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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Smells like success

This review of "Turncoat" by Steve Rzasa precisely underlines the central point made by the Sad Puppies campaign and single-handedly serves to justify it:
I'm going to start with short stories, because they're, well, short, and with the last story on the ballot and then work my way up.  So the first story is "Turncoat," by Steve Rzasa. A sentient warship and some post-humans are battling against another group, people who have decided not to make the jump to post-humanity.  The warship goes from being annoyed at the messy, pesky humans to championing them (though I'm not sure where in the story this switch occurs) and defects at the end, bringing along with it (him? her?) its superior hardware and some useful intel about the other side.

I'm going to take a slight detour here, though I promise I'll get back to the review soon.  When I was in high school I did or said something that got me sent to detention, a closet-sized room where, oddly, someone had left a stack of Analogs.  I had just started reading science fiction, and of course my first  thought was, Is this supposed to be punishment?

But I ended up not really liking most of the stories.  They emphasized hardware, and not even interesting hardware.  The characters were cardboard, the stories predictable (partly because they all ended with humanity triumphing), the style ranged from serviceable to really pretty bad.

This was late-period John Campbell I'm talking about.  (Yes, I'm old.)  I will stipulate that the guy did some good things for sf in his prime, but something had happened along the way, some hardening of attitudes and an inability to tell when a story had gone bad.  Humanity had to be shown to triumph in every story, for example, to be superior to anything thrown against it, which pretty much let the air out of any balloon of tension.

So, as I hope I've made clear, when I say "Turncoat" is a perfectly adequate late-period Campbellian story I don't mean it as a compliment.  You can't even say the characters are cardboard, since there are no characters, just a warship that, for the most part, proceeds along strict logical lines.  There's no one to like, or even hate, no one to identify with or root for, nothing at stake for the reader.

But think about everything that's happened since Campbell.  The New Wave (does anyone remember the New Wave?  Yes, I'm old), feminism, cyberpunk, counter-cyberpunk, a fresh infusion of writers who are not white or straight or able-bodied.  This would have been an average story in the late sixties, but now, nearly fifty years later, it's stale and dated.

Rzasa hasn't even caught up with the second of these new categories.  "Our founders were the men who…"  "Posthuman Man…" "Not content with setting Man on his new evolutionary path…"  After Ancillary Justice -- hell, after The Left Hand of Darkness -- this reads very oddly.
 Now consider Castalia House's mission statement:

"The books that we publish honor the traditions and intellectual authenticity exemplified by writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Robert E. Howard, G.K. Chesterton, and Hermann Hesse. We are consciously providing an alternative to readers who increasingly feel alienated from the nihilistic, dogmatic science fiction and fantasy being published today. We seek nothing less than a Campbellian revolution in genre literature."

That review is supposed to be a negative one, but it sure sounds to me as if we're on the right track. Now consider these three reviews, the first two from SJWs, the second from a neutral party.

Daveon on May 4, 2015 at 11:46 am said:

I hated Turncoat – compared to how Iain Banks, Neal Asher, Peter Hamilton write sentient battleships and describe space warfare it was unbearable, then there were lines like ‘the men who…’ versus ‘the people who’ really jarred against me – it felt like a story written about AIs written by somebody who has ignored any progress in fiction, computing and so forth in 20 years. The opening battle scene at the start of The Reality Dysfunction is better than Turncoat in every way, and that was written in 1996.
I found that to be rather amusing, considering how spectacularly boring Iain Banks's space battles are. But considering that Daveon hates Sad Puppies and hates Rabid Puppies, how surprising is it that he - mirabile dictu - just happens to hate "Turncoat" as well? Another SJW posted a similar review:
In the story, an artificial intelligence serves the post-humans in a far-future war against ordinary humans. As the title suggests, it chooses to switch sides in the end. That’s it.

I think this is a quite awfully-written story with a heavy-handed delivery of plot points and a lot of infodumping. You can see the “surprise” conclusion of the story coming from miles away (or by reading the title, actually). A very boring read, overall.

The one thing that could have made the story at least slightly interesting if done well was the characterization of the AI and the post-humans. Sadly, that was crappy and formulaic as well. The protagonist doesn’t really feel like he belongs to the far-future, or the future at all, for that matter. The black-and-white pontificating (a term lifted from Secritcrush) has a definite vibe of the past in it.

A black-and-white approach to any war of conflict just feels silly and makes the whole world of the story unrealistic for me. Now that I was doing some googling, I noticed that Hugo-nominated Puppy-fanwriter Jeffro Johnson is praising this story because it offers a “concise description of real Christian religious experience”. That’s an interesting thought and maybe some people do enjoy over-simplified morality dramas in 2015, but I certainly don’t.

This is certainly going below no award.

Addendum

The vibe of the past I was writing about arises from the protagonist’s moralistic attitudes which bring to mind the papery characters of old fiction who don’t really resemble real people (or real consciousnesses in this case). Also, I think there was no futuristic sensawunda in the far-future fight scenes when compared with, say, Greg Bear’s Hardfought (that’s a far future war story I think is very good, even though military SF is not really my cup of cat crackers).... On a second thought, let’s also try to give the Hugo finalists an unscientific numeral score on the range of 1-10 in order to make comparing them easier (if unscientific). “Turncoat” gets 2.
On the other hand, Steve Moss reached a very different conclusion:
I loved Turncoat. Beware- SPOILERS:

SPOILERS

To correct something, there are two types of machine intelligence in Turncoat. The Uploaded, which is as you described, humans who have placed their consciousness into machines. The other is true artificial machine intelligence.

The antagonist is Alpha 7 Alpha. He is one of the Uploaded. He also appears to have carried over many of the negative human emotions such as hate, etc.

The protagonist is X 45 Delta. He is a 42nd generation true artificial intelligence. He’s never had a human body.

What I loved about the story is that the Uploaded have lost their humanity (become inhuman) while the true machine intelligence becomes more humane. X 45 Delta committed his betrayal because, in his words, he “wants to decide the sort of man I will become.”

You are right that he expresses annoyance with his human crew. They are inefficient and filled with inane chatter. He also expresses pride and protective instincts in them, and misses them when they are removed from his ship. All of these things are very human feelings.

Alpha 7 Alpha removes the crew from X 45 Delta to make him more efficient in battle. Which is true, but also a lie, as X 45 Delta notes (he’s learned to lie from the Uploaded, mostly by omission). He deduces that they will be either terminated or uploaded against their will. This is when his metamorphosis from loyal warrior to turncoat begins.

All in all, Turncoat was an excellent story and well worthy of a Hugo nomination. I haven’t read everything (yet), but it may well be my number one pick.
At the end of the day, there isn't much room for compromise. They hate the actual science fiction we love. We have no interest in or regard for their SJW, non-SF, "science fiction". We appreciate a genuine sense of wonder. They refer in snarky contempt to "sensawunda". We believe in the human soul, we believe in God, we believe in higher things,  they believe in "science" and the infinite evil of humanity, to the extent they believe in anything at all.

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131 Comments:

Anonymous fish May 05, 2015 7:12 AM  

Now if that ship had been bi-curious.....well.....four stars for a groundbreaking mechanosexual triumph.

Blogger tihald May 05, 2015 7:22 AM  

'If you were a warship my love' that would have been so much better.

Blogger Jim May 05, 2015 7:26 AM  

"Rzasa hasn't even caught up with the second of these new categories. "Our founders were the men who…" "Posthuman Man…" "Not content with setting Man on his new evolutionary path…" After Ancillary Justice -- hell, after The Left Hand of Darkness -- this reads very oddly."

It only reads oddly to those who never learned English, and instead learned PC-speak.

Blogger Josh May 05, 2015 7:26 AM  

Another review from the file 770 comments:

Daveon on May 4, 2015 at 11:46 am said:
I hated Turncoat – compared to how Iain Banks, Neal Asher, Peter Hamilton write sentient battleships and describe space warfare it was unbearable, then there were lines like ‘the men who…’ versus ‘the people who’ really jarred against me – it felt like a story written about AIs written by somebody who has ignored any progress in fiction, computing and so forth in 20 years.

Anonymous MendoScot May 05, 2015 7:27 AM  

Was that a review or an autobiographical sketch?

Me, me, me, me, me, didn't like it. Oh, and me.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan May 05, 2015 7:29 AM  

There is no SJW scifi merely the emotive ramblings of women and their gay troupe.

