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Posts tagged ‘SJW’

Fear and Loathing: Geeks and Social Justice Warriors (Pt. 2) by Jacob Lloyd

(This is the second part of Jacob Lloyd’s series on geeks and social justice warriors. You can find the first here.

So … social justice warriors.

I’m not going to get into an argument about what a social justice warrior actually is, because the very concept is a slippery one – and, in any case, it’s better to see them as social justice bullies.  What I will say is that geeks are triggered by social justice bullies.

The core problem with SJWs is not that they are evil.  They have good intentions.  But they see people as groups, rather than individuals.  There is no attempt to draw a line between two different people, not when they’re in the same group.  SJWs see Sheldon Cooper and Warren Mears as being identical, even though they’re very different people.  People who happen to be in the favored groups get better treatment than the unfavored.  Worse, they are unable or unwilling to understand how their words scan to everyone outside their bubble.  A reasonable argument (to them) may not seem quite so reasonable to everyone else. Read more

What a novel idea

sad_puppies_3_patchTime has now past to register for Sasquan in order to take part in the nomination and voting for the different Hugo Award categories. That means it is time to grab your snack and drink of preference and sit back to watch as certain heads start exploding because — gasp — Sad Puppies didn’t go away like they thought it would. Instead, Brad Torgersen has taken up the call to help bring attention to science fiction and fantasy works that do something unheard of in the halls of social justice warriors and their subset, the glittery hoo-hahs. These revolutionary works actually entertain the reader or viewer without hitting us over the head with a “socially relevant” message.

The Hugos began in 1955, iirc. I remember a time when I was younger when winning an award actually meant something when it came to sales of a title. I looked for books that had the stamp of being a Hugo winner on them because I could be certain they were books that I would enjoy. The story would entertain and make me think. Those books were, in fact, some of the best in science fiction or fantasy for that year. They were books I wanted to read.

Sadly, that has changed over the year and, with that change, the Hugos have been seen by many readers as having lost their relevance. After all, who wants to read a novel that is more concerned with preaching a message than it is in telling an entertaining story? Worse, in some ways at least, fewer and fewer readers actually know that the Hugos exist, much less what they are supposed to reward.

Yet, with that sad reality smacking us in the face, if you dare rock the boat and offer up a slate of recommended nominations that doesn’t meet the social justice platform, you will find yourself and the books and other works included on your slate, attacked by the SJW side. Don’t believe me, look at what has already started happening with the Sad Puppies 3 slate. Within a short time of Brad releasing his slate, the following tweet by Ian Sales appeared:

[name redacted] surprised Jim Butcher is on their list, didn’t know he was a fascist. Not that I’ve read his books or ever plan to

This was posted at 6:09 AM yesterday. Two things strike me on this — the first is the automatic assumption that Jim Butcher is a “wrong” thinker just because he is on a list compiled by someone who doesn’t buy in blindly to the SJW agenda and the second is that the decision is being made without ever having read anything written by Butcher. But, in some ways, that doesn’t surprise me. This seems to be the approach all too often of zealots and those who blindly follow them.

If you continue looking at Sales’ twitter feed on the topic you will find that he made another mistake. He assumed that Sad Puppies 3 is the exact same list as that released by Vox Day. It isn’t. There are some similarities and there are some differences, as there should be because they were made by two different people with different tastes and different reasons for putting the lists together. But just because there is some overlap and — gasp — because Vox Day is involved in one, both lists must be tainted, at least in the eyes of the SJW crowd and their hangers on.

So watch as this becomes a negative campaign on their side, just as it was last year and the year before. They won’t be out there extolling the wonderful plots and well-crafted stories of their nominees. No, you will see instead attacks on the authors and editors listed on SP3 as people because they don’t fall into lock step with the right-thinkers.

When did we forget that to be the best in science fiction and fantasy, the work has to be readable or watchable and it has to be entertaining? Yes, even groundbreaking science fiction and fantasy can both groundbreaking and entertaining. That is something that too many publishers and too many in the SJW sect have forgotten.

Fortunately, people like Brad haven’t. He’s put together a slate of nominees that include conservative and libertarian authors. If you look closely enough, you might even find a liberal or two. This is not a slate of evil conservative men who want to push women into the kitchen or the bedroom and never let them out. What it is, is a slate of titles that honor what science fiction and fantasy happen to be. So I urge you to consider the works he has proposed.

