who is wearing a dress! Back when* activists folks were claiming everyone who wasn’t excessively and undeniably heterosexual, that was more than enough.
          * I say ‘back when,’ but apparently an ambassador from France has been tagged as ‘gay’ just this year because he’s not married and has no known mistresses, even though he’s a sometimes daily mass-goer; seems to be some elaborate defemation junk, but still. /headdesk

          1. Maybe the ambassador almost became a priest. If he’s devout he probably wouldn’t have a mistress.

        2. I enjoyed Lackey’s 1st Valdemar trilogy when I was young and in a mood for self-pity. What they would call an “emo teen.” God I feel old. my teens were 40 years ago. There are times I wish I could do my life over. Otoh, if I did I might not have met and married hubby dearest.

              1. Join the club. It didn’t help that as my kids were growing up we had the dubious honor of being the “oldest parents” at virtually any school function.

                I’m in that little set of years which get lumped with both the baby boomers and Gen X. I’m not sure I want to be lumped, but if I have to, I’ll go with the Xs.

    6. The problem you’re going to find is this, Stephen:

      1.) When the book is so boring/annoying that you can pick up on “Oh, not another one” in the first five pages (if not just the blurb itself), it gets rejected without remembrance. I’ve probably read two hundred kindle samples in the past year. I’ve probably skipped two thousand more books on Amazon, not even making it to downloading the sample. I couldn’t give you any of the names from more than a week ago, because I don’t bother to remember what I don’t want.

      2.) For the ones I read, even when I remember their titles, it’s not very professional to slag on other authors. So you’re very likely to get titles of things people enjoy, and not very likely to get authors you won’t like.

      3.) I have to agree that it was a common trend. Common enough that I remember consciously switching to gaming tie-in fiction or the books with the rocketship/dragon on the spine, because when I got bored enough to read through every single book in the fantasy & sci fi section at the public library, I found most of the rest sucked. (Not that all Forgotten Realms or Baen was good, but it had a far greater percentage of good stuff.) Am I going to go back and try to look up everything? I don’t have the spare time, any more than you do. Besides, like the mass of “strong female heroine” books in urban fantasy right now, most of them were forgettable midlist, and went out of print after one small publication run. They’re not going to be around anymore to find.

  56. My favorite author is Lois Bujold. I’m on the Dendarii mailing list. When the Hugo brouhaha blew up I was surprised by the venom some of my fellow listees showed. I read and buy books for the stories. I don’t care about the author’s politics or sexual habits unless they show up in the story. The two things I can’t stand are: 1) ALL the characters are despicable – I have to like somebody and 2) the author has suborned the story for “a pot of message.”

  57. I think I’ll click over to Baen and buy a Correia with a Hoyt on the side.
    Hugs and Prayers Sarah.

  58. I vividly recall that back in the late 80s-mid 90s, several fantasy anthologies (even some of the ones with a rather extreme chip regarding how Evil Men Are Evil Because Men, Therefore Evil) began requesting that the contributors please, please, please, PLEASE stop sending in the “Female Sorceress is Brutally Gang-Raped. But Later She Learns Revenge Magic And Kills Her Rapists” story.

    Note that in all cases, these were anthologies exclusively devoted to and publishing stories ONLY by women.

    And all they could think of was rape and revenge, revenge and rape. 😦

    Datlow and Windling published a version of “The Little Match Girl” in one of their fairy tale anthologies that was the worst offender in this regard. The story ended up literally giving me nightmares. It was pages and pages of a woman being brutally, graphically raped by every single male character in the story. Without exception. And in great detail.

    Then, right before the story ends, she finds a magic matchstick, becomes a badass fiery sorceress and kills ’em all. The end.

    …..see, now this is why I tend to take the “Inclusive, loving fantasy” side with an enormous grain of salt. I was exposed to far too much of what they saw as “just” and “good” in fiction.

