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Wednesday, June 03, 2015

In the SF world rages a war

A translation of the article on Castalia House in Finland's largest newspaper.

IN THE SCI-FI WORLD OF USA RAGES A WAR, IN WHICH EVEN THE GAME OF THRONES AUTHOR IS ENTANGLED WITH - AND IN THE EPICENTER OF IT ALL IS THIS KOUVOLA MAN

Sci-fi literature enthusiasts in USA are in civil war. A conservative mutiny is trying to push out of bestseller lists and awards the mainstream, "tolerant" sci-fi. The battle is already being called culture wars - and one of the headquarters is located in Finland.

There is a man in Kouvola, and before the man, a computer.

Together, the man and the computer are in the front lines of a battle that is shaking the entire world of sci-fi literature.

The man and the computer were revealed to the world, spring this year.

At the time was published "the Oscars of sci-fi books" - Hugo-awards - nominees.

The entire sci-fi world roared: lists were full of works by religious extremists and ultraconservatives.

The surprise was so big that even The New York Times and Washington Post wrote about it.

And behind the entire surprise were a man and a computer in Kouvola.

The name of the man is Markku Koponen, and on the computer runs a company called Castalia House.

Koponen publishes conservative science fiction to everywhere in the world, mainly as e-books to the web store Amazon.

Who on earth is this man?`

"I suppose you could even call me ultraconservative", Koponen says on the phone.

At least judging by his authors, the characterization rings true. On Koponen's list are, among others, the authors at the center of the Hugo-brouhaha, John C. Wright and pen name Vox Day, who is Theodore Beale.

Both men are known for their extreme opinions: Wright's comments have been characterized as anti-gay, and Beale's racist and misogynist.

Koponen tells he has founded Castalia House due to having been fed up with contemporary science fiction.

He thought it too left wing, too tolerant and full of the preaching of such things - "message fiction".

Koponen has never been much involved with Finland's sci-fi scene. He has been in contact with them to the degree of breaking fellowship.

According to Koponen his name and address were mentioned in a sci-fi enthusiast mailing list - at which point he wrote to the members a response saying he indeed is in an opposite corner with them, and will walk his own path with his publishing house, apart from them.

So, in Finland Koponen is alone, but in the world out there he is part of an entire army.



In the sci-fi and fantasy circles - fandom - in USA there is a controversy which is already being called a culture war.

Outside the mainstream of sci-fi there is a conservative cabal resisting the majority of fandom, which has assumed the name Sad Puppies. In spirit, Koponen is part of this group.

According to Sad Puppies, over-tolerating forces keep the entire fandom in their grip so tightly, that authors and fans who support conservative values are shut out of the circles.

This irritates Sad Puppies, who consider proper sci-fi and fantasy to be in the same vein as in, for example, the forties and fifties.

Such "proper sci-fi" is one where heroes are manly, white hetero men, women are victims to be rescued and enemies are disgusting aliens.

Black and white settings are not confused with deep moral considerations, and most assuredly not with leftist or feminist thoughts.

Koponen thinks fandom and mainstream sci-fi publishing is riddled, both in Finland and elsewhere in the world, a "tolerant consensus". This leads to censorship of "proper sci-fi" and the dominance of preachy message fiction.

"They are quite like-minded folks. And it's no conspiracy really, likeminded people simply easily flock together", Koponen says.

"A common climate of opinion emerges naturally: just the way it happens on our side too."

Examples of this "real sci-fi" that Koponen admires, were written in past decades for example by such authors as John W. Campbell and Robert A. Heinlein.

Many of their works are considered sci-fi classics these days, but also products of their era. For example, Campbell's views are, according to modern standards, thoroughly racist and conservative.
Nowadays "traditional" sci-fi or fantasy is represented by such people as the American author Larry Correia and Brad R. Torgersen. Correia rose even to the New York Times best seller list with his Monster Hunter -series, but in his own opinion he has been discriminated against among fandom for his views.

Behind the entire rebellion, in a sense, is actually Correia.

You see, two years ago he started an internet campaign for his own Hugo-nomination.

