Tuesday, 25 November 2014

If you could instantly give a psychopath a moral conscience would that not in itself be an act of vilest cruelty? Given their past I mean?

Monday, 17 November 2014

The Eldritch Device!!! (And thoughts about my Novel-ly away-time in Somerset)

What is it? Just what is it?!?!

My pal Matt Tope calls it the Eldritch Device. It's been in his family for nearly a century, brooding in various kitchen cupboards. It's just a piece of black metal. And yet...

And yet it sucks the very frost out of frozen food! In less than a couple of hours. Sometimes in under an hour!!!

How? I mean... doesn't that go against the first law of thermodynamics, one of the basic rules underpinning our universe? Or something?

Yes, you may scoff. But how come these devices aren't being made now in huge numbers and paraded on the QVC channel? How come there is only one, squatting darkly in the witch-haunted hills of olde Somerset?

Beats me. In fact I fear I may go mad...

(Later added note: I was half expecting me taking a photo of the E.D would go direly wrong, like, instead of a picture of this object, I'd get a vast panorama of an alien cosmos, or some time-warped image of intelligent sauroids worshipping it sixty-five million years ago. Not so, thankfully.

However... the photo HAS come out weird. For some reason it is upside down: note my sock in the top left corner. I shit you not: no picture I've ever taken on my phone has ever done that! *Shudders*)

Aside from the mind-melting... wrongness... of the Eldritch device, I've had a wonderful three weeks down in Somerset. I've been watching films, drinking bourbon, killing space-yokels in Borderlands II,  meeting new people and catching up with old, fighting World War III (Matt's brilliant homemade board game, that one: keep telling him we should do a kickstarter or some shit) and generally loafing about.

Aaand... hacking away at my novel. No, not as part of that NaNoWriMo thing (though if you have, good luck to you). The opportunity to get away and write merely occurred during the season of NaNo. No correlation.

And a bloody good thing too because no way did I do a thousand words a day. What I did achieve was surmounting a particularly thorny, uphill section of the book: a tightening corkscrew of tension built on character development (which is the heart of plot), paranoia, thematic shadows and some odd but hopefully accessible prose choices.

Basically the sort of stuff where I'd have come a cropper and very likely gone down a wrong alley had I been going at NaNoWriMo speeds. At least for me.

Which makes me wonder:  how many people, many of them first time writers, are screwing the manuscript-pooch because they've bought into the Nano philosophy? It's not meant for every writer and it's not meant for every book and my worry is, to a beginner breaking in, it may seem The Way. How You Do It. The Golden Path of rosy-reeking success. 

Have we lost potential great novels into its slavering, smiley, yes-you-can, Unleash-The-Giant-Within, Deepak Chopraish maw?

I suspect only the Eldritch Device knows the answer, though I pray it never deigns to communicate. About anything. Ever. And I wouldn't want to seem churlish. Though likely I am. So ignore me.

Anyhoo, here's what I can say about the WIP thus far:

*: It's working (and likely actual) title is Feral Space.

*: It's an action adventure, (possibly) romantic comedy, psychedelic space opera (Y'know, like that section you see in Waterstones. I'm forever late to the bandwagon)

*: I'm over the 100k mark by some way.

*: There's an outside chance it's the first part of a two parter (Though I bloody hope not).

*: It's a blast to write and I love all the characters.

*: If I left it on the Eldritch Device I dread to think what might happen...


Fear Of A Funny Fandom: Refuting Requires Hate

It's a cliche standard of sff blogging to begin with the line 'I didn't want to write this'. Yet here I be. The difference however is not that I'm struggling against some inner turmoil so much as I truly can't be arsed. But 'own the narrative' and all that. Bullshit is halfway around the world before truth has had time to google Easyjet etc.

Roll back a couple of years, dear fandom regular, and no doubt you'll recall the Troll Requires Hate riding high, abusing whomever she liked and ably shielded by gullible dupes who actually believed she stood for social justice. I dunno... Maybe they should have got out more.

I took the piss out of her. Several times and in the open where everyone could see. And under my own name with photos of me and everything (you can check it all out on the column down the left). It got a few laughs and, hopefully, denied a petty sadist (and recent events, oh boy, bear me out on that description) a little bit of her power.

