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King of Books Easter Lemming Liberal Dem



May 20th, 2017

Originally posted by nwhyte at Pounded In The Butt By My Second Hugo Award Nomination, by Chuck Tingle
Second paragraph of third section:
"Hello, I'm Chuck," I say, formally introducing myself.
I am quoted (well, paraphrased) in the crucial second section, in which author Chuck Tingle, miserable after the defeat of Space Raptor Butt Invasion in the 2016 Hugo Awards, receives notification from the 2017 Hugo Awards adminstrator that he has been nominated this year. Let's just say for the record that the demands subsequently and consequently made of him as part of the Hugo process are not those actually required of Hugo finalists in real life.

August 27th, 2016

Originally posted by nwhyte at Third of three posts: the effect of the new rules on the Hugo Awards
Several significant changes to the Hugo rules were ratified by this year's WSFS meeting. Although discussion has tended to focus on the new tallying system dubbed EPH (short for E Pluribus Hugo) by its creators, two of the other amendments can also be retrospectively applied to past voting results - specifically, that there will now be (at least) six finalists in each category rather than five; and that the 5% cutoff for finalists no longer applies. Some commentators, looking just at EPH (to take two fairly representative cases, Jed Hartman and Cheryl Morgan), have expressed disappointment that the consequential changes of EPH are less satisfactory than expected. I think that, taken with the other changes made (particularly the increase of ballots to six finalists while keeping the number of nominations a member can make at five), the picture is a bit more encouraging.

(I wrote a long piece on how EPH works last year. The original proposal is here, and the version passed last weeknd here.)

EPH results have been published (except for the Best Dramatic Presentation categories) for 2014, 2015 and 1940; for 2016; and for 1941. These tables, however, don't take into account the other new rules and just show the effect of EPH if there were five finalists rather than six on the ballot for each category. They also don't show the effects on the Best Dramatic Presentation categories.

Adapting from a table created by Steve Desjardins, and adding in some further data, I tabulate below exactly what difference the new rules would have made to recent Hugo ballots, starting with the Retro Hugos for 1939 (awarded in 2014) and for 1941 (awarded in 2016). There's not a huge difference in those two cases, though I think it's worth noting that in both years, one of the additional finalists in the written fiction categories would have been a story by a woman. In one category, there is no change at all, because a fifth-place tie meant that there were six finalists, all six of whom would also have been on the ballot under EPH.

1939 and 1941Collapse )

My initial analysis of the impact of the new rules on the 2014 Hugo ballot turns out to have been too pessimistic. If we have six finalists per category rather than five, I think in almost all cases the ballot would have looked better. Personally, I regret the loss of Fiona Staples from the Best Professional Artist category, but since she came 5th overall in the real ballot, I can't really argue that the voters would have been cheated of a viable candidate for the award. The only other finalist who would have lost their place on the ballot under the new rules came 7th and last in their category under the 2014 rules. Most notably, the change to six finalists per category means that the one Hugo winner who would have lost out, if EPH was brought in with no other changes, would have been able to keep their place on the ballot. NB also that there are two new finalists for Best Short Story due to the abolition of the 5% threshold.

2014Collapse )
And so to the years of the slates. As in the 1941 and 2014 tables, I've indicated the ranking of real-life finalists who would have lost their places on the final ballot under the new rules. I've also marked with a degree sign ° where No Award was given in a particular category, and also where an excluded finalist was ranked below No Award by voters in real life. In 2015, 8 finalists would not have made it to the final ballot under the new rules; in 2016 the number was rather higher, 14. In every single one of these cases, the voters ranked those finalists below No Award, so EPH does not really seem to be removing viable candidates from the process. You will need to decide for yourself if these hypothetical ballots would have been more representative of fan opinion than the real ones, and whether No Award might have won fewer categories if the extra finalists had been available as options for the voters.

2015 and 2016Collapse )
I did have a moment of concern about EPH before the Business Meeting. It obviously does have an immediate impact in opening up categories which would otherwise be closed by slates - of the 7 No Awarded categories last year and this, the new system would have brought an additional 14 non-slated finalists onto the ballot. But it also seemed to me that EPH risked losing some of the diversity of the ballot through edge effects in non-slated years. However, I had not taken into consideration the additional positive effects of i) the six-finalist ballot and ii) the removal of the 5% threshold, both of which actively increase diversity. In addition, it's now very clear that the real-life finalists that would have been excluded from a six-member ballot by EPH in the last two years all came below No Award in the actual vote, and the two who would have been excluded in 2014 both did exceptionally poorly in their categories, so my previous concern that potentially popular candidates on the final ballot would be excluded by the new nomination procedures appears to have been ungrounded.