Blogger Blume May 05, 2015 7:31 AM  

Did you guys see the turncoat review from the link on John c. Wright's page? The girl doesn't even know who Benedict Arnold is and rejects us for ignoring history.

Blogger Jew613 May 05, 2015 7:32 AM  

How do the sjws not connect the general decline in sf/f to making the writing political.

Anonymous Stephen J. May 05, 2015 7:34 AM  

"Humanity had to be shown to triumph in every story, for example, to be superior to anything thrown against it, which pretty much let the air out of any balloon of tension."

As opposed to today's stories where humanity as a species as we know them (not including our virtuous pariah minority protagonists) has to be shown to be a race of viruses, bigots, and barbarians who either merit defeat or whose triumph is a bitter tragedy -- yeah, that really maintains the tension.

But then again these stories want to be literature, and you don't read literature for something as pulpy and plebeian as tension, excitement or fun.

Blogger Jim May 05, 2015 7:41 AM  

I will say there was one case of bad writing in "Turncoat":

“Admiral Hull, please accept my apologies for the unexpected intrusion. My designation is TX45D62a0-9555-11e3-bfa7-0002a5d5c51b. I wish to offer my services and my allegiance to the Greater Terran Ascendancy.”

Read that designation out loud and tell me Hull doesn't cut him off and say "Nice to meet you, Tex. What do you want?"

And does anyone know if that hexcode means anything?

Anonymous Menelaus May 05, 2015 7:48 AM  

I am not often flabbergasted. These people don't reach the level of 'stupid'.
I've never heard of cup of cat crackers. mm yeh

Do they not see themselves portrayed in the story?

professing to be wise, they were made fools,
Romans 1:22


Read the whole thing

Blogger Shimshon May 05, 2015 7:49 AM  

"...they believe in "science" and the infinite evil of humanity, to the extent they believe in anything at all."

Evil can only be vanquished by greater evil.

I'm working on my laugh.

Blogger maniacprovost May 05, 2015 8:00 AM  

Hex code looks like human -generated random. If it means anything, I doubt it translates into ascii.

Anonymous Steve May 05, 2015 8:01 AM  

the stories predictable (partly because they all ended with humanity triumphing)

Stories are entertainment. Psychologically healthy, non-misanthropic people like the good guys to win in their entertainment - it's why the Harry Potter books don't begin and end with Harry being killed as a baby. If your story ends with the human race being wiped out by space-faring insectoids or whatever, it'll probably put your readers on a downer. And where does the writer go from there?

But think about everything that's happened since Campbell. The New Wave (does anyone remember the New Wave? Yes, I'm old), feminism, cyberpunk, counter-cyberpunk,

Some of the works that got lumped under the broad heading of "New Wave" were good. Forever War is still a great book. But the majority of New Wave fiction was and is garbage, saturated with laughably naive 1960's and 70's radical left politics and encrusted with zeerust, no more relevant or interesting to modern readers than some burned-out geriatric hippy droning on about Woodstock.

Whereas stories of heroism, invention, adventure and derring-do are timeless.

I never got into cyberpunk, it had some interesting ideas but as a whole the movement was a retreat from optimism and adventure. So instead of exploring strange new worlds, we got to explore the internet. You pays your money and takes your choice.

Feminism - normal people don't want to read feminist science fiction. I will note though that since Ursula Le Guin's heyday most of feminism's scientific claims have been thoroughly discredited. Gender is not (simply) a "social construct". Men and women are different from conception. Matriarchal societies are not sustainable above the level of an isolated primitive tribe. The relative paucity of female inventors has nothing to do with a grand Patriarchal conspiracy and everything to do with Bell curves.

So ironically, academic feminism is a type of science fiction.

a fresh infusion of writers who are not white or straight or able-bodied.

Unless the writer tells me, I have no frigging clue about his skin tone, which type of orifice he prefers putting his penis into, or how many functional limbs he has. More to the point: I don't care. A good story is a good story. A boring, preachy story about transgendered Somali cripples in space is still going to be boring and preachy.

Rzasa hasn't even caught up with the second of these new categories. "Our founders were the men who…" "Posthuman Man…" "Not content with setting Man on his new evolutionary path…" After Ancillary Justice -- hell, after The Left Hand of Darkness -- this reads very oddly.

Translation: you're supposed to have been swept away by the progressive tide of history, kyriarchal male cishet ableist shitlords! What the actual fuck?

The best part of her review was the title: An Attempt to Come to Terms with the Hugo Ballot

Come to terms. As if someone had died or something. The SJW's are still moving through the Kubler-Ross process. Imagine how much fresh salt there will be if our Dark Lord wins a Hugo?

Blogger Shimshon May 05, 2015 8:02 AM  

What sex is jgoldstein?

Blogger Jay Lucas May 05, 2015 8:04 AM  

Shimshon, consider Mark Hamill's advice re: The Joker and work from a stand rather than a sit. I find it helps, especially for when you need to draw a clutched edge of your cape across the lower half of your face when you menace people.

Anonymous Tom May 05, 2015 8:06 AM  

All the SJWs seem to think that stories are somehow new and different. They clearly don't know that there is nothing new under the sun.

They need to read "Making Shapely Fiction" by Jerome Stern, or one of the numerous other books that layout the limited number of actual plot shapes that are common/possible. Progress in fiction, HA!

The other disturbing thing for me is how the one SJW thought there were no characters in the story. That makes absolutely no sense for a person with a normal reading comprehension. I could give that story to my 8 year old and she could easily list 4 or 5 "who"s from the story. Are these people actually that intellectually damaged by years inside an echo chamber?

By the way, that makes for an interesting scifi story right there. Space Explorer heads off in deep sleep, but is somehow awakened and trapped in a cavernous echoing chamber inside the asteroid ship. Starts having conversations with the echoes. Hmmm...

Blogger Shimshon May 05, 2015 8:08 AM  

The whole thing has a passive aggressive tone. In the end, she doesn't say whether she thinks No Award trumps the story.

Blogger Sam May 05, 2015 8:08 AM  

Per the New Wave changing of the narrative, the following discusses Soviet re-education of Christians in Romania. At 6:30, the narrator quotes Dumitri Bacu’s The Anti-Humans:

“Everything of the past which could offer any kind of refuge was to be muddied and denigrated. This included the heroes of history and the folklore of Christian inspiration. Then, to be given special attention, was the destruction of love for family, in order completely to isolate the victim in his own misery, bereft of religion, love of country, and family. This would break the chain that links together a community of national thought and gives meaning to a national struggle. When the individual was thus cut off from his history, faith and family, the ultimate step in “re-educating” him was to destroy his existence as a personality — an individual. This, to the victim, was to prove the most painful step of all and was called his “unmasking. ”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84-6ES4Zp6A

Blogger 184 (188) May 05, 2015 8:10 AM  

After reading this and Goldstein's review, I read it. Thought the writing at the beginning was a little stilted, but it got better quick. Ended up cheering for the good guys---both superannuated and machine---by the end. On a 1 to 10 I'll give it a 7.5. That means "not bad, worth reading." Look forward to reading the others when the Hugo packet comes out.

Blogger Jim May 05, 2015 8:15 AM  

Hex code looks like human -generated random. If it means anything, I doubt it translates into ascii.

Yeah, my efforts to translate it all produced unreadable gibberish. I just wanted to be sure I wasn't missing something.

Blogger Cail Corishev May 05, 2015 8:21 AM  

there were lines like ‘the men who…’ versus ‘the people who’ really jarred against me

Maybe he has a small glimpse of what it's been like for me all these years, grinding my teeth through sentences like, "Each man owns their own ship," because they're desperately trying to avoid gendered pronouns and adjectives.

Anonymous Nathan May 05, 2015 8:22 AM  

So, how do you challenge the modernist fallacy that lies at the heart of progressivsm and the reviews like this? The idea that we're somehow better, smarter, more virtuous than our ancestors just doesn't hold merit.

Blogger AmyJ May 05, 2015 8:27 AM  

Lol at the first review for being irritated with the use of "men" as a gender neutral term for humanity...comparing it to Ancillary Justice, where the whole gimmick revolved around referring to everyone as a she. And she calls it odd, despite the fact that the terms man and men as all encompassing terms have been used for centuries.

And then she complains about not knowing if a sentient MACHINE has a gender!

They're becoming parodies of themselves.

Anonymous Vox Maximus May 05, 2015 8:36 AM  

Dear Vox


You said:

"At the end of the day, there isn't much room for compromise. They hate the actual science fiction we love."

