Woke-ify Your Fiction – by Frank J Fleming

*Years ago, when I was deeply in the political closet, after days of mouthing pieties or at least not laughing in the faces of editors and agents saying (or posting, or emailing) them, I would hit IMAO.US, Frank’s site, and laugh until I felt human again.  Imagine my shock when I realized he wrote science fiction and fantasy.  His new book, Sidequest, was just released and you might want to check it out.  Meanwhile give a hearty ATH welcome to Frank.  He’s one of the good ones  (And sorry this is late. The site gave me issues with formatting.).- SAH*



Woke-ify Your Fiction

A good rule for writing science fiction and fantasy these days: If it’s not woke, it’s putting people to sleep. The key now is being socially conscious. Most people are regular conscious — reactive to basic stimuli like sight, sound, small rocks being thrown at them — but the more pertinent thing to be is socially conscious — reactive to microaggressions and the racism and bigotry that undercut all human activity. And if you want people to buy your fiction these days, it needs to reflect that social consciousness — as tedious as that all sounds.

I know some are resistant to this idea. You’ve probably heard this quote: “Why do I have to worry about all this political stuff? Can’t I just write fun stories everyone will enjoy?” You know who said that? That’s right: Adolf Hitler.

A lot of people don’t want to confront how closed and exclusive science fiction and fantasy have been throughout history. H.G. Wells spent a whole chapter of The Time Machine making explicit that in the future there would no longer be Irishmen. And when J. R. R. Tolkien ever had a woman do something useful in one of his stories, he always had to follow that with a note that this was a fantasy and would not happen in real life. And were later authors like Isaac Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke any better? I’m honestly asking; their books look very long, and I haven’t read them.

But you need to be better than that if you want to write today. You need to Woke-ify™ your fiction if you want to reach today’s readers. And I’m here to tell you how to do that.

Remove Anything That Could Trigger or Offend

In olden times, people would just plod away writing whatever they’d want without thinking about the damage they could be doing to the psychological well-being of their readers. They would probably plead ignorance of how their language could cause harm, but ignorance is no longer an acceptable defense — though, yes, most of us honestly have no clue what could set people off nowadays.

Well, my advice is that you consider your reader to be a fragile little mouse which any sudden movements or loud noises could frighten into running away. With each word, ask yourself: Could this scare someone? Could this offend someone? Could it be misconstrued as something offensive? Could this remind someone of some other word that could be offensive? If I were to look this up in the dictionary, would there be any offensive words on the same page?

You might think it’s a good idea to just stick to really simple language to avoid offense, but it’s not that easy. Think of one of the simplest books ever made: Fun with Dick and Jane. We’re not even past the title, and it’s already highly problematic.

Words are just a problem in general. I say don’t be afraid of leaving a few blank pages in your book. In the least, it will give your reader a nice respite before more of those troublesome words start bombarding him or her.

Be Inclusive

Now, I believe the usual habit these days is to think of every oppressed minority group you can think of, write them down, and then check them off as you include them in your story. And while that’s a great method, I think we can be even more inclusive. That’s why I say expand your horizons and try to come up with new groups that no one ever thought to include.

For instance, in my first novel, Superego, I was inclusive of psychopaths, a group still very much discriminated against. In my latest novel, Sidequest: In Realms Ungoogled (available now in paperback, ebook, and audiobook — just putting that out there), I’m inclusive of computer programmers. Computer programmers barely ever get to be the hero because they’re weird, awkward, and not very athletic. And frankly people don’t like them and say mean things to them, and it hurts my feelings.

So take a daring stand and be inclusive. It’s great, because it’s the type of daring stand where you can expect accolades for how daring you are — versus the other type of daring stand, which makes people angry at you. Avoid that.

Advocate Social Justice

To be good woke fiction, your story needs to be about social justice. But what is social justice? Well, regular justice likes to sit by itself. It’s just over there in the corner, at a table all by its lonesome, nursing a beer. Not even looking at anyone else. But social justice is friends with everyone. It’s chatting people up and laughing at their jokes and having a great time out with the gang.

Okay, I don’t actually know what social justice is. But judging from what I’ve seen described as social justice, just take whatever theme you have in your story and be real smug about it. Like let’s say your story is all about how teamwork is important. Then at the end have your character be all like, “We’ve blown your minds with our teamwork ideals, destroying your colonial ‘don’t help each other’ mindset. I bet your world has been turned upside down and you feel enlightened.” And maybe throw a hashtag in there. I think social justice requires hashtags.