All in all, I'm confident that this year's rule changes give the 2017 Hugos a very solid foundation.

May 3rd, 2016

Originally posted by grrm at A Response to John C. Wright
The GUARDIAN interviewed me a couple of weeks ago about Puppygate and the Hugo Awards (before the ballot was announced, fwiw), and quoted me in the article that resulted. Here's what they said about what I said (of course, I said a lot more, but only a few bits were quoted):

“The prestige of the Hugos derives from its history. Robert A Heinlein won four times, Ursula K Le Guin won, Harlan Ellison won. That’s a club any aspiring writer wants to be a member of,” George RR Martin says. “When the Hugo ballot came out last year it was not just a right-wing ballot, it was a bad ballot. It was the weakest we’d seen for years.”

Now it appears that John C. Wright has taken umbrage at my opinion. He writes on his journal:

"Evidence enough that Mr. Martin had not read the works on the ballot. I say no more, lest I be accused of self-aggrandizement, for the works he thus criticizes are mine. He did not have so poor an opinion of my work when he bought it for his SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH anthology, however: a fact he conveniently forgot when he began leveling absurd and absurdly false accusations against me."

In the comments section of the same journal entry, someone named "Paul B" says:

"Sir, is it possible that Mr Martin never actually read (at least majority of) submissions for that Dying Earth tribute anthology? I know not how these things tend to work, or if you had any personal exchanges with him during that time (of the sort that included his personal thoughts on your story), but I know of many a case where a name of widely known author on the cover of various anthologies was used to bait potential buyers while said author had little or no involvement with said anthologies (think of those ghost and horror story anthologies of yore, where stories were advertised as “hand picked” by Alfred Hitchcock and the like)."

To which, John C. Wright replies:

" Certainly it is possible. It is possible that he did not do the jobs for which he was paid. That is one of the two possibilities, neither of which redound to his glory. Either he is lying now, when he uses the prestige of his name to belittle my worthy work as unworthy, or he was lying then, by putting his name on a book to lure the unwary reader into purchase, ergo using the prestige of his name to inflate my unworthy work as worthy. Either way, it is a lie."

I am not going to get down into the cesspool with Wright here, though, believe me, the temptation is strong. I will not let his comments go unanswered, however.

So let me just restrict my reply to the facts.

For the elucidation of Paul B, who admits that he does not know how these things work but feels the need to hold forth anyway, I have read every word of every story in all my anthologies, both the ones I co-edit with Gardner Dozois and the ones I edit solo, like WILD CARDS. In the collaborations, Gardner handles the bulk of the paperwork; the contracts, pro rata calculations, paying royalties, etc. But all the creative work is shared equally between us, and no story is purchased unless both of us agree that it is acceptable.

And yes, Gardner and I did purchase and publish a story from John C. Wright for SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH, our Jack Vance tribute anthology. The story is "Guyal the Curator." I thought then, and I think now, that it's a good story. Read it and judge for yourself. If you're a Jack Vance fan, I think you will enjoy it. Wright himself is a huge Vance fan. I don't recall how I knew that, but I did, and that fact was certainly foremost in my mind when I suggested to Gardner that we invite him into the book. He replied enthusiastically, and gave us a good story. If it had not been a good story, we would not have published it. Gardner and I did have to reject one of the other stories we had solicited for SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH, by another writer; we paid him a kill fee. And there were three or four additional stories that required extensive work; we bought them, but only after giving notes and asking for revisions. "Guyal the Curator" required none of that. It was a solid, professional piece of work, a nice Vance tribute, an entertaining read.

All that being said, I do not know why Wright seems to believe that by purchasing and publishing one of his stories seven years ago, I am therefore somehow required to like everything that he writes subsequently, to the extent that I would feel it Hugo worthy.