Well, just like the term 'SJW' has now entered our culture as a clear designation for a certain type of individual/group, perhaps it is time to introduce a term to clearly designate such a difference in Science Fiction, as you mention above.

Quite simply, perhaps we need to differentiate between 'SF' (Science Fiction) and SJSF (Social Justice Science Fiction (or just SSF). Criteria could, of course, be established for what makes a work SJSF. At the same time, there could be grades of it as well, such as Strong SJSF (where the Social Justice messages slaps you in the face repeatedly) or Weak SJSF (where the SJ message is subtle and can be missed). We could also use that term for certain authors if the meet the criteria and use it in reviews as well. Consider it to be our version of a "trigger-warning" (I jest, of course, as trigger-warnings are for idiots and cowards).

Anyway, in my eyes, such a clear delineation in SF would be good, and it would definitely save me time when buying books (and I am sure the SJWs would appreciate it as well, for then they could easily avoid the 'bad-think' books).

Anyway, just a thought.

Vox Maximus
www.voxmaximus.wordpress.com

Anonymous MrGreenMan May 05, 2015 8:37 AM  

Perhaps one of you will remember this one, since I no longer have any of my old magazines:

I remember not liking lots of the Azimov stuff because the long shadow of socialism was just so heavy. Whereas I got through Nemesis, Azimov never really seemed as enjoyable as, say, Ray Bradbury; I eventually gave the Foundation books a toss, and, in most of the sterile robot ones, I liked the Settlers because the Spacer future otherwise seemed like a nightmare from Sartre.

I remember being surprised by a short story that I thought was in Asimov's magazine and may have even had the old man's name stuck on it wherein Earth was losing a war, one of the humans chafed at the rigid, hierarchical structure of society and the military based purely on time served, he switched to the other side, rose through the ranks, and then used the enemy military to kill and hang every last man, woman, and child on the second world after Earth. It was only after this that the Earth military was so shaken up that they cast off the trappings of socialism and went out to kill with a volunteer meritocratic army.

I assume, if that had Asimov's name on it, it would have been ghost written, and I remember concluding - yes, indeed, that's what I expect when you don't reward actual outcomes but just time served. Does anybody remember the story or who really wrote it? I wonder how pilloried such a thing would be today that, if there was any mention of any demographic categories, I just remember that the guy who saved mankind was a guy and he didn't appear "differently abled" in the slightest.

Blogger doofus May 05, 2015 8:41 AM  

The really funny thing is that they completely miss the point of the stuff after Campbell. People were trying to show that you could have a hero who wasn't precisely a hero. One of my favorite movies has one of the greatest anti-heroes of all time. It is not science fiction, but it is instructive to look at anyway. I am talking about Stalag 17, with William Holden.

The thing that makes William Holden's character great in the movie is that he is literally an anti-hero, as in he does nothing (at the beginning) that seems heroic, being a selfish asshole who trades and fraternizes with the Germans. However, being an anti-hero here doesn't mean that he doesn't act heroically, he does. But he does so for not completely noble reasons.

Unfortunately, the SJWs have not grasped the point that having someone who is not heroic and who is not doing these heroic things for the "right" reasons can make an interesting character, instead, their takeaway is that one needn't act heroically. In the same way, in SF, you can serve up a gritty, dystopian world with violence and ugliness, as long as there is something in the story that we can cheer for. But, gray goo is not really interesting.

Blogger David May 05, 2015 8:46 AM  

At least the reviewer didn't complain that the protagonist didn't dock with the fathership in its aft region. Had it done so, I predict the story would have sailed to a Hugo.

Anonymous McOxford May 05, 2015 8:46 AM  

If she had just stuck to 'I don't like mil SF' then who could really take issue with her, but again comes the heart cry for all the correct intellectual pieties as if no good novel could be constructed without them. To me it always comes across like a tremulous need for reassurance, a need to know that they are 'on the right side', that they are the zeitgeist, the martyrs and reformers, that history will see things their way. What they don't seem to see is that this produces writers and works with all enduring appeal of Radcliffe Hall, George Bernard Shaw or Havelock Ellis.

Blogger The Original Hermit May 05, 2015 8:47 AM  

Vox Maximus, we already have the terms Blue and Pink sci-fi

Blogger Jim May 05, 2015 8:53 AM  

Maybe he has a small glimpse of what it's been like for me all these years, grinding my teeth through sentences like, "Each man owns their own ship," because they're desperately trying to avoid gendered pronouns and adjectives.

In fairness, the language does a pretty poor job of dealing with universal pronouns. The only real gender-neutral one--it--applies only to things and is an insult when leveled against a person. Meanwhile, if you use he/him all the time, you can get some odd pairings if you simultaneously refer to gender-specific activities. They/their at least solves a real problem (although by introducing new ones). Excising man/men, however, is just solving an invented problem.

Anonymous Scalzee May 05, 2015 8:54 AM  

Squeeee!!!

Blogger David May 05, 2015 8:54 AM  

Socionomically speaking, different stories are popular in differing social mood periods. As Prechter writes, at social mood peaks men are hyper-masculine, women are hyper-feminine, protagonists are heroes and are clearly the character with whom the reader identifies.

During protracted social mood declines, protagonists are often anti-heroes and may often be "the bad guy" (see "Dexter.") Sex roles become blurred and female characters take on masculine characteristics.

At social mood nadirs there are no good guys or bad guys, telling the men from the women may be difficult, and readers don't really identify with any character (for example, the "Saw" series seems appropriate.)

This is in part why a reader steeping in today's social mood may have great difficulty engaging with a story popular at a very different point in the social mood cycle. It takes considerable flexibility of mind to grasp how a story (written, TV, stage production or even radio) read in the time it was published. It also takes great skill to write a story that is popular outside of a single, narrow set of conditions, and even greater skill to create a story that transcends the parochial tastes of any moment at all.

Blogger Chiva May 05, 2015 8:56 AM  

" That’s an interesting thought and maybe some people do enjoy over-simplified morality dramas in 2015, but I certainly don’t."

She saw the words, but not the story.

Anonymous p-dawg May 05, 2015 9:10 AM  

@Chiva: Look at that comment again - whenever someone volunteers an unnecessary denial, if you are looking for deception, re-read it as the opposite. In this case, what I mean is read the sentence like this: "I am not interested in that thought and I enjoy over-simplified morality drams [if they match my morals]." Does that not ring much more true?

Anonymous ticticboom May 05, 2015 9:15 AM  

I'm reminded of Micheal Z Williamson talking about how sometimes a negative review can do you more good than a positive one. In his case, he said someone called his books 'rightwing gun porn,' which caused a lot of people to think, 'Well, I like rightwing gun porn,' and actually increased sales.

More like Campbell than Leckie? Shut up and take my money!

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 May 05, 2015 9:16 AM  

very careful here.
A great many people would rather commiserate in your loses than gloat in your success.
It's not only a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll, you never get to the top. Smash that tune is raison d'être, Never forget.

May 05, 2015 9:15 AM

Anonymous The other robot (not uploaded) May 05, 2015 9:23 AM  

TX45D62a0-9555-11e3-bfa7-0002a5d5c51b
...
And does anyone know if that hexcode means anything?


Looks like a type TX45B followed by a UUID to me. Doesn't seem like a problem (except perhaps that they will use something larger than 128 bits by then. Maybe their 8192-bit public key. (Although that would be a bit boring in a book)

Blogger Joshua Sinistar May 05, 2015 9:32 AM  

I think you misunderstand these misanthropes. They can't root for men or humanity because that sort of thing is at least a Million Years further than any of them got on the scale of advancement. Whereas, homosexual hideous monsters is so much more like their home lives and much easier for them to relate to. Also, this cisgendered concept of Biological Reality of binary sexuality is simply lost on someone who has 64 genders and the Math Skills of a retarded ape.

Blogger Masha K. May 05, 2015 9:35 AM  

:SHRUG: I loved Turncoat. In fact, I loved it so much I'm having a hard time deciding on the Hugo vote because it's up against John C. Wright who is technically a more capable writer. The funny thing is, I'm not into military scifi, and the plot twist is predictable from the title, so the biggest attraction for me was the character (who is supposed to be cardboard and non-existent, but hey, what do I know, I'm just a stupid reader.)

