Emergent

Recently one of the people on the other side of the divide — no, not the one who thought we were being paid by the Russians (Geesh, did he listen to my accent, somehow) — was flapping jaws about how I and my friends will be crawling back and trying to make nice to the establishment of science fiction, because we’ll need to rebuild our careers.

(Does sinal salute with thumb and index pinching nose bridge and head inclined.)  Where to start?

First, at least for now — everything flip in a minute these days in publishing — I’m doing fine career wise.  I have three books hard-due at Baen and two more that will probably be bought, and which I intend to deliver this year (they’re sequels to DST and shifters.)  That is more than any other year I’ve worked for Baen (though part of this is my wretched health,)

But let’s suppose that all those tank big (unlikely since three are collaborations with bestsellers) and I’m given my marching papers.

So, what is my next move? Crawl back to the conventions and the power elites and beg for entry again?

Snort, giggle.

You know, I keep hearing this whenever someone speaks up in the arts, or media, or academia, or any other field that is heavily left. It’s like a lefty fantasy.  “These apostates will come crawling back and admit we’re right.”

Ah…   What sense would that make?

It would be like crawling back to the ex who tried to kill you BEFORE you ran away.

Look, there is no way, unless I became the most extreme of the SJWs (if I get hit on the head that hard, I’ll be on life support) that they’d even let me be published by the houses-other-than-Baen again.  Any house that accepted me (and how, since no agent would represent me?) would be subjected to boycotts and demonstrations and accused of being “right wing” until they dropped me.

Even if — let’s assume I was hit on the head, and somehow still survived — I became the most extreme of the SJWs they’d never TRUST me, so the closest I’d get is the place I was when I was in the political closet.  “Not trusted.”  So I would get to be in midlist hell forever.

Except that…. except that as publishing turns upside down and sideways most of the other publishers are shedding midlist.  So my chances of being able to continue having a job with any of them, even if I self-abased and lied to myself to that extent, would be zero.

Only a crazy person would trust the tender mercies of the left.  They don’t have any.  So I’m afraid their beautiful dream will never come true.

IF I lose my spot with Baen, I’m going indie.  (Heck, having seen what I got for my first indie book, Witchfinder, I’m going indie part time anyway now that I’m healthier (although not healthy, as is obvious. Ah, well, we’re trying to figure it out.)  Because I like big bucks and I can not lie.)

See, part of the issue with the left is that they see writing as “prestige.”  They see it that way, because most of them aren’t being paid much.  Years ago, when I mined the literary vines (that should be “literary”) I got told the maximum (MAXIMUM) advance I could aspire to was 12k.  I have seen no reason to suspect most of them get even that. Though a few darlings and bestsellers get around $40k and a particular one allegedly gets much more.  (To understand the allegedly you’d need to understand publishing contracts, in which each stage of payment is conditional on this or that and some of them are conditional on “pigs will fly through the air in merry chirping flocks.” The bit money is mostly an advertising gimmick.  I’d want to see that contract, before I remove the “allegedly”.)

So the left views writing as a way of bolstering their academic resume.  That’s why awards are SO important to them, because that means tenure or other boosts to their career.  And that’s fine.  It’s a model.

It’s just not the model I aspire to.  I have said before I’m not an author, I’m a writer, I work for a living.

My aspiration for writing was never the awards or the prestige.  It was to write a lot, have a lot of people love it, make a living from it.

I don’t object (on the contrary) to things like fan squeeing because it means my worlds came alive in other heads. Which is part of the goal.  The other part is that place where I can pay off my kids’ student loans.  Pay for our health care as we get older.  Pay for the CATS healthcare as we get older.  Pay for my bad habit of a roof over our heads and three meals a day.  (Obviously not wholly.  Dan makes most of the money around here.  BUT his job has dry spells, just as mine does.  Better with two.)  That is the real object of this and “why I write.”

So I’m going to go at least partly indie.  I’ve seen what my friends make.  I’ve seen what I made from the one book.  It will allow me to support my family.  That’s fine.

And I work for Baen, which I’m assured is completely declasse.  (I wouldn’t hang out with them otherwise.)

This, I’m told, is why I need to “rebuild my career.”

Whenever I listen to one of these people — no, not the one who thinks we’re Russian plants.  That one is just funny.  Also, he should pull up his socks or, as we say around the conference table at good ol’ Puppy Central Podnimite svoi noski —  I feel like I’m listening to “Write like it’s 1999.”

To them there’s only one way to get published, one way to have a fanbase, and yes, even though it generally sucks for their endeavours, one way to make money: the old establishment they control.

No wonder they rub their hands with glee to fantasies of us trying to “crawl back” into their good graces.

What they’re missing is that their world is restricted, small, old and dying.

They keep closing that door, like it means anything.

And we keep turning around from the little decaying house, and seeing a wildly beautiful and, yes, diverse world to run rampant in.

Does it have prestige?  Oh, not with the old establishment.  The old news-industrial complex will never call on ME for an opinion on anything SF/f.

So what?

Their audience is shrinking as fast as their stalwarts.

Out there, in the wide world, there’s millions of people willing to read what we write and pay for it.

And you know what, as Heinlein said, we write for people’s beer money.  There’s no more sincere flattery than people foregoing other, similarly priced pleasures for one of my books.  H*ll some of you passed up on a chicken to read my books.  That’s the most beautiful thing anyone has ever done for my work.  Thank you.

There’s no going back.  We — or at least I — knew that full well when we came out of political closet.

Sure, we’re now shuttered out of the old structures forever.

But we’re free in the world, and we’re emergent.

In the end we win, they lose.

Be not afraid.  Go and make your own success, on your own terms.

344 responses to “Emergent

  1. Was reading The Solaris Book of Best New Science Fiction (2007) and I was struck by how confining are the “approved” assumptions. The lead story was “In His Sights” (Jeffrey Thomas), and it was all a clumsy analogue of psychotic veterans returning home from the Iraq War (as the Left thought that war worked), which for that matter was a retread of the “psychotic veterans returning home from the _Vietnam_ War in 1970’s-1980’s fiction. In other words, their notion of doing something “new” was to regurgitate Communist propaganda from THREE to FOUR DECADES earlier.

    But it gets funnier, because the ORIGINAL version of this sort of story is hard-boiled detective, and in that the psychotic veteran is a psychotic veteran of World War I or World War II or the Korean War. And the ones who started it were sympathizers with the Communists right after the Bolshevik Revolution. The propagandistic lie was wearing on 90 years od in 2007, 100 years old now.

    And it’s been done, REPEATEDLY, in science fiction, starting in the late 1940’s to early 1950’s.

    And this is “new?”

    Those who do not remember (literary) history are condemned to repeat hack-work.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      But what do you expect from folks who follow the teachings of a dead white European male from the 19th century?

    • Funny how the book about a returning veteran written by an actual returning veteran does not use that trope.

    • This has popped up recently – the crazy returned veteran as exemplified in pretty much every third episode of the original Hawaii Five-O. I had happily thought that hack writer’s trope safely dead, but it’s back. I’ve seen it used in several major TV series recently, and I watch very little network TV, so that means it’s probably all over the place as an accepted writing theme in Hollywood.

      On the other hand, I have seen fair treatments of PTSD in TV fiction as well, which as I recall from watching TV back in the 1970s never happened back then.

      I think Magnum PI was the first major network show I saw where the Vietnam vet characters were not all over the edge and dangerous, and that dealt with flashbacks and other aspects of post traumatic stress sympathetically.

      It’s sad that the writers guild folks are now back to just regurgitating 1960s screenplays. If the WGA goes out on strike as it now appears they will, maybe we’ll be spared that for a good chunk of this year.

      • Bloom County mocked this trope in the late 70’s. A college student is asking wheelchair bound vet Cutter John if he wanted to machinegun the White House. He said he just wanted to walk again, but the student wasn’t satisfied with the answer.

      • Yes – I was there and paying attention. Magnum PI was the TV show which featured a Genuine VN War veteran who actually wasn’t a ball of dysfunction. Only just a little bit shadowed by the experience. Which I have come to believe is the actual experience, Shadowed by it — not controlled by it.

    • I think there is better support for writing such a story about an employee of the Post Office than a veteran.

      I am not holding my breath that a story about a union represented psychotic government employee will turn up on the revived Hawaii Five-O.