It should be pointed out that "Guyal the Curator" was not itself nominated for a Hugo (there being no Puppies around in 2009 to push it). None of the stories from SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH were Hugo finalists, truth be told. Do I think some were worthy of that honor? Sure I do. I cannot pretend to be objective, I'm proud of the anthologies I edit and the stories I publish. Do I think that all the stories in SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH (or ROGUES, or OLD MARS, or OLD VENUS, or LOWBALL, or any of my anthologies) are Hugo-worthy? Of course not. In a normal year, the Hugo finalists are supposed to represent the five best stories of the year in that word length. Was "Guyal the Curator" one of the five best short stories (actually, it might have been a novelette, after so long I do not recall the word length) of 2009? No. It was a good story, not a great story. The Hugo Awards demand greatness. It was an entertaining Vance tribute, but it was not a patch on real Vance, on "The Last Castle" or "The Dragon Masters" or "Guyal of Sfere." And truth be told, it was not even one of the five best stories in SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH. A good story, yes, I'll say that again. But there were better in the book. (And how not? We had an amazing lineup of contributors).

Which brings us back to Puppygate, and last year's Hugo ballot.

I read every word in every story in the anthologies I edit, as I've said. I did not read every word in every story on last year's Hugo ballot, no (or on any Hugo ballot, for that matter). I start every story and give them a few pages. If they grab me, I keep reading. If they bore me or offend me, or fail to interest me for whatever reason, I put them aside. Mr. Wright seems convinced that I did not read his stories on last year's ballot. He's half-right: I did not read all of them. But I started all of them (there were five), finished some, set others aside. The same as I do with any story I read; no special treatment.

I did not find any of them Hugo-worthy. Not one of them was as good as "Guyal the Curator," in my opinion. No doubt others liked them better.

It should be pointed out that the comments quoted by the GUARDIAN, to which Mr. Wright takes such umbrage, make no mention whatsoever of him or his work. I merely said that it was a bad ballot, the weakest seen in years. I stand by those comments; your mileage may differ. And yes, with his five finalists, John C. Wright was part of that, but hardly the whole of it. Truth be told, while I did not and do not feel his stories were Hugo-worthy, there was MUCH worse to be found on last year's ballot in other categories. But that horse has been beaten to death, so I see no need to give it any more whacks.

The bottom line here is that liking some of a writer's work does not oblige you to like all of his work. I yield to no one in my admiration for Robert A. Heinlein, but my love for HAVE SPACE SUIT, WILL TRAVEL and THE PUPPET MASTERS and "All You Zombies" and "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" does not make me like I WILL FEAR NO EVIL or TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE any better.

In closing, let me suggest to John C. Wright that you do yourself no favors by boasting constantly about the worth and brilliance and "literary" qualities of your own work. You might do better to take a lesson from a writer that we both love: Jack Vance. I had several conversations with Jack when Gardner and I were putting together SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH, and never once did he tell me how amazing and eloquent and literary he was. Quite the opposite. He never called his stories anything but "my junk" when speaking to me, and seemed bemused and flattered that so many other writers had found such inspiration in them. Vance was amazing and eloquent and literary, of course, one of the greatest wordsmiths our genre has ever produced, but he left it to others to sing his praises.

November 14th, 2015

Originally posted by grrm at A Conversation with Missy Suicide, Founder of SuicideGirls
Ogre Jenni here! I'm still not anyone famous! Phew!

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Missy Suicide, the founder of SuicideGirls. George posted something about it earlier, but the Jean Cocteau Cinema will host the SuicideGirls: Blackheart Burlesque on Monday, November 16th. A portion of the ticket sales will be donated to the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. The Sanctuary will bring Flurry, one of their furry ambassadors, to meet and greet VIP Guests and Suicide Girls an hour before the show. Imagine the photo ops!

But enough of the publicity (and the hyperlinks), below is my conversation with the savvy and highly creative Missy Suicide. She was more than generous with her time, and we can't thank her enough for adding us to the SuicideGirls' Blackheart Burlesque tour!

Photo by Will Ryan

OGRE JENNI:  Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background, Missy. Are you a model?

MISSY SUICIDE:  I’m not a model. I started SuicideGirls 14 years ago. I was the first photographer and founder of the website.

OGRE JENNI:  What is SuicideGirls, and when did you first have the idea to do this?