In it, he blamed the usual Hugo-voters as arrogant elitists, who only value left-wing messagefiction and turn their noses at Correia's Pulp-style entertainment books.

He amped up his appeal ironically with a picture of a sad dog puppy, from which the Sad Puppies name was born. Then along came Torgersen, the campaign got bigger, and the duo started putting together their slates on not just their own books, but others - all of them naturally works that they'd consider discriminated against by fandom elite.

Eventually Vox Day aka. Theodore Beale came to stir the soup.

Beale was an influential figure in the techno band Psykosonik, and video game company Fenris Wolf. At the beginning of 2000's Beale started his writing career with his strongly religious War in Heaven -fantasy book and has since released dozens of works.

Beale has written, among other things, how women's suffrage should be ended and called an African-American woman who criticized him a "half-savage".

The radical Sad Puppies movement got even more radical Rabid Puppies -slate.

And then, in the Hugo-vote of this spring, the conservative sci-fi -people's project brought returns. In nearly every category there was Sad- and Rabid Puppies' favorites, and a central publisher among them was Koponen's Castalia House.

There was an uproar.

Several Hugo-nominated authors gave up their nomination and well-known sci-fi and fantasy authors expressed their disappointment towards what happened. Among the latter were, for example, the Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin, who opined that the rightist sci-fi -wing has destroyed the entire award. In his blog Martin ended up in a long debate with Larry Correia.

Many sci-fi fans expressed their protest by intending to vote, instead of the official nominees, "Noah Ward". This is not a person, but a pun on "no award".

Most of all, the roar happened in Finland: What on earth was the Finnish publishing house amidst it all, of which nearly no-one knew anything?

Until last year, Markku Koponen was quite the ordinary engineer.

He graduated from Tampere University of Technology and programmed code for industrial use. Koponen was writing actively on politics in the internet: he calls himself a social conservative. He also read lots of sci-fi.

Koponen became acquainted with Theodore Beale in the Internet, some years ago, when the ideologies of the two men "clicked". As a result came mutual projects, latest of them being Castalia House.

In the partnership, Beale is the foaming-at-the-mouth spokesman, and Koponen handles the business in the background, and constructs technical architechtures. Koponen might be described as the weaponsmith of Sad Puppies, of a sort.

He says he is in agreement with Beale on the "general lines", although there are some doctrinal disagreements on the matters of faith.

Koponen describes himself as a fundamentalist Christian, in the sense of agreeing with the document The Five Fundamentals, published by the American Presbyterian Church in 1910 about the mandatory, non-negotiable content of the Christian faith.

In any event, Koponen is in line with the Sad Puppies movement.

Foundational to Castalia House according to Koponen is to give a guarantee to the authors that their religious or political views will not be censored.

For example, John C. Wright, whom Koponen describes as a devoted Catholic, will be allowed to include his ideology in his books as much as he damn well pleases, and Castalia House will publish.

"With this promise it has been really easy to get authors onboard. Many are fed up with their books being censored for ideological content with quite the heavy hand."

However, Koponen has not been involved in the Sad Puppies -campaigning, social media arguments nor otherwise - except by publishing books that the activists will enjoy.

He says that he would not have founded Castalia House either, had he not very early on realized the commercial potential in the conservative sci-fi, so loved by Sad Puppies.

This has also proven true: Koponen says he has only invested his own money the necessary 2 500 EUR required to start a Limited Liability Company, and now the firm produces a gross profit of about 30 000 EUR already.

Castalia House mostly sells e-books. According to Koponen, in good months a few thousand books get sold. Physical books get sold only some hundreds of units a month.

Castalia Housen books have been translated to other languages than English, among them Finnish, but Koponen says 99 percent of the market is currently in the United States.

To Finland, the Sad Puppies -movement and culture war - Koponen agrees with this word - has not spread yet in a large degree.

But it will in a few years, he believes.

"At least, if Worldcon is held in Finland in 2017, I expect some sort of a clash here too"

Indeed, the mainstream sci-fi circles in Finland are active, and are attempting to get the largest event of the sci-fi world to Finland: Worldcon. The annual, controversial Hugo-awards are handed out in it.

