Sucky Hugos

by Henry on April 5, 2015

So apparently the Hugos suck this year, thanks to an organized voting campaign. See Patrick Nielsen Hayden on the voting campaign, which seems to be in part a product of internal disputes within the field (various right wing people upset that f/sf isn’t ‘their’ field any more, and belongs to teh_women/teh_gay/teh_PoC) and in part overspill from Gamergate. I don’t know many of the slate of nominees put up by the campaign, with the minor exception of Marko Kloos (whose self-published book I read and thought was unexceptionable military SF with the usual odd politics), and the unlovely John C. Wright (whose work and political opinions remind me of Gene Wolfe if Gene Wolfe had been subjected to an involuntary lobotomy). I did read and like Katherine Addison’s (Sarah Monette’s) The Goblin Emperor (although I liked her Melusine books even more) but apart from that I don’t have much advice to prospective Hugo voters on what they should vote for. What I do have is opinions on other work that didn’t get nominated but that seemed to me to be worth reading, and I hope that CT readers have too. One of the important functions of awards is to point readers towards good work that they otherwise might have missed. Since the Hugo Awards won’t be doing much of that this year, other people should do what they can.

Best Novel

2014 was in my opinion a pretty good year for novels – much better than 2013. Novels I especially liked.

Jo Walton – My Real Children. Probably not in need of much publicity given Walton’s previous Hugo win, but really, really good. January saw the publication of The Just City which is even better (but obviously was not eligible for awards). It’s one of those books that sounds as if it can’t possibly work – Plato’s Republic as SF, Greek gods, Socrates-as-muops, robots evolving consciousness – but does, gloriously. It’s also – like Francis Spufford’s Red Plenty a book which reads as though it was purposely written to hit Crooked Timber’s sweet spot. And you’ll be hearing more about it here.

William Gibson – The Peripheral. I’ve written about it already here – this may be my favorite science fiction novel published last year.

Greg van Eekhout – California Bones. Again, I’ve written about it already. The next book in the series is even better.

Elizabeth Bear – Steles of the Sky. Write-up here. Really nicely done fantasy in a non-Western setting with fine attention to the underlying sociology.

Peter Watts – Echopraxia. It pursues many of the same themes as his previous Blindsight but perhaps isn’t quite as disturbing in its bleak view of human cognitive limitations and what they mean for our place in the universe. The characterization isn’t up to much but that is part of the point.

Felix Gilman – The Revolutions. Write-up here.

Elliott Kay – Rich Man’s War. A sequel to his Poor Man’s Fight – originally self-published, but now coming out via Amazon’s in-house publishing arm. Has all of the virtues of early Heinlein without the dubious politics. Highly recommended.

Best Novella

Daryl Gregory – We Are All Completely Fine. An excellent, sardonic take on HP Lovecraft – what happens when those driven into shrill unholy madness by perceiving the true lineaments of world go into group therapy? His new juvenile, Harrison Squared is a prequel, but doesn’t look to be nearly so creepy.

Best Short Story

Ruthanna Emrys – The Litany of Earth. A very different take on HP Lovecraft, which very nicely turns his racism back on itself and just a lovely short piece. I haven’t read anything by Emrys before, but I’ll be looking out for her name.

Hannu Rajaniemi – Invisible Planets. in Jonathan Strahan ed., Reach for Infinity. I’ve never warmed to Rajaniemi’s novels, but this was really well done – while being more deliberately scientifictional, it captured Calvino’s grave playfulness very well.

Best Related Work

Again, Jo Walton. What Makes This Book So Great should not only have been nominated for Best Related Work this year but won it by a landslide. I read all the columns when they were published on Tor.com – but reading them cumulatively makes a big difference. I’ve already bought (and not regretted) Jack Womack’s Random Acts of Senseless Violence, and Candace Jane Dorsey’s Black Wine on the strength of her writeups, and want her to start writing about Steven Brust’s Taltos series again, now.

If there was a ‘Best Short Story Collection’ category, I’d also have nominated Ysabeau Wilce’s Prophecies, Libels and Dreams. Those are what I’d like to have seen on the ballot. What about you?

{ 236 comments }

1

Sumana Harihareswara 04.05.15 at 1:53 am

Oooh, I have to go look at my reading log now, but big yes to the Emrys recommendation! I have enjoyed everything of hers I’ve read, including “The Litany of Earth”.

2

Sumana Harihareswara 04.05.15 at 2:02 am

Spirits Abroad, a collection of short stories by Zen Cho — Deeply engaging, funny, loving, and heartstring-tugging (I’m reasonably sure that midway through the first story, I burst into tears and called my mom).

Seconding the rec for Jo Walton’s My Real Children which just won a Tiptree Award as well!

I’m enjoying Ann Leckie’s Ancillaryverse and last year’s Ancillary Sword compares othering, oppression, and possibilities for resistance across urban and plantation settings.

“Odds Against”, a short story by Borusa, is a spot-on Susan Calvin pastiche.

3

between4walls 04.05.15 at 2:21 am

Glad to see the recognition for Elizabeth Bear in this post; she’s one of my favorite living authors. She also had another book out last year, “One-Eyed Jack” (part of the Promethean Age series, but it stands alone). Didn’t get as much attention, but I’m in the middle of it right now and enjoying it.

Walton’s “The Just City” is also great, though as you say not eligible this year.

Seth Dickinson’s “Morrigan in the Sunglare” is a great short story about love and war in space. Dickinson’s first book, “The Traitor Baru Cormorant,” is coming out this year. I’ve been lucky enough to read it and it should be a nominee next year, no doubt.

4

Matt 04.05.15 at 2:53 am

IMO Echopraxia was good but not great. That could be a matter of expectations, though. I thought that Blindsight, despite weak characterization, was probably SF Novel of the Decade in terms of big ideas. Echopraxia had more hard to follow jargon and a less compelling plot. It still packed some great prescient ideas, though. The field biologist futilely searching for wild organisms with unaltered DNA came back to mind recently when I read this.

The Peripheral was initially difficult to engage with but ultimately compelling if bleak. I don’t mind bleakness in fiction. I heard echoes of Paul McAuley’s Cowboy Angels while reading it, and was not surprised to find that Paul McAuley had been one of the test readers.

I read John C. Wright’s Golden Age trilogy some years back and thought it was pretty good with a few thematically dissonant notes. Then I read the author’s ultra-reactionary blog and it all suddenly resolved into an unbroken horrifying image. I can still read earlier Orson Scott Card without being soured on it by OSC’s politics and religion, but Wright is worse. He would be part of the pro-Hell faction if he were a character in Surface Detail.

Thanks for the reading recommendations. It sounds like I won’t be gleaning much extra from official Hugo nominees this year.

5

Shatterface 04.05.15 at 2:57 am

I don’t read hardbacks – they’re too bulky as well as expensive – and I’ve never really got into my Kindle so I don’t tend to read a book until it comes out in paperback.

Meaning, of course, I read little that is still eligible for awards.

Leckie’s Ancillary Sword came out immediately in paperback. It’s a more linearly constructed narrative than Ancillary Justice but takes us deeper into Radch society, spacially as well as thematically. I miss Breq being an ‘outsider’ but it may be a better book.

I haven’t been this excited about a trilogy since Robinson’s Mars

6

Josh Jasper 04.05.15 at 3:37 am

Jo Walton is amazing. Also, (though I’m personally connected to an editor, so I might be biassed) the Long Hidden anthology was amazing, and if you’re annoyed by the Hugo ruiners, reading and promoting books like that one is exactly what they’re railing against.

Also, Andy Wier’s The Martian – a classic Sci-Fi story with lots of chewy science-y bits, suspense, and man-vs-environment thrills.

7

Doctor Science 04.05.15 at 4:46 am

Josh @6:

The Martian isn’t eligible for any of the major awards for 2014, as it is copyright 2011. If this whole Sad Puppies business hadn’t happened, we’d be having a *far* more interesting and IMHO important discussion about how the current system is hard on independent ebook originals, which can take several years to get up a head of steam. As with The Martian, which would have been the book to beat for the Hugos had it been eligible.

8

Doctor Science 04.05.15 at 4:56 am

Let’s just say that Henry & I have very different tastes in SF/fantasy.

If I had managed to get my nominating ballot in on time (I mis-remembered the due date), I was putting down Ancillary Sword and The Goblin Emperor, along with:

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu.

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett.

Cibola Burn by James A. Corey.

9

Zora 04.05.15 at 5:36 am

Zen Cbo’s book was reviewed by James Nicoll: http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/review/award-worthy-fiction

Discussion on his LJ.

I should add that I edit James’ reviews. I have not read the Cho book, but it sounds interesting. I often, but not always, like the books he likes.

10

shah8 04.05.15 at 6:14 am

Eh…I think I have to disagree with 2014 being better than 2013 in terms of speculative fantasy. There were a lot more “pretty good” book published in 2013, including the best book I’ve read the last two years being Samatar’s A Stranger in Olondria.

California Bones is only a “pretty good” urban fantasy. It’s not better than the row Max Gladstone has been hoeing, for example.

I don’t like William Gibson’s writing style, so I can’t really say much about his book.

I’m not really a fan of Elizabeth Bear, but I have been reading that series as I do like magical history. However, it’s just not really as good as what Kate Elliot can do, and this last year, the second installment in Chris Willrich’s series, The Silk Map is much richer, with less stiff characters, and more of a lively, lyrical humor that takes more effort to read, but is worth it.

Elliot Kay? I have been distracted and been reading the Good Intentions stuff. Ahhh…, but it’s okay urban paranormal, too. The Heinlein will have to wait.

Enjoyed Echopraxia, but it was sort of depressing. As far as something real, no it’s not really up there with Blindsight, about evenish with the usual Egan.

I only now finished Felix Gilman a few days ago. I enjoyed, it, not least because I was reading something just a little too trashy before, and picked that one to get some real writing. However, the whole thing clashes with my previous reading of Michael J Martinez’ Daedalus Incident and Enceladus Crisis, which covers very similar territory.

I usually enjoy Gaie Sebold’s works, and Shanghai Sparrow was a little memorable. Also, Rod Duncan’s The Bulletcatcher’s Daughter.

So, the four best books published in 2014 I read were:
The Revolutions
The Silk Scroll
Echopraxia
A.M. Dellamonica’s Child of a Hidden Sea

There have been better years.

11

Sancho 04.05.15 at 6:25 am

How do you maintain a passion for fantasy and sci-fi while taking the real world seriously? Staying informed about politics and current affairs has shaken out my capacity for being carried away by imagination. Not to Bernard Salt’s extent, but it seems so frivolous now.

12

DanielH 04.05.15 at 7:08 am

So amongst other things this has revealed a flaw in the nominations system here. A small but organised minority can hijack the process. This seems like it would be a common problem in situations where
1. the number of candidates is very large, and
2. each voter probably only has information about a few of the options.

Can anyone more knowledgeable than me point me toward research on effective systems for these situations? Seems an interesting problem.

13

Layman 04.05.15 at 7:20 am

The Peripheral and The Martian, of course!

From left field, I thoroughly enjoyed Edgar Cantero’s The Supernatural Enhancements, which strikes me as science fiction masquerading as gothic horror.

I read great things about The Book of Strange New Things, read it, didn’t enjoy it, and keep thinking I missed something.

On the other hand, Station Eleven lived up to the hype.

14

supernaut 04.05.15 at 12:25 pm

Ann Leckie for sure, though I enjoyed Justice more than Sword, was like reading Iain M. Banks’ The Algebraist from the perspective of Archimandrite Luseferous.

Discovered Ysebeau Wilce and read all of her Flora Segunda books. Prophecies, Libels & Dreams: Stories of Califa was out last year.

Jo Walton’s My Real Children just won the Tiptree Award, along with Monica Byrne’s The Girl in the Road (I haven’t read the latter or most of the Honour List, but would think there’s a lot of good stuff there.)

Nicole Griffith’s Hild, which did come out the previous year but was published in the UK last year.

Gibson’s The Peripheral was also a return to what I’d missed from him for years, but did find some things in it problematic and unnecessary.

A real pity Legend of Korra didn’t make it onto the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form list, (Or even Person of Interest for that matter) though glad to see at least Orphan Black there.

15

Ronan(rf) 04.05.15 at 1:07 pm

I’m not a huge sci fi/fantasy etc fan, but am reading Just City at the minute (I think on the rec of someone here) and am enjoying it a lot. Jo Walton can really write.

16

Josh Jasper 04.05.15 at 2:20 pm

Doctor Science : I know the Martian isn’t eligible (actually, full disclosure – I know Andy & used to game with him) but I figure it’s print-pub date makes it worth discussing in context, unless we’re restricting ourselves to books technically eligible only.

17

Tom Slee 04.05.15 at 3:04 pm

I have lost touch with SF over the years, so there are lots of authors here for me to follow up, which will be fun. Thanks.

I doubt that it was eligible (though it came out in 2014 in Canada and the UK), but I thought Sandra Newman’s “The Country of Ice Cream Star” was really original and entertaining, as well as thought provoking. And I finally read the final two of Margaret Atwood’s “Oryx and Crake” trilogy which I thought got better as it went along, with MaddAdam in particular being excellent.

18

Abi Sutherland 04.05.15 at 3:25 pm

If we’re allowed to suggest short stories: I really love Ursula Vernon’s Jackalope Wives.

I’m not going to go further into my views of the situation itself, having already splashed them all over Making Light.

19

Russell L. Carter 04.05.15 at 3:55 pm

This post, along with Cosma deciding to attend to his primary responsibilities, has lengthened my queue to 12 books. Now I need to get sick.

I suppose that’s a weird way of saying, thanks!

