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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Interview with Martin van Creveld

The interview went very well. A transcript will be provided to all Brainstorm members when it is ready and will be available in various formats on the Castalia store.

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367

In answer to a question at File 770:
I suspect the Rabids aren’t fans of SF so much as they are “members of the cult of Vox Day.” Partly, this is the only thing that truly seems to explain the works on the slate — the ones that aren’t published by Beale’s own press anyway — the point isn’t that they are any particular thing, the point is that he chose them, and there they are.

I don’t know what that implies for the future. Beale himself obviously believes in nursing a grudge to the end of time, so HE’S not going anywhere. But how many minions does he actually have? What’s their staying power? Are they really going to stay interested enough to do this again next year?
There are exactly 367 Vile Faceless Minions, as it happens, in addition to an unknown quantity of Rabid Puppies, Dread Ilk, and Ilk.

As to what their staying power is, and if they are really going to stay interested enough to do this again next year, I have ordered Malwyn and her colleagues to unmuzzle them and thereby permit them to speak for themselves, if they so wish.

I am kind.

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The wages of apostasy

Shed no tears for the Anglicans. They departed from the Word of God and they are reaping the inevitable harvest of irrelevance:
The Church of England has suffered a dramatic slump in its followers, shocking new figures show. Between 2012 and 2014, the proportion of Britons identifying themselves as C of E or Anglican dropped from 21 per cent to 17 per cent – a fall of about 1.7 million people.

Over the same period, the number of Muslims in Britain grew by nearly one million, according to a survey by the respected NatCen Social Research Institute.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey warned last night that unless urgent action was taken, the Church was just ‘one generation away from extinction’.

The number of Anglicans in Britain has dropped from about 10.3 million to 8.6 million, and will raise fresh fears over the future of the Church of England, which has been in decline since the 1960s. Lord Carey, who has warned before about dwindling congregations, said: ‘These figures are a call to urgent mission. I have no doubt at all that the Archbishops, together with the whole leadership of the Church of England, are doing all they can to reverse this trend.’

The current Archbishop, Justin Welby, has also called for the decline to be tackled and is introducing measures to streamline the Church and strengthen its leadership.
I have a simple seven-point plan that will absolutely reverse the trend and revive the Church of England:
  1. Publicly repent accommodation with the world.
  2. Announce the Counter-Accommodation, a house-cleaning movement that throws out every reform and innovation since 1950 and openly rejects the false idea that tolerance and inclusion are Christian virtues or that unrepentant sinners are welcome as members of the Church body.
  3. Excommunicate every bishop and former bishop who voted for the ordination of women.
  4. Excommunicate every bishop and former bishop who voted for the ordination of homosexuals or officiated over a same-sex ceremony.
  5. Defrock every female and homosexual bishop or priest.
  6. Suspend every bishop or priest who publicly endorses social justice, tolerance, inclusivity, or ecumenicism.
  7. Preach the Word of God precisely as it is communicated through the King James Bible.
If the Church of England will not do this, it has no reason to exist and fully merits its extinction. Observe that the long term results have been exactly what the conservatives who opposed these reforms have been predicting all along. When a Christian church rejects the Word of God and hares after worldly approval, it is not long for this world.

And the UK's atheists probably won't be too pleased with the Church of England's demise. I tend to doubt they will find their new Muslim neighbors quite as easy to push around as lukewarm Anglicans.

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Sad Puppies can't be wrong

Not when the very worst writer in science fiction and fantasy opposes us:
Mercedes Lackey says:   
May 15, 2015 at 9:00 PM   

I’ve said it before in your blog and I’ll say it again. The Puppies of both orders picked the perfect name for themselves. Puppies piss and shit all over everything, they never stop whining and yapping, they destroy everything they get their teeth into and plenty of them are too damn dumb not to shit and piss in their own bed. And then lie in it.

And then they are shocked–SHOCKED!–when someone comes along, rubs their noses in it, and smacks them. And they’ll be even more shocked when someone lock them in their crate, or sends them to the pound.

See, one thing Larry (my husband Larry Dixon) and I have learned is that editors don’t appreciate trouble. Trouble doesn’t sell books. In the long run, trouble loses sales, in a business already precarious.

I’m going to predict that someone is going to be crated over this. If they are less lucky…someone’s going to be sent to the pound.
No wonder her hastily scribbled–5.5 per year on average according to Wikipedia–are so appallingly dreadful. The woman makes the logic-challenged Eric Flint look like a genius in comparison. I'd rather read John Scalzi's entire oeuvre twice than another Mercedes Lackey book. She's the anti-Tanith Lee; her works were among the first Pink SF works I noticed corrupting the genre. A year ago, I would have called her an Marion Zimmer Bradley-imitator who can't write, except that would be a bit harsh given the recent revelations of her predecessor's problematic pasttimes. And if I was as determined to unilaterally destroy the Hugos as the SJWs claim, RP's Best Novel category would have been as follows:
  • Closer to Home: Book One of Herald Spy by Mercedes Lackey
  • Bastion: Book Five of the Collegium Chronicles by Mercedes Lackey
  • Children of the Night (Diana Tregarde Investigation #2) by Mercedes Lackey
  • Steadfast (Elemental Masters #8) by Mercedes Lackey
  • Blood Red (Elemental Masters #9) by Mercedes Lackey
As to how shocked–SHOCKED!–we are by the behavior of the SJWs in science fiction, I will simply quote Martin van Creveld in The Changing Face of War.

"As Schlieffen himself had once written, for a great victory (what he called a "Cannae" to take place, it was necessary for the commanders on both sides to cooperate, each in his own way."

Let's just say their behavior shocked me about as much as the discovery that the sun rose again this morning. There are precisely four things that have surprised me about the SJW response to date:
  1. John Scalzi more or less keeping his mouth shut. Now we know why.
  2. Charles Stross attempting to doxx Castalia and his insane Finnish Nazi theories. I genuinely thought he was smarter than that.
  3. The public approval of Mary Kowal openly buying supporting memberships for other people. It's so hard to imagine anyone else making effective use of that tactic in the future.
  4. Popular Science being one of the publications in which they planted their hit stories. I knew from past experience they would plant hit pieces in the media. But that would not have been among the first 250 publications I would have guessed.
On the other hand, it is entirely unsurprising to see that Lackey is stupid enough to not realize that her prediction about Puppy-supporting authors suffering at the hands of their editors is additional testimony in support of our original contentions. And it's not the only testimony in this regard either. I rather enjoyed Brian Z's Stalinistic ritual denunciation under pressure:

"In case this might be misunderstood as an endorsement of that site moderator’s views or tactics, I denounce everything Vox Populi stands for." 

Do you, SJW, renounce the Supreme Dark Lord and all his works? And then there was Influxus's admission of what many SJWs are thinking, but most are sensible enough to deny in public:

Of course VD loves it because it perpetuates his narrative that the Sads are scape-goated by the SJWs of Fandom, when really the only person that most people want to get rid of is him.

Nearly everything the SJWs do tends to support that narrative. And while I may top the list, based on their behavior towards Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen and John C. Wright and Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg and John Norman, I very much doubt I am the only troublesome individual of whom they wish to be rid. As for the pound, it is obvious that the SJWs of Fandom simply do not understand the relevant dynamic here....

UPDATE: Speaking of the Puppy narrative, further support for it from SJWs.
"I suspect that some of these sad and rabid folk will soon have to start writing under new pen names if they expect their work to survive the editorial sniff-test with most of today’s publishers."
This, of course, is the same thing Charles Stross was telling me 10 years ago. Submit to the SJW gatekeepers or be cast out. As for me and my House, we choose out.

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Eric Flint, SJW

I hadn't bothered reading whatever Flint had been going on about, because knowing that he was still a socialist was sufficient for me, the student of several noted Marxian economists (since recanted), to know that the man is neither very intelligent nor very educated.

But I finally got around to reading the article and was mildly surprised to learn that it was even dumber than I assumed it would be.
I am a social justice warrior. Not an “SJW,” not a figment of the fevered imaginations of right-wingers, but the real deal. 
Wow, the real deal! And what do SJWs always do? That's right. All together now! SJWS ALWAYS LIE. Case in point: Eric Flint.
Then there’s Theodore Beale, aka “Vox Day.” Now we come to a far more suitable candidate, Great-Dictator-Reborn-wise. He shares Hitler’s general attitudes on race, certainly, although I don’t know where he stands on the subject of Jews. And he’s even to the right of Hitler on the subject of women. Far to the right, in fact. Hitler thought women should stick to their proper roles in child-rearing, managing households and church activity—“Kinder, Kūche, Kirche”—but he wasn’t actually opposed to women learning how to read and write and he didn’t support honor killings.