Don’t Be a Straight White Male

This one is going to be harder for some than others. Sarah Hoyt has been pretty good about this, while I have always struggled. But if at all possible, when you sit down to write, don’t be a straight white male. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with being a straight white male — you were born that way, no fault of your own — it’s just that everyone hates you. So stop it.

Nix Fun

Some people are going to be resistant to this one. Isn’t fun fun? No. Fun is not fun. Fun is bad.

Think of it this way. Imagine someone smiling and laughing and having fun. Is that person thinking of all the oppressions going on in society and the racism that pervades all our interactions? No, if they’re smiling, they’re forgetting about all of that. Having fun is the opposite of being woke. Smiles are for fascists who don’t care about oppression. If you think any of your writing could make someone smile, you need a drastic rewrite so that your fiction constantly hits people in the face with all that’s wrong with society so they would never imagine smiling again.

Well, those are all the tips I have to help you Woke-ify™ your fiction. So go write something enjoyable and socially conscious. Or at least socially conscious. Or don’t write anything at all; it’s kind of a minefield. Plus I don’t want the competition.


165 thoughts on “Woke-ify Your Fiction – by Frank J Fleming

  1. We need more than a “Like” button here.

    We need a Laugh Out Load button! 😆

          1. I will admit, my first thought is to wonder how long until the kitten realizes those are edible….

  2. I AM a straight, white, male.
    And yes, those SJWs all believe that they can force people into their vision of a better mold. Well, not me. Not today, not tomorrow, and not 10 or 20 years from now. I aim to misbehave.

    Man, I loved that show, all one season of it.

      1. I know Frank’s focussed on nuking the moon, but if he wants to conduct a trial run….

        WordPress delenda est.

  3. Thank you, FrankJ! Truly looking forward to reading Sidequest, which appropriately enough does not show up in Google’s search results.

    1. A joke implies laughter or at least smiling, and as the (unfortunately) white man said, if you’re smiling you’re not thinking about oppression and you’re not woke. So stop that.

  4. Male? [checks] nope, still not a problem. Straight and white… oops.

    I’m at the point where I may start using the line I’ve used on overly-earnest (and ignorant) Muslim students about “I’m sorry, but according to [Koranic reference], I’m one of the people Al’lah has fated to remain an unbeliever.” The cloud of confusion is great cover for escaping from the encounter. Likewise, I fear I am one of those poor, benighted souls predestined to remain unWoke. (At least until the ravens leave either the Tower of London or Fredrick Barbarossa awakens.)

    1. Sorry, TXR, but “male” is no longer a matter of plumbing or genetics, it is an issue of identification, determined by examination of your philosophical entrails to determine whether you harbor the mindset of the imperialist oppressor class.

      1. I’d rather examine the philisophical entrails (or was that just entrails) of an SJW to determine if I harbor the mindset of the imperialist oppressor class. Think I’ve pretty much nailed it. It’s been a while since I’ve been to imao.us. Glad to see Frank hasn’t lost his touch.

      2. And if you identify as a male when you have been born with the other set of chromosomes you should be pretty well off when it comes to the woke part of the world.

        In which case… hm… hey, Ms Hoyt!

            1. I dunno. There might be instances where publicly embracing maleness could get her into trouble.

          1. I’d have to be drunk, and missing my glasses to mistake you for a male by your picture only. Of course I’ll endeavor to never be drunk in person as the governor would slip, and I’d be soundly trounced by all and sundry. I do suffer from chronic foot in mouth disease.

      3. A nice line that I have seen here and there on-line — “If I wanted your opinion, I’d read it in your entrails!”

        It’s culturally appropriate and all. 🙂

        1. Hey that’s my line! In all seriousness, I’ve been using it since high school. And it would be unlikely that any of the current generation would know what it was derived from…..

        1. It’s somehow appropriate that there is at yet no text of the bill available.

          1. It is a new efficiency measure — first pass the bill, then write it. This was done to avoid judges having to rewrite the law after it has gone into effect.

            1. Ah yes: leave the text of the law blank, let people try to implement it based on the title, then fill out the text with paragraphs imported from bench rulings. Everybody’s happy, especially activist judges.

