Vox had a couple of posts up about this but I figured it would be useful to have Larry’s first hand version. It does highlight what Vox says about SJWs using any means possible to destroy those who resist their demands. Larry truly is a moderate guy and the charges used to attack him are laughably untrue. And he is successful enough that this is more of an insult than an injury but it shows how they can destroy less successful people working anywhere near an SJW area of influence. A cautionary tale.
For you Monster Hunter Intl. Fans, Larry Correia Has Posted Part X of his Annual Christmas Noun Saga
Larry was the guiding spirit behind the original Sad Puppies campaign and the author of the best-selling Monster Hunter International series. He’s also an extremely amusing fellow and his Christmas Noun parody is a yearly institution on his site. The earlier installments are linked there and provide background on the various goofy story conventions involved in the tale. And it’s free. Enjoy.
Hat tip to Tom (one of our most active site denizens) for recommending this story. I knew of Greg Bear but when he was most popular my reading habit was curtailed due to SYFMS (struggling young family man syndrome). After reading Hardfought I’m looking forward to reading some more of Mr. Bear’s stuff.
Hardfought has a pretty complex structure and several important plot elements are intentionally obscured. This makes the beginning of the story confusing. But hang in there. It builds to a good effect. Because of the structure of the story I can’t go into much detail of the plot without spoiling it. Suffice it to say that this is a very interesting take on human-alien war. I liked the way Bear uses the details of stellar evolution (lack of heavier elements in first generation star populations) to define the contrast between the human and alien characteristics. The human characters appear strange to the reader. Their environment and social structures are very unusual and so it takes a little bit of plot revelation to start to put their behaviors into context. The alien protagonist’s behavior and motivation are intentionally inhuman but his interactions with his own species and with humans highlights several traits that make him useful to the resolution of the story.
The story is a meditation on the consequences of total war or war to extermination. I think it is asking whether survival at any cost actually is surviving. If what is left of you at the end is unrecognizable did you actually survive? And I don’t think Bear is answering the question. He is just illustrating the end of the trajectory. It is obvious to the reader what has been lost but everyone gets to decide if the price is too high.
A very interesting read. I’ll have to look through Bear’s other stuff and see what else I should try. Thanks again Tom.
Now, you’re gonna have to bear with me for a bit. This will be a rambling seemingly incoherent rant. But I’ll try by the end to bring it back to the point.
Over the course of the last few years I have become aware of the range of “philosophies” and personalities that exists on the right wing. I do not have an exhaustive knowledge of all the players, nor do I want or need to. I think it would be fair to say these personalities run the gamut from extremely sober to raving lunatic. And over the course of the last few years this has given me reason to pause and consider how or if I fit in with this spectrum of individuals. Surprisingly, I have learned that not all the serious individuals are right and not all of the nuts are wrong. Now, that doesn’t make it easy to commune with the lunatics. In fact, most of the time you probably shouldn’t. Lunatics tend to the mercurial and don’t always play well with others. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hear what they are saying. And by the same token, the sober guys may be charming and polite individuals but listening to them may be counter-productive. Especially if they are extremely clever. Sophistry can be highly entertaining and unfortunately also highly deceptive. To my mind that is kind of how we got where we are now. Cheerleaders for supposedly conservative ideas convinced a lot of people that the Bushes and John McCain and Mitt Romney knew what the word conservative means. That was sophistry.