Finnish fandom has raised its flag for equality. Also in the "Worldcon to Helsinki" -project, this flag for open-mindedness is very visible - and it's a flag against Sad Puppies' values.

The chairman of the science fiction society in Helsinki who has been active in Finnish fandom for decades, is the reporter and author Vesa Sisättö. He doesn't believe that the upheaval comes here.

Sisättö opines that in the American fandom, the debate that happened in Finland already in 1980's is happening now.

"At the time there was a minor brawl in the fan circles when Johanna Sinisalo came and spoke on behalf of the status of women in Sci-fi. The contrarians came silent pretty fast, and in the nineties it was not an issue any longer."

Sisättö considers Sad Puppies a backlash to the fact that old, traditional values no longer hold - quite the same phenomenon as with the Finns Party in Finnish politics, Sisättö mulls.

"What was mainstream in the past, is now minority. Culture changes, and when it happens, certain fellows wake up to it and start raising a ruckus."

He doesn't believe the movement is viable in the long run.

"The most active Sad Puppy -buzzers run out of steam, the followers get tired too, and eventually we reach a "is this worth the fight any more?" -phase.

Nor does the conservative Koponen wish to eradicate the mainstream sci-fi, but rather wants to raise his own genre to parity with it.

"At that point, we can live in as much peace as is possible."

Also worthy of note is that in the spring, another Finnish Hugo-news turned up: First time ever, a Finnish candidate is on the shortlist: The illustrator Ninni Aalto, who competes in the best fan artist -category.

That category has no Sad Puppy nominees.

Labels: , ,

130 Comments:

Blogger jaericho (#107) June 03, 2015 7:38 PM  

Markku the weaponsmith.

My brain's a little fried at the moment, but I have confidence the ilk will be able to come up with a great nickname for you with that one.

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 7:39 PM  

I already suggested Quartermaster of Evil.

Anonymous Laz June 03, 2015 7:42 PM  

"The most active Sad Puppy -buzzers run out of steam, the followers get tired too, and eventually we reach a "is this worth the fight any more?" -phase."

Some will but, I have a feeling that he's in for a rude awakening.

"Quartermaster of Evil"- love it!

Blogger Cail Corishev June 03, 2015 7:43 PM  

at which point he wrote to the members a response saying he indeed is in an opposite corner with them, and will walk his own path with his publishing house, apart from them.

So Markku is John the engineer, and Vox is obviously Francisco. Who is Ragnar?

OpenID jeffro June 03, 2015 7:55 PM  

"And behind the entire surprise were a man and a computer in Kouvola."

This utterly romantic. I mean Lawrence of Arabia type romantic. This is the "who was that masked man?" moment and they just hand it to the guy.

Who can read this and not say, "I don't know who that man is, but I would ride with him 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round perdition's flames." CHARGE!!!

It's like they are completely ignorant of basic redneck psychology.

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 7:56 PM  

A man.

A computer man.

An engineer man.

My man.

Blogger harry12 June 03, 2015 7:57 PM  

... Beale is the foaming-at-the-mouth spokesman...

Interesting adjective, eh?

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 7:58 PM  

Yeah, that was a hard word for me to translate, "vaahtosuinen". Literally, "foamymouthed"

Blogger Torial (#170) June 03, 2015 8:04 PM  

All hail the Quartermaster of Evil!

Anonymous MendoScot June 03, 2015 8:04 PM  

Well, well.

I thought you Finns were laconic.

Indeed, the mainstream sci-fi circles in Finland are active, and are attempting to get the largest event of the sci-fi world to Finland: Worldcon. The annual, controversial Hugo-awards are handed out in it.

Who is Vesa Sisättö? What is his opinion on Tolkein?

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 8:06 PM  

-Never heard of him
-Chairman of Sci-Fi Society

The answer is obvious...

Anonymous Donn #0114 June 03, 2015 8:07 PM  

Markku - It seemed to me that the interviewer really didn't understand most of what was going on or was deliberately misrepresenting it. Did you get the same impression?

