Free Speech and Nazis

Aug. 17th, 2017 08:42 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Like many of us, I’ve been struggling to process what happened in Charlottesville over the weekend, and what’s been happening in this country for a while now. The racism and hatred and violence didn’t magically appear out of nowhere. It’s been building up for a long time…in fact, much of it has always been there. It’s just boiling over into the open right now, making it harder (but obviously not impossible) to look away and pretend it’s not happening.

Part of the argument I’ve seen centers around free speech and the First Amendment. Free speech is a right, an important one, and rights apply to everyone. Even people you dislike and disagree with.

But freedom of speech in this country is not and has never been limitless. From the U.S. Federal Courts, here are a few examples of actions not legally protected by freedom of speech:

  • Students making an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
  • Making/distributing obscene materials.
  • Inciting actions that would harm others (e.g., Shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.)

Now let’s look at some of the “alt-right” protesters who gathered in Charlottesville.

Nazi flag Nazi armband  Nazi salutes Hitler quote on shirt Nazi salute

These people here? The ones wearing swastikas, waving Nazi flags, marching in T-shirts with Adolf Hitler quotes, and throwing Nazi salutes?

This isn’t protest. This is a threat.

The message here is not, “I don’t want you to take down a statue.” It’s “I believe in ethnic cleansing, in the murder of millions of Jews, Romani, and other non-white people. I believe people with disabilities should be forcibly sterilized or put to death. I believe non-heterosexuals should be imprisoned and killed.”

These people are pledging allegiance to a movement of mass murder. We know what the Nazis stood for. We know what they did. When people stand up in 2017 and proclaim themselves Nazis, we know what they’re saying. We know what they’re promising.

I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t believe freedom of speech protects the incitement of violence. I don’t believe it protects threats of genocide.

 

Maybe you don’t personally feel threatened by this. In many ways, neither do I. I’m a straight white man, unlikely to be a primary target of these hateful people.

Now imagine you’re Jewish. Imagine you’re black. Imagine you’re gay. Imagine you’re Romani. Imagine your ancestors were among the millions of people murdered by Nazis. Now look at those photos and tell me you’re not looking at a very real threat.

“But not all of the ‘Unite the Right’ marchers were openly wearing Nazi symbols!”

You’re right, and if you’ll read a little more carefully, you’ll see I never claimed otherwise. But they marched alongside Nazis. They chanted “Jews will not replace us!” alongside Nazis. They stood side-by-side with Nazis.

“Isn’t it so convenient for you to exclude speech you don’t like from the free speech umbrella? Free speech is an absolute right, and the true test is whether we’ll stand up for speech we disagree with!”

As established earlier, legally speaking, free speech is not an absolute right. Ethically–well, do you believe people have the absolute right to harass others? To threaten? To leak private information? To incite violence and murder? I don’t. Which means ethically, free speech isn’t an absolute right either.

I struggled with this. But in the end, I look at the photos and videos from Charlottesville, and I see deliberate intimidation. I see the threat and promise of violence. I see people proclaiming their loyalty to an enemy our country went to war against.

I see no reason to tolerate or accept that enemy.

Nor do I have any respect for those who knowingly collaborate with them.

Even the Joker hates Nazis

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Lame-Duck President

Aug. 17th, 2017 11:54 am
elf: Many Americans have all the virtues of civilized people (American virtues)
[personal profile] elf
The Atlantic has a lovely piece of analysis on the current administration: Donald Trump Is a Lame-Duck President
"Just seven months into his presidency, Trump appears to have achieved a status usually reserved for the final months of a term."

It points out the features of a lame-duck presidency, which is usually reserved for the final handful of months, especially in a second term. (Hey, guess what! POTUS45 has accomplished in 7 months what it took Bush 7 years to do!)

Quotes )

Sunspots

Aug. 16th, 2017 05:05 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

I was testing the solar filter for the camera, in preparation for Monday’s eclipse. We won’t be seeing the total eclipse, but I’m hoping to get some good shots of the partial.

As I was processing the results, I realized I’d captured sunspots!  (Those dark spots in the upper left.)

Sun with sunspots

Click to embiggen.