20

praisegod barebones 04.05.15 at 5:58 pm

Henry – thanks very much for putting this thread up. I’ll be reading it with great interest.

21

JakeB 04.05.15 at 6:44 pm

@Tom —

Of course you know that Margaret Atwood isn’t really science fiction, given there are no talking space squids, right?

22

Brett Bellmore 04.05.15 at 7:37 pm

“One of the important functions of awards is to point readers towards good work that they otherwise might have missed. Since the Hugo Awards won’t be doing much of that this year, other people should do what they can.”

Actually, the Hugo Awards WILL be doing exactly that this year. Just for a different group of SF fans, possible a group more representative of SF fandom as a whole. I thought it a pity Larry Correa declined his own nomination to spike any claims Sad Puppies was about advancing his own interests; His Monster Hunter books are a great example of their genre, he’s like some kind of modern day Lester Dent.

23

delagar 04.05.15 at 8:00 pm

Rachel Swirsky’s Grand Jete is a lovely, heart-breaking novella — you can read it here: http://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/summer_2014/grand_jet_the_great_leap_by_rachel_swirsky

A short story I’d like to recommend, though I have some interest in it, is Rachael K. Jones’ Makeisha in Time. Read it here: http://crossedgenres.com/magazine/020-makeisha-in-time/

I had hoped to see both of these as Hugo nominees this year.

24

Warren Terra 04.05.15 at 8:39 pm

Thanks, Brett, for the dispatch from the noStalinist perspective, where all art must serve the correct political position.

Meanwhile, even without venturing an opinion on the heretofore unperceived subtleties and extraordinary qualities of John C. Wright’s literary efforts, I think we can agree that even from your perspective it does no-one any favors – not even Wright – for him to be nominated three times in the novella category.

And I defy anyone to look at the Best Related Work category and feel any sense its components been well chosen. I looked at one whose title intrigued me – Why Science is Never Settled by Tedd Roberts. It turns out to be online, to be all of perhaps 8000 words long, and to mostly be anodyne, unremarkable, and not obviously superior to Wikipedia articles on the subjects in question (but seething with repressed resentment), and whose value to its promoters most likely lies in its unsubstantiated sideswipe at accepted climate science (if his politics weren’t completely hateful to the Sad Puppy brigade, the worthwhile points on publishing and review made in this essay are made much more clearly, and much less pompously, by Michael Eisen,for example). No sensible reviewer would rate Roberts’s little essay as a distinguished honor’s thesis, let alone one of the five best “Related Works” writings of the last year.

25

Happy Jack 04.05.15 at 8:56 pm

One of the important functions of awards is to point readers towards good work that they otherwise might have missed.

According to this, there is a bias towards the familiar, so I’d question the job they’re doing. I was going to point out the bias against fantasy, but it looks like they’re getting better.

26

delagar 04.05.15 at 9:12 pm

Warren Terra — Abigail Nussbaum suggests we call them by their more appropriate name, the Rabid Puppies, since (1) more of Vox Day’s slate ended up as Hugo nominees than Torgersen’s; and (B) Rabid is a more appropriate adjective to describe their tenor.

I concur.

27

David 04.05.15 at 9:35 pm

WorldCon just got forty dollars out of me that they wouldn’t have gotten had this nonsense not happened. Ironically, these right wing morons may end up swelling WorldCon’s coffers.

28

Henry 04.05.15 at 9:39 pm

Actually, the Hugo Awards WILL be doing exactly that this year. Just for a different group of SF fans, possible a group more representative of SF fandom as a whole.

Like notorious racist and white nationalist Vox Day? I suppose this does help somewhat to clarify the exact nature of your contribution to discussion at this blog.

29

David 04.05.15 at 9:42 pm

Brett Bellmore is an obnoxious Far Righter? Whhhhhaaaaa……..? Mind blown

30

delagar 04.05.15 at 9:52 pm

Another excellent piece of SFF, which I had hoped to see on the Hugo ballot: Cartoon Network’s Over The Garden Wall. If you missed it, it’s available on Amazon, Live Streaming.

31

Abbe Faria 04.05.15 at 9:53 pm

Shame Jonathan Ross isn’t presenting this year.

32

MPAVictoria 04.05.15 at 10:32 pm

“Like notorious racist and white nationalist Vox Day? I suppose this does help somewhat to clarify the exact nature of your contribution to discussion at this blog.”

Wow. I knew Vox was a ridiculous jackass but that is over the top, straight up, unleaded racist shit right there.

33

David 04.05.15 at 10:38 pm

Well, yes. The people that are organizing this slate voting campaign (as well as the notorious GamerGate) are utter garbage.

34

delagar 04.05.15 at 11:20 pm

“The people that are organizing this slate voting campaign (as well as the notorious GamerGate) are utter garbage.”

Sadly true. And their tactics pushed many excellent works off the ballot.

35

Anderson 04.05.15 at 11:22 pm

What 12 said: what is to be done?

28: Brett’s been clear for a very long time.

36

GeoX 04.05.15 at 11:56 pm

Boy, I thought The Revolutions was a big disappointment. I was really looking forward to it since I liked all Gilman’s other novels a lot, but it just flat-out did not work for me. It seemed to be several different novels mashed together, all of which had their moments but none of which was sufficiently developed to really make an impact. And the ending was risible. I’ll still be first in line to read whatever he publishes next, however.

37

Abbe Faria 04.06.15 at 12:13 am

“What 12 said: what is to be done?”

Well, you can calm down – cool it with the outrage culture, not overact to trivialities – and it’ll all blow over soon enough.

Or, you can campaign to vote ‘No Award’ on the slate, so the Hugo’s don’t get handed out. And then you can pump up your own campaigns for next year, so the nominations come down to mass backing of dueling ideologically correct lists in order to maximise your chances to defeat purely political opponents. And then, whoever gets the noms will have the fun of staving off the other side attemping to sabotage the awards again, and again, and again, ad nauseam.

That’ll be great for SF&F fandom. Hordes of people who don’t give a shit will be drawn in for the politics; either from Tumblr/Twitter outrage battlegrounds or international brigades from the various communities (comics, atheism, gaming, indie music, etc etc etc) Social Justice Warriors have tried to rip all the fun out of in previous wars. This crap will escalate and carry on forever. Congrats all – you’ve a bright future to look forward to.

38

delagar 04.06.15 at 12:32 am

Another story I nominated for the Hugos — and really wanted to see on the ballot — Polenth Blake’s Never the Same.

Read it a Strange Horizons, here: http://www.strangehorizons.com/2014/20140908/neverthesame-f.shtml

39

Bruce Baugh 04.06.15 at 1:23 am

Since some folks here aren’t steeped in the lore of the morally rancid scumbags Brett wants us to cheer on…ladies and gentlemen, John C. Wright, winner of more simultaneous nominations in a single category than any author in Hugo history, on the end of the Legend of Korra animated series.

You were not content to leave the matter ambiguous, no, but had publicly to announce that you hate your audience, our way of life, our virtues, values, and religion.

Surely you can trust a man who responds to a same-sex relationship that way to be a good guide to the kinds of values and insights that can and should help us find our way in the new millennium.

40

delagar 04.06.15 at 1:34 am

See also this from John C. Wright, about how he regrets not punching Terry Pratchett in the mouth, one time when he was lucky enough to be in the audience where Pratchett was speaking.

“I sat and listened to pure evil being uttered in charming accents accentuated by droll witticism, and I did not stand up, and I did not strike the old man who uttered them across the mouth: and when he departed, everyone stood and gave him an ovation, even though he had done nothing in his life aside from entertain their idle afternoons. Only I did not stand, being too sick at heart. I did nothing, I said nothing. Was this Christian humility on my part, or merely the cowardice of the silence good men which allows evil men to triumph?”

(Wright disagreed with Pratchett’s position on euthanasia. This is a puncin’ offense, in Wright’s world. You disagree with someone? Gotta slug’em.)

Original here: http://www.scifiwright.com/2011/10/the-watchtowers-of-atlantis-tremble/comment-page-1/#comment-66957

41

MPAVictoria 04.06.15 at 1:41 am

@39 and 40
Christ what an asshole.

@37
Yes truly “social justice warriors” are history’s greatest monsters.
*rolls eyes

42

MPAVictoria 04.06.15 at 2:02 am

A quote from Mr. Wright at Bruce’s link at 39:

“Men abhor homosexuals on a visceral level. While girls sometimes are attracted to them, they tend to be ‘bishounen’ rather handsome if effete men.

So a man who is attractive is attractive for his spiritual qualities of leadership, manliness, courage, and strength, even if his face is as pretty as that of Humphrey Bogart, who turns out to be homosexual is neither attractive to a male nor to a female general audience.

In any case, I have never heard of a group of women descended on a lesbian couple and beating them to death with axhandles and tire-irons, but that is the instinctive reaction of men towards fags.”

Real winner.

43

David 04.06.15 at 2:06 am

What the hell does John C. Wright know about attractiveness? He is the literally epitome of a fedora sporting neckbeard. He is hair trigger whiny reaction given physical, repugnant form.

44

delagar 04.06.15 at 2:15 am

Other good reads from 2014:

The Girl in the Road, by Monica Byrne, which just won the Tiptree Award.

Long Hidden, edited by Rose Fox and Daniel Jose Older (put out by Crossed Genres Press, where I’m an editor, but I didn’t edit this one).

I also loved, loved, loved The Dryad’s Shoe, by Ursula Vernon, under her *other* name, which you can read here: http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/new/new-fiction/the-dryads-shoe/

45

Anderson 04.06.15 at 2:47 am

42: funny, I’m a man, & I detest Wright on a visceral level.

Farias’s gibberish aside, either the nomination process is reformed, or the Hugos lose any merit they ever had. If anyon

46

Bruce Baugh 04.06.15 at 3:05 am

I learned today that the presenters at Sasquan’s Hugo awards will be David Gerrold and Tananarive Due. If any of the SP/RP crowd do win, some amazing photo opportunities will ensue.

47

Doctor Science 04.06.15 at 3:09 am

I won’t be bothering to read SP-etc nominees because I did that last year, and discovered, in fact to my surprise, that their stuff is technically incompetent. Brad Torgerson put together the SP slate this year, and his stories last year proved that he lacks basic writerly skills such as grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. For instance, he doesn’t know when to use “X and I” and when to use “X and me” — and his editors aren’t in the habit of correcting him, either.

I’m still shaking my head in wonderment that this circle of professional writers has grown up without even the ability to screen out high-school level mistakes. When the highest praise Brett @22 can come up with is “like some kind of modern day Lester Dent” — this is the very definition of “damning with faint praise”.

48

Rheophile 04.06.15 at 3:09 am

Probably the best eligible things I read this year were Max Gladstone’s “Full Fathom Five,” Patrick Rothfuss’s “The Slow Regard of Silent Things,” and maybe VanderMeer’s “Annihilation”.

I found “The Three-Body Problem” to be mostly unremarkable except for the setting and intersection with Chinese history, and a few genuinely terrible manglings of physics. (“Oh no… we made it with one too many dimensions!” is something I’d expect as a punchline in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.)

The whole Puppies business is just horrific, especially in the downticket categories. Short stories, etc, have only needed something like 35 nominations to reach the ballot, which makes bloc voting pretty damn effective. In this case, I might endorse instant runoff or something for the nominations… I don’t much mind seeing “Skin Game” on the novels list, though. It’s good to recognize super-popular works, too, especially when they are in top form (the last two or three Dresden Files books have been pretty great).

49

nnyhav 04.06.15 at 4:28 am

cf mefi

50

Belle Waring 04.06.15 at 7:36 am

Brett, out of curiosity, do you genuinely think that a majority of SF fandom agrees that a) most of modern Western society’s problems can be traced to the fatal error of extending the franchise to women and b) people of African descent are significantly mentally inferior to Caucasian people? Do you yourself agree with Vox Day on these points? He is vehement and persistent with regard to both these claims. He is also an anti-Semite. I would very much appreciate an answer. Like, seriously, fucking answer the fucking question, NOW, no weaseling. If you comment again, I want to hear it. If you comment in a different thread, I still want to hear it.

If you disagree with Vox Day on these points, why? If you disagree and find these ideas morally repugnant, since you are (I am speaking hypothetically) a decent human being, why do you think he is worthy of formal recognition in the wider community? If you disagree and find these ideas morally repugnant, why do you think it the case that a silent majority of SF fans hold these odious views, but have been prevented from fully airing or enjoying them until now by a cadre of SJWs? These are not some incidentals irrelevant to his work as a ‘writer’ or editor. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say these beliefs are the bedrock of his worldview and his desire to proselytize for them shapes all his efforts. The people recruited from GG to vote for Vox Day and others were lured specifically with the suggestion that they had a chance to “humble SJW’s” in another arena, “hunting down and neutralizing” the “diseases”–since those who favor equality are like illnesses in the body public according to your allies. Please explain in what way the “different group” that shaped this year’s ballots with party-line voting tactics are “perhaps more representative of SF fandom as a whole.” I am honestly, quite genuinely disappointed in you, Brett, and I’m not even saying this as a rhetorical gambit; I just didn’t think you were this bad a person. You are a conservative, obviously, but I never would have taken you for someone who wanted to repeal the amendments to the US Constitution which allow women and black citizens to vote, which Vox Day very much does. I didn’t take you for someone like that. I am sorry to see just how wrong I was in my estimation of your character. If you have some explanation of this I would be interested to hear it, although I don’t really think there is anything you could say at this point that would undo the damage you have done to your own moral standing in my view. Allow me to notify you in advance that–barring some extraordinarily graceful Houdini maneuver in which you repudiate the loathsome people you have happily jumped in with–I will never respond to any of your comments ever again.