It's 2014 now and things have changed. Big style. Require's Hate's victims have stepped forward and spoke to one another (others do daily; it's an encouraging thing to see). There are many verifiable stories of threats and protracted abuse (she spent six months of last year for instance--under the name Winterfox--hectoring a rape victim). She would be an open ear to 'friends' and then blackmail them with their own words, so as to coerce them to her bidding (We still don't know the full extent  of who's been compromised. People are still arguing in RH's defence). The full gamut of her brainwrongs can be found here:


(EXTRA: Here's a collection of posts on the subject, just to give you an idea of the general opprobrium RH has collected: 
This might not be all so bad for our death'n'rape threat-happy hero if she hadn't recently been trying to start a writing career under a new name: Benjanun Sriduangkaew. Sriduangkaew  is a very different persona: sort of sparkly and cutesy. The world's friend. It is, of course, an act. 

One that's gone (in the words of my people) completely tits up. She's been 'caught out there'. 

And I am now 'obsessive' and a 'stalker'. Projection much?

About a month ago, after her identity was revealed, she issued an apology. Two actually: one as RH, the other as BS.

Yesterday, just after the report I link to above came out, she added a paragraph to the BS apology in which she recounted the horrific 3 year ordeal of being stalked by me. An experience so total in its existential terror she sort of, well... Forgot to mention it at all. Ever. Not until the day of the report, oddly. Here it is: 


(It's interesting to note she put it on the Sriduangkaew blog and not the RH. The victimhood is a better contract there I guess...)

If you'd have asked me a week back how I'd take to being accused of stalking I imagine I'd have said with shock and anger. Now, I'm actually surprised at how unfazed I am. Context is everything of course:  you'd have to be a lobotomised vole to believe the woman-abusing, minority-hounding, extorting, psychologically vampiric person who claims to be a champion of the underdog with one side of her face and calls transwomen 'butt ugly' with another. And I'm certain, reader, you are not that vole. I'm certain most of fandom has clocked this clear sociopath by now. So I'm not worried.

But I am fascinated.

Why has she pulled me up as a stalker now and not a couple of weeks ago when she might have been believed? 

Frankly? Because I'm a satirist (there: you've made me bloody say it. I feel a right pillock now). Or an occasional satirist, of a postmodernist, actively-involve-the-subject-matter-in-the-gag sort. Think of a third rate Chris Morris with a ticket to Eastercon and you've got the basic idea.

She has, I think, pulled this one out now because she's nothing to lose. RH is at that 'foam in a bunker and send old men and boys to fight with guns from 1894' stage of proceedings. She's hoping slapping a twirly villain moustache on my lip will be some ambulance at the bottom of a cliff. One largely of her own making.

(Christ that was a lotta metaphors, huh?)

RH is clearly very intelligent and I think she dimly suspected publicly accusing me of any nastiness might backfire. No one has ever come out looking good attacking satire, whatever its quality (and I'm very marmite). 

I enjoy eroding the power bases of bullies, have done since the classroom. Sue me (actually don't, because it means ill have to step away from this novel I'm doing to write a snide blog post). 

Sure I've done a few 'obsessive' posts about Requires Hate. I've done twice as many 'obsessive' posts about the racist rape apologist Vox Day. A few of both have been ill-considered misfires (at worst), a few spot on (I consider the comedy sketch about RH pretty good: it's not so much about her as angry bloggers generally. People who know nothing about her have told me they find it a pleasing piece of whimsy, as was the intention). Whatever their quality I certainly won't disappear them from the web as RH has been doing with her more violent pieces these last ten years (ten years!).

Furthermore, in the light of all the victims of RH who have bravely (far braver than me) stood up to bear witness, I'm also humbly proud (Yes, that is a contradiction in terms. My blog, my rules). If one of my skits lightened the load of her multitude of victims--even by one atom--then I have done a good job.

Requires Hate/ Sriduangkaew / Winterfox/ whatever you're called: I'm certain you are reading this and I'd like to  offer a suggestion and a promise: 

First off: stop it. Just stop it. All the bags of walking meat you like to manipulate have figured you out. We always do eventually. I wish you luck as a writer but for that dream to happen you have to give up the mind games (and apologise sincerely this time; no half-measures, no buying time or playing with your community's better nature. Stop mistaking kindness for weakness).