Blogger JartStar May 05, 2015 9:37 AM  

protagonist’s moralistic attitudes which bring to mind the papery characters of old fiction who don’t really resemble real people

The characters were cardboard, the stories predictable (partly because they all ended with humanity triumphing)

"Cardboard, papery, predictable". These are all code words for "Traditional Western morality and ideas here!".

Any story which triumphs traditional right and wrong, or any character which believes and behaves in a traditional matter are boring and cardboard.


Anonymous clk May 05, 2015 9:39 AM  

I think you need terms that are not derogatory in nature --- honest intellectual terms --- SJW is a derogatory term as would be blue vs pink. There are already terms like pulp, golden age, modern, post modern... that are in use in the academic discusion of scifi --

Anonymous Vox Maximus May 05, 2015 9:48 AM  

The Old Hermit,

Hahahaha....that will teach me to write a comment first thing in the morning! I had already read about Blue and Pink SF some time ago, and yet it was completely absent in my mind when I wrote my earlier comment.

Although, often reflection, given the current prevalence of the term 'Social Justice Warrior' in popular culture, I almost wonder whether 'Social Justice Science Fiction' is not a better term than Pink SF. It seems more precise and direct. Additionally, I suspect that more people outside the SF community would understand the meaning of 'Social Justice Science Fiction' than they would Pink SF. But again, these are minor points, but perhaps ones which are worthy of at least some reflection and consideration. After all, in any intellectual war, terminology, as it relates to propaganda, is key, and so choosing the best label for SJSF is of some importance.

Vox Maximus
www.voxmaximus.wordpress.com

Anonymous Trimegistus May 05, 2015 9:48 AM  

Okay, I'm going to throw out a dissent. I read "Turncoat" and was underwhelmed -- not because of male pronouns or moral choice. I just didn't find the space combat convincing as space combat. It felt too much like air or naval warfare. Too "Movie SF" for my taste. I couldn't immerse myself in the story because my brain kept saying "That's not right!"

I would have a lot more respect for any of the negative reviewers if they had pointed that out, but I guess that requires those science fiction readers to understand science rather than just "fucking loving science" on Facebook.

Blogger Cail Corishev May 05, 2015 9:49 AM  

Meanwhile, if you use he/him all the time, you can get some odd pairings if you simultaneously refer to gender-specific activities.

It's not a problem in anything published before feminism took over. If you're talking about a mostly female activity, just use the female: "Each knitter owns her own needles." Nothing wrong with that. Heck, I'd prefer defaulting to her/hers when it's unknown, rather than starting sentences in the singular and then being slammed violently into the plural.

Blogger Desiderius May 05, 2015 9:49 AM  

"a fresh infusion of writers who are not white or straight or able-bodied."

They know not themselves, only what they are not. This is the essence of nihilism.

Anonymous Trimegistus May 05, 2015 9:50 AM  

By the way, Philip K. Dick appeared to me in a vision last night to complain about your spam filter. "It keeps asking me to prove I'm not a robot!" he said. "But how can anyone really know that?"

Blogger Cail Corishev May 05, 2015 10:03 AM  

By the way (yes, I know I go on about this), if there were really a need for a gender-neutral pronoun for referring to people in English, you'd think we'd have come up with one by now. SF writers have suggested a few, after all. But no, we just awkwardly butcher pronoun/antecedent agreement instead.

Blogger Marissa May 05, 2015 10:16 AM  

I am talking about Stalag 17, with William Holden.

Excellent movie!

The first review, with the "too much hardware" complaint reads like:

"Science is hard!" - SJW Barbie

Anonymous The other robot (cis-male heterosexual heteronormative but insufficiently privileged) May 05, 2015 10:18 AM  

By the way (yes, I know I go on about this), if there were really a need for a gender-neutral pronoun for referring to people in English, you'd think we'd have come up with one by now.

Indeed. The one language (or group of languages) I am familiar with that has gender-free pronouns goes overboard in indicating sex and familial relationship with parents-in-law, uncles and aunts, siblings and nephews and nieces ...

It would be interesting to know what languages do in general about gender in pronouns and related terms. Since the sex of a person is such an important predictor of a person's behavior in most areas it is possibly impossible to do without gendered pronouns.

Blogger Jim May 05, 2015 10:21 AM  

if there were really a need for a gender-neutral pronoun for referring to people in English, you'd think we'd have come up with one by now. SF writers have suggested a few, after all

There's no need because of they/their. It's so natural people fall into it in normal conversation without thinking and they need to have the habit drilled out of them in writing by English teachers, only to result in hemming and hawing about pronoun issues later.

Anonymous Jack Amok May 05, 2015 10:29 AM  

TX45D62a0-9555-11e3-bfa7-0002a5d5c51b

It looks kind of like a GUID you'd send to an old OLE IUnknown.QueryInterface() call. The 11ef in the middle, was that MSFTs company id? Maybe X-45-Delta evolved from an old Excel macro? It would kind of fit. My first day at MSFT, my boss greeted me with "Congratulations, you've joined the Rebellion and the Evil Empire both at the same time."


In fairness, the language does a pretty poor job of dealing with universal pronouns. The only real gender-neutral one--it--applies only to things and is an insult when leveled against a person. Meanwhile, if you use he/him all the time, you can get some odd pairings if you simultaneously refer to gender-specific activities.

Well, you've really got to choose whether you're on the side of humanity or hupersonity and roll with it.

Anonymous DNW May 05, 2015 10:31 AM  

"Vox Maximus May 05, 2015 9:48 AM

The Old Hermit,

Hahahaha....that will teach me to write a comment first thing in the morning! I had already read about Blue and Pink SF some time ago, and yet it was completely absent in my mind when I wrote my earlier comment.

Although, often reflection, given the current prevalence of the term 'Social Justice Warrior' in popular culture, I almost wonder whether 'Social Justice Science Fiction' is not a better term than Pink SF. It seems more precise and direct. Additionally, I suspect that more people outside the SF community would understand the meaning of 'Social Justice Science Fiction' than they would Pink SF. But again, these are minor points, but perhaps ones which are worthy of at least some reflection and consideration. After all, in any intellectual war, terminology, as it relates to propaganda, is key, and so choosing the best label for SJSF is of some importance.

Vox Maximus
www.voxmaximus.wordpress.com"


That is an interesting remark. And it sounds more or less right. But - and forgive my baffled discovery of what to most here was long obvious - the Social Justice Warriors are plainly not so much seeking "justice" as their name implies, as pursuing a nihilistic back-flip into some trans-human social insect-like future they desperately wish for, but which would in effect spell the end of the very thing now doing the wishing.

All as a way of escaping the burden of being what they are now.

You would think that rather than wishing to become pan-sexual polymorphous perverse cyborgs as a way out of their troubles, they might try exercise, diet, and place their hopes in some modest forms of gene therapy.

They must really, really, believe in evolution as something more than the random, purposeless mutation, and environmental filtering which their high priests have been describing. Something instead, spelt with a big capital "E", in italics, and bold font. Neuroses and dysfunction are not neuroses and dysfunction they are "progress!"



Anonymous Jack Amok May 05, 2015 10:34 AM  

As others have noted, when the reviewer said it was "predictable" that humanity always won, that was a huge tell. Nothing like people who hate their own species, and I supposed we shouldn't be surprised she* was rooting for the souless machines.

* don't know if this was a male or a female reviewer, but it clearly wasn't a man, so I'll go with "she" here

Blogger wrf3 May 05, 2015 10:36 AM  

JartStar wrote: "Cardboard, papery, predictable". These are all code words for "Traditional Western morality and ideas here!".

No, it isn't. It refers to the average reader being able to figure out the arc of the story from the beginning, regardless of the morality or ideas. Ok, so, yes, we know from the title of the story what ends up happening. But take some left turns at Albuquerque getting us there.

Blogger HickoryHammer #0211 May 05, 2015 10:38 AM  

Did they email the nomination packets yet? It sounds like there will be a lot of good stories to look forward to.

Blogger jmyron May 05, 2015 10:40 AM  

I find it hilarious that an SJW would criticize how an inherently gender-less AI would choose to identify its own gender. Isn't the point of most of their agitation that you can identify any way you want? Don't these clowns even listen to themselves?

Blogger Sgt Polite May 05, 2015 10:41 AM  

Not enough "nuance" or moral relativism for the Tru-Fans eh? I may have to read this.