For those who wonder about such things, this was taken on the 100-400mm lens, fully zoomed to 400mm. ISO 640, f/10, with a 1/3200 shutter speed. I had to set everything manually, because the camera overexposed the shot if left to its own devices.

I think next time I’ll try to reduce the ISO down to about 100 and see if that gets rid of the minor graininess.

Processing involved cropping the shot, noise reduction, and an orange overlay.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

World Fantasy 2017

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:57 am
marthawells: (Stargate)
[personal profile] marthawells
The World Fantasy Convention (http://wfc2017.org/wfc2017/) is November 2-5, 2017 in San Antonio, TX this year.

Headliner guests are Tananarive Due, Karen Joy Fowler, Gregory Manchess, David Mitchell, Gordon Van Gelder and the toastmaster is Martha Wells (me!)

The con has posted the preliminary list of program topics:

Alternate Africas: The Growing List of Fantastic Alternate and Secret Narratives Set in Africa
Beards and Intrigue: Queering the Historical Fantastic
Calamity Jane Defeats Conan: The Persistence of American Folklore in Fantasy Literature
Exceptional Characters in Horrible Times
The Fiction of Mildred Clingerman
Gender Fluidity in Fantasy
History — Secret, Hidden, or Otherwise
Keeping Texas Weird
Kitsune and Dragon: Thoughtful Approaches to Alternate Eastern Asias
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: Still our Modern Prometheus
Metaphors and Metadata: Libraries in Fantasy Literature
Molly Weasley Was a Bad Ass: Aged Protagonists in Fantasy
New Twists On Traditional Myths & Archetypes : What are the Pitfalls?
The Old West: Not Entirely Wild but Always a Fantasy
Once More Around the Bloch
The Other in Fantasy when Everyone is an Other
Place Matters: Geography’s Influence on Fantasy
Pulp Era Influences: the Expiration Date
Putting Historical Persons into your Fantasy
Religions of the African Diaspora: Beyond Zombies, Ancestors, and Giant Apes
Research, Research, Recherchez: History is Easy to Get Lost In
The Role of the City in Fantasy Settings
Small Presses that Open their Doors to the Unusual: Past and Present
Urban Legends in the Age of Fake News
What’s the Difference Between Dark Fantasy and Horror

The list of Award Finalists is here: http://wfc2017.org/wfc2017/awards/2017-world-fantasy-awards%e2%84%a0-finalists/

The convention rules state that it can only sell 850 memberships, and right now there are only about 140 or so spots left.

Money Magic

Aug. 15th, 2017 06:55 pm
elf: Smiling South Park-style witch with big blue floppy hat and inverted pentacle (Witchy)
[personal profile] elf
Reblog from tumblr, only DW doesn't do tumblr-style reblogs. This is one of those "please share widely" things, and since it touches on both religion and spellcraft, and I haven't yet seen it here, I thought I'd port it over:
A friendly reminder to my gentile friends re: Charlottesville

There are a bunch of posts going around about donating to local Charlottesville charities in the face of the hate march, and I think this is a great idea.

Do you wanna know an even better idea?

Donate in multiples of $18.

Here, I’ll explain!

Hebrew is a numeric language. That is, all of its words have a numeric value. Importance of the number 18 in Hebrew )

Fight the 1488 with the 18.

Fight hate with life.

(Non-Jews, feel free to reblog and share this to other platforms. In fact I genuinely and unironically hope you do, because I’d love to see this take off among gentile donators who want a great, nonviolent way to offer a one-two punch.)

Book Recs on Tuesday

Aug. 15th, 2017 10:11 am
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)

(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)