51

Sancho 04.06.15 at 9:05 am

Conservapedia is hilariously conflicted about Vox Day. On one hand, PZ Myers refused to debate him, proving that his ideas are highly dangerous to the theory of evolution, but on the other, “By using this nom de plume, Beale implies that he presumes to speak on God’s behalf, while also showing off his knowledge of ancient languages and pun-making ability.”

Well, okay. You can stay in the treehouse, but we’re calling you Ted around here.

52

Brett Bellmore 04.06.15 at 9:25 am

“When the highest praise Brett @22 can come up with is “like some kind of modern day Lester Dent” — this is the very definition of “damning with faint praise”.”

Hey, just because you don’t like the genre, doesn’t mean that a work can’t be an excellent member of it. I’m guessing you’re not a fan of Bruce Campbell, either?

53

John Quiggin 04.06.15 at 10:33 am

As regards Brett Bellmore, what Belle said. If you aren’t going to respond to the questions she raised, please don’t comment on any post of mine in future.

54

Doctor Science 04.06.15 at 10:38 am

Lester Dent was famous for writing to a formula, at a speed that required him not to care too much about what he was writing. And it shows — his sentences are consistently mediocre, their only virtue being to move things along.

This *cannot* be excellence, and I don’t imagine Dent was trying for excellence, either.

I often enjoy things that aren’t even trying for excellence, but that’s not what awards are *for*. Part of what bemuses me about the Sad Puppies is that having high standards, believing in excellence, thinking that there are objective standards of value that don’t have anything to do with popularity — these are all things I associate with traditional conservatism. And yet the SPs seem to be doubling down on a pugnacious rejection of high literary standards — and, in their work, even such bourgeois affectations as grammar.

55

Val 04.06.15 at 11:49 am

Seeing as you’re talking about racism and this is Henry’s post, just thought I might tell Henry (hopefully still reading comments?) that this comment was made on his St Patrick’s Day thread:

“Given the violent nature of pre-colonial Australian aboriginal cultures, as evidenced by the skeleton record and early settler/explorer accounts, their subjugation and inevitable extinguishment is a blessing for humankind.” (Crytandra @ 517)

Crytandra has subsequently apologised for some of the things he said (without specifying which in particular), and I’m not just trying to keep a fight going, but several of us were pretty shocked by that particular comment. Anyway it seems like the sort of thing a CT author might want to respond to, so I’ll just leave it at that.

56

SamChevre 04.06.15 at 11:59 am

Things I’ve read and enjoyed, without much regard for “are they the right sort of thing to win a Hugo.”

Already mentioned: The Just City,Goblin Emperor.

Enjoyed, but…
Patricia Briggs, Fair Game; romance/mystery more than a thriller, but I buy Patricia Briggs books new (generally I get books from the library).

Susan Krinard, Mist and Black Ice; again, more fun than depth, but excellent execution; a good sense of her style can be gotten from the short story Freeze Warning.

Heather Rose Jones, Daughter of Mystery; fairly formulaic characters, interesting plot. A first novel, and feels like it.

Short stories: two by Betsy Phillips (TinyCatPants): It Came from the Sunny Side of the Mountain and this one, which sticks; there are lots more, here.

57

Barry 04.06.15 at 12:20 pm

Belle, and all other posters here:

WTF? Brett has slimed his way around things, but he’s said enoug to make his politics clear. He had done so for as long as I can remember reading his comments, here, on Obsidian Wings, and on Mark Kleiman’s blog.

I’m mystified why people give him the alightest benefit of the doubt, since he’s blown that benefit away almost daily for several years now.

58

Warren Terra 04.06.15 at 1:35 pm

Barry,
I’ve clashed with Brett many times, back when Kleiman’s place had usable comments, and to my mind he’s often been reprehensible (especially his prolonged birtherism), but he’s always shown flashes of humanity, and I don’t recall him openly flirting with the kind of vicious racism Vox Day is infamous for. His apparent refusal to take a stand on this issue is disheartening.

59

Henry Farrell 04.06.15 at 1:41 pm

Brett Bellmore – I’d logged on this morning to put a version of Belle’s question – unsurprisingly, she has done so far better and more eloquently than I could have. My gloss – were you just engaged in an exercise in lazy trolling where you hadn’t bothered to actually check out the people whose cause you were defending? In which case, if you want to continue to comment on my posts, you had better make a very forthright apology right about now to the posters and commenters whose patience you are presuming on, and also be aware that you’ve burned a lot of our willingness to forebear on arguments straddling the thin line between provoking debate and active trollage. Alternatively, if you actually want to embrace the cause of Vox Day and his friends, don’t bother coming back.

60

Bruce Baugh 04.06.15 at 1:45 pm

I’m having the same reaction as Barry, gotta admit.

61

Henry Farrell 04.06.15 at 1:49 pm

Val – thanks – I often don’t follow threads after #200 or so, since at that point they have usually become a debate among a few commenters that doesn’t bear on the OP.

62

Henry Farrell 04.06.15 at 1:52 pm

Thanks to all who’ve recommended stuff – especially short stories which I am much weaker on. On novels – I also liked the Max Gladstone books a lot, and should maybe have included them. Also, Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King was very good imo – unlocking the shackles of grimdark which he forged for himself and his followers was a very good thing. The follow up this year is better, and deserves to be on people’s radar screens for nominations.

63

Barry 04.06.15 at 2:03 pm

Warren Terra 04.06.15 at 1:35 pm
“Barry,
I’ve clashed with Brett many times, back when Kleiman’s place had usable comments, and to my mind he’s often been reprehensible (especially his prolonged birtherism), but he’s always shown flashes of humanity, and I don’t recall him openly flirting with the kind of vicious racism Vox Day is infamous for. His apparent refusal to take a stand on this issue is disheartening.”

‘flashes of humanity’ is something that can be true of almost everybody – I recently found out that when OBL was killed, Rush actually credited President Obama for it, saying that Obama went for it, and took the risky option (i.e., killing him face to face, rather than dropping some bombs and never knowing). However, that’s very much the exception for Rush.

As for Brett’s flirting with racism, that’s his technique, and people who are fooled by it are – well, fools. The guy does it again and again and again.

64

Belle Waring 04.06.15 at 2:31 pm

Barry: I honestly didn’t think he was as racist as all that. That is, I thought he was “I pretend not to be racist” racist, not “I’m racist because racism is scientifically accurate” racist. Likewise I thought he was “feminists are the real sexists because special rights” sexist, not “seriously, our civilisation is doomed because we have let infantile, easily-swayed women vote in democratic elections, and we should try to rectify that error by ushering in a new dark ages” sexist. It’s kinda different. And as a woman I feel qualified to tolerate a certain level of sexism because it’s on me, sort of, but that level of racism is just the nope nope nopectopus scooting across the ocean floor. You may have heard recently a guy was convicted of sexual harassment for jerking off into a co-worker’s coffee, something she noticed because he frequently had his fly down and his hand down his pants at her desk? (He apparently thought this was a romantic gesture of some kind.) Do you know how you just thought involuntarily about the coffee, and the curdling, and the texture? Vox Day is like every white power subreddit jerked off into your coffee.

65

Brett Bellmore 04.06.15 at 2:35 pm

I din’t even know who Vox Day is. I am, however, somewhat familiar with Larry Correa, and my understanding was that Sad Puppies was HIS gig.

Here’s his side of it.

66

Simeon Beresford 04.06.15 at 2:35 pm

Best eligable book I read last year. that did no t make it to the list

Crux by Ramez Naam.

Providing the awards do not collapse into chaos I predict Goblin Emperor for the win.

I enjoyed it. The nonstandard intimate/formal pronoun structure was nicely done I thought. However I seemed to read nothing but reviews by people who failed to understand that she used a well structured grammar to decide the correct form to use.

As to the story it felt a bit Victorian with its virtue rewarded, Dudley Doright hero and oh so blunt allegorical racism. It made it a pleasant change from grimdark. and gets a mark down for being fantasy. probably the winner because Obama. and rainbows,

But for myself I preferred Ancillary Sword. But I a get the feeling I my reading of Leckie is very different from most people. I cant wait for the third one.

67

Warren Terra 04.06.15 at 2:35 pm

I for one really didn’t to read the story Belle used to end her comment just now. OK, maybe I did need to read it; it’s important to know people like that are really out there, whether they’re deluded and wishing to be romantic or they are more violently inclined. But it’s just so deeply sad.

68

Warren Terra 04.06.15 at 2:37 pm

Brett: surely you can see that your comment just now is strike two on the “do you agree with Vox Day” question? I mean, shouldn’t you settle that before trying to change the subject?

69

Brett Bellmore 04.06.15 at 2:41 pm

Belle, I’m more, “I’m not a racist, because you’re misusing the term.”, actually.

70

Brett Bellmore 04.06.15 at 2:46 pm

Shouldn’t I have to know something about this dude, before having an opinion about whether I agree with him? Or am I supposed to form my opinion based on his being hated by the ‘right’ (IOW, left.) people?

I’ll google him this evening.

71

Barry 04.06.15 at 2:52 pm

Belle: ” That is, I thought he was “I pretend not to be racist” racist, not “I’m racist because racism is scientifically accurate” racist. “

That’s sort of like the difference between the KKK, Christian Identity, etc. It might matter a lot to the core membership of each group, but other than that it’s ‘tomato, tomahto’.

And it leads me back to my original question – Belle, did you actually think that because he’s flavor A of quite nasty racism, that that’s different than if he was flavor B?

72

Anderson 04.06.15 at 3:02 pm

Barry, I can’t speak for Belle, but coming from the South, I’m used to having to tolerate I lot of “I pretend not to be racist” racism, because it’s impractical to shun 80-90% of the white people I work with, have in my family, etc.

73

Abbe Faria 04.06.15 at 3:07 pm

“Actually, the Hugo Awards WILL be doing exactly that this year. Just for a different group of SF fans, possible a group more representative of SF fandom as a whole.”

Brett’s absolutely right. The point isn’t whether you approve of the politics. The point is that most SF&F fandom don’t believe in the politicisation of art. Most the writers who shaped the genre are politically awful. Much of the fan base was and is still drawn in by the books of misogynist, homophobic, racists like Leiber and Howard and Lovecraft etc – but capable of looking past the politics to enjoy the work.

This sits very uneasily with ‘progressive identity activists’ (or whatever term won’t offend you all) attempting to ideologically cleanse the field. So activists who vent outrage over a chainmail bikini on the cover of the SFWA bulletin, or the fact Jonathan Ross might make a fat joke at the Hugos, or HP Lovecraft statues, and so on, likely aren’t speaking for those fans capable of looking past the opinions of a misogynist, athletic fetishist, racist like REH.

The sad thing is, the Hugos were very ideologically diverse. You used to have people like Leiber and Dick and Heinlein alongside Bradley and Le Guin and Wilhelm. That’s dead now. Outraged assholes have politicised the fandom and triggered a counter-reaction, books are now going to be judged on conflicting views of their ideological merits and the fandom has lost something.

And now I’m going to sit and wait for everyone to accuse me of being racist.

74

Cranky Observer 04.06.15 at 3:12 pm

Regardless of personal, literature, or political leanings am I actually supposed to take seriously anyone who uses the term “SJW”? Am I supposed to take seriously anyone who takes seriously someone who uses the term “SJW”? An in-group signifier, designed to serve double duty as a Karl Rove style attack-against-their-strength, except the coiner(s) weren’t anywhere near Rove’s level of evil genius and no one outside the inner core of the in-group knows what it means or is in any way offended or upset when it is explained to them? Shakespearean levels of depth this bunch.

75

Henry 04.06.15 at 3:17 pm

Brett – you’ve been given your opportunity and not taken it. Any future comments from you on my posts will be deleted on sight.

76

Doug 04.06.15 at 3:19 pm

Abbe Faria @ 72,

No one needs to accuse you of being racist when you wear it on your sleeve as a badge of pride.

77

Bill Jones 04.06.15 at 3:20 pm

I hesitate to jump in here to somewhat defend Brett but looking at his post, it doesn’t seem like he is alining himself with Vox Day. What he is saying is that the works on the Sad Puppy slate (not Vox Day’s) is more representative of SF fandom as a whole than the usual Hugo lists. I do very much believe he is wrong and that the SP slate is filed with cruft but that doesn’t mean most of the authors on it would have anything to do with VD’s agenda.

I wonder, did the authors and artists on the SP slate agree to be on it?

78

JimV 04.06.15 at 3:35 pm

I never knew “Vox Day” wrote s-f. Years ago, when I still read “Pharyngula” daily (before commenters started metaphorically eating their own young instead of arguing civilly) I knew he was a fool. Not all people who reject evolution are fools, but those who claim to do so based on their superior understanding of scientific evidence are fools or liars or both. Sorry, that’s how I see it. (No,I don’t reply to them with that accusation, but that’s what I’m thinking as I do respond.)

However, what I wanted to say is, that #50 by Belle Waring made me understand why she is held in such respect here. Which necessarily implies that I haven’t gotten much out of her posts over the last several months, probably because the allusions were above my intellectual paygrade. But #50 was … worthy of a Hugo.

79

Belle Waring 04.06.15 at 3:36 pm

Barry: honestly, there is a difference when people feel like they have to pretend not to be racist. I don’t think this is only a Southern thing. Feeling constrained to acknowledge racism is bad is different from being Strom Thurmond. It’s not just a different flavor of Pixy Stix, like “yum, Red!” It’s more like suddenly Pop Rocks: “‘race realism’! Tastes like…burning!” This is like what I was saying in the other thread about Republicans trying to pretend opposition to gay marriage is about ethics in catering; it’s because they themselves know that “we hate the fuck out of gay people” is already a losing proposition now, and is going to look realllly bad in ten years.