But there are two great differences between Beale and Hitler that make it impossible for Beale to play that role either.

To start with, whatever his other depravities, Hitler wasn’t a petty chiseler. Whereas Beale is nothing but a petty chiseler. He chisels when it comes to his opinions, always trying to play peekaboo and slime around defending what he obviously believes. And he’s trying to win Hugo awards by petty chiseling.

But it’s his other characteristic that really disqualifies him for the role of Great Villain in this morality play.

In a nutshell—and completely unlike Adolf Hitler—Theodore Beale is a fucking clown with delusions of grandeur. This is a man—say better, pipsqueak—who rails to the heavens about the decline—nay, the imminent doom!—of western civilization due to the savageries of sub-human races and (most of all) the pernicious—nay, Satan-inspired!—willfulness of uppity women, and likes to portray himself as the reincarnation of the feared Crusaders of yore, all the way down to wielding a flaming sword.

And… the best thing he can figure out to do with his time, money and energy is to hijack a few Hugo awards. That’ll show the sub-human-loving treacherous bitches!

The world trembles and shakes, just like it does in the imagination of a mouse whenever that mouse imagines itself to be an elephant. Except no mouse who ever lived was this stupid.
You know, we've wondered who was going to be the new Hitler ever since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proved to be such a washout in that regard. My money was on Putin, so I had absolutely no idea it would turn out to be me. Someone get Hugo Boss on the line, we're going to need some snappy new outfits for the VFM, stat!

Let's address the issues as Mr. Flint, real deal SJW, puts them forth.
  1. I don't share Hitler's views on race, as I have a basic grasp of human genetics and I am neither a eugenicist nor an Aryan supremacist.
  2. On the subject of Jews, I am a Zionist who edits and publishes the eminent Israeli military historian Dr. Martin van Creveld.
  3. I'm not opposed to women learning to read and write. I am opposed to women being encouraged to obtain advanced degrees in the place of husbands and children. Unlike Mr. Flint, I can do the demographic math.
  4. I don't support honor killings. I never have.
  5. I don't hide what I really believe. Mr. Flint claims to know what I really believe without me ever putting it into words because, and I quote, "peekaboo". If anyone is "a fucking clown" here, it is observably Mr. Flint.
  6. I'm not trying to win Hugo Awards. I don't care about winning awards.
  7. I have no delusions of grandeur. I'm not the one who keeps running to The Guardian, Entertainment Weekly, The New Zealand Herald, NPR, Popular Science, or the Wall Street Journal to talk about me. I haven't issued a single press release or called a single member of the media about the Hugo Awards or anything else, for that matter.
  8. Western civilization is in peril. In large part thanks to idiots like Mr. Flint.
  9. I don't like to portray myself with a flaming sword. That was the brainchild of the Star Tribune photographer who was taking pictures of me for a story the paper was doing. Apparently he was onto something, as it's an image many people have remembered.
  10. Hijacking the Hugo Awards is not the best thing I can figure out to do with my time, money and energy. First, the Hugos weren't hijacked. We claimed the nominations fair and square, and entirely in accordance with the rules. Second, it took very little time, money, or energy as it required nothing more than a single blog post and 367 Vile Faceless Minions who despise SJWs like Eric Flint, John Scalzi, Jim Hines, and George Rape Rape Martin more than Eric Flint hates capitalist running dogs.
Anyhow, it's always good to see one's initial instincts confirmed. Now I can go back to completely ignoring the moronic intellectual dinosaur. Seriously, how stupid do you have to be to still subscribe to the Labor Theory of Value? I would have thought that robotics would have been sufficient to lay that to rest for anyone capable of turning on a computer.

It's kind of funny that these people take umbrage at the idea that I am considerably more intelligent than they are. Do they even read what they write? Hitler! Honor! Hate! Hijack! Hugo! It's as if they've got conceptual Tourette's Syndrome. My favorite was Flint's claim to a) know I share Hitler's ideas on race but b) not know my views about Jews. We're clearly dealing with a real master of logic here.

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A History of Strategy chapter 3

The chapter 3 quiz is now available for the taking.

In not entirely unrelated news, there are 34 seats left for tomorrow's Brainstorm event with Martin van Creveld. If you want to be guaranteed a place, you should consider acquiring either an Annual membership or a monthly one.

If those seats are not taken by tomorrow, they'll be made available on a first-come, first-serve basis at 1:55 PM EST.

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The Ones Who Walk Away from Fandom

by Brian Z on File 770
Justice! How is one to tell about justice? How describe the citizens of Fandom?

Some do not write vintage pulp, you see, though there is message. But we do not hear the words story first much any more. Prose has become obtuse. Given a description such as this some might make certain assumptions. Given a description such as this some might look next for a King, mounted on a splendid stallion and surrounded by his noble knights, or a snowy tavern with no spaceships. But there was no king. They did not use gendered pronouns, or foreshadow. They were not Stephen Donaldson. I do not know the rules and laws of their writing, but I suspect that they were singularly few. As they had strange plot and character, so they also got on without immersion, pacing, rhythm, and emotional payoff. Yet I repeat that these were not pulpy folk, not Charles Gannons, John Ringos, Eric Flints. They were no less fen than us. The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and instapundits, of considering message as something rather boring.

Do you believe? Do you accept the linkfests, the ceremony, the awards? No? Then let me describe one more thing.

In a basement under one of the public forums, or perhaps in the cellar of a blog, there is a bar. It has one door. A few sympathetic reviews seep in dustily between cracks in the boards. In one corner is a pile of schlock paperbacks with banal, cloying, smutty covers, sold through a rusty e-bookstore. A mere broom closet. In the bar a Sad is sitting. It could be a boy or a girl. The door is unlocked, but nobody will come.

They all know it is there, the citizens of Fandom. Some have read, others merely tweet about it. They all understand that the reputation of their genre, the wisdom of their bloggers, the trajectory of their authors, the complacence of their nominators, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend on the pup’s opuscular misery.

There might not even be a kind word spoken to the pup.

At times one of the younger fen who go to see the pup does not go home to weep or rage, does not, in fact, go home at all. Sometimes also an older fan falls silent for a day or two, and then leaves home. Each one goes alone. They walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the place with the Hugos. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Fandom.
It's more than a little amusing. And those who walk away are the wise ones, because, as it has been sung:

Never kick a dog
Because it's just a pup
You'd better run for cover when the pup grows up!

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Publishing: the negative-sum game

It is both amusing and a little tragic to see the brave face that the File 770 wannabes put on when contemplating the state of the traditional publishing world. They keep insisting that it is not a zero-sum game, which is true in a sense, because it is actually a negative-sum game.
The most difficult problems are negative-sum situations, where the pie is shrinking. In the end, the gains and losses will all add up to less than zero. This means that the only way for a party to maintain its position is to take something from another party, and even if everyone takes his or her share of the "losses," everyone still loses in comparison to what they currently have or really need. This type of situation often sparks serious competition.

However, negative-sum disputes are not always lose-lose because if the parties know the pie is shrinking, it is possible their expectations will be low. A perfect example of a negative-sum dispute is the allocation of budget cuts within an organization. In this case, each department expects to have some funds taken away, but whether the outcome is a win or loss depends on how much money a particular branch gets in comparison to what they expected to have cut from their budget. So, if a branch was expecting to get a 30 percent cut and they only got cut 20 percent, which would be a win, even in a diminishing resource situation.
The present negative-sum situation was probably inevitable, not only due to the primary factor of men's increasing preference for electronic forms of entertainment, but there is also the secondary factor of changing ethnic demographics. In the USA, for example, Hispanics don't read as much as Anglos and they don't buy as many books.

Among all American adults, the average (mean) number of books read or listened to in the past year is 12 and the median (midpoint) number is 5. The White average is 13 and the median is 5, the Black average is 12 and the median is 4, the Hispanic average is 7 and the median is 3.

Throw in the number of non-English speakers into the mix and it should not be a surprise that prospects for the traditional publishing world were not good despite a growing population even before the SJW invasion of genre publishing is taken into account. But that doesn't mean that the advocates of Pink SF haven't made the situation worse, as the corporate masters are apparently beginning to understand. "Tor’s editorial director Julie Crisp has left Pan Macmillan following a review of the company’s science fiction and fantasy publishing."

Does that mean that Castalia has stupidly entered a declining market in the hopes of carving off a slice of a shrinking pie? Not at all. Because we have no intention whatsoever of becoming a traditional publisher, our cost structure will keep us competitive despite the higher royalties and lower prices we offer, and we know there is still a significant market for the Campbellian science fiction created by beardy, middle-aged white men in which the traditional SF publishers are aggressively disinterested.