          1. Get more popcorn. Drake’s Drum is already sounding, even if PM May and her associates insist that it’s just the noise of the sea.

  5. Favorite bit: So take a daring stand and be inclusive. It’s great, because it’s the type of daring stand where you can expect accolades for how daring you are — versus the other type of daring stand, which makes people angry at you. Avoid that.

  6. The problem with satire is that it’s often hard to outpace reality. We already have people advocating that people shouldn’t read white cismale authors (all pale skinned dudes out there might consider writing in a dress, just to be safe). Ditto for the inclusivity checklists and the advocating social justice (whatever that is). As for the “Remove anything that might trigger or offend,” what else are the “diversity editors” about? Those who’s job it is to go through and point out any offensive stereotypes that just might theoretically offend your most sensitive readers?

    Unfortunately, you wouldn’t have to change much about this essay before Tor.com would post it in all seriousness.

      1. I thought we agreed the problem was that they don’t read Marx, they just assume that what Authority Figures tell them Marx said is right.

        Reading would require being able to read, taking time from whinging on the internet to read, etc. And reading is unfair advantage, or maybe that was just reading in the presence of children, I can’t remember.

        Where as we read Marx, and were appalled.

      1. As long as your actually of Celtic origin (or from some more oppressed group). Otherwise, it’s cultural appropriation.

        1. I don’t think anybody from that area is able to be “appropriated” from– I wouldn’t bet against it being declared appropriation of Polynesian traditional costume or some similar low grade fertilizer, like how hoop earrings are only for… I think it’s inner city US blacks, but it may have been generic “People of Color.”

        2. I’m of Kiltic origin; being both Welsh and Irish on my mother and my father’s sides off the family.

          1. Shhhh. Don’t tell any one. It’s my concealed hold-out weapon/toolbox so I can MacGyver my way out of trouble.

      2. I don’t mind the concept of writing in a dress at all. I just think the members of the fair sex would be most peeved by me doing so whilst they were wearing them. And their boyfriends wouldn’t be that happy either. As for my spouse, well, I’m not that interested in a sex change operation, even in this day and age.

    1. I still remember the woman who urged it on all of us because when she read white males’ stories she would RAGEQUIT — and I actually saw someone defend it on grounds of getting out of your comfort zone.

      1. Which confuses me because they always tell us to go outside of our comfort zones or that us being made uncomfortable by something is a good thing.

      1. Irredeemable? I think the term you want is Gender Traitors. That’s worse than irredeemable, that’s false consciousness and threatens the whole ideoillogical structure of their surreality.

        You’re not the ones who say they cannot have play ponies, you’re the ones who tell them their play ponies will have to be fed, and curried, and housed and demand to know, “Who’s going to shovel out that place?”

        1. That’s the same thing as telling them they can’t have play ponies. Play ponies have to be all play, no work, and so YOU have to do the work. Otherwise you are taking away their ponies.

      2. Unless they voted for HRC, they aren’t liberated. They are dominated by the racist, sexist, men in their lives. So, they don’t count as real womyn. HRC said so herself. Not that I would mistake anything she says for either vox populi or vox dei…

        1. As Talks-With-Plants explains, women are NEVER at fault. No, the men in their lives have hollowed them out and operate them as puppets whenever they don’t agree with the party line

    1. Seems to depend on attractiveness, somewhat. I might be somewhat secure as a fat spinster. Well, should probably dye my hair orange or something, but otherwise halfway there.

      However any happily married attractive blonde is in trouble.

  7. BTW, how is progress on setting up the Patreon account? I look forward to the day when I can be confident that every single email I receive from PayPal may be treated as spam … as opposed tot he current situation in which only 999 out of 1,000 PayPal emails is spam.

    1. There is no progress. I need to “give” something in Patreon, and I haven’t written a novel to give yet. So. Meh. It’s not set up for “send ex amount per blog post.” I tried that. It didn’t work.

      1. Stupid Patreon. Will it allow donations for a WIP, such as Dark Fate or Rogue Magic? How about a book To Be Determined? (Although, now I think on it, TBD would be a great book title/theme.)

      2. Do you? Darn. I thought there was a no-reward supporter option on a bunch of accounts where all you get is notifications if the person posts something to Patreon, but I hadn’t thought about them making sure that wasn’t the only one. (Stand-in locked-to-supporters thank-you note?)

