Quizz kid

“…competition crazy, though you wear the dunce’s cap…”

“Answerable to everyone, responsible to all, publicity dissected
Brain cells splattered on the walls of encyclopedic knowledge

May be barbaric but it’s fun, as the clock ticks away a lifetime
Hold your head up to the gun of a million cathode ray tubes
Aimed at your tiny skull
May you find sweet inspiration, may your memory not be dull…”

Jethro Tull – Quizz Kid (Too Old to Rock and Roll: Too Young to Die)

We’re in the final run up to Sasquan, and the Hugo Awards. The weather’s looking promising so I’ll probably be off fishing, because even to a cook of great ingenuity, the dietary value of a plastic rocket-ship is not high, and even sf-writers must eat. Anyone wanting to give me a ‘GW’ Prize AKA green folding stuff, which pays for the basic food-groups needed to go with fish and chips to sustain life, is a different matter. I mean I’ve learned to make ketchup and grow or make most of the essential ingredients, but alas, I have failed with coffee and chocolate. Now if it was a chocolate rocket then we could argue about meaningful things (like what percentage cocoa), but plastic…

Seriously, global warming has given us a bitterly cold and windy winter (Yes, I believe Al Gore did visit Australia recently. I am sure he came by solar sail-plane, entirely made from environmentally friendly carbon-neutral hessian.) with it blowing enough for air-borne cow pats for, it seems like, months (and before that we were hammering in stakes to tether the sheep, and fitting lead boots to the cows) if the swell is not too big I’ll be out on the wild and wasteful ocean, not paying attention to a very far away award. Best of luck to the nominees, I hope you have a great evening.

I am curious, I admit, to see the vote shares (no, I really don’t care at a personal level. I care about sf. I care about making enough money to continue to enjoy my Islander life, with sufficient coffee, chocolate and life’s other necessities like a new skinning knife, and maybe luxuries like a GPS/Fishfinder. That’s not a big ask, so I’m a lucky writer.) The Hugo Awards need some cachet – books popular with a vast number of readers — before they can go back to adding any real value, besides administering to the vanity – or pissing off the people who didn’t win but felt they ought to.

Someone asked me a few days ago – as they’d never heard of this whole circus, or in fact the Hugo awards, but did read sf – which side they’d be likely to support. They’d answered their own question, of course. But it inspired me to put together a puppy/puppy-kicker list. Pick A or B (whatever is closer,) and keep a tally.

1) What are the Hugo Awards?
a) The most prestigious Award in Fantasy and SF.
b) I dunno. Should I care? Wait up… didn’t Dune win one? Good book that!

2) Do you know who Mike Glyer is?
a) Yes he runs File 770, for which he has over 50 Hugo nominations!
b) Um. No. Only Mike I can think of is Mike Rowe. What does he act in? Pornos?

3) You read some sf and fantasy, and have for years. Are you a fan?
a) NO! Fans are people who go to Cons, participate in Cons, move in the right circles, and who know the relevant SMOFs. It’s not just _anyone_!
b) Yes. You enjoy reading the genre.

4) Heinlein or Scalzi?
a) Scalzi! He’s a great feminist and anti-racist and homophile! Heinlein is a heterosexual white male and therefore a sexist, racist homophobe.
b) Heinlein. Pity he’s dead. He wrote good stories. Some might have had women as men’s equals, characters of various races and orientations and sexual arrangements, but who noticed? Who cared?

5) While we’re asking about authors have you read anything by Mack Reynolds, Andre Norton or CJ Cherryh?
a) No. They’re dead conservative white men who wrote racist, sexist homophobic crap.
b) Yeah! I’ve got a few books by them (I got them from Dad/grandma/ Uncle Ted). Have you read ‘Black Man’s Burden’? Andre Norton… she did great space opera.

6) So do you think that sf/fantasy should be a literary genre, addressing social issues, educating readers, used for Modern English Literature courses?
a) Yes. Absolutely! It’s worthless otherwise.
b) If I wanted you to hold my head down the toilet and flush it, I would tell you so. I read for pleasure.

