Wednesday, 8 April 2015


The power of 80's Mad Max lay in nuclear fears, but the modern one's may lay in it as metaphor for social media.

Think about it: the trolls gangs from nowhere, the celebrities like desert demagogues, your choice whether to join an attack and gain social cachet (the new oil) or keep distant and remain human, however noble the cause and wrong the victim. It's all there...

I expected a post-nuclear apocalypse watching MMII as a kid. Instead we got Berners-Lee's post apocalypse, a touchscreen wasteland.

Sad Puppies Panel. Eastercon 2015

On the Sunday of Eastercon, 2015, a panel was hastily convened to discuss the results of the Hugo Awards nominations. The nominations had been swept by The Sad Puppies/ Rabid Puppies slates. 

The Sad Puppies are, dependent on viewpoint, an attempt to shine light on overlooked authors and negate a perceived left wing 'preachy' bias within the Hugos, or a right wing assault on an honoured institution (US culture war toxicity, if you will, overspilling into the global conversation). The Rabid Puppies--and it pays to perceive at least some difference here--make few bones about being extreme right wing.

The panel consisted of Charlie Stross, Kari Sperring, Gaie Sebold and Vince Docherty. All members (indeed, the entirety of the large audience it transpired) were puppy-cynical at best. An attempt to find a pro-puppy panelist at such short notice and within a British convention would, in truth, be like looking for a woman on a PUA forum.

Spool Pidgin was on the second row (let's face it we're a second row kinda SF blog. We've come to terms with that long ago) taking names and firing tweets. And here they be. Sadly, due to incompetence, I haven't figured out how to swap tweet results the right way around so, dearest reader, I ask you to read from the bottom up. 

'Sross disagrees' refers to him disagreeing with calls for slates etc to be banned. People might acusse others of secretly doing so in order to get them disqualified. 

Personally, what I took from the room (aside from a program pamphlet some one had left on the chair next to me) was an atmosphere of bemused annoyance at the whole thing. Bear in mind this was no Wiscon-esque affair:  the majority were fairly moderate in outlook, I suspect. Their animus seemed rooted in a venerable institution (and a great way of discovering great SF books) being overtaken by internet demagogues for their own preening self-interest and the right wing side of a culture war mainly being raged somewhere over the Atlantic.

Vox Day, Rabid Puppies leader, outshone everything. Simply everything. And when you have a man who believes marital rape doesn't exist and that many of our friends should be 'repatriated' overseas on account of their genetic inheritance it's not difficult to see why.

What IS difficult to see is why Larry Correia and Brad Torgesson, leaders of the Sad Puppies slate, ever hoped, and still hope, to get SF's middle on board with them. I'm left wing, but I can see how an awareness campaign for right wing authors in SFF might in theory be healthy (Few, if any, righty novels/stories have procured themselves a rocket in the last few decades). But in the wake of a spoilt, intolerant, attention-fixated moral weakling such a prospect seems impossible now. May as well have called the whole thing the 'Vox Day Show'.

The panellists were perceptive, calm and witty. A rare thing in all this fiasco. If you can find video footage of the event, or a better write-up than mine, check it out.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

State Of The Novel: Current Statistics

Current word count: 140, 233
(Comparison sizes: Dune 183,000, Hobbit: 95,300)

Projected final size: 160,000

Time taken thus far: 10 months.

Estimated coffee use thus far: 848 cups. Milk, no sugar.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Bang Bang

My mum is at my six year old nephew's birthday party and it's all boys running around the house and garden pretending to shoot one another. Mum's in the kitchen chatting to parents when she spots the lone girl guest sat on a chair all alone. The girls wearing this big flowery dress and has a flower in her hair.

Mum, feeling sorry for this poor lonely girl, walks up and says:

"Hello, what's your name then?" Or some such.

The flower-haired girl looks up, produces a plastic pistol, points at mum and says:

"Surrender or die."

Monday, 16 March 2015

Self-Pitying Clickbait Machine

This, if you needed it, is a classic example of what a hideous Tory rag the Telegraph is. Blogger K Tempest Bradford suggested--merely suggested--to her readers that they spend a year actively reading SFF by non-white/non-male authors if they fancied a bit of a change. Or not; whatever floats your boat. A diversity in reading challenge. The Torygraph has misrepresented this as some furious crusade to stop you reading books by caucasians with tummy bananas. FOREVER. Absolute arse-twaddle of course.

Now, if Tempest had suggested a Support-General-Franco's-Fascist-Junta-Against-An-Elected-Government Challenge or a Write-A-Cringing-Puff-Piece-On-Mussolini's-Italy Challenge that would actually be cause for us all to get actually annoyed, eh Telegraph? Eh?

Telegraph Columnist Martin Daubney on his way to work this morning