No Common Ground, No Compromise

One of the leading lights of the Evil Legion of Evil, John C. Wright, reminds us of the the irreconcilable differences between the SJWs of science fiction and the Sad Puppies:

The difference between the Puppies and the Morlocks is not artistic, cultural, political nor ideological. We are civilized folk who can have a civilized discussion on this or any topic, and judge matters based on simple principles of fairness all civilized men since the dawn of time have understood.

They are barbarians. Barbarism is not an ideology, not a political party, not a religion. It is a state of undeveloped savagery which simple and primitive emotions hold sway. It is a mob.

Q: •Do you see any way to encourage a reconciliation between the literary camps?

JCW: Reconciliation was attempted and savagely rebuffed. To use one example of a dozen, Mr. Martin and I had an agreement to let these matters rest, which he immediately broke in a dishonorable and disappointing fashion. When my wife, also a Tor author, meekly approached Mr. Patrick Nielsen Hayden at a party during World Con in an attempt to affect a reconciliation, he shouted and swore at her using potty-mouth language. Fortunately for my police record, this event did not happen within my earshot. It is not the way any professional conducts himself in business.

Q: If so, how might that be achieved?  If not, why not?

JCW: Reconciliation is neither desirable nor possible, for the difference between the two camps is not a difference in literary taste, not a difference in political opinion, nor a difference of philosophy nor religion. It is a difference between creators and destroyers; it is a difference between unhappy and envious parasites and the happy hosts on whose blood and work they feed, attempting in vain to fill their own emptiness.

Q: Given your experiences with the Sad Puppies/Hugo situation, what advice would you offer to aspiring writers who are concerned about the politics of the sci-fi/fantasy writing industry today?

JCW: Again, your terminology is imprecise. This is not politics. This is a war between civilized men and filthy barbarians. It is a struggle between humans and post-humans.

My advice is to gird up your loins and prepare to fight for what you love.

These people are relentless. They cannot be reasoned with. They despise reason.  Compromise is not possible. They regard concession as admission of weakness. They will not accept your surrender. They hate you and hate everything you love. What they want is the power to terrify you by threatening your livelihood and damaging you reputation, and then to use that power to destroy.

Even the most loyal bootlicking sycophant among them, at any moment, for any reason or no reason, can be denounced as this week’s thought-criminal, and subjected to the Two Minute Hate. You cannot escape the Eye of Sauron by obeying him.

Elizabeth Moon and Jim Frenkel are persons whose progressive, leftwing credentials are impeccable. The social justice warriors arbitrarily and randomly decided to destroy the careers of these two. This was done to impress all onlookers with the arbitrary nature of the Morlock power. The fact that both are innocent of the bizarre accusations leveled against them is a feature, not a bug. A rational despot can be obeyed, and those who obey have no need to fear. The irrational terrorist, however, smites random targets, so that all will fear.

I offer aspiring writers this advice: Never apologize to a Morlock when called upon to do so. They do not call upon the guilty to apologize, but the innocent. Never believe a word they say. The social justice warrior always lies; always retrenches his lies when caught; always accuses you of his own sins.

Adopt the correct motive for writing: myself, I write to please heaven. I have no interest in pleasing Uncle Screwtape or any of his minions and thralls, knowing or unknowing, here on earth. To wring the cold smile from a dead-eyed fanatic that hates my civilization, my nation, my faith, my family and my life is not one of my goals and should not be yours.

There is no common ground. There can be no compromise. And there will be no reconciliation. But whereas they are weaker and less popular than ever before, we are stronger, more influential, and even more imitated than anyone could possibly have imagined 11 years ago when this all started with Larry Correia’s original campaign to avoid Puppy-related Sadness.