80

Watson Ladd 04.06.15 at 3:50 pm

Belle, do you like Wagner? Do you think it’s wrong to like Wagner’s music? Do you think someone who likes hearing Ride of the Valkyries is a Nazi?

81

delagar 04.06.15 at 4:10 pm

When Brett — or anyone else — takes cover by saying they’re just siding with Correia, you should know what that means.

Correia, Brad Torgersen, and Vox Day all worked together to game these Hugos. They worked together with foreknowledge; they planned it together; they did so openly. They commented frequently on one another’s blogs and referred reader’s to one another’s blogs and slates as they did so.

Brad Torgersen is now pretending he is a different boy entirely than Vox Day. So is Larry Correia. Well, they carried his water, and climbed into bed with him. His slate is the one that (mostly) ended up on the Hugos.

Make your own judgments.

82

delagar 04.06.15 at 4:13 pm

As to the question raised about whether what Vox Day, Correia, and Torgersen did is somehow justified because some unnamed band of SJW have destroyed science fiction (a claim, by the way, which was made first by Vox Day on his blog, in case anyone is keeping score), an impressive, if lengthy, rebuttal to that claim was posted by Matthew Surridge on his blog Black Gate.

Matthew is one of the people who *turned* *down* a Hugo Nomination after he discovered he only received it because he had been on Vox Day’s horrible slate.

Read his piece here: http://www.blackgate.com/2015/04/04/a-detailed-explanation/

83

delagar 04.06.15 at 4:18 pm

Bill Jones at #77: “…did the authors and artists on the SP slate agree to be on it?”

No. Torgersen had claimed in several places that he contacted writers and artists and editors before putting them on his slate. (I don’t know Vox Day’s position.) This has proved a number of times to be untrue. Writers who discovered they were on the slate before the nominations closed have asked to be removed; others only discovered they were on it after they received notice of the nomination.

As you can imagine, this puts (at least some of) these people in a difficult position.

84

Barry 04.06.15 at 4:24 pm

Cranky Observer 04.06.15 at 3:12 pm

” Regardless of personal, literature, or political leanings am I actually supposed to take seriously anyone who uses the term “SJW”? Am I supposed to take seriously anyone who takes seriously someone who uses the term “SJW”? An in-group signifier, designed to serve double duty as a Karl Rove style attack-against-their-strength, except the coiner(s) weren’t anywhere near Rove’s level of evil genius and no one outside the inner core of the in-group knows what it means or is in any way offended or upset when it is explained to them? Shakespearean levels of depth this bunch.”

Seconded. The use of this in a derogatory manner is a telling and d*mning sign about a person.

85

Jerry Vinokurov 04.06.15 at 4:37 pm

What’s this, conservatives acting like whiny babies when it turns out they can no longer impose their will on others? Well I never!

86

Jerry Vinokurov 04.06.15 at 4:40 pm

Ahahaha I just went to that Black Gate post and the Sad Puppies people are complaining that sci-fi is now too literary. Oh noes, books are too well written these days, CLEARLY A LIEBERAL CONSPIRACY. You just can’t make this shit up.

87

oldster 04.06.15 at 4:41 pm

To a close approximation, “SJW” is this decade’s “feminazi”; a slur that lets you know that the person using it is a misogynist cretin.

88

Doug K 04.06.15 at 4:51 pm

thank you Henry for suggestions, and other commenters..

thank you Belle.. even though or maybe because you tell us things I’d rather not think about.
agree, the “pretend not to be a racist” racists are preferable to the other kinds, at least they may have some dim uneasy notions of being wrong.

89

guthrie 04.06.15 at 4:51 pm

Abbe Faria #37 seems to be ignoring/ unaware that this is the 3rd such slate. The last two years they were, as far as I recall, generally ignored or sometimes slagged off, but I’ve not read of anyone saying/ doing anything in opposition. So why try something which failed to work the last two times? These people will keep trying, no matter what. Even if SP approved awards won every category, the evidence so far is that they’d keep trying for as long as necessary, until strange people (like women, gays, people of colour etc) are driven out of SF and it’s back to it’s pure unsullied strong men in rocket ships to the stars form.

90

Brett Bellmore 04.06.15 at 4:52 pm

A gasping gurgle from the soldier’s writhing mouth as he tumbled to the golden sand at his feet, and wormed agonizingly in his death bed.

Grignr’s emerald green orbs glared lustfully at the wallowing soldier struggling before his chestnut swirled mount. His scowling voice reverberated over the dying form in a tone of mocking mirth. “You city bred dogs should learn not to antagonize your better.”

91

Jerry Vinokurov 04.06.15 at 5:07 pm

Jerry, “literary” DNE “well written”. And perhaps that’s the point, that the Hugos had been taken over by people who didn’t understand that.

look at you being all dumb and wrong on the internet

just look

92

Brett Bellmore 04.06.15 at 5:10 pm

A gleaming scimitar smote a heavy blow against the renegade’s spiked helmet, bringing a heavy cloud over the Ecordian’s misting brain. Shaking off the effects of the pounding blow to his head, Grignr brought down his scarlet streaked edge against the soldier’s crudely forged hauberk, clanging harmlessly to the left side of his opponent.

93

Barry 04.06.15 at 5:15 pm

Doug: “even though or maybe because you tell us things I’d rather not think about.
agree, the “pretend not to be a racist” racists are preferable to the other kinds, at least they may have some dim uneasy notions of being wrong.”

My point is that the pretense is as thin as a ‘suicide’ who shot themselves in the back seven times (with a revolver).

94

Simeon Beresford 04.06.15 at 5:16 pm

short stories that should have made the list?

“The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” by Usman T. Malik eEen if the tile is a major turn off.
and
The Litany of Earth
Ruthanna Emrys. beautifully written subversion of the Cthulhu Mythos.

95

delagar 04.06.15 at 5:39 pm

Best related works that should have made the list: Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great?

Also — though some disliked it — the second half of Patterson’s Heinlein biography was at least worth a nomination.

96

Ronan(rf) 04.06.15 at 5:49 pm

How did people like my ‘real children’ in comparison to ‘just city’ ? Anything else by jo Walton people would recommend ?

97

delagar 04.06.15 at 6:03 pm

Both My Real Children (which just won the Tiptree Award) and Just City were wonderful. Just City is the first in a trilogy, so it lacks a real ending. My Real Children doesn’t have that problem.

I’m using Just City in the Utopian/Dystopian class I’m teaching in the fall.

Of course, Walton’s never written anything I didn’t like. Bear that in mind.

98

A H 04.06.15 at 6:14 pm

Brett Bellmore @ 65
“I din’t even know who Vox Day is. I am, however, somewhat familiar with Larry Correa, and my understanding was that Sad Puppies was HIS gig.

Here’s his side of it.”

Here’s how Correa decieds decides to describe his victory, a rape metaphor,

“Personally, my goal has been reached. I got the thought police to show the world their pretty pink panties. :)”

99

Brett Bellmore 04.06.15 at 6:22 pm

Arriving after dusk in Gorzom,grignr descended down a dismal alley, reining his horse before a beaten tavern. The redhaired giant strode into the dimly lit hostelry reeking of foul odors, and cheap wine. The air was heavy with chocking fumes spewing from smolderingtorches encased within theden’s earthen packed walls.

100

delagar 04.06.15 at 6:37 pm

It is extremely unlikely that anyone who reads Larry Correia’s blog would not know who Vox Day is. VD comments over there frequently; he is mentioned over there often; he is linked over there.

101

A H 04.06.15 at 6:37 pm

The point post was that Correa was able to trick the SJWs, (typically women of course) into unwillingly revealing their hypocritical political biases.

To Correa this is just like tricking a women into unwillingly showing her “pretty pink panties” to the world.

HaHa, silly SJWs, Smiley Face.

Nope, No connection with rape culture at all.

102

Doctor Science 04.06.15 at 6:42 pm

My Real Children did *not* work for me, because what I wanted was a clear sense — preferably a chain of evidence worthy of Sherlock Holmes — of how Patricia’s pivotal choice led to the alternate realities. I wanted to see both sets of for-want-of-a-nail consequences.

If that’s in there, it was too subtle for me. Also, the idea that in one timeline JFK was killed by a bomb set by LBJ is preposterous, and completely broke my suspension of disbelief.

I like The Just City very much indeed, and am looking forward to the next installment. It has a really good chance of being on my Hugo nomination ballot next year.

103

Doug 04.06.15 at 6:48 pm

Brett Bellmore playing the innocent is even more disgusting than his usual posts.

If there is one thing I hate worse than a reactionary bigot, it’s a hypocritical reactionary bigot.

Brett Bellmore is either completely clueless about the Sad Puppy slate (in which case he backed something without researching it), or he’s lying about not knowing who Vox Day is. Either way, it’s a pathetic defense.

104

David 04.06.15 at 6:54 pm

Frankly, it has been a weak point of the moderators of this blog’s comment section that they allow obvious disruptive trolls like Bellmore and cassander to thrive and derail thread after thread after thread. I don’t really come here as much as I used to because the quality of discussion has tanked harder than Bill Cosby’s career.

105

Matt 04.06.15 at 6:57 pm

What is ‘literary’-as-pejorative supposed to indicate if it’s not literally about lavishing care on the prose of a story (as opposed to just having an exciting plot or ideas)? If Terry Pratchett had had the same Discworld stories to tell but only the words of Stephen Baxter to tell them in, Pratchett wouldn’t be one of my favorite writers. Love of and command of the language matter a lot. A book with clumsy prose is like a filmed period drama where the costumes and sets appear to be borrowed from a high school production of Hamlet.

106

LunarG 04.06.15 at 7:05 pm

If anyone is still looking for recommendations, I’d like to add After party by Daryl Gregory — what if a designer drug did give you your own personal Jesus, or at least a very convincing delusion? Fun questions about existence and ethics mixed running from running from drug gangs and industrial espionage. I will second the recommendations for Annihilation by Jeff Vandemeer (actually, the whole Area X trilogy came out this year and is mind blowing eco-existential quasi-horror, with more than a dash of Kafka.) And anything by Max Gladstone is more than worth your time.

107

Barry 04.06.15 at 7:14 pm

Doug 04.06.15 at 6:48 pm
“Brett Bellmore playing the innocent is even more disgusting than his usual posts.”

It’s a standard trick – it’s derived from somebody who turns red in the face and screams that they are ‘Shocked! Shocked and Outraged!’ when accused of a crime which they actually committed.

108

Colin R 04.06.15 at 7:17 pm

What’s most depressing about this stuff is that it’s like an anti-artistic virus that is spreading everywhere. As far as I can tell, no one in the ‘Sad Puppies’ crowd has anything in particular to say about the merits of their slate–Correa’s own argument is ‘I sell lots of books, I don’t get any awards, and liberals think I’m a bad person,’ and… therefore he is being persecuted? And so this is… showing up all those SJWs? Everything is perceived and argued in terms of teams.

The same Gamergate-types still keep babbling about the dumb cancelled Batgirl cover too, even though I’m sure none of them read Batgirl, know anything about Batgirl, or would like Batgirl if they read it. It’s beside the point–SJWs must suffer, I guess.

109

Warren Terra 04.06.15 at 7:37 pm

Brett,
1) People are upset because, contrary to the spin you and others are putting on it, this was not an attempt to secure nominations and attention to award-worthy works heretofore unjustly overlooked and blackballed by a clique of biased progressives unwilling to countenance the inclusion of conservative writers. Instead it was vandalism of the nomination process (albeit within the rules, apparently), an attempt not to highlight selected writers and works but to completely sweep the nominations and prevent anybody else from having a chance – and doing so not in the service of sterling exemplars at risk of unjust exclusion, but instead a cobbled-together collection of hacks, cranks, has-beens, never-will-bes, and bewildered draftees. John C Wright is simply not a well-respected writer, on the basis of his writing (and everyone here enjoys and respects the work of particular writers they believe are human slime). Even so, perhaps in the last year he wrote a novella worthy of consideration – but three of them? This really gives the game away, truly demonstrates that the attempt was not to bring into the limelight works and writers that would otherwise be left out, but instead to perform some exclusion of their own y dominating entire fields with lists selected not for their sterling qualities but merely to send a message. The intent is perhaps less obvious elsewhere (because more care was taken at least to find more than one writer), but an inspection of the works selected will rapidly inform you that they just aren’t especially worthy material.

2) And that brings us to the actual motivation: as anyone who has watched this story develop over the last several years can tell you, it is not about Conservatism, whichever of the many meanings of that word you may use. It’s about Hate. It’s about resentment, and about anger, and petulance. Let me repeat that, because it’s going to matter later: this process has been playing out over the last several years. This is not new, and from the beginning it has been characterized by rage not that specific works or writers aligned with the conservatives weren’t being considered, but instead complaints that others not aligned with them were.

3) And so we come to Vox Day. Vox Day would be a ridiculous figure, if he didn’t have followers and useful dupes. His offenses are manifold, obvious, inexcusable, and he frequently brags about them himself; his merits and nature aren’t really open to debate. And he has been a prime mover in these efforts to engineer the nomination conservative and perceived-conservative writers and works, for years – the problem, I say again, being not that he has works he wants brought forward for consideration but that the works in question are frequently lazily selected and sub-par, and are brought forth not to recognize their merits but to make a political point, and to exclude other, actually worthy works. He has been central to this electoral-slate tactic for the last couple of years, such that anyone closely involved could hardly have been unaware of him. Anyone endorsing the slate would have to account for their affiliation with him, and doubly so for anyone actually working to organize the slate.