Blogger Masha K. May 05, 2015 10:51 AM  

@Hickory: Packets are promised by the end of the month. In the meantime, Wright's nominated short works are available for free from Castalia, you can read Turncoat online on this very blog, and some novels are available from the library, so plenty of opportunity to get a head start. Also I found On a Spiritual Plane online for free as well, but don't remember where.

Blogger bob k. mando May 05, 2015 10:52 AM  

posted to jewwy McJewstein's review:
you know, if you ignoramuses are so damn 'concerned' about gender neutrality in your prose, the answer isn't to create new pronouns or to refer to everyone as 'woman'

....

it's to rehabilitate the prefix "were-".

going back to the future of ~500 AD.

Blogger HickoryHammer #0211 May 05, 2015 10:55 AM  

@Masha K. Cool beans, thanks for the info.

Blogger Jim May 05, 2015 11:00 AM  

it's to rehabilitate the prefix "were-".

going back to the future of ~500 AD.


Start writing about wifwolves. Watch their heads explode.

Anonymous DNW May 05, 2015 11:08 AM  

"In fairness, the language does a pretty poor job of dealing with universal pronouns. The only real gender-neutral one--it--applies only to things and is an insult when leveled against a person. Meanwhile, if you use he/him all the time, you can get some odd pairings if you simultaneously refer to gender-specific activities."


I wonder why values nihilists so often object to being referred to as "it". They have, on their own terms, no objective moral grounds for doing so. What entitles them to moral peer-hood? Nothing, other than emotion or an arbitrary comittment if you make your deductions from their own existential premisses.

Their "we" predicate is on their own say-so completely flexible.

Yet, it seems they often do get upset. Or that has been my experience when I have made a point of using "it". Maybe they will grow used to it after a while, and begin actually thinking of themselves as the post-human "it" into which they are fashioning themselves?

Some good-natured traditionalist types will of course, continue to bang their heads against the ideological wall, persistently and patiently attributing to the nominalist nihilist apostate, attributes or states or presumptions of graces which the nominalist himself denies are real or significant, or of any interest to him - or, to it. Denies unless, of course, there is some advantage of access to be lost, or some pointless craving left unsatisfied, thereby.

But why should the traditionalist care? The "it" crowd have drawn these lines, these boundaries for themselves. Repeatedly. Gleefully. Passionately. "Diabolically" even, in a purely secular sense kind of way. Seems almost rude not to recognize what they have themselves done.

Blogger bob k. mando May 05, 2015 11:09 AM  

Jim May 05, 2015 11:00 AM
Start writing about wifwolves



unnecessary. 'wo-' is the feminine prefix that doesn't denote marriage status.

wowolf.

Anonymous DNW May 05, 2015 11:14 AM  

"posted to jewwy McJewstein's review"

Jesus. What kind of talk is that?

Blogger Danby May 05, 2015 11:14 AM  

@clk
"There are already terms like pulp, golden age, modern, post modern... that are in use in the academic discusion of scifi "

--All of which were originally terms of derision. Well, except modern, but that's been claimed by everybody. In 5 years Human Wave SF will be describing itself as modern, as opposed to old-fashioned anti-human feminist New Wave crap.

Blogger Brad Andrews May 05, 2015 11:16 AM  

Why would I want to read a pessimistic story?

A lot of modern movies are trash for just this reason. Moral ambiguity or celebrating deviance may be their goal, but it makes a very unattractive thing to watch or read, in spite of their worship of it.

Blogger MidKnight (#138) May 05, 2015 11:16 AM  

Her utter and total contempt for the "deep norms" (courtesy of Eric Raymond) and decades of deep historic roots of the genre, what made it the very thing she discovered, is palpable.

Blogger JartStar May 05, 2015 11:19 AM  

wrf3 - You think the complaint here isn't the older SF tropes, but the story used older SF tropes badly?

Blogger bob k. mando May 05, 2015 11:25 AM  

DNW May 05, 2015 11:14 AM
Jesus. What kind of talk is that?



it's the kind of talk used to describe a Jewess who does her best to live down to all of and every worst Jewish stereotype there is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGmlCllHyqM&t=42s


compare and contrast Spectre's demand for Europe to the Jewish demand that Palestinians not be permitted to integrate with Israel and that Africans be kept out.

huh.

funny how there's no integrity there.

Anonymous The other robot (giving a helping hand) May 05, 2015 11:29 AM  

So, what about peepwolves then? Or pervertwolves?

Blogger John Wright May 05, 2015 11:30 AM  

@ Jim
"It only reads oddly to those who never learned English, and instead learned PC-speak."

Hear, hear. I was thinking the same thing myself. Using the word 'man' to refer to men strikes their ears as odd.

That alone is enough to give impetus to Sad Puppies.

Blogger Chiva May 05, 2015 11:31 AM  

@p-dawg. The interpretation of her sentence into "I am not interested in that thought and I enjoy over-simplified morality dramas [if they match my morals]." is probably close to the truth of it.

My thinking is along the same lines are yours. She already had made a decision about the story before even reading it. So when she read the story that decision colored her perception of the story.

Anonymous MendoScot May 05, 2015 11:34 AM  

In the wider world, Pater Tenebrarum over at Acting Man just posted an article on Philip K. Dick's visionary scifi:

Many of Dick’s novels deal with religious themes, alternate history and the bending of reality, often based on his personal experiences and his not inconsiderable paranoia. The main point we want to make is that both the technological and political trends which Dick speculated about in his SF novels are coming into ever sharper relief these days. We have recently come across presentations of two technological innovations that are both highly reminiscent of the Dickian world.

One of them is a “holographic computer” developed by Microsoft (apparently MSFT is still able to innovate after all). Here is a fascinating video of the presentation:

...

The other innovation comes courtesy of government-funded DARPA. This one is not so much about making life easier for designers, but is plainly aimed at the elimination of current enemies of the State and potential future “Aramchek” members. A self-directing bullet that literally makes it possible to shoot around corners and hence makes it very difficult for the targeted individual to take cover or otherwise avoid being shot. Small arms ammunition is about to make the transition to guided missile status:


Yeah, stale and dated, Mz. Goldstein.

Blogger MidKnight (#138) May 05, 2015 11:40 AM  


@Chiva
She saw the words, but not the story.

Damn - that's the best take I've seen on "forest for the trees" in a while.

And for all how this crowd throws around "nuance" - reading their reviews reveals large gaps in what they can even perceive.



@wrf3

JartStar wrote: "Cardboard, papery, predictable". These are all code words for "Traditional Western morality and ideas here!".

No, it isn't. It refers to the average reader being able to figure out the arc of the story from the beginning, regardless of the morality or ideas. Ok, so, yes, we know from the title of the story what ends up happening. But take some left turns at Albuquerque getting us there.



WRF - I read the quote Jartstar was referring to in context. Did you not note the reason she gave for WHY it was predictable?

Anonymous Huckleberry (#87) -- est. 1977 May 05, 2015 11:40 AM  

if there were really a need for a gender-neutral pronoun for referring to people in English, you'd think we'd have come up with one by now

Just imagine how much fun the SJWs are going to have when Spanish is the predominate language.
The womyn better know how to make a good quesadilla, is all I'm saying...

Blogger John Wright May 05, 2015 11:42 AM  

@ Masha

" Masha K. May 05, 2015 9:35 AM

"I loved Turncoat. In fact, I loved it so much I'm having a hard time deciding on the Hugo vote because it's up against John C. Wright who is technically a more capable writer."

I would be honored to lose to that story, frankly. It was like a good old-fashioned Bolo yarn by Keith Laumer, where the AI turned out to be more human than the humans.

Blogger bob k. mando May 05, 2015 11:52 AM  

John Wright May 05, 2015 11:42 AM
I would be honored to lose to that story, frankly.



oh, pshaw.

youse guys and your desperate attempts to give away the Hugos.

XHE KNOW YOU REALLY WANT THEM FOR YOURSELVES.

Anonymous DNW May 05, 2015 11:56 AM  

DNW May 05, 2015 11:14 AM
Jesus. What kind of talk is that?


it's the kind of talk used to describe a Jewess who does her best to live down to all of and every worst Jewish stereotype there is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGmlCllHyqM&t=42s


compare and contrast Spectre's demand for Europe to the Jewish demand that Palestinians not be permitted to integrate with Israel and that Africans be kept out.

huh.

funny how there's no integrity there."



Spectre is extremely annoying in manner; and in the clip shown, does seem to fit the stereotype of left-wing secular subversive. In longer clips her subjective view seems to emphasize what she seems to think of as an ameliorating role in an already decided trajectory.