  59. I’ve read a number of your short stories in the Greenberg DAW anthologies and I’ve enjoyed them. That’s why I wandered over here from File 770.

    That’s how I recognize your name. I dropped out of fandom a couple of decades ago over just this kind of stuff. I agree with a lot of what you say here. Brad Torgerson has some valid points. I stopped assigning a great deal of value to the awards long ago. But I would point out a few things in relation to what you say here.

    One, John C. Wright wrote, in a piece entitled, “An Outbreak of Peace”, a statement which reads, “Remove or silence those among you who see science fiction as a tool of social engineering and to whom entertainment is subordinate to political correctness and I will break my saber over my knee and throw the shards into the sea”. It can be found after the dialog at the top at the link below:


    Wright has claimed connection to SP in this. That statement indicates he doesn’t just want the playing field even-he wants to clear the field of anyone holding ideas with which he takes objection. That is totalitarianism writ large.

    Two, there were two lists, the SP list by Torgerson and others and the RP list composed (by his own assertion) by “Vox Day”. Very little, comparatively speaking, was on the SP list which was not also on the RP list (and one of those differences was that the RP list included a novel by Torgerson himself which Mr. Torgerson did not include on the SP list). The two lists are strikingly similar, as though they were largely grafted together. Mr. “Day” also states that anyone who values his opinion on SF and Fantasy should “nominate them precisely as they are”, the context making it clear that his “recommendations” should be listed precisely as he has presented them on his page on Hugo nomination ballots. He also mentions blowing up the Hugos. Link below:


    So, at a minimum, the SP slate has been co-opted by Mr. “Day”, which means, rightly or wrongly, the two campaigns are connected at the hip. The overwhelming success of the list(s) in dominating the Hugo final ballot doesn’t indicate a level and even field, it indicates a palace coup. So, can the SPs still reasonably consider themselves the only aggrieved parties? Are they the only aggrieved parties?

    Personally, I see a lot of tall children all over the place and I’m remembering why I exited, stage right, so long ago. I only came upon this when the Hugo ballot was released some two weeks ago and, looking as I do, when I read the Locus website, I spotted one writer with THREE novellas, all from the same publisher and found that very unusual. I dug into it and SP came into view. Down the rabbit hole I went, only I found Watership Down instead of Alice.

    Please do remember two things: one, no one is a villain in their own eyes and, two, it is entirely possibly (actually, entirely likely) that someone you see as the bad guy has grievances every bit as legitimate as yours are. My best to you and those you hold dear.

    1. Robert — I am not John’s mother. He has his view of what Sad Puppies is about. I have mine. All I’ve ever claimed is that I want equal prominence for NON “literary” or “SJW” SF/F. You have a problem with something John said ask him.
      As for Vox Day, he chose to replicate part of the PUBLISHED SP slate. You ask him why. He has his own objectives and ideas.

      1. I know you are not John’s mother. But you referred to totalitarians and John is of the SP group and his statement is totalitarian in spades. I posted the link because, rightly or wrongly, his words will be linked with SPs. You are judged by your “allies”, even the ones who make you nervous. I don’t need to ask John or “Vox Day” a thing, as their positions are clear. Burn, baby, burn is an easy position to understand.

        Second, you didn’t achieve “equal prominence” here-you steamrolled virtually everyone else and grabbed 80-90% of the ballot. The last two years, the “literary” side of things, the “gatekeepers’, as it were, were so “effective” that they couldn’t even manage to have five stories meet the five percent rule in the short story category. This year, the top six short story nominees were all on one, the other or both SP/RP lists. There were only seven stories recommended between them and, as I understand it, one of the SP choices had eligibility questions. You “won”. But you did so with the aid of “Vox Day” and John C. Wright. That is an undeniable fact borne out by the death grip the two lists have on the ballot.