* The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
The earthshaking conclusion to Jemisin’s powerful postapocalyptic Broken Earth trilogy (after The Obelisk Gate) finds the fate of a damaged world in the hands of a mother, who wants to save it, and her daughter, who wants to destroy it. Essun believes she is the only person left alive who has the power and skill to open the magical Obelisk Gate and wield its power to save her cataclysm-rocked planet, the Stillness, which is being torn apart by an ancient experiment that got out of hand. But she is caught between that duty and her need to find Nassun, her 10-year-old daughter. Nassun’s father killed her brother and took her away because both children shared their mother’s dangerous talent; he hoped to “cure” her, but instead she has become incredibly powerful. Essun’s search grows urgent when she learns that Nassun is being guided by a dangerous mentor with plans of his own. Jemisin draws Essun and Nassun perfectly, capturing a mother’s guilt and pride and a daughter’s determination to survive on her own terms. The Stillness, where ancient science is powered by magic, is unforgettable. Vivid characters, a tautly constructed plot, and outstanding worldbuilding meld into an impressive and timely story of abused, grieving survivors fighting to fix themselves and save the remnants of their shattered home. PW review


* Biketopia edited by Elly Blue
This is the newest volume of the Bikes in Space series: A highly imaginative collection of sci-fi stories with a feminist bent.


* Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter
The journey will take eons. In order to maintain the genetic talent of the original crew, humankind’s greatest ambition—to explore the furthest reaches of the galaxy— is undertaken by clones. But a clone is not a perfect copy, and each new generation has its own quirks, desires, and neuroses. As the centuries fly by, the society living aboard the nine ships (designated Convoy Seven) changes and evolves, but their mission remains the same: to reach Reggie’s mysterious star and explore its origins—and implications.


* Volatile Bonds by Jaye Wells
When the Magic Enforcement Agency is called out to the scene of a dirty magic lab explosion, a body with a bullet wound is found in the smoldering ruins. As Detective Kate Prospero and her partner, Special Agent Drew Morales, hunt down the killer, they uncover evidence that a dangerous new coven may be operating in the Cauldron.


* Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries, and Lore edited by Paula Guran


* Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett
Dayna Anderson doesn't set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn't the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.


* Vanity in Dust by Cheryl Low
In the Realm there are whispers. Whispers that the city used to be a different place. That before the Queen ruled there was a sky beyond the clouds and a world beyond their streets. Vaun Dray Fen never knew that world. Born a prince without a purpose in a Realm ruled by lavish indulgence, unrelenting greed, and vicious hierarchy, he never knew a time before the Queen’s dust drugged the city. Everything is poisoned to distract and dull the senses, even the tea and pastries. And yet, after more than a century, his own magic is beginning to wake. The beautiful veneer of the Realm is cracking. Those who would defy the Queen turn their eyes to Vaun, and the dust saturating the Realm. From the carnivorous pixies in the shadows to the wolves in the streets, Vaun thought he knew all the dangers of his city. But when whispers of treason bring down the fury of the Queen, he'll have to race to save the lives and souls of those he loves.


* In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
Sometimes it’s not the kid you expect who falls through to magicland, sometimes it’s . . . Elliott. He’s grumpy, nerdy, and appalled by both the dearth of technology and the levels of fitness involved in swinging swords around. He’s a little enchanted by the elves and mermaids. Despite his aversion to war, work, and most people (human or otherwise) he finds that two unlikely ideas, friendship and world peace, may actually be possible.


* A Song for Quiet by Cassandra Khaw
Deacon James is a rambling bluesman straight from Georgia, a black man with troubles that he can't escape, and music that won't let him go. On a train to Arkham, he meets trouble — visions of nightmares, gaping mouths and grasping tendrils, and a madman who calls himself John Persons. According to the stranger, Deacon is carrying a seed in his head, a thing that will destroy the world if he lets it hatch.


* Buried Heart by Kate Elliott
On the run from the murderous King Nikonos, Jessamy must find a way for her beloved Kalliarkos to take his rightful place on the throne. Only then can he end the oppression of the Commoners by their long time Patron overlords. But Kal's rise to power is fraught with manipulation and shocking decisions that make Jes question everything they promised each other. As their relationship frays and Jes's family and friends beg her for help, will she cast Kal and her Patron heritage aside? Will she finally join--even lead--the rebellion that had been burning among the Commoners for years?

Magic ex Libris: The Next Chapter

Aug. 14th, 2017 09:30 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Some of you might remember me talking about a 15,000-word novelette I was working on between wrapping up Terminal Alliance and starting on Terminal Uprising.

That novelette is called “Imprinted,” and it’s the next Magic ex Libris story.