Moreover, as the Brainstorm crowd knows, we are developing the technology to massively expand that market by reaching the young men who have, quite reasonably, abandoned the traditional SF market. I started reading Neal Stephenson's latest novel, Seveneves, and it is truly depressing. Less because nearly everyone on Earth dies than because he appears to have gone full SJW with a Gamma sauce. It's the first time I've found it necessary to force myself to keep reading one of his books, and the first time one of his books has struck me as being proper Pink SF. Female presidents, token ethnic melanges, you name it, he's got it to such an extent that were it not for Stephenson's past gamma markers, I would almost suspect an epic, master-class trolling of the current genre.

On a tangential note, as Aristotle has informed us, some people are simply incapable of learning.
Julie Crisp ‏@julieacrisp May 20
So I've had a lot of submissions in recently. And do you know how excited I am to see how many of those are SF novels written by women?!!

Julie Crisp ‏@julieacrisp May 20
The answer is VERY!! :-)
Her doubling-down on her enthusiasm for female SF authors is intriguing in light of this news report from 2011:
But with the hiring of Bella Pagan away from Orbit, Tor UK does hope to grow — and diversify — its line. Crisp explains:

With Bella joining us, we're looking to grow our list in size, direction and selection. While, as of yet - everything is still under wraps concerning the new innovations we'll be putting in place (watch this space!) I can tell you that Bella has a particular interest in urban fantasy and paranormal romances - an area that Tor UK hasn't explored to its potential previously. So that's one area we'll be looking to expand into.
It doesn't look like that strategy worked out all that well, does it. I've even seen some rumors floating around that Pan Macmillan is in the process of shutting down Tor UK altogether. Meanwhile, Tor.com is abandoning the novel in favor of the novella:
When the book wars sweep across the galaxy, and the blood of publishers runs down the gutters of every interstellar metropolis, the resource we fight for will not be paper, or ink, or even money. It will be time. For our readers, time is the precious commodity they invest in every book they decide to purchase and read. But time is being ground down into smaller and smaller units, long nights of reflection replaced with fragmentary bursts of free time. It’s just harder to make time for that thousand-page novel than it used to be, and there are more and more thousand-page novels to suffer from that temporal fragmentation.

Enter the novella, an old form with a new lease on life. We expect that the reader who has to fit their reading into their daily commute will appreciate a novella they can finish in a week, rather than a year. We’ll be releasing books that can be begun and completed on just one of those rare evenings of uninterrupted reading pleasure.
Apparently they believe Pink SF is more digestible in smaller doses.

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Friday, May 29, 2015

One tit is never enough

JCCarlton explains why Eric Flint owes Brad Torgersen an apology:
The best thing the CHORFs could have done is lived by the principles they say that they said the Hugos represented.  They cold have welcomed the puppies as new blood.  At the very least they could have remained silent and accepted the fact that things are going to change.  Instead they created a huge media smear campaign against, among other people, Brad.  Frankly, accusing BRAD of being anything other than the nicest guy you will ever meet is just weird and I don’t think I’ve ever met Brad personally.  But when you play by Alinsky rules, facts aren’t relevant, the narrative is.

Along with that they are trying to “fix” the Hugos to make sure that only the “proper Worldcon membership,” the TRUFAN is allowed to pick who SF awards the Hugos to.  They are trying as hard as they can to make the Hugos the comfortable racket they like so much.  I don’t think that they realize just how much the nastiness they’ve been spreading around is losing them friends

Of course it doesn’t help that the CHORFs have been diligently creating their own monster.  I suspect that they thought that Vox would just fall apart and blow away like dust when they went all Alinsky on him at SFWA.  The problem is that Alinsky tactics only work when the other side accept you definition of them.  And Vox didn’t believe what the CHORFs were saying he was and frankly was able to turn their constant distortions and half truths against them.  Making false assertions doesn’t work as well on the internet where almost nothing is permanently forgotten and everything can documented.  It’s hard to make false assertions when the truth is a Google search away.

What the CHORFs don’t seem to be able to understand is that once you put up something in a blog, you might as well be broadcasting your actions to the other side.  And while most of us don’t care what’s on the CHORFs’ blogs on or another of us will probably see it and pass it around.  And Vox is not above pointing out the other side’s strategies and saying to his readership, tit for tat.

Up until the last few years I don’t think that many of us fans really cared about the Hugos very much.  The one time I’ve been able to attend a Worldcon I don’t think I even voted.  I’m absolutely sure that I didn’t participate in the nomination process the next year.  One thing the response the CHORFs have made many of realize for the first time is just how rotten the Hugo Awards have gotten.  I think that up until the CHORFs  declared total war on the puppies none of us on the other side really understood how far those people were willing to go for little plastic rocketships.
I have to admit that I don't give a damn what Eric Flint thinks. He need not apologize to me, regardless of what he may have said. I know that some of his fellow Baen writers think well of him, but I've never read anything he's written and I don't know anything about the man except for the fact that he's published by Baen and he's said to be an unreconstructed socialist.

So, I don't know if JCC is correct or not. But he's certainly correct to claim that I am not above recommending tit for tat. Indeed, I am considerably below that, being a devotee of the tactical philosophy that requires three or more tits for every tat.

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Scientistry is not scientody

And as for those who claim that I am anti-science because I am anti-corrupt scientistry, I've got two appeals to scientific authority that will trump yours right here:
In the past few years more professionals have come forward to share a truth that, for many people, proves difficult to swallow. One such authority is Dr. Richard Horton, the current editor-in-chief of the Lancet – considered to be one of the most well respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world.

Dr. Horton recently published a statement declaring that a lot of published research is in fact unreliable at best, if not completely false.

“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”

This is quite disturbing, given the fact that all of these studies (which are industry sponsored) are used to develop drugs/vaccines to supposedly help people, train medical staff, educate medical students and more.

It’s common for many to dismiss a lot of great work by experts and researchers at various institutions around the globe which isn’t “peer-reviewed” and doesn’t appear in a “credible” medical journal, but as we can see, “peer-reviewed” doesn’t really mean much anymore. “Credible” medical journals continue to lose their tenability in the eyes of experts and employees of the journals themselves, like Dr. Horton.

He also went on to call himself out in a sense, stating that journal editors aid and abet the worst behaviours, that the amount of bad research is alarming, that data is sculpted to fit a preferred theory. He goes on to observe that important confirmations are often rejected and little is done to correct bad practices. What’s worse, much of what goes on could even be considered borderline misconduct.

Dr. Marcia Angell, a physician and longtime Editor in Chief of the New England Medical Journal (NEMJ), which is considered to another one of the most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals in the world, makes her view of the subject quite plain:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine”
I note that it isn't any of the pro-vaxxers, the climate change scammers, the "I fucking love science" crowd or the True Believers in evolution that are calling out this vast quantity of scientific fraud, but rather the science skeptics, like me, who have repeatedly and reliably observed that the human element of the profession has indelibly tainted all confidence in the process.

And then recall that this is what Sam Harris believes can and should replace philosophy and traditional morality as an effective guide to human behavior.

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The Olympian indifference of Johnny Con

John Scalzi attempts to spin the narrative about his book deal on Twitter:
John Scalzi @scalzi
I'd like to thank @torbooks for taking a chance on me even though I don't actually sell any books.

John Scalzi @scalzi
Also, yeah, if you're one of those people who thinks I'm ruining science fiction, it's gonna be a bad next decade for you. Oh well!

John Scalzi retweeted
Jim C. Hines @jimchines
1. @scalzi signs a $3.4 million deal with Tor.
2. People authorsplain how he'd have earned even more if he'd only done ________.

#Facepalm

John Scalzi @scalzi
Reading commentary on the deal reminds me that a large majority of people do not know how publishing works. Which is fine, but interesting.

John Scalzi @scalzi
Most people don't HAVE to know publishing economics, mind you. Why would they? But if you're going to opine on them, it does help.

John Scalzi @scalzi
Schadenfreude: Watching people who've been sooo wrong about my career desperately try to spin this deal as a bad thing for me. Wrong again!

John Scalzi @scalzi
For those interested in compare and contrast: The advance for my first published novel -- "Old Man's War" -- was $6,500.

John Scalzi@scalzi
Someone living off of daddy's money probably shouldn't try to lecture others about finances.
What else is new? SJWs always lie. Mike Cernovich summed up the salient point yesterday.

Mike Cernovich @Cernovich
As a white straight male capitalist, I'm happy for @scalzi's $3.4 million book deal. But how many women/POC are squeezed out because of it?

I had estimated 680 on the basis of other SF publishers' current initial advances, but I stand corrected. According to McRapey(1) himself, Tor is funding 13 more John Scalzi books at the opportunity cost of no less than 523 initial advances to new science fiction authors. As a side note, it is informative to see how much initial advances from major publishers have shrunk over time; the advance for my first published novel in 1996 was $20,000 $25,000.