        I believe you and Brad Torgerson when you say you want equity. I agree with much of what you say when it comes to works of “non-literary” nature being given short shrift. But could you really think of only three novellas of worth which would be overlooked for the SP list? Just out of curiosity, how many of you on the SP side have bothered to nominate or vote for the Hugos regularly over the past ten years or so? Because if you don’t vote, you GET that lack of equity. The SPs have proven quite nicely that they can put forth a limited list and get large numbers to nominate specific things. That’s the easy part. But what do you do next? The noises already emanating around a SP4 sound like the volume turned up to 14 and started early.

        At what point do the SPs become the “gatekeepers”? That can happen too, very easily. I’ve been out of fandom for a long time. I’m a conservative and maybe I just expect conservatives to think with a bit less emotion and a bit more reflection than kicking over tables and burning down the barn. I see very few grownups here, just a lot of anger, rage and hurt feelings. You cannot control others, but you do control yourself. So the question now is, what will you do? For myself, I have to decide if I want to climb all the way back into something I left long ago or if I should just let the kids on both sides whack at one another with meat cleavers long after it has ceased to matter anymore.

        1. But you referred to totalitarians and John is of the SP group and his statement is totalitarian in spades.

          No, it isn’t.

          Stating that you won’t disarm yourself until AFTER a group is not philosophically dedicated to attacking me” is not totalitarian*.

          As was already pointed out by Paul Duffau,

          You are either unwilling or unable to deal with it, and you seem to have an issue with the concept of “talk to the guy you’re upset with.” Both of which indicate that time spent attempting to communicate with you will be wasted.

        2. Robert again, I am not John’s mother. I haven’t read that particular post and am not going to argue based on YOUR interpretation. It might intrigue you that days go by I don’t read anything but headlines at instapundit. It’s called being busy.
          On your second point — what in heavens name do you suggest for “achieving equal prominence”? All Brad did was publish a slate and tell people how to participate. He also enjoined them to go read the books. Turns out people did. They didn’t vote lockstep, but their vote was enough to rompee the other side which it turns out was very small indeed.
          Are you suggesting that more people should have recused themselves (other than two in novel?) to “give the other side” a shot? What sense does that make.
          The SP doesn’t become gatekeepers because leadership changes every year and because no one votes lockstep.
          Now take your problems with John to John. I am not the keeper of Mr. Wright or his mind. We are, hard though it might be for you to believe, two distinct individuals, who even disagree on tons of things. I like some of his writing. I don’t even know if he’s read me. We’re NOT a hive mind.

          1. Sarah, what really annoying about this sort is that they are always calling on “us” to whack “our” assholes but they *SCREAM BLOODY MURDER* if we ask them to whack “their” assholes.

            While I understand what you’re saying, to me the hypocrisy (not on your part) is that they would say the same thing if we asked them to “whack” their assholes. [Frown]

            1.         Drak, learn the wisdom of the W. E. B. DuHavel, Larry Correia, and Vox Day: some people are enemies, and there’s no point in treating them as anything else.  Don’t bother pretending to be polite or reasonable, except for tactical advantage.  Don’t expect them to be honorable, consistent, or logical.  And don’t bother trying to make peace.

                      The reason Larry and Vox have occasioned such outrage is because they didn’t bother pretending.  They used the hypocrisy of the SJWs against them.  Go thou and do likewise.

        3.         Yeah, we took the manipulators on at their own game, and we crushed them.  Now, if they want to regain control over nominations, they have to come out in the open and do it, instead of pulling it off so quietly most people didn’t know there were manipulation campaigns going on.

                  I can see why you don’t like this: your side lost.  I was feeling very good about our win, but after reading your whining, I feel EVEN BETTER!

                  Choke on it, enemy.

        4. Robert, Sarah is not John’s (or Vox’s or Larry’s or Brad’s) mother and you’re not our uncle. Tain’t Sarahs nor Larry’s nor Brad’s nor anybody but the SJW’s fault that their defensive line proved to be pantywaists. They’ve been stacking the deck for several years (far more than the two you acknowledge) and proved unable to stand up against a solid shove of worthy works without running to their mommies and calling people vile names.