Not that this wasn't about as 'balanced' as I've seen an interview on this subject.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 03, 2015 8:09 PM  

This has also proven true: Koponen says he has only invested his own money the necessary 2 500 EUR required to start a Limited Liability Company, and now the firm produces a revenue of about 30 000 EUR already.

Pondering if something was lost in translation, was reminded that CH has been around for around a year, and yearly/total revenue are not too far off.

"We have zero overhead and zero salaries. We're already profitable. And we already sell more books than many small publishing houses. Thanks primarily to the support of the readers here, we're on a path to sell more than 10,000 books this year, not counting free downloads, in-game sales, or other authors."

How has the 10K estimate borne out? With average $5 USD eBooks and guessing an average of 1.2 USD/EU exchange rate, that'd be around 7K ebooks sold?

Look forward to picking up some more reading after I clear out the Hugo backlog.

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 8:10 PM  

Did you get the same impression?

Absolutely. I know he was tasked with writing an article on Blue Sci-Fi in general, not me in specific. It just turned out to be about me, since I dumped so much info on him. Probably about ten times the amount there is on that article.

So, he came to it knowing pretty much nothing on any of it and then had to catch up in several years' worth of events in a few days.

So, I think it was pretty good with that perspective in mind.

Blogger JDC June 03, 2015 8:12 PM  

In the land of ice and snow
Stands an engineer alone
Prays for peace and to his Lord
With a foamy, flaming sword

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 8:14 PM  

Pondering if something was lost in translation, was reminded that CH has been around for around a year, and yearly/total revenue are not too far off.

It's hard to do these things on the phone when you have never been interviewed before. I meant to say profit. Revenue would also include the money that then immediately goes to the authors.

Blogger intuitivereason June 03, 2015 8:14 PM  

Foaming-at-the-mouth would translate as rabid.

Blogger jaericho (#107) June 03, 2015 8:15 PM  

Quartermaster of Evil.

I like it. Congrats Markku, a step up or should I say, eviler in the world.

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 8:16 PM  

No, wrong subtext. When you say "rabid", you think about aggression mainly. When you say "vaahtosuinen", the image is of someone who is talking with such pathos and for so long, that saliva is dripping from his mouth.

It is of course a pun on rabid, but "rabid" would miss the point.

Blogger intuitivereason June 03, 2015 8:18 PM  

Oh? When I hear rabid, I think of 'has rabies', and thus literally foaming at the mouth.

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 8:19 PM  

The foam is incidental to rabies. The primary image of a person that you get from the word "rabid" is that his aggression is on a hair-trigger. And that is not what the reporter meant.

Blogger intuitivereason June 03, 2015 8:21 PM  

So closer to berserk?

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 03, 2015 8:22 PM  

I meant to say profit.

That's much better. 10K+ in book sales too then. Grats.


Oh? When I hear rabid, I think of 'has rabies', and thus literally foaming at the mouth.

Show not tell in translation.

Blogger JDC June 03, 2015 8:23 PM  

Markku - with that stellar article you should be able to get all the Russian girls you want!

Blogger Salt June 03, 2015 8:25 PM  

... Beale is the foaming-at-the-mouth spokesman...

Interesting adjective, eh?


Yeah. One might think rabid.

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 8:27 PM  

As the reporter said, "a few thousand books a month". So, obviously more than 10K+ except by a very strict interpretation of "+"

Blogger Salt June 03, 2015 8:28 PM  

Markku Koponen, weaponizing Science Fiction for the 21st century.

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 8:32 PM  

That revenue/profit was an amateur mistake, and I could of course have insisted on only being interviewed by email to prevent such things. But I figured I have to learn to do this SOMETIME because there will only be more and more of this as we grow. So, I decided to just jump to the deep end.

Blogger GK Chesterton June 03, 2015 8:33 PM  

The Quartering Master? Sounds better and more B-movie.

Anonymous Scintan June 03, 2015 8:35 PM  

I thought the piece was a fine example of how words shape the story, and not the other way around.