And my promise? Well... You've gone and encouraged me. You're old news now and I don't kick people when they are down (You should try it some time), but there will be others like you and Vox Day: pompous, vindictive, mob-rattling hollow buffoons who deep down are terrified of being laughed at and so turn their terror on innocent people.

I will be there, deep in the heart of fandom, ready to throw a spanner in their two-bit machinations. And I won't be alone.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Artistic Amateur Hour

I'm staying at me mate Matt's crib at the mo and he produced this: a space opera-type picture wot I did nearly a decade ago. It's a bit abstract due to my ineptitude at this kind of thing, but it's meant to be some alien woman lounging about and watching starships emerge through a stargate-thingy in space. 

And good luck to her. She's having a nice holiday like me.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

GamerGate Activists Celebrate My Womanhood

I think Tanzi's bang on with this one:  I suspect there's almost certainly a lot of people like me behind the tag 'NotYourShield'. But that's anonymity for you.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

 "They are deceived who flatter themselves that the ignorant and debased slave has no conception of the magnitude of his wrongs. They are deceived who imagine that he arises from his knees with back lacerated and bleeding, cherishing only a spirit of meekness and forgiveness. A day may come - it will, if his prayer is heard a terrible day of vengeance, when the master in his turn will cry in vain for mercy." 

- Solomon Northup, 1854

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

BREAKING: Internet Freethinker Bewildered By Dual Spoolpidgin Posts, Elects To Misquote For Simplicity

"This is what SF writer James Worrad describes on his blog as the"genre's Caucasian bloat." I find it sad Worrad considers the NBA and hip-hop culture guilty of black bloat, or that there may be Jewish bloat, or female bloat, or gay bloat, or that there is such a thing as ethnic bloat. That was a sad refrain in beer gardens in the 1920s as I recall. A strange view for a man who accuses another author of being "racially insulting." Right after that Worrad then weirdly insults himself by writing "if you say something racist but don't SAY it's racist the PC brigade can't touch you." Of course, for the self-insult to work, I'm assuming Worrad thinks of himself as not being a racist. If he thinks he is a racist, then it's all fine... or something."

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Spoolzine Issue #3: LONCON SPECIAL

Loncon:  Where dreams come true

 Drowned Puppies (Editorialzzz)

Sad Puppies huh? What-the-Christ-on-a-unicycle was that about?

Now I'm in no position to argue the toss either way (though I'm probably biased against any endeavour calling itself Sad Puppies or any other cutsie internet bullshit, even if it were a kickstarter for an ebola cure) but I do believe in diversity in SF.

Unlike swathes of my leftie comrades, however, I don't fall off the diversity-moped three-quarters down the lane:  conservatives should have a say about the future and, if a groundswell of rightwing SF authors and readers believe themselves disenfranchised we should at least hear them out (we can always wipe the foam off our shoulders later), but...

But style, as Flaubert observed, is everything. 

If Mr Correia had actually meant any of what he claimed he'd have approached the more respectable end of the conserva-skiff-irati (David Webber, say, or Gene Wolfe or noted libertarian Yogi Bear), convinced them of his point and then collectively presented their case in a reasonable way. Yes, of course the notion would have been mocked by the left, but it might have swayed a lot of the middle ground. It might have worked, or came close enough to Hugo-snatching that it de-facto worked.

But not our Larry. No dice. Why go to all that moderately hard work when you can figuratively waltz into the party and call everyone a c*nt? Strangely, this tactic put a lot of people's backs up, people who normally wouldn't be arsed to vote but now did. Severely.

The result? An almost entirely progressive award handout and a Worldcon that suddenly felt vital and empowered (Trust me, I was there after the ceremonies:  it was like Woodstock with shitter T-shirts). So the (uh...) 'Sad Puppies' campaign made the Catiline Conspiracy look like Tom Clancy's Rainbow-fucking-Six and conservative SF as a serious voice was damaged. And yet...

And yet it probably raised Six-gun Larry's brand awareness as a WWF wrestler-themed, take-no-prisoners, 'stop-yet-gibber-jabber' sort of author. Which, consciously or not, was probably the whole point.


Congratulations to Kameron Hurley for winning Hugos for stuff. Y'know, whenever I look at this publicity photo I think I've just said some ill-thought comment that I'm about to bitterly regret. Which, now you mention it, I may well just have.