          Plenty of people here are more than capable of rebutting your multitude of fallacies and misrepresentations, so I will address the only point that really wants attention:

          I have to decide if I want to climb all the way back into something I left long ago or if I should just let the kids on both sides whack at one another with meat cleavers long after it has ceased to matter anymore.

          You left. You say it no longer matters. So stay gone, we’ll suffer your absence.

          One question before you let the door hit you in the arse: can you provide a link where you’ve voiced similar objections to the behavior and calumny going on on the other side, or do you only insist on one side using Marquis of Queensbury* rules?

          *Dang. Now I want to watch The Quiet Man again. What a wonderful world in which I can do that whenever time permits!

    2. Robert wrote:
      “Wright has claimed connection to SP in this.”

              What does that mean?  Whatever it means, where did Wright claim it?  And why should I care?

              “Two, there were two lists, the SP list by Torgerson and others and the RP list composed (by his own assertion) by ‘Vox Day’. …

              “So, at a minimum, the SP slate has been co-opted by Mr. ‘Day’, which means, rightly or wrongly, the two campaigns are connected at the hip.”

              And the CPUSA said nice things about Franklin Roosevelt in two presidential elections, so obviously the Democratic Party was co-opted by the Kremlin, right?  Thanks for a good laugh.  (For those keeping score, this is #7 on the checklist, Concern Trolling.)

        1.         OOPS!  I missed that one.  I suppose he also gets a dishonorable mention on number 1, ‘Skim until offended’, considering his little quote from John C. Wright.

                  OK, Robert, you can do it.  All we really need is numbers two and three, ‘Disqualify That Opinion’ and ‘Attack, Attack, Attack.’  Go for the Gold!

  60. Robert, an interesting post you have put up. While I agree with Sarah about letting others speak for themselves (and rejecting your unstated but strongly implied premise that Sarah should apologize for any followers-on or imitators,) I thought I would make a couple of points about what you have written.

    First, I followed the link you provided and cannot but see that you have chosen to deliberately misstate Wright’s argument in the most distasteful way. Immediately following the sentence that you quoted, Wright states, “Here are my terms: Halt the libels and lies and keep a civil tongue in your mouth, and there will be peace.” It seems that it’s little to ask, to have the Establishment cease the character assassination, yet you are here cherrypicking a metaphor to do it more slyly than the crudities hurled at Corriea, and Torgersen, and Hoyt.

    Now onto the concept of a palace coup. I find that image illustrious of battle over the soul of sf/f. If you were the type to see the current awards structure as a personal fiefdom, the image of competing forces would seem very much like a palace coup. If, on the other hand, you were inclined to view the Hugos as a popularity contest with the democratic selection of the nominees and award-winners, you might see this as healthy competition.

    As for your sop about legitimate grievances, I am not aware of any of the SP supporters seeking to eliminate their competitors from the marketplace, or calling them the most hate-filled names to libel. You specifically stated that “no one is a villain in their own eyes” to which I agree, though it makes a villain no less so. The Ottomans felt perfectly justified in the genocide of the Armenians. No doubt they did not cast themselves as villains. In short, your statement is nonsensical.

    The second part of your formulation, “it is entirely possibly (actually, entirely likely) that someone you see as the bad guy has grievances every bit as legitimate as yours are,” is nothing more than a moral equivalency that seeks to excuse the outrageous actions of the PC crowd. The SP folks put their names forward and stated what they believe. They asked for the support of their fans. The SJW of the Establishment slipped poisoned tips into the ribs, from behind. There was no countervailing argument of “Vote for us, we’re better.” The Establishment could not afford to make that argument, to stand tall and proud in order to present their case. They were losing in the public mind for the awards and, as petty people often do, refused the honest debate for scurrilous charges and deliberate sabotage.

