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April 07, 2015

Comments

Dr. S:

johnwrightHere ya go.

dude's got issues.

also:

alcibiades and Socrates had a thing? I never knew.

also:

bogart had a pretty face?

Nombrilisme Vide:

I have that, I'm trying to get an image for the whoooole page. There are browser extensions that are supposed to do it, but they don't seem to be working for me. Thank you, though.

russell:

My local Classicist explains:

in Symposium they're all sitting around drinking and then Al breezes in 15 minutes late w/starbucks and complains that Socrates won't sleep with him like what is up with that EVERYONE wants to sleep with me

They were *sort of* a thing. But not a THING thing, like Achilles/Patroklus or Harmodius/Aristogeiton.

What the bloody hell is wrong with these people?

I mean, I seriously don't get it. When I find a club/group of people/award/whatever to be concerned with ideas I find objectionable, my first instinct to to get away from them. At worst, I may snark a bit. But this desire to take over/subvert (or beat with axe handles) is just revolting.

VD is someone I ran across a long time ago, and mayhap my exposure to the shameless little troll just led me to ignore him. Can't these jackasses make up their own award? Yeah, I get that they are reclaiming it in honor of a past that never existed, as is the custom of reactionaries everywhere. But Christ on a pogo stick, this is why we can't have nice things.

Ah. I had thought that was a bit too easy to have thwarted you. Anyway, here's the whole mess.

Is it an affect for his blog, or does all Wright's prose sound like it was meant to be read in the voice of the Simpsons comic book guy?

They do have (had?) their own award: the Prometheus award.

But I don't think it covers "Internet Trolling" or "Poo-flinging", so not prestigious enough.

"Simpsons comic book guy"

Now that you mention it, yeah. I read some of his blog entries yesterday--I think he is trying to be Chesterton. I don't know if he openly acknowledges it, but to me it's obvious. Chesterton, with all his flaws, had real wit, and this guy only has pomposity, but he is using what he has.

NV:

Thanks so much, I got it. Just for my reference, which app+browser did you use?

Donald:

Ah ha ha, I think you're right. Next stop: monocle.

Those remarks from Wright are one reason I'm ninety bucks out of pocket. gdi

Now, if he wants a historical example of manliness, exemplifying virtues like strength, courage, and honour, I sincerely hope he will turn to the samurai.

John C. Wright went to school in Maryland and Virginia, and got a degree from my alma mater, William and Mary. I can testify that when I was at W&M in the 1980s, the idea that all men instinctively wanted, and should want, to kill gays was widespread among the straight dudes of my acquaintance. They'd been carefully trained to think that way, and a man could get some social friction just for self-identifying as an ally of gay people.

And, by the way, in the rest of Virginia W&M had a reputation as "the gay school", so it was probably even worse everywhere else.

Wright was there several years before I was, so I imagine it was even worse then.

DocSci:

I don't know what NV used, but I've had great luck with bullzip (it's a print spooler to images/pdfs and works quite well), although I've been been told there are some versions out there with malware attached, so be careful to only use a legit version. I think this is clean install file:

http://cdn.bullzip.com/download/pdf_free/Setup_BullzipPDFPrinter_10_11_0_2338_FREE.exe

wow. that thread NV captured is crazy.

and it includes a link to Wright's tl;dr opus: Saving Science Fiction From Strong Female Characters:
www.scifiwright.com/2014/01/saving-science-fiction-from-strong-female-characters/

apparently, the dude really loves to hear himself type

I think he is trying to be Chesterton.

Chesterton, with axe handles, and an emphatically declared non-attraction to Humphrey Bogart's pretty face.

I do get baffled by the fixation on "Dinosaur Love" but as a Hugo voter I found it incomprehensible, skimmed it, put it fourth and moved on.

"Bigot Is Violent Thug" is right up there with "Dog Bites Man" in newsworthiness.

Saving Science Fiction From Strong Female Characters

Wow.
If he's trying to make himself immune to satire, I guess he succeeded.

One other observation: sprinkling one's misogynist maunderings with the word 'hence' is not evidence of unassailable logic, as he appears to believe.

Of course not; for unassailable logic you really need to get a "methinks" in there somewhere.

Grumbles: "What the bloody hell is wrong with these people?"

He and Vox Day and the others in this group are evil, pure and simple. They don't even bother to hide it, other than not confessing to actual crimes which they might have (or might not have) committed.


I have become exasperated with people who look upon scum like this and make excuses. We should be calling them what they are, and acting accordingly.

P. G. Wodehouse once described a very loud crash as "a sound like Chesterton falling onto a sheet of tin"...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G._K._Chesterton

... or J C Wright thinking ?

from Part 6:

Girls want strong men because strength in men, brute muscle power and leadership ability, is a primary sexual distinguishing characteristic related to the sexual process. Boys want faithful women because fidelity in women is a primary sexual distinguishing characteristic related to domestic life and the demands of domestic life.

what is this i don't even

from Part 6...

Uncommon endurance, sir.

a primary sexual distinguishing characteristic related to the sexual process... related to domestic life... related to accountancy ?