And while I don't read Swedish, and cannot offhand cite the particular act of Parliament, the Swedes themselves apparently decided by a unanimous Parliamentary act in 1975 to institutionalize multiculturalism as part of the fabric of the Swedish state.

As I recall, the predicate was probably directed at officially recognizing the cultural status of so-called indigenous peoples of the extreme north, much as in Canada at nearly the same time.

Or maybe not exactly.

http://www.queensu.ca/mcp/immigrant/evidence/Sweden.html





Anonymous clk May 05, 2015 12:16 PM  

"All of which were originally terms of derision.." ... no .. sorry ... I dont see it as that (but as this thread and other show often we cannot agree on the meanings and intentions of many terms ... what I might find offensive here in NE would be fine in Texas but over the top in the UK.) .... Campbellian is mostly golden age ... which is my preferred scifi style.. and theres nothing derisive with golden age .... except perhaps to be fair if you are not in the golden age.

OpenID kbswift May 05, 2015 12:22 PM  

No wonder the SJWs hate this story. They are the Alpha 7 Alphas, bend on destroying humanity to achieve their perfect world view. Of course it leaves them underwhelmed, in their eyes the bad guys win in the end.

Blogger Engineer-Poet May 05, 2015 12:32 PM  

It really is true that "there is nothing new under the sun".  Practically every element of "Turncoat" is in some classic SF story somewhere, down to the "remora" routine which allows the protagonist to take over the flagship (out of a Berserker story, if it hadn't already been used earlier... perhaps back to Shockwave Rider and its worms).

And I will bet dollars to donuts that those references would be totally lost on the SJW "reviewers".

None of this makes "Turncoat" any less good a story.  When "I'm Chinese and I'm gay", which has paper-thin characters and no SFnal elements whatsoever, can get a Hugo, "Turncoat" is a shoo-in.

Blogger The Original Hermit May 05, 2015 12:37 PM  

@vox maximus "Although, often reflection, given the current prevalence of the term 'Social Justice Warrior' in popular culture, I almost wonder whether 'Social Justice Science Fiction' is not a better term than Pink SF. "
If I'm not mistaken, pink sf was coined before sjw came into common usage. I don't have the energy or wherewithal to change it at this point. I think they're interchangeable enough that is not worth the effort.

Blogger ajw308 May 05, 2015 12:38 PM  

I think you need terms that are not derogatory in nature
It's not the term, of itself, that is derogatory. Whatever* term used to for them will be no more derogatory than a mirror. It's their behavior, their dysfunction, that causes them to be viewed with contempt, not some arbitrary word.

Look how the word 'Ilk' flung out as an insult has become a badge of honor. It's all about the behavior of those the word is associated with, not the word itself.

*Case in point.

Blogger JAU May 05, 2015 12:46 PM  

The biggest thing I remember about seeing Stalag 17 as a kid was what a disappointment the movie version of Sgt. Schultz turned out to be.

Blogger bob k. mando May 05, 2015 12:48 PM  

DNW May 05, 2015 11:56 AM
does seem to fit the stereotype of left-wing secular subversive.


you MAY want to do a little more research into where the 'left-wing secular' viewpoint comes from.

socialized antagonism between fathers and sons? Freud.

direct attacks on accumulation of wealth and the social responsibility of the wealthy towards the societies which raised them up, generally? Marx.

raising animals up to the moral equivalents of men? Peter Singer.

destruction of the family so that the children can be raised without interference by the state? endemic to all of the socialist governments ... socialism which was formulated and usually led by ....

the Jews have been a highly successful tribe for something like 3000 years. probably more.

so, you might THINK that following their advice could be beneficial to your society.

only, when you look at what they recommend that everyone else ( that is, the Goyim ) do ...

you find that it's almost always the exact opposite of what the Jews themselves practice.

strange, that.



DNW May 05, 2015 11:56 AM
in an already decided trajectory.


because, of course, the inexorable march of history ( Marx ) can never be reversed or changed.

who was it that, in the wake of WW2, were pushing like mad for multi-culturalism? huh.

so you say that only 30 years later ( 1945 to 75 ), Sweden adopts a multicultural plank to their constitution? dude man, hey, THAT'S WEIRD.

Blogger Blume May 05, 2015 12:49 PM  

Pulp isn't considered a derogatory term by the literati?

Blogger Daniel May 05, 2015 12:56 PM  

Reminder: SJW works because of the modifier to social. It makes the word mean unfair or unjust. In other words, SJW means "injustice warrior" or "one who wars for injustice."

Not all Pink SF is SJW fiction. Pink is a broader division than that.

Anonymous Curious but not an SJW May 05, 2015 12:59 PM  

When "I'm Chinese and I'm gay", which has paper-thin characters and no SFnal elements whatsoever,

Is there such a book/story?

Blogger Daniel May 05, 2015 1:02 PM  

The newness in turncoat is that is between Laumer and Kratman. It also has good martial humor in it with out losing gravitas, which is why the "Tex" critique above is not valid. While that would be funny in the context, and seemingly humanizing, it would be a false note. No Admiral would cut off a turncoat to his side before registering the full introduction, especially in combat.

Blogger Daniel May 05, 2015 1:04 PM  

Yes. An award nominee, in fact.

Blogger Danby May 05, 2015 1:04 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Danby May 05, 2015 1:06 PM  

"Campbellian is mostly golden age ... which is my preferred scifi style.. and theres nothing derisive with golden age .... except perhaps to be fair if you are not in the golden age."

The term "golden age" was originally coined as a sneer aimed at writers and readers of traditional SF, for their sensawunda, cardboard cut-out characters, and simplistic plots where the good guys always win. Essentially everything our erstwhile correspondent is still sneering and snarking about.

I wonder if she realizes her complaint about traditional SF is well over 30 years old?

Blogger RC May 05, 2015 1:08 PM  

"Maybe he has a small glimpse of what it's been like for me all these years, grinding my teeth through sentences like, "Each man owns their own ship," because they're desperately trying to avoid gendered pronouns and adjectives." Cail

Even the new Bible translations play the same game. From the new NIV:

15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Compared to the old NIV:

MT 18:15 "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that `every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Anonymous Curious but not an SJW May 05, 2015 1:08 PM  

Indeed. The one language (or group of languages) I am familiar with that has gender-free pronouns goes overboard in indicating sex and familial relationship with parents-in-law, uncles and aunts, siblings and nephews and nieces ...

Assuming you are speaking of Chinese, they also seemed to be the least egalitarian, traditionally, with respect to male and female behavior/occupations. This despite some pretty obviously fake stories about females doing male things (Mulan anyone).

So, perhaps there is a case to be made that when the entire culture is strongly steeped in the notion that males and females occupy different spaces you don't need gendered pronouns because the gender of the referent is obvious from the actions/story.

Blogger Danby May 05, 2015 1:09 PM  

In other words, SJW means "injustice warrior" or "one who wars for injustice."

hyphenated justice is either sadism or theft

Blogger Daniel May 05, 2015 1:11 PM  

Pink SF can in fact be applied to innocuous romance novels that are nonetheless categorized as SF because they have an alien backdrop of some sort. Most Blue fans wouldn't see an agenda in that book, they would just rather know about it to avoid it.

Eradicating the SJW lies is a good goal. There is no reason to eradicate Pink SF...merely easily identify it.

Anonymous BigGaySteve May 05, 2015 1:24 PM  

Speaking of feminism in Sci Fi it turns out the new Mad Max movie is actually TAMPAX ON THE RAG

http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2015/05/04/vagina-monologes-author-consulted-to-help-mad-max-fury-road-female-characters/

Blogger Cail Corishev May 05, 2015 1:32 PM  

Just imagine how much fun the SJWs are going to have when Spanish is the predominate language.

I've wondered what feminists do in languages where all nouns are male or female, and there's more inflection so it would have to be more awkward to shift the number.

I partly blame the lack of Latin education in recent generations. All nouns have gender and pronouns/adjectives always agree with them, and it'd make translation a lot harder if they didn't. That makes quibbling over using "he" to refer to a random person seem pretty silly.

Anonymous DNW May 05, 2015 1:42 PM  

Bob, says

"DNW May 05, 2015 11:56 AM
'does seem to fit the stereotype of left-wing secular subversive'.

you MAY want to do a little more research into where the 'left-wing secular' viewpoint comes from. ..."