7) Talking of literary darlings… Marion Zimmer Bradley – Tor.com had praise paean to her some time ago. All things considered: Do think they should have?
a) Absolutely. No matter what, she was an icon of feminist empowerment and alternate sexuality! They should! Well done Tor!
b) Wasn’t she the woman who sexually abused and tortured her own daughter? The gay one with a pedo gay ‘husband’? Eugggggh! Aaaaack!

8) Moving away from that. Have you ever worked with your hands and/or held a job for reasonable length of time that was not in the arts, administrative or at most IT? If it was ‘white collar’ was it in a practical, pragmatic science, or commerce, and or military?
a) No. Those sort of jobs are for stupid red-necks. I have a liberal arts degree from an Ivy League College/rich partner/ trust fund/ work for the government/ live with my parents –who are not in need of my care/ scrounge to support my socially important writing on Patreon.
b) Yeah, I grew up on a farm/ visited Uncle Ted on the farm/cut lawns and now I’m in the Army/a geologist/write software/am an accountant. I fix my own car, and do DIY and cook. Or raise my kids. That’s real hands on work.

9) Ever volunteered or donated to people who are not in your chosen circle?
a) I’ll have you know I’m an activist for social justice. I took part in Occupy Wall Street, and every gay pride march. I support great books on Patreon. I don’t give to that white homeless man begging outside the coffee shop I write in. The government provides shelters and should help him. Besides he has white privilege. I work hard dealing with wrong people on the internet.
b) I help out at the animal shelter/firies/volunteer ambos, and my church does a soup kitchen I cook for. I gave money for the fire disaster in the next state, and that cyclone in that foreign place. I usually give that poor bastard begging a few bucks, even if I know he probably spends it on booze. I’ve been down on my luck too.

10) Do you believe that comments that disagree with you should be censored, or disemvoweled?

a) Yes. We’re protecting the freedom of speech and expressing tolerance. How can we do that if just any old redneck can say what he thinks? We’re looking for a vibrant diversity of opinion just like ours. You won’t get that if you let the scum talk. They need to be deprived of a platform, any platform!
b) No. Give them a fair crack of the whip at least. Ask ‘em to be civil, maybe. And if they can’t be they can go and spout it somewhere else.

11) Do you think the traditional publishing establishment is doing a great job?

a) Yes, except for Baen. The others do a wonderful job of bringing more disenfranchised voices to educate the public. Not enough, of course, but they’re rewarding women and minorities, seeing the end of boring hetero-normative binary sex in books. We’ve got to keep these great editors in control of SF, and get rid of the vile upstarts threatening our new golden age. History is on our side!
b) No idea who publishes what. But hell, I can’t find anything fun to read, outside of the Baen Books site. No wonder book sales are down.

12) Are all the sad and rabid puppies racist, sexist, homophobic Mormon men who gamed the system because they’re deservingly unknowns whose work is not good enough to win a Hugo (which is a popularity award, by fans)? (question offered with pictures of various puppies, their spouses, their names.)

a) Yes, that’s dead right. They’re neo-nazis too.
b) No idea. (looking at names and pictures of puppies) Sarah Hoyt. Hmm Great racks on these Mormon men. And look this racist seems to have a black wife… Oh. Jim Butcher. Larry Correia undeserving unknowns who’d have to game the system…. R…I…I…I…G….H….T! You got that stuff from ‘The Guardian’, did you?

13) Patrick Neilsen Hayden – Editor at Tor books – 15 Hugo Nominations
John Scalzi – SF author, blogger – 9 Hugo Nominations
Charlie Stross – SF author, blogger – 15 Hugo Nominations
Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant (same person) -10 Hugo Nominations (5 in one year)
Mike Glyer – blogger running File 770 – 50 + Nominations.

These people have multiple Hugo nominations, and are virulently opposed to the puppies, and have done their level best to trash them. Do you think they might possibly have vested interests in a status quo that has rewarded them richly?

a) (hyperventilating) I can’t even… You’re a racist, homophobic misogynist who hates diversity! Hater! Hater! Hater!
b) 50? Sheeee…it. So, um, in this diversity thing, do they have to be different women or whatever or can you have the same one over and over? Or does it count as two if she writes under a pseudonym?