SF Freaks Gonna Freak

Dave McCarty, the head of the Hugo Awards, has been accused of sexual assault by several women in the literary ghetto formerly known as the science fiction community. The only real surprise is that children are not, as yet, reported to be involved:

There’s been a months-long campaign to discredit the Hugo Awards and Chengdu Worldcon from the establishment elites including cross-dresser John Scalzi, former SFWA president Mary Robinette Kowal, and Neil Gaiman again, which has caused many who have been disillusioned with Worldcon and the Hugo Awards to laugh at how inept this group in charge of science fiction publishing has become.

It was revealed through a chain of emails that several participants were disqualified from the Hugo Awards for the very woke identity politics that were championed by this group, including orders to spy on the social media and political activities of the people involved. This led to mass apologies and several people stepping down from convention activities because of their corruption.

Now, Dave McCarty, who headed this Hugo Awards committee, is being accused of multiple instances of sexual assault.

Posting to the left-wing echo chamber BlueSky, artist Meg Frank said, “Dave McCarty is emotionally abusive, generally manipulative, and has sexually harassed myself and numerous others. I’ve spoken openly about this and made CoC complaints when possible. He is not a missing stair, he is a creepy handyman who has been using his previous community service as a shield. The hugo shit is awful, and I feel terrible for many people but he is worse than all that.”

Not to be outdone in the victim Olympics, Jesi Lipp quoted the post and said, “I’ve never made it a secret that he groped me at a Smofcon in 2011 and it has always been largely treated as a non-issue.”

Fandom Pulse seems skeptical. I simply note that longtime Hugo-centric SF fandom site File 770 is named, by the owner’s own admission, after what was either an orgy of sorts, or even more tragically, just the first party that the sort of losers whose social lives revolve around an annual science fiction event ever attended.

File 770 is named for the party in Room 770 at the 1951 Worldcon that upstaged the convention.

ROOM 770

— This was a St. Charles Hotel room registered to fans Max Keasler, Roger Sims, Rich Elsberry and Ed Kuss at the 9th Worldcon — nicknamed NOLacon — held in New Orleans in 1951. Frank Dietz had been hosting a room party which was asked to quiet down by a hotel detective, and Dietz resolved the matter by taking eveyone to room 770 circa 11:00 PM Saturday night, whereupon a massive party developed which lasted till 11:00 AM the next morning. Numerous fans drifted in and out, including the legendary Sam Moskowitz, and just possibly, Canada’s Norman G. Browne for whom this was his first convention.

Ain’t no party like a Hugo Party. And thank God for that!

Anyhow, I’m sure it’s no problem that giving another Best Novel award to an angry black woman devoid of any vestige of literary talent won’t solve.


Mailvox: Why GRRM Can’t Finish ASOIAF

A highly literate reader named JC emails a detailed analysis of George RR Martin’s difficulty in finishing A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, and reaches precisely the same conclusion that I have assumed all along, which is that Martin is too devoted to intellectual subversion to accept the true and obvious heroic end to his fantasy saga, which is to say, the triumphant marriage of ice and fire.

To put it rather more concisely: one can no more write an English-style novel and not end it with a wedding than one can write a Japanese-style novel and not end it with a suicide.

I don’t think it’s so much that Martin won’t finish the saga as that he can’t. And principally for one reason (though I imagine there’s a host of ancillary reasons): Jon Snow & Danaerys Targaryan themselves. He didn’t anticipate when he set out to write his story, I suspect, to write one genuinely heroic character, let alone two.

It’s clear that Tyrion, and the Lannister family in general, are his favoured characters, and it’s the Lannisters who set the tone of the series. I think this is so for both internal-structural reasons and for personal reasons. Martin just prefers them and sympathises most with their worldview. Structurally, I believe the Lannisters are the vehicle through which Martin has tried to accomplish his main artistic goal in writing A Song of Ice and Fire: to subvert the Fantasy genre, with its roots in the heroic and the mythical, by introducing an element of cynicism and realist historiography, a literary Real Politik.