Mind you, with this one I feel like I'm explaining to Damien Walter that the huge drugs shipment me and my thugs were picking up from the docks got blown up by a mysterious masked vigilante. And now I'm concerned by the large automatic pistol on his desk...

And, er, the least said about this one the better...

Which Reminds me... Drowned Puppies II

Of course, the moment Larry Correia truly dropped trouser and plopped in his own cornflakes was when he put bigot and moral weakling Vox Day (Soon to be played by Dolph Lungdren in the motion picture 'Universal Prick') on the (Christ...) 'Sad Puppies' slate.

Or, arguably, that was when Larry shat in Vox's porridge instead (not an image you want to see on Deviant Art any time soon). Why? Because Day is the only individual who came out truly badly in this. Think about it:  remember how scary Lord Gaga was before this years Hugos? He seemed almost a threat didn't he, almost? Because he had the biggest blog-followsip in SF, remember? Six million people had bought his books...

The result? Almost sod-all votes. Out of five nominees he came sixth, below 'no award', quickly earning him the borg-name Six of Five.

Vox argued that winning was never the point and, to be fair, at no point did he ever claim he would. However, the Hugo fiasco has deeply hamstrung Vox's overall strategy. For years he's been pushing the absurd myth of an SF blueshift/pinkshirt divide (I'd say he was more blackshirt meself), a concept very much built on the fascist three-point shimmy, i.e.:

1:  Talk up a lost golden past (old-school SF) 
2: Claim historical humiliation by a secretive cabal (Liberals, feminists) 
3:  Promise a return to said golden age through triumph of will (currently still pending).

This triumph would surely happen, we were told, for the statistics could not lie. Most SFF fans were 'blue shirts' (Here VD was most definitely wrong; I've performed a survey and, by any metric, 100% of SFF fans are too busy whacking off to Oglaf). And, lo, every one of us waited for the novelette award with baited knickers.

And the result came through and Vox Day is happily now irrelevant (Hugo awards have a way of reputation-popping blogarseholes. Requires Hate stopped blogging fairly soon after an independent campaign failed to even get her nominated). Seriously, how is Vox gonna top the last year? And when was the last time you checked his blog since the Hugos? Bluff well-and-truly blown.

Ultimately, I think, he and his 'Dread Ilk' were the hopelessly romantic side in this little war. They honestly believed they would just somehow... overcome. For once, the left (and the middle) were the pragmatists.


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There are Loncon members with OCD still trapped on these stairs as I write this.

Look at this smug bastard. He visited Loncon in this robot avatar while still safely squatting on his sofa at home. Be funny if someone had rushed in and shot him and then his avatar was going around in circles and no one at Loncon cared. Wouldn't it? Wouldn't that be funny? Yeah? OK, so he nicked my girlfriend. I'm not bitter...

A great time wuz had at Loncon by all. Tragically, though, we all ended in the acid-stewed belly of this vast metal caterpillar.

Meanwhile, Journalist Laurie Penny was at Loncon. But never mind that. Here she is using the #Ferguson Twitter hashtag to really drive home the injustice of the Ferguson shootings and subsequent police brutality:  


Dear Spool,

Loncon made a big huzzenfuzz about achieving gender parity on panels. But as this photo shows, Fantasycon achieved parity in all departments.

Stuff in up your bum, Loncon. Right up.


Michael Fantasycon (Fantasycon chairman)


Dear Pidgin-man,
                              I write regarding the letter above in this issue. Perhaps if Mr Fantasycon has strong feeling about panel parity at cons he'd like to discuss it with a snooker ball in a sock round the back of his head in a dark car park when he least expects it.


Cynthia Loncon (Loncon enforcer)

(Spoolnote:  Next years Fantasycon and Worldcon will be held simultaneously on the Jeremy Kyle show) 


So me and Geoff Ryman go ahead of the gang to see if the bars still open in the hotel next to the centre where Loncon's being held. Giddy with booze but good long striding legs the pair of us. 

I've only really just met him. Geoff's just finished presenting the Hugos and is buoyed up by the sense of a duty well-performed. He's got this damn fancy burgundy suit and a tiara some convention once made for him. It's about as masculine as a tiara can get, or maybe Geoff just lends it a masculinity. Anyway, he's like a lounge version of Tywin Lannister (i.e.: cool).