14) Bernie should go far!
a) YES! But not far enough with our ideals.
b) Yes, Siberia. But that might not be far enough.
Okay this one was below the belt, politics not of my own country, and also politics I’d rather not use this post for. None of my business. But, seriously there seems a divide between far left, and everyone else. There are left wing pups, but there seem to be no puppy-kickers who aren’t far left.

If you answered a) to all questions: You are a puppy kicker. What are you doing here? You must be lost. Go straight back to File 770. You’ll feel right at home there. If you answered a) only to most questions I suggest you run and hide from them, because the ideological purity brigade will find you out, and declare you subhuman like the puppies. They may even get Rachael Acks to invite you to fuck off, which would probably upset you terribly.

If you answered b) to some or most of the questions… stick around, willya? We’ll answer questions as best we can.

If you answered b) to all questions… have a beer, kick the kid out of the chair, sit down, call the cat a bastard. You’re home. Read any good books?


  1. I think Arunachal is a good start on how far Bernie needs to go.

    (yeah, i just finished Stardogs. And?)

  2. I’m in the middle on one question, alas, Dave. But I got my start flying B-52s for Uncle Sugar, doing Electronic Warfare, and kind of evolving from there into a Senior IT Security Geek. So.. . on 8, TECHNICALLY both. . .

    Mind you, I still do command line and am teaching myself Amazon Web Services. . . so probably really “b”. . .

      1. True. And my original training was, oddly enough, as a Geologist. The hope was, Geo degree + Aviation rating = Path to Astronaut. Alas, I got hurt just as I was entering the second phase of Selection, so that route got cut off. . .

    1. grin. Don’t try it on Batman (the cat). He’s not much on the soft touch. Macho cat. He’ll pounce your coax and leave you bleeding. Robin – his sister, is cute cuddly and timid and needs coaxing. Bat on the other hand respects – and loves – only those who do not tolerate his nonsense. Then he’s all over you, doing cute kitty needs a chin-rub.

  3. There must be a (c) somewhere. The first worthwhile skill I learned was the care and feeding of an M14. The second was learning how to use it effectively. The third was learning the care and feeding of an M16. Etc and so on.

    Somehow after separating the service, I managed to submerge the PTSD {though it wasn’t recognized then} long enough to find a job and learn a decent skill, machining. Then somehow got tangled up with this cute, dominating redhead.

    After helping raise three daughters, or having survived that I guess, I started making swords and stuff. Learning the care and feeding of these obsolete but fascinating objects.

    I don’t see much worthwhile there, must be a c),

    1. Angus, do you make them with your mouth, or your toes? (which oddly, still counts ‘work with your hands’ in my book, but plus 10 achievement points).

      1. I guess that depends on how you look at life. I definitely eat enough grinding dust when I’m grinding blades.

  4. Pretty much solid Bs. Which describes my grade sheets, too. Hmm . . . Someone else can have my beer. I want to see how Mrs. Dave F. cans her tomatoes and such like, or if she freezes them, what bags and blanching she prefers.

    1. Bob has the right of it, it is me you should ask :-). Tomatoes get a range of treatments, depending on volume. I dry a lot. I seed and cook down and freeze as ice-cubes (and once frozen bag the cubes). Canning comes last – I don’t have enough vacuola jars and a proper set up, and a whole jar is too much for day-to-day cooking. I didn’t know there was more than one way of blanching?

      1. Skin on or off, if you take the corn/maize off the cob before blanching or after, that sort of technique stuff. (I leave the corn on the cob until I’m ready to bag and freeze it, but a neighbor at Flat State U swore by stripping the cobs and putting the kernels into a sieve, then dropping it into the boiling water.)

  5. I am ashamed. I have one (a). I had heard of Mike Glyer, although I didn’t know he had 50 nominations. 8( I must remove the taint. Where is Starship Troopers?