So, the people you agree with logically aren’t the same as the people you enjoy listening to. What that means is that you tend to have to compartmentalize your relationships. Some people you can discuss your political beliefs with easily and other people you can’t. Some people are fun to discuss zombie movies with and others only want to discuss the actual apocalypse. It’s not the most comfortable arrangement imaginable. It’s sometimes annoying. And it’s the way things are going to be for the foreseeable future. Trying to avoid this reality will lead to trouble. For example, suppose you have a good friend who likes the same sports you do. The two of you can go to a ball game anytime and sit up in the stands and talk all day about Joe Dokes’ batting average or who the best relief pitcher is. It’s great. But if you try discussing politics with him you’ll end up in a shouting match and probably won’t want to get together for months. Very not great. And alternatively, you might know someone either in real life or on the web who you agree with politically almost completely. The two of you can discuss politics and even cooperate on political action and other projects. A mutually beneficial relationship. But otherwise you have nothing in common. You like country music he’s a gangsta rap enthusiast. You like science fiction he reads books on playing golf. Absolutely no common ground. What about these two scenarios?
What about them? There’s nothing wrong with either one. They reflect the reality of the world around us. You accept that division.
Now, of course, the best case scenario is when both spheres align. Now you can talk about baseball and the revolution at the same time. Better still, you can start a fantasy baseball league for right wingers! And for something like baseball or hockey or NASCAR you might do quite well lining up people who fit both sides of the equation. No problem!
But what if your interest is photography or science fiction? Now it’s not so easy. If you happen to be a photographer and also happen to not be a left winger you’re probably aware that the majority of photographers both professional and amateur skew pretty hard left. As with a lot of the “creative” professions these people seem to be steeped in a bohemian, urban culture that is extremely hostile to right-wing values and individuals. When I first got interested in photography I experienced this hostility over and over at a number of photography websites. It was both on a subliminal level and also on a purposeful, even confrontational basis. Whenever anything in the news offended the denizens of these sites it inevitably was dragged through the forum pages in the most strident and challenging terms. Basically, it was a public challenge to deny the libel being foisted. And interestingly if you succeeded in presenting a logical argument that was too convincing, the powers that be on the site were very likely to step in and either erase your posts (or force you to erase them) or ban you from the site altogether. To say this was a sorry state of affairs would be an understatement. The only way to coexist (what a loaded word) in such an environment would be to keep your mouth shut and ignore these virtue-signaling spasms. You can only imagine how much fun that would be. But there was no other way. Eventually I found one website that had a policy that I found commendable. They specifically forbade divisive discussions that involved non-photographic topics. So, no political, racial, religious or ethnic discussions were allowed to drift into an argument. It could be a little restrictive but it totally avoided the type of nonsense I was discussing above. Interestingly, I could still tell which individuals would be the worst offenders if it was allowed. They were always the ones being censured by the moderators. And it never was anyone on the right being stopped. Always rabid leftists. You could tell they thought it was highly unfair that they were not allowed to lecture us all on the topic of the day. I have to confess I took a good deal of delight in posting complaints against the worst offenders whenever I could. But it was still only a grudging allowance of what was obviously a despised minority opinion. I believe the site owner was a right-wing guy who found that, to avoid alienating the lefties, the best he could do was try to avoid all flash points. He knew that the demographics were against him and he settled for this uneasy truce. I still have great respect for the way he maintained that arrangement. It was the best environment that existed for right-wing photographers that I ever found.
Another of my interests is (or was and now is again) science fiction and fantasy stories. Growing up in the nineteen sixties and seventies I can remember finding all the classic books by the Golden Age authors and just eating that stuff up. And there was all kinds of range to the quality of the stories. Some were great and some were pretty bad. And even as a kid I knew that. And yet, I could still enjoy even the bad ones because at least they were of a kind. They involved science and adventure and space flight and alien creatures and time travel and inter-dimensional mumbo-jumbo and especially cover art involving scantily clad green-skinned women. Who could ask for anything more? But as time passed and it moved into the late seventies something started to change. Fantasy books weren’t about orcs and dwarves. They were about nature spirits fighting back against modern western civilization to protect Mother Gaia. And science fiction wasn’t about humans exploring the galaxy but sexually confused individuals exploring their various orifices. And along with all these “improvements” was the overarching message that the most important problem that science fiction and fantasy needed to solve was how can we make books that no straight white men would want to read?