CORRECTION: For the benefit of those who don't know, I brought in Bruce Bethke as a co-writer AFTER being offered my first book contract with Pocket Books. Also, it was the advance for my first solo novel, The War in Heaven, that was $20,000. Those who think publishing isn't a zero-sum game are correct in a sense, it is worse than a zero-sum game. It is a negative-sum game, which is why first advances are now one-fifth to one-tenth of what they were 20 years ago.

Those who have thrown hissy fits over Sad Puppies supposedly slate-blocking as many as 12 authors and preventing them from receiving recognition for their work at the Hugo Awards would do well to consider the fact that Patrick Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi have combined to prevent more than 500 authors from getting published and receiving paid advances. Opportunity cost is a bitch, especially when you're the one upon whose fingers the window of opportunity has closed.

As Scalzi himself says, it's going to be a bad decade for them. But at least we'll have a few more snarky, derivative and mediocre novels from Tor to not read. So that's nice.

It's a little strange that people have claimed that my head is exploding or that I'm somehow upset by this deal. That's not the case at all. In fact, I'm very, very, very pleased that Tor has decided to bet its future on John Scalzi rather than on any of the 523 other authors in whom they could have invested. I wish it had been a 13-book deal at $3.4 million per book. Scalzi isn't the problem, after all, Scalzi is just one of the uglier public faces of the problem.

Castalia House was never going to publish Johnny Con because we don't publish Pink SF snark-fic or work with people we know to be liars. But if you're one of those 523 authors left out in the cold and you have a really good science fiction novel you want to publish, then we would certainly be interested in hearing from you.(2)


(1) I have been asked if John Scalzi will be relinquishing the "McRapey" title in light of George R.R. Martin's astonishing accomplishment in rape fiction. Upon consideration, the answer is no, but GRRM will henceforth be known as "George Rape Rape Martin".  

(2) Yes, we are behind in responding to our submissions. I'll be working on them this weekend.

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Neocons attack Paul, the sequel

Now the people who brought you failure in Afghanistan, failure in Iraq, a puppet government in Ukraine and the Islamic State are gunning for Rand Paul because he is willing to tell the truth about them and the foreign policy failures of the last Republican president. Roger Simon is running around claiming that Paul has "shown his true colors" and "destroyed himself":
Alas Rand (I had higher hopes for him), like father Ron, has a mega-chauvanistic view of the world.  The USA is so big and strong it causes everything, including, at one point, 9-11, and now ISIS, if you can believe that. Never mind that the Islamic State is just another avatar of Islamic imperialism’s desire for a world caliphate that has been going on for centuries, long before our country was in existence — the Battle of Tours (732), the Siege of Vienna (1683) and on and on. The violence has been there forever, too.  As any literate person knows, it’s in the Koran and the Hadith.  Beheadings were part of Mohammed’s game plan. It’s what he did and what he called for. This was not invented by a cabal of neocons in Chevy Chase, Maryland, in 2003.

And of course ISIS is part of a straight line that goes from the Muslim Brotherhood (founded in Egypt in 1928, long before the current crop of Republicans were even alive) to Al Qaeda via Zawahiri and on into the modern age with ISIS, all working from the same ideological playbook, as are Boko Haram, Hamas, al Shabab, al Nusra, etc., etc.

Rand, again like father Ron, is essentially racist in blaming this on America and not recognizing other cultures have belief systems to which they truly adhere and that those belief systems may be dangerous, even evil.  America did not evolve Islamist ideology anymore than it did Nazism, but the Islamists have the potential to wreak just as much havoc if they are not stopped.

And what did Paul actually say?
The freshman senator from Kentucky said Wednesday that the GOP’s foreign policy hawks “created these people.” . . .  “ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately,” Paul said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He continued: “They created these people. ISIS is all over Libya because these same hawks in my party loved – they loved Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya. They just wanted more of it.”
That's absolutely true. Simon and the other neocons can sing and dance all they like, but the fact is that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq created ISIS. Military experts like William S. Lind even predicted it back in 2003:
The current phase of the war in Iraq is driven by three different elements: chaos, a war of national liberation (which is inflicting most of the casualties) and 4th Generation War. In time, the 4th Generation elements will come to predominate, as they fill the vacuum created by the destruction of the Iraqi state.
He then pointed out how it would proceed in  2004:
An article in the Friday, March 29 Washington Post pointed to the long-expected opening of Phase III of America's war with Iraq. Phase I was the jousting contest, the formal "war" between America's and Iraq's armies that ended with the fall of Baghdad. Phase II was the War of National Liberation waged by the Baath Party and fought guerilla-style. Phase III, which is likely to prove the decisive phase, is true Fourth Generation war, war waged by a wide variety of non-state Iraqi and other Islamic forces for objectives and motives that reach far beyond politics.

    The Post article, "Iraq Attacks Blamed on Islamic Extremists," contains the following revealing paragraph:

    In the intelligence operations room at the 1st Armored Division's headquarters (in Baghdad), wall-mounted charts identifying and linking insurgents depict the changing battlefield. Last fall the organizational chart of Baathist fighters and leaders stretched for 10 feet, while charts listing known Islamic radicals took up a few pieces of paper. Now, the chart of Iraqi religious extremists dominates the room, while the poster depicting Baathist activity has shrunk to half of its previous size.

The article goes on to quote a U.S. intelligence officer as adding, "There is no single organization that's behind all this. It's far more decentralized than that."

Welcome to Phase III. The remaining Ba'athists will of course continue their War of National Liberation, and Fourth Generation elements have been active from the outset. But the situation map in the 1st Armored Division's headquarters reveals the "tipping point": Fourth Generation war is now the dominant form of war against the Americans in Iraq.
The neocons are desperate to avoid responsibility for their failures because they want to keep doing the same stupid shit that caused the current problems. Far from destroying himself, Paul is telling Americans what is necessary just to begin saving what is left of their nation. Ron Paul was right back in 2001. Rand Paul is right now.

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Registration required

I'm sorry, but it looks like Sunday's Open Brainstorm event with Martin van Creveld is not going to be as open as I planned. Thanks to corporate bureaucracy, it appears that we're not going to be able to increase our current limit of 100 participants to 500 until sometime next week.

Emails have been sent out to a) the Annual Brainstorm members and b) the May Brainstorm members. Members have 24 hours to register for the event. If you haven't received an email - and please check your spam filters - email me tonight and let me know if you would like to attend. On Saturday morning I'll post how many open spots remain. Those remaining spots can be claimed by those signing up for c) the June Brainstorm or an Annual membership.

If there are any spots left after that, they'll be first come, first serve after I post the link on the blog about 15 minutes before the event. I'm sorry that it's not possible to provide for any more seats, but we've been trying to order the upgrade for over a week now and it simply could not be done. We will keep trying, but at this point, we have to assume it won't happen before Sunday.

Transcripts from the May session will go out to May and Annual members late tonight; I'm still cleaning it up. A transcript from the open event will be sent free to all May/June/Annual members, and since there will be people who won't be able to attend who were planning to do so, we'll make it free for a week for everyone else on the Castalia store.

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George Martin really really likes rape

Like the worm, the SJW always turns on his own:
Rape acts in Game of Thrones the TV series (to date): 50
Rape victims in Game of Thrones (to date): 29

Rape acts in ASOIAF the book series (to date): 214
Rape victims in ASOIAF (to date): 117

The books contain over 4 times as much rape as the show (and probably even more; the method of analysis likely underestimates the rape in the books - see below).

Before the barrage of anon hate mail floods in: that’s not to say the show’s not problematic. It’s to say that the books are problematic. ETA: Please see A Song of Ice and Fire Has a Rape Problem for a detailed discussion on why the rapes in the books aren’t any better than those in the show. Spoiler: the only women who get vengeance on their rapists are villains.
Those 214 rape acts are particularly astonishing if you compare them to the number of times a married couple has sex. Which, if my memory serves correctly, happens about twice in five books.

Nor are the various defenses of Martin that have been offered valid. As Tafkar notes: "the only thing that protects a woman from rape is being one of Martin’s POV characters." 

More damning is this conclusion: "The stories of rapists are important to George R. R. Martin. Those are the stories he tells. Our point of view characters are the rapists, not the victims." 

George R.R. Martin well merits his fate. 

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There is no solution

It has largely ceased to be funny to see the demography ostriches burying their heads in the sand about the total failure of Melting Pot America, even as it rapidly disappears like a timer that's been turned over.
YANKEE: VD thinks non westerners are too Dunb to maintain a Republic like the U.S. When they are a majority."

DAVID: And non-Westerners continue to steadfastly prove him right. Look, it's really just this simple: if they were capable of doing so they would have done so in their own countries. They have not, ergo, they can't.