  2. Does anyone remember what happened to the music industry? The musicians realized how badly the contracts were, and a lot of them jumped ship. These days, it’s still expensive to put together a CD, but you can put together a decent home studio for under $10K and put out digital-only releases—and even if you sell 1/100th of what you’d get from a studio contract, you can still make more real money. AND you own your copyright, too.

    Tiny Publishing Bidnesses take more work, but the reward is much greater.

    • Exactly – once the working musicians figured out that new technology made it possible to produce a professional-grade product themselves, they could sell their music cds directly to their fans at live events and through social media and websites ,,, then they were off to the races.
      What will really shake up the old entertainment edifice is when indy movies continue along the same route. (They already have in a small way.) Big Hollywood may crumble in the same way that Big Music and Big Publishing have done.

      • > independent movies

        You can download “Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning” for free. That’s going on ten years old now, put together by amateurs and old PCs.

        • I saw that. I’m still rather grumpy that my housemate introduced it to me. Good parody though.

          • Look up “Prelude to Axanar” on YouTube. 100% Amateur, and as good as anything I’ve seen out of the franchise in years. No wonder Paramount is suing.

            • Loved that. Sad that it won’t get the full length film we should’ve gotten.

            • I liked Star Trek Renegades too. Chekov and Tuvok 🙂

            • Paramount was suing the Axenar thing (recently settled) mostly because the guy running the Axenar effort was an a$$. The other fan-produced efforts (see Star Trek Continues) get along fine with Paramount, who contrary to appearances does not want all the ST fans to go away.

              Apparently there’s a large internal contingent inside Paramount of people who are themselves some degree of fans, and from talking to people involved in these things, being willing to work with the studio and not actively trying to piss them off results in not getting your project referred to the Paramount legal department – i.e. “Oh, those guys? No they’re good – leave them alone”.

            • Better than most TV shows out there.

            • Except- professional actors, professional director of photography, professional VFX crew, professional makeup, professional sound design…

      • I have heard that there are a lot of pyrotechnic experts out of work these days – nearly all of it is being added in post-production now. I’ve also seen a few short demos of works where the actor in focus is completely generated (humans, in close-up, are arguably the hardest to do). High end work right now – but give it five years, ten at the outside, and a team like some of the game producers will be producing things like the LOTR epics on a budget of $100K or less. (Present value of $100K, I have no idea what the inflation rate is going to be.)

    • I know a DJ who in a particular (sub?)genre gets access to early cuts, pre-release or about-to-release tracks from some big names. Directly. Any studio or such is utterly and completely bypassed. It’s marketing, sure, but it’s obvious who is running the show – and benefiting from doing so.

      And that’s audio with complex waveforms and overtones and harmonics and fidelity issues. Text? ASCII is nominally a 7 bit thing – flipped across networks for (digital) ages. No big printing presses, plates, ink, etc. needed. Just… send bits. That there is a “hole” that can’t be plugged for it is not a single hole like someone rammed a boat with a spear. It is multitude of holes (the fate of a ship in Tono-Bungay come to mind for anyone else?) – if you’re in that boat, swim!

      “The net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” Gatekeepers are, in essence, censors… and thus damage to be routed around. If they don’t like it? Well, let me introduce to them a character from Mark Twain’s (third draft) of Mysterious Stranger: Doangivadam.

    • Indie music is a very big deal. My sister and her husband built such a studio in their basement and have been selling their music for 20 years now, first on cassettes and now CDs and MP3s. The market is huge; they’re limited only by the amount of time and energy they choose to put into it. There’s a lesson in that…

      • From Wiki’s article on Jonathan Coulton:

        Blockquote>From September 16, 2005, to September 30, 2006, Coulton ran “Thing a Week”, during which he recorded 52 musical pieces in an effort to push his creative envelope via a “forced-march approach to writing and recording”; to prove to himself that he could produce creative output to a deadline; and to see whether a professional artist could use the Internet and Creative Commons to support himself. Coulton was quoted in a September 2006 interview as stating that as a result of the experiment, “in some parts of the country, I’d be making a decent living”. In a February 25, 2008, interview with This Week in Tech, he stated that he made more money in 2007 than he did in his last year of working as a programmer, 40% of it from digital downloads and 40% from merchandise and performances.

    • I’m sure there’s a few remaining A&R men thinking that the whole indy music thing is just a fad, and the musicians will come crawling back. Any time now…

    • I’m still in awe of how dumb someone had to be to, ahem, “opt to not fund” the Weird Al videos to promo Mandatory Fun.

      Seriously, this guy has been big longer than I’ve been alive– his music videos have been getting passed around on VHS since the mid-90s, and I can’t even imagine what the youtube ad returns look like.

      And someone though, hey, look: it’s a hole-in-one all but assured. Let’s pass on it!

      Result:
      He did so well that it even startled Al!

      • Nothing new. Back in the early 60’s, some A&R guy passed on some kids from Liverpool, because guitar groups were on their way out.
        I’ve noticed that the acts record companies like are the ones they manufacture, manage, and maintain. However, the band that tend to last the longest are the ones that take control of their own careers and do their own thing. The Grateful Dead being the best example.

      • We went to his Mandatory concert (and had a great time. 🙂 )
        Sometime during the evening, I leaned over to my husband, and whispered, “Look at all these teenagers who came out to watch a 56 year old man play the accordion!”

        • My mom happened to be checking into a hotel when everything was booked and the kid at the desk apologized, explaining it was because of the Weird Al concert, then started trying to translate that into “cowboy grandmother with actual cow poop on her boots” language– she took great pleasure in expanding his world by lighting up and talking shop with him for about ten minutes about the best songs.

          • Back when I was a summer camp counselor, some scouts tried to explain to me who Weird Al was. I had the pleasure of informing them that he’d had a career longer than they had been alive.

      • Al must have funded them himself then? As usual, they were/are genius! Some of them are cheaper than Al’s prior videos (most of them are not shoot by shoot recreations for example) — but the ending of Foil must have cost something in terms of CGI. On the other hand, hopefully Al got to take home more as he’s not having to pay the overhead on filming those videos.

      • I was just watching a show with an example of this.There is a guy named George Martin who did recording/producing with the Goon Show people. The company had him produce the Beatles, and they did good. He was then assigned a huge load of other musicians and worked to death the rest of the year, making tons of money for the company. Some of the biggest UK and world hits of all time came out of his studio, and all sorts of musicians respected and believed in him.

        And then the record company decided not to pay him his Christmas bonus, to save money after making all that money that year. All the record salespeople got bonuses, but he did not. He said it still rankles.

    • Actually, a ‘digital only’ release means no CD usually. .. but anyway the flow for indie musicians these days is to use an aggregator like CD Baby or Tunecore, get your CDs printed by them as you want to , and they take care of getting it on itunes amazon etc etc- you cannot sell directly to itunes as a musician, apple killed that a decade ago.

  3. *giggles*

    I have gotten you to adopt “sinal salute” as a phrase! If only the world were so accomodating as to make it necessary.

    (for those who don’t know, it’sw a Lawdog phrase. Also called migraine salute. First recorded example here:
    http://thelawdogfiles.blogspot.com/2012/04/first-migraine-salute.html
    enjoy!)

    • sabrinachase

      Lawdog is a national treasure 😀 I think that reading “The Pink Gorilla Suit” aloud could be used as a test for brain stem function. It always makes me laugh like a hyena on nitrous oxide…

      • I am… encouraging… LawDog to publish everything in two volumes, for a split between the police stories and the Africa stories.

        Tonight, the encouragement will be in keto lemon custard tart with a lavender-infused almond crust, and a main course of sausage stuffed poblano peppers with mozzarella topping and marinara sauce on the side.

        I’m thinking sundried-tomato goat cheese balls rolled in pistachios for the appetizer, but if I get much more “help” from the maine coon kitten, it’s going to be simple caprese salad thrown together at the last second. I’m threatening the cat that he, too, can become a keto dish. He doesn’t look very abashed.

        • I would like those volumes!

        • sabrinachase

          If you need ideas for the “encouraging” let me know. My other favorite stories are the “something angry in a sack” and the Saga of the Ratel.

