Well Thanks For The Apology Marvel. Now Shove Off!

So Marvel ‘apologized’ in the typical ‘if you’re offended, we didn’t mean it, but sorry’ kinda way that cowards apologize in for things they laugh at behind your back. The “Oh you caught us! We’re sorry!” Bogus apology, for this little stunt: http://www.publiusforum.com/2010/02/08/marvel-comics-captain-america-says-tea-parties-are-dangerous-and-racist/

Yeah, glad to see Marvel, which has always been hackney leftist, going full bore Obama surrogates to the masses. Right down to using the slur that if I used would be considered homophobe, but when used by ‘tolerant’ leftists to describe the Tea Party is just a play on words. No really. No standards but double standards. I don’t care if Captain America is left of center. I mean, he’s a child of the New Deal, who probably really thinks FDR’s policies got the country out of the Depression, when really it was us being neutral for a few years longer, so we could bring industry up to speed fighting World War II. Popular history does that to people. What I care about is the blatant disrespect for long-time readers it displays. Just like G.R.R Martin can insult his readers with supposed impunity for daring to suggest that maybe Jim Butcher deserves a Hugo too. Or that maybe everyone should be able to  either 1) show a photo ID or, 2) Have a person who can actually vouch that a voter is alive and from that district present when they perform one of the most solemn duties in a republic.

I’m tired of being insulted by people who are asking for my time, money, and attention. I’m tired of them thinking the Law of Supply and Demand doesn’t apply to them. And I’m tired of being lied to with their apologies, when we know full well they’ll do the same thing again.

This is why my Song of Ice & Fire series is in a “Go to Used Book Store” pile. And this is why I’m now done with Marvel too. When they can demonstrate they’re interested in entertaining rather than preaching to low information voters, I *might* reconsider my non-interest. But until then, they can go take a flying leap into their second bankruptcy, for all I care.

A good article on Joss Whedon’s public flogging

from the ever-astute John C. Wright. http://www.scifiwright.com/2015/05/come-to-the-dark-side-joss-we-have-cookies/#more-14042

I will rebut one issue in the comments. People like giving Joss Whedon credit for writing Mal Reynolds, a shining light of libertarian sci-fi. This is not actually true. The primary writer was Tim Minear, and Joss gets a lot of credit for Tim’s sympathies, which permeate the show. http://www.popmatters.com/feature/138304-still-flying-an-interview-with-tim-minear-part-i/

Joss’ personal sympathies were with the Alliance, or would have been, if not for the drama being with the characters. So crediting a self-avowed New Deal Democrat for that is somewhat less than accurate.

I, being a Brownshirt, identify with the underdogs. Besides, Nathan Fillion is awesome.

And Let The Popcorn Eating Commence.

The Hugo Nominees came out, and after months of being told the Sad Puppies were a minority that didn’t matter. That last year proved the award belong to the CHORFs and TrueFen, the truth comes out.


Tor is in an uproar, if you ever needed proof they long ago left the majority of their genre’s fans behind, you see it here from Moshe Feder of the aforementioned publisher’s FB feed:

It’s most unfortunate that right-wing fans with a warped, paranoid vision of how the Hugo Awards have successfully functioned for decades, confabulated scenarios in which they imagined their favorite works had been kept off the ballot, or from winning, by non-existent left-wing conspirators. Sadly, they chose to respond with an _actual_ conspiracy of their own, and have, as a result, succeeded in demeaning and devaluing the awards. The fact that their conspiracy was open rather than secret makes it no less nefarious. I don’t know whether to shake my head or my fist.
The Hugo Awards are not supposed to be political elections, but popular judgments of absolute quality. To bring organized campaigning into the awards’ process is to render them all but meaningless. I feel sorry for those authors whose stories deserved recognition but whose nominations have now been sullied by association with the conspiracy.
I have to give this some thought, but I may have to conclude that an ethical fan with traditional fannish values has no choice but to only consider nominees _not_ backed by the slates and, if not satisfied that those deserve to win, to then vote No Award in as many categories as necessary. No Award is our last bastion against corruption. Unfortunately, to vote for any of the slate-backed nominees, no matter how worthy in the abstract, would be to implicitly endorse the cynical and unfannish way they got on the ballot.