I'm guessing the next step is to replace the the only marginally phallic Hugo trophy with a statue of Heinlein in the style of Joseph Thorak.

from Part 6:

Girls want strong men because strength in men, brute muscle power and leadership ability, is a primary sexual distinguishing characteristic related to the sexual process.

Is he... saying that brute muscle power (and leadership ability) correlates to the ability to give someone (a girl someone) an orgasm? Because maybe that works for some girls, but unless the muscle in question is the tongue...

but unless the muscle in question is the tongue...

Even then, it would be more about dexterity and finest of motor skills than brute strength.

Girls want strong men because strength in men, brute muscle power and leadership ability, is a primary sexual distinguishing characteristic related to the sexual process.

In my admittedly informal and non-scientific research, what I've found is that girls seem to like it if you're basically thoughtful, have a good sense of humor, and smell like fresh laundry.

Bonus points for picking up your own socks.

be sure to look at Part 2, where Mr Wright explains marital happiness !

http://www.scifiwright.com/2013/11/saving-science-fiction-from-strong-female-characters-part-2/

he also explains that men are curt creatures of action, who don't have feelings (at least "not what [ladies] call feelings"), and who don't talk about trivial things; and that women are "personality oriented" nurturers who are tasked with "domesticating the male barbarian of her husband as well as taming and training the children", while talking about trivial things.

Doc S: FireShot (the free version, not pro) for Firefox.

Wright's manner of speech reminds a lot of Jerry Pournelle and his friend Roland Dobbins on a bad day. The Randian screed.

Russell, my older sister always had a thing for Bogey. I thought it was odd when I was young, but I kind of get it now.

Pournelle has good days???

Wright sounds (I have refrained from going and reading that stuff first hand) like an immature 16 year old from a bad home. Or, to put it in his terms, someone who has failed to find a woman who can tame the barbarian.

...I couldn't get past Wright's intro paragraph on the summary page before the irony (and awkward prose) crushed my will to keep reading:

I wrote an essay, long even by my unwieldily prolix standards, to the point that the use of any characters in a story, male or female, should serve the purpose of entertaining and edifying the reader rather than serving the propaganda purposes of amateur social engineers convinced that the unintentional implications hidden in science fiction yarns, of all things, influences the virtues and standards of society.

As lovely an example as I've ever seen of what Surridge was talking about when he described the Sad Puppies' ilks' inability to see "politics" in things they agree with.

I suppose it is way too late, but I would prefer the culture war stay out of my favorite hobbies. I want to thank Brett for pointing out Correia's site over on CT. I had been skipping too much by letting myself get swept up in the silly fight.

I hate the politics of these folks, but I am willing to check out their fiction, without a purity check.

"I suppose it is way too late, but I would prefer the culture war stay out of my favorite hobbies."

I think somebody once said, you can want to stay out of the culture wars, but the culture wars don't want to let you. Once a war starts, the only thing that happens if you refuse to fight it, is the other side wins by default.

This huge dustup is because the left is mad that they're not winning by default anymore.

This huge dustup is because the left is mad that they're not winning by default anymore.

maybe ... try going a day without attempted mind-reading ?

"the left" isn't mad about this. in fact, most of "the left' doesn't know a thing about it.

what people are mad about is the fact that people have hijacked a vulnerable apolitical process for their own flagrantly political ends.

I am very interested in sf&f, and not at all interested in this latest dustup. A few decades down the road, hardly anyone will remember.

Except those whose sensibilities have been most cruelly violated. Those people will hold grudges until their dying breath.

I think somebody once said, you can want to stay out of the culture wars, but the culture wars don't want to let you.

This particular cultural war can eat my shorts.

For those who think the culture wars are still in progress, you might consider this:
http://www.nationalmemo.com/the-culture-war-a-battle-the-gop-cant-win/

In essence, Mr Pitts thesis (riffing off Lyndon Johnson) is: when you've lost WalMart, you've lost the country.

The battles may continue. But they really are mostly rear-guard actions by those who refuse to surrender to the inevidable. And don't care how much damage they do to everyone around them in the process. America will probably remain a significantly far more conservative nation than other developed countries. But the push to return us to a mythical mid-20th century (or earlier) has failed.

I am very interested in sf&f

I should probably reel that back in a bit. I will likely start sprinkling some sf&f back into the mix once I have struggled my way through this pile of nonfiction, which started off with:

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin (944 pages)
Eisenhower at War 1943-1945 by David Eisenhower (977 pages)
A Man Called Intrepid by William Stevenson (528 pages)
Charlie Wilson's War by George Crile

and then some relevant fiction found its way into the mix:

The Winds of War by Herman Wouk (900+ pages)
War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk (1000+ pages)
Los Alamos by Joseph Kanon (544 pages)
Plus various & sundry O'Rourke punditries, a rather hefty book on Indiana history whose title I cannot recall right now, as well as other books I look less forward to reading and bought just because the price was right.

Otherwise, I have been busy as hell building things to keep chickens in and predators out, hooking up & testing an electrical fence to keep the hogs out of the vegetable garden, and felling trees that are dying and therefore need their wood less than my fireplace does. We had an enormous maple tree that was leaning over at 20+ degrees off vertical, and I hired the guy down the street (who is a character and an interesting one at that, although my dad had pretty much had nothing to do with him because he's at least a part-time alcoholic who may very well never get his driver's license back) to take it down. He used to be a logger, and said he could take the tree down and not have it crush the fence between my property and my dad's, which when uncrushed does a consistent job of keeping our respective hogs from commingling.