I’ll even go one further than many of those who are so quick to condemn the SP Slate. I urge you to read not only these titles but those put forth by the other side. If you do, and if you enjoy science fiction and fantasy that has a great story and entertains (and yes, it can still have a message but that isn’t a requirement), I have a feeling your personal slate will resemble SP3 more closely than it will the SJW slate.

Anyway, here is the Slate for Sad Puppies 3. (Full disclosure here. Brad has listed Cedar, Dave and me under the best fan writer category and Jason for the Campbell Award. I know I speak for all of us when I say it is an honor to be included on SP3.)

Best Novel
“The Dark Between the Stars” – Kevin J. Anderson – TOR
“Trial by Fire” – Charles E. Gannon – BAEN
“Skin Game” – Jim Butcher – ROC
“Monster Hunter Nemesis” – Larry Correia – BAEN
“Lines of Departure” – Marko Kloos – 47 North (Amazon)

Best Novella
“Flow” – Arlan Andrews Sr. – Analog magazine November 2014
“One Bright Star to Guide Them” – John C. Wright – Castalia House
“The Jenregar and the Light” – Dave Creek – Analog magazine October 2014
“Big Boys Don’t Cry” – Tom Kratman – Castalia House

Best Novelette
“The Journeyman: In the Stone House” – Michael F. Flynn – Analog magazine June 2014
“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” – Rajnar Vajra – Analog magazine July/Aug 2014
“Championship B’tok” – Edward M. Lerner – Analog magazine Sept 2014
“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” – Gray Rinehart – Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show

Best Short Story
“Goodnight Stars” – Annie Bellet – The Apocalypse Triptych
“Tuesdays With Molakesh the Destroyer” – Megan Grey – Fireside Fiction
“Totaled” – Kary English – Galaxy’s Edge magazine
“On A Spiritual Plain” – Lou Antonelli – Sci Phi Journal #2

Best Related Work
“Letters from Gardner” – Lou Antonelli – Merry Blacksmith Press
“Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth” – John C. Wright – Castalia House
“THE HOT EQUATIONS: THERMODYNAMICS AND MILITARY SF” – Ken Burnside
“Wisdom From My Internet” – Michael Z. Williamson
“Why Science is Never Settled” – Tedd Roberts – BAEN

Best Graphic Story
“Reduce Reuse Reanimate (Zombie Nation book #2) – Carter Reid – (independent)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
“The Lego Movie” – Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
“Guardians of the Galaxy” – James Gunn
“Interstellar” – Christopher Nolan
“The Maze Runner” – Wes Ball

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
Grimm – ” Once We Were Gods” – NBC
Marvel’s Agent’s of Shield – ABC
Warehouse 13 – SyFY
A Game of Thrones – “The Mountain and the Viper” – HBO

Best Editor (Long Form)
Toni Weisskopf – BAEN
Jim Minz – BAEN
Anne Sowards – ACE/ROC
Sheila Gilbert – DAW

Best Editor (Short Form)
Mike Resnick – Galaxy’s Edge magazine
Edmund R. Schubert – Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show
Jennifer Brozek (Shattered Shields)
Bryan Thomas Schmidt (Shattered Shields)

Best Professional Artist
Carter Reid
Jon Eno
Alan Pollack
Nick Greenwood

Best Semiprozine
Sci Phi Journal – Jason Rennie
Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show – Edmund Schubert
Abyss & Apex
Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine

Best Fanzine
Tangent SF On-line – Dave Truesdale
SF Signal – Jon DeNardo
Elitist Book Reviews – Steve Diamond
The Revenge of Hump Day – Tim Bolgeo

Best Fancast
“The Sci Phi Show” – Jason Rennie
Dungeon Crawlers Radio
Adventures in SF Publishing

Best Fan Writer
Matthew David Surridge (Black Gate)
Jeffro Johnson
Amanda Green
Cedar Sanderson
Dave Freer

The John W. Campbell Award
Jason Cordova
Kary English
Eric S. Raymond
Amy Turner Hughes

To quote Brad, “Remember: only YOU can combat puppy-related sadness!”

Somebody Should Have Done Something

Once upon a time (2006) in a land far far away (Chattanooga, TN) there was our hero, preparing to slay dragons and drink merrily with his comrades. We know he was our hero because, well, I’m narrating this and I say that he was our hero. Don’t like it? I’ll call you a wah-mbulance and I’ll use your tears to flavor my soup. He’s our hero, buttercup. Deal.