And I’ll be the first to admit they succeeded with a vengeance. For a few years I still picked up new books and gave them a try. But without a doubt something bad had happened. It was like all the nit-wits who had made the sixties into a stinking hippie nightmare went off and got MFA’s and started writing sf&f. And worse still they had taken over the publishing houses and the awards ceremonies and only allowed their own kind of stories to make it to the bookstore shelves. Well, eventually I stopped trying and gave up on the genres. I figured it was me. I was no longer a child and I had to put away childish things. But a few years ago, I read about the Sad Puppies. I think the link was at PJ Media. After reading about the Hugo Awards and the way nominations were only handed out to those who fit the club and wrote only right-think it all clicked. I read all I could about the Puppies and started picking up some of their books. And they were good! Of course, not everything was great. Some was just okay. But all of it was recognizable as sf&f. And there was a community of people who believed in writing stories and not social justice agit-prop. And they had websites where like-minded individuals could talk and discuss writing and stuff they liked without having to get approval from the better sort. And I heard them talk about what it used to be like before the Puppy movement, how everyone had to kowtow to the better sort and if you wanted to get ahead you had to like the right sort of stories and hold the right kind of ideas. And how even if you went through this kabuki act you still had to wait your turn and if you had the wrong plumbing and skin tone chances were you wouldn’t ever get a shot at the brass ring.
But what really sounded familiar was how everyone had to hate the same things. There was an orthodoxy and if you didn’t hate George Bush and the military and straight white men, then you were cast out. And that I recognized. It was the same group-think I had seen on the photography sites. These were the same people. The Artists.
And it got me thinking. If the Puppies could do it for sf&f why couldn’t I make a photography site where right-wing opinion wasn’t something you had to hide. Now I wasn’t looking for some kind of gated community where only right-wing right think was allowed. But a place where I wouldn’t have to hear a two minute hate every time Donald Trump’s name was in the news.
So that’s kind of my whole reason for making this site in a nutshell ( a very long 1900 word nutshell). I wanted this site to allow me to discuss right-wing issues both seriously and with a little humor. That’s for all those folks who agree with me politically but don’t speak my language on hobbies.
And for those who happen to also have an interest in either sf&f or photography it’s a place where I could talk about those things. And other general things like tv and movies and other culture topics with like-minded people. So, if any of those things interest you stop by and have a look and leave a comment.
And finally after the revolution when I am elevated to the highest circles of the new order, hopefully in the movie version of my life story I’ll be played by Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin will play Camera Girl. And they really should include “Angel in the Morning” in the soundtrack but absolutely nothing by Wham! They really suck.
See I told you I’d bring it all back in the end.
The results have been announced and just as with last year, the Hugos have been shown once again to be way outside the mainstream. Of course, not everything I voted for won. But enough did and enough other stuff that did win was at least recognizable as SF&F. Sure, there’s some stuff written by SJW allies but at least it was stuff people actually buy so the really egregious stuff was passed over completely. Here’s the complete list:
Kudos to the winners and especially to Larry and the other puppies, sad and rabid, for starting the fire in that dumpster known as the Hugos. Like anything that’s been shown defective the Hugos have been replaced with something that actually works.
I have a relative, a boy in seventh grade, who is a ravenous reader of science fiction and fantasy (among other things). Being a conservative and being allergic to anything smacking of political correct narrative fiction I have made it my practice to pass along the older stuff that I grew up on back in the time before fun was banned. He digests these old books at a rate that seems almost supernatural. But recently I bought something modern to see how that would fly.
I had heard good things about Dave Freer’s “Changeling’s Island.” I ordered it on Amazon but instead of the usual two days, it took about two weeks. I guess it had to be printed on order. I did a quick read of the first couple of chapters and found it engaging and appropriate for my young reading machine. I dropped it off a week ago and hoped he would like it.