        1. The Brits don’t drink warm beer. Every beer I drank in the UK was chilled. In one authentic and very old fashioned mill pub near JAC Molesworth I drank room temp beer – but the room was the cellar and the temp was 10C.

  6. Just about all B. Do have a degree in English, but spent twenty years as a military broadcast tech. Worked as a volunteer in college to help resettle Vietnamese refugees in 1975. Totally and irreversibly grossed out this year to find out about Marion Zimmer Bradley, and I had a full box of her books on my shelves, too — now in a box in the garage.
    Not a fan of beer – chardonnay in a box will do – just call it vin du cartonnage.

    1. Exactly. Have a degree in ESL but to be fair it was practical degree where and when I took it. Plenty of employment between translation and teaching. … of course I moved.
      Still have done scientific and technical translation, raised two boys, most of the furniture in this house was built or assembled by me, rescue kittens, train new writers, clean house, cook, like doing/making stuff with my hands and am general all around “Woman” (in the Portuguese sense) with SF as my steading.
      I’m not calling the cat a bastard. Robert (older son) took D’Artagnan cat, aka, le petit batard with him. And if we call Havey a bastard he’ll just be hurt. He’s a dog at heart.
      And now I’ll go finish the fargin story.

        1. Vinho verde? I may have to wait until we get to Phoenix, but I’m certainly going to try it.

      1. All cats are bastards. They may be affronted (or put on a good show of it) but really, the cat’s mother was never married and didn’t care for the idea.

    2. This virtual booze is great. You can have anything you please. In honor of my country and Monty Python have a Charlemagne goblet of Chateau Nuisau Wogga-Wogga.

      1. Is that the one which will really open up the sluice from both ends, or the bouquet like an Aborigine’s armpit?
        Asking for a friend …

    3. I didn’t come across it until a few months ago either.

      I save my ire for the people who have claimed they knew what was going on. Couldn’t even be arsed to drop a dime with the appropriate authorities.

      That makes them equally guilty, the same way the guy who just drove the getaway car is charged with bank robbery.

      Not only do they feel no shame about being a pedophile’s helper, they brag about it on the internet. And people thought that was just fine.

  7. All Bs, especially 8. It brought to mind digging foundations in clay with a shovel and hammer. The hammer was to knock the clay from the shovel. Construction was summer employment after the corn was laid by.

    No beer, though. Tap water’s fine.

    1. Brad, I just want to say, again, that you have my admiration and gratitude for taking this on. Your idealism tops mine by several miles 🙂 as does your ability to suffer fools patiently and gladly. They have attempted to recast you as a villain, but you have been – as you always were, the friend of ordinary readers and ordinary writers, taking on foes of those ordinary folk, foes who were very much more powerful, had all the levers of influence and who you knew could and would be as vicious as they have been. I know that as a man who tried for tolerance – you have been tried instead by lies, deliberate misinterpretation and willful libel. You’ve been attacked by people you thought were ‘friends’ even if they differed on certain issues. Well. Fire consumes dross. I hope the friends you have still differ on certain issues 🙂 but are friends you can trust. I hope you will consider me as one of them.

  8. Good sir, I thank you. For the past hour or so, I’ve been sitting here with a gnawing unease in the pit of my stomach, and I couldn’t figure out why. Then you mentioned “BEER”. Which is exactly the concept I was seeking.

    So, as I sit back with lemon shandy, I thank you and the Australian psyche that recognizes what is important is life.

    [I exclude those direct heirs of the criminals who were the founding settlers of Australia and are now its gun-grabbing politicians.]

    1. Huh. Some Criminals never reform. Actually the whole gun-grabber thing seems to be another mental illness caused by over-crowding. It always comes out the cities.

      Out here, beyond the black stump, we understand beer to be a good answer to many things.


  9. b. all that you can b.

    “Read any good books?”
    Oh yeah! KU for my birthday and I’m plowing through puppies.
    Red fiddler among them. How bout some further adventures?

    Reviews forthcoming as soon as I figure out how to write better reviews than, “That was so cool!”