It’s about Jeneta Aboderin, and it’s set roughly eight months after the events of Revisionary.

I haven’t set a publication date yet. There’s a bit of work left to get everything ready, and with Terminal Alliance coming out in November, I’m guessing it will be available in January or February.

I also haven’t set a price. $2.99 would be ideal, because that’s where ebook royalty rates jump from 35% to 70%. What do you think? Does $2.99 seem fair for a 15,000-word story, or should I bump it down to $1.99 and take the royalties hit?

Finally, as long as you’re here, what do you think of the not-quite-finalized cover?

Imprinted Cover: Draft

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Book Recs and Hugo Results

Aug. 13th, 2017 08:26 am
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)

(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)


* Hugo Award Results from WorldCon 75 in Finland.
This is the first year after the two-year rules change process which minimized the interference of the white supremacist puppy groups, and women swept most of the categories.


* Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng
Victorian missionaries travel into the heart of the newly discovered lands of the Fae, in a stunningly different fantasy that mixes Crimson Peak with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.


* Women and Monsters by J.M. McDermott
The women and monsters of Greek mythology rarely get to speak for themselves. This collection of stories embraces the surreal and hallucinatory to tell the stories that are always absent from the official books of history. There are as many versions of the myth as there are grandmothers in Greece. There are always more myths, more variations on the song. Sing muse, for yourself.


* Winter of Ice and Iron by Rachel Neumeier
With the Mad King of Emmer in the north and the vicious King of Pohorir in the east, Kehara Raehema knows her country is in a vulnerable position. She never expected to give up everything she loves to save her people, but when the Mad King’s fury leaves her land in danger, she has no choice but to try any stratagem that might buy time for her people to prepare for war—no matter the personal cost.


* The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee
The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie’s every waking thought. But when she discovers she’s a celestial spirit who’s powerful enough to bash through the gates of heaven with her fists, her perfectionist existence is shattered. Enter Quentin, a transfer student from China whose tone-deaf assertiveness beguiles Genie to the brink of madness. Quentin nurtures Genie’s outrageous transformation—sometimes gently, sometimes aggressively—as her sleepy suburb in the Bay Area comes under siege from hell-spawn.


Short Story: Fleurs du Mal by J. Kathleen Cheney


* Vanguard by Ann Aguirre
Since the war ended, Tegan has dreamed of an epic journey, so when she has the opportunity to sign on as ship's doctor, she can't wait. It's past time to chart her course. Millie Faraday, the kindest girl in the free territories, also yearns to outrun her reputation, and warrior-poet James Morrow would follow Tegan to the ends of the earth.


* Shattered Warrior by Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag (Illustrator)
It is eight years after Colleen Cavanaugh's home world was invaded by the Derichets, a tyrannical alien race bent on exploiting the planet's mineral resources. Most of her family died in the war, and she now lives alone in the city. Aside from her acquaintances at the factory where she toils for the Derichets, Colleen makes a single friend in Jann, a member of the violent group of rebels known as the Chromatti. One day Colleen receives shocking news: her niece Lucy is alive and in need of her help. Together, Colleen, Jann, and Lucy create their own tenuous family.


* Preorder: The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander
In the early years of the 20th century, a group of female factory workers in Newark, New Jersey slowly died of radiation poisoning. Around the same time, an Indian elephant was deliberately put to death by electricity in Coney Island. These are the facts. Now these two tragedies are intertwined in a dark alternate history of rage, radioactivity, and injustice crying out to be righted. Prepare yourself for a wrenching journey that crosses eras, chronicling histories of cruelty both grand and petty in search of meaning and justice.


* Preorder: Shadowhouse Fall By Daniel Jose Older
Sierra and her friends love their new lives as shadowshapers, making art and creating change with the spirits of Brooklyn. Then Sierra receives a strange card depicting a beast called the Hound of Light -- an image from the enigmatic, influential Deck of Worlds. The shadowshapers know their next battle has arrived.
emceeaich: Big rocks from outer space solve many problems. (boom)
[personal profile] emceeaich

The outline for my remarks on The Expanse and politics at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Finland.

