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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dungeon Crawler cast

I'll be interviewed on the Dungeon Crawler podcast in an hour. You can listen live here: http://tobtr.com/7569363

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NFL Draft 2015

This is an open post to discuss the NFL draft. Skol Vikings!

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Puppy Precedent

WorldCon historian Mike Glyer digs out some longtime precedent for not only campaigning, but bloc votes. And it's actually from the Philcon II committee itself!
There is still time to (a) do a little campaigning to line up a solid bloc of votes for your favorites, (b) get some members---every membership is a potential vote for your favorites, and (c) get your own votes in before our August 25th postmark deadline. In the categories of outstanding FAN MAGAZINE, COVER PAINTING, INTERIOR ILLUSTRATION and SHORT STORY OR NOVELETTE the field is wide open, with no front-runners yet. So far, Bestor's Demolished Man is leading in the NOVEL class, with Bob Tucker's Long Loud Silence in second place. Most votes for favorite FAN are divided between old-timer Forrest J. Ackerman and new-timer Harlon Ellison. Galaxy is just edging Astounding as favorite PRO MAGAZINE.
He's got the scan of the page from the August 1953 Progress Report at File 770. No doubt Larry, Brad, and I can all expect fulsome apologies from our various accusers for all of the false charges of violating the spirit of the law and gamesmanship that have been levied at us.

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The decline and fall of Richard Carrier

From New Atheist-in-waiting to cautionary tale in a few short years. I remember when people used to tell me that perhaps Dawkins and Harris and Hitchens were pushovers, but this Carrier guy... or not so much.
Nothing says "Alpha Male" like begging for polyamorous-friendly dates over the Internet:

So, this is experimental. I’d like to go on a date in May. And for the first time, I’m going to try a bat signal: putting a call out on my blog. I don’t know anyone else who has tried doing that, so I have no precedent to work from as to etiquette or even arguments for or against doing it. So I’m just going to do it and see what happens and document and assess. If you know anyone who might have an interest in dating me, let them know. If you might have an interest, read on.

I’ll start by making sure anyone considering this is up to speed. I am polyamorous. I currently have many girlfriends. All I consider my friends. Some are just occasional lovers. Some I am more involved with. They are also polyamorous, or near enough (not all of them identify that way, but all of them enjoy open relationships). And I will always have relationships with them, as long as they’ll have me in their life.
Read the rest of Richard Carrier's exciting experiment in post-marital dating at Alpha Game.

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Defensive much?

Johnny Con is feeling a little caught out. And defensive:
    1. It's been recently suggested that I should be ashamed for getting the Hugo for Redshirts (by an author who hasn't himself read the book).

    2. To be clear: I am not. I am deeply pleased it won, and I think it was entirely deserving of the award, and the other awards it won.

    3. It's funny and an easy read, and if you think that's easy to accomplish as a writer — and still pack an emotional punch — well, try it.

    4. The same author suggested (again without reading it), that it was a "social justice" sort of book, which lent itself to winning.

    5. It is, in fact probably the least racially/sexually diverse book I've written BECAUSE the characters were supposed to reflect a BAD show.

    6. Indeed, when the TV script for it was written, they CHANGED the sex of a couple of characters to make it more diverse! This is true.

    7. So it really is a bad example of a Social Justice-y sort of book. Much worse, in fact, than my OMW series in general.

    8. Also, if the "SJWs" vote en bloc, why would they award me, SWM, when Saladin Ahmed and Mira Grant were on the ballot?

    9. The only answer here would be because the SJWs secretly crave straight white male leadership, which would be kinda not SJW-y at all.

    10. I'm happy with the politics I have and I try to be a good human, which is apparently what makes me an SJW. But Redshirts is, in fact…

    11. … a genuinely TERRIBLE example of a book to show influence of the SJW cabal, both in content, and in its year. It's a bad argument.

    12. The book won for a number of reasons, including people just liked it. But because of an SJW cabal? Really, no. That's dumb.

    13. I'm done.
My rebuttal:
 
“Man, I owe you a blowjob,” Duvall said.

“What?” Dahl said.

“What?” Hester said.

“Sorry,” Duvall said. “In ground forces, when someone does you a favor you tell them you owe them a sex act. If it’s a little thing, it’s a handjob. Medium, blowjob. Big favor, you owe them a fuck. Force of habit. It’s just an expression.”

“Got it,” Dahl said.

“No actual blowjob forthcoming,” Duvall said. “To be clear”

“It’s the thought that counts,” Dahl said, and turned to Hester. “What about you? You want to owe me a blowjob, too?”

“I’m thinking about it ,” Hester said.  

Best Novel-worthy prose or Participation Hugo? You decide. This is nearly as amusing:
I do find the fixation on me weird, and I really do think it comes down to the fact that I would be the perfect flag-bearer for the sort of person who identifies as a Puppy, if for the inconvenient fact of my personal politics. And also because Beale really has a thing for me, which is straight-up pure envy, as far as I can tell.
Yes, because contempt is so easily confused for straight-up pure envy. What It was a little more than two years ago that I was informed I was desperately jealous of Mr. Scalzi because his blog readership was "ten times the size of mine." Now that my blog readership is three times the size of his, I'm envious of what, his failed career as a game writer? I'm the lead designer on six different games. His career as a writer? If I find an hour to write every other day, I'm fortunate.

John Scalzi has been attacking me and calling me names for just over ten years now. He's been attacking my readers and calling them names for nearly as long. It's absolutely stupid for the pathetic fraud to pretend he doesn't know why we continue to go after him. He's squirmed, he's dissembled, and he's spun, but he's never simply admitted that he lied. He's never apologized. He's never simply admitted that he was wrong.

It's kind of a pity the traffic didn't quite hit 2 million this month, but fell 90k short. Because this would have been the perfect time to juxstapose that graphic with Scalzi's 2010 interview with Lightspeed, in which he exaggerated his traffic by a mere 1.7 million.
there’s more to John Scalzi and his writing than meets the eye. For one thing, his blog gets an extraordinary amount of traffic for a writer’s website–Scalzi himself quotes it at over 45,000 unique visitors daily and more than two million page views monthly. And it’s well-deserved traffic, too, in light of the man’s reputation for posting unique content.
I find it amusing that so many SJWs still try to pretend that 300k pageviews per month was "extraordinary traffic" while simultaneously insisting that more than 6x that much is nothing. The lesson, as always: SJWS always lie. Case in point:
Re: “Feud” with VD:

I kind of get exasperated with it being regarded as a feud. What it is, is Beale obsessing about me and maneuvering that obsession into my path so I have to deal with it. Which I would submit is less a feud, and more dealing with something akin to a persistent stalker.
Right, which is why he put together his mock charity drive and put pressure on the SFWA Board so they would pretend to expel me just to keep him and PNH in SFWA. The Scalzi cries "stalker" as he attacks you.

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Moderates gonna moderate

You can always trust a right-wing moderate to shoot at a potential ally:
Starting three years ago, Larry Correia, successful science fiction writer, decided to test his suspicion that the Hugo Awards of the World Science Fiction Society were increasingly being awarded through the action of a small group, and increasingly reflect the tastes of that small group rather than a more general population of science fiction readers.

There were many ideas what the reason could be: a desire by the active voters to reward more “literary” work. An ideological bias toward “liberal” writers and themes — which seemed to be more plausible after attacks on more “conservative” writers like Correia, attacks on the movie Ender’s Game because the author of the original novel, Orson Scott Card, is opposed to same-sex marriage, and the expulsion of Vox Day from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, arguably in violation of their own bylaws, for having offensive views on race and sexual roles.

(Just for full disclosure: Scott Card has been a personal friend for something like 30 years, and along with Ray Bradbury was the first to suggest maybe I actually could do this writing thing. Sarah Hoyt, who is also involved in Sad Puppies, is a close friend and as most PJ Media readers know, my partner in the Book Plug Friday column. Larry Correia is a Facebook friend who I’ve never met personally. And I think Vox Day is an obnoxious and unlikeable dolt, as I’ve said in these pages in the past.)

Over the years, I’ve observed two things about people. First, people always do what they find most rewarding; and second, every human institution optimizes its behavior to maximize rewards — and while money isn’t everything, when you’re looking for what’s rewarding it’s the way to bet. Who stands to get a monetary benefit from the direction the Hugo awards have taken?

Now, at that point, we have to go back and reference something Vox Day — who, let me remind you, I think is an obnoxious and unlikable dolt — published. If we look back at the last several years, there is a surprising regularity to be seen: the same people are nominated over and over again for several of the down-list awards, like Best Editor; those people are all associated more or less closely with one publisher, Tor Books; and much of the most vehement objection has been from authors and others directly connected to Tor Books. The number of votes that decide the election is very small — tens of votes.
Wait, Charlie, I'm not entirely sure on your position on Vox Day. Could you repeat it?