          My first idea is when he is comatose after that bacchanalian feast, put him in a body cast but leave his writing arm (arms) free. Vague promises of freedom when said works are complete follow on regaining consciousness….

  4. Admittedly I have only about half a toe in the publishing world (self-published) but I cannot for the life of me understand how a political divide could persist anywhere in publishing these days except in the minds of people who desperately need to rely on it.

    “…their world is restricted, small, old and dying.” <– This 🙂

  5. H*ll some of you passed up on a chicken to read my books.

    Modifying something from someone other:
    A chicken is only a chicken, but a good book is a read.

  6. Hugos are up. This is what they have learned:

    Nominated for Best SF movie, Ghostbusters.

    ‘Nuff said.

    • Sure it wasn’t about themselves, blowharding overdone claims with extreme but intermittent force? BoastGusters?

      • I watched that movie. It was -BORING- except for the numerous parts that made me cringe from the stupid. About equal to the Fantastic Four reboot.

        For these retards to nominate that turkey for a Hugo is a proud proclamation that it really is all about politics, that Larry was right, and we were all right not to spend our money this year.

        So the next time crapestros flopatron or JJerk or some other f-ing Vile666 troll dares to say the word “quality” and “Hugo” in the same sentence, just say Ghostbusters.

        • So.. like most movies then?

        • It is as if they believed winning the Hugo would enhance Ghostbusted rather than diminish the Hugo.

          • I am unsure the Hugo can now be further diminished. I would forego Hugo toilet paper, figuring even the cheapest store brand to at least attempt to be better than anything branded ‘Hugo’ now.

            • I was going to say I think they were hoping nominating Ghostbusters would enhance the Hugo because, well, I suspect this year every Hugo nominated written work combined didn’t bring in 10% of what Ghostbusters did even if the movie was a flop.

              • That number works whether you’re talking income or you’re talking audience draw. *sigh*

                And sadly, the roaring success of The Martian didn’t clue them in to the untapped potential for hard SF.

          • Also, would be less pain in the a–.

        • I thought the Fantastic Four was better than the new Ghostbusters. Heck, even the first Punisher movie (if you want to stay inside the Marvel-verse) was better than the new Ghostbusters.

          • But was Zardoz better?

            • Zardoz is bad, but amusingly bad. Amusingly bad in that rare way that only a talented director with a good cast and a big budget can be bad.
              Amusingly bad in a way that lots and lots of drugs and no editorial oversight can be bad. Bad enough to be fun without needing Joel and the Bots.
              These new remakes are bad, but boring bad.

              • Bad enough that, having paid to see it, no Sean Connery movie ever got any of my money again.

                It’s “amusingly camp” watching it on the Late Show. Having paid full price to see it at the theater, I was not in the least amused.

                • Try walking into “Kiss of the Spider Women” with no clue what the movie is.

                  It isn’t bad if you are expecting it but it isn’t scifi or horror or anything like that. It is the only movie I have ever walked out on. For the record it is a two man dinner theater type play towards the gay side. The problem being that it’s name and poster gave very poor indication of what it was. ::shrug::

                  • The only movie I walked out on was “The Empire Strikes Back.” It cost more than a day’s pay to get in, but my head would have exploded had I sat there any longer.

                    • 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was during the warp trip.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

                      I had heard the movie maker talk about the aliens as “intellectually and morally superior” to humans (IE angelic).

                      Then I saw the aliens destroy a woman’s kitchen, lure her toddler out of the house, and drive a man insane.

                      Superior to humans? Heck No! 😦

                      I walked out very angry and have never been able to watch it.

                      Oh, I’ve heard that later versions of the movie establish that the aliens had been kidnapping people for decades and return the humans at the end of the movie. 😦

              • What about Highlander 2 bad?

          • I think the test patterns I used to watch on Saturday Mornings when I was a kid were probably better — because bad as those were you knew they would get no worse and you also knew that eventually something better would come on, even if only Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, Sky King (and Penny), and Sgt. Preston of the Yukon. We also got some pretty good cartoons of the sort no longer shown (unBowdlerized) on television.

            • I got up early on Saturdays and tuned into the test patterns… and the local(ish) NBC affiliate started “the broadcast day” 30 minutes earlier than CBS and ABC (and eventually PBS, but…) to show Rocky and Bullwinkle.

        • I liked Ghostbusters for what it was– a B-level rehash of a great piece of 1980s memorabilia. The movie suffered most from lack of a good villain, and the jokes weren’t nearly on par with the original, but it was better than a lot of the rehash movies (Dukes of Hazzard, A-Team, etc. etc.) that have been done lately.

          Doesn’t deserve best sci-fi nomination, by any stretch of the imagination, though. Independence Day: Resurgence would have been a better choice than Ghostbusters.

          • Had they not made the movie with the “we’re doing a remake with all womyn!!! Aren’t we so progressive and daring!!” trumpeting, they probably wouldn’t have gotten all the negative kickback.
            Had they not pushed it with the SJW “like this movie or you’re just an evil sexist pig” line, the film would have probably still sank into obscurity, like most of the other modern remakes.
            The angry feminist litmus test thing is poison to a comedy.

            • They could have done it with a new group of four paranormal majors – the events of the first two movies raising study of the paranormal to respectability. Problem is that since the battle with Vigo the Carpathian, there’s been practically nothing. A project group from a local university is assigned an “F” topic by a vindictive professor who wants them out of his class – why there was a rise in spectral activity and the paranormal with both Zuul and Vigo, knowing full well that even the experts don’t know.

              This leads them to the Ghostbusters Museum, the original firehouse, now run as an almost forgotten tourist stop by Ray Stantz and Slimer. In the paranormal calm the rest of the team have gone in different directions. An agitated Slimer attempts to tell them something, but, unable to understand his gibberish, Ray dismisses it as the calm getting to even the world’s most famous ghost.

              But something’s afoot. There’s a spike in paranormal activities – telepathy; psychokinesis; precognition. – a group member is having disturbing visions. Oddly, there’s no sign of spectral activity, or so it seems.

              As they try to reach the original members of the team, Ray gives the students a crash course in the use of the ghostbusting equipment, because something’s going down that makes Zuul and Vigo look like minor incidents.

              Ray: “Never cross the streams.”
              Cute Coed #1: “But you did.”
              Ray: “And I smelled like marshmallows and burnt dog for weeks.”

              In the end, the fate of the world rests on four girls who never dreamed working for an “A” would lead them to try and save the world.

              Cute Coed #2: “I just needed an A. I didn’t sign up for this.”
              Cute Coed #3: “Consider it our finals.”
              Cute Coed #4: “I hope not.”

              That sidesteps most of the issues with the questionable reboot, and maybe is a tale worth watching.

              • That is a better movie, by far.

                But your movie cannot be made in 2017 Hollywood. I don’t really understand why not, or who exactly it is making things this way, but it can’t be made.

                But I will say this. The silly, funny, ridiculous Power Rangers movie was -entertaining- where Ghostbusters was cringe inducing and soporific by turns.

                Still, as crap a movie as Ghostbusters is, Logan is probably worse. That is a two hour scolding. Ghostbusters, the scolding is only half the time.

                Guaranteed Logan gets a Hugo nom next year, if they still have it.

              • Now I actually want to see an all women Ghostbusters movie…one that will never get made because:

                1. It doesn’t hate men.
                2. The one try was wasted on a dud.
                3. It doesn’t hate men.
                4. Everyone knows Sad Puppies and their friends write crap.
                5. It doesn’t hate men.

              • Have some guest-spots by the Coast to Coast AM guys– I know Noorey would do it, but for an Aynkroyd, Art Bell would probably be willing– and you hook in a fanatic demographic AND get free advertising; the “TV going in the background doing an infodump” is a bit cliche, but that’s because it WORKS.

                Can even be the hook that gets them to go to the “museum.”

    • Call them by their right name, the Chavez.

  7. You know, that argument seems to be, not “You’re going to agree with us because you’ll see that we’re right,” but “You’re going to agree with us because you’ll be threatened with the destruction of your career, economic hardship, and the silencing of your voice.” If someone on the left were told that, and changed their leftist views, it would be called “selling out.”

    There are times when it seems to me that the most basic requirement for being on the left is to lack the ability to say, “What if I were in your place and you were in mine?”