Anyways, where was I? Right. Chattanooga, Tennessee. Summer of ’06. It was a hot and humid evening, where the only respite from the overbearing heat was the body temperature rain which only seemed to fall at night. Our hero was drinking and carousing with friends when, in a fit of random mischief, he took a tumble and hurt himself badly. Fearing the worst, his compatriots sent him to the hospital to be examined. His heart filled with dread, he complied, and was poked and prodded for four hours before he was declared fit to return to the convention where he was (obviously) fighting for truth, justice and the Inebriated Beverage way. However, unbeknownst to our hero (okay, knownst, but our hero needed it, I swear), the villainous doctor pumped him full of an evil concoction which rendered his muscles weak and his mind blurred. Disoriented (but feeling a-ok), our hero finally managed to stumble into his bedroom sometime just before dawn. He was shocked by what he saw.

There, upon his bed, were a man and a women, sound asleep. Neither the man nor woman were our hero’s roommate for the weekend, or the other individual who was staying in the room with them. Our hero knew this man, and knew this woman, but… they were asleep on his bed. Confused, our hero stumbled down the hall with his allies and collapsed into their spare bed to sleep off the pain, all the while surrounded by nubile young women (true story, bro). When our hero arose from his slumber the following afternoon, he talked to the man and woman who had been occupying his bed and told them of his annoyance, but forgave them since word had gotten around that our hero would not be returning until the following day and the duo, who had been exhausted and in no shape to take their horseless carriage to their campground, had received (albeit in a roundabout way) permission from the hero’s roommate to stay. Our hero did not scream and rage, and he most definitely did not try to publicly shame them or harm them. Nor did he write an official letter of complaint to the convention because his personal space was invaded. He handled it, and the manner died a quiet death, banished to the murky annals of con lore and legend.

Many years later (like, 8), a new class of heroine arose from the depths of a forgotten land (Burlington, Massachusetts). This self-professed heroine was also at a convention, and was rooming with other people. However, when our self-professed heroine discovered that a mutual acquaintance had held a room party in her room without her permission (and using sorcery to unlock the door, apparently), she was deeply troubled. Our heroine was fortunate nothing was stolen, she thought. Our heroine stood up and felt shaken at the very thought that a group of people she did not know had ended up in her room. Why had the inviting individual not foreseen that she would be bothered by this? What sort of witchery had the individual used to convince people that an uninvited room party in someone else’s room was a good idea? Why hadn’t the individual known? Somebody must do something about this!

Sadly, somebody did. Using smear tactics and public ridicule (satire is wonderful, ain’t it?), our heroine began an effort to publicly destroy the individual who dared use sorcery to break into our heroine’s room, mind control her roommate and forced them to host a party and then leave. The Evil League of Evil publicly denounced these tactics, which obviously means that our heroine is the One True Heroine, because if publicly acknowledged evil is against it, then it must be Good. Many voices rose from the darkness of society to justify our heroine’s warrior-like effort to expose this charlatan of an evil enchantress.

Our story does not have a happy ending, for it is still being written to this day. We shall see what comes to pass…

In all seriousness, it’s a pain in the ass sometimes when you’re at a convention and you come back to people in your room. All you want to do is sleep and relax, and you feel a little bad about kicking them out. However… I’ve never had a group of people in my room who didn’t leave when asked. Usually a “Guys, I’m exhausted. Can you guys take it to another room?” gets the point across in a polite manner, and there are no hard feelings (except for that one bastard who drank too much and had gotten real damn comfy on your couch, but screw that guy) all around. There’s no problem the next day, and people are apologizing for keeping you up later than you wanted to. It’s called Con Culture, and it’s a wonderful thing.

But there is a key component to all this, and it’s communication. People do not usually read minds, and people at con (not the most social of critters known to man) are even worse at knowing what you’re thinking. Trust me, everyone will be okay with your choice if you tell them that you’re not cool with something. Sitting off to the side and staying quiet doesn’t do the trick. Staying silent about something and later slamming them publicly while voicing your distaste to the con committee weeks afterwards does nothing but engender negative feelings all around, because the first words out of someone’s mouth is invariably “I didn’t know. Why didn’t you say anything?”

And that’s a problem, because it’s far easier to write letters and bitch about things anonymously on the internet. It’s terrifying to stand up in public and be brave when surrounded by the “enemy”, so to speak. It’s too much for some people to state “No, this isn’t cool” in person. I understand this fear, because everyone suffers from it in various ways. Some feel a nagging little tickle right before they speak, others have an overwhelming urge to vomit and run away. You can toss around the “if only” afterwards, and blame others for your own lack of rules and fortitude to stand up (I don’t generally room with others now, and if I do, we know beforehand what is and what isn’t cool for our room, and it works out), but it never justifies publicly attacking them and defaming them, as a recent attendee of Readercon did.