Anonymous Earl June 03, 2015 8:38 PM  

Off topic: Roosh V has rejected evolution today on his blog.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 03, 2015 8:38 PM  

A few thousand books in the good months, which implies the existence of not as good months; and perhaps not capturing a slow ramp up in sales up until now. But that pessimistic reading was driven by the confusion of profit with revenue.

Just reading too much from the facts conveyed by the English translation of a Finnish article.

Anonymous wEz June 03, 2015 8:39 PM  

Yeah....still came off as slanted left and inaccurate though. The left knows words like racist, misogynist, etc, strike emotional triggers in most people. So it doesn't matter if they mischaracterize and are full of complete shit, because in the end, they've won the majority. Sad.

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 8:41 PM  

What I said was "in the months when we have something new in our selection". (I was so verbose that he had to cut pretty much everything down to one quarter the length. Even though it has quotation marks, most of it is not actually direct quotes from me.

This year, we have had something new almost every month.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet June 03, 2015 8:41 PM  

Congrats, Markku. It's been a pleasure watching you and everyone involved build the publishing house from the first step. Here's to more interviews and many, many more books.

Blogger Mom June 03, 2015 8:41 PM  

I laughed out loud when I read foaming-at-the-mouth. Vox may be rabid but I doubt he foams at the mouth. He always comes across as pretty calm to me.

Anonymous BigGaySteve June 03, 2015 8:48 PM  

"The most active Sad Puppy -buzzers run out of steam, the followers get tired too, and eventually we reach a "is this worth the fight any more?"

$40 a year for an all you can eat Schadenfreude buffet, imagine what GRRM spends a year on buffets.

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 8:48 PM  

It's funny.
American papers: Vox = Sauron
British papers: Vox = Sauron
Finnish paper: Vox = Mouth of Sauron

Vox is not a Finn, so _clearly_ I run the show.

Blogger VD June 03, 2015 8:49 PM  

How has the 10K estimate borne out?

It was too low. We sold nearly twice that many, and gave away nearly 25k more. We're considerably ahead of that rate this year.

That revenue/profit was an amateur mistake

Fixed in translation.

I was so verbose that he had to cut pretty much everything down to one quarter the length.

Always prepare your five basic talking points before the interview. Short, succinct, and clear. Repeat them at least once and don't feel as if you have to answer the question asked. They're just fishing anyhow, so give them the material you want to give them.

Blogger VD June 03, 2015 8:51 PM  

Not just weaponsmith or quartermaster, EPICENTER of Evil.

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 8:52 PM  

Yes, theeere we go.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 03, 2015 8:52 PM  

Even though it has quotation marks, most of it is not actually direct quotes from me.

People who have never been interviewed assume that a "quote" means "quoted word for word," that they may cut stuff out, but the words they quote were spoken verbatim. Everyone who's been interviewed, even about completely non-controversial things, knows that "quotes" are paraphrases at best.

Blogger automatthew June 03, 2015 8:57 PM  

Viidad, could you please record a reading of this in your radio-voice?

Anonymous William of Fenoli June 03, 2015 8:59 PM  

They keep calling Wright anti-gay. He's not anti-gay. He's explained his position on this a thousand times, and they never get it right.

Blogger Matamoros June 03, 2015 9:01 PM  

Finns are getting their military ready also. Depth charged a Russian sub. Air Force is conducting live munition runs, etc.

Is there a Mannerheim in the wings?

Anonymous MendoScot June 03, 2015 9:01 PM  

The answer is obvious...

Snow isn't white.

He will know that before too long, but see it?

I doubt it.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 03, 2015 9:03 PM  

@Markku,
Counting that misleading paraphrase as an error, how many errors would you count in the article?

Would you measure the number as errors per sentence, paragraph, or article?

Was reminded of the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect, and that number would be a useful data point for future journalism reading.

Anonymous zen0 June 03, 2015 9:03 PM  

@ 10 Mendo Scott

>I thought you Finns were laconic.

Anybody who watches NHL knows this:

Finns are persistent.
Finns are annoying
Finns are talented
Finns cheat a little.