    • Do you think they gave up being Lenin’s useful idiots, and adhering to his axiom, “Who, whom?” just because the USSR fell?

  8. They’re like the cheating, abusive ex who watches their significant other leave and saying, “She’ll crawl back here within a week and beg me to take her back.”

    There’s literally no reason for you, Sarah, to go back to them. They have nothing to offer you and you have no reason to even consider them, so all they’re doing is bloviating about how you simply need them to function.

    This is despite the fact that they treated you like crap before, and despite the fact that a number of folks do well enough without a traditional publisher these days.

    • scott2harrison

      I must disagree, Sarah has one very good reason to consider them. Any time she is feeling low and needs a guaranteed laugh, consider them and voilà.

  9. What they miss is that any establishment that counts them as members isn’t worth a genuflect. It’s not even worth an impudent digit.

  10. These people are on drugs. Thionite, maybe. E-publishing has blown the entire old publishing edifice up and vaporized the remnants.

    There’s room for publishers, IF they are providing a service. Maps and diagrams, other artwork, covers…but they no longer hold the whip hand.

    • One of the recent claims is that epublishing was just a fad and that esales are down. However, what the actual numbers were showing was that the sales of ebooks priced the same as hardcovers (representing many of the “traditionally published” titles) was down. I.e. their ebook sales were down and ignoring that indie ebook sales were exploding.

      • If they load the gun….
        If they aim the aim gun at their foot…
        If they pull the trigger…
        Then.. it’s a self-inflicted wound.

        I’ve no sympathy for inflicted wounds.
        Accidents…
        Unfortunate coincidences
        Ignorance…
        Maybe even Stupidity in Special Cases… alright.
        But deliberate acts? Nope.
        It’s their damn fault their foot hurts.
        They can buy their own damn morphine, etc.
        (I would suggest a laxative, but they’re so full of s— that that could be fatal and I am not [quite] that evil.)
        Include me out.

      • Wow, so bundles of electrons priced the sames as bundles of paper pulp aren’t selling as well as the paper pulp…this is my shocked face.

  11. I gave younger son the news Sunday that Girl Named Hamlet cat had vanished, at least for Saturday and Sunday, and she was gone when I went in to check the warehouse Monday morning. She just turned up, as I speculated in my note to co worker, just after i left and just before the other employees came in Monday.

  12. And they’ll just continue to grow older and more deranged, cackling back and forth to themselves, “They’ll be back, just you wait! And we’ll shame them and refuse to let them back into the club! Then they’ll be upset! It’ll happen any day now–just you wait!”

    • Just wait. Be patient. Wait a bit more. Any day now. 😀

    • And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!

      ’cause who can resist a classic like that?

    • Sadly, that’s their approach to basically everything. There was some moron 7-8 years ago who went on a temper tantrum about “climate deniers” ending with the modest proposal that the Smart People should just sit back and let the Global Warming Sea Level Rise happen. When all those rednecks were flooded out of the South, the price of admission to higher ground would be surrender of all firearms and giving up the right to vote.

      A number of us delivered a pointed lecture on how well effete idiots getting in the way of survival-driven Volkerwanderungs had fared…. but he was sure it would work.

      • So much stoopid with that moron’s ideas:
        -If you look at a map, one will find that most of your “Blue” states are the one right on the water. The “Red” states tend to be the ones on the high ground
        -And just what army is going to be listening to these effete idiots’ orders to stop the armed rednecks?

        • So, the conclusion is “Salt water rots your brain.”

          • My own personal conclusion is that the closer you are to salt water, the more likely that the breeding population includes Deep Ones…. and what’s a few scales at the orgy? Are you an icthyphobe, you h8er, you?

  13. It’s just not the model I aspire to. I have said before I’m not an author, I’m a writer, I work for a living.

    May years ago (let’s see, I was a senior in high school so…1980 I think) I was in a community theater presentation of The Taming of the Shrew. In this presentation they had a little bit before the play proper where a guy dressed and made up as William Shakespeare came out to introduce the play. “I didn’t write this for college professors, or critics, or little old lady schoolteachers, especially not little old lady schoolteachers. No, I wrote it for the slovenly, drunken, uneducated masses. In short, I wrote it to make money. To eat, or not to eat, that was the question….”

    And, so it is with my own writing. Awards? The award I want starts with “pay to the order of David L. Burkhead” and the more digits to the left of the decimal point, the better. 😉

    Hey, I can dream, right? 😉

    • 🙂 I look at the sales numbers on KDP, look at the number of buys, and keep thinking ‘They like it! They really like it!” and grinning like a fool. And I see other people’s success in “dead” genres, and wonder if the writing-for-art’s-sake-artiste crowd will ever realize what the problem is.

      Probably not until the last light goes out on the Titanic.

    • “the more digits to the left of the decimal point, the better.”

      As long as the leading digits aren’t zeros, that sounds like a great goal. 😛

    • I’d aspire to a model, but models seem to have standards that preclude anyone of bovinity.

      Of course, I have standards, too. They are low, but I do have them. And while I’ve nothing against the f—ing over of leftists, I do desire to avoid incurable disease, so… I prefer not to do that (as immediately gratifying as it may be) to/with them. Yeah, it can be lonely having standards. On the other hoof, I’m alive to have them.

    • Somebody always wins the lottery. Might be one of us one of these days.

      For now the legacy publishers perhaps have a slightly higher likelihood for that, but one can’t rely on lottery wins for their income. Slow and steady building up of clientele is much better but they mostly just rely on the lottery wins now – getting the big bestseller when they need one. 🙂

      • I’m not sure that that’s the case. I read De Vany’s Hollywood Economics a few years ago, and if I understood him correctly, his conclusion was that the economic viability of Hollywood studios is entirely a result of the unexpected runaway hits; that ordinary successful movies don’t pay for the cost of making movies. Books aren’t necessarily the same case, of course.

    • The *best* award is the Benjamin, especially if he brings lots of friends.

  14. BTW, since I do not have a writing career to start with, the invitation to “crawl back” strikes me as the dog’s offer to the wolf. Better to starve free than to live as a fat slave.

    • T Michael Lutas

      We apparently domesticated foxes within a few generations just by imposing a 90% mortality rate on each generation. It was done in the USSR.

      The dog’s offer to the wolf talk takes on a different look once you know how domestication actually is done. The point isn’t that they can’t win. They can. They just have to be genocidal monsters to manage it.

      • And you think this will be a problem for them why? It’s a 100% certainty based on history.

        The only question is whether we expel them from our society before they kill too many of us.

        • T Michael Lutas

          For those who would go the genocide route, they depend on their victims not making their inhumanity too obvious, too early in the process. The others are just bluffing.

      • To elaborate a bit:
        they were raising fur-foxes, and killed the ones that were vicious or otherwise problems– resulting in a population of foxes that is, well, utterly adorable and a delight to be around.

        Now, consider what the “we will throw all-mighty tantrums at the IDEA of people buying pets, and force everyone to sterilize their cats and dogs” pattern for existing pet animals is selecting for….

        • What interested me was the number of generations necessary. It wasn’t that many. Tick tock. We might have less time than we think.

          • On the other hand, your domesticated for thousands of years dogs and cats don’t need a whole lot of time to go back to being feral.
            It’s hard to domesticate a species, and it takes no time at all for it to get vicious again.

      • Note: the mortality rate is at least in part because a smart farmer selects for personality, as well as physical traits, in their breeding stock.

        When you’ve got ten foxes of equal fur quality, you’re going to choose the one you LIKE for breeding stock.

        • Also, mammas that try to kill you will have offspring that will try to kill you.
          (Besides, even if it’s stringy as hell, no meat tastes better than that of an animal who’s done its level best to kill you.)

      • More info on the research of Belyaev on domesticated fox. They’re not completely domesticated yet, but if Belyaev’s people could do what they did in only 40 years, it’s no stretch to see how wolves could become dogs in a thousand years or less of following hunter-gatherers around.

        http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/domesticated-foxes-genetically-fascinating-terrible-pets/

        • A similar process was done in the USSR, 1970s or so, with mink to reduce their penchant for fur-destroying combat. It worked, sort-of, they bred the hostility out of them, but the non-hostile minks all ended up with vari-colored fur patterns – like tortoiseshell, tabby, tuxedo, etc.
          The experiment was, I think, terminated.
          JPDev

          • FearherBlade

            See I don’t see why that would be a problem… unless they were having a problem convincing the furriers that particular-color mink were not, in fact, actually cats….