        Annoying about the can’t send X amount per Y. I feel like at one point there was some system where that was supposed to be the main mechanic, but I’m drawing a blank on any actually useful mechanism. Seems like it’d be logical for Patreon.

    2. There’s kickstarter type things for finite goals like professional cover art that (at least in my view) doesn’t have some of the same baggage as a Patreon can tend to have. And if you don’t reach goals everyone just keeps their money and you don’t have to deliver.

      Cover art seems well suited to it. Start pledge levels with book marks and post cards with the art, go up to posters, the book itself, and special signed copies for pledges above and beyond.

  8. For every person you gratify you will horrify another. To hell with them if they can’t take a joke.

  9. Words are just a problem in general.

    The newspaper at a previous place of domicilage about twenty years ago used to carry a comic strip named Phipps. It was all pictures; no words. Never could figure any of them out.

    And I had no idea it was so far ahead of its time.

  10. Our Beautiful but Evil Space Princess hostess has, upon occasion, advocated as a proper response to woke-SJWs to “laugh, point, and make duck noises” (more or less). This epistle of Mr. Fleming’s is a great example of same.

  11. In all seriousness, there are more and more (seems to me) people beginning to sound an alarm of sorts over the threat to creativity represented by this impulse to censor art. And the excuse that an author getting something wrong is the same as violence to some vulnerable client group doesn’t hold water. Characters, like real people, are individuals. If your character is “real” your character will not conform to the experience of every single other person with their same label. And if you get a sensitivity reader with that label to make sure you get it right, it’s still not going to be right for everyone.

    As we see happen over and over again. And most often the target of the ensuing witch hunts seems to be someone who was *trying*. They were trying to follow all the dictates, trying to be inclusive, doing their best because they are wholly on board with the importance of it all. They got their sensitivity reader, they got their similarly “woke” friends to beta read as well. But it turns out not to be right for everyone and someone finds a way to find offense.

    The threat to art itself is that authors or other artists will try to stay safe. They can’t try and then be wrong, so they won’t try. In the mean time the enforcers of this censorship put another hashmark on their victory wall and call themselves Very Good Girls.

    Do something “brave” that is absolutely safe and that you can be assured that you’ll be praised for.

    1. > trying to fit in

      The likes of us are irredeemable. But one of their own who doesn’t properly toe the line get the pink monkey treatment; one of their own is betraying the Narrative, and that cannot be tolerated.

      see also: Margaret Atwood

      1. I’m not irredeemable, if you find me and bring me back home my wife will give you a dollar.

    2. Passive Voice had a link out to an interview with a sensitivity reader a few months back. The thing that struck me is that the SR was so upset that a YA novel had a black character who liked to visit national parks and go camping. So, SR went on a rant about how that’s so unbelievable because national parks were segregated until X, therefore blacks don’t go to national parks (or camping, etc).

      SR, who was from a dense urban area (DC, IIRC), couldn’t fathom how a black character might be different from the mold she had. In her mind, if a black character didn’t conform to her idea of being black, then it was inauthentic.

      1. If you’re paying for a “sensitivity reader”, you’re paying to be censored. It’s one thing to consult someone on a delicate or cultural issue: it’s something else to give someone the power to gut your story.

      2. Yep, doesn’t surprise me. Some of the persons of darker skin color i went to high school with are just as good ole boy as the rest of the people i did…

      3. SR would probably have gone ballistic over a black park ranger I met once out in Oregon iirc.

        1. Show them Ken Burns’ documentary on Yosemite and ranger Shelton Johnson. (I got to see him at my last trip—he’s a fabulous speaker, exactly the sort of person to make everyone interested in what he’s talking about.)

      4. I’ve got two words (other than the ones usually abbreviated FU) for SR: Buffalo Soldiers.

        1. From which Black Jack Pershing got the Black Jack moniker–having been the commander of the black 10th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Huachuca.

      5. Remember, during the last presidential administration, the NPS hired a consultant who explained that the reason People of Color didn’t go to national parks et al was because trees = lynchings and so forests are traumatizing to African-Americans. *double facepaw*

        1. I swear I remember that conversation but you forgot “park rangers wear uniforms which traumatize blacks because police where uniforms.”

          What blows my mind is that typing this out… reading your comment and mine, even knowing that this was originally presented as some sort of “woke” ‘splaining (because I do remember it) it’s so blatantly and obviously racist it feels wrong to even type it out.