To do this he had to build a typical Fantasy setting with mythological elements, in order to deconstruct them from within. What he didn’t anticipate, I suspect, is that the ‘machinery’ of his writing would churn out two more or less heroic characters, there among all the cynics, warlords, cowards, bureaucrats, hypocrites, mercenaries, careerists et al. with which his universe abounds: Jon and Dany — who do fit the classical standards of heroism, despite Martin’s critique of their characters, as their motivations ultimately transcend the merely self-interested, and they are brave in the pursuit. Martin is, at bottom, a good storyteller with a keen sense of character, so it’s very likely he trusted his intuitions in writing these characters and plotting out their stories, without fully realising the overall structural implications for his saga.

Now I think he’s reached a bind in his grand narrative. There are two irresolvably conflicting impulses acting within him as a writer — and it’s this irresolvability that has given him an incurable writer’s block, sapping him of all motivation to conclude his epic: the first impulse is the conscious wish to accomplish his artistic aim of deconstructing the heroic and mythical foundations of Fantasy; and the second impulse is the novelist’s natural need not to betray his own characters, to provide a coherent resolution to their ‘character arc’. The problem is that, unwittingly, Jon and Dany have turned out to be genuine heroes in their own right, and Martin can’t figure out how to give their stories a fittingly heroic ending without succumbing to classical Fantasy standards, the very standards he set out to subvert in the first place. Jon and Dany narratologically deserve an heroic ending, but can Martin bring himself to do justice to their heroism, or even to spoil it with one last act of cynicism?

It’s clear that the ‘Ice’ and ‘Fire’ in A Song of Ice and Fire are Jon and Dany respectively, and that it’s ultimately their tale. I can only imagine that Martin did this unconsciously, and that it’s made him nauseous now that he’s discovered it. What we see in the TV Show — Jon and Dany having a romantic affair and it being discovered to be incestuous — I think is Martin’s intention, and I think this development shows his good writer’s instinct. It’s what comes after (the final season of the TV Show) where everything falls apart, and I think Martin knows it. He knows the notes he provided to the show directors are sloppy, inconsistent, and unfulfilling. I can only imagine that when he now sits to write the final chapters in his story, he feels a debilitating anxiety over the problem the existence of Jon and Dany, and the challenge their unforeseen heroism, transcending the pettiness of their surroundings, has caused for him, leaving out all that enthusiasm he once had for the narrative and its setting, when he was writing the opening volumes.

Continue reading “Mailvox: Why GRRM Can’t Finish ASOIAF”

Further Evidence Against Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke was science fiction’s most famous pedo. He’s far from the only one, but he’s certainly the most famous. While it is massively embarrassing that one of the genre’s greatest writers – one whose short stories are published by Castalia House in two volumes of THERE WILL BE WAR, namely, “Superiority” in Vol. II and “Hide and Seek” in Vol. III – was a sex predator, and while the man cannot be said to have committed any sex crimes in Sri Lanka due to the fact that even the most heinous abuse of children is apparently still legal there, no individual who considers the known facts can reasonably deny that the evidence against the man is both comprehensive and conclusive.

While I was familiar with most of the information in The Dark Side of Arthur C. Clarke, the 2017 article from Vice that contained an eyewitness account of a personal encounter with Clarke was new to me, and further clinches the case against the SF great and his wicked predilections.

I grew up in Sri Lanka. My dad was doing some work for the Canadian government. There were a lot of expat kids in my area and we had free reign of the neighbourhood. Our parents mostly let us do what we wanted, but we were told to stay away—never go near—a large property that bordered my house. When we asked why the reasons were always vague.

There were some rumors (sic) that someone very famous or maybe powerful lived there. We all got the sense that he was …a danger in some way. One day I was home sick from school. My grandfather was visiting from Canada and he was assigned to watch me. I remember that I was in pajamas (sic). We were in the backyard and my grandfather was painting peacocks. Out of our hedges this man appeared and approached us. I instantly knew it was the man from the property. The man from the property wanted something from my dad, who of course wasn’t home. My grandfather was star struck by the man.