For now, though, we all get to watch and wonder just what would have happened if she had said “This needs to end” during the event (or even “this can’t happen in our room” beforehand). Somebody should have done something.

…and now for our self-promotion. Jason Cordova writes. He writes a lot. He writes books. They are good. You should buy them all. His kitteh!s demand lambskin beds and kitteh! towers ten feet high so that they may jump upon his head whenever the whim strikes them. He is also the International Ambassador for the Kaiju Awareness Foundation. This means he gets eaten last. He lives in Virginia.

TANSTAAFL

I first came across TANSTAAFL years ago after finding copies of Worlds of If buried in one of my grandmother’s closets. This closet was devoted to storing books, magazines, records and a myriad of other things my uncles and father had left at the house over the years. To the best of my knowledge, these particular magazines had been left by my Uncle John when he’d been home on leave from the Navy. The rest of the brothers and sisters had long since moved out of the house and had their own families.

For those of you who might not be familiar wit TANSTAAFL, it comes from Robert A. Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. It is the “title” of the third part of the book and stands for “There ain’t so such thing as a free lunch.” Think about that for awhile.

I guess what made this come to mind for me is recent events in the publishing world. There’s the Amazon-Hatchette conflict. Amazon has been pretty quiet about what is involved in their ongoing negotiations with Hatchette. Hatchette has been more quiet, officially at least, that I expected. However, there are “unnamed sources” that are supposedly from those in the know at Hatchette that have talked with the New York Times. And, of course, the Times is reporting what was said as fact. I’ll let you read the post but basically, if the source is to be believed, Amazon wants concessions for putting up a pre-order button, for having a person dedicated to dealing with Hatchette, pricing and discounting of e-books, etc.

Now, as the Times noted, much of what Amazon supposedly wants is exactly what is already in place with retailers such as Barnes & Noble. Of course, that little tidbit is buried deep in the article. It is also something we aren’t hearing about from those Amazon detractors who claim that all the retailer is doing is hurting authors and readers.

Well, folks, TANSTAAFL. As an author, when you sign a contract with a publisher, you are signing over all rights to determine where your book will be sold to that publisher. If they don’t contract with a retailer, too bad. If they get into a contract dispute with a retailer too bad. You may not like it but you gave up that control. What’s more, you gave it up for a very small cut of the money pie, trusting that publisher to protect your rights, market your book and give you a fair accounting of your sales.

I’m not going to condemn anyone for going the traditional route. I freely admit there is one traditional publisher — Baen — I would love to work with some day. However, when you sign a contract with a publisher, you do give up your right to determine where your books are sold and at what price point. You can and, more than likely will, find yourself held hostage during contract negotiations between the publisher and its distributor or retail outlets. That is just one of the costs of doing business the traditional way.

But TANSTAAFL applies to what is going on in publishing in other ways as well. For a very long time, the darlings of traditional publishing have benefited from a push from their publishers than many others never received. They were allowed to believe that they are relevant and cutting edge. They fell into lockstep with the cause du jour as decided by the publishers and took great joy in lording it over the lesser beings in publishing, especially in science fiction/fantasy. We’ve seen them flex their muscles — or try to, at least — in how they’ve pushed political correctness as they describe it. Don’t you dare have a scantily clad female on a cover but no sweat having a mostly naked man. To be relevant, you have to have every color, creed and sexual preference represented in your work. Story has taken a backseat to message.

Except there has been a push back and they don’t know how to react. The sacred cows are being sacrificed right and left. We’ve been told people don’t read science fiction and fantasy and yet there are folks out there indie publishing who have been able to quit their day jobs to write full time. Others have managed to make enough in royalties in just a month or two of sales to be the equivalent of an advance from a traditional publisher. What’s worse that these renegade indie authors actually being successful is that they are doing it by writing stories readers want to read. Stories, not messages. How dare they!

The other side has made an art of attacking those they don’t approve of. They have no problems publicly condemning, possibly even slandering, those who might have unpopular beliefs. If you don’t fit into the right-think slot, you are not worthy of being allowed to write. They’ve done their best to ruin Vox Day who, in my opinion, loves to stir the pot of controversy. When Ender’s Game (the movie) came out, they tried to coordinate a boycott of the movie and even called for people to quit buying anything by Orson Scott Card. Why? Because he doesn’t believe the way they do and has said so publicly. Do I agree with him? No, but I also don’t think that is reason to take away his livelihood. Want more examples? There has been a call for Toni Weisskopf to drop Larry Correia because he is a big, mean, scary, gun-loving, heterosexual man and proud of it. Worse, he won’t learn his place and be quiet about his opinions and apologize to those who attack him.