  • Warnings
    • Spoilers through 2nd Season of the TV Series (Caliban’s War)
    • Will talk about both books and TV series
  • Who am I
    • Emma Humphries
    • She/Her
    • Programmer and Project Manager, 20+ years experience
    • 29 years in fandom (28 WisCons)
  • Format: I’ll talk for 25 minutes or so, and then we’ll have a discussion for the remainder of the time we have
  • What is The Expanse?
    • ASK: how many of you have read or watched?
    • Series of Novels and TV Programs
    • James S. A. Corey (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck)
    • Future history of the Inner and Outer Solar System
  • Why talk about politics?
    • Because SF has been the acceptable place to talk about politics
  • Subjects
    • Queer/Non-binary/Trans representation
    • Populism
    • Universal Income
  • What I’m Not Going to Talk About
    • Race
    • I’m going to suggest you start with the Black Girl Nerds podcast who have been recapping and discussing the TV Series
  • Why The Expanse
    • I love space opera
    • I adore the women in this show
      • Naomi Nagata: Ship’s Officer and Engineer
      • Bobbie Draper: Gunnery Sgt in the Martian Marines, who trains under one Earth Gravity
      • Chrisjen Avasarala: UN Undersecretary who knows where the bodies are buried
      • All represented as women of color in the TV show
      • All flawed, but real characters, I empathize with
    • I stan for Chrisjen
    • I love to hate on Holden
      • But, honestly, can anyone stand Holden?
      • Miller’s stuck with him because of alien machinations
      • What does Naomi see in him?
  • Queer/Non-binary/Trans representation
    • The good, there are gay and lesbian characters
    • The bad
      • Heteronormative relationships
        • The Martian ambassador and his husband
        • Annushka "Anna" Volovodov
        • A settler couple on Illus
      • Two hundred years in the future, and the nuclear family is still the norm
        • Holden’s family back on Earth, a poly-cule, are considered weird/aberations
      • No non-binary or trans characters
      • The non-normative relationships and characters are the thieves, rebels and sex workers
  • Populism
    • Definition time!
      • A type of political discourse which posits an “authentic people” in opposition to “a privileged elite.”
      • In left populism that’s often the workers vs the wealthy
        • debates on distribution of wealth
      • in right populism it’s white people vs everyone else
        • debates on who is and isn’t part of the “nation”
    • The OPA is a populist movement with both right and left characteristics
    • Anderson Station, and Illus are left populist actions
      • Workers, abused by Inner Planets wealth and corporations standing up to power and paying with their lives, and/or using violence as a means
    • But the OPA has a right-leaning side which is terrifying
      • We see it at the end of Season 2 where the economic populism gives way to an nastier ethnic populism
      • In the 2nd Season a Belter Ship, carrying evacuees from Ganymede to Tyco Station, puts all the people from the Inner Planets out the airlock
      • It will only get worse in later books
  • Universal Basic Income
    • Also known as Social Income, or under the UN in the world of the Expanse, “Basic”
    • There’s a body of economic research that finds evidence for giving people direct cash assistance as the best way to support people
    • Basic income, in and of itself is not sufficient
      • You need universal access to healthcare
      • In “Churn,” for example, we see the UN handing out substandard/palliative-only care
    • A well-implemented Social Income system, with healthcare (including reproductive healthcare), transport, and housing can provide a stable base for people to build on
    • In the world of the Expanse, the social income system is geared to subsistence and governability
  • Scorecard
    • LGTBQ+
      • Needs more work
      • Tell me why all your queer relationships are heteronormative
      • As a queer dyke, I want to see relationships like the ones I see in my community in the here and now, or at least understand why they aren’t there
    • Populism
      • Yes, this is a honest portrayal
      • How populism, unchecked, can go from a liberation struggle to genocidal violence
    • Social Income
      • A pessimistic view
      • Is this in the service of story, people struggling to escape a dismal earth? Or a libertarian view of the role of the state?