Well, I thought I had. I've read Hobbes and Hume, Rousseau and Comte.

And others ... La Mettrie, for example.

Studied, and been surprised by the depth of the depravity of the French Revolution, and the thinkers related to it. Jacques Hebert for instance.

Read something of the history of the New Englander neurotic class, and its adoption of social gospel Unitarianism or even Transcendentalism in place of Congregationalism.

There is also no doubt a case to be made for some famous secular Jews adopting and leveraging off of socialist principles and secular universalism movements in order to prise out a social niche in various societies and deliver themselves from marginalization or even persecution and abuse. No one who has studied 19th century German history or the revolution of 1848 could have missed that. Having studied Marxism in an academic setting, I am well aware of this. David Horowitz has himself some interesting comments on the psychological context in which he as a Jew, likely became a Marxist in the first place.

But, I think that you may be going somewhat further than this, and positing what in fact resolves to the claim of a unique reproductive strategy on the part of a particular lineage.

I think if you reflect on it you will agree that that is a step too far.

Blogger bob k. mando May 05, 2015 1:42 PM  

Curious but not an SJW May 05, 2015 12:59 PM
Is there such a book/story?


Daniel May 05, 2015 1:04 PM
Yes. An award nominee, in fact.



while technically correct ( oftentimes referred to as "the best kind of correct ), this does not actually reflect the full magnitude of the depths to which modern skiffy has sunk.

in full fact, it won a 2014 Hugo ... primarily for punching enough 'diversity' quota slots.
http://www.tor.com/stories/2013/02/the-water-that-falls-on-you-from-nowhere

Blogger bob k. mando May 05, 2015 1:54 PM  

DNW May 05, 2015 1:42 PM
and positing what in fact resolves to the claim of a unique reproductive strategy on the part of a particular lineage.



not sure what you mean, there. it's hardly as if Hebrews are or were the only patriarchal society.

even if you want to go towards considering themselves a parasite on the host society, they would not be the only ones to do that, either.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romani_people

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thuggee

Blogger Daniel May 05, 2015 2:03 PM  

Oh, it "won"? It was a Sad Puppy year, so is therefore of questionable distinction.

WHO KNOWS WHAT WOULD HAVE WON WITHOUT PUPPIES?

Blogger Daniel May 05, 2015 2:13 PM  

Mob justice. Poetic justice. Rough justice. Situational justice. Natural justice. Makeshift justice. Harsh justice. Frontier justice. Bribed justice. Bought justice. Social justice.

There are many varieties of justice in the world, but none of them are the same as plain justice.

Anonymous Curious but not an SJW May 05, 2015 2:16 PM  

The story
It's About Ethics in Revolution
is so formulaic down to the mention of Cod Pieces that it is amusing.

Now, if it had used phallocarps, maybe it would have been more interesting.

Blogger bob k. mando May 05, 2015 2:27 PM  

DNW May 05, 2015 1:42 PM
I think if you reflect on it you will agree that that is a step too far.


HER attempts to live down to the worst stereotypes of her people are NOT MY PROBLEM.

whether the jewish stereotypes are more broadly typical of jews in general or the accurateness thereof are also not my concern.

i don't have a problem with ( aside from intellectual disagreements ) Rabbi B, Sam Scott or any of the other Jews that participate here.

Spectre though? her, i'd love to punch in the face.

what a smarmy, obnoxious little cunt.

here's a question:
WHY do Europeans NEED the 'help' of Jews to transition to a multicultural society?

i mean, aren't all societies broadly equal? didn't the Swedes already put multiculti into their Constitution?

just what is 'wrong' with these stupid Goyim that they 'need' a Jewess to show them the proper way to do things?

and why isn't this Jewess advocating for these same policies in ... Israel?


as i've pointed out before, post WW2, the Jews held a massive moral trump card. and they even vowed "never again".

only, look at all the genocides and mass murders that have happened since WW2. Rwanda, the Cultural Revolution, Armenia, the modern genocide of the Christians in Africa/middle East, the Holodomor, etc, etc.

B'nai Brith and the JDL should, SHOULD be/have been on the ramparts screaming about all of these things.

to anyone looking at this critically, the Jews have taken almost all of their moral standing and pissed it away.

i didn't do that to them.

they did that to themselves.

Blogger MidKnight (#138) May 05, 2015 2:42 PM  

@Daniel

WHO KNOWS WHAT WOULD HAVE WON WITHOUT PUPPIES?

Can't say, but given that emo "what if gravity turned upside down when my love life did" story that drifted into the shortlist that even a number of the puppy-kcikers dislike, little good.

Blogger bob k. mando May 05, 2015 3:11 PM  

BigGaySteve May 05, 2015 1:24 PM
Speaking of feminism in Sci Fi it turns out the new Mad Max movie is actually TAMPAX ON THE RAG


frankly, there's been a fairly absurd feminist slant on the Mad Max movies going back at least to Road Warrior and it's goody two shoes fem warriors in the 'good' band and Aunty Entity in Thunderdome.

it's also been clear from the previews, with the extensive time given to Theron, that women were going to have pretty important roles in this one.

i'm thinking it still looks gloriously stupid ( they have explosions that explode again, in a tornado, in a sandstorm ) and over the top.

multiple sources are saying that there is minimal dialogue and CGI ... while the SFX and cinematography look fantastic.

so ...

it is possible Miller fucked this movie up. here's hoping not.

Anonymous Curious but not an SJW May 05, 2015 3:34 PM  

His ability to write some good tunes shouldn’t really cut any ice for his other views.

Hmmm, and if we turn it around?

Her views shouldn't cut any ice when it comes to awarding Hugos.

Anonymous CarpeOro (Minion 0105) May 05, 2015 3:35 PM  

"I think you need terms that are not derogatory in nature --- honest intellectual terms --- SJW is a derogatory term as would be blue vs pink. There are already terms like pulp, golden age, modern, post modern... that are in use in the academic discusion of scifi -- "

Did you read their reviews? SJW and Pink are generous in their simplification of defining them. I see no need whatsoever to cede ground to them or be conciliatory. Using those terms allow ME to remain civil to an extent that moderates/neutrals will appreciate, rather than stoop to the depths in which they operate. I do not dole out positive or negative reviews based on what side a writer may be on. If you read their reviews you would note that there are only two assumptions one could take away from them - either they are ideologically motivated or they are by readers with less comprehension than 3rd graders. Scratch that 3rd grader comment, since many of the teachers cluttering the public school system these days are SJWs and do their utmost to indoctrinate rather than teach. Make that the level of a nine year old home schooler.

Blogger GK Chesterton May 05, 2015 3:48 PM  

And does anyone know if that hexcode means anything

First, it isn't hex. Hex only has A-F as digits (16 character base). So this is an improperly formatted designation. I'm guessing the author wanted a UUID. A UUID is a randomly generated number often used in computing.

Essentially a large random number if properly entropic (really really random) produces a de facto unique number. From the Wiki article which has a good explanation:
"To put these numbers into perspective, the annual risk of a given person being hit by a meteorite is estimated to be one chance in 17 billion,[4] which means the probability is about 0.00000000006 (6 × 10−11), equivalent to the odds of creating a few tens of trillions of UUIDs in a year and having one duplicate. In other words, only after generating 1 billion UUIDs every second for the next 100 years, the probability of creating just one duplicate would be about 50%."

I didn't check the math but the odds actually sound high. I'll leave it to the pure mathematicians to double check.

Blogger Jim May 05, 2015 4:08 PM  

First, it isn't hex. Hex only has A-F as digits (16 character base).
It is hex. The AI's "name" is given as TX-45-Delta. The string following is all hex code. And regardless of randomness, it seems a wasted opportunity for something, even if only an Easter egg. Furthermore, it is odd that he gives the entire string, verbally, to a human, but omits it when in direct communication with an Uploaded.

Anonymous Jericho May 05, 2015 4:47 PM  

@MrGreenMan

The story you're looking for is The Highest Treason by Randall Garrett. It is available at Project Gutenberg.

Anonymous Scintan May 05, 2015 4:53 PM  

I think you need terms that are not derogatory in nature --- honest intellectual terms --- SJW is a derogatory term as would be blue vs pink.

No

Anonymous DNW May 05, 2015 5:21 PM  

DNW May 05, 2015 1:42 PM
'I think if you reflect on it you will agree that that is a step too far.'