4) Obviously, when I say the last I refer to Correia. And this is just one of the many things that gives the lie to the self-serving blog post you linked to. I will not say Correia lies, precisely, but in that blog pot he omits, over-emphaizes, and otherwise distorts continuously. He claims to have seen complaints of vote-fixing, or other corrupt practices – and yet you can read literally hundreds of outraged comments here, or at the Niesen Haydens’ Making Light, or elsewhere, that manage to denounce Correia and the Puppies without so traducing them. I’m sure some of the responses he claims to have seen exist, but they don’t typify the response. He claims the use of the slates was normal practice, and claims John Scalzi admitted this; neither claim is true. There are many more such examples, but I’ll skip them and get to Vox Day. Correia writes as if he’s just recently discovered the involvement of Day, and it has not been influential – but Day has been one of the prime Puppy organizers for years now, and his involvement has been a focus of the angry response of the F/SF community that whole time. Part of the controversy in last year’s Hugo balloting was the attempt to secure a nomination for Vox Day.

5) Obviously, this has become an absurdly long comment; it may even get filtered for same. So, I’ll summarize: the Puppies slates are openly an attempt not to celebrate conservative authors unjustly liable to be overlooked, but a thumb in the eye using a mishmash of work selected not for its merit but for its political resonance, used to exclude politically incompatible work. Day lives to give offense in just such a fashion, and for years has been a prime mover in the efforts to do so. Correia’s narrative is profoundly unreliable, not least in its attempt to gloss over Day. And you, Brett, have jumped into all this with your celebration of the Puppies’ act of vandalism, and by claiming to delight in their efforts you have incurred the responsibility to know what it is you’re cheering on.

110

SamChevre 04.06.15 at 7:38 pm

Matt @ 105

What is ‘literary’-as-pejorative supposed to indicate if it’s not literally about lavishing care on the prose of a story (as opposed to just having an exciting plot or ideas)?

For a non-sff reference, think V. S. Naipaul or Thomas Pynchon (literary) vs Nora Roberts or Stieg Larsson. For a modern sff reference, think of Ann Leckie (who won the Hugo last year for best novel) vs Patricia Briggs (whose books are reliable best-sellers, but I don’t think have ever been Hugo-nominated.)

111

delagar 04.06.15 at 7:38 pm

“My Real Children did *not* work for me, because what I wanted was a clear sense — preferably a chain of evidence worthy of Sherlock Holmes — of how Patricia’s pivotal choice led to the alternate realities.”

Eh, I see your point, but I guess I just wasn’t reading it as that direct. As I saw it, the choice dumped Patricia into alternate worlds; it didn’t *create* those alternate worlds. You’ve got billions of different actors in each of those different realities making billions of different choices — those created the different worlds.

112

Matt 04.06.15 at 8:06 pm

I know the literary-vs-popular connotations from non-SFF literature, and I agree that Thomas Pynchon and Stieg Larsson are suitable examples. FWIW I enjoy very popular mainstream authors without shame. Stieg Larsson, Stephen King, Suzanne Collins, and J.K. Rowling have each brought me many hours of reading pleasure.

I have read at least a couple of the Hugo novel nominees from each year for more than the past 20 years, and I’ve never encountered anything as dense as Pynchon at his most challenging. Or at least not as dense due to language structure and wordplay: I have read books that started out very challenging simply because they have alien settings and neologisms that you gradually comprehend from context. I will have to read Ancillary Justice now and see if it’s an exception.

113

SamChevre 04.06.15 at 8:38 pm

I would put Ancillary Justice in the “hard because of alien setting” group, not the “as dense as Pynchon” group. (I did not manage to read it; it was one of those “bounce, try again, bounce again” novels for me, but many people loved it.)

114

oldster 04.06.15 at 8:39 pm

Correa intentionally invited the GamerGaters to come in an wreck the Hugos.

Someone at Nielsen Hayden dug up the instances in his twitter thread where he reached out to a GamerGater who writes for Breitbart, inviting them to get involved in an activity that would piss of SJWs:
http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/016194.html#4074789

Correa is in it just as deep as Vox Day and the rest.

115

delagar 04.06.15 at 9:51 pm

I endorse Warran Terra’s comment at 109 wholeheartedly. All that. Yes.

116

Brett Bellmore 04.06.15 at 10:02 pm

Crr ntntnlly nvtd th GmrGtrs t cm n nd VT n th Hgs. nd f y cn’t s th dffrnc btwn tht nd wrckng th Hgs, y’r prt f th rsn fr Sd Ppps.

Wll, fnlly hd chnc t ssss Vx Dy fr myslf. Cn’t sy rlly lk hm.

D lk Crr’s nvl’s, thgh.

117

Warren Terra 04.06.15 at 10:39 pm

Brett,
as I tried to make clear above, this was not an attempt go “VOTE on the Hugos”, it was electoral action as vandalism. Towards this purpose Correia invited a horde of slavering jackals noted for their enthusiasm for online vandalism.

118

bob mcmanus 04.06.15 at 11:02 pm

it was electoral action as vandalism.

Just like those damn Naderites.

I have been waiting since 2000 for the center-left to go beyond “The barbarians smell bad and eat with their fingers” to “What did we do/are doing wrong that we can’t/won’t protect what we really care about?”

119

Warren Terra 04.06.15 at 11:06 pm

McManus,
the Naderites were electoral action as idiocy, and as self-destruction, which is I think an important if slight distinction. At least Correia and his Gamer Gator brethren got their actions and their purported aims in sync.

120

Bruce Baugh 04.06.15 at 11:17 pm

In May 2014, Brett participated in an Obsidian Wings thread whose original post, by Doctor Science, included quotes from and links to stuff by and about Beale. He might attempt the defense that he never bothers actually reading the posts he’s commenting on, in general or in particular when Doctor Science is pointing at an uncomfortable-to-him truth, but it’s absolutely not the first time he’s encountered info about Beale. There are other threads where Beale’s come up as a topic and Brett’s participated, too.

121

Anderson 04.06.15 at 11:46 pm

73: “books of misogynist, homophobic, racists like Leiber “

Uh what?

122

Barry 04.07.15 at 1:19 am

Colin R 04.06.15 at 7:17 pm

” What’s most depressing about this stuff is that it’s like an anti-artistic virus that is spreading everywhere. As far as I can tell, no one in the ‘Sad Puppies’ crowd has anything in particular to say about the merits of their slate–Correa’s own argument is ‘I sell lots of books, I don’t get any awards, and liberals think I’m a bad person,’ and… therefore he is being persecuted? And so this is… showing up all those SJWs? Everything is perceived and argued in terms of teams.”

My impression of the right is that it’s become increasingly nihilistic, and will happily tear down the system if they don’t get their way.

123

Bruce Baugh 04.07.15 at 1:37 am

Yes, it’s not just about them winning: it’s very important to them that others lose, and be seen to lose, and to know that they’ve lost. So ruining a thing as something anyone cares about anymore is an entirely acceptable outcome – they’ll go on to tell stories about how the rest of us destroyed this wonderful thing of value that they would have saved if they could. And, when it’s convenient, crow about how they destroyed this terrible thing we’d corrupted, too.

124

Barry 04.07.15 at 1:38 am

This is why I was harshing on Belle and the other posters – when people do crap like that, you have two choices and only two choices – tolerate their behavior no matter what, and see your work crapped on, or don’t tolerate their behavior.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden had a comment about that once, in an article on having a good conversation on blogs (quote from memory): ‘expecting a conversation without policing it is like expecting to have a garden without weeding it’.

125

Belle Waring 04.07.15 at 2:56 am

1) Our comments have declined in quality a lot over the past four years without there being any change at all in our moderating process, so it can’t be entirely the fault of the hypothetical (because roughly non-existent) moderators. This place is sometimes like if everyone in the comments section at a newspaper article had an MA and whose fault is that? To quote Pogo, “I points the fingerbone of scorn at you!”
2) It’s true that if I were willing to devote many hours a week to moderating comments they would be better (if I managed to make them worse, I would be a surprisingly bad moderator).
3) I am partially deterred from doing so for the same reason I am deterred from even from posting as frequently as it occurs to me to do so. Because what the fuck even with you…people…loveable rogues…entities?
4) Nonetheless you all could moderate one another–if not with complete success then some success. “Don’t feed the trolls” is utter bullshit advice given to women or minorities faced with harassment. It’s non-terrible advice given to communities. If, every time Brett Bellmore posted (in the past, since he won’t be able to post here anymore) all of you had said only “fuck off with your tired racist bullshit” and then ignored him completely, he would have gotten bored and gone away. Swift “fuck off you racist” lets POC readers know they aren’t unwelcome; follow-up not getting into a pointless fight keeps things more or less on track.
5) Yet some trolls are irresistible, because their troll-fu is strong, even like unto that of mcmanus-sensei. And what do I do with my life, me, personally, Belle Waring? Get drawn into pointless fights, surely. No! Get drawn into impactful fights! No! Impactful is a horrid word! Pointless! Or perhaps, of uncertain value.
6) And wrt to mcmanus-sensei, why is he mcmanus-sensei, and the rest of you aren’t even anything-san? Because I am so fond of him, but also I admire his subtle trolling abilities. Sometimes, it’s true, he blunders out of the gate with some obvious gambit, as above. That wasn’t half- or even quarter-hearted. But at other times, wow, he can really troll a person. Say what you like about bob mcmanus, he can troll the fuck out of someone. Daaaamn. And I am mildly pro-troll on principle, as I have mentioned. This is rather at odds with the goal of pruning the garden of the mind in here. I am mildly pro-poison ivy. Why? I partly don’t know. Maybe it’s because I am crazy and I tend to see in proper thoroughgoing trolls the signs of mental illness which is not entirely controlled, and this makes me sympathetic to them even when I want to garrotte them. But then a proper troll then, as you can see, isn’t in it for the bitches, or the money, or the anti-feminist assholery; he is nuts. He is coming at the thread sideways. Brett B. was never like this; he’s just an asshole, so really I should have banned him sooner. This isn’t even really true of mc-manus-sensei either; he’s simply devoted to trolling as an art form. It’s…charming.
7) “How do I even get anyone banned?” wonders roughly equally trollish right-thinking commenter? Just start bitching about it in the thread where the horrible trainwreck is happening. “Belle, why do you let Mao comment here? Rilly tho y? I am totes serious. Srsly y u do this to us?”

126

Sumana Harihareswara 04.07.15 at 4:38 am

The discussion including Matt’s comment at #112, about literariness, prose density, etc. causes me to mention: IMO, short speculative fiction (in the poem, short story, novella, and novelette ranges) has far wider range in style than speculative fiction at novel length that gets published by traditional publishers (even the small presses) and gets marketed as scifi or fantasy. Goblin Fruit, Stone Telling, and several other magazines would be good places to seek out science fictional experiments with words.

I bounced off William Gibson’s The Peripheral when I last tried it, but maybe you’d like to look at it for the prose style? For similar reasons I toss into the air the idea that you could check out Catherynne M. Valente, China Miéville, and John Crowley.

I personally got into Pynchon because I already enjoyed Neal Stephenson and kept hearing people comparing him to Pynchon. I am partway through Bleeding Edge now, which reads sort of science fictional (alternate 1990s, NYC tech industry).

And similarly, you know, Cloud Atlas, Atwood, Ishiguro, whoever else is writing speculative fiction that gets marketed otherwise.

127

bob mcmanus 04.07.15 at 8:50 am

For those interested in the controversy:

Doctor Science has a post up at Obsidian Wings; follow the Fwooomp link for a good linklist

io9; Elizabeth Bear; Scalzi

Saved my link for N K Jemisin … Guest of Honor speech at WisCon 38 2014

128

Brett Bellmore 04.07.15 at 9:59 am

Brett, you’re banned.

129

Nabakov 04.07.15 at 10:44 am

I agree with Doctor Science. If you look at the Hugo novel winners alone over the years
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Award_for_Best_Novel
the things they all have in common, regardless of ideology/politics, are at the very least a competent use of language, serious world-building chops and and a willingness to explore big ideas.

The SP nominees don’t seem to exhibit many of those characteristics judging from what work I’ve investigated online.

And I once read one of Vox Day’s joints on someone’s kindle during a holiday weekend and fuck it was awful. A pompous prose style like an 19 year student discovering esoteric words, dangling participles all over the place, world building that basically consisted of smearing ‘Lord Fiddlefang: The Iron Ostrich Chronicles’ level fantasy over the Roman Empire, totally predictable plot surprises, Mary Sue and anti-Mary Sue characters all over the place and evil minions called ‘Orcs’. A mashup without the ‘mash’ or the ‘up’.

So yeah, as Doc Science pointed out, they’re just crap writers. Dull, incompetent and derivative. If they were good and reaching the audience they think is out there, then why aren’t serious publishers who like to make money publishing them? The market is the market.
http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com.au/2005/07/i-wish-hollywood-was-that-organized.html

However I remain rather baffled that Bruce Sterling’s Schismatrix never got a Hugo guernsey.

130

Barry 04.07.15 at 10:59 am

Belle: ‘…he would have gotten bored and gone away. ‘

Sometimes this works, and sometimes it’s the equivalent of a teacher telling somebody to just ignore the bully (in case you don’t remember, bullies will happily escalate if what they’re doing is being ignore).

As you might have noticed, Brett takes a long time to get bored and go away.
Remember, it’s *easy* to troll. It takes little energy and less thought.

131

Barry 04.07.15 at 11:00 am

To whomever banned Brett, thank you very much!