There are any number of other examples out there. The point is this, those folks who are often identified as social justice warriors or GHHers have been allowed to do as they want and say as they want for so long, they thought they basically had a free lunch to continue to do so. They are now learning that they don’t. When they attack one of our own, we tend to fight back now. Why? Mainly because we’re tired of it. But the underlying reason is because we know, as authors, we have alternatives to legacy publishing now. We don’t have to be afraid of our editors dropping us because we aren’t bowing down to their cause du jour. Then there is the fact that we are starting to realize there are so many readers out there who want the kind of stories we write.

The dance that is happening right now revolves around how the other side is dealing with the revelation that one of their shining beacons they hold up as an example for all has been named as an abuser by her own daughter. They’d managed to “forget”, if not turn a blind eye, to the fact that this beacon (Marion Zimmer Bradley) had been married to a child abuser and had, iirc, tried to defend his actions. But now they are scrambling around trying to figure out how to respond to the allegations against MZB. I’ve seen everything from condemning the actions, if true, but casting doubt on the daughter’s story to saying basically, “okay, she was bad but that doesn’t make her books, or the message in them, bad.” Then there was the comment I saw on social media this morning which was basically trying to find out if it was one of those well-known “secrets”. The subtext being, if it wasn’t, then the person posting could just ignore what happened and say that we can’t condemn the writing because of actions of the author that weren’t known.

My issue with all that is the double-standard involved. If this sort of revelation had been made against a “conservative” writer, the SJWs would be demanding that their books be pulled from the shelves and the author would be condemned. There would be little to no doubting the allegations against her. There would be no separating the actions of the author from her work. Remember, they want to kill the careers of men like Card and Correia simply because they aren’t “politically correct”.

Well, for those who think it is all right to apply that double standard, TANSTAAFL. There will come a time when people are tired of being told what to do, what to think, what to read. And guess what, that time is here. There is more behind the trouble the publishing industry is in than Amazon and much of it lies at the feet of the publishers and those they have anointed as their dahlings. You attack us, we will defend ourselves. More than that, we will continue to write stories readers want to buy. We will continue to explore alternative ways to get our work into the hands of readers, and at prices they can afford and that will pay us royalties much greater than what your legacy publishers are giving you.

And, along that line, here are some of those books:


adjustment2Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 1)

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.


stardogsStardogs

Revolution rises!

The Interstellar Empire of Man was built on the enslavement of the gentle Stardogs, companions and Theta-space transporters of the vanished Denaari Dominion. But the Stardogs that humans found can’t go home to breed, and are slowly dying out.

As the ruthless Empire collapses from its rotten core outward, an Imperial barge is trapped on top of a dying Stardog when an attempted hijacking and assassination go horribly wrong. Trying to save its human cargo, the Stardog flees to the last place anyone expected – the long-lost Denaari motherworld.

Crawling from the crash are the Leaguesmen who control the Stardogs’ pilots by fear and force, and plan to assassinate Princess Shari, the criminal Yak gang, who want to kill everyone and take control of a rare Stardog for their own, and an entourage riddled with plots, poisons, and treason. But Shari and her assassin-bodyguard have plans of their own…

Stranded on the Denaari Motherworld, the castaway survivors will have to cooperate to survive. Some will have to die.

And some, if they make it to the Stardogs breeding ground, will have to learn what it means to love.

witchfindercoverfinalWitchfinder (Magical Empires)

In Avalon, where the world runs on magic, the king of Britannia appoints a witchfinder to rescue unfortunates with magical power from lands where magic is a capital crime. Or he did. But after the royal princess was kidnapped from her cradle twenty years ago, all travel to other universes has been forbidden, and the position of witchfinder abolished. Seraphim Ainsling, Duke of Darkwater, son of the last witchfinder, breaks the edict. He can’t simply let people die for lack of rescue. His stubborn compassion will bring him trouble and disgrace, turmoil and danger — and maybe, just maybe, the greatest reward of all.