    • And at this point, they’re not even fat slaves. It’s not like they’re swimming in a pool of money over in Trad Pub Land.

      • Prestige. Yes, prestige, that’s what they keep telling themselves is the stuff they’re swimming in.

        If it makes ’em happy… just as long as I don’t get any of it on me.

  15. It is always nice when one’s opposition acknowledges the predicate of one’s own argument: that the “Traditional SF/F Publishing Establishment” has become a clique which only publishes “correct” works.

    They even implicitly concur in the argument that the TSF/FPE is dying on its scrubby little vine, else why would it accept the return of the apostates?

    • C4c part2

      • C4C the inferior second sequel

        • NC4C
          because it was so bad, it never came to be

          • Raises eyebrow. Are you making political comment on legislation in the home state of the winner of the ACC title?

            • meh.
              what’s that?
              ***googles a bit***
              Oh, I see,
              Maybe subliminally or something.
              Hope I are not turning into Dirk Gently

            • I gently scolded one of my Catholic students for supporting the heathen last night. He didn’t seem to get the problem.
              He also didn’t get it when I observed that a lot of Baptists and Methodists were rooting for the Jesuits. *SIGH*

              • I’m not sure about Gonzanga. I know that Georgetown has become Catholic In Name Only (certainly they are not catholic in their practices) and Notre Dame has long been a football program with a college attached.

                • That was certainly the case at the university I briefly attended…

                • Gonzaga used to be teaching Jesuit seminarians as grad students (I took classes with several.) You can certainly get a Catholic education there if you please, but you can also avoid the Catholic education if you choose. Several nuns and priests are very involved in campus life, with results as varied as the individuals themselves. (I knew one priest who was very recognizable in George Carlin’s character in Dogma—we were laughing hysterically at the “bless the golf clubs” scene, because we *knew* that he would.)

                  It’s listed in the U.S. News and World Report as largely apolitical, which is what I remember.

                  It’s a Jesuit college, which means they turn out strong Catholics and strong atheists. 😀

                • When I was in high school– and I think still, now– the annual Catholic Youth Congress for the Diocese uses their gym.

                  It’s just all the Spokane D. youth groups heading over for, basically, “Holy crud there are actually other people our age who are willing to be openly religious!”

  16. As a voracious, well – compulsive to be honest, reader, I am having more fun these days trolling the Kindle store for indy authors than I have had since I first discovered sci-fi and fantasy. I watch for authors mentioned by folks like yourself, Peter Grant etc. and then follow to the folks Amazon pops us as suggestions from there, and so on.

    Not all that I dig up is great writing – but I’m not paying $10-$14 a book, and the ideas are often wonderful even if the proofreading makes me wince on occasion.

    Sure, I wait for the next release from the big Baen names (funny – they’ve been my favorite publishing house for two decades for a reason), but there are so many little-known folks who are putting a grin on my face that I never want to go back to the status quo ante.

    • Goes for me, too. I find more new and interesting stuff by authors that I like to read, for only a few dollars each, in the Kindle store than puts out in a year.

  17. Sure, we’re now shuttered out of the old structures forever.

    I have this strange image of traditional publishing as Miss Havisham.

    The old houses are not being maintained by other than promises. Best to go out and build new. Then we won’t be there when their roofs collapses and the foundations give way.

    • Oh what a terrible fate, to be locked OUT of the toxic waste dumpsites.

      • Being rejected by publishers (or snubbed by SJWs) always puts me in mind of my favourite bit from Victor/Victoria—

        M. Labisse: If you ever come back, I will have you thrown out!
        Toddy: Don’t make it sound like such a threat. Being thrown out of a place like this is significantly better than being thrown out of a leper colony.

  18. Millions of people? Madam, you’re off by two orders of magnitude. The upside to indie is astonishing, even by the standards of my 64-year-old, much-used and slightly jaded astonisher.

    A few years from now, those losers will come crawling out of the ruins of their fiefdoms and ask us, “Hey, is there a seminar or something where I can learn how this ‘indie’ thing works?”

  19. So, you won’t be doing that big TOR trilogy with Johnny Scalded and Mary 3-Names? The one practically guaranteed a Hugo even (especially*) written in gibberish?

    *We must bring an end to the tyrany of alphabetnormative writing! [Insert standard rant about patriarchal oppression, with emphasis on cisnormative spelling.]

  20. You know, that argument seems to be, not “You’re going to agree with us because you’ll see that we’re right,” but “You’re going to agree with us because you’ll be threatened with the destruction of your career, economic hardship, and the silencing of your voice.”
    It’s noteworthy how the left increasingly drops the mask of civilization to reveal the savage.

  21. Pardon me while I laugh hysterically at all those who claim you will come crawling back. My question to them is crawling back to what? Traditional publishers, especially the Big 5, continue to show a failure to understand the changing marketplace. They rely upon the old business model — which relies on brick and mortar bookstores. Which means they should be cringing big time after last month’s figures for Barnes and Noble came out. In the last year, B&N’s stock has decreased by close to a quarter of its value. That downward trend continues. It managed to even screw the pooch over the holiday season, something that should be scaring everyone tied to traditional publishing. But, instead of looking at alternatives to how they have been doing business, they continue to dig their heels in. I don’t weep for the industry because there is much more to it than those ivory towers of publishing in NYC and the like.

    • Big5? Either a way to render Eastern characters on Western browsers, or a set of vacuum tubes which includes the brilliant pentagrid converter – a gadget that uses ‘electron coupling’. There is an inherent elegance in that.

      • Heh. You think pentagrid converters are brilliant? Consider the gated-beam detector tube: Change the bias on one grid and it will detect either AM or FM signals, with enough output to drive a 6T9-class audio power amp.

        Whoops. Wrong forum for that sort of thing. Sorry.

    • One word for what’s happening in tradpub: Ragnarok.

      • So what would be the “Gold thatched Gimle” to come in the rebirth of the world after Ragnarok?

      • Or Hitler in his Berlin bunker promising that his armies will crush the Soviet hordes any minute now.

        • I am tempted to compare them to Captain Queeg, rolling those ball bearings and muttering

          Ahh, but the puppies that’s… that’s where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with… geometric logic… that slate voting DID exist …

          … except we all know that they’ve lost their bearings and have no balls.

          • Rich Rostrom

            That’s unfair to Captain Queeg. He wasn’t the sharpest or straightest tool in the drawer, but he was functional until Lieutenant Keefer started gaslighting him.

        • Patrick Chester

          ….aaaaaaand if I had any video editing/subtitling skills, Yet Another “Hitler Finds Out…” video would be created. 🙂

      • Having sudden image of Beautiful But Evil Space Princess Surtr, wielding the flaming sword Indie while leading the ravaging hordes of the Sons (& Daughters & Not-Quite-Sures) of Múspell into the Halls of TradPub to eat their lunch.


        Nice rack.

    • Patrick Chester

      I think it’s been a few YEARS since I’ve stepped into a bookstore.

      • That’s why any writer’s business plan that involves “bookstore” should be carefuly re-evaluated.

  22. And YAY on shifters stuff in the (semi-)immediate queue.
    [GOLDPORT OR BUST]

    (It’s fun reading the furniture refinishing stuff and visiting Goldport again and getting a few refs. I suspect I might need to re-read the shifters books after this.. been meaning to anyway. I want a better ‘map’ of Goldport… I know Goldport in NOT based on Sioux Falls, but ‘Fairfax’ feels a lot like “41st” in some ways – yeah, there’s stuff NOT on 41st in Sioux Falls, but few would fault anyone for looking there first.)

  23. ‘H*ll some of you passed up on a chicken to read my books. That’s the most beautiful thing anyone has ever done for my work. ‘
    Or you could try stand-up, at a pinch. lol funny. I don’t think I’ve had anyone deprive themselves of a chicken mcnugget just yet.

    • I once quoted Slappy Squirrel (“Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.”) and got a response from a fellow who had done some stand-up… “Are you sure you never saw my act?”