YANKEE: "Fine! What's the solution, VD? Furthermore, what's your solution to America housing all these blacks that you also believe Are incapable of maintaining the U.S,?"
There is no solution. There is no shiny secular science fiction "It's a Small World" societies in the making. There are only the inevitable historical consequences of the demographic destruction of Anglo-Saxon America, which will likely follow one of the usual paths: a) subjection and eventual elimination of minorities, b) subjection and eventual elimination of the majority, c) partition, d) ethnic subsumption. For various reasons, I expect (c) to be the most likely in the USA and (a) to be the most likely in Europe.

Before you stick your head back in the sand, keep in mind that I am a Native American, an American Indian. Some of my relatives live on a small reservation of worthless land their conquerors have permitted them to keep, with a handful of people who know how to speak a language that is now almost entirely extinct. So, don't tell me that the survival of your people, of your traditions, or of your way of life is a given. Because I can assure you, they most certainly are not.

The future belongs to those who show up for it. The future belongs to those who are determined to survive and are willing to defend their culture, their language, their genetics, and their traditions. Those who aren't, won't.

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SCIENCE is not science

Whatever happened to the idea that science is self-correcting?
Over the past few days a scandal has begun to plague political science. A UCLA graduate student, Michael LaCour, appears to have faked a data set that was the basis for an article that he published in the highly prestigious journal Science. I have examined a second paper by LaCour. As I’ll explain, I’m convinced that it also is the product of faked results.

The Science article purportedly showed that personalized, door-to-door canvassing is effective at changing political views. LaCour and his co-author, Don Green of Columbia University, enlisted members of an LGBT organization at UCLA to contact voters who had earlier indicated on a survey that they opposed gay marriage. The article shows, based on follow-up surveys, that the LGBT door-to-door canvassing had a significant effect in shifting voters toward pro-gay-marriage views.

Two graduate students at UC Berkeley, however, had significant difficulties in replicating the study. They called the private firm that LaCour had supposedly enlisted to conduct his survey. The firm, however, said that it did not conduct such a survey. LaCour had also reported to the grad students the name of an employee of the survey firm with whom he worked. The firm, however, said that it had no records of such an employee ever working at the firm.

After confronting his coauthor, Green requested that Science retract the article. LaCour still stands by his results. Science, faced with this dilemma, has not (yet) retracted the paper.
That pretty much settles the question of whether Science concerns scientody - the scientific method - or scientistry - the scientific profession. An "editorial expression of concern" is not sufficient. The study could not be replicated and there is evidence that the first study was not legitimate. Therefore, a reputable publication that was actually dedicated to scientody would retract the study immediately pending further evidence of its replicability. Science is observably not such a publication.

Especially when the man who developed the method that researcher utilized has come out very strongly against the legitimacy of LaCour's work:
I think the bulk of the evidence suggests that LaCour faked at least some of the results of this second paper. Not only would I be willing to bet on this conclusion, I would be willing to give 10:1 odds on it. Still, I’m not certain, and I would be hesitant to give 100:1 odds. And I would refuse to give 1,000:1 odds.

Regardless, I am certain that LaCour faked the results of the original paper—the one published in Science. I predict that UCLA will refuse to award him a PhD, and I predict that Princeton will retract the assistant professorship that it offered him. I predict that UCLA or Princeton or both will conduct an investigation. I suspect that they will find that LaCour faked results in a few papers, not just one.
But the most damning thing, as far as the credibility of Science goes, is this observation, "It is very rare for political scientists to have our results mentioned alongside results from the “hard” sciences." So why, then, was this apparently fraudulent paper selected for such unusual publication in the first place?

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

America's Ethnic Achilles Heel

By Yuji Aida
Volume 6, Number 2 (Winter 1995-1996)

[The editors of the San Francisco Examiner gave this brief preface to the article which we second This article is indicative of an influential minority viewpoint in Japan which some people may find offensive. We publish it to illustrate what is being said there.]

TOKYO - Americans are proud of their melting-pot heritage. But as blacks, Hispanics and Asians gradually come to outnumber whites, that ideal will fade. Like the Soviet Union today the United States will have to deal with contentious ethnic groups demanding greater autonomy and even political independence. That could prove to be industrial America's undoing.

Many Americans, however, feign ignorance of the problem, partly because of the official ideology. The United States sees itself as a pluralistic, multiethnic society with a single national identity based on the principles of freedom and democracy. In fact, discrimination is rampant, but the illusion of equality is vital to maintain a sense of unity.

Nonetheless, it is only a matter of time before U.S. minority groups espouse self-determination in some form. When that happens, the country may become ungovernable.... Do blacks and Hispanics, for instance, have the skills and knowledge to run an advanced industrial economy? If the answer is yes, America will maintain its vitality through the next century and beyond. But I'm skeptical.
As am I, and I am part-Hispanic. It's because I know my Hispanic Catholic relatives that I am extremely dubious they are capable of serving as an adequate replacement for the Anglo-Saxon Protestants that they will eventually replace as the USA's dominant ethnic group. The ironic thing is that even though we are 20 years deeper into the experiment of ethnic America and Mr. Aida's case looks stronger than ever, his article would probably not be publishable today; it might even be deemed criminal in some places.

But no amount of pretense, thought policing, and determined belief in the magically transformative powers of geographic translocation are going to make any difference in the future. Either the replacement population will be capable of maintaining a First World European-style society or it will not be capable and that society will see its living standards degraded.

And then, of course, there is the entirely separate problem of those non-European groups rejecting the very European, indeed, very Anglo-Saxon concepts such as the Common Law and the Rights of Englishmen. Which happen to include a few minor things such as limited government and so forth. I think a very good case can be made for Continental immigrants never quite grasping these concepts in their entirety. It does not appear subsequent waves of immigrants are doing any better in this regard.

Now, I realize that millions of people very genuinely believe that the ethnic demographics of a society are totally irrelevant. I understand that millions of people genuinely believe that IQ does not measure intelligence and that every human sub-species is equally capable of all things. Of course, I also recognize that most people are idiots.

So here is the question I have for those people who firmly believe that the ethnic composition of a society is not a controlling factor in what that society will be like. Have you ever stopped to consider what is going to happen if you are wrong? Have you ever wondered how future generations are going to regard you and the fate you inflicted upon them with your fervent dedication to diversity, equality, and inclusivity? Aren't you not only betting the house, but Western civilization, on an untested and unproven idea?

What if you are wrong?

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GGinParis

Mike Cernovich, Milo Yiannopoulos, and I will be at GGinParis on Saturday, July 11 at 8 PM. If you're in Europe, or if you're going to be in Europe this summer, and intend to come, please shoot me an email with GGinParis in the subject.

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Hugo Awards 2015: Best Novella

This is how I am voting in the Best Novella category. Of course, I merely offer this information regarding my individual ballot for no particular reason at all, and the fact that I have done so should not be confused in any way, shape, or form with a slate or a bloc vote, much less a direct order by the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil to his 367 Vile Faceless Minions or anyone else.
  1. "One Bright Star to Guide Them"
  2. "Big Boys Don't Cry"
  3. "The Plural of Helen of Troy"
  4. "Pale Realms of Shade"
  5. "Flow"
In the relatively near future, I will be debating the merits and demerits of John C. Wright's "One Bright Star to Guide Them" versus those of The Wasp Factory by Iain M. Banks with Phil Sandifier. It should be an interesting discussion, as the two works in some ways represent the two poles of the Blue SF/Pink SF divide, even if few would consider the Banks novel to be science fiction or fantasy.

Other categories:

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Good riddance

The death of the print media in America. It's pretty astonishing, but having grown up reading the Star Tribune, aka "the Red Star", it's good to see them collapsing in such a dramatic manner. At this rate, many of them should be gone altogether by 2023.

And it is a very healthy sign, I think, for a one-way monopolistic medium to be replaced by a two-way medium with literally thousands of options. I expect the conventional publishing world to follow suit in reasonably short order once Barnes & Noble goes out of business.

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Paul Gottfried reviews VICTORIA

I don't think anyone with any grasp of history doubts that the USA is in the process of going the way of the Byzantine Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union at this point. It is a now a centralized multi-ethnic empire held together by the threat of military force, after all, and such empires always fracture sooner or later. And for all the various unpleasantries it recounts, VICTORIA: A Novel of 4th Generation War represents one of the more rosy-hued outcomes possible. Paul Gottfried reviewed it on VDARE.
William Lind’s VICTORIA Heralds Coming America Breakup
By Paul Gottfried

William S. Lind is a man of many talents. He’s an institution of the American conservative movement, formerly the Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism of the Free Congress Foundation (under the late Paul Weyrich), a regular contributor to The American Conservative, and a noted military theorist. And now, with the publication of Victoria he is a novelist, putting forward a highly readable vision of the breakup of the United States and a traditionalist restoration. It’s a sign of the times that we can no longer regard such a story as implausible.