Translation: I DISAVOW VOX DAY, I DISAVOW AND DENOUNCE VOX DAY, I DISAVOWANDDENOUNCEANDDONOTLIKEVOXDAY! (please, for the love of all that is good and holy, don't hit me!)

They do not like me, wet or dry
They do not like me, low or high
They do not like me, dry or wet
Because they are so moderate

They do not like me here or there
They do not like me anywhere
They do not like me on the Net
Because they are so moderate

If only I would be more nice
And pour out sugar in place of spice
Then it would all be duly meet
We'd march off to our brave defeat

They do not like me when we win
They do not like me for my sin
They do not like me as a threat
Because they are so moderate

Say this for Charlie, at least he's not afraid to go show:
William Strunk, Jr. ‏@cdrusnret
you say you referred to @voxday as a dolt in the past, but your link doesn't appear germane?

Vox Day ‏@voxday
That's just his way of putting up his hands and saying "please don't hit me!"

Charlie Martin ‏@chasrmarti
Vox, let's just cut to the chase. You wave your hands and scream, I say "fuck off", we go on with our day.

Vox Day ‏@voxday
Maybe if you just denounce me once more, the SJWs will finally love you for who you are, White Buddha.

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Compare and contrast

The SJWs in science fiction believe that if they can control the narrative, if they can convince the media to tell the story their way, they are going to retain their control of the science fiction establishment. They are given every opportunity to spin the narrative and make their case; Brad, Larry, and I were contacted by a Wall Street Journal reporter yesterday, which was a welcome change from most of the coverage that we've been seeing of late, but so too were John Scalzi and George Martin.

It's just like one sees on the cable news. If a talking head has on a liberal guest, the liberal appears alone to sell the narrative. If a talking head has on a conservative guest, a liberal guest usually appears to dispute the narrative. And although it is only a guess, I suspect that the way that the story is likely to go will be moderately anti-Puppy, in light of the reporter actually "playing devil's advocate" in conversation with me.

When I pointed out how the Puppy case is bolstered by comparing the number of Hugo nominations belonging to those in the Making Light clique, (15 for Charles Stross, 15/14 for Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and 9 for John Scalzi compared to 12 for Isaac Asimov, 12 for Robert Heinlein, and 7 for Arthur C. Clarke), the reporter shot back, and I quote, "yeah, but they're editors!"

Although I pointed out to him that a) Charles Stross and John Scalzi are not, in fact, editors, and b) Isaac Asimov was an editor as well as a writer, I got the feeling that he was not likely to quote me concerning those readily observable and very telling facts. We'll see, perhaps I'm wrong.

But the anti-Puppy influence over the mainstream media is largely irrelevant. Because, when people look more closely at the situation, here is the sort of thing they are seeing the Anti-Puppies say:

Anna Feruglio Dal Dan: "It’s not the Hugo ballot – that is a problem, but I am solving it by gleefully voting No Award to lots of categories, and I think I will make a point not to read any of it just to annoy you – it’s the strutting and posturing and pronouncing of you guys that I find hilarious. OK, I tell a lie, some of you are just boring and lame, Kratman for example can’t even insult people creatively, but you have moments of pure comedy genius."

Hampus Eckerman: "Honestly, when you are saying that there are no unwritten rules, the only thing you’re really saying is that you haven’t got the social competence to notice them. Even when people write them on your nose.

Mickey Finn: "I’ve been making my way through the short stories, novellas and novelettes, and so far haven’t even encountered a competently polished turd.

NelC: "I’m not absolutely convinced that you’re not the type of loony who thinks he can gain advantage by pretending to be a (different kind of) loony, but either way, you’re seriously fucked in the head."

Alexvdl: "I think you have articulated better than anyone else why Beale’s (and other puppies) reliance on rating systems shows how far outside fandom they are."

Whatever reader: "I had a great time voting “No Award” today... I’d rather give the award to a trash can than to the crap they spent years working on."

By contrast, here is how the non-Puppies in the field see the situation.

Rick Moen: "I think it’s abundantly clear what about the Beale and Torgersen campaigning and (apparent) acquisition of nomination votes has made habitual Hugo voters and Worldcon co-goers very annoyed and (in my estimation) in a mood to terminate what they see as behaviour hostile to the Worldcon."

Whereas here is how at least some of those outside science fiction are seeing it:

Greg Ellis: "When all of this blew up I was not even a non-attending supporting member of WorldCon. I’ve known about the Hugos for years, but never knew I had, as a fan, a chance to vote for nominees or on the final ballot. That all changed this year. What also changed was that I came down on the Sad Puppies side of the debate. For awhile I was trying to look at both sides and judge equitably. I was trying to be fair and open-minded and non-biased. Then I asked the wrong question of the wrong people at the wrong time. Even Brianna Wu chimed in on that one. I was a “white supremacist” by mere association with Brad Torgerson and Larry Correia because they knew Vox Day and I was friends with Brad and Larry on FaceBook. Guilt-by-association. I do not tolerate being accused of something that anyone who knows me understands that I am not. You want to push me into somebody else’s camp, make an accusation like that."


RI: I've been a spectator to this conflict for several months now. To be honest, I didn't even know who any of the participants were when I first started following. Now, because of the outcry against you, Mr. Correia, and Mr. Torgersen I have become a daily reader of your blog and am rapidly burning through Mr. Corriea's books.

Bojoti, a Worldcon Supporting member appears to share similar sentiments:
I knew absolutely nothing about the Sad Puppies until this year. I knew of the Hugos but little about them, either. I'd followed George R.R. Martin's Not a Blog for years, and I remember him encouraging people to vote because the Hugos were their award (except now, they aren't). But, back then, I had a house full of kids which meant less time for reading and fewer dollars for sure! Now, the kids are gone, and I have more of both of the aforementioned. When I discovered that WorldCon would be held in the Midwest in 2016, I was excited and decided to get a supporting membership for this year and attend the next.

I didn't realize all the turmoil about Sad Puppies until after the nominations were announced. I came to the situation too late to nominate and unaware that my membership would be an affront to the TrueFans. I just wanted to participate in and give back to a genre that has been integral to my life. Instead, I find that I'm not welcome at the cool kids' table, which is ironically hilarious, because my science fiction ways were unpopular to the non-science fiction crowd of my youth.

As is my researching way, I took to the Internet to look at all sides. I went all the way back to the inception of Sad Puppies. I read "Making Light." I Googled, read, and digested from a wide spectrum from news sources (most very biased and inaccurate), authors' websites, Twitter, and Facebook.

I think what the TrueFans and Sad Puppies don't realize is that they are being watched by the great unwashed masses, hoi polloi, the little people of science fiction. Some of the behavior and rhetoric is so hateful and venomous that I regret my membership. Authors were saying that the new members didn't love science fiction; they were claiming that they didn't even read! Some were even saying stupid things like the Koch brothers bought my membership. TrueFans were disgusted by the thought of new members. They like the WorldCon being small and are actively against new members.

I'm rethinking attending WorldCon 2016. I'll wait to see what happens at Sasquan before I decide. If people are going to act crazy like a frenetic bag of cut snakes, I want no part of that fandom (or Fandom). I don't need to spend money to be ostracized, belittled, and hated. I'm sure I can get that for free, elsewhere!

The TrueFans are pushing the new members right into the Sad Puppies' doghouse. I wasn't a Sad Puppy, but if the TrueFans don't want me, they have proven the Sad Puppies' charge of insular exclusivity. When the TrueFans band together and decide as a bloc NOT to read the works and agree to vote No Award to Sad Puppy nominations, they've lost any respect or sympathy I had for them. When people advocate putting the Puppies "down," I'm horrified. When people write "basically if the "hero" isn't white and male, the Puppies will get all Sad at you and threaten to rape you to death. Like the good, tolerant humans they are, natch," I'm sickened. When an author opines the correct way to treat the Sad Puppies is "Well, we make fun of them. We refuse to play with them. We refuse to share our resources with them," I flash back to the petty games of the middle school mean girls' cliques.
Baen Books author John Ringo has an idea where things are headed and why:
The SJBs, CHORFs, what have you are facing an uphill climb. Their ‘award winning authors’ are hardly popular in the mainstream (also frequently boring as shit on a panel) and every convention which has tried to stay entirely ‘SJW’ has found it has little or no market.

The CHORFs accuse the SPs of ‘fighting to retain white-male privilege.’ The reality is that the CHORFs are desperate to retain any sort of relevance at all. 'Their' conventions are failing. 'Their' books don't sell as well as 'pulp crap'. 'Their' magazines are losing circulation and closing. Lose control of the Hugos and they become irrelevant. And desperate regimes get crazier and crazier the more desperate they become.
They are not completely irrelevant yet. But they will be. And they fear it. Their over-the-top reactions make that very clear indeed.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Hug rape!