Therein lies a tale. Let's just say that leaning trees scare the hell out of me, and it turned out that a) that fear is entirely justified, but b) if you know what you are doing, you can take the tree down with minimal risk. Which is what happened. And the fence, it remains uncrushed.

The moral of this tale is that skill and ability can reside in nearly anyone, even a rather frequently drunk and frequently arrested guy with eyes that don't really track together most of the time. And that I actually like him quite a bit, and admire him for what he can do. I do worry about him running into something or someone while on one of his more fearsome modes of transportation, i.e. the 1957 John Deere tractor.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my neighbor. Oh, and this guy is his brother.

There's always something to do and see, here. A couple of weeks ago I brought #2 daughter to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, which is basically out in the middle of nowhere in Indiana. It's not just a few ocelots and the like; there are literally dozens of tigers, a few lions, a couple of leopards, several servals (try saying that fast a few times) and a rather disheveled-looking collection of bobcats. Also a lynx, which was far more impressive-looking than I had expected. The stories of how these animals got there will make you weep for the collective stupidity of mankind. Some are from closed-down zoos, but I think more than half were kept as house pets.

400-lb tigers. House pets. This does not compute. Some of them were house pets of people who had children. Some of them were just, effectively, mascots.

Anyway. You may now resume brickbatting each other.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my neighbor.

He ran *himself* over with his tractor?

Oh, and this guy is his brother.

God bless the freaks. No snark in that.

Last time I was out your way was probably back in '86. Spent time with a buddy of mine who was helping a buddy of his bootstrap a goat farm on an abandoned hippie commune somewhere out around Needmore.

That guy (not my buddy, my buddy's buddy) had worked up a really ingenious cold frame dealio where he would dig pretty far down, load up the hole with his own special dirt mix, made up of more or less equal parts clay, clean creek silt, and goat manure.

He'd plant on top of that, and cover the whole thing with a simple cold frame he made out of scrap lumber and old discarded window glass.

Between the greenhouse properties of the cold frame, and the heat thrown off by the goat poo, he was getting semi-tropical heat levels quite early in spring. Like, March or even late Feb.

Basically, as soon as the frost let up and he could dig, he was good to go.

Long live the DYI'ers.

He was driving his tractor while drunk, and fell off. What the article didn't mention is that after running him over, the tractor kept going and ran into a house, with somewhat predictable damage resulting from the (fairly slow) impact of a dense chunk of iron on a wood-frame house.

I wish I had seen it, or pictures of it.

In a previous accident, Kenny was attempting to jump from the back of a tractor to the trailer it was pulling, and he missed, falling between them. His head was run over by the trailer tire.

Fortunately, the trailer wasn't loaded a the time, but it still had to have hurt quite a lot.

Legend has it that Kenny has fallen down and struck his head on a few more occasions. Still, the guy has a knack for fixing things and other useful skills. So I employ him from time to time. He's worked hard for most of his life and (I have to admire this) bought his land with cash and built his own house on it.

Yep, God bless the freaks. They just might inherit the Earth after the rest of us are done mucking it up.

The cold frame idea I may just swipe. Only, heat to be provided by decomposing chicken manure mixed with straw. Because we have divested ourselves of goats, and their manure is pretty hard to collect anyways. I have seen variations of this idea where you just empty out your swimming pool and cover it over with clear plastic.

There are endless projects, but not endless time available to do them.

Remind me to talk sometime about picking up chicks at the post office, caring for turkey hatchlings, and raising guinea fowl.

Also, our hogs like to have their bellies rubbed. I figure it might make the bacon more tender, so what the heck.

I keed.

Slarti, for some reason I thought you lived down south. You're in Indiana?

A friend took me to a bar in rural Indiana once. He had both of us dress halfway decently and the place had a dirt floor. I never understood what he was thinking.

I hate the culture wars too. In this case it seems the self-proclaimed defenders of Western civilization are dirt bags, but if they were merely wanting good SF stories that weren't explicitly leftish, I'd be on their side. I really like some of Niven and the Motie stories of Niven and Pournelle.

I moved to Indiana from Florida last summer. Long backstory to that. I still work the same job, only from a distance, with occasional trips to the office and sometimes other, more exotic places like Norman, OK.

I am a very fortunate guy in many ways.

If you want some not-explicitly-leftish stories, check out James Schmidt's Agent of Vega. Covert ops interference in the internal affairs of neighboring countries (star systems) in order to promote virtue. Killings of scum without bothering with judicial process. It's got it all!

And very well written besides.

I actually have both factions as FB friends, Donald. Not that that means anything other than I have a fairly politically diverse set of friends, and that I know people who know people.

Can I just say that everything Slart has said is...awesome. That's the US I love.

What of the goats?

I attended a military academy outside of South Bend Indiana for four summers when I was an early teen.

Culver.

I was on the oar-boat rowing crew my last year rowing across Lake Maxinkuckee twice a day.

I would put SRDs Gap series up there with the best SF I have read. The first book is a rapey horror, but it sets up an amazing series.