132

oldster 04.07.15 at 12:14 pm

Ditto–thanks to the management for banning that despicable, racist, misogynist troll.

133

Ronan(rf) 04.07.15 at 12:30 pm

Delagar@97- yeah I’m enjoying just city and was gonna go to my real children if not next then at some stage (but might put it off for a bit after doctor sciences comment )
Tell me this, as I said above I’m not a huge fan of fantasy/ sci fi etc ( primarily through ignorance no doubt) but have enjoyed jo Walton so far . Could you take these two very general bits of info and point me towards an author(s) in the genre that you might think it worth ny time reading . I promise to take any recommendation seriously, read it and get back to you with a review ; )

134

Nabakov 04.07.15 at 12:34 pm

I liked Brett. He was a nice and yielding punching bag. Always polite after yet another kick in the goolies.

135

oldster 04.07.15 at 12:39 pm

Many vile substances are soft and yielding. However, they leave stains on the toe of your boot.

So did he. He left stains on every thread he sullied.

I’m still rather hoping that the management will clear up the stains on this post, but I suppose that’s a lot to ask.

136

Bruce Baugh 04.07.15 at 12:43 pm

Ronan, that’s a fun kind of challenge. Let’s see…

Y’know, Jo’s actually written the book you want: What Makes This Book Great. She’s written dozens of columns over the years for tor.com, where she reviews a book and provides some critique about why it’s famous within the sf world – or why she thinks it should be – how it works as a story and piece of prose, and so on. It really is very much like sitting down with her and having her start telling you about something cool she wants to share with you.

The best thing you can do for yourself may well be to get that, wade in, and get books that she makes sound interesting.

137

SamChevre 04.07.15 at 12:51 pm

Well, given that it’s banning of dissenters day: I think that Kevin Drum’s lead/crime theory is convincing.

(A corollary would be that poor people are on average less intelligent and more impulsive that wealthier ones, in the 1950-present timeframe.)

138

Nabakov 04.07.15 at 1:16 pm

Yes, oldster, I agree that Brett consistently advanced repugnant views and should be sent off the pitch. But calling him a vile substance is sorta descending to the level he was carefully hovering a few centimeters above.

No, CT should have stripped him naked, painted him purple, stuck a sunflower up his arse and shown him the door. Which was sorta happening earlier in this thread when his comments were replaced by thudulous sword and sorcery Lorem Ipsum.

And I reckon the Sad Puppies contingent think Spinrad’s “The Iron Dream” is not a brilliant psychological parody but Norman trying to smuggle “important issues” through a “satire of parody.”

Anyway, perfectly happy to kick that sunflower further up Brett.

Also, just reread Pohl & Kornbuth’s “Gladiator At Law” which comes up again as funnier and sharper than “The Space Merchants”.

139

Phil 04.07.15 at 1:56 pm

Brett argued dishonestly, derailed threads & deserved banning for that. But thread-derailing trolling & espousing repugnant views aren’t at all the same thing, even in an environment where doing B is a good way to achieve A. (And even when an awful lot of people with repugnant views seem to communicate mainly through trolling of the opposition, even when they’re talking among themselves. The Left isn’t immune to this – it’s a tribal thing – but the contemporary Right seems to do little else.)

I guess what I want to say is (firstly) that I’m not happy about anyone being banned for expressing repugnant views, unless they’re also actively disruptive – still less so when we’re really imputing those views to people on a “why haven’t you repudiated X, with whom your position appears to align you?” basis. (This isn’t to say that “why haven’t you repudiated X?” isn’t a perfectly good question; it is. But only if it’s being asked as a question – i.e. if the person saying it is willing to stay for an answer.)

And (secondly) that there are more ways to derail a thread than being a racist git (or a you-calling-me-a-racist-huh? coat-trailer) – and when it comes to policing discussions I’d rather the whistle was blown consistently on trollers (like Brett) than being blown consistently on bigots (like Brett).

140

Bruce Baugh 04.07.15 at 1:58 pm

Phil, that’s a nicely drawn distinction, and I agree.

141

Carrie S. 04.07.15 at 3:03 pm

Cranky Observer @74: I actually quite like the term “social justice warrior” because it’s such a useful marker: anyone who uses it seriously is a jerk I don’t have to pay attention to.

There’s a button-maker who’s started offering the World of Warcraft class icons with terms like “social justice cleric” and “social justice hunter”. I find this hilarious.

142

Carrie S. 04.07.15 at 3:12 pm

delegar @95 said Also — though some disliked it — the second half of Patterson’s Heinlein biography was at least worth a nomination.

I find it weird as heck that the Puppies managed to leave that off, given that Heinlein is basically their patron saint.

143

Nabakov 04.07.15 at 3:18 pm

Yes, good points well made Phil. I don’t think Brett set out to be a troll in his own mind but he did seem to revel in attracting opprobrium as a substitute for engagement. I was like that when I was twelve. Still got some good fart jokes tho.

144

Doctor Science 04.07.15 at 3:29 pm

MPAVictoria @ 42:

I was *deeply* shocked and repulsed by this quote:

In any case, I have never heard of a group of women descended on a lesbian couple and beating them to death with axhandles and tire-irons, but that is the instinctive reaction of men towards fags.

but that’s not how I find it in the original comment, where Wright’s paragraph ends with “tire-irons”.

Did you put words in Wright’s mouth? Or has the comment been edited since you quoted it?

145

Doctor Science 04.07.15 at 3:32 pm

I must admit, I do find it hilarious that Wright’s comment concludes:

One cannot hold up a homosexual couple, not even Socrates and Alcibiades, which men will not find gross and unsightly.

… because the real “no homo” test case, as the Greeks knew full well, is Achilles and Patroklus.

146

MPAVictoria 04.07.15 at 3:38 pm

“Or has the comment been edited since you quoted it?”

I copied and pasted what was there at the time. Wish I had thought to provide a direct link.

147

mattski 04.07.15 at 3:43 pm

I thought Alcibiades went and whined about Socrates not giving him a piece?

148

mattski 04.07.15 at 3:49 pm

*On Brett:

I feel similar to how I felt after seeing Herzog’s ‘Grizzly Man.’ Ie, more or less speechless. Brett had the ability to make me want to punch him in the face through the internet. On a regular basis. But banning him is like a self-fulfilling prophecy of, in Brett’s words, epistemic closure. As obnoxious as that asshole could be, still, it’s kind of important to know what obnoxious assholes are thinking. That, and Brett was fundamentally civil. And interested in making connections across ideological barriers. I respect him for that.

149

Collin Street 04.07.15 at 3:53 pm

> That, and Brett was fundamentally civil.

If he acted in a manner that made you want to punch him, and he knew this — and he did know this — where is the civility?

[but, again: this is a fundamentally medical problem and requires a medical solution through medical approaches]

150

Malaclypse 04.07.15 at 4:33 pm

And interested in making connections across ideological barriers. I respect him for that.

From reading the thread, all he had to do to avoid the banhammer was answer Belle’s question first posed in comment 50. He chose not to.

151

Jeff R. 04.07.15 at 4:56 pm

So, electoral action as vandalism: does that include voting for the least electable candidate in the opposing party’s primary when one’s own candidate is running unopposed and the system is sufficiently open to allow this? Are you all ready to forever eschew such tactics?

152

Doctor Science 04.07.15 at 4:56 pm

MPAVictoria:

Indeed yes. I looked up the page on Google’s cache — dated Jan 28 2015 — and there’s the comment in full. I took a screencap and saved the cached page as a web archive, should anyone wish to verify.

Why, it’s almost as though Wright knows he stepped over a line, and wants to cover it up.

In that case, I’ll state my reaction when you quoted it:

That’s one of the worst things I’ve ever heard anyone I’ve had any kind of contact with say. I feel a stand-alone post coming on …

153

MPAVictoria 04.07.15 at 5:10 pm

“Indeed yes. I looked up the page on Google’s cache — dated Jan 28 2015 — and there’s the comment in full. I took a screencap and saved the cached page as a web archive, should anyone wish to verify.”

Well I am glad you found proof as I never even thought about taking a sceenshot and I have been called a liar by certain commenters here before.

“That’s one of the worst things I’ve ever heard anyone I’ve had any kind of contact with say. I feel a stand-alone post coming on …”

Yeah. The hate present in the quote is disgusting.

154

Anderson 04.07.15 at 5:18 pm

“As obnoxious as that asshole could be, still, it’s kind of important to know what obnoxious assholes are thinking.”

Ain’t no shortage of supply in that regard on the internet.

155

soullite 04.07.15 at 5:27 pm

Vx Dy hs nthng t d wth th Sd Ppps. Th prprtr f ths blg, n clmng thrws, s smply flt-t lyng fr prpgnd prpss. Ths prvs hs r hr dshnst ntntns — ths s s bltntly fls tht t cn’t b prtndd wy s nythng bt dlbrt ttmpt t msld.

Y ddn’t cr whn SJW Sclz ws dvncng hs slt. Y nly cr bcs y dn’t lk th pltcl lnngs f th crrnt crp. Bt lt f ppl r gttng sck nd trd f th frng prchnss f th Hgs. Th strs dvncd thr dn’t mk nyn thng bt nythng, thy smply mk th trmst frng f th lft fl th wrm nd fzzs s thy rd strs bt Dn thr-kn rmncr tht hnstly hv n rl plc n sc-f t bgn wth.

156

AcademicLurker 04.07.15 at 5:29 pm

155 coming right after 154 is perfect.

157

Matt 04.07.15 at 5:31 pm

I am about halfway through Ancillary Justice now and am likely to finish it soon. It is compelling reading though I can’t quite say enjoyable due to the various atrocities. It’s full of military conquest and empire building: a perfect pick for Sad Puppies. Or maybe* they only like military-and-colonies books where the author is unambiguously approving of these structures. I think my favorite of the 2013 Hugo novels still would have been Neptune’s Brood — weaker writing, but not bad, and less-seen ideas — but this is a solid book. And for all I know the author will so impress me in the second half that I pick it over Neptune’s Brood.

*Probably

158

MPAVictoria 04.07.15 at 5:38 pm

“155 coming right after 154 is perfect.”

Yeah its stuff like that which almost makes me believe in a higher power. :-)

159

Doug 04.07.15 at 5:51 pm

Simeon Beresford @66: Here’s what I wrote about Goblin Emperor’s grammar when I reviewed it, “…The “thee” and “thou” are part of how Addison alludes to the language the characters in her world are speaking — one that retains the distinction between a formal and informal “you” that has largely fallen away in modern English, and one that uses a formal “I” that is only seen in English as the royal “we.” (This will seem a lot less foreign to readers of many other languages.) Addison is consistent with using in-world titles, and with the ways that names decline according to gender, number, and other factors. Both of these tendencies helped to reinforce the depth of the world that the characters are acting in. …”

What was your reading of Ancillary Sword that you think is unusual?

160

mds 04.07.15 at 5:54 pm

Colin R @ 108

SJWs must suffer, I guess.

If SJWs succeed, Sad Puppies live in vain!

161

Malaclypse 04.07.15 at 5:55 pm

You know, soullite, I still have this bookmarked. In case anybody is under any illusions about you.

162

Sebastian H 04.07.15 at 5:58 pm

It has to do with a breakdown of norms. Which is ironic, because in this case the right leaning people are breaking down the norms–which is exactly what they say they don’t want.

163

delagar 04.07.15 at 6:00 pm

I know that (probably) every reader here knows this, but 155 is filled with blatant misrepresentations, if not outright lies, as well, which I am am driven to correct.

(1) Vox Day does, in fact, have everything to do with Sad Puppies. He and Correia and Torgersen outright colluded. His slate, the Rapid Puppies, and their slate, Sad Puppies, were assembled together. They share commenters; they talked with one another; they are in the same camps.

(2) Vox Day *was* a Sad Puppy, up until this slate.

(3) Scalzi has no slate. This is a flat lie which is being pushed by the Sad Puppies and the Rabid puppies, and that Soullite repeats it tells us where he’s been getting his information. Scalzi, like many SFF writers and readers, puts a list of SFF that he has published during the year which qualifies for the Hugos. He then invites readers to list any work which they recommend for the Hugos. (I listed, for instance, everything from Crossed Genres, the magazine I publish for, which qualified.) This allows Hugo nominators to read through and recall works they had read which they would like to nominate. As *anyone* can see, this is a far cry from putting up five works in each category and TELLING your minions to vote for THOSE FIVE WORKS.

As I said, I know we all know this. But lies from lying liars annoy me.

164

MPAVictoria 04.07.15 at 6:02 pm

“You know, soullite, I still have this bookmarked. In case anybody is under any illusions about you.”

I knew I recoginized that name! Thank you Mal.

165

Jesús Couto Fandiño 04.07.15 at 6:08 pm

You know, I on principle hate the whole thing.

But reading what that failure of a human being said about Pratchett, so close to losing him, who if only did “entertain our idle afternoons” did a billion time better than any of his hateful rants…

And then has the GALL to play at “Christian humility” and giving himself a medal for it…

We are so diminished by losing Pratchett; he would have written this cretin into a amusing tale of the Discworld to be treated as the moral disease he is, and would do it with grace, with style, and with a fundamental humanity, even toward him, that this “Christian humility” idiot cant even come close to imagine.

Come to think of it, he already did, several times, because he is nothing but a two-dime clone of Vorbis.

If they want this war of them, I know where I stand, and they dont have anybody with a quarter of the stature of Pratchett, as writers. Or a hundred, as human beings.

166

mattski 04.07.15 at 6:35 pm

If he acted in a manner that made you want to punch him, and he knew this — and he did know this — where is the civility?