          1. … traumatize blacks because police where uniforms.

            So do post office employees. And mall cops. And members of the Armed Forces, which probably traumatizes them something awful.

            1. So Montel Williams and Thomas Sowell were horribly traumatized by their military service because they not only were surrounded by uniforms, but force to wear them too? Both Marines iirc.

              1. Back before 9/11, the stat was that inner city blacks were much more likely to join up and go career than any other group, as a percent of population– usually in supply or something similar. The only other group that came even close was Filipino expats. (Join up, retire, buy a house in the PI and live well on the retirement check. In the process, recruit as many of your buddies to do the same as you could. I swear, half of Supply’s chain had a house they were already making payments on.)

              2. Walter B. Williams and Ken “The Black Avenger” Hamblin served in the Army, as I recall. Perhaps that explains their race traitor mindsets? I believe Bill Cosby had been a marine, so that’s probably where he learned his toxic masculinity.

                1. Hmmm. I’m detecting a positive correlation between “served in the military” and success in life. That’s got to be torpedoing some poor misguided soul’s narrative.

      6. I’ve read that this is generally true, that most blacks don’t get out into national parks and hike and camp. BUT…some DO. Outliers. SRs don’t (or can’t bring themselves to) believe there ARE or COULD BE outliers.

        1. This, exactly. Even when there are rules, there are always exceptions. At most, depending on where the character grew up, it might need an explanation for a different family tradition. “You maybe ought to explain why because this is unusual,” is legit.

        2. BUT…some DO.

          NOT the authentic ones. Outliers are race traitors.

          Needless to say, probably NSFW.

        3. The question there though is whether that is a function of the racial culture or the geographic culture. Do inner city denizens of other races go at significantly higher rates.

          1. Well, the white urbans trend hipster, so they have that whole “Gaia” thing going on. Non-white urbans not often so hipster. So, could be as much “class” culture as even demographics.
            (We have loads of non-whites in the Scout troops/packs in my area. But we’re heavily military and kinda suburban because we’re spread out so much – very little urban area for the population.)

          2. Prior to the 1970s, the answer was no. Urban people generally didn’t go hiking, camping, or other sorts of outdoor recreation that required long-distance travel, at least in the US. Seashore visits were a lot more common, especially developed seashores with things to do besides sit and bask. There was a time when more urbanites did travel, often on excursion trains, in the late 1800s-early 1900s, but you still had to have funds and an interest. (See _The Crabgrass Frontier_ and other books)

            1. Of my acquaintances, most really-urban-adapted people still think “camping” is something you do in a vehicle with all the comforts of home; it’s those who live in sub- and ex-urbia who are more likely to hike, go tent camping, etc.

              1. And you know, I still think of tent camping as the soft option when there’s a car involved, because I’ve only been backpacking once, and it’s DEFINITELY easier when there’s a car involved.

                I worked at a summer camp for four years, and we had to boat everything large in. Including all the supplies for the new medical lodge. Concrete’s a lot easier to carry when it hasn’t been rained on and therefore pre-set.

            2. I just know that the two girls my parents adopted had never seen the ocean. In a state where there is nowhere without a beach within 20 min drive. Same with some I know from work. Just seems part of the divide between the two countries

        4. And that’s likely because, taken as a group, they are highly urbanized. I strongly suspect that the disparity has far more to to with being urban than with being black.

    3. True. I don’t remember the names of the books at this point, but I do remember looking at the victims of the latest SJW witch-hunts and thinking, “I’d kind of like to support this author against the mob, but to be honest, her works look like the sort of social-justice obsessed tripe I wouldn’t touch on a bet.” They wrote on the correct themes, they were inclusive as all get out, they used the sensitivity readers, but they still offended someone who was able to whip up the outrage.

      At this point, I’m thinking back to the whole “Requires Hate” mess and thinking that they’ve decided to use her as a template.

      1. Everyone needs a way to feel like they matter, I suppose. Saving the world from accidentally reading something that will pollute their minds will simply have to do. What this implies about everyone too weak minded to evaluate a story themselves seems not to matter much. It seems like what really gets them is the merest hint of “white savior” in a story, because you know, being a “savior” is their full time jobs and maybe that strikes too close to home for some.

        But really, Requires Hate did it first and best.

  12. In the interests of Woke-osity, I’ve included some nerds in my books. One of them is a recovering 4Chan addict who would never come out of his room (but he’s better now), the other is a nerd so hopeless that even the robotic aliens think he’s weird.