Cool Stuff Friday

Aug. 11th, 2017 10:42 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Friday thinks this next scene needs more elephants.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

People Having Fun Without Us

Aug. 10th, 2017 07:50 am
marthawells: (SGA laughing)
[personal profile] marthawells
I'm still sad I couldn't go to WorldCon 75, which is in Finland this year, but it's been so popular that the fire marshals are being strict about too much crowding in program rooms and they've had to stop selling full con memberships. They're limiting day passes to 100 per day and selling out of those, too. And this started on Wednesday, when most of the attendees usually arrive on Thursday and Friday.

I'm still jealous of the people who are getting to see Daveed Diggs there.


Here's some links:

Opening Day: http://file770.com/?p=36857
Croatian Party: http://file770.com/?p=36868
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

ETA: Dragon Con has reconsidered.

“[O]ver the last couple of days, we got an earful from our fans and others. The issue also caused a second author to ask us to remove her book from the ballot as well. We’ve reconsidered and changed our mind.”

ETA2: John Scalzi has also reconsidered, and will now remain on the ballot.

###

The Dragon Awards were created last year to recognize the best SF/F books, comics, games, TV, and films of the year. Nomination and voting are open to anyone and everyone, and the awards are presented at Dragon Con.

The ballot this year appears to be a mix of genuinely popular work and works where individual authors or groups campaigned hard to get nominated. File 770 published an analysis looking at Goodreads, Library Thing, and Amazon review numbers of the different nominees. I trust folks can draw their own conclusions.

On August 4, finalist Alison Littlewood posted that she was withdrawing her book from consideration. She notes:

“While this would normally be a great pleasure, it has also been brought to my notice that my book has been selected by a voting bloc who are attempting, for reasons of their own, to influence the awards outcome. Essentially, the same group who set out to fix the Hugo Awards are now encouraging their supporters to follow their voting choices in the Dragon Awards.”

Two days ago, finalist John Scalzi also withdrew his book from the award, saying in part:

“The reason is simple: Some other finalists are trying to use the book and me as a prop, to advance a manufactured ‘us vs. them’ vote-pumping narrative based on ideology or whatever. And I just… can’t. I don’t have the interest and I’m on a deadline, and this bullshit is even more stale and stupid now than it was the several other times it was attempted recently, with regard to genre awards.”

Rather, Littlewood and Scalzi tried to withdraw from the award. But according to a follow-up post from Littlewood, Pat Henry of the Dragon Awards is “declining” these requests. Both Scalzi and Littlewood’s books still appear on the ballot.

Henry’s statement, as posted on Littlewood’s blog, claims:

“We are aware of the rabid puppies and justice warriors efforts to effect the voting and we go through a number of steps to avoid ballot stuffing or other vote rigging behaviors.  While we didn’t start the Dragon Awards to foil these two groups, we believe that as we add voters, they will become irrelevant in the our awards.”

Note the false equivalence of rabid puppies, a self-proclaimed group created by Theodore Beale, with “justice warriors,” generally used as an insult against people speaking up for greater representation and inclusion. The rabid puppy slate was posted on Beale’s blog back in June. I’m curious where the equivalent “justice warrior” slate supposedly appeared…

Henry might be right that, when and if the awards add enough voters, slates might become irrelevant. Or they might not. But in either case, that hypothetical future doesn’t change the fact that right now, the awards are a mess, some of the campaigning is ugly, nasty, and hateful, and some authors don’t want to be dragged into that cesspool.

I hope Pat Henry and Dragon Con will reconsider their decision.

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Terminal Alliance: Chapter One

Aug. 8th, 2017 10:02 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Terminal Alliance Cover Art by Dan Dos SantosNewsletter subscribers got to see this last week, but for everyone else, I’ve posted the first chapter of Terminal Alliance for your reading enjoyment!

(At least, I hope you enjoy it…)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Overdrive

Aug. 7th, 2017 11:00 am
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
People of the Libraries: FYI, the ebooks of my first four novels (The Element of Fire, City of Bones, Wheel of the Infinite, and The Death of the Necromancer) plus the story collection Between Worlds: the Collected Ile-Rien and Cineth Stories should be available now on Overdrive, through Draft2Digital.

ArmadilloCon!

Aug. 7th, 2017 07:32 am
marthawells: (Stargate)
[personal profile] marthawells
This weekend was ArmadilloCon 39 in Austin, which has been my favorite local convention for a long time. (It was actually the first one I went to, way back when I was in high school and I somehow talked my parents into taking me and a friend to it.)