MISSY SUICIDE:  SuicideGirls started in 2001, so 14 years ago—which is crazy to think about. I thought that some of the girls I knew were the most beautiful girls in the world, and yet there were no girls who looked even remotely like them in the mainstream media. I wanted to create a place for them to be celebrated as beautiful and to share their thoughts and feelings with the world.

OGRE JENNI:  How many girls did SuicideGirls start with?

MISSY SUICIDE:  When we launched I think there were a dozen. Now we’ve got 3,000 from all over the world, including Antarctica.

OGRE JENNI:  Antarctica? That’s incredible. How did that work out?

MISSY SUICIDE:  There was a research scientist who was stationed in Antarctica, and she shot her set there, which was pretty impressive. And cold, I imagine.

OGRE JENNI:  Well that could be good for a couple of different reasons.

MISSY SUICIDE:  [laughs] Yes.

OGRE JENNI:  Who were some of your first models?

MISSY SUICIDE:  The first Suicide Girl was my neighbor Rose. She was incredibly brave, trusting, and confident. She just came in and let me take pictures and play dress up with her. I was incredibly thankful to her. Then there was Mary, who was a friend that I knew growing up, and there were other girls who were friends of friends. It all started in a very natural sort of way.

Photo by Derek Bremner

OGRE JENNI:  Where do you find Suicide Girls, and what do you look for in a Suicide Girl?

MISSY SUICIDE:  Now we get about 30,000 applications a year from women around the world, and we’re looking for girls who want to contribute their personal beauty to our redefinition of beauty. It doesn’t have to be girls with piercings or tattoos, but girls who don’t find anyone that looks like them in the mainstream lexicon.

OGRE JENNI:  Cool, so it’s reimagining pin-up culture in a way?

MISSY SUICIDE:  Yes. My original inspiration was Bunny Yeager’s photos of Betty Page. There’s something so natural, beautiful, and confident that happened when another woman photographed Betty nude. You didn’t really see that before when she was ‘putting on a pose’ for the male photographers. There’s a difference between being in a pose and being captured beautifully or naturally in the moment.

OGRE JENNI:  Are the photographers usually women?

MISSY SUICIDE:  Yes, for the most part the photographers start out as SuicideGirls models. We do have some amazing male photographers, but the majority of the photographers are women, and they mostly started out as Suicide Girls.

OGRE JENNI:  What would SuicideGirls have been without the Internet?  What would SuicideGirls have been in your imagination then?

MISSY SUICIDE:  If we didn’t have the Internet, then I feel like SuicideGirls would have been a local zine. You know? The incredible power of the Internet is that it has the ability to unify us around the world. Everybody on SuicideGirls was kind of an outsider in their small town or locale. But once you harness the power of the Internet you can touch base with people who are in every corner of the world sharing the same experiences. Suddenly you don’t feel so alone because you know that there are people just like you everywhere else in the world.

OGRE JENNI:  It seems like a lot of the SuicideGirls project is for women.

MISSY SUICIDE:  Yeah, I get letters every day from women around the world saying they never felt beautiful until they saw SuicideGirls. They are so moved when they see girls who look like them being celebrated as beautiful, and being confident in their photos and in their words…being inspirational in sharing their thoughts and feelings. It’s really a powerful and moving part of having started the SuicideGirls, getting the letters from women whose lives have been changed.

OGRE JENNI:  SuicideGirls is also a news source, and it has blog-diaries and so much more. Could you talk a little bit about why the girls have diaries, blogs, and what kind of news you cover on the website?

MISSY SUICIDE:  When I got the first pictures back, I decided it was important that the girls share their thoughts and feelings, too. I feel like the girls have so much more to say than just being captured in an image. I wanted to give them a platform to truly be appreciated. They were more than two-dimensional images. So that’s why the girls have blogs—and the site’s members also have blogs where they can share their thoughts and feelings.

There are groups on SuicideGirls where people can get together and talk about everything from their favorite TV shows to comic books. From Kurosawa films and religion to beauty or politics—and even cooking, weight loss, or crossfit—or whatever it is people are into. You can find that group on SuicideGirls. People really connect that way. We’ve had hundreds of couples meet on the site and get married. Babies have been born because their parents met on SuicideGirls, countless friendships have been made, and thousands of business partnerships and bands have formed. The community is a really huge part of the site.

OGRE JENNI:  What do you think explains SuicideGirls' popularity?