    They save the nerds for situations where a whole planet needs to be blown up, right away. This has happened. ~:D

    Sorry that there are no girl nerds, the Woke-osity quotient requires that they all have to be tough chicks.

  13. I was reading a regency novella last night which narrowly escaped learning the theory of flight because the woke author decided to shovel in a steaming pile of PC.

    Overall plot and execution was fine, but we have the main characters talking about *Native Americans* in the 1820s (NAM wasn’t really used until the 1960s). I was willing to suck it up when that phrase showed but, but then the female MC starts waxing about how NAM culture is so wonderful and just misunderstood, and we pushed them off their land, I just feel so sorry for them … Sure, that’s a typical attitude of an upper-class young lady in Boston in the 1820s; Indian raids wouldn’t be that common, but surely she could read the newspapers, which talked about raids out west?

    Grr. I’m not an amateur historian, but I do expect *some* historical accuracy when a book is set in a particular time period.

    1. Oh … my.
      Although there were 19th century characters rather myopically sympathetic to Native Americans at that time (Francis Parkman, anyone?) just about anyone living over the Appalachians … would have not been QUITE so understanding. Presentism is an ever-present curse, to those writing HF…

      1. The Little House books are surprisingly sympathetic to the indigenous characters through the eyes of Pa, but Ma is definitely of the opinion that they should all be dead. And that’s written 60 years after the fact, when opinions had softened, but is probably an accurate representation of the 1870s.

        1. Well of course – she was a Ma … a threat to her babies, no matter how vague?
          Want to see a frontier woman go all tiger-mother? Breathe just the slightest hint of a threat to their children. Pa could be indulgent – Ma didn’t have that luxury.

          1. “She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
            May not deal in doubt or pity — must not swerve for fact or jest.”

            1. Seriously, over this last week I’ve acquired an education on how even the mother of a grown son really wants to commit murder when you are unfair and torture her son. No one lets me kill people, though, so I’ve been going through hell barefoot.

              1. Any way we can help making a deserving person’s life miserable, if killing is off the table?

              2. “Everyone knows someone we’d be better off without,
                But let’s not mention names for we don’t know who’s about.
                But why commit a murder and risk the fires of Hell,
                When black widows in the privy will do the job as well.”


    2. She’d be more likely to feel like the savages shouldn’t be killed, they should be converted and shown the love of Jesus… if she were inclined that direction.

  14. Read Frank’s post. Cogitated for a few seconds. Coffee | nose > keyboard.
    Still chuckling. Think that’s about 0.7 Pratchetts worth of satire.

  15. I was just wondering. (Duck, cover, slam bunker hatch closed….)

    What would be the value of an award called the Sad Puppy,

    based on the criteria used to get the prior “Sad Puppy” selections nominated for that now-pointless shiny rocket thing?

    There could even be a category, call it the “mock-turtle”, for the -least- puppy-like SJW-crafted abomination. Or, maybe

    The killjoys loathe being one-upped, and cannot abide mockery.

    So of course we need to keep up the efforts to do so….

    1. “What would be the value of an award called the Sad Puppy…”

      There’s no need. We are still living rent-free in their heads without any expenditure of effort whatsoever.

      Half the comments this weekend from the Puppy-Kicker side were all about how Puppy Free things are this year. Some guy with a $3 million dollar publishing contract has nothing better to do than rip on people who moved on two years ago.

      As satisfying as it may be to continue beating the pinata, we got all the candy already.

      1. … how Puppy Free things are this year.

        Anybody seen the financials, especially sales of non-attending memberships?

      2. They’re happy we’re gone, but angry that we existed to begin with.

      3. Living rent-free (and partying heartily all thru the nights) in their heads is a consummation devoutly to be enjoyed.

      4. At one point I planned to blog the Sad Pepe Pie Hugo Trolling Slate. Combination of technical and time issues interfered.

      5. The Sad Puppies held up a hoop and they jumped right through it, four or was it five times? And then the SP’s got tired of holding up the hoop for the same old trick. Yet some seem to want to keep jumping.

  16. Oddly enough, last night I found myself writing an Isekai.

    Characters I’m not allowed to write? Check. Characters with unacceptable beliefs? Check. Triggers? By the barrel. Fun? I hope so, I could use some.