Grandpa could barely speak. The two began chatting. The man flattered my grandfather’s painting. He said he also liked to paint but only people. The man looked towards me and said let’s paint the boy. I was placed on a stool in front of the two men. I was eleven years old. Very quickly the neighbour said the clothes were spoiling the beauty of me. He asked me to remove my clothes. I looked at my grandpa and did as I was told. Soon after I was on the stool, naked, and crying. I don’t know how long this went on but at some point my father arrived home.

He quickly reviewed the scene, saw the man from the property, and…went ..nuts. He just lost it on them: raising his voice. Getting in people’s faces. I honestly thought he might kill them both. Within a couple of hours my grandfather was gone and they never – ever – spoke again.

Although in some circles it was common knowledge, the man from the property was a famous British science fiction novelist. Apparently he had been banished to (then) Ceylon from postwar Britain rather than face prison for being a pederast. I think about that day sometimes. My father didn’t have a temper and rarely ever even raised his voice but the man he became in that moment while essentially unrecognizable. While we’ve had our ups and downs from that moment forward I never questioned his love for me again.

The stories people told their therapists about, VICE, July 17, 2017

In retrospect, two of the surprisingly more damning elements are a) Clarke’s personal relationship with King Charles and b) the BBC’s lack of interest in the story. What might have seemed incredible even in 2012 appears obvious now in light of what we now know about Jimmy Savile and the BBC’s now-confirmed preference for ignoring major stories about sex predators.


Science Fiction is to Blame

The more we learn about the mediocrities who would rule the world, the more we discover that Isaac Asimov and Gene Roddenberry have much for which to answer:

WEF Says Fashion Will Be Abolished by 2030: “Humans Will All Wear a Uniform”

A newly resurfaced report written in 2019 states that humans will only be permitted to buy three items of clothing per year and will be prohibited from buying or consuming meat. Published in 2019, ‘The Future of Urban Consumption in a 1.5°C World’ report funded by the WEF, sets out extreme targets for governments around the globe to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as consistent with the 2015 Paris Agreement ambitions.

Look at Klaus Schwab. Can you seriously doubt that he’s a Trekkie? And we have firsthand testimony proving that every Keynesian economist was inspired by Asimov’s Foundation. It’s really a retarded world that they are seeking to build.


A Tale of Two Conans

The Essential Malady compares Chuck Dixon’s Conan, which is based on Robert E. Howard’s public domain Conan, with Tor’s Conan, which is presumably licensed from the Swedes holding the rights to the later portrayals of Conan the Barbarian.

Last month I reviewed The Siege of the Black Citadel by “The Legend” Chuck Dixon. I mentioned in the review that it was the first I had read that wasn’t written by Robert E. Howard (excepting comics). I expressed that I was reluctant to read stories by other authors because I didn’t believe they could live up to Howard’s work but that Dixon came very close which is high praise.

Late last year, the first new Conan novel since 2011 was published by Titan Books some months before Dixon’s new story was out. This is written by S.M. Stirling who has been a published author since the 1980s though I hadn’t heard of him until now. Blood of the Serpent is written as a prequel to what is probably Howard’s most recognised story, “Red Nails” and indeed, the events are so closely tied that it is included at the back. When I noticed my library had a copy, I thought it would be worth reading to compare with both Howard and Dixon.

It wasn’t but read on as I elaborate.

S.M. Stirling is a competent enough writer and he has made use of plot details provided in “Red Nails” to construct his narrative. What is wrong with this has little to do with his writing and more to do with what is revealed in the Afterword:

“Red Nails” is pure Howard… Raw and powerful, it’s also very much of its time— written almost a century ago, when our culture could be less socially aware and genre fiction in particular often exhibited rough edges some of today’s readers may find jarring.

From this alone we can establish that both the publisher and the author are embarrassed by (or dislike) the source material. It is not clear who wrote the Afterword so I will assume this is a shared opinion. It would have been more honest to put this in the Foreword so a potential reader could have saved themselves the hassle of finding out. As opposed to “some” of today’s readers, the main reason Howard is seeing a resurgence in popularity is because readers are looking for exactly what they find within Howard. Far from “jarring”, they find his stories refreshing and exciting.