I am currently plowing through the Expanse series that Dr S has been plugging. A little fluffy, but a hell of a fun ride.

The noirish detective in the first book is well done, I was reminded of the detective played by Dana Andrews in the movie Laura.

I have been busy as hell building things to keep chickens in and predators out

slarti, have you thought about guardian animals?

My wife and I have been to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center twice. The first was to take the regular tour, the second was for the after-hours one which is for adults only, but they feed you dinner and you get to go see some of the cats that aren't in the main park portion. At some point, we hope to do their Evening Roar, where you get to spend the night at lodgings within the park and listen to the cats as they settle in for the night.

Amusing story time (not to derail the SF&F aspect to the thread, but Slarti's was hilarious and I have to add my own). Our first visit to the ERFC was on a day towards the end of the summer when the humidity had finally crept a little lower after a morning shower. As we were walking the route through the center with our guide, it seemed like all of the cats were making noise: yowling, roaring, chuffing, and so forth. If you've never heard a big cat making noise in real life, it's utterly terrifying. Movies do not do it justice: experiencing a lion's roar from the other side of a chain-link fence is like standing in front of the bass cannons at a heavy metal concert. You don't so much hear it as FEEL it throughout your entire body. Go watch Jurassic Park in the theater, and while you're there, shove yourself up against the speakers when the T-Rex roars and you'll get some idea of the strength behind these vocalizations.

My then-fiancee shoots a nervous look at me, then says to our guide, "They sound angry. Is everything OK?" She's pretty much giving voice to what I've been thinking for the past couple of minutes.

The guide just laughs and says, "Oh no, that's their happy talk. It's cooler than it's been for the last couple of days, the humidity's broken, and they're celebrating. No, if they were mad, you would know."

The take-away from this is happy tigers sound like enraged Velociraptors, and content lions sound like...like...really loud lions? I'm reaching here, because I have no frame of reference.

I never want to learn what an irritated lion sounds like, because I would prefer not to be remembered as "the woman who crapped herself to death" at my funeral.

But in all seriousness, if you get the chance, the EFRC is an awesome day trip. Highly recommended. :)

Maybe you and Slart (and others) know about this book, but I recommend The Tribe of Tiger. She also wrote 'The Hidden Life of Dogs', but I think the cat book is more interesting, in part because I feel like I understand feline behavior less than I understand canines.

As a side note, trying to find the title reveals that there is a Cat Writers' Association.
http://catwriters.com/wp_meow/

Areala:

We were once in the Big Cats house at the Philly Zoo at feeding time. As you say, it's utterly terrifying, on a really truly instinctive level: 50 million years of evolution, more or less.

IIRC it was not all that long after this that "The Lion King" came out. Even in a good movie theater you can tell that they nicened-up the lions' roars, they're simpler, higher-pitched, and much less instinctively scary than the real thing.

...my older sister always had a thing for Bogey. I thought it was odd when I was young, but I kind of get it now.

Bogart was an attractive man. Hot, even. But pretty he was not.

Well,he was no Charles Laughton. Vincent Price, maybe;).

Omg. You realised they Bogarted the Hugos.

I too see this as a "rearguard action", or more explicitly, a "death rattle".

What I want more than anything else in my reading is surprise and variety, and exclusion, including bloc voting, is guaranteed to reduce that.

I would put SRDs Gap series up there with the best SF I have read. The first book is a rapey horror, but it sets up an amazing series.

I'll second this recommendation, in particular the warning about the first book. It was bad enough that I've never felt compelled to re-read the series, although come to think of it that also describes my feelings towards SRD's Thomas Covenant series.

On the subject of non-leftish SF, L.E. Modesitt's works are well-written, though I stopped reading them when I found the libertarianism was getting a bit too explicit - I wanna say it was a line describing how American society had gone to hell because single-payer health care made people incapable of being responsible that made me set down his book (Archform: Beauty, maybe?) and never pick up another.

Count, my dad is a Culver alumn. The world, it is a tiny place. I myself have been there, once, in the winter of 1978 for state swimming finals. The winter was so bad that the usual venue was closed down, but Culver was available. So we went there instead.

The goats we sold, except for Frodo, who was sacrificed to the freezer gods. I slow-baked and then smoked a goat leg last week, and we had smoked goat burritos. It was...different. Not bad, just different.

One thing the feline rescue place told us to watch out for was spraying. Apparently the males take great joy in spraying tour groups. I took the hint, and exhibited an acceptable level of paranoia. Oh, and our tour guide, a young lady who was pre-vet IIRC, was treated to my story of a high school friend who was briefly a dealer in "exotic animals", meaning cougars, lions and tigers among other things. I told her about the lioness getting loose of her cage and wandering the neighborhood. I think she thought I was telling her some fiction, but it really happened, and I was there, back against the garage door, trying to keep it from leaping out of its frame due to the love taps being administered on the other side by an adolescent male lion.

All true. All intensely stupid. I have immense respect for animals of that size, if not before then, certainly now.

Dad got out of Culver circa 1954, if that helps.

By some freak of the seedings, I got stuck next to the previous year's state champion and top seed, in prelims. I was paying a bit too much attention to him and not enough to the upcoming wall, so I muffed the first turn in spectacular fashion and wound up 1.3 seconds slower than my sectional time.