MISSY SUICIDE:  I think the popularity stems from the fact that people seek out something more than the same photocopied version of beauty that’s shoved down our throats every day. They discover SuicideGirls, and the first thing they notice is the images of confident, beautiful women and the striking honesty and realness of the girls. They get hooked by the community, and they develop these friendships—and they all watch Game of Thrones together! They’re like “oh man did you see that?!” [laughs] It’s really just an amazing thing. You make friends from around the world, and it’s a beautiful way to connect.

OGRE JENNI:  Do you consider SuicideGirls to be pornography, or is there another way we should think about it?

MISSY SUICIDE:  I don’t consider SuicideGirls to be pornography. The girls are just nude, and to me ‘pornography’ has a slightly lascivious tone to it, and I don’t’ think there’s anything lascivious about nudity. I think that the female form has been the most celebrated subject matter in all of art history, and if you go into most art museums you’re going to see as many nude bodies as you ever see on SuicideGirls.

OGRE JENNI:  Does SuicideGirls ever receive any flack? I’d be interested to know whether or not people express any religious objections, or if people who consume more conventional nudie-pictures are upset by the SuicideGirls mission.

MISSY SUICIDE:  Both groups really just leave us alone because there are far more obvious targets for the religious right to go after than us. As far as the nudie pics people go, there’s people on social networks who are trolls, and they will say anything no matter what. There are people who hide behind their computers and leave mean comments on any picture, but I don’t think that we are singled out for that. I feel like, for the most part, people leave us alone—which is pretty good. We have a really respectful community that I’m very proud of. Trolls are on most social networks, and you can’t post a picture of you and your grandmother without receiving the weird hater language. But on SuicideGirls, girls post nude photos of themselves, and the dialogue surrounding them is very respectful, nice, and supportive. If you do get a weird hater comment people are like, “Who is that?!” and everyone else rallies behind you. It’s really a special and safe place in the hater-filled world of the internet.

OGRE JENNI:  It’s a place of love!

MISSY SUICIDE:  Totally. We do get people who don’t understand the name, but I feel like that happens less and less these days. The name came from a Chuck Palahniuk book  [Survivor, 1999] where he describes girls who choose not to fit in and commit social suicide as “Suicide Girls.” That’s the only hate we really get. People ask, “Why are you glorifying suicide?” But that’s quieted down in the last ten years or so.

OGRE JENNI:  Is there a direct connection to punk and rock-and-roll, or is it all about the look?
MISSY SUICIDE:  I feel like punk and rock-and-roll definitely celebrate individuality, and I feel like music is a part of every person’s life—especially the people that are on the site. But I feel like that has evolved in the last ten years or so. People's musical tastes have opened up, and it’s a lot more eclectic than it used to be. The subgenre of music doesn’t define us as strongly as it once did. It’s okay for you to like multiple things now. The fiercely individualistic ethos of punk rock is still very near and dear to our hearts, but as far as our musical tastes go, they have become much more eclectic and open to more diverse artistic expression.

OGRE JENNI:  Who have been your favorite musical guests and bloggers?

MISSY SUICIDE:  Gosh, there have been so many. Dave Navarro shot a set, and that was super fun. We have interviewed tons of musicians over the years. We opened last year for Queens of the Stone Age, which was amazing. We were in a video with Dave Grohl. Mike Doughty also shot a set. There have been too many great musicians in all the interviews we’ve done over the years to pick a favorite.

Photo by Boudoir Louisville

OGRE JENNI:  When did SuicideGirls start doing live shows?

MISSY SUICIDE:  We started doing live shows in 2002 or 2003. We did them until early 2007, and we ran a very puck rock, louche, burlesque show. Then we toured the U.S., Australia, and Europe. We opened for Courtney Love, Guns N’ Roses, and we just had a great time. But it was a lot of work, and we’re a small company. We decided to take a break. We’d been working on a coffee table book, so we decided to focus our efforts on that. When the book was done we said, “Okay, well that’s done. Do you guys want to go back on tour?”

Then we said, “Well we could go on tour, or we could make a movie. Cool, we haven’t done that before—let’s make a movie!”