Well, the failure of civility in that case is mine! Brett, istm, didn’t normally come here to insult CT readers. He came to forcefully state an opposing view. Sometimes he made good points. Other times–most times–we basically beat the snot out of his arguments. But he didn’t come here to call names for the most part.

From reading the thread, all he had to do to avoid the banhammer was answer Belle’s question first posed in comment 50. He chose not to.

Yes. And that was a classic case of obnoxious behavior.

Ain’t no shortage of supply [of obnoxious assholes] on the internet.

Up shows soullite to prove your point. WA-BAM!

I still feel sad because there were embers of humanity in Brett that maybe/possibly could have been stoked here.

167

oldster 04.07.15 at 6:58 pm

While I agree with Phil’s distinction in principle (that the espousing of repugnant views is not per se ban-worthy, while intentionally disruptive behavior is), I think I would add another distinction:

If someone who comes here regularly with generally sensible views utters a repugnant view on the rare occasion, then they should be offered indulgence and understanding.

If some one’s entire presence here, and entire reason for coming here, is to utter repugnant views, then they are ipso facto trolling.

Look, I don’t go to right-wing hate sites and offer my counter-intuitive views on things. Nor do I pretend that I am trying to save their souls from “epistemic closure”. If I did that stuff, I’d be trolling, and I’d be banned in no time flat.

It is a characteristic weakness (and in the long run, strength) of the liberal outlook that it is open to opposing view points and cares about avoiding epistemic closure. So it makes us easier to troll, and more willing to suffer them for a long, long, time. Like, years long this has been going on.

All he ever did was come here to disrupt stuff and be hateful and then pretend a surface civility. Enough of that noise.

But the occasional repugnant view? Sure, for that we ought to be tolerant I mean, christ, just think about some of Belle’s views on music, to begin with. Banning her for that stuff would surely be an over-reaction.

168

MPAVictoria 04.07.15 at 6:59 pm

” Sure, for that we ought to be tolerant I mean, christ, just think about some of Belle’s views on music, to begin with. Banning her for that stuff would surely be an over-reaction.”

You truly are a brave soul oldster. I will pray for you.

169

Rich Puchalsky 04.07.15 at 7:02 pm

oldster: “While I agree with Phil’s distinction in principle (that the espousing of repugnant views is not per se ban-worthy, while intentionally disruptive behavior is)”

This is not how CT works. The explicit policy, right up there in the tab called “Comments Policy”, is that bans can be for content or for disruption. In practice, bans are for annoyance. I’ve been partially banned or had comments deleted four times on CT (as far as I can remember) and two of them were for expressing anti-war views in ways that were deemed uncivil. (For instance, Henry banned me for saying that a guest poster here who was defending the humanitarian intervention i.e. war in Libya had been hired by the UN specifically to make plans for the humanitarian intervention i.e. war in Libya, which was as far as I know true.)

170

oldster 04.07.15 at 7:06 pm

But note, Rich, that the distinction I have in mind tracks very closely with the distinction between banning a person tout court and deleting a particular comment.

171

Anderson 04.07.15 at 7:21 pm

“Up shows soullite to prove your point. WA-BAM!”

Obviously, Soullite is a sock-puppet I’ve invented for dramatic effect, because no one could be that hateful in real life.

172

Phil 04.07.15 at 7:22 pm

If some one’s entire presence here, and entire reason for coming here, is to utter repugnant views, then they are ipso facto trolling.

Hence my reference to places where expressing repugnant views is in itself a good way to derail threads.

The explicit policy, right up there in the tab called “Comments Policy”, is that bans can be for content or for disruption.

While I respect the existing comments policy, I think it’s permissible to express one’s own views on deletion/banning policies.

173

Barry 04.07.15 at 7:27 pm

Sebastian H 04.07.15 at 5:58 pm
“It has to do with a breakdown of norms. Which is ironic, because in this case the right leaning people are breaking down the norms–which is exactly what they say they don’t want.”

At least as far back as Gingrich (with his pamphlet on how to use language), and the unending ‘pin something on Clinton’ charade of unending investigations, the right has openly broken down every norm which was even mildly inconvenient.

174

Ronan(rf) 04.07.15 at 7:58 pm

Bruce@136 – thanks for the pointers. That’s a very good idea, I’m going to check out those Tor articles (whether to get the book I’ll have to think about. I’ve been undergoing a bit of a Kindle spending splurge recently as a lot of my wishlist seems to be dropping in price, but I’ve completly misunderstood the exchange rate from £ to E and it’s cost me what ill call a small fortune, but is probably around 25-40. It’s gone on the wishlist though and I’ll keep my eyes out for a price drop ; ) )

175

Ronan(rf) 04.07.15 at 7:59 pm

bruce – are the tor articles the same as the articles in the book or is there a substantial difference ?

176

Bruce Baugh 04.07.15 at 8:27 pm

I don’t yet know, Ronan! I just picked up the book for myself. When I can give some brain space to comparison, I’ll let you know.

177

Collin Street 04.07.15 at 8:44 pm

At least as far back as Gingrich (with his pamphlet on how to use language), and the unending ‘pin something on Clinton’ charade of unending investigations, the right has openly broken down every norm which was even mildly inconvenient.

Which is behaviour symptomatic of a particular mental-health condition, in this case narcissistic PD.

Problem is medical.

178

Bruce Baugh 04.07.15 at 8:54 pm

Ronan: OK, I’ve just done comparisons with the first few entries, and they’re the same as on tor.com. So you can use that; the advantage to the book is having it to carry away and read on (say) my Kindle.

179

js. 04.07.15 at 9:00 pm

you all could moderate one another–if not with complete success then some success. “Don’t feed the trolls” is utter bullshit advice given to women or minorities faced with harassment. It’s non-terrible advice given to communities.

So right! Some of us have tried to make the point in threads past, but I guess responding to dumb, easily refuted arguments is too tempting. (Due exceptions for comments like Warren Terra’s @109, which in addition to being a devastating response to Brett Bellmore is also hugely illuminating for (some of) the rest of us, but I think it’s fair to say that such comments are very much the exception.)

180

js. 04.07.15 at 9:07 pm

bullies will happily escalate if what they’re doing is being ignore

Yeah, but how is an internet troll going to “escalate”? What, is he going to type in all-caps!? I just don’t see what anyone loses by ignoring that shit.

181

Ronan(rf) 04.07.15 at 9:07 pm

Bruce – I decided to get it. I read the first of them through google and the amazon contents page so decided to splash out the £6 for convenience sake. It seems to be the introduction I was looking for.

182

Ronan(rf) 04.07.15 at 9:20 pm

The expectation can’t be on a ‘community’ to self police, which leads to burning out dissidents and public floggings, but for the authorities to do so, whoever or whatever they might be. (sometimes hand in hand with the community, like in community policing)
For example, if I was to buy a bar with ten friends, and on tuesday night we had quiz night, wednesday bingo, thursday bare knuckle boxing, Friday film night, saturday all drinks for £1, I couldnt blame the patrons if one night bled into the other. Let alone if the dude I barred from the quiz on Tuesday was back in bare knuckle boxing on thursday, or if my business partner was writing off bar tabs and drinking away the profits.(im not drawing any direct parallels here) This is a recipe for if not anarchy then at least a lot of consternation. Also a good bar.
‘Dont feed the troll’ has been shown to be an impossible, unworkable behavioural expectation since the coming of Christ until Brett Bellmore, why do people still think it’s feasible ?

183

Bruce Baugh 04.07.15 at 9:24 pm

Ronan: Cool. :) Looking at the table of contents for stuff that feels to me like it connects in various ways to Jo’s own work….

China Mountain Zhang, by Maureen McHugh. I like this because it’s a story of people learning how to improve their own lives without needing a glorious global revolution to Fix Everything Forever. Its various characters never actually do all meet up, and that’s another thing I like about it – it’s pretty ahead of the curve even now in portraying how rich and meaningful online interactions can be.

Fire On the Mountain, by Terry Bisson; also other work by him. Bisson may be about as close to an American counterpart to Jo as is handy at the moment. He writes warm stories about people in weird situations, and their ups and downs. This novel is set in an alternate history where John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry led directly to the American Civil War, rather than there being a two-year delay, with drastic ongoing consequences. Neat stuff.

When Gravity Fails, by George Alec Effinger. Personal bias: George became a friend of mine in his last years, and I still miss him a bunch. This is the first volume of an unfinished series, but stands alone. The narrator is a dealer and fixer living in an unnamed Middle Eastern city a century and a half or so from now, when nation-states have broken apart into shifting conglomerations of smaller entities. The Budayeen, the cordoned-off bad part of town, owes a lot to George’s beloved French Quarter of New Orleans, and the story, involving murders there that the cops of respectable town don’t care about, began with George’s anger at the murders of prostitute friends that got dismissed and buried. Among other things, it is possibly the most viscerally convincing anti-drug storyline I can think of this side of Requiem for a Dream: Marid, the narrator, is charming, intensely likable, very well-intentioned…and at the crucial moments, fails to save those he cares about because he’s too stoned to act. I love the setting and the story.

184

js. 04.07.15 at 9:39 pm

The expectation can’t be on a ‘community’ to self police, which leads to burning out dissidents and public floggings

My point is that there’s no real downside to ignoring trolls.* How this leads to burning out dissidents and public flogging is a little less than obvious to me.

*N.B.: Just to deal with an obvious objection, there’s not even much of a downside to ignoring commenters who you think are trolls, even tho they might not be. I’ll happily defend this, but it seems obvious enough that I’ll leave it at this for now.

185

Bruce Baugh 04.07.15 at 9:39 pm

Oh, by the way, for those who don’t know: Brett’s posts are getting replaced with snippets from The Eye of Argon; the Wikipedia entry does a fine job explaining its place in fannish history, and has a link to the full text. Which is really something.

186

Rob Barrett 04.07.15 at 9:49 pm

One good thing about this mess: I finally decided to pull the trigger on buying The Goblin Emperor and am well into the book. Gadzooks, but it’s amazingly well written in a way that I wasn’t seeing in previous books by the same author (under a different pen name).

187

Phil 04.07.15 at 9:54 pm

the unending ‘pin something on Clinton’ charade of unending investigations

Around the time the Lewinsky story broke, I remember telling a Republican-leaning contact that I wasn’t wildly impressed with the Ken Starr investigation – they’ve had that long and they’ve come up with this? He told me I shouldn’t be misled by appearances – Lewinsky was just Starr Investigates Clinton Volume 1, possibly not even Volume 1, more like a Prologue. I wonder if he ever got tired of waiting.

188

mattski 04.07.15 at 10:30 pm

Phil,

I wonder if he ever got tired of waiting.

Are you sure you didn’t misunderstand him? IOW, was he saying rather that the point of the investigations was not an indictment but rather perpetual, crippling flak fire? That’s sure what I think it was…

oldster,

Sure, for that we ought to be tolerant I mean, christ, just think about some of Belle’s views on music, to begin with. Banning her for that stuff would surely be an over-reaction.

[silently agreeing]

189

Ronan(rf) 04.07.15 at 10:35 pm

js – I might have been a little overly dramatic.

Bruce – thanks very much for that ! Having read the relevant Walton review, I think ‘When Gravity Fails’ is the one I’ll have to start on. (I promised a review above, so I’ll be back with it in….give me a month or so. I’ll link to it here)
A question on ‘cyberpunk’ if you dont mind. Is cyberpunk a specific sub-genre in science fiction, or just a name that’s put on a certain type of story ? Walton seems to say ‘When Gravity fails’ *isnt* cyberpunk, but some of the reviews Ive come across imply it is. Does this distinction matter ?

190

ragweed 04.07.15 at 10:40 pm

@187 – in that case, and for the first time ever, I wish Brett would post more.

191

ragweed 04.07.15 at 10:42 pm

One of the things that makes CT wonderful is the creative responses the mods have to these sorts of trolls. Disemvowling, text replacement, etc. I love it.

192

Bruce Baugh 04.07.15 at 10:47 pm

Ronan, cyberpunk is a sub-genre, yes. It emerged in the early 1980s with William Gibson and Bruce Sterling as prominent practitioners. It combines a non-apocalyptic approach to the future, a hefty dose of film and prose noir influence, and a prose style heavy on the attention to brands and flash. This, for instance, is the opening of Gibson’s novel Neuromancer, which is as handy an epicenter for cyberpunk as you could ask for:

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

“It’s not like I’m using,” Case heard someone say, as he shouldered his way through the crowd around the door of the Chat. “It’s like my body’s developed this massive drug deficiency.” It was a Sprawl voice and a Sprawl joke. The Chatsubo was a bar for professional expatriates; you could drink there for a week and never hear two words in Japanese.

Ratz was tending bar, his prosthetic arm jerking monotonously as he filled a tray of glasses with draft Kirin. He saw Case and smiled, his teeth a webwork of East European steel and brown decay. Case found a place at the bar, between the unlikely tan on one of Lonny Zone’s whores and the crisp naval uniform of a tall African whose cheekbones were ridged with precise rows of tribal scars. “Wage was in here early, with two joeboys,” Ratz said, shoving a draft across the bar with his good hand. “Maybe some business with you, Case?”

Case shrugged. The girl to his right giggled and nudged him.

The bartender’s smile widened. His ugliness was the stuff of legend. In an age of affordable beauty, there was something heraldic about his lack of it. The antique arm whined as he reached for another mug. It was a Russian military prosthesis, a seven-function force-feedback manipulator, cased in grubby pink plastic. “You are too much the artiste, Herr Case.” Ratz grunted; the sound served him as laughter. He scratched his overhang of white-shirted belly with the pink claw. “You are the artiste of the slightly funny deal.”