Such is my life: a tragedy of error.

I am so going to write a story that includes the line "Happy tigers sound like enraged velociraptors."

I am so going to write a story that includes the line "Happy tigers sound like enraged velociraptors."

Even more fun if you turn the comparison around.

A couple of weeks ago I brought #2 daughter to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, which is basically out in the middle of nowhere in Indiana.

we live less than two miles from NC's version of that. Mrs has volunteered there a couple of times. and i always keep my eyes sharp, in case of a stray cougar.

the lions are big, the tigers are huge, but none of the scare me the way the cougars do. it's got just the right combination of size and agility and wild irascibility.

They all scare me in different ways. Lions and tigers because they can kill you even if you have had all of their teeth and claws removed. Leopards and jaguars and mountain lions because they're small enough to easily underestimate yet strong and fast enough to kill you easily and then drag your corpse up into a tree.

Oh, and they can kill you sometimes by biting through your skull or spinal column.

Yes, I have respect for and feel visceral terror of the big cats.

I just have a rational caution around animals that think they're higher than me in the food chain. Especially if they're not tasty enough or legal enough to be worth the hassle of refuting this belief.

NV - I will admit, overwrought libertarianism has chased me away from some authors. Terry Goodkind, in particular, as he lost control of his Sword of Truth series (and again, way too much rape).

Oddly, it is these experiences of hating on an author's politics that is leading me to try to get past that. I would rather not know what the author really thinks, so I can enjoy the fiction without letting our current social sicknesses invade. Degustubus, I guess.

I've enjoyed fiction by authors across the political spectrum. L Ron Hubbard's early works, (Read Old Doc Methusalah, if you can find it. It's a hoot!) for example, are entertaining, even if he did later create an organized crime syndicate disguised as a religion. I can enjoy them even while I think that crime syndicate should be erased from the face of the Earth.

There's a problem here, in that the left rejects the idea that anything, anything at all, isn't political. So, quite naturally, they politicized the Hugos, and can't see the effort to unpoliticize them as anything but an attempt to politicize them with the opposite polarity.

Because everything IS political, after all, so there's no such thing as making something not be about politics anymore.

There's a problem here, in that the left rejects the idea that anything, anything at all, isn't political.

trollin, trollin, trollin.

"The personal is political."

Wasn't the right that came up with that.

wasn't the left that decided to make this into a partisan thread. that was you.

Slart, did your Dad attend the winter military prep school, or the shorter summer versions?

I went summer from 1963 thru 1965, although that might be one year off.

the left rejects

"the left" is not any one thing or purpose, and as everyone knows Democrats (not universally exchangeable with "the left", but still) belong to no organized party.

It's a quandary. We WANT to throw all who disagree with us into some uniform category, but closer inspection (which it looks like you have failed to even consider) reveals everything BUT uniformity.

It's sloppy thinking. Lazy. The Right should be able to do better.

For me it matters mainly, if/when the ideology gets in the way of the story and even there I make a distinction, whether the story is a - declared - tool to transport the ideology or it is just unavoidable baggage. What I can't stand is, when the ideology not just interferes but is used as a cover for shoddy work.

'Tom Brown's Schooldays' is a self-declared sermon in the shape of a novel, the author leaves no doubt about that. I do not agree with his views and find his 'muscular christianity' misguided but the author does not insult my intelligence and I can follow the characters and their motivations as 'real'.
So I have no problems with it as literature (although I highly prefer Kipling's Stalky & Co where the inept epigones of TBSD get a merciless bashing).

I am split about C.S. Lewis' Narnia series. They are Christian bones covered with a fantasy skin and next to no flesh and they are intended as such. Kids are supposed to be attracted to the skin, to fill in the missing parts with their own imagination and by doing so 'getting' the bones. The BBC TV adaptations follow that approach (in part due to lack of budget though) and might have found his acceptance. He most definitely would have HATED the Hollywood treatment the stories got later that left nothing to the imagination at all. But I have the suspicion that Lewis also lacked the depth of his friend Tolkien and would not have been able to flesh out the stories in a satisfactory manner even if he had tried.

In the third part of his Ransom trilogy ('That hideous strength') he finally lost me. That one is a Christian Ayn Rand piece of shoddiness. Logic gets thrown out the window and the style gets Byzantine in the bad sense. I not only find the message quite obnoxious and La Haye worthy, it gets also transported by pure caricatures. The bad guys more or less openly say 'OK, this would be the logical way to reach our evil goals quickly and efficiently but we are evil and therefore we cannot do this in any logical way. We must do it in a way that defies any logic, must be visibly evil to even the most dense onlooker even if it almost guarantees our failure. If it's not chaotic at all times, it is not allowed.'

I liked myself a good Tom Clancy novel despite his paleoconservative leanings very much but in his final years he too fell into the same trap. The complex bad guys (originally a major attraction of his books) disappeared and his good guys began to preach. Galloping Anyrandization.

Sorry, if I name no examples from the opposite side of the spectrum. I am not much into Socialist Realism or literary Movement Feminism* (the kind that rewrites the Bible trying to replace all words of (even just perceived) male gender with female ones; mother, daughter and holy ghostess bshe praised. It's even worse in German).