    1. :-)Thank you. I enjoyed that a lot because I got to weave a fair bit of Celtic myth that’s being forgotten or airbrushed away into a character I liked a lot (something of the ‘root’ character for Bolg – but with more trickster in him. The red fiddler is a willful trickster, Bolg is like him in solutions, but takes no particular glee in practical jokes. I must write another trickster story. I like them.) I enjoyed writing that story, but I’m unlikely to write any more in Misty Lackey’s universes. But there are lots of others.

  10. My only “a” answer was knowing who Mike Glyer is, but that was through comments about him/his trolling over at Vox Popoli. (I’ll regrade that as a c…) I cut my teeth on Heinlein’s juveniles and was reading a lot until I bogged down working on an MSEE while the SJWs were remaking SF. Couldn’t get back into it, though it’s getting interesting now.

    BTW, I love the “a” response to 5. I wonder how many SJWs are fool enough to think that. Probably more than a couple.

    1. 5 🙂 – I’d say if you include the cynical ‘willfully ignore because that doesn’t suit the bullshit narrative’ 100%. Simply ignorant – probably 75%. And then there are the ‘a man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest’ part, who would (or have) read those books and still emerge believing exactly what they did of the authors.

      4, BTW is much the same jest. Dislike him or love him, Scalzi is a white married man, just as Heinlein was.

  11. The cats are bastards. They should pester the family members that actually like them (and who they actively ignore), and leave me the heck alone.
    Especially when I’m trying to sleep or type.

  12. I fear I am in category A on employment, because I do not meet the criteria for B. I am not prepared to go into the specifics in public.

  13. “Read any good books?” Why, yes, thank you. I am currently enjoying a leisurely re-read of Connie Willis’s wonderful, “To Say Nothing of the Dog.”

    [And as we all know, “Connie” has to be a man whose real name is Constantine. Because we know that “she” is too old to have written any SF in the long ago evil days of the dominance of the male patriarchy.] /sarc

  14. Missed my perfect B score and it’s all your fault, and Sarah’s, and Brad’s, and Cedar’s. I know the name Mike Glyer and file770 far better than I ever wanted to and never would have if not for y’all and your loud mocking and finger pointing.
    Does the fact that I like my Guinness chilled make me a bad man?

    1. Guinness in the American market (and likely the same way down under) is a bit different than that in the Isles and not as chilled doesn’t change the taste much. Try a local micro-brew not trying to be a Guinness for something that changes a good bit with slightly warmer temps (still should be cooler than ambient for my best tastes ymmv), becoming richer with different undertones.

  15. Not sure which category I’d fall into:
    ->Taught kids with learning problems for 25 years (and actually taught useful skils… Worse: I taught some of them to read via Heinlein stories…)
    ->Like building things that go Whoosh (Rocketry)
    ->My dad did this little thing called Naval Combat Aviation…
    ->15,000+ books, and no PC/SJW/whatever writings in the house.

    So, any good beers on tap?

  16. Hah! That’s quite good for nigh on the tail end of another long day (this before sunup to after sundown business is for the birds!). Of the A’s, I worked IT the once, and I edited a leetle magazine in college on the side, when I wasn’t loading trucks at the newspaper or delivering chemicals at the biology lab- and I know *of* this Glyer fellow, but as for who he is, can’t really say. For the B’s, well, I was pretty much a C student but I’ll gladly take those B’s all day long and twice on Sunday. *grin*

    Good books? ‘Course. The Year’s Best Military SF & Space Opera is pretty good. Peter Grant’s Laredo Wars/Maxwell Saga is good space adventure (somewhat mil-sf), just finished that one a week ago. Just re-read Tales from the Emerald Serpent, too- pretty good fantasy in the Thieves World style (this one actually has a central plot tying it all together so far). Before that it was Chuck Gannon’s Trial by Fire, a darn good sequel that upholds the promise of the first book surprisingly well… Actually, there’s a lot of good books out there to read. Steam Mole is on my TBR pile for next week, if I get time to read in between jobs 1,2, & 3. *chuckle*

    Don’t forget to vote for the one you like best if you read the Year’s Best Mil-SF & Space Opera folks. Feed those authors, and they will feed our book habits!