Someone alert David Pakman! There are SERIAL HUG RAPISTS on the loose in Virginia:
A Hug Now Requires "Affirmative Consent" At UVA -- Or You're Guilty Of Sexual Assault

If you don't explicitly ask for and get permission for your clothed body to touch another person's clothed body in a hug, you could now be accused of "sexual assault" through "sexual contact" at UVA.

It's part of UVA's broad new "sexual assault" policy, explains Hans Bader at Liberty Unyielding:

Because U.Va. lumps together touching, "however slight," and intercourse when it comes to sexual assault, requiring "affirmative" consent for both. ("Affirmative consent" is a misleading term, and does not include many forms of consent that occur in the real world, and are recognized by the courts, as I explain at this link. The new policy further warns that "Relying solely on non-verbal communication before or during sexual activity can lead to misunderstanding and may result in a violation of this Policy."

Here is the essential bit from the new UVA "sexual assault" policy:

    A. SEXUAL ASSAULT Sexual Assault consists of (1) Sexual Contact and/or (2) Sexual Intercourse that occurs without (3) Affirmative Consent.

    (1) Sexual Contact is:
    •     Any intentional sexual touching
    •     However slight
    •     With any object or body part (as described below)
    •     Performed by a person upon another person

    Sexual Contact includes (a) intentional touching of the breasts, buttocks, groin or genitals, whether clothed or unclothed, or intentionally touching another with any of these body parts; and (b) making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts.
Better not hug your wife tonight. Not without Affirmative Consent. You might think "hug rape" sounds ridiculous now, but it wasn't all that long ago that "marital rape" sounded totally nonsensical too.

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They also serve

It was suggested that they also serve, who inadvertently and unknowingly do the bidding of the Evil Legion of Evil through their ludicrously predictable reactions. And lo, a badge for this brigade of Unwitting Minions was created. Evil Legion of Evil minions are free to award it to those whose behavior is so egregiously stupid or shortsighted or self-destructive that they could not possibly serve your Supreme Dark Lord better if they were consciously doing His Evil Bidding.

Given that they are, without exception, unique and special snowflakes, they naturally all bear the title "Minion #1".


On a not entirely unrelated note, RI explains why he is now reading this blog and Larry Correia's books:
I've been a spectator to this conflict for several months now. To be honest, I didn't even know who any of the participants were when I first started following. Now, because of the outcry against you, Mr. Correia, and Mr. Torgersen I have become a daily reader of your blog and am rapidly burning through Mr. Corriea's books. I'd like to think I stand somewhere in the between you and Corriea. I've noticed you've been calling attention to some of the unethical book reviewing practices of the SJWs and I found one I thought you would like to point out on your blog.

This person openly admits to downgrading her review after finding out about Correia's politics.

If I am any evidence of a growing trend, then the SJWs are basically screaming themselves into irrelevance. I am glad you have decided to wade into this and stand up for your beliefs and stand against the terrorism of the left. God bless you, sir.
This is the perspective that is so often ignored. What people are assumed to perceive, and what they will actually perceive, are often two different things. Larry once said that the benefit of telling the truth is that you have no need to worry about keeping your stories straight, and another one is that people tend to recognize those who tell the truth, whether they accept the truth on that particular subject or not.

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Who needs that pesky "civilization" anyhow?

Apparently we need to readjust our vocabularies again. It's no longer white/yellow/red/brown separatism, it's just militant-shaming.
As a nation, we fail to comprehend Black political strategy in much the same way we fail to recognize the value of Black life.

We see ghettos and crime and absent parents where we should see communities actively struggling against mental health crises and premeditated economic exploitation. And when we see police cars being smashed and corporate property being destroyed, we should see reasonable responses to generations of extreme state violence, and logical decisions about what kind of actions yield the desired political results.

I’m overwhelmed by the pervasive slandering of protesters in Baltimore this weekend for not remaining peaceful....We need to clarify what we mean by terms like “violence” and “peaceful.” Because, to be clear, violence is beating, harassing, tazing, assaulting and shooting Black, trans, immigrant, women, and queer people, and that is the reality many of us are dealing with daily. Telling someone to be peaceful and shaming their militance not only lacks a nuanced and historical political understanding, it is literally a deadly and irresponsible demand.

The political goals of rioters in Baltimore are not unclear—just as they were not unclear when poor, Black people rioted in Ferguson last fall. When the free market, real estate, the elected government, the legal system have all shown you they are not going to protect you—in fact, that they are the sources of the greatest violence you face—then political action becomes about stopping the machine that is trying to kill you, even if only for a moment, getting the boot off your neck, even if it only allows you a second of air. This is exactly what blocking off streets, disrupting white consumerism, and destroying state property are designed to do.

Black people know this, and have employed these tactics for a very, very long time. Calling them uncivilized, and encouraging them to mind the Constitution is racist, and as an argument fails to ground itself not only in the violent political reality in which Black people find themselves, but also in our centuries-long tradition of resistance, one that has taught effective strategies for militance and direct action to virtually every other current movement for justice.
There is your choice, white America. Racism, aka "civilization and the Constitution" or living amongst an entitled and vibrant population that feels entirely justified in burning down the city around itself. I think it's long past time for forced integration. But not for schoolchildren, for those who claim to oppose separatism. Let's bus every self-professed "anti-racist" to Baltimore and make them live and work there.

They seem to think all of White America would rather die than be called racist. And they're probably not wrong about the SJWs. But what the advocates of multiculturalism forgot is that Mexicans and Asians despise blacks in a way that few whites ever have, and they feel absolutely no guilt for the so-called "legacy of slavery".

And if you're going to try to make American Indians feel guilty about racial separatism, well, good luck with that.

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THEY are in retreat

I told you that George RR Martin has lost the plot. After publicly declining the very debate for which he called, he actually repeated his call for what he already rejected:
Here's an idea -- debate the issue without epithets. Namecalling, whether with old epithets or new ones, is no substitute for actual discussion.
Oh, come on, you cowardly sad sack of an SJW. I gave you the opportunity to debate the issue. Honestly. Civilly. Rationally. You declined. So, guess what that leaves? And while we're at it, just get it over with and hand the books over to Brandon Sanderson or Joe Abercrombie to finish already.

As Martin's befuddled post demonstrates, it is readily apparent that science fiction's CHORFs aren't entirely confident they are winning anymore. Jim Hines steals yet another page from John Scalzi's playbook, this time playing the classic "hey, forget my past attacks on you, we're all just friends who happen to disagree" card:
I am so damn tired of the insistence on shoving everyone and everything into an artificial “Us vs. Them” framework. The Puppies thing is just the latest example. The only clearly defined “side” in this mess is the puppies themselves, and even that’s a slippery argument. Is Theodore Beale of the Rabid Puppies on the same side as Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia? Correia suggests they are: “Look at it like this. I’m Churchill. Brad is FDR. We wound up on the same side as Stalin.” But what about the commenters? Can people support some of what the puppies said they wanted — say, greater awareness of tie-in work in Hugo nominations — without having to swear allegiance to all things rabid?
There is nothing artificial about it. The main reason SJWs were successful in infiltrating the science fiction establishment and imposing their ideology on it was due to their Fabian strategy of denying any conflict was taking place. Their entryism depended entirely upon stealth and plausible deniability. That's why the single most important aspect of both #GamerGate and #SadPuppies was the way in which it was made perfectly clear to everyone that there are, in fact, two sides.

There are those who want to be able to define what is permissible to read, write, design, develop, play, think, and say, (SJWs) and those who wish to read, write, design, develop, play, think, and say whatever the hell they happen to please. (Everybody else)

Jim Hines isn't "so damn tired" of "an artificial Us vs. Them framework". He is simply alarmed that their most effective tactic has been exposed and rendered impotent.
 I keep coming across commentary and arguments that assume you have to be either pro-puppy or anti-puppy. In broader discussions, you’re either us or you’re the enemy. Left or Right. Puppy or CHORF. Lately, I’m seeing more accusations of blacklists and gatekeepers and people’s careers being hurt because of their politics or beliefs or whatever, because some publishers are for Us and some are for Them, and you can’t succeed in this business without swearing allegiance to the Evil Gun Nuts of Baen or the Evil Tree-hugging Lib’ruls of Tor. To be honest, that last bit is funny as hell.
His point might be more convincing if we didn't have Charles "15 Hugo Nominations" Stross on record warning me about the danger to my career if I didn't stop writing my op/ed column and start sucking up to the then-Toad of Tor and Tor Senior Editor PNH. Or testimony from everyone from Larry Correia to Sarah Hoyt. You certainly can succeed in this business by fighting the establishment, but that doesn't mean the establishment doesn't exist or that it won't attack you. It's not like everyone doesn't know that opinions deemed badthink can not only ruin your chances of getting published by an SJW-dominated publishing house, but get them to conspire to have the SFWA Board vote to "expel" you.