Victoria is subtitled “A Novel of Fourth Generation Warfare,” and Lind’s writings on warfare bleed (perhaps too much) into his storytelling. His theory of Fourth Generation Warfare contends that warfare has ceased between states with standing armies and operative governments. Instead, it is decentralized, on at least one side, lacking a regular command structure and no longer identified with an established state or regular army. Countries like the U.S. find themselves in partisan struggles around the world that violate the “rules of war” built up under the old European state system.

Bill’s ideas about changing forms of warfare may have been influenced by the German political-legal theorist Carl Schmitt, who wrote on partisan warfare after the Second World War. His novel is written under the nom de plume “Thomas Hobbes,” so even in this he reveals his connection to Schmitt, as the German jurist profoundly admired the seventeenth-century Englishman who wrote about the rise of the state [The Leviathan in the State Theory of Thomas Hobbes, by Carl Schmitt] (I wrote an intellectual biography of Schmitt and also deeply respect the philosopher who wished to protect us against “the war of all against all.”)

In Victoria, all Hell breaks loose in a way that Hobbes might have understood. Yet it is only the Time of Tribulations before the golden age of social restoration that ends the novel. Indeed, we are told the ending in advance in the opening scene when we learn “The triumph of the Recovery was marked most clearly by the burning of the Episcopal bishop of Maine.”
The revival of witch-burning in New England was certainly an eye-opener, but I'd have to say that my favorite scene was the rather egregious violation of academic freedom at Dartmouth. It's kind of funny to imagine what the reaction would have been if I'd recommended VICTORIA for a Hugo instead of THE CHAPLAIN'S WAR. But it's not science fiction, it's political fiction, so that wouldn't have been proper and neither Mr. Hobbes, nor his agent, Mr. Lind, would have approved.

In any event, VICTORIA is now available as a 592-page paperback. And speaking of Mr. Lind, I should also mention that Martin van Creveld's A HISTORY OF STRATEGY: From Sun Tzu to William S. Lind is now available in hardcover.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Vox's First Law at work

Vox's First Law: Any sufficiently advanced intelligence is indistinguishable from insanity. Or, in this case, autism:
State therapy specialists claimed Jacob Barnett would never tie his shoes, read or function normally in society. But the boy’s mother realized when Jacob was not in therapy, he was doing “spectacular things” completely on his own.

She decided to trust her instinct and disregard the advice of the professionals. Instead of following a standardized special needs educational protocol, she surrounded Jacob with all the things that inspired passion for him – and was astonished at the transformation that took place.

Following a diagnosis of autism at age two, Jacob was subjected to a cookie cutter special education system that focused on correcting what he couldn’t do compared to normal children. For years, teachers attempted to convince Kristine Barnett that her son would only be able to learn the most basic of life skills....

By the time Jacob reached the age of 11, he entered college and is currently studying condensed matter physics at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. According to an email Professor Scott Tremaine wrote to Jacob’s family:
“The theory that he’s working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics … Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize.”
Jacob also has an IQ of 170 — higher than that of Einstein.
This is an object lesson in what we discussed at the May Brainstorm. Never, ever, blindly trust the so-called experts. Respect, but verify.

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Tanith Lee, RIP

British writer Tanith Lee passed away on Sunday May 24th, aged 67.

Lee was the author of over 90 books and 300 short stories, as well as four BBC Radio plays, and two highly-regarded episodes of the BBC’s SF series Blake’s 7 (Sand and Sarcophagus). She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton in 2013 and the Horror Writers Lifetime Achievement Award this year, which joined her British Fantasy Award from 1980 for Death’s Master, and her World Fantasy Award for her short story “The Gorgon”.


I was very sorry to hear this since Lee's The Secret Books of Paradys and The Secret Books of Venus are two of my favorite fantasy series. I've been re-reading them over the last month or so, and it's sad to know that she won't be writing any more.

Like many a British writer before her, she loved Italy and her love for the country shone through in her writing.  Based on her books, Venice must have struck her in much the same way it struck me, a dark, watery, and mysterious place of beautiful decay.

If you haven't read her, you really should. If you like Poe, you will enjoy her work.

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You don't like the medicine, doctor?

Glenn Hauman on said:
Dave Freer: No-one has called for a boycott or blacklist of David Gerrold, or Glenn Hauman, or to have their reputations tarnished and Amazon reviews deliberately lowered.

And yet they got bad reviews? What a coincidence! I also didn’t call for a boycott or blacklist, and yet somehow there’s a sudden rash of bad reviews of my books up on Amazon. See http://www.amazon.com/Star-Trek-Engineers-Creative-Couplings-ebook/dp/B000WJSA3I/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
No, Glenn Hauman didn't call for a boycott or a blacklist, he called for fake negative reviews to be posted on Amazon, fake negative reviews which were immediately posted on Amazon in response to his calls for them.
Glenn Hauman on April 15, 2015
You can game Amazon ratings as well. Here’s a list of all of Mr. Beale’s nominees, complete with handy links to Amazon. It might be a good idea to take a look at the reviews and see which ones are helpful. If you’ve read the works, you should add your own review. Oh, and to answer the title question: what do you do to rabid puppies? You put them down.

Glenn Hauman on May 20, 2015
Just a reminder to all Hugo voters: After you’ve read items in the Hugo packet, you don’t have to confine any reviews of them to your own blogs and social media. Feel free to add them to Amazon as well.
I see absolutely no evidence that the sudden rash of bad reviews of Mr. Hauman's books reflect anything but the opinions of people who have read it and are honestly expressing their disappointment with their inferior quality. After all, absolutely no one has called for anyone to review or otherwise pay attention to his work at all. It must be, as Mr. "Put Them Down" himself has said, a mere coincidence.

And because Public Enemy is always appropriate:

He book-reviewed, he S.J.W'd
Vile minions viewed his anti-Puppy feud

One-star the rating, listen to him double trouble
He signs in now he's pushing for the lower level
Like crashing cars he's out there stealing stars

From books he took without a single look.
Taking a toll 'cause his soul broke with the poll
From the revelation... of a Puppy Nation.

Now this is what I mean an anti-Puppy machine
If Hugo come out at all, he won't come out clean
But look around here go the sound of the wrecking clown
Boom and pound when he put 'em down

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The principles of Agile

I've never been much impressed with any of the "best practices" concepts, from Six Sigma to Agile. They strike me primarily as a way for midwitted bureaucrats and technical workers of modest talent to cover their asses and claim failure can't be their fault because they are Doing Everything The Right Way:
The Twelve Principles of Agile Software
  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5.  Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6.  The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7.  Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8.  Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
My thoughts on each point:
  1.  Sounds good in principle. In reality, the customer seldom knows what he really wants. The good designer has to anticipate his user and provide him what he doesn't know he wants yet. "Early and continuous delivery" sounds like more ass-covering stuff. "It's not our fault, he approved the deliverable" is what this sounds like to me.
  2. Bullshit. That's fine in the early stages. In the middle to late stages, this is what is known as "mission creep".
  3. Good for testing, but against, strikes me as more CYA, especially if it is going out to the customer.
  4. No. Hell no. While the biggest failure of which I've been a part was the fault of the chip engineer failing to listen to the marketing guy, I did talk to him on a bi-weekly basis. Talking to him daily wouldn't have helped. The key is that the technical people must LISTEN to the business people, not see their faces on a regular basis.
  5. Yes.
  6. No. I run into this problem frequently. Most companies would rather have an inferior employee they can talk to face-to-face than a better one who is external. This makes no sense, especially if they then leave the position vacant because they can't find anyone local who is good enough.
  7. Yes.
  8. Dubious. Sounds like snake oil to me.
  9. True, but obvious to the point of being tautological. "Program good code that works properly!" Okay....
  10. True. But I prefer "don't reinvent the wheel".
  11. No. A certain amount of flexibility is desirable, but there must be someone who is accountable for the vision and someone to make the hard decisions. Which is to say a designer and a producer. The best designs most certainly do NOT emerge from self-appointed committees.
  12. Yes, this is reasonable.
Overall, the entire concept stinks of being little more than client-marketing to me. "Hey, we're AGILE-CERTIFIED, obviously we are much better than those guys over there who don't have CREDENTIALS. All they have is a proven track record of delivering successful products, and we all know how little that means.