*I know some vocal proponents that seem to desire to fit the RW conspiracies about the gay agenda by preaching that all women should only tolerate lesbian sex and only reproduce via artificial insemination. Most of them are wired straight, so it's pure doctrine. Most women find them as embarassing as mainstrram Christians find the likes of Falwell, Robertson & Co.

He did winter military prep, I think.

He's a full decade older than you, for which you should be grateful. Although being as strong and healthy as he is, on the cusp of 80 years of age, is something most people would give anything for.

Especially since he was at LEAST a 2-pack-a-day man for decades on end, and still smokes at least a half pack a day now.

Count, does I-sir-am-sir-a-sir-plebe-sir ring any bells with you? It was a thing when Dad was in school.

I live in Denver, and have done lots of backpacking and camping in the Rockies, though not so much in recent years.

I know they are everywhere now, but cougars -- mountain lions -- are plentiful out here.

Many of the Forest Service and park trail heads have signs cautioning about mountain lions and other critters, but one of the things the signs point out is that the big cats like to observe you from "rocky outcroppings", which if you've traveled in the Rockies, pretty much is all that surrounds you every moment, day and night.

You could spend most of your trek making your neck sore keeping a wary eye on the "rocky outcroppings".

In 36 years out here, I've never spotted one (maybe once, a flick of tan muscled movement on a "rocky outcropping") but I'm sure they've seen me, hunkered down, licking their chops, the hind quarters doing that cat thing as they position their back feet for the spring.

Tracks once or twice.

The only period I've really thought about the possibilities in any detail was when my son was a little boy/toddler, and we'd do day hikes along the front range, and he'd take off up the trail and round a bend, momentarily out of sight for a moment, though I could halt him in his tracks with the word "Lion", which was his favorite animal at the time, but he was afraid all the same.

When he was really little, and I'd carry him in a pack on my back, I thought occasionally about a lion jumping me from behind, but what the heck, you can only worry so much.

Seen black bear of course and a bobcat once. The closest I've come to spotting a mountain lion was reading about one in the news up a tree in a yard a neighborhood over in the Denver suburb I used to live in.

Speaking of velociraptors, mountain lions will hunt their prey in twos on occasion, tracking you on either side of the trail, like in the Jurassic Park movies.

You might see one. And while you do, as you're slowly backing up, (don't run away like a mouse, stand your ground, make yourself look large -- I suppose with my son on my back, I would look like a two-headed monster -- give way slowly and hope the act of crapping in your pants grosses them out) #2 is behind you, flexing its claws it's mouth open and tongue extended like a red carpet a la Sylvester as Tweety Pie slowly backs into his gullet, strikes a match to see better, and declares "I tought I taw a puddy tat!"

I live in Denver, and have done lots of backpacking and camping in the Rockies, though not so much in recent years.

I know they are everywhere now, but cougars -- mountain lions -- are plentiful out here.

Many of the Forest Service and park trail heads have signs cautioning about mountain lions and other critters, but one of the things the signs point out is that the big cats like to observe you from "rocky outcroppings", which if you've traveled in the Rockies, pretty much is all that surrounds you every moment, day and night.

You could spend most of your trek making your neck sore keeping a wary eye on the "rocky outcroppings".

In 36 years out here, I've never spotted one (maybe once, a flick of tan muscled movement on a "rocky outcropping") but I'm sure they've seen me, hunkered down, licking their chops, the hind quarters doing that cat thing as they position their back feet for the spring.

Tracks once or twice.

The only period I've really thought about the possibilities in any detail was when my son was a little boy/toddler, and we'd do day hikes along the front range, and he'd take off up the trail and round a bend, momentarily out of sight for a moment, though I could halt him in his tracks with the word "Lion", which was his favorite animal at the time, but he was afraid all the same.

When he was really little, and I'd carry him in a pack on my back, I thought occasionally about a lion jumping me from behind, but what the heck, you can only worry so much.

Seen black bear of course and a bobcat once. The closest I've come to spotting a mountain lion was reading about one in the news up a tree in a yard a neighborhood over in the Denver suburb I used to live in.

Speaking of velociraptors, mountain lions will hunt their prey in twos on occasion, tracking you on either side of the trail, like in the Jurassic Park movies.

You might see one. And while you do, as you're slowly backing up, (don't run away like a mouse, stand your ground, make yourself look large -- I suppose with my son on my back, I would look like a two-headed monster -- give way slowly and hope the act of crapping in your pants grosses them out) #2 is behind you, flexing its claws it's mouth open and tongue extended like a red carpet a la Sylvester as Tweety Pie slowly backs into his gullet, strikes a match to see better, and declares "I tought I taw a puddy tat!"

I live in Denver, and have done lots of backpacking and camping in the Rockies, though not so much in recent years.

I know they are everywhere now, but cougars -- mountain lions -- are plentiful out here.

Many of the Forest Service and park trail heads have signs cautioning about mountain lions and other critters, but one of the things the signs point out is that the big cats like to observe you from "rocky outcroppings", which if you've traveled in the Rockies, pretty much is all that surrounds you every moment, day and night.

You could spend most of your trek making your neck sore keeping a wary eye on the "rocky outcroppings".