The other problem is if you think Howard had “rough edges”, then why write a new story so closely related instead of one that can stand on its own? Blood of the Serpent is completely dependent on “Red Nails”. The ending is the beginning of the latter and so the ending to Blood of the Serpent isn’t really an ending at all without knowledge of what it is leading up to. What makes this even worse is that it is over three times the length and establishes nothing that wasn’t done more efficiently and eloquently in the opening pages of “Red Nails”. So on these points alone it is pointless but it gets worse still.

Read the whole thing. Apparently it does get worse, and the comparison is considerably in The Legend’s favor. And this explains why Castalia is beginning to delve into revivals of public domain icons, because if we don’t provide correct continuations that respect and hold true to those icons, the Zero History crowd will provide false continuations that invert and betray them.


Overwhelmed by AI

Live by the sword, die by the sword. Clarkesworld science fiction magazine is forced to close to submissions by a flood of ChatGTP entries.

Submissions are currently closed. It shouldn’t be hard to guess why.

  1. We aren’t closing the magazine. Closing submissions means that we aren’t considering stories from authors at this time. We will reopen, but have not set a date.
  2. We don’t have a solution for the problem. We have some ideas for minimizing it, but the problem isn’t going away. Detectors are unreliable. Pay-to-submit sacrifices too many legit authors. Print submissions are not viable for us.
  3. Various third-party tools for identity confirmation are more expensive than magazines can afford and tend to have regional holes. Adopting them would be the same as banning entire countries.
  4. We could easily implement a system that only allowed authors that had previously submitted work to us. That would effectively ban new authors, which is not acceptable. They are an essential part of this ecosystem and our future.
  5. The people causing the problem are from outside the SF/F community. Largely driven in by “side hustle” experts making claims of easy money with ChatGPT. They are driving this and deserve some of the disdain shown to the AI developers.
  6. Our guidelines already state that we don’t want “AI” written or assisted works. They don’t care. A checkbox on a form won’t stop them. They just lie.

I don’t know why this strikes me as particularly funny, but it does. Especially because it won’t be long before SFWA has its first fake member, given the way the most successful clout-chasing con artists think. Wracking up three professional publications wouldn’t be hard, and I don’t think the ever-so-inclusive organization has any specific requirement that its members be human or actually exist.

It has to be admitted. For all its evil and awfulness, Clown World can be amusing sometimes.


China Buys SF Publisher

This acquisition of an old science fiction publishing house by what appears to be SJWs funded by Chinese money should provide some amusement going forward:

New York, May 19, 2020 – The formation of Astra Publishing House was announced today by COO and Publisher Ben Schrank. “The time is right for a new publishing house that’s deeply committed to progressive values and that champions authors from all corners of the world. Astra Publishing House’s foremost aim is to build bridges between readers and writers in all nations, and I’m so excited to be part of a venture that speaks to an increasing necessity for a shared global consciousness.”

Astra Publishing House is comprised of Astra House, an entirely new adult trade publisher of American and international literary fiction and poetry, and mission-driven nonfiction.

These guys make Castalia House, which has been around since 2014, look decidedly old school.

In big news for science fiction and fantasy publishing, DAW Books is no longer an independently owned publisher. This morning, Astra Publishing House announced its acquisition of the storied SFF imprint.

In a press release, DAW co-publishers (and, until today, owners) Betsy Wollheim and Sheila Gilbert said, “We are extremely pleased by Astra’s enthusiasm, and thrilled that we will be the sole SFF imprint of their company (a first for DAW). We think this is the perfect fit for us, and it’s exciting and refreshing to be an integral part of a new and growing company. It speaks volumes about Astra’s respect for our company that they have included our entire staff. We’re very happy.”