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Monday, May 25, 2015

We're going to need a bigger facepalm

More brilliance from the genius-commenters at File 770. Seriously, what you have to remind yourself whenever you read them is to keep in mind that they quite genuinely believe that they are our intellectual betters. It makes everything much, much funnier.
Glenn Hauman on May 25, 2015 at 9:51 am said:
Stevie: The deal with Tor means that Scalzi gets to write, and all the other stuff is done by Tor who are better at it than Scalzi is; VD is too egotistical to accept that he isn’t the best at everything he does. Scalzi certainly has a healthy ego but he’s got the brains to know that it doesn’t make any sense to spend his time doing something which other people do better

More, that implies that Beale has never heard of Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage, which states that you should be doing what you’re best at even if you do other things better than other people, as it’s a waste of your efforts otherwise. Surprising for Beale to claim to be so well versed in economics and yet be ignorant of a basic tenet of the field.
I wonder what Mr. Hauman believes I was addressing when I wrote the column entitled The Religion of Free Trade, which begins in the following manner:

Let us suppose I told you of a certain doctrine in which millions of people believe without ever having read the book in which it is contained, which is predicated upon a situation that has never existed, and promises positive consequences that not only have never been delivered, but we are told cannot even be measured and cannot be realized without achieving something that has never been done before in the history of Man. Furthermore, the doctrine was developed by a gambler and politician with absolutely no credentials or qualifications on the subject, which subject he had never encountered before the age of 27, in tandem with a related theory that is so obviously insane that barely anyone has ever even heard of it.

So long as we are careful to set aside any reliance upon the genetic fallacy, does this sound like a doctrine that is not only infallible, but one that it would be crazy to even consider questioning? And yet, the fervor with which the advocates of the free-trade doctrine defend David Ricardo’s outdated, disproven theory of comparative advantage and decry those who question it is so ferocious as to indicate the nature of a belief that can only be described as religious.

David Ricardo was without question a brilliant and successful man, but what is much less often noted is how intellectually dishonest he was. In a previous WND column, titled Free Trade Harms America, I showed how Joseph Schumpeter labeled his peculiar and tautological method of argument the “Ricardian Vice.” Furthermore, he was not even the original author of the theory of Comparative Advantage, it having been first introduced by Robert Torrens in “An Essay on the External Corn Trade” two years before Ricardo transformed a specific argument for a specific situation into something passing for a general principle, which he published in “On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation.”


Truly, my ignorance on the subject, which I also addressed in 2010 and in 2014, astounds. The theory of Comparative Advantage also came up in my interview with Ian Fletcher, who has devoted a considerable amount of time and effort to utterly demolishing Ricardo.

Remember, SJWs always lie. And perhaps more importantly, we again see an example of the midwit having so little ability to grasp what his intellectual superior is saying that he erroneously assumes stupidity and ignorance on said superior's part. As it happens, I am probably one of the 100 people on the planet most equipped to discuss David Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage in critical detail, so it is vastly amusing to see Mr. Hauman assert that I am "ignorant of a basic tenet of the field."

Perhaps Mr. Hauman, being such a noted expert in Ricardian theory, would do us all the favor of calculating the real value of Mr. Scalzi's new contract based on the only true determinant of profit.

And just to be clear, if you are not one of the five people reading this who understand the reference, that is a joke.

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A History of Strategy chapter 2

A History of Strategy chapter 2.

If you want to get caught up and take the first one, you can find it here. If you still haven't picked up a copy of the book, A History of Strategy is now available in hardcover for $14.99 as well as in Kindle format.

Discuss the quiz and the chapter in the comments below; don't check out the comments before you take the quiz.

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A lesson in con artistry

I thought John Scalzi's new book deal to lock in his retirement was an interesting indication of his intrinsic insecurity as well as the practicality that distinguishes him from most of his SF colleagues.
John Scalzi, a best-selling author of science fiction, has signed a $3.4 million, 10-year deal with the publisher Tor Books that will cover his next 13 books.

Mr. Scalzi’s works include a series known as the “Old Man’s War” and the more recent “Redshirts,” a Hugo-award-winning sendup of the luckless lives of nonfeatured characters on shows like the original “Star Trek.” Three of his works are being developed for television, including “Redshirts” and “Lock In,” a science-inflected medical thriller that evokes Michael Crichton. Mr. Scalzi’s hyper-caffeinated Internet presence through his blog, Whatever, has made him an online celebrity as well.

Mr. Scalzi approached Tor Books, his longtime publisher, with proposals for 10 adult novels and three young adult novels over 10 years. Some of the books will extend the popular “Old Man’s War” series, building on an existing audience, and one will be a sequel to “Lock In.” Mr. Scalzi said he hoped books like “Lock In” could draw more readers toward science fiction, since many, he said, are still “gun-shy” about the genre.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden, the executive editor for Tor, said the decision was an easy one.
I imagine it was a very easy one. Scalzi is, nominally, Tor's big dog. He's not a proper big dog, as he isn't one of their ten annual biggest sellers or even a bestselling author, but he's their most important SF figurehead author. Who else do they have? Of their better-selling authors, Frank Herbert is dead, Robert Jordan is dead, Orson Scott Card is hated by their core audience, and they can't control Microsoft or the game companies whose tie-in novels are their biggest sellers. They have Scalzi and Brandon Sanderson, both of whom appear to have more or less peaked in terms of their careers. It's not as if the award-winning Jo Walton or the award-winning Catharine Asaro or any of their other award-winning authors sell enough books to support all the SJW non-SF they keep trying to push on an unwilling public.

So to be gifted the opportunity to lock in one of their top authors for a decade at little more than 250k per book at an initial cost of $1 million up front is an absolute no-brainer. Scalzi is a hack in the positive sense of the term; unless he's dead there is no chance he's not going to be able to churn out the sort of mediocre material he produces. To break even on the initial advance, (the payments are usually divided into signing, delivery, and acceptance these days), Tor only has to sell an average of about 15k books each. Assuming all 13 books are delivered and paid for, they have to sell around 40k copies apiece, which should be doable considering that Redshirts sold nearly that many ebooks alone in the first eight months of its release. It's a great deal for them, especially since they likely have the ability to get out of it down the road without paying two-thirds of it if they wish.

NB: The mainstream publishers now pay book advances in thirds. One-third on signature, one-third on delivery, and one third on either acceptance or publication. So, the contract is most likely $1 million up front, with two payments of $75k for each book upon a) delivery, and b) acceptance or publication.

This isn't a bad deal for Scalzi, it is merely a very conservative deal. What Johnny Con is attempting to do is to secure his retirement and look for any upside to come out of the various media deals he's got going. It's a perfectly reasonable strategy, particularly in these uncertain economic times. The bolder strategy would have been for him to go into self-publishing, where as I've demonstrated, there is considerably more upside to be had. But Scalzi is neither a self-confident man nor an entrepreneur, so it is entirely in character that he'd prefer to give up the equivalent of about five birds in the bush in favor of the one in Tor's hand.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. And since he has a reasonable shot at other upsides, I think it's an entirely sensible deal on his part. Lock in the base, then see what you can leverage elsewhere. It's a conservative move, but not one that I would criticize him for making. Everyone has different appetites for risk. Indeed, as I have often said, McRapey has an unusual talent for self-promotion. The fact that a mediocre and derivative hack without any discernible talent beyond self-promotion and petty snark could turn 300k monthly pageviews and a color-by-numbers Heinlein ripoff into a near-guaranteed $250k per year is borderline astonishing. If he'd somehow managed to do it without repeatedly lying his ample ass off and consistently misrepresenting himself, I'd consider him to be downright brilliant.

What is much more important is what the deal indicates for science fiction publishing, and that is where I see problems on the horizon. If one of the best-known authors in science fiction can only command $260k per book from the biggest science fiction publisher, then conventional publishing does not appear to be long for this world. Which is, in fact, exactly what I believe to be the case.

Of course, I was genuinely amused to see McRapey omit making any traffic claims for the blog that made him "an online celebrity". I wonder why he doesn't brag about those two million monthly pageviews or 50 THOUSAND DAILY VISITS to reporters anymore?

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Racists vs Child Rapists

The Campbell-Delany divide pretty well sums up the two sides in the science fiction culture war. To translate how the New Republic describes it, it is scientagic realists against child-molesting pedophiles and their defenders in the science fiction community:
To outsiders, the struggle over the Hugos can be confusing. It involves the arcane details of a complex nomination procedure and factions named Sad Puppies 3 and Rabid Puppies. But the ruckus makes a lot more sense in the context of science fiction's historical lack of diversity, and there's perhaps no better illustration of that problem than the career of Samuel R. Delany.... John W. Campbell, Analog's editor, claimed that he enjoyed shaking up his audience with outrageous ideas, but [Delany's] "Nova" proved too much for him. According to Delany, Campbell called the author's agent and said that while he liked the novel, "he didn't feel his readership would be able to relate to a black main character." Campbell's contention that fans weren't ready for a book like "Nova" was belied by the fact that it was shortlisted for a Hugo in 1969.