  24. I don’t drink so to me it’s all “book money”. Thanks for what you do… should I Sqeee here?

    • squees are ALWAYS appreciated.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I never do “squees”… publicly. 😉

        Oh, for those who love Barbara Hambly’s work, she has a new vampire novel out.

        Her Vampires don’t “sparkle”. 😀

        • They don’t? Oh, that bites.

          *duck*

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Don Simon Ysidro raise a pale eyebrow.

            “Why would we sparkle?”

            “It doesn’t help us in the hunt for prey.”

            “Now, playing the role of the Romantic Vampire might….”

            👿 👿 👿 👿 👿 👿

            • Try Count Dracula with Louis Jourdan in the title role.

              • read that first as Louis Jordan

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                In Barbara Hambly’s first vampire novel Don Simon Ysidro commented on the Dracula novel by commented that vampires had been in England for centuries.

                Note: At the time of the first novel (prior to WW1) Don Simon Ysidro has been a vampire for around 400 years and became a vampire when he was visiting England during the reign of “Blood Mary”. IE There were vampires in England before him.

                The Dracula novel had a “Big Bad Vampire” as a foreigner invading England.

                Of course, Don Simon Ysidro also said that modern vampires don’t “do battle” with would-be vampire hunters.

                They completely avoid the would-be vampire hunters as killing the vampire hunters might convince others that those nuts talking about vampires might not be so nutty. 😈 😈 😈 😈

              • Or Jack Palance. Weirdest freaking Dracula I ever saw.

                • In everything I’ve seen Jack Palance in, he acted like… Jack Palance. On the other hand, he seemed to have so much FUN being Jack Palance, even when he was in makeup or some B movie.

              • The Jourdan Dracula is the best I’ve seen, in terms of suavely terrifying.

    • I don’t drink so…

      I think I best go to bed before I get any “good” ideas. (Imagine the trouble we’d have been spared had Marx done so!)

  25. I was talking with my local bookseller the other day, and she mentioned that the traditional publishers are having a problem finding romance writers of color. They have a few longtime veterans who are still producing, but the younger writers are bypassing trad publishing and going indie.

    Which is what they deserve. My wife was in the Navy in the ’80s, and she remembers seeing the enlisted black women sharing Harliquins with white heroines on the cover, and wondering why they’re missing such a huge market.

    • Pardon me, I needs must stagger off to the fermented brain bleach repository and cleanse my thoughts of what sort of swill TradPub would serve to the “Ethnic Romance” market.

      I am confident it would be PC as all heck, studiously avoiding any stereotyping of any sort.

      I am also sure that our enlightened leaders in DC will deliver us a new and glorious model for provision of Health Care Insurance.

      • Fermented? Dear wallaby, such things might call for distilled. Aye, must be first fermented…

      • Rich Rostrom

        There’s a substantial market for “urban fiction” directed for young black women. It ranges from fairly anodyne S&F (shopping&f—ing) to full-on gangsta “romance”, where the protagonist’s guy (or sometimes the woman herself) is a gun-wlelding dope slinger.

        (I saw a rack of this on display in the fiction section of the Chicago Public Library; WorldCat has many listings.)

    • sabrinachase

      Check out the AuthorEarnings data–there’s ethnic romance all right, it just is 99.9% indie. Because, of course, the traditional publishers “knew” it wouldn’t sell. Or they shelved it in the grievances section…or it was all grievances and no romance..

      • I’ve seen novels, and not literary-type “critical for understanding the [minority] experience” novels in the [designater]-studies section at B&N several times. Way to market your books, people. *shakes head*

        • I get a mental picture of some white, well educated and politically correct female purchasing agent who is utterly baffled by the very idea that a black woman would be interested in a straight up romance story. To her, black women only want gritty, urban stories of rape and racism.

          • To her, black women only want gritty, urban stories of rape and racism.

            AND lesbianism. Ever since The Color Purple. The only way for a Sistah to find True Love is to reject Teh Man.

      • Some of it is small pub, and has been for at least twenty years. There is a lot of Eighties and Nineties saga type romance, where the woman runs into all sorts of men and trouble before her happy ending, a lot of bad boy romance with ex cons, and a lot of married to the millionaire or escaping bad boyfriends.

        There is something on Overdrive that is a trilogy, with a black organized crime family where all the men get sick or dead, and the women take over the business.

      • Similar experience with a current “big” TV show that has a sub-culture we’re in as a major draw– my husband and I are sick of people telling us how we’ll just love it, because not only is it not funny but it’s not even any in jokes. It’s like if I was trying to write a pro football player– I’ve got pop culture level knowledge of it….

        (Yes, I’m being obscure about it because I am sick and tired of being told how I’m supposed to like something that’s insulting and just DUMB. Shockingly enough, I don’t LIKE arguing.)

        • Birthday Girl

          Maybe tell them “I watched 2 episodes and wished every character would die a painful death” would stop the recommendations?

        • Dare I ask which show?

          • You can ask, but I won’t tell. *big grin* It’s popular, and some folks enjoy it– me complaining in detail on why I wish they’d stop trying to make me like it isn’t worth screwing with that.

        • When the ‘jokes’ show complete and utter misunderstanding of the topic. Ya. Look up Trauma on any prehospital or hospital provider forum. The show was the joke.

          • Unfortunately, most real doctors can’t stand shows about doctors. The number of things they get wrong in “legal” shows I can’t even begin to fathom. It’s bad enough that I’m shocked when the precedent they are referring to actually exists and may be construed as standing for the proposition sited in the show.

            • Ya. This was at the so bad it’s farce level. I’ve gotten good suspension of disbelief

            • kenashimame

              It’s pretty telling that “Scrubs” is the most medially accurate Medical TV show.

            • Oh, heck – don’t even get me started on a movie like “Good Morning, Vietnam.” Which was very funny – but not for Vietnam War-era military broadcasters. Or even those of us from the slightly-next-generation following. There were so many things just WRONG with the background and operations of the AFRS station as portrayed in that move. Starting with the program timing, the shucks on the records of the library,,,
              Suffice to say that the real Adrian Cronauer was once asked how accurate the movie was. Supposedly, he replied: “Well, there is an Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, and there was a Vietnam War …”
              Kind of sad, really. There were so many stories I heard early on in my own time of service which were just a amusing and … sometimes rather surreal.

            • Way back when it was still a weekly tabloid, the Comics Buyer’s Guide featured a regular column titled “The Law Is A Ass” which found ample fodder for its rants in comic books (the Trial of Barry Allen” storyline) TV and Film (he particularly liked the bit in The Untouchables when the “tainted” jury was swapped out for the jury from the next courtroom over, just in time to render a verdict.

              I wonder that no enterprising energetic lawyer has brought suit against Hollywood for defamation of profession and for damages due to the public’s absurd expectations about how lawyers, judges and courtrooms operate.

              • Sadly, 99% of real legal work would put audiences to sleep. Redlining contracts, conference calls over negotiating points, preparing motions, reviewing case law, interviewing potential witnesses to find out what really happened, going through documents, etc. Even the most exciting parts of my job would not make good television or a movie. Lawyers also make lousy plaintiffs – we know exactly how much the system costs and you’d have to argue that Hollywood brought DOWN the public’s opinion of lawyers. Unfortunately, the typical lawyer joke (which we tell about ourselves) talks about skid marks in front of the skunk when describing the difference between a dead skunk and a dead lawyer in the road.

                I suspect the boring humdrum of really practicing law drives the “montage” approach or the $!#@ it approach (where the writing and/or produce say $@#! it, we’re going to figure out a neat solution for our plot problem and never mind if it has any legal reality). As I said, as an attorney, it is a rare legal show I can watch — typically one which has NOTHING to do with my area of specialization.

                • “Sadly, 99% of real legal work would put audiences to sleep.”

                  My father was an insurance company claims manager and was in the courtroom for a lawsuit when his company’s attorney called the judges attention to the fact that ALL 12 jurors were asleep in the jury box. Can you say “mistrial”?

                • Pretty much everything is much more exciting on TV… For example, cowboy movies. Probably the most accurate is City Slickers, and even then it’s taking something like two weeks and getting an hour of film.

                  It would’t work so much as “courtroom drama,” but you could probably get a good show out of a similar approach to law-work. 90% of it would be the last 2 seconds of doing the paperwork followed by people interaction. 😀

                  • Oh, yes. Mathematics professor… Forensic anthropologist… (Of course, the FBI does use professionals like that, although without all the cool gadgets. But what they actually do is the same as they do in their “normal” life.)