 

Trickster ebook cover

Trickster Noir (Pixie for Hire)

After the battle of Tower Baelfire ended, Lom lay dying. Bella was tasked with not only the job she never wanted, but the one she did. Could she keep Lom alive long enough for him to come to the rescue when their kingdom needed them? And what did Raven, mysterious trickster spirit and honorary uncle to Bella, want with them? If the threat was big enough to have the trickster worried, Bella knew she needed to have Lom at her side. Underhill might look like a soap-bubble kingdom, but Bella and Lom knew there was a gritty underside. Why else would fairyland need a dark man willing to carry a big gun and be the Pixie for Hire?

 

 

convent

ConVent (The Vampire Con Series)

A vampire, a werewolf, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. Whoever picked this team to save the world wasn’t thinking of sending the very best. But then, since this particular threat to the universe and everything good is being staged in science fiction conventions, amid people in costume, misfits and creative geniuses, any convetional hero would have stood out. Now Jim, the vampire, and his unlikely sidekicks have to beat the clock to find out who’s sacrificing con goers before all hell breaks loose — literally.

ConVent is proof that Kate Paulk’s brain works in wonderfully mysterious ways. A sarcastic vampire, his werewolf best buddy, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. The “Save the world” department really messed it up this time.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00006]War To The Knife (Laredo War Trilogy Book 1)

Laredo’s defenders were ground down and its people ruthlessly slaughtered when the Bactrians invaded the planet. Overwhelmed, its Army switched to guerrilla warfare and went underground. For three years they’ve fought like demons to resist the occupiers. They’ve bled the enemy, but at fearful cost. The survivors are running out of weapons, supplies, and places to hide.

Then a young officer, Dave Carson, uncovers news that may change everything. An opportunity is coming to smash the foe harder than they’ve ever done before, both on and off the planet. Success may bring the interplanetary community to their aid – but it’ll take everything they’ve got. Win or lose, many of them will die. Failure will mean that Bactria will at last rule unopposed.

That risk won’t stop them. When you’re fighting a war to the knife, in the end you bet on the blade.

murder world kaijuMurder World: Kaiju Dawn

Captain Vincente Huerta and the crew of the Fancy have been hired to retrieve a valuable item from a downed research vessel at the edge of the enemy’s space.
It was going to be an easy payday.
But what Captain Huerta and the men, women and alien under his command didn’t know was that they were being sent to the most dangerous planet in the galaxy.
Something large, ancient and most assuredly evil resides on the planet of Gorgon IV. Something so terrifying that man could barely fathom it with his puny mind. Captain Huerta must use every trick in the book, and possibly write an entirely new one, if he wants to escape Murder World.

baptism by fireBaptism By Fire (Edge of Faith)

When a madman and a giant flaming thing attack James Lawrie’s Marine outpost, the medic and an explosively talented sergeant aren’t supposed to save the day. Life becomes no simpler when Petty Officer Lawrie returns home on leave to find federal agents investigating the disappearance of a young woman from his past. A young woman whose body turns up marked with eerily familiar symbols.

 

fancy freeFancy Free

In the last parts of the Twenty-first century, AI, Artificial Intelligence is commonplace. Highly able computers, and nothing more . . . until some rare and as yet unidentified trigger creates an actual personality.

Artificial Personalities, APs or hals, are illegal. Destroyed upon discovery. Even Beowulf, the AP the government controls, and uses to hunt down emerging hals, isn’t legally recognized, has no right to existence.
So you’d think that when the Special Grid Security Unit started paying extra attention to the area where a certain cooking show operates, Fancy Farmer—the AP who runs the show—would be concerned.

But Fancy has a bigger problem.

She’s been stolen.

World turned upside down

There are times when I wonder if the world turned upside down while I was asleep. You know the times I’m talking about. You go to bed one night and when you wake up, it seems like common sense has flown out the window. But it’s more than that. It also seems as if all too many of our fellow humans have lost the ability to look at all sides of an issue and make up their own minds.  That’s what I’ve felt about the publishing industry for the last few weeks. Well, to be honest, it seems as though there are more and more days and weeks when that happens over the last few years. But since the Hugo slate came out, those days are beginning to far outweigh the days when “normal” ruled.

No, I’m not going to rehash the Hugo debate. Others have done it better than I could. Nor am I going to into the Amazon-Hatchette contract negotiations. Dave did a great job of covering it yesterday.

I guess I’m in a place right now where I’m somewhere between absolutely furious about what is happening to this industry — and especially a genre — I love and heartsick. This past year has seen something new in publishing — the conservatives and libertarians are starting to push back against the liberals. Part of this stems from the increasing importance of indie publishing and small press publishing as the Big Five loose more and more of their control over the industry. Authors are starting to realize that they no longer have to fall into lockstep with whatever the cause du jour is for the editors in their ivory tower New York offices.