"HER attempts to live down to the worst stereotypes of her people are NOT MY PROBLEM.

whether the jewish stereotypes are more broadly typical of jews in general or the accurateness thereof are also not my concern.

i don't have a problem with ( aside from intellectual disagreements ) Rabbi B, Sam Scott or any of the other Jews that participate here.

Spectre though? her, i'd love to punch in the face.
"

Regarding the last at least, I can certainly understand why.


"what a smarmy, obnoxious little cunt."

I would add "unctuous", "preening", and "meddling".

"here's a question:
WHY do Europeans NEED the 'help' of Jews to transition to a multicultural society?
"

As near as I can tell they do not. Plenty seem to get a thrill out of self-abasement as it is. From David Horowitz's site:

http://www.frontpagemag.com/2013/bruce-bawer/selling-out-western-culture-in-norway/

"Last September, 29-year-old Labor Party politician Hadia Tajik was named Norway’s Minister of Culture, thereby becoming the youngest person and first Muslim ever to serve in the Norwegian cabinet. Not long after her appointment, Tajik, who was born in Norway to immigrants from Pakistan, was asked what Norwegian culture means to her. Her answer: pinnekjøtt and puréed rutabaga – both of them popular Christmas dishes in Western Norway, where Tajik grew up. One was reminded of the notorious 2004 remarks by Sweden’s then Minister of Integration Mona Sahlin, who, speaking at a mosque, said that many of her fellow Swedes envied Muslims, because Islam is a rich, unified culture while Swedish culture consists only of silliness like Midsummer’s Night. Then there’s the 2005 press conference at which a Swedish integration official, Lise Bergh, was asked by writer Hege Storhaug whether Swedish culture is worth preserving. Bergh replied: “Well, what is Swedish culture? I think I’ve answered the question.” As Storhaug noted, Bergh didn’t even try to hide her own “cultural self-contempt.”


""didn't the Swedes already put multiculti into their Constitution?"

Yes. In fact I thought that is what I was emphasizing.



"DNW May 05, 2015 1:42 PM
" and positing what in fact resolves to the claim of a unique reproductive strategy on the part of a particular lineage."


not sure what you mean, there. it's hardly as if Hebrews are or were the only patriarchal society."

That is not what I meant.

"even if you want to go towards considering themselves a parasite on the host society, they would not be the only ones to do that, either."

That is what I meant. And yes the world is filled with progressives, and probably others, who do just that. I know a couple of families whose family pride consists in envisioning themselves permanently and physically above the world of production and producers.

Lot's of folks who talk of "society" per se as an invariably organic proposition, as a self-reproducing entity of some kind with its own claims and rights, as a body then, rather than a contingent and conditional associative relationship, seem to think along those lines. Whether they really believe it or whether it is just an emotional conceit of the manipulative I cannot myself say.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romani_people

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thuggee


I suppose we will know better when the same kinds of brain scans that are now supposedly able to detect inherent racism in infants, are applied to detecting a given organism's propensity for survival through insinuation into already developed environments, and a strategy of manipulative scheming and fraud. Are the Clintons a nascent race perhaps?

Blogger Danby May 05, 2015 5:23 PM  

I think you need terms that are not derogatory in nature --- honest intellectual terms

The derogatory nature of the term Pink SF, as well as SJW, is a reflection of the subject o the terms, not the terms themselves. Any term you use will become an derogatory term for two reasons. We will use it with contempt, and they will use it to pretend that they are victims. It doesn't matter what the term is. You could call them "honest, brave, and fair advocates of justice", and in less than a week, they would be claiming that it's a trigger for them, and we'd be arguing over whether we could make it more contrary to reality.

So instead, let's just go for honesty. How does "dishonest, sexually confused bully" SF sound?

Blogger Marissa May 05, 2015 5:34 PM  

People have already said it, but there's a reason you see a lot of butthurt when the media uses "youths", "teens", or "thugs". It's because it really means black morons and no amount of trying to replace a mean word with a nice word will remove the stench.

Blogger Cee May 05, 2015 7:17 PM  

Is there such a book/story?
That would be "The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere," which one can read here.

And yes, it won a Hugo.

Blogger Owen T. Oloren May 05, 2015 9:47 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous MendoScot May 05, 2015 10:08 PM  

And yes, it won a Hugo.

I've read better gay porn, vz. The Cities of the Red Night.

And, yeah, I bought it because it was sold as a pirate story.

This crap goes back a long time.

Anonymous The other robot May 05, 2015 10:35 PM  

That would be "The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere," which one can read

I can't decide which is worse, that or If you were a coprolite my love. Perhaps I will award first place to both.

Anonymous Anachronda May 06, 2015 12:51 AM  

"Well, you've really got to choose whether you're on the side of humanity or hupersonity and roll with it. "

Dude. Haven't you noticed that "person" has "son" embedded with it? Very sexist. That's why enlightened folks say "perchild".

Blogger rycamor May 06, 2015 1:12 AM  

DNW May 05, 2015 11:08 AM

I wonder why values nihilists so often object to being referred to as "it". They have, on their own terms, no objective moral grounds for doing so. What entitles them to moral peer-hood? Nothing, other than emotion or an arbitrary comittment if you make your deductions from their own existential premisses.


I propose a new pronoun which tries to reach out to everybody. It's got "she", "he", "it", and an extra "e" for Everybody((hugs)). I propose we start using this pronoun for all writing meant for PC consumption--"sheeit". I'll use it in a sentence: "During the course of Norman's gender-reassignment treatments, sheeit started to really enjoy coming out in public."

Blogger Cee May 06, 2015 1:34 AM  

I can't decide which is worse, that or If you were a coprolite my love. Perhaps I will award first place to both.
They are equally terrible in different directions. I think this is the wisest choice.

Anonymous Tenet May 06, 2015 7:36 AM  

In fairness, the language does a pretty poor job of dealing with universal pronouns. The only real gender-neutral one--it--applies only to things and is an insult when leveled against a person. Meanwhile, if you use he/him all the time, you can get some odd pairings if you simultaneously refer to gender-specific activities. They/their at least solves a real problem (although by introducing new ones). Excising man/men, however, is just solving an invented problem.

Nonsense. He has always been the sex-neutral pronoun for a hypothetical scenario. If that chafes you, you can mention SEVERAL hypothetical persons in the scenario in order to make it "they". For example: "When a customer enters the store he will see this sign." "When customers enter the store they will see this sign."

There is NO reason to use "they" for one person, ever. Not to mention that it is a grammatical error that not even a three-year-old would make. So if you use "they" for one person, that just shows the limits of your intelligence.

Feminists have pushed using "they" for a hypothetical person because they hate men. Period. And those who slavishly follow the propaganda in the media now use it in a ridiculous way - in scenarios where it is OBVIOUS if the speaker is a man or a woman.

For example: "I was at the bar last weekend and someone spilled a drink at me. They apologized, but..." Why use "they" for a person you talked to?

Or: "I coach an all-girls basketball team. When a player had problems at home I listened to them...." The player can only be a girl.

And even: "If a monk has doubts, they can go to...." A monk is "they". A monk. Not even here, apparently, is it allowed to say "he".

I have seen all of these examples and many more. I collect them, in fact. Just to remind myself how most people are completely unable to discern propaganda.

Blogger 184 (188) May 06, 2015 7:57 AM  

Tenet, why don't you just tell us what your think of the use of "they" to refer to singular antecedents? Stop pussy-footing around, man! :--)

Blogger Eskyman May 06, 2015 7:35 PM  

They was my man...
But they done me wrong...

Yah, that don't scan. Unacceptable. (And I listen to both kinds of music: country and western.)

Anonymous Jack Amok May 07, 2015 1:28 AM  

Dude. Haven't you noticed that "person" has "son" embedded with it? Very sexist. That's why enlightened folks say "perchild".

No, I think in this case, it has to be "persin". Hupersinity.

The Hupersinity Warren. Yeah, I think that works.

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Anonymous Oliver Cromwell June 24, 2015 11:22 AM  

Not having read the book, the third SJW review strikes me as largely legitimate even if one disagrees with it. The first two reviews however openly state that they have judged the book on political criteria. This sentence in particular neatly encapsulates the entire SJW ideology:

"it felt like a story written about AIs written by somebody who has ignored any progress in fiction, computing and so forth in 20 years"

This person believes that changes in political fads are "progress" in exactly the same way as new discoveries in the field of computing. Gender neutral pronouns are to writing as special relativity was to physics. Bizarre.

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