  17. 100% B’s
    My reading list for 2015 (all 2015 copyrights):
    Straits of Hell by Taylor Anderson
    The Change edited by S. M. Stirling
    Operation Arcana edited by John Joseph Adams
    A Long Time Until Now by Michael Williamson
    1636 The Cardinal Virtues by Flint & Hunt
    Grantville Gazette Volumes 57-62 edited by Paula Goodlett
    A Call to Arms by Weber, Zahn, Pope
    Sword of Arelion by Amanda Green
    Onward Drake edited by Mark Van Name
    Raising Caine by Charles Gannon
    Son of the Black Sword by Larry Corriea
    Mission Tomorrow edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt
    Come the Revolution by Frank Chadwick
    Stormfront by Robert Conroy
    Writers of the Future Volume 31
    The End Has Come edited by Adams & Howey
    Twice and Future Caesar by Rebecca Meluch
    Her Brother’s Keeper by Mike Kapari

  18. Money quote:

    “We’re looking for a vibrant diversity of opinion just like ours.”

    Hoo-boy, are they!

  19. Pat,

    I found something on Kindle Unlimited, and thought of you. ‘A Net of Dawn and Bones’ by C. Chancy.

    I heard somewhere that she is a fanfic writer I’m very fond of. I’m having trouble articulating a ringing enough endorsement.

    I think this quote is a pretty good sales pitch:
    ‘This book was written because I couldn’t find anything like it on the shelves.
    …No, seriously. After the umpteenth time picking up yet another urban fantasy that looked promising but on closer skimming had the Designated Protagonist choosing the Sexier Evil, I kind of snapped.
    Part of the fun of any story is putting yourself in the character’s shoes. But these shoes I not only didn’t want to slip into, I wanted to set them on fire. Where were the good guys? The honest cops? The ordinary people choosing to do the Right Thing, no matter how hard it was? Where was the belief that there is a Right Thing; that there is Good, and Evil, and you pick the side you’re going to fight for, even if the heavens fall?
    In short – where were the heroes? ‘

    1. I think some of those “writers” aren’t readers. At least, it’s pretty obvious they’ve never read much of the genre they’re writing in. Or maybe they just don’t think anyone will notice their Great Work is just repackaged Star Trek or Tolkein.

      1. Talking about Chancy, fanfic writers, or the generic PNR approach to a lot of urban fantasy? If Chancy, can you tell me what about the book struck you this way?

  20. Oh yes, ‘disemvoweling’… I ran onto that quite unexpectedly. It took me several days to figure out what was going on. I had mistakenly thought I was having a logical conversation with rational adults.

    My mistake…..

  21. Laughed my ass off at CJ Cherryh (the ‘h’ added so it didn’t sound like a stripper^W romance writer name), Andre Norton, and Mack Reynolds being dead conservative white men. Though I admit I had to look up Reynolds to find out he was a Socialist.

  22. All B especailly 8. Like beer.Like port, a taste acquired while stationed Down Under, along with a taste for red wine. But mostly just love a good story. Heinlein, Hoyt, Herbert, Cherryh, Tolkien, Cooriea, Clancy, Drake, Ringo…. Have to admit that I liked Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War.” My son gave it to me for my 50th birthday, having a hearty horselaugh at my expense. I won’t be buying the sequel, but that one I did enjoy.

  23. Is it sad that all this time I thought CJ Cherryh was a woman? I used to say as a teen that I didn’t care for her writing, so I haven’t read he….him since.
    And yes I’m a B, but most of what I read is old stuff from my library. I do have MHI – but I bought/read them out of spite. (someone was lambasting this Larry guy so I checked him out; he seemed like the kind of guy I wanted to support so I bought (I think) 4 of his. Just to metaphorically kick the bad-mouther in the shins. 🙂

    1. She is, and I think I am correct in saying, gay. An author whose work I enjoy – because I read for what I enjoy rather than because of the author’s skin color, orientation or politics. That was the point of the question – none of these historical figures were conservative white heterosexual men. Mack Reynolds was a socialist, and one of his better known books had one of the earliest black lead characters.

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