In 36 years out here, I've never spotted one (maybe once, a flick of tan muscled movement on a "rocky outcropping") but I'm sure they've seen me, hunkered down, licking their chops, the hind quarters doing that cat thing as they position their back feet for the spring.

Tracks once or twice.

The only period I've really thought about the possibilities in any detail was when my son was a little boy/toddler, and we'd do day hikes along the front range, and he'd take off up the trail and round a bend, momentarily out of sight for a moment, though I could halt him in his tracks with the word "Lion", which was his favorite animal at the time, but he was afraid all the same.

When he was really little, and I'd carry him in a pack on my back, I thought occasionally about a lion jumping me from behind, but what the heck, you can only worry so much.

Seen black bear of course and a bobcat once. The closest I've come to spotting a mountain lion was reading about one in the news up a tree in a yard a neighborhood over in the Denver suburb I used to live in.

Speaking of velociraptors, mountain lions will hunt their prey in twos on occasion, tracking you on either side of the trail, like in the Jurassic Park movies.

You might see one. And while you do, as you're slowly backing up, (don't run away like a mouse, stand your ground, make yourself look large -- I suppose with my son on my back, I would look like a two-headed monster -- give way slowly and hope the act of crapping in your pants grosses them out) #2 is behind you, flexing its claws it's mouth open and tongue extended like a red carpet a la Sylvester as Tweety Pie slowly backs into his gullet, strikes a match to see better, and declares "I tought I taw a puddy tat!"

Sorry, if I name no examples from the opposite side of the spectrum.

His Dark Materials? There was a kerfuffle with that for awhile. I liked the golden compass, which I thought had some really interesting ideas and a novel universe, but I thought the story of the later two books was kind of incoherent.

I'm not particularly religious nor was I offended by them, but I was puzzled by how much critical acclaim they received. I attributed part of it (perhaps unfairly) to a 'Hah! Take that, catholic church!' kind of vibe, based largely on conversations with the friends who recommended them to me. It's also possible, or likely, I just have different tastes than most critics.

That was, sadly, the last fiction series I've read. Always meant to get back to reading fiction, never seem to find the time.

Sorry about the two identical posts.

The first one is what is, but I included the second one for its political subtext, apparent to no one, except ...

The third iteration was just me quoting myself.

Slart, sounds like your Dad would have been 18-19 when he graduated.

I was 14 my last summer there, which is my way of declaring "Yikes, your Dad is more than a full decade older than me, I hope."

Yes, I recall the plebe thing, or variations, from my last year at the Naval Academy. The previous two summers I was in what they call the Woodcraft camp for the younger kids.

An upperclassmen officer in full dress uniform with saber apparatus clinking, head canted to the side, his truculent flushed face in my face during Sunday morning GI inspections as he held up one slightly soiled white gloved finger after running it along the upper rail of the high wainscoting in my quarters or maybe along the bed springs under the mattress.

We'd have full dress parades Sundays and pass in review, we Naval cadets (out in the middle of midwestern bean fields, but the lake was huge) and they had a Horse/Calvary unit/school too.

The winter preppies wore more traditional Army blues and greys. I always felt a little silly wearing a Navy uniform, white hat and all, in the middle of Indiana, like some kind of landlocked Ensign Pulver.

We carried heavy inoperable mock rifles and I could do a snappy drill with one at one time.

LEFT SHOULDER .. LAIL!!!

I haven't thought about that in decades.

On those humid, absolutely still midwestern summer parade days cadets would keel over quite often from heat stroke (the secret is to flex the knees while standing for long periods at parade rest). You could hear them go down behind you.

But my favorite was when the horsemen would pass out and fall right off the horse and thump to the ground with a groan, their sabres clanking.

I remember thinking it would be a spectacle if one of the horses keeled over too.

Donald Jonhson: "...but if they were merely wanting good SF stories that weren't explicitly leftish, I'd be on their side."

The reason that people are p*ssed is that this group is trying to recover what they've lost in the market place.

Heck, Baen Books alone produces enough mil-SciFi to sweep the Hugos, if that was what the voters wanted.

I'm Christian and liked the first of the Pullman trilogy, but the other two were just preachy.

I liked That Hideous Strength though the anti-feminism was ludicrous even making allowances for it being written in 1945. That aside, I didn't find the bad guys any more implausible than the real life bad guys alive at the time.
But Tolkien is much better at fantasy.

My favorite Lewis fantasy and the first that I read (it was part of a Time/life series of books my father had) was "Till We Have Faces"' which is a re telling of the Cupid and Psyche myth taking place in some little barbarian kingdom north of Greece a few hundred years BC. It's Lewis, so it is Chrisitian theology in disguise, but it is told in a realistic vein for a fantasy novel. And it is arguably feminist, but by this time he was married, so his wife apparently had some influence on him for the better.

I loved the demonic waiting room in the Perlandra series. Don't recall much besides that from it.

Did you mean the holding cell in That Hideous Strength? I can't remember a demonic waiting room in Perelandra. But I haven't read that one in ages.