Folks, we’ve danced this dance last year. Even Scalzi admitted that the only thing SP did different from before was make their bloc voting transparent. When feminists swept the Nebulas and pranced around Twitter chanting they would never read a white, male, heterosexual author, no one at Tor called them out for their matriarchal dance. And those of us who called that just as sexist as if I said I’d never read a lesbian female author–which would be untrue, as I have–were called backwards right-wingers and not-true fans.

What’s more, the SP slate deliberately culled itself to not overemphasize it’s own triumph. If you needed proof Larry Correia is class, here it is: http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/04/04/sad-puppies-update-the-nominees-announced-and-why-i-refused-my-nomination/. Now I can hope without reservation that Jim Butcher–criminally overlooked for the Hugos for over a decade–come on, not ONE nomination? Did you not read Dead Beat or Changes?–will get an award he justly deserves. And while Butcher *may* have snuck a couple of political statements into his later Dresden novels, none of them are overt table pounding. And the one that annoyed the Left the most was said by a Faye the reader isn’t supposed to empathize with ANYWAY, as Dresden says the exact opposite–tolerant–statement. But that isn’t good enough. Not to mention, it wasn’t in Skin Game anyway, which is nothing if not a back-to-Dead Beat recapitulation of everything that made the Files DresdenCrack to begin with.

So I’m not sorry that Sad Puppies crashed the party. We were told for years we didn’t matter, and wouldn’t change the award.

We did. We have. And if you think it’s for the worse, then ask yourself what does it mean to be ‘inclusive’? Or is only ‘Inclusive of the people we like’? The Evil League of Evil is here to stay, and I proudly wear my Overlord-in-Waiting tag.

In Which The Evil League of Evil

Once Again Demonstrates it Knows More About Sci-Fi than The Grauniad. Well-played, Mr. Knighton.


Folks, just because you decided to sit down and read the synopses of a dozen movies, does NOT make you the expert on said movies. I’m not as big a fan of some Dystopian Fiction as our Fisker is. I think Divergent is rather poorly done (with flat-out terrible science in the succeeding installments). And I would say that Mockingjay is a desperate attempt to retrieve a Leftist vision from what was (intentionally or not) an anti-Big Government story. With the result that honestly, the third book falls flat, IMHO. It also doesn’t help that Katniss goes from central player to ‘hardly a participant.’ It may be more realistic, but it’s not interesting reading to have everything go on off-stage.

But I do love Blade Runner and would play Shadowrun in about as much time as it would take to grab my books and dice. So I can’t say I hate it, either. Indeed, a number of my stories are post-apocalyptic. Though one is already in the rebirth of civilization. Another is…well, the Guardian would hate it: It’s Weird Western, so it’s post-nuclear/magical apocalyptic Dystopian AND lone gunslinger. But yeah, it has action. 😉 And my Urban Fantasy isn’t post-apoc yet. But if I ever write it far enough, I’ll get there, Kate Daniels style.

The bottom line as to why Dystopias are fun to write is, as Knighton says, it makes the commonplace interesting to write about. “Just another day in the office” is boring as probing for earwax. “Everyday is a struggle for survival” is inherently more interesting. That’s also why The Walking Dead despite its characters being Too Dumb To Live, is better television than 95% of the dross on the little screen. We’re convinced anything can happen. Anything can go wrong. It’s the NASCAR principle brought to scripted TV “Come for the car-crashes, stay for the concessions.”