Previously, DAW was partnered with Penguin Random House, which distributed DAW’s titles. (PRH also distributes Astra Publishing House’s books.)

DAW Books was founded in 1971 by Donald A. Wollheim and his wife, Elsie B. Wollheim. It was the first imprint exclusively devoted to science fiction and fantasy, and over the years has published more than 2000 books from a long list of well-regarded authors, including Patrick Rothfuss, Tad Williams, Melanie Rawn, Tanith Lee, Nnedi Okorafor, and Seanan McGuire.

Something isn’t adding up here. As a general rule, China doesn’t tolerate SJWs very well. For example, Disney can’t release its Marvel movies in China anymore. So, it will be fascinating to see where this goes, especially given the specific mention of that “mission-driven” motivation.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Astra makes a bid for Tor soon as well.


SF-SJW unleashed

Jeff Denton wants to know how we feel.

Statues coming down, name changes, Bannon out, NK Jemison getting awards, alt-right in a meltdown(see ramzpaul), Trump on the ropes, white birth rates plummeting, immigration being ramped up. How does it feel? Knowing you guys have lost completely

Oh, but we haven’t lost at all! Far from it. This guy is a bit more perspicacious than old Jeff.

This year’s awards were less directly impacted by those meddlesome puppies, but I feel like we’re still suffering through an indirect backlash and overcorrection…. The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin takes the rocket for Best Novel, making Jemisin just the third author to have back-to-back wins in this category (joining the ranks of Orson Scott Card and Lois McMaster Bujold). She’s a good author, but damn, these books are not for me. Both were at the bottom of my ballot and while I can see why her novel won last year, this one is a little more baffling.

(whistles innocently) Now, lest you doubt the observation that SF-SJWs can create nothing new, and are little more than scabrous, over-medicated dung-feeders crawling about the skeletons of their predecessors attempting to scavenge off their leavings, consider two-time successive Best Novel winner N.K. Jemisin’s next project, from an interview with Tor.

So if you’re using Cthulhu, are you an H.P. Lovecraft fan?

Oh, hell no. This is deliberately a chance for me to kind of mess with the Lovecraft legacy. He was a notorious racist and horrible human being. So this is a chance for me to have the “chattering” hordes—that’s what he called the horrifying brown people of New York that terrified him. This is a chance for me to basically have them kick the ass of his creation. So I’m looking forward to having some fun with that.
It sounds as if Jemisin’s novel will join an ongoing conversation re-examining Lovecraft’s works in the context of their creator, a conversation that currently includes Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom, Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country, Ruthanna Emrys’ Winter Tide (as well as the Lovecraft Reread), and other recent works engaging with and challenging Lovecraft’s mythos.

Sounds Hugo award-winning to me!

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

The 2017 Hugo Award winners. I think we can state that the convergence of mainstream published “science fiction” is now complete. Notice anything about the winners?
Best Novel
The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books)
Best Novella
Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire ( publishing)
Best Novelette
“The Tomato Thief”, by Ursula Vernon (Apex Magazine, January 2016)
Best Short Story
“Seasons of Glass and Iron”, by Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press)
Best Related Work
Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)
Best Graphic Story
Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening, written by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image)
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
Arrival, screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on a short story by Ted Chiang, directed by Denis Villeneuve (21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films)
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
The Expanse: “Leviathan Wakes”, written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, directed by Terry McDonough (SyFy)
Best Editor – Short Form
Ellen Datlow
Best Editor – Long Form
Liz Gorinsky
Best Professional Artist
Julie Dillon
Best Semiprozine
Uncanny Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, Julia Rios, and podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
Best Fanzine
Lady Business, edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan
Best Fancast
Tea and Jeopardy, presented by Emma Newman with Peter Newman
Best Fan Writer
Abigail Nussbaum
Best Fan Artist
Elizabeth Leggett
Best Series
The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
Ada Palmer (1st year of eligibility)
The best part is that NK Jemisin is now the two-time Hugo Award winner for Best Novel. In succession.