    1. Not to go all Godwin on this, but the assertions that “no one is a villain in their own eyes” and “it is entirely possibly (actually, entirely likely) that someone you see as the bad guy has grievances every bit as legitimate as yours are,” applies to the Nazis, America’s Southern plantation owners, the French Revolutionaries, those who demanded the crucifixion of the Nazarene, the worshippers of the Golden Calf in the desert, Pharoah, the Fallen Ones, Sauron (but I repeat myself) and all villains throughout the human imagination.

      Conceding someone may have a grievance they consider legitimate does not require neglect of broader societal interests. Some grievances demand more of society than do others, such as the ISIS jihadis demands to live in a society based upon their religious faith.

    2. In no way, shape or form do I “misstate”, deliberately or otherwise, Wright’s position. He will only break his sword if those with whom he disagrees are silenced or removed from the field.

      As for the rest: I imply nothing. I buy my ink by the barrel. I say what I mean outright. The only statements I expect anyone to “apologize” for or explain are ones they themselves have made. I posted links because the words are out there and I make no statements which need proving if I don’t provide proof.

      My point is that the SPs are no less “guilty” of doing what they say has been done to them. They’ve simply been far more effective in doing so and they’ve just started recently. “Vox Day’s” behavior is so far over the top that he’s in his own class. Like it or not, the SPs would have been far less dominant without the RP list and “Day”. For good or ill, the two are welded at the hip.

      If “the Establishment” were “losing in the public mind for the awards”, as you say, then why did SPs put forth a limited list, ready-made for simply writing down verbatim? I agree with much of what they say, but I would simply have said, “If you don’t like what’s been on the Hugo ballots lately, then join the convention, nominate what YOU liked last year and take part in the process”. If I did take the step of providing suggestions, it would have been well more than five per category. Except that I wouldn’t put forth a list. If people want to buy a membership and vote, then they don’t and shouldn’t need advice, mine or anyone else’s.

      I see more than enough scurrilous charges and deliberate sabotage coming from all sides to say freely that no side is clean.

      1. In no way, shape or form do I “misstate”, deliberately or otherwise, Wright’s position. He will only break his sword if those with whom he disagrees are silenced or removed from the field.

        If that were true, you wouldn’t be so coy about quoting the “demand” in context:
        Remove or silence those among you who see science fiction as a tool of social engineering and to whom entertainment is subordinate to political correctness, and I will break my saber over my knee and throw the shards in the sea.

        Here are my terms: Halt the libels and lies and keep a civil tongue in your mouth, and there will be peace.

        I offer no concessions in return because I have none to offer. When you and yours leveled the accusation that I was a White Supremacist Misogynist Hatemonger you knew it was false, as did every honest onlooker.

        Just to show that I, too, can quote things out of context, I can take Mr. Wright’s words and use them to respond to you:
        You cannot even quote one unedited line of his writing to support the accusation.

      2. Your false equivalence is nauseating. Defending oneself is never wrong. We didn’t start this fight, but we WILL finish it.

  61. Robert wrote:

    I agree with much of what they say, but I would simply have said, “If you don’t like what’s been on the Hugo ballots lately, then join the convention, nominate what YOU liked last year and take part in the process”. If I did take the step of providing suggestions, it would have been well more than five per category. Except that I wouldn’t put forth a list. If people want to buy a membership and vote, then they don’t and shouldn’t need advice, mine or anyone else’s.

            Of course that’s what you would have done.  And having done it, the quiet manipulators would have dominated the nomination process, AGAIN, and you would have pointed out that even with all the new voters, the usual suspects won, proving their popularity, etc., etc., etc.</Yul Brenner>  (By the way, we’ve checked off numbers four and five on the list, ‘Disregard Inconvenient Facts’, and ‘Make Sh*t Up’.  The guilt-by-Vox-Day-association is edging into number eight, When all else fails, Racism!)

            But unlike you, Bobbo, we’re not here to shave points.  You want to beat us, you need to up your game.

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