  17. There always has been a thing called a “subject matter expert” and you tend to thank them in the “acknowledgements” at the beginning of a book and then state that “all errors are my own.”

    A writer would be foolish to try to write in an area they don’t know a lot about without running a manuscript past some experts. It’s a good way to make horrible mistakes.

    Trying to write such that no one will take offense is not the same thing and is a fools errand.

    1. There always has been a thing called a ‘subject matter expert’ and you tend to thank them in the “acknowledgements” at the beginning of a book

      And finally, I wish to thank my Sensitivity Reader, Pursedlip Pantywadder, for helping me eliminate not just potential microaggressions but even picoaggresions from my text. Without her help there was severe risk this book would be less woke than my readers deserve, so thanks, Pursedlips, for being the biggest *hole in the business.

    2. “Subject Matter Expert”… now I ponder a text gone over by a particle
      physicist… “Anti-Matter Expert” would be a neat credit to have there.

  18. Hey, Frank: your new book isn’t showing up as being available on Audible, nor does Amazon offer the audio option.

  19. Might I suggest two more rules?

    Do Not Reward Skill

    Is your main character praised and rewarded for being skillful and competent? STOP. Just stop. Most people are not privileged by been born with talent. Your fetishizing of skills is oppressive. No.


    It should go without saying, but do not, under any circumstances, have any character be rewarded for working hard. The “protestant work ethic” is a white cultural norm, responsible for all of human suffering. Decolonize your work, and your mind.

    1. Well, the next two Shikari books should really blow the minds of the Woke. The colonized natives really, really want the humans to hang around. Really want. For Reasons.

      1. Funny how that seems to bleed into other universes. My universe, turns out that AIs -really- like humans. They think humans are a blast to hang out with. Despite the obvious glaring flaws we have, AIs are happy to have a human of their own. They will even share.

  20. You know who said that? That’s right: Adolf Hitler.
    Wasn’t he one of the guys the Hugos discriminated against in the very beginning?

    If I were to look this up in the dictionary
    Whoah! Stop right there! The first syllable of that word! It’s misogyny built right in! “Dic”?!? I. Can’t. Even.
    (And don’t even get me started about the exclusionary nature of “syllable”. It sounds like “sibilant” which is much too much like “shibboleth” which we all know was used to discriminate by those prime discriminators, the joos. *spluttering* Just…. Don’t.)

    [S]ocial justice is … laughing at their jokes
    What?!? There’s no laughing here! That’s exclusionary! Well, ok, you can laugh at those horrible people – all the ones who are persona non grata because of their privilege. But you can’t laugh at anyone else! And don’t even DARE to tell that one about lightbulbs, because it’s NOT FUNNY.

    Don’t Be a Straight White Male
    Absolutely right correct. Because if you are, and you try to include all those non-cisheteronormative non-white non-patriarchal non-binary characters, we’re gonna slap you stupid with charges of appropriation! So, just don’t even be white, male, or straight.

    Smiles are for fascists who don’t care about oppression.
    Darn right!
    Now have a nice day! 🙂 [whole string of emojis like that woke winner Bradley Chelsea Manning would use]

  21. Every time I see someone demanding that we all be woke, I play an imaginary song called “Like Woke Dirge.” (Obscure classical reference in title.) As in, “Like woke? Dirge.”

  22. The best thing that could happen to Literature (from the daily news to unicorn fantasy) is to outlaw, block, delete, and expunge from the Dictionary the word “woke” expect in reference to he transition from sleep to awake.

  23. Noted, from NRO’s Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt column of 04-09-18:

    ADDENDA: Speaking of the tech industry and social media, I’m currently giggling my way through Frank J. Fleming’s Sidequest in Realms Ungoogled, a madcap fantasy novel where Silicon Valley has suddenly become overtaken by a Lord of the Rings–style fantasy world, and a mild-mannered computer programmer suddenly finds himself trying to survive in absurd mirrored-reality of magic swords, demons, mermaids, fairies, secret societies, and blind dates with women who claim to be from “The Sisters of Torment, Who Serve the Darkness.” (You know, it’s not hard to imagine some of these tech CEOs transitioning quite well to a land of dark lords, conquest and monsters.)

    You know Frank from his hilarious blog, IMAO, novels like Superego, and non-fiction humor books like Punch Your Inner Hippie and Obama: The Greatest President in the History of Everything.


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