An Exceptional Article On Comic Fiction

One that can be expanded to fiction in general: http://www.reaxxion.com/6512/erik-larsen-speaks-on-online-outrage-women-in-comics-and-sexist-costume-designs

One of the reasons I truly despise the discussions of ‘outfits’ in fiction is that they forget that speculative fiction is meant to be idealized. “Realism” is, quite frankly, what most of our audience is trying to get AWAY from. Now, in a movie setting, I understand more of it. Because they are real people having to look like they can do real things. The fantastic elements also end up toned down as a result. But even then, I’ve said before: It made sense in the Batman movies. Because he’s clearly a ‘normal’ person going against ‘normal’ enemies. His superpower is being all-prepared with Bruce Wayne’s almost infinite resources. This did not carry over well to Man of Steel, as Superman is quite clearly other than human.

But this has, in some sense, what has always been the problem with Superman in all his incarnations. The greatest threat Superman ever faces is himself. His rogues’ gallery is weak. And the only way to threaten him is to find unobtainium. I also laugh at the ‘realistic’ Wonder Woman suit. As Larsen’s counter makes clear, her attire clearly recalls her origin story. And it is not her outfit that makes her look ‘weak.’ I laugh at how the movie costume is running away from her iconic look as fast as it can, and the critics STILL body shame her.

With a certain segment of the population, there will *always* be body shaming, unless no one beautiful is seen in public. I would never Suggest Just Who that might be, however.

The Social Justice Warrior Racist Reading Challenge, A Fisking.

You know what, I don’t even doubt that people like K Tempest Bradford are allowed to be fans. Even though by her definition, I’m everything that’s wrong with sci-fi. Mind you, she grew up with infinitely more money, went to an elite university, and was able to mooch off rich friends when she discovered her degree program was pointless. While I served in the Navy 8 years to finance my own Masters degree, did 2 years of my life LITERALLY underwater in service to this ‘individual’s’ right to slag me off. And still work paycheck-to-paycheck with my wife. Like my parents did before me. And their parents.

Which one of us was ‘privileged’? Oh wait, me. Because ‘patriarchy.’ What. A. Joke. Why is it always people with every benefit in life telling the majority of working class families that THEY need to check their privilege. Sanctimonious doublespeak.

Accepting the Gauntlet: A FANifesto

Let me share my story, as Brad Torgersen enjoined us here: https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/my-fanifesto/

I am a fan of Speculative Fiction.

I have provided hotel security for Conventions a couple of times. But I’ve never been able to attend one otherwise. And I actually forgot about the Sci-Fi convention I provided security for until now. Given that I’d provided it for a hundred other functions in my time there. They were fun. But that was most of a decade ago.

I’ve shared for-fun geek tests with people. I don’t think I’ve ever lost one of them. 😉 I don’t think of them as defining my fandom against their own. After all, if we want to engage in such a contest, we’re already pretty tied into that franchise.

I grew up on the DA-DA-DadaDA-DA! of the Star Trek Original Series combat music. Watching Kirk call for Scottie to beam him out of the dying Constitution before the Doomsday Machine killed him. Then I watched him and Khan trade barbs as Ricardo made Shatner out as his Moby Dick–that might have been symbolic, at the time. 😉 When Picard took the chair, I endured Wesley and the ever-growing array of time travel episodes because of moments like this:

I’ve read through three copies of the Lord of the Rings. For almost twenty years, it was an annual rite to read through it. I first entered Tolkien’s world at 12. I don’t think I’ve left it yet. I ground my teeth when the hobbits were dragged to Osgiliath and Faromir turned into Baromir-light. But that still hasn’t kept me from wanting to go back.

I watched every episode of Battlestar Galactica AND Battlestar Galactica 1980…try finding THAT one anymore. 😉

I still have 1st Edition AD&D, along with Baldur’s Gate, Victoriana, and Shadowrun. Anyone want a game?

I’m not afraid of a female lead, with Sydney Bristow tracking down Rimbaldi’s NostraVinci artifacts. Or when Delenn rode the White Star past Babylon 5 with perhaps the most awesome Big Damn Heroine moment of all time: http://youtu.be/UYloWBP79ro

And while we’re on the subject of Big Damn Heroes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYeqDD96gLg The best dialog ever to come out of Nathan Filion’s mouth. And he’ll tell you that himself.