Then we made a movie, and the tour kept getting put on the backburner for a number of years. In 2012 we came out with our book, Hard Girls Soft Light. We sent two girls up and down the West Coast on a book signing tour, and they were just signing at comic book stores. But by the time they got to Santa Cruz, there were 500 people standing in line at a comic book shop just to get two girls’ autographs. So we realized that people clearly wanted some sort of a live experience, and we knew we could do better than having two girls just sitting there at a comic book shop.

So we decided to reinvent the burlesque tour. During the six years in which we had taken a break, there had been quite a lot of advances in the burlesque world. We knew we had to fire on all cylinders, so we decided to do an all pop-culture themed burlesque show. We had done a few pop culture referential numbers in the first burlesque tour—like a Quentin Tarantino dance. It feels like the current cultural touch points are the things you nerd out about (movies, TV shows, etc.) in a similar way that people used to claim their identity from the sub-genre of music they were into. Now it feels like our touch points are obscure manga and super heroes—or what TV shows and movies fill your Netflix queue.  We are still big music nerds here though, and we wanted the show to be set to modern music. We wanted to have amazing costumes and blow it out of the water.

When we first conceived of the new burlesque show, we weren’t sure if it was really going to work or not. I called up a choreographer friend of mine. We’d worked together in the past. His name is Manwe Sauls-Addison, and I said to him, “Okay, I’ve got a crazy idea for a burlesque show. All pop culture-themed numbers.”

He said, “Okay, well that’s going to be easy.”

And I told him, “See what you can come up with for this routine. I want a Planet of the Apes number. I want the girls to come out in silver bikinis and monkey masks, and I want to have one girl in a Barbarella-style, silver, one-piece with the bubble helmet. And I want it set to Disclosure’s 'When the Fire Starts to Burn,' but instead of the man talking during that part I want The Simpsons' 'Planet of the Apes Opera' to start playing.”

And he’s like, “Uh, ok. I don’t know how I’ll be able to do it, but I’ll give it a go. It sounds pretty fun.”

So he came out, and we held auditions. We found twenty amazing girls. He showed me the routine, and it was better than anything I could have ever imagined. He nailed it. So we have been creating crazy pop culture experiences ever since then.

Photo by SG Hopeful Prurient

OGRE JENNI:  What is your favorite act in the burlesque show?

MISSY SUICIDE:  They are all my babies, so I can’t really say “this one” or “that one.” I do have a soft spot for the Planet of the Apes number since it was our first.

OGRE JENNI:  Please tell us a little bit more about the Song of Ice and Fire references in the show.

MISSY SUICIDE:  Yes. When thinking about a burlesque show that encompasses strong badass women, there’s not many women as badass as Daenerys. So we used her as inspiration in one of the numbers. She and her dragons are featured to—well, I don’t want to give it all away! Have you guys seen it?

OGRE JENNI:  No! We’re waiting, and we’re excited!

MISSY SUICIDE:  [Laughs] Alright, then I won’t give it away. So there is a Daenerys number. That is all I will say.

OGRE JENNI:  That’s so exciting—we can’t wait! Thanks for doing this interview, and thank you for offering to donate to the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary.

MISSY SUICIDE:  Oh yeah, we’re really big fans of helping out and giving back. The Wolf Sanctuary is more than deserving.

Found on Facebook

King of Books Easter Lemming Liberal Dem
Originally posted by nihilistic_kid at Found on Facebook

It's always so funny, the people in a "community" who have no role other than to try to make themselves the arbiter of who is in and who is out.

The lower the status of the individual in the community, the more they are obsessed with the question as well.

September 6th, 2015

Originally posted by nihilistic_kid at Good Writing vs Bad—Hugo Edition
I often use these two lines from Farewell, My Lovely in class, as an example of excellent writing:

"It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window."

I then ask what we know about the blonde? The older students know definitively that "it" is female—the e in blonde is the giveaway. The younger, more politically annoying aware students will often point to and object to the "it" in "It was a blonde." They have good eyes—the narrator is referring to a photograph of a blonde. And she's attractive, strikingly so, perhaps even archetypal in her blondeness.

And what do we know of the narrator: he's intelligent, creative, cynical, attempts to detach himself from his own animal nature, is irreligious but was likely religious at some point, likes to show off. We know more about him than about her. And there's also a rhythm that carries us on—the second sentence wouldn't work nearly so well without the first, which is a double iamb. (da DUM da DUM it WAS a BLONDE) Not bad!