I know some of the Sad Puppies desperately want there to be some kind of Social Justice Warrior Conspiracy that’s been manipulating the Hugos and persecuting them for years, because that creates a simple narrative with them as the feisty rebels striking a blow against the Evil Empire. But there’s been zero evidence for it. Correia himself said he’d audited the Hugos a few years back and found no sign of anything suspect.
The lesson, as always, SJWs ALWAYS lie. Correia found no sign of anything suspect in the ballot-counting by the WorldCons. He did not admit there was no SJW conspiracy. A very dishonest switcheroo by McCreepy.
Part of my anger at Torgersen and Correia is because I feel like they deliberately encouraged this Us vs. Them mentality in order to win support and votes. They invented an evil cabal of “Them,” then rallied people to join their side against this fictitious enemy. Which only increases the abuse and the hatred. And please note: I’m angry at them as individuals, not because they’re conservative, or because of their views on gun control, or because they might have a different religious belief than I do. I’m angry because whatever problems were out there, these two individuals actively made them worse, and they hurt a great many people in the process. Themselves included.

Fandom is not two distinct sides. It’s a bunch of people who like things in a really big genre, a genre that has guns and spaceships and dinosaurs and dragons and magic and manly men and genderfluid protagonists and grittiness and erotica and humor and hard-core feminism and sexism and racism and hope and stereotypes and anger and messages and politics and fluff and were-jaguars and superheroes and so much more.

Criticism is not war. Choosing not to read or support things you don’t like isn’t censorship. Liking something problematic doesn’t make you a bad person.
He shouldn't be angry at Brad and Larry, who both seriously attempted to fix the Hugo system. He should be angry at me, because I have successfully exposed that which Hines and the other SJWs desperately wanted to keep hidden, for the same reason they hid their history of embracing child molesters like Breen, MzB, and Kramer, to name a few. But we didn't make anything worse, any more than Deidre Saoirse Moen raped any children when she helped bring MzB's behavior to light.

Criticism isn't war. But taking over the SF establishment for ideological purposes is war. Of course they don't like the fact that an opposition has arisen and is fighting back. That's why they tried to discredit and disqualify and defenestrate me 10 years ago. They correctly sensed a potentially dangerous enemy and attempted to marginalize me. But I'm still here, and more importantly, I am not alone.

That's why they are suddenly declaring there is no war. But it's too late. The mask has been ripped off and too many have seen the true face of the SJWs.... as Dave Freer of the Mad Genius Club notes their recent behavior:
But seriously, what have the AP [Anti-Puppies] tried so far, and what success has it brought them?  They’ve brought out media attacks accusing the Puppies and nominees of being sexists, racists, misogynist, homophobes – the usual made-up get out of jail cards rubbish with no substance and some funny twists – we’re all white Mormon men. Especially Sarah Hoyt. And a twenty year bi-racial marriage makes Brad Torgersen a racist. Then the voters weren’t real fans but slaves who voted to order (which was a true PR disaster, angering a huge circle of people).

Then there were the ‘you’ll never work in this town’ again threats to careers and reputations – with the Nielsen-Haydens and David Gerrold shrieking ‘who will rid us of these troublesome puppies?’ and providing precise instructions of what to do. Not a ‘blacklist’ of course (slither). Just things that people would do, like exclude them from publications, cons and reviews. Unlike the puppies, who actively said that their people shouldn’t, for example, boycott Tor, no such criticism came out of the AP. We’ve had people inform us we’re mad (at great length. It was funny, and very revealing – about the bat-sh!t loony writer), and bad, and just downright unfeeling to poor David’s tender sensibilities. Some AP camp-follower called Jane Carnall of Edinburgh, who has written a few opinion pieces in ‘The Guardian, went off and followed the instruction issued on ‘Making Light’ and started issuing fake 1 star reviews on Amazon on John Wright’s stories.

Oh and the cheering announcement that they will ‘No Award’ the Pups nominees out of existence, and we’ll never ever win Hugos. The latest (from a chorus, including Scalzi) has been that if the puppies and nominees do not immediately and forthwith viciously denounce Vox Day they will declare us stupid dupes and one with him. Deserving of his fate too. I’ve kind of lost track of the ‘if you do’ offer. Maybe we’ll be allowed to live out our short miserable lives like penitent whores in a nunnery, being kindly permitted to clean their chamber-pots with our tongues. Think for yourselves what you’d do given that choice: live free and maybe win or die, or surrender and live as a second – or third or fifth class citizen, continually used as a kicking boy?

And if the AP told me otherwise, I wouldn’t believe a word, given their track record. The AP really have credibility issues they need to work on.
Never believe an opponent who tries to tell you the game hasn't even started yet. And never believe an enemy who tells you that because there is no war, you should stop shooting at him and lay down your arms. Remember, rabbits only win when wolves refuse to fight.

Interestingly enough, after an amount of his usual meandering, R. Scott Bakker reaches much the same conclusion:
 The fact that Beale managed to pull this little coup is proof positive that science fiction and fantasy matter, that we dwell in a rare corner of culture where the battle of ideas is for… fucking… real.
Only it's not a rare corner. The battle of ideas is ongoing and everywhere throughout the culture. It's in Games, it's in Science Fiction, it's in Comics, and it's in TV and Movies. And for the first time in decades, those who favor liberty are on the offensive.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

THERE WILL BE WAR: The ten best stories

This is just my personal list of favorites from Volume I and Volume II. I'm only considering the fiction here, not the essays, articles, or poems.
  1. "Cincinnatus", Joel Rosenberg, Volume II. This story about a retired, possibly traitorous general brought back for one last command is probably my favorite-ever mil-sf story. As excellent in conception as execution, it has had a distinct influence on the world of Quantum Mortis.
  2. "On the Shadow of a Phosphor Screen", William F. Wu, Volume II. The series features several stories from this world where wars are settled by professional gamers. It reads like a prophecy of Sega's Total War series, but has a haunting edge to it that gives it a timeless feel.
  3. "Superiority", Arthur C. Clarke, Volume II. A clever and amusing exercise in explaining how technological superiority can be a weakness. Particularly interesting if you've read van Creveld's Technology and War. It's more relevant than the average general would like to think.
  4. "Ender's Game", Orson Scott Card, Volume I. "Ender's Game". The original novella. Enough said.
  5. "In the Name of the Father", Edward P. Hughes, Volume II. This is possibly the most light-hearted post-apocalyptic tale ever told. I like the stories of Barley's Crossing.
  6. "Time Lag", Poul Anderson, Volume II. A tribute to the significance of female steadfastness in times of war, as well as an illustration of how time and distance factor into the martial equation.
  7. "His Truth Goes Marching On", Jerry Pournelle, Volume I. As Tom Kratman once called it, "the Spanish civil war in space". Philosophically deeper than you might think at first.
  8.  "'Caster" by Eric Vinicoff, Volume II. A little longer than it needs to be, not quite as artfully written as the others, but an inspirational and optimistic war story.
  9. "Ranks of Bronze" by David Drake, Volume I. Drake does Roman legions playing mercenary for aliens. A little short, but it's a good battle scene.
  10. "Call Him Lord" by Gorden R. Dickson, Volume I. Less about war than the price of leadership. A bit artificial, but it comes to an emotionally powerful close.
As far as the non-fiction goes, while the articles on High Frontier are fascinating for their historical significance, my favorite is "Proud Legions" by T.R. Fehrenbach, which appears in Volume II. In fact, I have to confess that of the nine volumes of THERE WILL BE WAR, Volume II is my favorite. That is the very high bar that Volume X will attempt to clear.

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SJW science

Whether they call themselves scientists or science fiction writers, the lesson, as always, is this: SJWs always lie. Robert Trivers writes about Stephen Jay Gould, an evolutionary biologist he quickly learned was strongly inclined towards intellectual fraudulence and faux scientific fakery:
Many of us theoretical biologists who knew Stephen personally thought he was something of an intellectual fraud precisely because he had a talent for coining terms that promised more than they could deliver, while claiming exactly the opposite....

Recently something brand new has emerged about Steve that is astonishing. In his own empirical work attacking others for biased data analysis in the service of political ideology—it is he who is guilty of the same bias in service of political ideology. What is worse—and more shocking—is that Steve’s errors are very extensive and the bias very serious. A careful reanalysis of one case shows that his target is unblemished while his own attack is biased in all the ways Gould attributes to his victim. His most celebrated book (The Mismeasure of Man) starts with a takedown of Samuel George Morton. Morton was a scientist in the early 19 th Century who devoted himself to measuring the human cranium, especially the volume of the inside, a rough estimate of the size of the enclosed brain. He did so meticulously by pouring first seeds and then ball bearings into skulls until they were full and then pouring them out and measuring their volume in a graduated cylinder. He was a pure empiricist. He knew brain size was an important variable but very little about the details (indeed, we do not know much more today). He thought his data would bear on whether we were one species or several, but in any case he was busy creating a vast trove of true and useful facts.