Campbell used his audience as a cover for his own racism. He had published editorials arguing that slavery was a perfectly sensible system for pre-industrial societies, championing the racial theory that whites have a fundamentally higher level of intelligence than blacks and asserting, "One of the major reasons the Negro people are having so much trouble gaining acceptance is, simply, that the Negroes are not doing an adequate job of disciplining their own people, themselves." Campbell was no fringe kook. He was the most influential science-fiction editor of the last century, whose vision of rule-based, scientifically informed fiction shaped the careers of such canonical writers as Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon and Frank Herbert.

Amid the strife of the 1960s, which polarized science fiction no less than the rest of culture, it was easy to cast Campbell and Delany as diametric opposites: Campbell as the old reactionary apostle of heroic, manly tales of space cowboys, and Delany as the young subversive practitioner of cutting-edge speculative fiction that challenged certitudes about identity.
We have called for a Cambellian revolution in science fiction; to a certain extent, that's what Blue SF is. And "subversive speculative fiction that challenges certitudes about identity, morality, religion, sexual orientation, and tradition" is about as good a way as any to describe the Pink SF we oppose. Campbellian SF vs Delanyite SF. Science vs Subversion. White Male Racists vs Gay Child Rapists.

One thing you'll note that the mainstream media never does is to dig up and expose the evil that lies at the heart of Pink SF. They love to point-and-shriek at the late Campbell's racism, never mind that he was, and is, absolutely correct, as whites have been reliably observed to possess a higher average intelligence than blacks. One would expect a top science fiction editor to be up on the relevant science, after all. Here is a quote from William Saletan, a writer of whom Delany himself cites respectfully:

Among white Americans, the average IQ, as of a decade or so ago, was 103. Among Asian-Americans, it was 106. Among Jewish Americans, it was 113. Among Latino Americans, it was 89. Among African-Americans, it was 85. Around the world, studies find the same general pattern: whites 100, East Asians 106, sub-Sarahan Africans 70.

So, are we all East Asian supremacists now? Is science intrinsically racist and therefore anathema? In the meantime, both the media and the science fiction community resolutely avoid looking into the likelihood that good old "Chip" Delany is a criminal pedophile, like Walter Breen, like Marion Zimmer Bradley, like Ed Kramer, like David Asimov, and like other members of the science fiction community whose sex crimes the science fiction community has either ignored or defended for decades.

The New Republic article quoted Delany talking about Campell; what a pity they didn't quote Delany talking about himself.

"I read the NAMBLA [Bulletin] fairly regularly and I think it is one of the most intelligent discussions of sexuality I've ever found.  I think before you start judging what NAMBLA is about, expose yourself to it and see what it is really about."
- Samuel R. Delany, June 25, 1994.

"Since I spent eighteen years of my life as a child, and nine years of that life as a pretty sexually active gay child, my complaint against the current attitudes is that they work mightily to silence the voices of children first and secondarily ignore what adults have to say who have been through these situations. One size fits all is never the way to handle any situation with a human dimension. Many, many children—and I was one of them—are desperate to establish some sort of sexual relation with an older and even adult figure."
- Samuel R. Delany, Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"Adults hurting children is my notion of a bad thing, whether it is through corporal punishment or in any other way. Children hurting children is equally bad. Pain is not a good teaching tool. So that’s where I tend to stop."
- Samuel R. Delany, Wednesday, July 9, 2014

That last quote is particularly problematic, as contra his self-appointed public defenders' claims, Delany is clearly referring to physical pain, not sexual contact, when he says "hurting children" is his "notion of a bad thing". Most people assume that sexual contact is intrinsically harmful to children. Delany actively denies this.

Delany has admitted to being in sexual contact with adult men since the age of 6 and considers himself to have been sexually active since the age of 9. He has attacked the idea that children cannot consent to sexual activity with adults and only opposes children being hurt in the sense of physical pain, and has even quoted a Carlin joke in claiming that it is less harmful to a boy to receive oral sex than be spanked. He has written, repeatedly and at great length, about his fantasies of pre-adolescent boys and girls being raped and otherwise sexually molested by men in a number of his novels, most particularly Hogg: A Novel, which was published in 2004 and is described as follows by Publishers Weekly:
Hugo-and Nebula Award-winner Delany - whose early books were fascinating but whose recent efforts have grown increasingly obtuse - has been trying to get this pornographic novel published since 1973. The main narrator here is an 11-year-old boy who joins up with a raping, murdering pederast named Hogg. Coprophiliac Hogg violates women for pay. He enlists the help of other pedophiliac murdering rapists - Nigg, Dago and Denny - and the group sets off to perform acts of hideous violence. After the attacks, a biker friend of Hogg's sells the boy into sexual slavery to dockyard slum resident Big Sambo, who keeps his 12-year-old daughter for prostitution and his own perversions. The traumatized little girl is gang-raped by Hogg's crew as well. Meanwhile, teenaged Denny goes on an insane mutilating and mass-murder spree, eludes the police and finally returns to Hogg and the hopelessly confused narrator, who has been "rescued" after Hogg murders Big Sambo. Gang-rape attacks and criminal sex orgies are detailed at excruciating length, with photographic realism. This potent emetic is all the more disturbing for want of modulators of honest outrage. 
If one can reasonably declare John W. Campbell a racist on the basis of his essays and reported words, then one can absolutely, and with utter certainty, declare Samuel R. Delany to be a child-raping pedophile on the basis of his own stated beliefs and published fantasies. This is true despite our limited information about his actual historical actions. Whether or not Delany is a literal child rapist, he certainly has child rapist views. And as for his past actions, we certainly know a hell of a lot more about the SFWA Grand Master pedophilic inclinations than we did about Marion Zimmer Bradley's only eleven months ago. Is anyone going to even pretend to be surprised should evidence be uncovered that good old "Chip" acted on his criminal fantasies at some point in the past?

Here are two questions for Samuel R. Delany. If the media or SFWA continue to avoid asking them, you'll know they're simply afraid to receive the answer; even Will Shetterly, who otherwise addressed the issue in a forthright manner, failed to ask the obvious and important question. I will say one thing for Mr. Delany, he is alarmingly forthcoming, he hasn't been afraid to answer difficult questions posed to him in the past, and one can't blame him for not answering questions that were never asked. So here they are:
  1. Have you ever had any form of sexual contact with an individual under the age of 17?
  2. What is the oldest age at which you had some form of sexual contact with an individual under the age of 17?
Until those two questions are answered honestly by Mr. Delany, anyone who denies that good old "Chip" Delany, SFWA Grand Master has ever behaved inappropriately is doing so dishonestly on the basis of no information at all and in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary. What a pity that Delany didn't throw a few spaceships into Hogg or it might have made the Hugo shortlist too.

On a lighter note, this quote from George R.R. Martin cracked me up:
"We're SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY FANS, we love to read about aliens and vampires and elves. Are we really going to freak about Asians and Native Americans?"
Well, George, judging by the continuing series of articles about Sad Puppies and the Hugo Awards, to say nothing of your own copious posting on the subject, you certainly appear to be freaking out about this Native American.

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

The SJWs are losing

So are their allies in the media:
If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, then these people went out of their way to prove that social justice is the last refuge of bullies and cowards.

But real life is not high school, and now the worm has turned. Like clockwork, nearly every alleged “victim” put forward with oozing crocodile tears by these journalistic reptiles has been discredited. Their narrative that sexism dominates Silicon Valley has been crushed under a judge’s gavel. Their claim that depraved captains of tech exploit rape culture to ravish the vulnerable appear to have been exposed as rank opportunism at best. Their allegations that rape has swept America’s college campuses now look like the fabrications of pathological liars and jealous exes. The allegedly “sexist” and “violent” #Gamergate has braved a bomb threat without incident, while its media critics have either been fired, lost millions of dollars for alienating their core audience, or have simply revealed their extremism too publicly to be taken seriously. An army of science fiction fans determined to see merit returned to the criteria used for awarding the prestigious Hugo Awards have stormed the leftist bastille that is Worldcon and reduced their opponents to (ironically) suddenly discovering that an uncritically “inclusive” space might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

And if that wasn’t enough, this week, the Society of Professional Journalists has agreed to hear the case made by #Gamergate supporters that the entire field of gaming journalism has been turned into a hotbed of cronyism and ideologically motivated deceit. This mark of legitimacy was sensibly conferred after a particularly conscientious member of the SPJ quite reasonably pointed out that an accusation of unethical behavior deserves a hearing, no matter how unfashionable its exponents.
This didn't start overnight. It won't end overnight. But we're winning our Lexington and Concord.

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