And now, some sentences on a similar theme, from the Hugo-nominated novel Skin Game by Jim Butcher:

I’m pretty sure the temperature of the room didn’t literally go up, but I couldn’t have sworn to it. Some women have a quality about them, something completely intangible and indefinable, which gets called a lot of different things, depending on which society you’re in. I always think of it as heat, fire. It doesn’t have to be about sex, but it often is—and it definitely was with Hannah Ascher. I was extremely aware of her body, and her eyes. Her expression told me that she knew exactly what effect she was having on me, and that she didn’t mind having it in the least. I’d say that my libido kicked into overdrive, except that didn’t seem sufficient to cover the rush of purely physical hunger that suddenly hit me. Hannah Ascher was a damned attractive woman. And I’d been on that island for a long, long time.

What do we know of this woman? Well, she has eyes and a body and, uh, some kind of look on her face. But what we don't know what. Is it, "Yeah, you want this, baby, and I like that!" or is it "Haha, another dumb nerd with a boner. That's right, waddle over here, Pointdexter!"?

And what do we know of the narrator—he has an erection, and he likes to flap his lips. And he's the world's worst anthropologist. (What society are you in?)

Now, why would some readers look at this mess and think "Good writing!" Simple: they're being asked to do something very simple—think of a hot chick. What does she look like? Whatever you think hot chicks look like, duh! No rhythm, no clever figurative language, nothing impressive about the narrator, but the words say "think of a hot chick" and you do and that makes you happy and there you are.

The "hot chick" is rather an aside anyway. Think of a guy in a hat. Think of a guy inhaling deeply and using all his AWESOME POWER in ONE BLAST. Think of any big city—this one happens to be named Chicago despite having almost nothing in common with Chicago. (By way of contrast, you can to this day use Farewell, My Lovely as a map of LA's Westside.) It's just dumb sloppy bullshit, that has the advantage of being easy enough to write that anyone willing to do it can make deadlines easily.

Note that I'm not discussing the sexual politics of the scene, for the simple reason that any human attitude or endeavor can be described well, or it can be described poorly. Content is a matter of taste and context. One needn't be a so-called "SJW" to look at Butcher's prose and see nothing but a piss-poor Xerox of a Xerox of a Xerox of a hardboiled detective looking back at you, with a crooked smile and far-off look in his eye as his dick gets hard.

Is it hot in here, or is it just the society we're in, mama?

August 27th, 2015

Loteria in New Mexico! Sasquan Wrapup! | On The Front

"The Sasquan con com put on a great event overall, and my hat’s off to them as well as all who attended my programming and events! Special shoutout to all who visited me and bought my Loteria merchandise in Artists Alley. I SOLD OUT of all of the Loteria Grande cards I brought to the con. Well done, Spokane.

"Favorite memories of the con for me? The Brotherhood Without Banners party and George R. R. Martin’s Hugo Losers Party at the Glover Mansion."

May 12th, 2015

Originally posted by redneckgaijin at My thoughts on the Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies, and Hugos brouhaha.
A lot has been written about the Sad/Rabid Puppies and the 2015 Hugo Awards. I haven't added much to it until now, mainly because I haven't been absolutely certain what I wanted to say about the whole subject. It's taken a long time, and a lot of careful thought, for me to get beyond knee-jerk reaction and to a solid opinion.

A lot of thinking and reading means a lot of words.Collapse )

November 14th, 2009

FairieCon photo essay

King of Books Easter Lemming Liberal Dem
"Heed my words, ye who crave tastings of the fabled faerie snatch: it may be punani suicide elsewhere, but elf ears, pirate coats and resplendent locks are like catnip to the ladies of the ‘con. And don’t worry about them being cool. They know what happens at Faeriecon stays at Faeriecon.

"Held over three days in Baltimore, the most magical of locations, Faeriecon 2009 brought together children, gamers, Pagans, Ren-festers, steampunks, bellydancers(?!), and the inevitable BDSM faction in their natural habitat: the Hunt Valley Marriott."

Among the Oaks and Elders - Viceland Today.

They also have a set of photos about Hello Kitty being 40.

May 17th, 2009

Going to be the future soon

"I won't always be this way
When the things that make me weak and strange get engineered away"

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