I love these people—they work for the future and gather data whose logic later generations will reveal. Precisely because they have no axes to grind or hypotheses to prove, their data are apt to be more reliable than the first wave after a new theory. I have benefitted from them in my own life, most memorably when I was shown a large and accurate literature on ratios of investment in 20 ant species, gathered long before anyone appreciated why these facts might be of some considerable interest, as indeed they were.

In any case, Morton grouped his data by population according to best estimates of gross relatedness, Amerindians with Amerindians, Africans with Africans, Nordic Europeans with Nordic, and so on. It is here, Gould alleged, that all sorts of errors were made that supported preconceived notions that among the smaller cranial capacity (and therefore stupider)) peoples would be Amerindians and Africans. For example, Gould claimed that Morton made more subgroups among Nordic people than tropical ones, thus permitting more of them to be above norm, but in fact, the opposite was true. Morton reported more Amerindian subsamples than European and routinely pointed out when particular Amerindian subsamples were as high or higher than the European mean, facts that Gould claimed Morton hid.

In other cases, Gould eliminates all samples with less than four individuals in order to reduce the number of sub-samples with only one sex—a statistically meaningless goal but one that happened to be biased in his favor and permitted him to make additional errors in his favor by arbitrarily eliminating some skulls while including others. If you are comparing group means, you may not wish to use means of less than four, but if you are adding up sub-samples to produce a larger sample, there is no reason not to aggregate all data. Morton is made to look careless and incorrect when it is really Steve who is arbitrarily biasing things in his own favor.

There is an additional contrast between Morton and Gould worth noting. To conjure up Morton’s mistakes, Gould lovingly describes the action of unconscious bias at work: “Morton, measuring by seed, picks up a threateningly large black skull, fills it lightly and gives a few desultory shakes. Next, he takes a distressingly small Caucasian skull, shakes hard, and pushes mightily at the foramen magnum with his thumb. It is easily done, without conscious motivation; expectation is a powerful guide to action.” Indeed it is, but careful re-measures show that Morton never made this particular mistake—only three skulls were mis-measured as being larger than they were and these were all either Amerindian or African.

The same can’t be said of Gould. He came across distressingly objective data of Morton, and by introducing biased procedures (no sample size below four) he was able to get appropriately biased results. And by misrepresenting the frequency of Nordic vs Amerindian subpopulations, he was able to create an illusion of bias where none existed, by mere emphatic assertion (no one bothered to check).

Where are the unconscious processes at work here? Is Steve flying upside-down on auto-pilot, unconsciously making the choices (substitute Nordic for Tropical, delete all samples smaller than four) that will invite the results he wants while hiding his bias? Is the conscious organism really completely in the dark while all of this is going on? Hard to imagine—but at the end the organism appears to be in full self-deception mode—a blow-hard fraudulently imputing fraud, with righteous indignation, coupled with magnanimous forgiveness for the frailties of self-deception in others.

In response to the criticism of Lewis et al, the keeper of Gould’s Tomb—his longtime editor at Natural History, Richard Milner—had some choice comments in defense of Stephen. Gould acted with “complete conviction and integrity” (that is, with full self-deception). “He was a tireless crusader against racism in any form.” (In what way is misrepresenting the true facts about population differences—and then hiding this misrepresentation—a contribution to anti-racism?) And then, fully in flight, he says that any bias was “on the side of the angels”. Who of us is in any position to say what is on the side of the angels? We barely know what is in our own self-interest.
Quelle surprise. Anti-racism is intrinsically anti-science.

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Vile Minion pride

Dear Evil Legion of Evil,

It has come to my attention that our vile faceless minions, in their abject loyalty to Our Evilness, crave more than the mere lash of our whips, the daily sustenance of SJW blood, and the occasional bones of an SJW on which to gnaw. Such is their pride in the growing spread of the dark shadow over lands hitherto unengulfed that they have begged for badges of recognition with which they can strike yet more fear into our craven and cowardly foes.

It is, of course, exceedingly risible to imagine that we should raise them up to the extent of providing them with names. Or, as one minion, who is unfortunately no longer with us after an accident that involved six Hellhounds and the untimely ringing of a dinner bell, once had the temerity to suggest, pay them wages. But it occurred to me, in a stroke of Indubitably Evil Genius, that it might be useful to be able to tell the difference between these otherwise indistinguishable, and indeed, faceless, creatures. Therefore, in my Tender yet Sinister Mercy, I have graciously acceded to their pleas.

An example of the first said badge is provided, one which has already been awarded to the first and most ruthlessly loyal of our minions. Should any of these vile and faceless minions wish to boast their own number in the Evil Legion of Evil, they have merely to humbly bring themselves to Our Superlatively Evil Attention via the word MINION. My Inventively Evil and Aggressively Breasted Executive Assistant, Malwyn, she who is also known as the Whore-Mistress of the Spiked Six-Whip, will subsequently send them a uniquely numbered badge, which they can display to the public with all the unseemly pride and haughty arrogance they will no doubt feel, filling SJW hearts with fear and horror thereby.

In Supreme Confidence of the Coming Day in which Darkness Shall Cover All the Land,

Vox Day
Supreme Dark Lord
Evil Legion of Evil

Read more »

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Baltimore burning

Yet another example of why racial and national separatism is inevitable is provided in living color:
Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency and has put the state’s National Guard “on alert” after a day of rioting, looting and violence targeting police in Baltimore. The violence broke out just hours after the funeral for Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old Baltimore man who died in police custody April 19, a week after he was arrested on a West Baltimore street and dragged into the back of a police wagon. Police said Mr. Gray died of severe injuries to his spine and are still investigating the circumstances behind his death.... With demonstrators threatening to take the protests to the city’s prosperous downtown area, Major League Baseball officials announced the cancellation of a planned game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox.
Well, there is nothing like spirited public protest to revive the flagging spirits of democracy in America. Meanwhile, we are reliably informed by one DeShawn that his boy DRAYQUAN, of the Baltimore Loot Crew, IS GOIN OUT TO POP SUM PIGS.

He seems nice. No doubt after he dies in a hail of bullets after pointing that pig-shooter at the police or some National Guardsmen, we will learn all about how he wanted to go to college, how he liked to arrange flowers, and that he was really just a sweet ickle boy who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Is it a parody? Perhaps. That's the problem. How can you possibly tell anymore?

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Monday, April 27, 2015

EQUALITY: THE IMPOSSIBLE QUEST reviewed

Ann Sterzinger reviews Martin van Creveld's EQUALITY: THE IMPOSSIBLE QUEST in a fairly detailed article entitled: "Your Stupid Questions Have No Answers: Martin van Creveld vs. the Chimera of Equality":
Van Creveld’s Equality is one of Castalia’s most absorbing releases, if you’re interested in history anyway—past history, not the historical destiny of your marching-drum ideology—the sort of history that’s not only full of holes where the victors and the monks wrote over chunks of the evidence, but the sort of history that, as far as we can tell, indeed has been repeating itself rather drearily.

As van Creveld says in his preface, the histories of our other two unattainable ideals, liberty and justice, have been written before—or, rather, attempted; there’s too much to read on all three of these subjects for one guy to do it at a go. But van Creveld does his best to describe all our tragic, failed attempts at equality. When we’ve bothered to make an attempt, that is.

Van Creveld also dwells on one of my all-time favorite tear-jerkers: the tragic failure of the classical fifth-century democracy at Athens. This was history’s most famous attempt at “one man, one vote on every issue,” and the resulting polis served as the cradle of the greatest explosion of civilized thought and art in our history. The glory lasted all of about a generation and a half, during which time the Athenian mob destroyed themselves by repeatedly voting to attack their neighbors at Sparta.

The Spartan attempt at equality, by the way, is more thoroughly given its due by van Creveld than I’ve seen in any other historical text. He also includes fresh perspectives on the interesting mishmash that was feudalism (a derogatory name invented by snooty post-feudalists); Locke vs. Rousseau vs. Montesquieu; the fitful, failed, and often bloody attempts of Hellenic city-states to achieve equality after Alexander; the ironically “vicious inequalities” of communism; the ever-miserable war of the sexes; and the medieval revolt of the French jacquerie. The book is as rich in historical detail and perspective as it is thick with bitter disappointment.

Over and over again, van Creveld is forced toward the same conclusion: there are hardly ever two individuals who are equal, much less entire social classes. And as lovely as it may be to enjoy citizenship (if you can get it) in a relatively egalitarian city-state, it’s only a matter of time before your polis gets swallowed up by the greater driving power—a power which may actually be the result of greater inequality and therefore organization—of a nearby empire. Take, for instance, the way the squabbling Greek city-states were swallowed by the burgeoning Macedonians’ power-lust. Alexander the Great actually managed to co-opt the Greek cultural prestige while stripping the Greeks of their political sovereignty and moving on to bulldoze the Middle East.