= Finns are good hockey players. I think these talents are suited to internet publishing as well. \

When does the IPO come out?

Anonymous A Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents June 03, 2015 9:03 PM  

Wait till Stross finds out. Finnish Nazi Marching!

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 9:03 PM  

Does Sisättö have a big lawn?

Has Sisättö worn a dress?

Inquiring minds...

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 9:06 PM  

I'll have to think about what is an error in order to answer that. For example, when you come to this situation knowing nothing in advance, is it an error to repeat the very misleading characterizations of certain statements from Vox? When they are in several major newspapers, and in Wikipedia?

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 9:11 PM  

I'd say that there was only one clear-cut error. One sentence that he had shortened in such a way that it ended up saying something completely wrong. I emailed him, and he replaced it with my suggested sentence immediately.

I'd say that much more so than errors, the article makes it somewhat difficult to tell what is something I actually said, and what is just the expressed attitudes of the reporter.

Anonymous zen0 June 03, 2015 9:19 PM  

Nor does the conservative Koponen wish to eradicate the mainstream sci-fi, but rather wants to raise his own genre to parity with it.

"At that point, we can live in as much peace as is possible."


That is very politic, and hopefully just a misdirection.

The purging must by by Niederwefung. Not a jot or tittle must be left standing.

Easy for me to say, but no standing stone of the infidels must be allowed to stand, just like when the Israelites came into the Land.

Of course, easier said than done, one step at a time, etc.

Blogger maniacprovost June 03, 2015 9:28 PM  

I enjoyed highly of the literal translation.

Blogger Markku June 03, 2015 9:29 PM  

If that happens by the demand marginalizing them, I will be extatic. But we must not try to make it happen by force. Not to books. We are currently benefiting from the sweet taste of the forbidden fruit. We must not allow them that.

This I also told the reporter, but a lot had to be left out due to length.

Blogger ray June 03, 2015 9:30 PM  

Finland goes on my Christmas List. Whoda thunk?

Go Finland! lol

Blogger Dexter June 03, 2015 9:33 PM  

As usual, the Leftist totalitarians trying to eliminate any deviation from political correctness are described as the "tolerant" (even "over-tolerant"!) ones.

Bah, humbug.

Anonymous A Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents June 03, 2015 9:40 PM  

Does Sisättö have a big lawn?

There are lawns in Finland?

Anonymous A Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents June 03, 2015 9:42 PM  

I enjoyed highly of the literal translation.

Also of the translation I was enjoyed and interested.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 03, 2015 9:45 PM  

For example, when you come to this situation knowing nothing in advance, is it an error to repeat the very misleading characterizations of certain statements from Vox? When they are in several major newspapers, and in Wikipedia?

For the purposes of the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect, yes. Every piece of factual misinformation would be counted as an error.

Every sentence where the owner of the idea is made unclear would also be counted as an error, since you know what you contributed to the article, and it's the journalist's job to report that correctly. If the reader walks away thinking you said or meant something you did not, it's an error.

Multiple errors could be generated by a single sentence: wrong names, wrong labels, wrong attribution, etc.

The profit/revenue thing is a little tricky, since it's a factual error from the source. Perhaps the reporter could have verified the correct meaning of the terms used. In any case, the reader walks away with wrong information, so it still counts as an error even if not the fault of the reporter.

It's not about being harsh with the reporter; just getting an idea of how much can be stated incorrectly with a single article.

Blogger Joshua_D June 03, 2015 9:50 PM  

It came across pretty well to me. Good job weaponsmith.

Anonymous zen0 June 03, 2015 9:53 PM  

@ 60

>It's not about being harsh with the reporter; just getting an idea of how much can be stated incorrectly with a single article.

It has been said by professionals in the publicity industry: "did they spell his name right?"
Any thing after that is gravy. Don't get too picky.

The basic ideas were made public. Its a win.

Anonymous MendoScot June 03, 2015 10:10 PM  

Anybody who watches NHL knows this...

I don't watch NHL, but I would grant you 3 of 4 regardless.