Well, I spoke with him today and discovered that not only did he like it, he wanted more of the same. Apparently, this was good stuff. I told him I didn’t have any more at the moment but would check for more stuff from Freer. He was unpleased at my unpreparedness to feed the machine with its new fuel of choice. In desperation, I foisted off a set of the Foundation trilogy on him that I had been holding onto since 1970, and told him I’d try to do better in the future. So now I have to find out if Freer has any other young adult sf&f available. If not I’ll be responsible for disappointing the next generation. Wish me luck.
If you’ve been following the Puppy vs Pink SF saga you know that puppies come in at least two denominations; sad and rabid. The Sad Puppies are the disciples of Larry Correia and wanted to draw attention to the incestuous log-rolling that a clique of sjw inspired authors and fans used to monopolize the results of the Hugo Awards. The Rabid Puppies are the shock troops of Vox Day who despises these pink science fiction folk with an intensity that would be frightening if it wasn’t so hilarious. He has spent the last two Hugo seasons stuffing the ballot box for such science fiction gems as “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” by Chuck Tingle and “Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By The T-Rex” by Stix Hiscock. But lately the Hugo Award has become routine. To mix things up he has switched targets to concentrate on one of his favorite pink sf targets, John Scalzi. Mr. Scalzi and Vox are old “friends.” Scalzi was the president of the SFWA when Vox was ejected for his unsympathetic feelings toward the left wing of sf. Vox has spent considerable time tweaking Scalzi whenever he sees an opportunity. Such an opportunity has arisen.
Mr. Scalzi has written an homage to Asimov’s Foundation Series. It is entitled The Collapsing Empire. Vox under his authority as editor of the publishing company Castalia House has released a book called Corroding Empire by the interestingly named author Johan Kalsi. Vox’s book debuted a day or so before the release date of Scalzi’s book and Amazon was forced to withdraw the Corroding Empire title based on its similar title and author name. Whereupon Castalia has rebranded the book Corrosion and given as the author Harry Seldon (the hero of Asimov’s foundations stories). From what I’ve read Corrosion is actually doing quite well. How all this will turn out is anyone’s guess but as a spectator sport it has been highly entertaining. But what about copying The Foundation story? Is this heresy? Should both sides be shunned? I’ll tell you what I think.
When I was a kid Isaac Asimov was part of “The Big Three” sf writers (Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke). I’ve written previously about Heinlein and in summary I think he remains a very important writer from the “Golden Age” and an excellent story teller with the usual exception here and there of bad work to prove that he ruled.
Back then I read all the Asimov that was available including his juvenile Lucky Starr books. I thought he was very good and I thought his robot and Foundation books were among the best sf around.
Fast forward forty, fifty years and rereading some of these classics (specifically the Foundation Trilogy) I find, maybe not surprisingly, that they don’t hold up as remarkably well as the Heinlein books. While the plot outline of the Foundation books is still engaging, the characters and the construction are kind of flat. Truth be told, when I reread it I found myself rooting for the petty kings that surrounded the Foundation. I thought it would make a more interesting story if the Mule not only reconquered the Galaxy but forced the Foundation scientists to fix his sterility and improve his health. Thereafter he could go on to conquer the Andromeda Galaxy where there were nasty aliens that really needed their asses kicked by a telepathic mutant with a big nose which is what the story needed all along. Sort of a galactic Game of Thrones with lots of scantily clad babes and plenty of gore. Or something like that.
In the eighties or nineties Asimov wrote a sequel to Foundation (Foundation’s Edge). Now remember, at that time I still thought the foundation books had been great. I bought the sequel, read it in one sitting and was very confused. It kind of sucked. Asimov had become a tree hugger. In the story the protagonist visits a planet that is based on a communal life force. Every living thing is part of a collective consciousness. At the end of the book the protagonist is supposed to decide whether the galaxy should be ruled by the First Foundation, the Second Foundation or Gaia (the collective tree-huggers). He cops out to ensure a sequel but you can tell his heart is with the hippies. My reaction was that he was a commie all along and I should go purge my collection of all Asimov. After that he wrote some sequels to his robot books and I think at some point he merged the two series into some kind of fusion of the two. So, what does all this mean?