“Sure,” Case said, and sipped his beer. “Somebody’s gotta be funny around here. Sure the fuck isn’t you.”

Cyberpunk was so successful it’s now just part of the mix for sf, in all media: you can use cyberpunk motifs like cyberspace and not need to stop to explain them, because the audience is familiar with them. Visuals like the ones in Blade Runner (a good candidate for best and most thoroughly cyberpunk movie, though Gibson was still writing Neuromancer at the time – parallel invention, pretty much) are ubiquitous now.

There’s room for a lot of back and forth on how George’s Budayeen stories relate to that. For me, “very much so”, particularly in the direct influence from noir. But a bunch of angles can all be productive.

193

bianca steele 04.07.15 at 10:53 pm

@168

MPAV,
But oldster is Belle under a pseudonym, under your theory?

194

Warren Terra 04.07.15 at 11:01 pm

I don’t know Jo Walton’s work, and so have no idea what other writers would appeal to a fan. But I do know George Alec Effinger’s trilogy, and think it’s an excellent recommendation.

195

oldster 04.07.15 at 11:16 pm

Bianca–that is demonstrably false.

My taste in music is impeccable.

196

Malaclypse 04.07.15 at 11:46 pm

Warren: check out Among Others. You’ll be glad you did.

197

Layman 04.07.15 at 11:46 pm

“When Gravity Fails” is surely cyberpunk – noir, check; implanted technology, check; virtual reality, check; gender modification, check; world-weary small-time hood turns hero, check.

It is also spectacularly good fiction. It doesn’t hurt that Effinger gives a hat tip to Rex Stout’s immortal Nero Wolfe / Archie Goodwin series, either – both with the broad character framing (armchair detective and loyal dogsbody) and an actual (well, virtual, I guess) cameo.

198

delagar 04.08.15 at 12:09 am

I agree on “When Gravity Fails.” A wonderful book.

Another wonderful book, though hard to find these days — “City of Diamond” by Jane Emerson. It was supposed to be the first in a trilogy, but it does well as a stand alone. I recommend it to my friends as Middlemarch in Space.

Also wonderful: “Women of the Iron People” by Eleanor Arnason. It’s an alternate history sort of thing, two hundred years past the Cold War, Marxists Anthropologists on a space mission to another planet, told partly from the POV of the aliens, partly from the POV of one of the anthropologists. So very cool I cannot describe it.

199

None 04.08.15 at 12:10 am

js@181 – “Yeah, but how is an internet troll going to “escalate”? “

The internet troll doesn’t have to escalate because someone will always take the bait. As evidence, I give you mattski@166 – “I still feel sad because there were embers of humanity in Brett that maybe/possibly could have been stoked here.”

Like the groupie in a movie who tries to save the abusive rockstar … fricking unbelievable !

200

Anderson 04.08.15 at 1:05 am

192: great passage, but do today’s kids know “the color of television tuned to a dead channel”?

Not as dated tho as my fav scene in the book, the row of pay phones in Istanbul.

201

MPAVictoria 04.08.15 at 1:10 am

@ Bianca

Rings within rings Bianca. This thing goes all the way to the top. We are through the looking glass here people.

202

Bruce Baugh 04.08.15 at 1:20 am

Anderson: Probably not. As Neil Gaiman remarked, to his kids, that color is bright uniform blue. :)

203

Belle Waring 04.08.15 at 2:08 am

oldster: oh dag. You hate my late 70s/early 80s ConFunkShun, don’t you, you magnificent bastard. I AM CUT TO THE VERY MOTHERFUCKING QUICK.

204

js. 04.08.15 at 2:21 am

Ronan @189:

No worries. I’d go to your bar every night of it opened somewhere close to me. (Honestly, tho, I kinda know bars that aren’t too dissimilar, minus the bare knuckle boxing, admittedly and unfortunately. They’re some of my favorites!)

205

ZM 04.08.15 at 3:21 am

Doug,

“Simeon Beresford @66: Here’s what I wrote about Goblin Emperor’s grammar when I reviewed it, “…The “thee” and “thou” are part of how Addison alludes to the language the characters in her world are speaking — one that retains the distinction between a formal and informal “you” that has largely fallen away in modern English, and one that uses a formal “I” that is only seen in English as the royal “we.””

As a dictionary stalinist (how very cruel, Brett Bellmore is seen as having glowing embers of residual humanity, whereas I alas and alack get likened to Stalin) that is not quite right. Rather than making a distinction between formal/informal I/me Thou/thee Ye/you makes a distinction between subject and object (persons possess both properties so you can use both forms eg. for an good tempered person “shall I compare thee to a summer’s day Thou art more lovely and more temperate”). In the first person singular this is still popularly extant ie. I do something, whereas something is done to me, but the second person singular (Thou/thee) — except for maybe in Yorkshire — has collapsed into the second person plural object form of “you” (Ye being the second person plural subject form I think). This collapse started in the south of England and spread from there. As for why, I think it may have been because of the printing press or maybe because of Londoners preferring to be subjects and everyone else be objects, but that is just a supposition since I’ve not read an account for why this grammatical event transpired.

Belle Waring,

“4) Nonetheless you all could moderate one another–if not with complete success then some success.”

From my observations efforts by commenters to moderate threads often end up in them being slurred as self-appointed hall monitors or similar insults. If anyone would be willing to volunteer the posters could nominate them as official mods with lesser powers, but I think without anyone having any authority efforts just usually end up in a squall of name calling interrupting any arguments.

206

Brett Dunbar 04.08.15 at 3:26 am

It’s a really awful line, seriously poor description if you remember what an unturned TV looked like. Some analogue TVs when untuned apparently could show a plain blue screen but the ones I can remember from my childhood didn’t. They showed snow. It would describe a driving blizzard not a clear blue sky. During the last decade or so I have had a few that did the blue screen thing, but that is pretty recent. The first I can remember that did that must have been after 1995.

207

Dave Maier 04.08.15 at 3:43 am

“my fav scene in the book, the row of pay phones in Istanbul.”

Yes, that’s a great bit. I love the first two books, but was very disappointed in the third. If anyone knows whether this is the critical consensus or simply my failure to appreciate great art, that person can illuminate me. (Nicely please.)

208

Peter T 04.08.15 at 4:38 am

ZM

Where do you get that meaning of “thou” etc? Wikipedia gives it as informal, familiar, disrespectful.

209

ZM 04.08.15 at 5:11 am

Third person gendered forms also retain the subject/object distinction – he picks a pear and gives it to her/ sits it on her head – but I think they can move into being genitives as well at that point like mine, thine, yours, ours, theirs.

Peter T, I read it somewhere. If you go to the definitive 20 odd volume OED at the entry for Thou pronoun there is a definition “The subjective case of the second person singular pronoun” and there is etymology and discussion. I am on the train so can’t cut and paste it for you right now.

210

Bruce Baugh 04.08.15 at 6:32 am

Oh, poop, I have an answer stuck in moderation and I think I remember why. Let’s see if this works….

Brett, the intent of the first line of Neuromancer is static snow. Elsewhere in the first chapter, we see the Night City part of Chiba with perpetual haze and smog, dark polluted harbor filled with drifts of packing foam and the like, industrial light pollution shading into nightclub/entertainment zone light pollution, and so on. Gibson has remarked on being struck, very strongly, that when he saw Blade Runner for the first time, it felt like they’d been reading his mind. Same general ambience.

211

oldster 04.08.15 at 10:26 am

What, you think I am Sir Nose D VoidofFunk??
au contraire; I love those meeces to pieces.

212

Anderson 04.08.15 at 12:03 pm

206: the point is that the sky is hazy gray, with a touch of the unnatural that foreshadows much of the book. Case is used to living inside digital reality. Stranded in the physical world, despairing in Tokyo, the sky is mockingly “electronic” but it’s white noise, no data.

213

Anderson 04.08.15 at 12:07 pm

(Dangling modifier; Case, not the sky. Haven’t had coffee yet.)

214

Carrie S. 04.08.15 at 12:15 pm

ZM:

Thou/thee is indeed a set of nominative/accusative: “Thou art God” vs “I give thee this sword.” But it’s also the set of second-person pronouns that was originally used for a singular second-person referent. People started using plural “you” for single referents in precisely the same way that the French use “vous”; the difference is that in English “you” took over entirely, while French still retains “tu” for use with friends and family. That is, in English the formal use of “you” for a single person got generalized and now we only use “thou/thee” when we want to be archaic…or, amusingly, formal!

I have not read The Goblin Emperor, but if it’s using thou/thee when the characters are speaking informally, that’s precisely in line with the words’ original use.

215

Val 04.08.15 at 12:20 pm

Ronan
Sorry off topic but I just received a family photo with my brother looking exactly like Gerry Adams
Can’t even

216

bianca steele 04.08.15 at 12:25 pm

@205

Hey, don’t be shy! Anyone who wants to take responsibility for the comments should just step up and do that, IMHO. If it doesn’t work out, the market will take care of it.

217

ZM 04.08.15 at 12:35 pm

bianca steele I definitely don’t want to be a volunteer moderator. Look how many aggrieved comments I’ve made to try to exact an apology for being likened to Stalin, and I still haven’t succeeded in getting one

218

Val 04.08.15 at 12:50 pm

ZM @ 205
I fear you will never get an apology for that Stalinist crapola. But on the other hand, to cheer you up, the fact that you were called a wa-a-a-cist and a Stalinist on the very self same thread suggests to me that the patriarchy is riven with internal contradictions and about to collapse.

Just make sure you’re standing back a bit, that’s my advice.

219

Val 04.08.15 at 12:50 pm

And @216! Posts crossed

220

Layman 04.08.15 at 1:09 pm

Funny how associations work. Someone mentions Istanbul, and Ian Macdonald’s “The Dervish House” pops into my head. A thoroughly original, well-executed piece of SF. A Mellified Man, indeed!

221

mattski 04.08.15 at 1:27 pm

My Dear ZM,

Do not be alarmed. Everyone has a little Stalin in them! I just thought I saw yours showing, however fleetingly.

With Brett, OTOH, it was more a case of getting fleeting glimpses of his humanity. See the difference?

:^)

222

Doug 04.08.15 at 3:11 pm

ZM @205, Carrie @213: In my review, I was addressing “old-fashioned” language that is conspicuous in The Goblin Emperor, and explaining to readers of the review what I thought the author was up to. I might not have been as grammatically precise as ZM would have wished; perhaps I should look at that bit again and see whether the imprecision gets in the way of the meaning I was intending to get across.

223

mds 04.08.15 at 4:31 pm

Anderson @ 211:

Case is used to living inside digital reality. Stranded in the physical world, despairing in Tokyo, the sky is mockingly “electronic” but it’s white noise, no data.

[APPLAUSE]

224

Bruce Baugh 04.08.15 at 4:52 pm

Brett Dunbar: The intent of that opening sentence was to evoke static. Other passages in Neuromancer’s first chapter describe the dark harbor with drifts of packing foam and the like, industrial-district night-time glare and entertainment-district glare, the perpetual haze and smog, and so on.

And also what Anderson said. :)

225

js. 04.08.15 at 4:59 pm

I don’t know anything about SF fiction, but after this, I think I’ll be checking out Neuromamcer in the near future. Anything that bears comparison to Blade Runner has to be something I’ll at least sort of like (and I love old noir, film and fiction, so I’m thinking I’m on relatively solid ground). So thanks to Bruce Baugh et al.

226

Bruce Baugh 04.08.15 at 6:33 pm

Happy to help, js. :) William Gibson continues to be active, and in the last decade or so has been writing novels set about in the modern day that follow up on themes he and others blazed back in the early to mid ’80s. Neuromancer is the first volume of a trilogy, and there’s a collection of short stories in the same setting, Burning Chrome – Neuromancer is an implicit sequel to several of them.

The Wikipedia entry on cyberpunk will have some other good leads for you, too.

227

Warren Terra 04.08.15 at 7:10 pm

js @#224
If you love noir, also look up George Alec Effinger. To my mind there’s a lot of homage to Philip Marlowe in there.

228

MPAVictoria 04.08.15 at 7:25 pm

“I love old noir, film and fiction”

JS if you love noir I cannot recommend The Girl With a Clock for a Heart highly enough. It is a short read but it packs a real wallop. Check it out.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Girl-Clock-Heart-Novel/dp/0062267507

229

delagar 04.08.15 at 8:38 pm

An excellent post from Cat Valente on this topic: http://catvalente.livejournal.com/690416.html

230

Dave Maier 04.08.15 at 9:16 pm

I had never heard of John C. Wright, so I checked out the link someone provided above. Yikes. As the Bard once wrote: “What a piece of work is man!” Wright is a piece of work indeed.

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Ronan(rf) 04.09.15 at 12:57 am

Val 215 – I have a theory (admittedly not very well thought through) that for *at least* 15 minutes in every persons life, they’ll end up looking exactly like Gerry Adams.(honestly. Keep this in mind for the next week or two and I guarantee you’ll see Gerry everywhere)

js 204 – you’ll always be more than welcome. There might even be an opporunity for investment ….

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js. 04.09.15 at 1:13 am

Thanks everyone for the recommendations. I have a lot of reading to do!

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ZM 04.09.15 at 2:47 am

Mattski @221

Thank you, that was very graciously phrased ;)

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mattski 04.09.15 at 3:45 am

ZM,

[internet hug]

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ZM 04.09.15 at 6:18 am

:-)

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Nick Caldwell 04.11.15 at 1:57 am

I guess this is a dead-ish thread by now, but I would just like to say that if you don’t think Internet trolls can escalate beyond calling names, you haven’t heard of “SWATting”.

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