What I want to know is this - do Finnish women bathe, or just rub themselves down with butter? The latter might protect against the cold, but it could drive the Vesas of the North to paroxysms of vain hope, that they might get a lick.

Anonymous SDH June 03, 2015 10:11 PM  

Not just weaponsmith or quartermaster, EPICENTER of Evil.

If there was a Malevolent Artificer of the ELoE, it would be Markku.

Anonymous WaterBoy June 03, 2015 10:23 PM  

"AND IN THE EPICENTER OF IT ALL IS THIS KOUVOLA MAN"

Kouvola Man -- is that anything like Kennewick Man?

"The man and the computer were revealed to the world, spring this year."

Imagining the "Puttin' On The Ritz" scene from Young Frankenstein as the big reveal....

"There is a man in Kouvola, and before the man, a computer."

Only one?!? This man is not the engineer we thought he was....

"Koponen might be described as the weaponsmith of Sad Puppies, of a sort."

Now getting a Weapon Shops of Isher vibe...The right to buy Blue SF is the right to be free.

"Culture changes, and when it happens, certain fellows wake up to it and start raising a ruckus"

What, women can't also raise a ruckus?!? SEXISS!

-----

In all seriousness, though, congrats on the success of CH.

Anonymous BanjoStrap June 03, 2015 10:38 PM  

"Eventually Vox Day ... came to stir the soup."

What else could he stir? They aint got no chili.

Blogger Corvinus June 03, 2015 10:46 PM  

Not the first time a Finn has given Marxists a bloody nose.

Somewhere, the ghost of Simo Hayha is smiling.

OpenID orthovoxy June 03, 2015 10:53 PM  

Where do I sign up? I have been a quiet visitor for years to this website recently from been doing play by play to friends of mine including a great many priests and have explained that currently, a cabal of smart pissed off of nerds, gamers, libertarians and sci-fi enthusiasts are the only forces in western civ that I am aware of that will not only defend themselves against the forces of nihilism, relativism and general SJWs but are actually willing to take some hills....and they aren't even "Ordained". Count me in...$40.00 down. I'm ready for my assignment Dark Lord......."His Name Was Robert Paulson!" ......"His Name Was Robert Paulson!"

Blogger Mad Dok Rob June 03, 2015 11:02 PM  

Wow....never realized Markku was Finnish. Never going to be able to read another comment of his without hearing that SPAMalot song in my head now.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 03, 2015 11:03 PM  

The basic ideas were made public. Its a win.

Agreed. Sure, the interviewer included many of the usual mischaracterizations, but he played fair enough that the important info -- that there is a growing alternative to leftist SF -- came out clearly. For a small publisher especially, that's easily a win.

Anonymous The other robot June 03, 2015 11:04 PM  

Not the first time a Finn has given Marxists a bloody nose.

But would they be able to hold out against the Russians today?

Blogger Cail Corishev June 03, 2015 11:06 PM  

Kouvola Man -- is that anything like Kennewick Man?

Or Kavorka Man?

Blogger Daniel June 03, 2015 11:21 PM  

MARKKU, THE HUMAN ATOROX!

Blogger maniacprovost June 03, 2015 11:24 PM  

The Enabler of Evil

Anonymous Jack Amok June 03, 2015 11:41 PM  

Markku is a bad man. A very bad man.

And ladies have his address now...

Anonymous tiredofitall June 03, 2015 11:45 PM  

"For example, Campbell's views are, according to modern standards, thoroughly racist and conservative."

Disagree strongly. By SJW standards, yeah but by normal folk it's just fine.

"Behind the entire rebellion, in a sense, is actually Correia. You see, two years ago he started an internet campaign for his own Hugo-nomination."

Bullshit. He started it because he was sick of watching shit-fi winning out over actual sci-fi.

"Eventually Vox Day aka. Theodore Beale came to stir the soup."

Just because it's hot and brown doesn't make it soup fella.

"In his blog Martin ended up in a long debate with Larry Correia."

Ha, if by "long debate" they mean George Rape Rape Martin ran away faster than a man of his size should be able I'll agree.