If you don’t think this is true, just go to Amazon or iTunes or BN.com and see how many more science fiction books are now available for download. Then see how well those books are selling. Talk to authors who are making a good living from writing and self-publishing their science fiction, authors who hadn’t been able to break into publishing under the legacy model. I’m confident you will find most of them write stories that don’t denigrate mankind, don’t make humanity the enemy that needs to be wiped out to save Mother Earth. Instead, they write stories with a plot and with characters we can identify with. Stories we want to read.

But this renewal of the genre is being denied — long and loud — by some in our industry. What makes this sad is that they are the ones who ought to be thrilled to know there is a broadening market for science fiction and fantasy. But they aren’t. They are terrified of it because indie authors aren’t being constrained by the cause du jour. So they go on the attack. But they don’t attack the indie authors — mainly because, as much as we scare them we are also still beneath their notice. Instead they attack authors like Larry Corriea who is traditionally published — now.  Larry is also a champion of other authors and of gamers and of guns. Oh, and he’s male and proudly married and the father of his own clan.

In other words, he’s a scary man who must be evil. So they must silence him.

Sigh. Authors wanting to silence other authors.

The latest attack on Larry came from Damien Walter of the Guardian. This isn’t the first time he’s tried to shame and humiliate Larry for being wrong-think. It is clear dear Damien isn’t really bright. Either that or he likes being publicly flogged, not only by Larry, who does wonderful fisks of the Guardian articles, but also by Larry’s friends and fans. Because I don’t want to give Damien any more page hits than he already has — and because Larry quotes the entirety of the latest article — here are links to the two part fisking Larry has done:

Fisking the Guardian’s Village Idiot: Part 1

Fisking the Guardian’s Village Idiot: Part 2

Then there is this excellent — and most entertaining — piece by John C. Wright, The Evil League of Evil is Given Pious Advice.

I thank Larry and John for what they’ve said in their blogs and on Facebook. I may not always agree with what they say, but that isn’t the point. The point is no voice should be silenced and most certainly not by artificial social rules determined by a few vocal social justice warriors. There is a place for everyone in the industry. Don’t like what someone writes? Don’t buy it. That’s what readers have been doing for years. But, just as publishers didn’t trust readers to determine what they wanted to read, the SJWs don’t either. Whether it is a need to be relevant or the need to control, I don’t know and I don’t care.

What I would really like is for the SJWs to sit back and actually take a few moments to read what they’ve been saying in social media. Read it and think about it and then tell me how what they are calling for isn’t basically censorship — and don’t give me a lecture here that only governments can censor. When you have people actively calling for publishers to drop authors because those authors aren’t following right-think, when those same people force others out of their jobs because they didn’t follow-right think, that’s pretty darned close to censorship. Frankly, if I say much more, I’ll go into a political rant.

I’m tired of being told how to think by the SJWs. Funny, no one else in the industry is telling me what sort of plots or characters I should be writing. No one else is condemning me — or any other author — if there aren’t enough main characters of whatever ilk in my work. Maybe instead of trying to convince the rest of us about how wrong we are, they ought to be focusing on their craft and not on their political agenda.

Oops, there I go, slipping into another rant.

Or maybe I’m just tired.

(I’ll be back later today to answer any comments but it will be later this afternoon or evening, after the final round of oral surgery. Whee – not.)

In the meantime, here’s a bit of self-promotion:

Vengeance From Ashes (new)Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty) (written under the pen name Sam Schall) is the first in the Honor and Duty series.

Here’s the blurb:

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

The full moon rose and the craziness came out

I swear this past week was straight out of The Twilight Zone. Or maybe we fell down the rabbit hole and took a sharp left into Bizarro Land. Whatever the case, not only have we seen a return to social media by members of the SJW clique and the GHHers but also another attack (at least a perceived one) on indie authors by the establishment. If it was a remnant of the full moon, it can go away now. I’m ready for sanity to finally find its way into the publishing world. Not that I’m holding my breath.

EDITED TO ADD: The craziness has just been compounded. It seems if you yell loud enough, concoms will cave, whether you have a valid point or not. The concom at Archon has announced it is withdrawing its invitation to Uncle Timmy to be Fan GoH because people had to go out and find a reason to object to him. Go, Crazies! In fact, go away. Far, far away.

Edited To ADD 2: Welcome to everyone coming over from Instapundit! Thanks for the link, Glenn.