It means that John Campbell gave Asimov a very good plot outline to write a story about (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (in space!) and Asimov did a very decent job with a good idea. What it also means is that not everything from the good old days was all that good. Asimov was famous for cranking out work at a tremendous rate. Sometimes it shows. Also, he doesn’t write people all that well. Plot progression he handles pretty well.
My only other thoughts on Asimov is that he really thought robots were the solution to everything. Once back in the late 1980’s I went to a lecture at Boston University. The topic was the future and humanity. Two of the speakers were brilliant physicists Freeman Dyson and Murray Gell-Mann. Dyson had revolutionized quantum electrodynamics and Gell-Mann hypothesized the quark level of particle physics. These guys were almost Einstein level geniuses. Their discussion on the possibilities of human endeavor in the far future were dizzying. Dyson was speculating on how humanity could engineer an escape from the entropic death of the universe and Gell-Mann discussed the possibilities for power generation based on the fine structure of particle physics. The third speaker was Isaac Asimov. He got up and said that the most important human endeavor was the creation of advanced robots. He said when robots had the intelligence that a dog displays when it catches a ball in mid-air then all of humanity’s problems would be solved. The other two speakers made polite noises and said that was very interesting. But it seemed like they were embarrassed to be on the stage with this nut. In retrospect, it’s interesting to remember that Asimov’s New York Yiddish accent made him sound a lot like Larry David. It probably would make a fairly funny SNL skit if anyone cared about Isaac Asimov that much. But it cemented my impression of Asimov as a doofus. After all a robot is a tool. No different from the invention of fire or the wheel. It will be used and it will be abused but humans adapt to their environment and that includes the parts of our environment that we ourselves induce.
So Vox and Scalzi borrow away. Asimov is not divine and his story was stolen from Gibbon first and handed to him by Campbell so what’s to steal?
Any fear that the annual Hugo debacle would be called off on account of boredom is allayed. Vox has posted his slate and it includes the now obligatory dinosaur buggery story. But there has been tactical change. The E Pluribus Hugo rules change means that attempting to monopolize every nominee spot is futile. So for the most part a single nominee is listed for each category. Some but not all of the nominees are Castalia House authors. For the VFM of Vox Day these choices (including “Alien Stripper Boned from Behind By the T-Rex” by Stix Hiscock!) are a duty that allows for no substitution. For others, these are a list of suggestions that provide choices that don’t correspond to a social justice slate. I’ve found Castalia House a very reliable source of enjoyable fiction. But of course, one man’s meat is another’s poison, so decide for yourself.
One interesting development that may or may not be related, Vox included File 770 as a pick for BEST FANZINE but that blog asked to be left out. Now, File 770 despises Vox and all things Puppy, so possibly this is one of those reactionary withdrawals but who knows?
So, I’ve got some reading to do. Although I can confirm that Deadpool would already be my choice for “BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM” (movie). I await also the lists that the Sad Puppies put out. These new choices from the various puppies, sad and rabid, are a boon to old timers like me who decades ago despaired of ever seeing old time fantasy and science fiction. If you are of a like mind I recommend you give the puppy choices a look see.
I just finished this first volume in a series named “The Stars Came Back” and I’m sure I’ll be reading the sequel when it appears. The back cover says that the series “combines military science fiction with the classic space western” and I will agree. The universe that this book inhabits has humans spread out on over a thousand planets. These worlds were terraformed during an expansion era that ended with a supernova occurring nearby that disrupted faster than light (FTL) travel for an extended period of time and threw these new worlds on their own devices to survive (or perish).
The various inhabited planets we see or hear about contain bits and pieces of one or more Earth cultures. One of the problems that seems to exist in most of the locales we see is a bureaucracy that preys on the citizens using stifling regulation to punish citizens monetarily and otherwise. The tone of the book shows a preference for more personal freedom and less government interference.