Right before we left on Thursday afternoon, I got my copyedit for The Murderbot Diaries: Artificial Condition. We got to Austin, checked in at the hotel and then drove to a friend's house and while everybody else went swimming, I worked on the copyedit. (This is the last check for grammar, punctuation, missing words, making sure all sentences make sense, etc, and where I do a last read-through to hopefully catch any last mistakes.) Then when our friend got home from work, we went out to eat at an Argentine restaurant that was incredibly delicious. We got back to the hotel late and I finished the copyedit and got it sent off.

Then Friday morning I had to get up early and get breakfast and got to the writers workshop at 8:30 - 9:00. It's an all day thing and it went well, and I got to meet Nisi Shawl in person instead of just in pixels! It finished around 4:30 and we met up with more friends and went to a Japanese place called Lucky Robot that was also delicious and where I ate too many steamed pork buns. (It was happy hour and they were cheap.) We came back to the hotel and I had to struggle to stay awake and I ended up going to bed around 9:00.

Saturday I had all my programming, a reading, a signing, and three panels between 11:00 and 6:00. So that was kind of a whirlwind. In between all that, I signed a bunch of books. And for the reading I did a section of Artificial Condition and everybody laughed in all the right places. That night we went out with more friends to a Tex-Mex place and I had two mojitos and went to bed by 10:00. (This is why I don't go to parties much at cons, because I'm mostly semi-conscious by 6:00 and then dinner finishes me off.)

Sunday I just had one panel, an intro for people going to World Fantasy in November. We'd had a big breakfast with friends that morning, but still went on to have a big lunch at Hoovers, soul food place. I had ham steak, very much like my mother used to make, and it was delicious. Then we drove home and basically didn't eat anything for dinner last night except toast and cereal.
roadrunnertwice: Rodney the Second Grade T-Ball Jockey displays helpful infographics. (BF.Rodney - Ass increases w/ T-ball^2)
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice

Bonus Level: A Night in the Woods

July 18

In a funny coincidence, I finished this game and Fir Valley just days apart, and they totally re-use the same plot.

OK, so game-wise, this got a little old, because you spend a LOT of time just walking back and forth from place to place. Which... it's fine to pace the game like that, there's good reasons to do it, but I wanted it to go faster and feel cooler? The walking and platforming are kind of slow, floaty, and annoying, so that could have been a lot better. (The lightbulb smashing minigame and the Demontower game-within-a-game both felt pretty great, though. And sticking a landing onto a mailbox had a very nice sound.)

But story-wise, I liked this a lot. Excellent dialogue and character writing, and good use of dialogue choices (which are hard to get right).

I've been wondering what it meant that Mae was one of the ones the creature in the mines was "singing" to, and how that relates to the hole in the center of everything that the sphinx god was on about. And how it relates to her dissociative episode back in middle school, when she hurt that kid.

Like, most of the game is taking place on this level where it's about friendship, and family, and how capitalism chews up people and places and then spits them out, and the different ways people try (and sometimes fail) to have a life despite that. But there's another level where it's maybe about the choice you have to make all on your solo once you've touched the corrosive amorality at the core of the universe. Existentialism: The Video Game.

(Speaking of which, hey B, were you gonna play this one? I'd love to hear your thoughts.)

Jon Bois — 17776 (aka "What Football Will Look Like in the Future")

July 26

Readable online.

I've been wondering what the first clearly identifiable post-Homestuck mixed-medium web epic would be, and I think this might be our first winner! LMK if you've got a good argument for something else.

I liked this. A fun little episodic gonzo SF story about the final immortal generation of humanity and the meaning of play.

Jessica Reisman — Substrate Phantoms

July 7

I didn't enjoy this as much as Reisman's previous novel.

The parts I liked were the parts about just struggling by in a dusty corner of a big, old, galactic civilization — Reisman is really good at that. The conspiracy plotline wasn't bad either. The prose has its ups and downs — The Z Radiant hit a sweet spot for overtly made-up sci-fi jargon, and this book dials it up and maybe overdoes it a bit (different levels of pushback from different editors?), but there were enough other things I liked about the writing to offset that.