On "TillWe Have Faces", Lewis had this theory that pagan mythologies were used by God to introduce certain themes into their cultures and prepare them for Christianity. Or something like that. It's certainly a different attitude from the usual fundie one, but he loved fantasy and mythology long before his conversion, so he is talking about his own life. ,

"Mark enters this room alone, & when he looks around the room seems very normal. On closer inspection, there are small inconsistencies such as the symmetry of doorways being slightly off. Mark looks around the room & realizes that this room was built to remove human subjectivity because one is compelled to inspect every element of the room."

There are actually two groups of Puppies. I suspect Brad Torgersen (one of the core Sad Puppies) is sincere about wanting SF to be non-political; he just has peculiar ideas about what that constitutes, and an idea (mistaken, I think) that SF taking on social/political themes is some kind of novelty, rather than a thing that's been part of the genre since its beginning. (I mean, much of this is just the Battle of the New Wave over again, and that started fifty years ago. And that has its roots in disputes going much further back.)

Most of the ballot, though, is actually Vox Day's "Rabid Puppies" slate. The notion that Vox Day, a man who wrote a whole rant full of unconcealed racist invective about how N. K. Jemisin is a civilization-wrecking savage, ever wants anything at all to be non-political is laughable on its face.

I wonder, whether that was his own idea* since I believe that something like this is used in real life too (add an out-of-sync ticking clock for effect plus very subtle changes in lighting). A practical application of uncanny valley to disorient people.

*this is not meant as an accusation of 'theft'. It would just be interesting to know, whether he came up with it independently or cleverly adapted it for his purposes.

Obviously there's nothing at all novel about SF taking on social/political themes. Heck, I enjoyed Ethan of Athos, and could give examples going back a LOT further than that.

But the trend towards only allowing one side's take on social/political themes to get Hugos was getting noticable even when I was still actively involved in fandom, a couple decades back.

Oh, it appears to me that the relative success of Rabid compared to Sad puppies, was due to a fair number of the Sad Puppies slate, which really was diverse, being intimidated into declining the nominations. While the Rabid Pupplies slate, not being so diverse, weren't so easily intimidated by the left.

it's about ethics in genre award distribution!

Just cut the baby in half, cleek.

Brett:

Oh, it appears to me that the relative success of Rabid compared to Sad puppies, was due to a fair number of the Sad Puppies slate, which really was diverse, being intimidated into declining the nominations.

Cite, please. Earlier, you said:

This huge dustup is because the left is mad that they're not winning by default anymore.

I'm going to assume that you said this seriously. In that case, you appear to be actively delusional.

"This whole dustup" is because a small group gamed the Hugo nominations system so that the choices of at least 80% of the nominators don't appear on the ballot at all.

Furthermore, judging by what the Puppies nominated last year, their chosen works cannot be assumed to be minimally technically competent.

Because your basic analysis of the situation is delusional, I'm not going to believe any of your statements about anything except your own feelings/beliefs/observations. I will credit those because I don't think you're trolling, I think you're saying what you actually believe to be the case.

"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."

I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume he's never read stories about what happens to lesbians in places like Uganda, which will actively open extradition proceedings against its own citizens if they are even suspected to have left the country to "engage in homosexual activity." The common descriptor of what happens to a lesbian when caught in a country like this is 'corrective rape,' a word combination that, like 'honor killing,' should be too vile, barbaric and obscene for anyone to conceive into existence in any language.

Maybe he meant he just never heard of a hate crime involving ax handles and the like used to beat a lesbian to death. Well, that's because implements such as those, toilet brushes, and other phallus-like objects used in a 'corrective rape' are not wielded to bludgeon but are instead used to penetrate the genital area violently and repeatedly until the woman has "learned her lesson". This usually means "died" because how else would you expect a lesbian to stop being gay, amirite?

I...should probably stop typing before I start saying things I'd be better off not preserving on the internet for the rest of forever.

Areala, that is a good observation because when I first read what Wright had written, I didn't think to really question the deeply rooted binary division of gender that underlies it, and your comment made me remember the movie Boys Don't Cry and the fact that it was based on a true story.

If you know any gay people at all, of either gender, whether in this country or elsewhere, you are probably one or, at most, two degrees of separation from somebody who has been assaulted for the crime of being gay.

I am not gay, but if you want to include me as a point of contact, you are precisely two degrees of separation from a generous handful of people who have been assaulted for being gay. In this country, and not way back in the past.

I don't really follow science fiction, I have no idea who the people are that are being discussed in this thread, but John C Wright sounds like a guy who needs to cultivate a little self-awareness.

The man sounds like a piece of work.

Not my circus, not my monkeys, as they say. Just an observation from the peanut gallery.

Not my circus, not my monkeys, as they say.

Just in case you want the original Polish for that, it's

Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy

BTW, the obligatory ObWings Slate:

http://www.amazon.com/Obsidian-Wings-Rune-Alexander-Book-ebook/dp/B00K9V6IF6

My first question is always "Does it have vampires?". Screw them zombies.

Assume Peson#1 posts something offensive, and thinks better of it, and edits it so as not to offend.

Then Person#2 else does a screen capture, and reposts the offensive material.

Who is trying harder to hurt people? Person #1? Or Person #2?

That depends. Does the person acknowledge they posted it or do they pretend they didn't? Like it or not, there is a cultural norm on the internet that you have to own what you say.

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