Oh, and capitalism never helped much. It may have used the traders and urban islands—which, clinging to the margins of feudalism, added a dash of meritocracy to the stupid-son mix—to get its momentum going. But then, says van Creveld, “The shift towards capitalism and absolutism did not mean that inequality grew less pronounced. On the contrary, the growing power of the modern state, which in many ways was based on a firm partnership between the kings and their nobilities, caused it to be accentuated even more.”
Read the whole thing there. As for the book itself, EQUALITY: THE IMPOSSIBLE QUEST is available at Amazon and at Castalia House. And speaking of Castalia House, you won't want to miss Jeffro's interview with Thomas Mays, US Navy Commander and author of A SWORD INTO DARKNESS:
Jeffro: I have to hand it to you… I was utterly riveted by the scene from your A Sword Into Darkness when they used those fancy missiles of yours on an asteroid for target practice. It’s never crossed my mind that such a thing could be a problem in the first place, much less that a real spaceship would have all manner of ancillary problems to deal with in the process. How did you come up with all of that?

Thomas Mays: You mean in terms of “It’s not like Star Wars, where the target blows up and that’s it?” Well, It’s a question of weapon effects. If you’re going to vaporize something, you have to have a mechanism that can contain the target long enough to apply sufficient energy to break down every molecular bond it has. That’s . . . a LOT of energy and actually very difficult to do. Even with antimatter, the target and the antimatter would tend to blow one another away from contact after only a few micrograms exploded. Aside from my engine (which is a handwavium 1g reaction drive with no reaction mass requirement, used so the story stays exciting (it moves at the speed of plot!)), most of the tech is within the realm of reason.

For the most bang for my buck, I wanted nukes. But nukes don’t work the same way exo-atmospheric. They burn and vaporize up close, and only produce a real blast effect if they blow up inside something. And if you do that, you’re going to have a lot of debris. How do you handle that? Use a different weapon that can reach out and touch someone. So I thought, LASER! But no. Lasers don’t zap things. They burn and vaporize, and they take time and focus. So that means I need big mirrors or lenses, and still the focal length will be relatively small. Lasers weapons are shorter range devices. Kind of like CIWS.

So, I went to my old standby: electromagnetic railguns, which I worked on for my Master’s Degree in Applied Physics. Figure out the proper shell velocity, then figure out your ammo for various effects. Everything in that scene derives from first principles. But I did have a lot of help and reference material from the Atomic Rockets website by Winchell Chung. That helped with a lot of the book’s technical details.

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They said it would never happen

But, as we know, SJWs always lie. Persecution is the consequence of tolerance:
Coeur d‘Alene, Idaho, city officials have laid down the law to Christian pastors within their community, telling them bluntly via an ordinance that if they refuse to marry homosexuals, they will face jail time and fines.

The dictate comes on the heels of a legal battle with Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post wedding chapel in the city, but who oppose gay marriage, The Daily Caller reported. A federal judge recently ruled that the state’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, while the city of Coeur d‘Alene has an ordinance that prevents discrimination based on sexual preference....

“Many have denied that pastors would ever be forced to perform ceremonies that are completely at odds with their faith, but that’s what is happening here — and it’s happened this quickly,” Mr. Tedersco said, The Daily Caller reported.
At this point, it is fairly obvious that revolution time is coming. All the moderates who said we just had to go along to get along were wrong all along, of course. Never listen to moderates. They're just cowardly idiots who will do or say anything rather than stand up for what they say they believe in.

The latest on the ongoing case:
Both sides are standing their ground as a lawsuit filed against the city of Coeur d'Alene by the Hitching Post continues through U.S. District Court.

Lawyers with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian rights legal advocacy organization, filed the suit in October on behalf of Hitching Post owners Don and Evelyn Knapp. The civil rights lawsuit claims the Knapps are being forced to violate their religious beliefs and perform same-sex marriages because of the city's anti-discrimination ordinance.

"The whole problem is that prior to the case being filed, the city was saying the distinction between covered and not-covered was whether or not a business was a nonprofit or for-profit. But after we filed, they changed that statement," Jeremy Tedesco, ADF senior legal counsel, said. "This ordinance has criminal penalties and jail time if you violate it and because of that, the city needs to have clear guidelines for people like the Knapps who are trying to figure out if they're exempt."

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"A job well done"

Now we know why none of the big banks were prosecuted by the Obama administration:
Just after announcing his resignation as U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder has accepted a top job with Wall Street finance giant JPMorgan Chase.

Starting in early November, Holder will serve as JPMorgan Chase’s chief compliance officer, where his responsibilities will include lobbying Congress on the company’s behalf and ensuring it “gets the best deal possible” from any new proposed financial regulations. Holder will also fetch morning coffee and breakfast orders for CEO Jamie Dimon and board members.

For his efforts, Holder will earn an annual salary of $77 million plus bonuses for a job well done.
At this point, I think the federal government should go back to the spoils system. It would be considerably less corrupt.

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The return of THERE WILL BE WAR

From The Year's Best Science Fiction to Thieves World, I have always been a fan of anthologies. I find it interesting to read the work of various authors as they address similar topics; in some ways, appearances in anthologies allows the reader to better distinguish the true masters from the journeymen, the stunt writers, the formulaists, and the one-trick ponies. It's also intriguing to see the difference between authors who are adept with the short form and novelists who really need more textual space within which to work. And of all the anthologies I ever read in my youth, my absolute favorite was THERE WILL BE WAR, created by none other than the science fiction great Dr. Jerry Pournelle himself.

To me, Jerry Pournelle was a near-mythic name that appeared on the shelves of B. Dalton's like an omnipresent demigod. I enjoyed his non-fiction essays even more than most of the fiction for which he was most famous, and looking back, he probably had as significant an impact on my intellectual development as Milton Friedman, Joseph Schumpeter, or Camille Paglia, not only as a writer, but as an editor. When I first read the first volume of THERE WILL BE WAR, with the unforgettable cover of a white-helmeted spotter calling in orbital artillery, I was deeply impressed by the way in which the essays informed the short stories as well as how the short stories tended to bring the essay subjects to life and make them more relevant to the reader.

And the names! Gordon R. Dickson. Philip K. Dick. Arthur C. Clarke. Poul Anderson. Joel Rosenberg. Robert Silverberg. Joe Haldeman. Niven and Pournelle. What was most impressive, however, was the way in which even the stories by the biggest names were occasionally trumped by then-unfamiliar names like Orson Scott Card, Edward P. Hughes, and above all, William F. Wu. THERE WILL BE WAR ran from 1982 to 1990, and finally came to an end around the same time as the Soviet Union, which had often served as a primary topic in the nine-volume series. It seemed apropos, after all. The Berlin Wall had fallen, an end to history had been reached, the long-warring nations of Europe were heading for monetary union, and, everyone assumed, peaceful political union as well, and many presumed that an end to war as we knew it was in sight as well. There would be no more war.

Being, as readers here know, somewhat of a pessimist when it comes to such utopian claims, reviving THERE WILL BE WAR was one of my first ideas when Castalia House was founded. I contacted Dr. Pournelle about it, but although he generally favored the idea, we never really got around to discussing it very seriously. I went with Plan B and created RIDING THE RED HORSE with LTC Tom Kratman instead. But I still wanted Dr. Pournelle to be involved, as I considered RED HORSE to be the spiritual successor of THERE WILL BE WAR. Upon being asked for a contribution, Dr. Pournelle graciously permitted me to include two of his pieces, a well-known short story set in the CoDominium universe called "His Truth Goes Marching On" and an article on wargame design that I found to be particularly interesting. Tom also obtained a contribution from John Carr, the associate editor on several volumes of THERE WILL BE WAR, including the first one. RIDING THE RED HORSE was published last December and it has been very well received. Five months after its release, it is still one of the top ten bestsellers in Military Strategy and more than one reviewer has even referred to it as a virtual "tenth volume" of THERE WILL BE WAR.

But the most significant response came from Dr. Pournelle, as after looking over the new anthology, he asked me if Castalia House might be interested in republishing his own out-of-print anthology series. I allowed that, yes, perhaps Castalia might have some modest interest in considering a discussion of the possibility, immediately put it on top of our priority list, and after a few months of hard work from the ad hoc THERE WILL BE WAR team, I am very, very, very pleased to be able to announce not only the republishing of THERE WILL BE WAR Volumes I and II, but also the revival of the THERE WILL BE WAR anthology series with an actual Volume X, edited by Jerry Pournelle, as well. Volume I and Volume II of THERE WILL BE WAR are now available in ebook at Amazon and Castalia House for $4.99 each, and as the following reviewer of Volume I noted, despite being 33 years old, they have a lot to offer the younger generations who never had a chance to read them before. It was very rewarding to read the first review of Volume I from a reader too young to have encountered the original paperbacks.
This book is astonishing. A collection of short military science-fiction and essays put together in the early 80s by Jerry Pournelle, the book is older than I am and yet somehow manages to avoid seeming dated at all. The book was extremely well-regarded when it came out, and spawned a nine volume series, but for years has languished in semi-obscurity. How good is it? It's got the original "Ender's Game" novella by Orson Scott Card, and that's not even the best story in the book!