But the main focus of this book is its first-contact story, and I wasn't really into it. Reisman is aiming for this sort of ineluctable otherworldliness re: the alien that she doesn't quite nail. There are some cool, creepy sequences, but by around the 2/3 point of the book, after the alien started talking like a person, I realized it wasn't going to wrap up in a way that would satisfy me and follow through on the promises of the early book. If you want a really satisfying alien possession/not-possession story, I feel like the Southern Reach trilogy is still the one to beat.

Also, minus a point for what I felt was an unnecessary rape scene.

Martha Wells — The Harbors of the Sun

July 31

This is it: the final Raksura book. It's good.

I'll mostly let my review of the first half of this duology stand, and only add that this was exactly the closing I hoped it would be. A fitting final send-off for some beloved characters, and a real solid page-turner to boot.

Ruth Ozeki — A Tale for the Time Being

July 24

Oh man, this was excellent.

I picked this book up on a whim. It caught my eye on the Canton library sale shelf when I was visiting my sister, so I gave it the ol first-page/second-chapter test and went for it. I was, like, vaguely aware of its prior existence, but my style of memory is to aggregate tidbits into a fuzzy result and then forget the tidbits... so I knew it had a generally positive reputation, but I'd forgotten that Lauren had read it, that it was like a Booker Prize nominee, and that the same author wrote My Year of Meats.

Back in the low-information '90s, I read a lot of books this way — I'd run out of books I knew anything about, and start just picking stuff up and sniffing it. That's how I ended up reading Infinite Jest without any idea what I was getting into. (Man, can you even remember what it felt like, to have your "to-read" stack run out? LiveJournal basically ended that for me; curious what ended it for y'all.)

Anyway, for being a book about a frustrated novelist reading a book (lol), this was amazingly engrossing! It's one of those stories where it keeps feeling like everyone is just on the verge of realizing something incredibly important. (And it paid off well, which is the crucial-but-oft-forgotten part of that recipe!)

Also, there are elements that keep nudging it in the direction of weird horror or SF. Ruth, the author character, spends a lot of the book looking for confirmation of Naoko's existence or evidence of her fate, and she keeps almost-but-not-quite finding it. And the result is weirdly tense; since most of us expect that we're constantly leaving uncontrollable digital traces, an almost-complete disappearance registers as Wrong/Unnatural/Spooky.

The way that part of the story eventually spins out is kind of hilarious, and ultimately lands on "definitely SF." I thought it was great. And there's also a fantasy element involving questions of, idk, mutual fictionality, which I'm still chewing on.

I want to go back at some point and pick apart some of the ways Ozeki differentiated the two narrators, just for my own curiosity. For example, Ruth's segments are slower and full of lush environmental descriptions, but Nao doesn't seem to notice her physical environment much at all; it's almost nothing but characters and actions. The separation was really effective and effortless-seeming, and I bet I can learn a lot from looking at how she did it.

Atomic Blonde

Aug. 5th, 2017 07:05 pm
cyrano: (Haring Dancing)
[personal profile] cyrano
Hey, Larry! I found a copy of the Atomic Blonde soundtrack on YouTube. It's ninety minutes long, so it's probably not the commercial release. It's not precisely "120 Minutes Greatest Hits" but I think you know where it's coming from. You already own most of it, but I think you'd dig it. Covers do not fare well here. There's Marilyn Manson cover of "Stigmata" where he's screaming his heart out doing his best Uncle Alien impression. It's.... certainly not good by any stretch of the imagination, but it was fun to have heard once. Somebody I've never heard of covered "Blue Monday" and... at least it wasn't Orgy. The score bits they included were nice, but nothing really to write home about. They censored "Fight the Power" so I went on a profanity laden rant as your proxy. I think they were chastened. The really confusing bit is that Blondie's "Atomic" isn't on here. I wonder if it's in the film.

Cool Stuff Friday

Aug. 4th, 2017 03:14 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Friday is 0 for 3 with legendary Pokemon 🙁

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Madeline the Edifying

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