And Kate Daniels carving her way to Roland is every bit as amazing as Harry Dresden riding a T-Rex to me. Or Honor Harrington turning the Grav-Lance on the Peeps. Or Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser in the dark, festering streets of Lankhmar.

Color of the hero doesn’t matter. Quick Ben’s shaved knuckles are just as impressive as Jake Sullivan spiking gravity. Race doesn’t matter, because as G’Kar says, “We are one.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4KVcV_rMwY

You don’t have to be Right or Left. Conservative, Liberal, or Libertarian. You only have to believe you want to make a future better than what we inherited. That you believe in a story. That you believe in heroes that will walk through Hell to make the world they believe in reality. And that they inspire you to reach for that world yourself. And if you believe that telling others you know what a fan is better than someone else, well all I can say is quote Ambassador Mollari: “Arrogance and stupidity, all in one package.”

That’s what being a fan is. To be inspired to believe in a better world. And the desire to make it so. And sometimes, that means a hero is someone who was a villain…like Mollari himself: http://youtu.be/wR7n4Gg-_ac

So Say We All.

The Author Declaration of Rights

Signed and solemnly affirmed this 19th of February, Year of Our Lord 2015, by SWG, writing as Tarien Cole.

Mad Genius Club

The always interesting Pat Richardson over at Otherwhere Gazette has it nailed:

We hold these truths to be self-evident: That people *like* to read, and hear and watch Stories.

That Story should come before Message, but message is okay if that floats your boat.

That Books which put Message before Story are fine too, even if boring and tedious and pedantic.  .

That for Freedom of Speech (and Written Word) to be free, that Freedom must be sacrosanct, nothing is off limits, nothing is too offensive

That Freedom of Speech does not mean freedom not to be Offended, nor to impose your Offense on behalf of others.

That Freedom of Speech comes with consequences and others may Consequence your nose if you are too offensive.

That Writers must be free to write what they please and that no one has the right to tell them they may not…

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Interview with Jean Rabe

You know, the problem with being perpetually offended, is that sometimes you end up turning off the very sort of people you should be using as example. Like say, Jean Rabe.

Mad Genius Club

Edward Stasheff, the son of Fantasy Master Christopher Stasheff, and a writer in his own right, contacted me not too long ago and asked if the Mad Genius Club would be interested in hosting an interview with Jean Rabe. I almost broke my fingers answering back yes. I’ll tell you how happy I was, I was replying to an email on my phone. I read emails on my phone, but I hate typing on it, so I usually wait to be back in this office. Not this time. I’d like to heartily thank Ed, and warmly welcome the redoubtable Jean Rabe to the Mad Genius Club. Thank you both! 

Jean Rabe (pronounced RAY-BEE) is a prolific science fiction and fantasy author of thirty-one novels and more than seventy short stories, and is particularly well known for her contributions to the Dragonlance series.  On top of all that, she’s also…

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On the Superversive: A Science Fiction Credo

Well said. And I agree. A story can dark without being pointlessly hopeless. I can even deal with the good guys losing in the end. If it accomplishes a legitimate narrative purpose and doesn’t demean everything they’ve done.

The Badger Contemplates....

(Man, this blog is turning into an odd mishmash of theology and SF.)

(Also, spoilers ahead for Robotech/Macross and Firefly/Serenity.)

Edit: Jagi has informed me that Superversive and the Human Wave movement were independently developed. They’re still very similar 😉

The illustrious L. Jagi Lamplighter has a post today discussing the goals of the Superversive literary movement. Superversive is a bit of a refinement, as I understand it, of Sarah Hoyt’s Human Wave science fiction movement, which calls for stories that are fun rather than emotionally punishing for the sake of being emotionally punishing.

It’s not going to come as a surprise to anyone that knows me that I like my stories dark. I like my stories to be nailbiters, heroes fighting against all odds. I like my stories rough, and I want my heroes to suffer a bit. I’m not opposed to killing a beloved…

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