                    • Apparently the Indiana Jones shows are not realistic portrayals of the actual work of archaeologists. Not even circa WWII.

                      Shocking, i realize.

                      OTOH, space exploration is exactly as depicted in popular culture.

                    • Of course it is…

                      I’d been hearing about the “Dark Matter” show for a while, so I’ve watched the first season. No spoiler here, it has really no relation to the plot – but a scene towards the end of the season has the tough as nails female captain coming into a meeting with a pitcher of water, and running around the room to serve all of her (mostly male) crew a glass.

                      Now, an SJW would be going on about a female doing this – while I had a fit over the captain of the ship doing it. (Actually, the characters as set up – nobody would have been serving anyone else.)

                • That realistic portrayals of the practices depicted would bore is not sufficient reason to falsify the legal process, any more than the obvious criminality of a defendant excuses railroading him. The burden is not to portray procedures accurately but to avoid portraying them inaccurately falsely.

                  For example, My Cousin Vinnie avoids playing fast and loose with courtroom procedure just as much as it eschews sloppy automobile facts.

                • While I understand your point, consider the fact that some people consider legal dramas or medical dramas or police procedurals to be engaging television.

                  I keep thinking that “Dilbert” is the only show that really highlights the more dramatic aspects of computer programming.

              • The really disgusting thing is that the jury switch was an actual event in the Capone trial…. but it was done at the start of the trial after selection but before any evidence was heard.

        • What, like Big Bang Theory? People were always telling me “You’ll love it! It’s just like your friends!” But the episode I watched had a canned laugh soundtrack trying to force you to laugh at the geeks, not with them…

          Maybe it got better, but it wasn’t worth forcing myself through it to see. I have books to read, friends to see, a plane to fix…

          • I saw one episode of BBT and that was enough. It was a halloween episode. They’re going to a party. First the principles come out all in the same costume. Then they argue about who has to change. Then they decide all of them have to change and none of them keep the original costume. Now, a bit later after they’ve got their costumes. One of them is dressed as Frodo (It Says Here(TM)). Now in inspecting his costume and talking to one of the others he says “I don’t want her to think I look like a dork.” Pause here for “laugh”. Why laugh? Why because he does “look like a dork.”

            Yeah, I watched through to the end but in reality that was the point where I was done with the show. Lasted, what, ten minutes? Events at the party did not improve my impression. (Oh, look, one of the geeks got laid. The woman he boinked’s first line on sitting down on the couch near the geek was “How wasted am I?” Why, yes, even geeks can have sex if the other person is drunk/stoned enough.)

            Bleah.

          • Mum sent me the first season box set. I dutifully watched the lot, and have felt no real urge to keep watching.

            • That’s interesting. ESR complained that having finally given in to various recommendations he tried to watch a show and had the reactions seen here. It lead him to even make a posting on how to portray ‘bright’ people more realistically. A few respondents said that the early shows/season were better. Evidently not better enough.

              • Is that Eric Raymond, and if so, can you link to that posting? I’d be interested to see what he has to say.

                One variant on that trope that C and I have bitched about for many years is the one that shows bright kids, and poses the question, Do you want them to develop their intellectual potential, or do you want them to be kids and have fun? I *was* a bright kid and I did a lot of things for fun: reading Kipling, Heinlein, and Tolkien; inventing and playing worldbuilding games; learning math. . . . Clearly this trope was invented by people who are too dim to imagine that anyone could do, for fun, the hard, effortful things that they struggled to learn. It was an episode on that theme that caused us to stop watching Lois & Clark, for example. . . .

                • Have a look:
                  http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=7451
                  He was perhaps a bit more ranty and less how-to in G+ post.

                  • Thanks! Worth a read.

                    I was struck, some years ago, by the early chapters of James Joyce’s Ulysses putting us in the head of a very smart person who actually thinks like a very smart person—I think it was in the third chapter, where Stephen Daedalus is walking on the beach and thinking about Aristotle’s theory of sensory perception. The contrast that occurred to me was Ayn Rand, who wrote bright characters largely as Hollywood portrayals of bright people. We never actually see the thoughts of any of her geniuses making the kind of complex connections that such people would be making. This is curious, because Rand herself gives evidence of having been very bright, though with the failings of the autodidact.

                  • ESR’s right there. ESPECIALLY about the concentrating part. Though, one thing I’ve noticed from other bright sorts is the tendency to concentrate on something inside their head – they’re visualizing it, so don’t see what is in front of them per se but they tend to stare rather intently at something in line of sight but aren’t actually seeing it.

                    • The thing is that the characters in BBT aren’t an inaccurate portrayal of really smart people, they’re an accurate portrayal of people who like to think of themselves as smart, but aren’t really. It kind of matches my definition of “intellectual” as a “person who can get over how smart he is.”

                      That doesn’t mean that I require that you like or even watch that show, but I think it’s hilarious.

                • I was a bright kid and had a lot of fun with explosives, flammable liquids, model rockets, and guns, along with math, science and reading science fiction

                • I wouldn’t mind it so much, except… my mom is a geek. I’m a geek.

                  My mom is still having guilt trips about not “encouraging” me to do less computer stuff, less reading, less…well, solitary stuff, and pushing me to do sports, after-school groups, group group group.

                  If it’s causing her trouble, when she KNOWS the joy of some time alone, what’s to do to those parents who are more extroverted with introvert, geeky kids?

                • “You read a chemistry book for fun?!” Well, yes. Chemistry gave us ether, chloroform, nitrous oxide, nitroglycerine, TNT, and all sorts of other things. And it made the eventual chem. class seem quite easy.

                  One bit that was that while I don’t recall it all perfectly (I do not have an eidetic memory and since I do not work in the chem. field, there’s not a frequent refresh strobe) things even vaguely recalled can be of use. Once upon a time, before the Montreal Protocol went into full effect – I think, a shop I worked in used a cutting fluid and one fellow there used it, improperly, as a cleaner/solvent. I tried that once and noticed I got numb where there had been extended contact. Checking the label, 1-1-1 trichloroethane. Huh. Sounded familiar, but I couldn’t pin it down. Read through the glossary of the chem. text. Bingo! There it was, roughly one methyl group different: trichloromethane – chloroform. I did not repeat using the stuff as a cleaner.

            • Mmm, yes. We will do things for our mothers that even our spouse can’t get us to do. For me, it was reading Ayn Rand for my mother’s sake – and the wife will never talk me into reading (aargh, can’t remember the name, but the guy who rewrites fairy tales from the viewpoint of the villians…)

        • That sounds a lot like my reaction to The Big Bang Theory, actually. . . . I watched one episode of that and gave up.

          • I watched a few minutes of one. I got a degree in Physics. Laugh tracks are horrid.

          • I can’t stand Big Bang Theory. It’s more a sketch of what geeks are like to me; but apparently is somewhat accurate for some. So I shrug and let it pass.

            I watched and got into House MD because people told me “I can see this being YOU if you had 1) a medical degree and 2) had less restraint.

            …I have to admit that their characterization was rather true. Then I met someone who was actually LIKE House (including the ‘encounters with idiots in the examination office.) Finally got him to watch it; and after a few episodes, he grudgingly admitted that yes, there were a number of things he totally would have responded in the exact same way / action.

        • The key question is not which show – the key question is which subculture are they mis-writing now and/or attempting to guess what folks in that subculture are thinking — because after all, everyone is subculture X must think like Y (where Y is usually far to the left of the actual inhabitants of the subculture in question). Sigh.

      • It might have not had ENOUGH grievance for the pale and pasty proglodytes of publishing.

    • Why do they need writers of colorful romance? I thought modern romance was just all shades of gray.

    • Romances can be extremely milieu-specific, and not only by ethnicity. There are dog show romances as well as dog show cozy mysteries. Carol and I show dogs, and I’ve read a couple. I’m not a good judge of romances, much less mysteries, but they had the dog show culture down cold. I know a woman who has basically cornered the market in horse romances, by which I mean romances about people involved in riding, breeding, and showing horses. She’s now 100% indie, and making a sparse but steady living on it. I’ve seen cooking romances and mysteries, and I’ll bet there are many more categories out there.

