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Tag: science fiction

Personally I didn’t like being twelve all that much

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Over the weekend I made an attempt at all the Hugo nominees for short story. I actually finished two of them. They still weren’t exactly Hugo material, in my opinion, but at least they succeeded at being stories.

In one of the many epic discussion threads over at the File 770 Hugo-related posts (which all have marvelous puppy-themed names like “That Hell-Hound Train” or “Soylent Green is Puppies”) a few people asserted that the Sads-n-Rabids didn’t really seem to like their own fiction slate all that much. They argued for the correctness of their tactics, the strength of their personal honor, and the venality of their critics — but they didn’t try to justify the stories themselves.

This prompted one Sad defender to jump in and claim, with apparent sincerity, that he genuinely liked the story “Turncoat.” He vigorously defended it against a dozen people telling him it was crap, anyway.

This made me curious. Was there something good in there that I had missed? Or something that, if not good, was at least illuminating? Something that would tell me what exactly it is that Sad & Rabid types think is “wrong” with the fiction the rest of us like?

So, instead of giving it a slush pile read (tossed aside at first hint of boredom or irritation) I decided to give it a crit group reading — carefully, making notes along the way, with an eye toward how it might be improved, a presumption of good will, and en effort to suppress my native snark.

My notes (based on text found here: https://steverzasa.wordpress.com/turncoat/ ) follow:

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Ain’t nobody’s business if you don’t

I know, I know, you’re probably getting bored with Hugo-related content by now. There has indeed been a lot of it, with blog posts back and forth, epic comment threads, and the occasional Sad mastermind or defender popping in to explain himself. But there are a couple of sentiments that have been cropping up, which I wanted to address, because I think they are a sneaky way of attempting to tell people how to vote this year. And that pertains to Happy Kittens. The first notion goes something like this: “no matter what, it’s YOUR JOB to read everything on…

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Happy, happy kittens

This post is about the so-called Sad and/or Rabid Puppies, and if you need background on exactly what that is, please refer to this IO9 article. In my own post, whenever I attribute motive or reasoning to Brad Torgersen, Author of Sadness, it is based on this very thorough analysis of Torgerson’s own essays on the topic, from a writer who declined to be included on the Sad slate. (Thanks to Janna Silverstein for the link.) It’s a happy kitten. I thought you’d like it.  The short answer is that Torgersen appears to be under the impression that the Hugos used…

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When a thing is not a thing

Over at Amazing Stories, Paul Cook decided to poke the anthill with a post titled When Science Fiction is Not Science Fiction. He says a number of rather silly things about science fiction that isn’t really science fiction, but the silliest is this bit right here: Another writer well-praised (from every corner) is Lois McMaster Bujold. Her great work is the Miles Vorkosigan series. These are supposed to be military science fiction stories, but they are really at their core Romance novels. At first, they were military science fiction novels of a higher order than most. But the romance elements…

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I didn’t MAKE him for YOU!

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In The Rocky Horror Picture Show (which I saw an unconscionable number of times in my adolescence) when Frank N. Furter unveils Rocky, his artificially created superhunk, Janet says, “I don’t like a man with too many muscles.” Frank snarls back, “I didn’t MAKE him for YOU!

That little exchange always goes through my head when certain conversations come up. For example, if you follow any SF writers online, you are probably aware that there is a very big sexism controversy going on right now over the content of the SFWA bulletin. It goes like this: Step 1, put a cheesy bikini-chainmail babe on the cover. Step 2, write a condescending article about “lady” editors and writers in the field. Step 3, when people express objections to these two things, let Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg make epic fools of themselves trying to defend sexism by equating the act of expressing a contrary opinion to censorship.

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My life in a long ramble

(Started at 5:30 this morning.) Why am I up? I could be hungry. If I go to bed hungry I can’t sleep through the night. But I don’t always realize at first that I am hungry, it takes a while for me to be awake enough to recognize that feeling. It could be anxiety/excitement (which often feel remarkably similar). Today at 7:40 pm I get on a train going south to Seattle. Then tomorrow I go and make sure that I’m not dying of plague, so that I can start my new job as a web developer for Seattle Children’s…

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