The main characters become involved in a project to rehabilitate an unusual transport ship that brings together military and civilian personnel in an interesting cooperation that slowly unfolds some puzzling characteristics of this odd “Flying Dutchman.” The cast is a mixture of men, women, a child and even an AI who runs the ship. The military component of the story I found most engaging. The interaction of the NCO with the recruits and his officers is familiar and adds the familial attachment and common cause aspects of the story that makes mil sf so enjoyable for many. There are several battles both on planet and off that I thought were well done. I found most of the characters engaging. It will be interesting to see how the various interpersonal dynamics work themselves out over the course of the series. And, of course, the secrets of the ship will be interlaced with them.
So, I’ll give an enthusiastic endorsement to “Back from the Dead” and recommend it to anyone who enjoys classic sf and especially mil sf.
On Monday, I received an e-mail from “Hugo Awards 2017” that said, “I’m very glad to be able to tell you that nominations for the 2017 Hugo Awards are now open! As a member of MAC2, you are eligible to nominate in the 17 Hugo ballot categories covering the best of the genre in the last year, and for the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer.” And, so continues a five-year tradition of melodrama and degradation almost unparalleled in the annals of genre literature buffoonery. Yes, the pageantry and butt-hurt that is the puppy-era Hugo Awards is back again. Huzzah!
And I think we have reached a new stage in this evolution. Everyone realizes that rapprochement is impossible and now it’s just a matter of how much infamy can be heaped on your opponents. From the point of view of the puppies’ side (sides?), winning Hugos isn’t seriously considered as an objective. The folks at Tor have shown that their allies in the media can crank out a blitz of news pieces tarring the puppy side as deplorables and this will inspire enough people into battling the reprobates with no-award votes and assuring that some of the Tor books will win. And the puppies (mostly the rabid variety) will be able to slate a number of bizarre nominations (Space Raptor Butt Invaders!) to make the Hugos appear ridiculous and simultaneously put a monkey wrench in Tor’s system of rewarding lower level authors with unsuccessful Hugo nominations.
So, there is a sort of a stand-off. It’s like one of those Three Stooges routines where Moe, Larry and Curly are locked down into some kind of circle-slap-fest. They’re each almost exhausted but there’s no way to exit the contest. Now I say this in full realization that I’m Curly and, of course, I want to beat Moe so, let the eye poking proceed.
Actually, there’s kind of a comforting feel to the procedure. It must have been like this in the middle stages of the trench warfare during WWI. You had progressed past the belief that a charge would result in anything but mass casualties so you settled down to lobbing shells and poison gas canisters. You knew your script and hating the Hun was easy and kinda fun (except for the dysentery and shrapnel).
This year I’ll follow the venomous fun and nominate the stories I’ve enjoyed. But I can’t care very much if the cabal gets a few awful stories awarded. On the other hand I’m looking forward to the Dragons. Last year was surprising. Without the negativity I felt almost disoriented. An award ceremony without pomposity. It seemed like some guilty pleasure.
Anyway, I have to confess that after the vote in November it’s a little difficult to get upset about the Hugos. What I’m hoping for this year is a Trump themed campaign. Maybe a YouTube video entitled “Make the Hugos Great Again.” Possibly Milo Yiannopoulis could write a novella entitled “If You Were a Deplorable My Love.”
So there it is. The Hugos have become a kind of tradition where the event is almost completely antithetical to the intent. Sort of like watching Dick Clark’s Rocking New Years’ Eve after there’s no Dick Clark or Rock and Roll and you really can’t remember why you want to stay up on New Year’s Eve and watch Mariah Carey lip-synch her songs in a spandex sausage casing. So, the Hugos aren’t actually about picking the best sf&f stories anymore but instead a cautionary tale about what happens when the patients take over the asylum.
But in the words of George Constanza, “You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!”