      There are Amish romances, and I recall meeting a woman at BEA in the early oughts who had started a press specializing in African-American fiction, including romances. I think that any place you find a distinctive culture with at least a few thousand members, you’ll find culture-specific fiction, especially romance.

      • There’s medical romances and action-adventure romances, police romances and so on.

        I found out recently too that Harlequin is doing a pile of their bestseller authors into manga remakes via Kindle. I have to say, their giving out freebie samples (not the whole story, but chunks of several different ones) was a good idea. I get to ‘browse’ then note down which ones I’ll want because the art and story are good. To my delight, the manga versions sometimes add little characteristic extras to the stories (like some of the romances I’ve already read, like emphasizing the chess playing aspect of a couple and making it even more amusing in the manga.)

    • https://www.amazon.com/Marian-Tee/e/B00AF730XM/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1491442954&sr=8-2-ent

      Have a Filipina author; I remember she also has them in paperback, so could get stocked in a physical bookstore.

  26. All I got out of that was there’s a new shifters book. My mind got too excited about that to care about anything else in the post.

    • It’s not written yet, but yeah. Bowl of Red.

      • There are some who argue that for the best flavor the chili needs to be allowed to age a bit before serving.

        This being the case, I still sit patiently at my half booth in the back drinking coffee and awaiting my next real meal without (much) complaint.

      • I realize that its not even under contract yet, but just the thought that you have more stories for that universe makes me happy.

  27. My prediction still stands. In a couple of years, the Hugos will be the official in-house award for whatever Tor is pushing at the moment. A couple of years after that, the Deutchvolk Expat will purchase both for a song, and use it to exclusively publish Chuck Tingle novels.

    • The Hugo, yes.
      Tor, no–mostly because of their backlist.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Someone on Larry’s blog suggested the “Torgo Awards”. 😀

        • Perhaps the Torgonauts? Recognizing the genre’s roots in such realms as the tale of Jason?

          And because “They’re not for you.”

          • I never watched much Seinfeld but you didn’t have to watch much to pick up on some of the cultural memes generated by the show.


            Imagine cosplaying a character derived from the Soup Nazi and certain puppy kickers we need not identify, declaiming “No Hugos for you!”

            • i hates Seinfeld.

              • You are not alone. My folks used to watch it and I found it unpleasant to endure. Hearing about it might not be bad, but actually sitting through it? Ugh.

                Similarly, $HOUSEMATE once bought a few books based on the show/character Monk as told by his assistant. The books I could read just fine – as the annoying quirks of Monk were related past-tense and condensed. I tried watching the show once. Tried. Nope. I have no desire to suffer through the actual events as they unfold.

        • The MASTER is very PLEASED to give you this… a… ward.

        • Patrick Chester

          ThAT sOUndS lIkE a gReAt nAmE.

    • Who’s Chuck Tingle? Some of the Romances I’ve seen on Amazon are truly strange and sometimes sickening.

      • Space raptor butt invasion (title of his last Hugo nominee) Over the top parody if I understand correctly.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Actually, wasn’t that his first nomination?

          I think over the top parody, done by someone with a work ethic who is willing to do it as a business.

          I understand it is gay porn, and the descriptions sound like they are designed to be insanely bizarre, perhaps as a commentary on the PNR genre.

        • I got a sample of one and now I can’t get it off my Kindle. It is (only wish “was”) some weird gay romance with one of the characters being a triceratops. Not my cup of tea.

          • amazon.com. You’re looking for “accounts & lists”. Click it, log in of you aren’t already.
            rightmost column, under “kindle resources”, is “manage your content and devices.”
            Find the title you’re looking for (you can sort the columns if you want). Click the square to the left of the title. Three buttons above the list of titles will become available.”Deliver, Delete, Add to Collections”.
            Click on Delete.
            A popup box will ask you to “cancel” or “delete permanently.” Select “Delete permanently.”

            You’re welcome. 🙂

      • I think he’s a parody writer; writes parodies of the stuff that The Correctthinking declaim as high art, like If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love.

  28. There was a song I recall from my youth song by Pearl Bailey:

    He who gets the last laugh laughs the best.

  29. I refuse to write like it’s 1999. That whole blowing the Moon out of its orbit thing was totally ridiculous. I MAY go back to writing like it’s 1982 again…

  30. So the left views writing as a way of bolstering their academic resume. That’s why awards are SO important to them, because that means tenure or other boosts to their career. And that’s fine. It’s a model.

    Not so fine. It means they’re leeching off the money that hardworking but gullible schmucks saved to put their kids through college. Modern non-STEM academia: the world’s longest-lasting and most lucrative pyramid scheme.

    • That, and off the government, through all the student loans. Which makes many modern non-STEM academia just more people on fancy-named welfare, determined to work as little and whine as much as possible.

      (There are a lot of good profs, but oh, do the rotten apples stink up the whole barrel!)

      • There are a lot of good profs, but Gresham’s Law also applies to academics, especially when student evaluations and grades* are a critical element in retention and promotion decisions.

        *Factoring in grades on professional exams, such as Bar, CPA, MCATS and the like would be an excellent method of evaluating teacher performance, which is why those will be the last exams used for that purpose.

        • Bah – I hate to tell you, but good law schools really don’t teach the material covered by the Bar exam. The good law schools have traditionally relied on their students being able to learn the key materials from the various supplemental courses (Barbri, etc.) in the 3-6 months prior to the Bar exam.

  31. Let’s look at the typical SJW grey goo from another direction- the idea that poorly written tripe should appeal to gays, women, and minorities, et al solely because lookit! gay, women and minority characters!! is just plain insulting to the very audience they’re trying to reach.

    • Considering as a little girl in Portugal I loved the pulp which, yes, was often about anglo-saxon male scientists, I’d say the “there needs to be a character like you in there” is hell of a patronizing idea.

      • As is often the case, what they say and what they mean are not exactly the same.

        For example, when they say “there needs to be a character like you in there” what they actually mean is “there needs to be a character like me in there” — tacitly confessing their own lacking imaginations and inability to empathize with anybody even superficially different.

        Note, for example, their definition of diverse recognizes only diversity of appearance, not of thought; the allow for a broad range of opinion, from the Left all the way t the Far-Left.

      • Patrick Chester

        I haven’t made a checklist, but I suspect a LOT of the characters I enjoy/admire/look up to/etc. are not white heterosexual males.

        Though I suspect the progs will screech “appropriation” as if they owned them. *facepalm*

        • I can only think of two characters that were, roughly, like me– Melony of Pern and Cimorine, Princess of Kahzul. (pardon spelling)

          Of course, the only thing I can do with music is murder it in contrast to Melony’s case, and I’m short rather than tall like Cimorine, and both of them have curly hair rather than puff-ball fine, and they can both wear dresses…..

          Not sure if those are things that “count” for being “like me” in this silly game.

          *Goes back to reading about a mutant-eyed dual wielding Always Evil Except This Time elf and his magical kitty*

  32. Shortly before the turn of the century on BIX Jim Baen had a long discussion about the future of e-books. (I could spend as much time there as I could stay awake for because I worked at Tymnet and thus didn’t have to pay access fees, only a monthly membership.) Part of the discussion was about what was needed for e-books to succeed. Most of the readers at the time were large and clunky by today’s standards. He said that the device needed (which he referred to as a “ludic reader”) was,.. Well, he pretty much described a Kindle Paperwhite.
    He predicted that it would break traditional publishing, and talked about what the survivors would do. He concluded that most writers couldn’t, or wouldn’t want to do everything involved in creating an e-book, and the survivors would be those who provided services like editing, copy editing, and covers. He also said that a big part of the value add for publishers would be imprints. If you saw a Baen book, for instance, you would have some idea of the nature and quality of the work, and this assurance to the public would have some value.
    I never met him, but I think he would be pleased to see how right he was.

    • Beregond? I was dave2 at BIX, from 1987 or so until near the end.

    • He was wrong on one thing: the publishers still overestimate how much work and how difficult to learn are things like covers and conversion. It’s at this point trivially easy for me, and while I don’t do top-quality covers, I can do mid-list level or better because it’s a skill and I’ve learned it. Copyediting, I trade for covers. Really, compared to the labors of writing, this other stuff is trivial.