Inside the hotel bar the air is warm and the music bassy but low. The bars stopped serving yet everyone's just hanging around, languishing on sofas or floating by the bar. No sharp movements, everything like a tableau.

'Check this out,' Geoff says to me. 'What's going on here? Every classically goodlooking member of the speculative fiction community are here.'

True enough. Looking around, I see that Dutch writer with the cheekbones; they glint like a stealth cruiser passing some alien sun. Sublime faces and toned biceps all around. You'd think this was a GAP advert, not a con.

'The beautiful people,' I mutter. 'We can't possibly stay here.'

Geoff smiles at me, his tiara reflecting the neon of beer adverts above.

'Speak for your fucking self.'  



SPOOLZINE: Laughs because it chooses not to cry.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Spoolzine #2

Sniffin' Battenburg ('n' getting high...) Editorial

Bumped into a mad theory about The Prisoner TV series (SPOILERS!) Patrick McGoohan was a devout catholic. His character is called Number 6: traditionally the number of the Devil (666 etc). The number seven (the number of God) never appears in the series (aside from Number 73: a woman who throws herself to her death to escape the Village).
Number 6 then, is (literally or metaphorically) the fallen angel Lucifer, who 'resigned', ie: fell from heaven and the series is him coming to terms with the fact he's the master of hell (qv, last episode).

Most likely bollocks, of course, but it's wonderful this most enigmatic of television programmes can still generate such things. Lost, by comparison, has dropped off in people's fascination in a much shorter time.

People were furious over the last episode of The Prisoner (legend has it McGoohan had to go into hiding) but, with hindsight, its unintelligible madness was a master stroke. Remember, we GOT our answers at the end of Life On Mars/ Ashes To Ashes. A great series, but people don't talk about it so much. We got our answers and moved on.



Amir al-Mu'minin Caliph Ibrahim's Writers Of The Future Competition

"When I began the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria with a view to creating a modern Caliphate, I took SF Grandmaster Robert Heinlein as my influence. Now I want to give something back!"

-Amir al-Mu'minin

Are you a budding SF author? An artist of strange visions? Someone who calls out published authors on some mild political infraction but sees nothing wrong in being bankrolled by an institution with alarming human rights records? Then you could see your story/art in print and win $10,000* (*Used notes and gold fillings)!!!!!

"I'd recommend ISIS Writers Of The Future to any ambitious young SF author with no thought for the suffering of real women and minorities as opposed to those in books by politically problematic babyboomer authors."

-Alliette DeBoddard, ISIS Writers Of The Future Winner, 2011

"I, too, had second thoughts about entering the ISIS Writers Of The Future Competition, but then it was explained to me that there's a professional and ethical 'firewall' between the competition and its sponsor's horrifying actions in the Levant. I remind myself of that fact every time I see the good ISISWOTF does for emerging genre writers. And every time I stare at my reflection in the dark cold hours.

-Patrick Rothfuss, ISIS Writers Of The Future Winner, 2007


Local Events This Week: 

 'Leicester In The Great War:  "One Look And F*cked Off"'  (Talk, 18.30, Tues) 



Dan Gilbert writes:
"There should be a thick tax.
 It occurred to me that there is loads of stuff in life we take for granted that is only there for the benefit of the thickos, and I think they should be taxed for it. Would advertising exist without thick people? What about those health and safety vids you have to watch at the start of any job explaining why it's a bad idea to stick you hair in a toaster? How many hours of our lives in total are lost to people that have to repeat the same thing four times over in a slightly different way in conversation? 
This would also be a good way of punishing the dead weight without being too elitist; no-ones saying you have to explain how a particle accelerator works, merely get from one end of a kitchen to the other without bumping into things or referring to Google regarding correct tin-opener use."

Earthlet Dan Gilbert wins £5!



(Courtesy of Saladin Ahmed)


The woman in the flat upstairs seems to have bought one of those rock singer console games and is now proceeding to screech over the same repeating song while I try to write and listen to Classic FM. The sooner these people get next-gen technology they can plug into their heads and drool in a corner the better.


Spoolzine:  For When The Battenburg Doesn't Work

Dreamed I came back to the flat to find the four main characters from The Wind In The Willows all dead. No idea why. (Overdose maybe?)

It's Ratty's blank dead eyes staring at me that linger most in my memory...