If you're a younger reader, odds are you've never even heard of half of these writers. And they're all good. The stories are diverse, with everything from post-apocalyptic shootouts to huge sci-fi space battles. Sometimes the heroes win, and sometimes they don't. But every time I found myself rooting for them.

But the real prize of the book is the non-fiction essays, which give a window into how scary the world was back when the Soviet Union was still a threat. One of the essays, 'The Soviet Strategic Threat From Space", discusses the end of the world in a cold, scientific manner that's more chilling than any fiction could ever be.
 

"There Will Be War" introduced me to a ton of great new authors, and entire series that I had no clue even existed. For someone who's just getting into science fiction, it's a wonderful starting point. For veterans, it's a way to revisit some of the old greats.
I will post later today at Castalia House about some of my favorites from these first two volumes, but I can assure you that if you enjoyed RIDING THE RED HORSE in any way, shape, or form, you will be find Volume I and Volume II of THERE WILL BE WAR to be very well worth reading. I very highly recommend both volumes.

Amazon (Kindle format)
Castalia House (EPUB and Kindle formats)
FAQ
  •  Will these be released in print versions as well? Yes, in two-volume case laminated omnibus hardcovers. The first will probably appear in the July-August timeframe.
  • When will the next volumes be released? We expect to release Volumes III and IV in company with the VI+VII hardcover.
  • Does this mean the end of RIDING THE RED HORSE? No. RIDING THE RED HORSE Vol. 2 will focus on entirely new fiction. THERE WILL BE WAR Vol. X will consist primarily of Dr. Pournelle's selections from the best and most significant military fiction published between 1990 and 2015.
  • Who did the covers? Jartstar and Chris came up with the title layout and a new artist, Lars, did the updated 3D images that are homages to the original painted covers. He'll be doing the entire series. 
  • Can we review the books on Amazon if we bought them from Castalia or read them previously? By all means, please do.

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Debate the Dragon

Puff the Magic Dragon was talking very brave until it was suggested that he debate me himself.
Go ahead and debate Vox yourself, puff. If he's the soft target you think he is, you should really be able to make him look foolish.

Debate what? What are his actual positions? That's what this is all about. He puffs himself up into a controversial figure on the internet and when someone calls him out on it, you find out it was all smoke and mirrors. Is that supposed to be impressive? These issues aren't as cut and dried as you people seem to think they are, and apparently neither does Vox. You guys have bought into the persona as much as those "rabbits" have.
Now, since Puff admitted that he is insufficiently knowledgeable to debate me on an economic subject, we will avoid economics despite it being one of my specialties. So, here are five actual positions that I offer Puff the Magic Dragon to debate me on. If he runs like Myers, Martin, Scalzi, and others, we will all know the value of his opinion.
  1. That One Bright Start to Guide Them is a great book and The Wasp Factory is a dreadful one. Oh, wait, sorry, I agreed to debate that with Phil Sandifier on a left-wing SF podcast. Let's start over.
  1. That there are a series of continental-scale wars on the medium-term horizon that will be vicious, unconventional, and are likely to result in severe racial and national separatism.
  2. That John Scalzi is a fraud.
  3. That "The American Tolkien" is not a credible title for George R.R. Martin.
  4. That "marital rape" is a logical, historical, and legal contradiction in terms.
  5. That all modern human beings are not genetically equal.
That seems like a nice broad range of subjects from which to choose. I thought it was interesting to learn that for some people, the Pakman interview was informative in helping them understand my problem communicating with people:
For the record, Vox was correct about the common law. He did seem caught off guard about the fact that rape, even within marriage, is against the law in most states if not all. Pakman tried to use this as a "GOTCHA!" moment, and Vox looked confused, even though his point was not invalidated and his argument was still correct. The average person would come across thinking Vox was wrong, though.

This was actually the first time I really made sense of how Vox's mind works. As an earlier commenter said, Vox is so far ahead that it seems to stump him that someone isn't making the same logical jumps as quickly as he does -- having to explain every step is very annoying.
It's not always annoying (although it often is) but it is usually confusing. This is especially true when I am dealing with someone new because I have no idea at what point their ability to follow the train of logic is going to fail without warning. I was very confused when Pakman brought up US law in a bizarre attempt to rebut my reference to the historical Common Law. That's rather like pointing out that the US lost in Vietnam to rebut a claim that the US invaded Normandy in World War II.

Where does one even go with that? Try to give him a basic primer on the historical basis for US law? Tell him that he's an ignorant MPAI member and leave it at that? The best thing would have been to point out that his reference to US law was irrelevant and to observe that the post to which he referred was written in response to an Indian court upholding section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, except I didn't recall that at the time because I had no idea I was going to be asked about a short three-paragraph blog post from over a year ago.

Rhetorically speaking, I suppose the best thing to do if I'm concerned about my self-image is to say "so what" and unmask the fact that he can't follow the train of thought. But I try to be a polite guest. Perhaps I will need to rethink that policy if the host is an ambush artist; virtually none of the interviews I'd given in the past attempted to play gotcha without giving me fair warning about what the subjects would be beforehand.

I highlighted the irrelevance of his appeal to US law by reminding him that I don't live in the USA. Which I have no doubt sounded like a non sequitur to many, only the non sequitur was Pakman's. But I can't help it if a lot of people didn't understand that, because I can't simultaneously fill in the gaps in their knowledge and defend myself against a dishonest, time-limited ambush at the same time.

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

A misstep on the long march

David Futrelle's jumping on my failure to properly articulate my statement on what I believe #GamerGate to be is a good example of why the written word is reliably more powerful in the medium- and long-term than the visual medium:
Yesterday, I wrote about Vox Day’s extravagantly evasive — yet highly revealing — interview with David Pakman. But the interview also featured a few striking moments of candor. One of these came when Day — a sometime gave developer as well as the biggest asshole in Sci Fi — offered his answer to the question: “What is Gamergate really about?”

Suggesting that the issue of “corruption in game journalism” was little more than “the spark that set the whole thing off,” Day declared that

    what Gamergate is fundamentally about is the right of people to design, develop and play games that they want to design, develop and play without being criticized for it.

Which is an. er, interesting perspective, as there is in fact no “right” to be immune from criticism.

If you write a book, if you make a movie, if you post a comment on the internet — you should be ready for it to be criticized. Because that’s how free speech works. That’s how art works. And that’s how ideas work.
It's too bad David Pakman didn't jump on that or I would have corrected myself. But Futrelle is absolutely right for once. I shouldn't have phrased it that way. It was a mistake. What I should have said, and what I believe, was this:

What GamerGate is fundamentally about is the right of people to design, develop and play games that they want to design, develop and play.

Period. Although I will add that it would certainly be nice if we could simply design, develop, and play games without being harassed in the process. Now, as is normal for the average SJW, Futrelle hasn't really thought this through beyond the chance to momentarily try to portray me as being anti-free speech. (DISQUALIFY!) It's not a cheap shot, given the quote I handed him, but it is a silly one, because I have twelve years of evidence demonstrating that I am fairly extreme on the pro-free speech side, whereas Futrelle is considerably less staunch in that regard.

Of course, they will keep saying "you said it" and "no takebacks", or as PopeHat rather absurdly tried to insist, "you can retcon all you like". But that would only convince people if I had no previous statements on free speech, not to mention one of the more lightest moderating policies of any popular blog.

And it's very easy for us to turn this particular line of attack around on them. In response, I asked Futrelle the following question:

A question for you re your two articles. Do you support the right of gamers to tell women they should not develop games?

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Yeah, so, about that....

What's the lesson? No, not the one about women, the one about SJWs:
John Scalzi ‏@scalzi 
I'm not the Anti-Beale. I'm merely the person who Beale so very desperately wishes he had the career of.

Deirdre Saoirse Moen ‏@deirdresm
Which is why his Alexa rank is < 1000 milliScalzis.

Notorious E.G.G. ‏@silvermink
Though, I have to say, his Alexa rank is much closer to that number than my faith in humanity can handle sometimes.

John Scalzi ‏@scalzi
Trust me, if his Alexa score ever gets above mine, he'll trumpet it to the heavens.

Deirdre Saoirse Moen ‏@deirdresm
It wasn't until I looked at the puppy Alexa rankings that I understood why RP was more successful than SP. Sigh.

Notorious E.G.G. ‏@silvermink
People actually listen to Mr. Beale, mindboggling as I find that.