Let’s start with the Nebulas. The winners were announced this past weekend. There had been some controversy going into the awards but it was nothing compared to the vitriol that has been present since the Hugo finalists were announced. Not that it stopped the SJWs and GHHers when it turned out that every winner was female. Oh the crowing and self-congratulatory tweets that hit the twitterverse. How happy they were that they managed to stuff the ballots so that no icky man won. Nothing I’ve seen showed anything about how the voters thought they’d voted for the best works nominated. Oh no, the agenda of making sure no icky, evil, smelly man won. Agenda over quality. Agenda over ability. Agenda rules all.

All hail the glitter!

Next up comes the current movement — which is really just a ripple in the ocean and hopefully will stay that way — to keep Uncle Timmy from honored as Fan Guest of Honor at Archon. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Uncle Timmy, he is the heart and soul of LibertyCon. But he is, gasp, male and is now being accused by some folks who are such precious little flowers that they can’t tell the difference between jokes sent in by other people and what Uncle Timmy actually believes. These folks fall into the class of people who want thought police. The ones who want to tell us what we can and can’t think and say, who we can and can’t insult. Of course, they can insult anyone and everyone they want but heaven forfend that they, themselves, should ever feel insulted, rightly or wrongly.

These folks have taken to Facebook to attempt to convince the Archon concom to remove Uncle Timmy from the proceedings. There is even a comment in the thread from someone who wants to put together posters to take to other cons with the offending quotes on it and recommending people avoid going to Archon as long as Uncle Timmy is being honored. If anyone dares try to point out the difference between Uncle Timmy the fan and Uncle Timmy the publisher, they are attacked for not toeing the line of right think. My suggestion? Go to this page and show your support for Uncle Timmy and all he has done, overall, for fandom.

Then there was the controversy coming out of the RT Booklover’s Convention this weekend. The first I saw of it was when I read Hugh Howey’s post about the mass signing at the end of the convention. The post was soon picked up and being echoed across the internet, especially the part about indie authors being referred to as “aspiring authors”. Since then, there have been more posts about the separation of the authors into two different rooms as well as the “aspiring author” comment. Let’s look at both because they are both issues.

First is separating traditionally published authors from indie authors. One of the best explanations — not that I agree with the thought process behind it — for what happened comes from Courtney Milan. She notes that the traditionally published authors had their books provided by a bookstore and that these books were returnable. The difference being that the indie authors had to provide their own books and they were, therefore, not returnable. So far, so good.

However, if I correctly remember what Ms. Milan said — and assuming her understanding of the process is correct — the bookstore providing the books demanded the separation of traditionally published authors from the indies. I have an issue with that sort of thing because many of those indies have books out that the bookstore could have ordered and stocked. So the “returnable” argument begins to fall flat. No, what I have a feeling happened is the bookstore, knowing that publishers are their key supplier, didn’t want to upset anyone on the traditional end of the business. So the decision was made to only stock books supplied by the “real” side of publishing.

Another issue I have with separating the authors this way is that the indies were not apparently told this was going to happen. Surely the bookstore — or whoever made the decision — told the concom early enough that they could have sent emails to the authors who had said they wanted to take part. One comment I’ve seen speculated that the indies weren’t told about the separation because the con didn’t want to risk the indies pulling out. If that’s the case, doesn’t that point to the power and growing popularity of indie titles? So why alienate them by separating them from the traditionally published authors? More importantly, why make it even more difficult for the con goers, many of whom wouldn’t know if an author is traditionally published or not, by splitting them into two rooms in a way that would make little sense to the average reader?

Let’s face it, folks. Most readers don’t have a clue about who publishes their favorite authors.

But of more concern is the contention that the authors were split between the traditionally published authors and “aspiring” authors. The con claims that the use of the term “aspiring authors” to describe the indies was a mistake made by one of their volunteers. That very well may be. But it still shows an problem, not only with the con and how its volunteers were trained but with the general perception many people still have of indies. The volunteers should have been instructed, and more than once, on what authors were in which room and why. They should have been given the definition of what and indie author is and that definition should have included examples showing how some of the best selling authors around right now either started out as indies or are hybrid authors who do both traditional and indie publishing.

Honest mistake or not, bookstore demand or not, RT Booklovers’ Convention has been damaged by what happened this year.

Frankly, it’s time for those running cons to understand that indie publishing isn’t the vanity press of years gone by. More importantly, the SJWs and GHHers need to get over themselves and start worrying about writing good books, books that people want to read, instead of enforcing their own political and social agendas. And now I’m going to get back to writing books where all I care about is writing a story readers want to read.