John Scalzi ‏@scalzi
Yeah, but they're assholes.

Notorious E.G.G. ‏@silvermink
A bit of a saving grace, it's true.

Jonathan Bergeron
now that's a burn

John Scalzi ‏@scalzi
It's not the Alexa award. It's that the RPs appealed more to people happy to shit all over other people.

Deirdre Saoirse Moen ‏@deirdresm
 I figured as much (and said so in response to a comment).

Marty ‏@hugbug94
VDBEALE doesn't have the writing chops to be in your league.

John Scalzi ‏@scalzi
Thanks, although I would not that for commercial success, writing chops are not always required.
Current Alexa Ranks

Scalzi Global: 84,147
Scalzi USA: 18,628

VP Global: 84,187
VP USA: 17,599

Now, Alexa is a ridiculous measure, as it is based on links rather than the more straightforward metric of traffic. At present, VP alone has about 3x Scalzi's Google pageview traffic, and VP+AG has about 4x the traffic. If history is any guide, we should see the first 2 million-pageview month in August; this month is on course for 1.9 million+ combined.

But, as is our wont, let us count the lies:
  1. I very desperately wish I had John Scalzi's career. I'm a lead game designer, a lead editor, and a minor author. He's a very successful midlist author who is making some headway in television and failed as a game writer. My blogs surpass his by a factor of four and are nearly double his all-time peak. My Twitter Impression/follower ratio is considerably higher (355 to 125), and despite having only one-fifth the Impressions and one-seventeenth the followers, I expect my Impressions will pass up his within 18 months.
  2. I will trumpet to the heavens if my Alexa score ever passes his. It did, months ago. I didn't. That's VP alone, by the way, VP+AG is far beyond his, as AG alone is around 105k Global.
  3. People who read here are assholes. Actually, according to the demographics, you're much wealthier and better-educated than the norm. And considering how lightly I moderate, I think it's self-evident that most people here are more civil than average as well. You're certainly less vulgar than Scalzi's commenters, for the most part. I like you, anyhow. Obviously, he doesn't.
  4. RPs appealed more to people happy to shit all over other people. Considering how the SJWs have treated the 2015 nominees, this is certainly false when compared to them. But compared to Sad Puppies, that's probably true. It's an unfair and misleading exaggeration, but not a lie.
  5. VDBEALE doesn't have the writing chops to be in Scalzi's league. Actually, I'd put us both right in the same league. We're both mediocre, albeit for very different reasons. My Style has no melody, no flare. It is plodding and pedestrian whereas Scalzi's Style is light and breezy. Scalzi can't do characters and they all speak in one snarky voice: his own. My characters are diverse and distinct, albeit limited to the upper half of the male spectrum. I think Story comes out fairly equal, although he directly rips off the greats whereas I merely borrow here and there, Concept is also fairly even, his clever stunts versus my worldbuilding.

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Help the Honey Badgers

The Honey Badgers were kicked out of Calgary Expo, apparently for the thoughtcrime of supporting GamerGate by selling GG t-shirts. Here is another chance to strike back at the SJWs:
The Honey Badger Brigade is now seeking legal advice to hold the Calgary Expo staff accountable for their acts of abuse and discrimination against us. We have made attempts in the past week to diffuse the situation by attempting to contact Mr. Kelly Dowd, owner of the Calgary Expo. We have received no response.

On April 17th 2015, the Honey Badger Brigade was forcibly evicted and our booth ordered removed, despite our operating well within the rules of the Expo and it’s policies of conduct. We were not given a chance to dispute the alleged complaints. The organization violated its own stated policy in the process and has released conflicting claims regarding its reasons for our removal.

Those claims indicate that we were removed due to our Men’s Rights Activism and unpopular view of modern feminism. Therefore it is our belief that the actions taken by the Calgary Expo staff were of a political nature and contravene the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in particular freedom of conscience, freedom of thought and freedom of association.

If so, this eviction was based in discrimination, an act that has defamed and abused us. While we would prefer to settle this outside of a courtroom, we are prepared to take every legal action needed to ensure that ourselves and other future exhibitors will be treated equally, and without such a denial of their fundamental human rights.

All funds submitted to this fundraiser will be used for legal costs and costs directly related to our ejection from the Calgary Comics and Entertainment Expo. We will be keeping track of expenses and providing expense reports as we’re able.
If you're a member of the Dread Ilk, Rabid Puppies, or #GamerGate, I'd encourage you to start a little coffee fund. Nothing much, maybe save your change or devote $5 per month to support the little causes such as these that are going to continue to arise. If we all do that, and judiciously apply this financial ammunition, the force multiplication of doing it at the same time at critical junctures can have a disproportionate impact.

I'm not going to bring up every little thing, but if one seems particularly useful or hits in a critical area, I will bring it to your attention. The Honey Badgers are significant because they are being attacked primarily to prevent the GamerGate virus from spreading into other potentially anti-SJW women's groups.

Remember, the SJWs always focus their ire and their fire at the weak links and the inroads. That's why they put pressure on the likes of Annie Bellet, not Steve Rzasa or Tom Kratman, to withdraw from the Hugo shortlist. If we can continue to knock them back at those points of resistance, they'll crumble much more rapidly than they will from steady, constant pressure.

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Fourth Generation disruptions

What applies to one field often applies to many. I thought this excerpt from Martin van Creveld's Technology and War was interesting both in its own right and as it applies to the cultural war:
In practice, the difference between war and the deadliest games practiced by men consists precisely of the fact that, in war, the element of pure unbridled force is always present. Like a bolt of lightning coming out of a clear sky, it threatens to crash through the network of rules. Historically speaking, there have been many places and times when war began to resemble a game. Whenever this happened, there were people aplenty who chose to interpret the phenomenon as a sign that civilization was advancing, that eternal peace was possible, perhaps even that the millenium was about to arrive. On each of those occasions, however, sooner or later somebody came along who did not operate on the same code. Brandishing his sharp sword he tore apart the delicate fabric, revealing war for what it really was.

Nemesis, when it came, took different forms. The Hellenistic states, which had dominated the eastern Mediterranean, were laid low by the Romans who, to quote Polybius, were singularly inclined to use force (bia) in order to solve any problem. The jousts and other military games being played at the courts of France and Burgundy were rudely disrupted by Swiss pikemen and Spanish arquebusiers coming from “barbaric” countries on the fringe of civilization, nations that had never been properly feudalized. The European ancien régime was brought to an end when the French Revolution mobilized huge hordes of men and, unable to train them in the good old rules, hurled them forward at the enemy in formations that contemporaries regarded as crude but very effective. As might be expected, those who survived these eruptions often engaged in a spirited debate as to whether they involved progress or a reversion to barbarism. Though a disinterested historian writing long after the event might point out that they most probably represented both, this was scant consolation to the victims at the time.

To read the signs, our age also displays these symptoms. Partly because of the nuclear threat, partly because of the modern fascination with advanced technology per se, and partly for deeply rooted socio-ideological reasons, weapons are being turned into toys and conventional war into an elaborate, but fundamentally pointless, game. While games can be nice while they last, in our age too there is a real danger that they will be upset by barbarians who, refusing to abide by the rules, pick up the playing-board and use it to smash the opponent’s head. Let him who has ears to listen, listen: the call Lucifer ante portas already reverberates, and new forms of warfare are threatening to put an end to our delicate civilization.
It's not an accident that there are similarities between the 4GW we are seeing throughout the Middle East and the 4GW we are seeing in the form of GamerGate. Both are reactions to overwhelming and irresistible centralized power; ISIS/DAESH could no more stand up to the US military in conventional battle than the average game player could influence the game media or the average SF novelist could expect to hit the New York Times bestseller list and be end-capped at Barnes & Noble without the support of a major New York publisher.

But technology and decentralization has allowed the Fourth Generation forces to bypass the conventional strong points. ISIS can coordinate global strikes from deep cover operatives anywhere in the world; a power not even the Emperor of Rome or the Queen of the British Empire possessed. A single gamer like Pew Die Pie has a bigger following than any game journalist. And, well, you already know about the Hugo Awards and the New York Times bestseller list has been rendered moot by Amazon's.

This is a time of change, in both military and societal terms. As is usually the case, the change will NOT take the form that is expected by those who control the conventional forces, indeed, on the basis of past transitions, we can safely predict that those who have been most dependent upon the conventional models are the most likely to find themselves on the wrong side of techno-historical progress.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

The virus spreads


Now #GamerGate is spreading into fitness and media. It's a pity David Pakman didn't stick to the topic at hand, as I made a prediction about #GamerGate that is already beginning to come true. The anti-SJW offensive is spreading out from games into books and other industries.

The SJWs took the cultural high ground. But due to their being centralized, they have a very limited ability to respond to the 4GW tactics being utilized by the various #XGates.

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