"Indeed, the mainstream sci-fi circles in Finland are active, and are attempting to get the largest event of the sci-fi world to Finland: Worldcon."

It's like this asshole never heard of the San Diego or New York comic cons which the lines for panels alone have more people than the entire audience of Worldcon.

"The contrarians came silent pretty fast, and in the nineties it was not an issue any longer."

Tends to happen when you're constantly shouted down and your very speech is made illegal.

"What was mainstream in the past, is now minority. Culture changes, and when it happens, certain fellows wake up to it and start raising a ruckus."

Yeah, that's about a bad thing as waking up to find your house is on fire and reacting to it. Of course people will raise a ruckus, our fucking culture is being destroyed and co-opted by the slimy underbelly of a minority of truly fucked in the head individuals.

"He doesn't believe the movement is viable in the long run."

We don't care.

Blogger automatthew June 03, 2015 11:53 PM  

Is there some way to make a good pun on Kalevala and Kouvola?

Blogger automatthew June 03, 2015 11:54 PM  

I realize that the latter is missing the L, but still, do Finns slur?

Anonymous Lulabelle (68) June 03, 2015 11:58 PM  

OT:
IS IT CHRISTMAS?!? The comments are numbered!!! YEEE-HAWWW!!!
I'm been wanting this for years!
..........back to your regularly scheduled comments.

Blogger Rantor June 04, 2015 12:38 AM  

Congratulations Markku and Castalia House. Good job keeping the ELE in the vanguard. Finished Victoria last night, reading Equality, and my Voxiversity chapter a week... Stuttgart enjoying perfect weather. After a 12 hour workday yesterday will enjoy an evening in town tonight. Will definitely toast the Dread Ilk.

Blogger HMS Defiant June 04, 2015 12:38 AM  

Programmer-at-arms had a nice ring to it.

Blogger Cee June 04, 2015 12:51 AM  

And ladies have his address now...
Hmm, yes.

Sadly too Russian and too heretical, though.

Blogger Cee June 04, 2015 12:52 AM  

Me, that is. I am too Russian and too heretical.

Anonymous Discard June 04, 2015 1:15 AM  

Markku: Will you be arrested now for hate crimes?

Blogger Quadko June 04, 2015 1:17 AM  

The Finns put words together so pleasantly, what a read! Scions of the Kalevala, 'a-roo!

Anonymous Donn #0114 June 04, 2015 1:24 AM  

They should add an update that Correia refused a nomination.

Blogger Eric June 04, 2015 1:26 AM  

"EVEN THE GAME OF THRONES AUTHOR"???!

Blogger LP 999/Eliza June 04, 2015 1:47 AM  

Awesome with an absolutely exceedingly stellar host of writers. all in the leading Finnish newspaper, Praise the Lord! the write up is beyond a write up, the opposition is now speechless as Finland treats their intelligent, productive, finest citizens with encouragement and promotion/press.

Carry on Gentlemen!

Anonymous Laz June 04, 2015 2:14 AM  

Dexte: "As usual, the Leftist totalitarians trying to eliminate any deviation from political correctness are described as the "tolerant" (even "over-tolerant"!) ones."

Even with the middle-of-the-road or left leaning of the article, "over-tolerant" still seems like a backhanded compliment.

Blogger rho June 04, 2015 2:16 AM  

The TL;DR version:

In A.D. 2014 Markku was beginning.

(I must say that I always pictured Markku with dark hair. I don't know why. In my head, Nate has a big mustache, and bob k. mando is bald and wears Oakleys even when he's indoors. So why can't a Finn have luxurious raven locks?)

Blogger Markku June 04, 2015 2:26 AM  

No, "ylisuvaitsevainen" is a word used by reactionaries here, and it has the same connotations as "Social Justice Warrior". The reporter is not stating his own opinion, or the objective one, he is describing how Sad Puppies see it. Just replace it with "SJW" and you'll get the right sense of the sentence.

Blogger Markku June 04, 2015 2:30 AM  

Though there is another word that expresses even more contempt, "suvaitsevaisto". I might translate it as toleraterati.

Anonymous Bigwheat June 04, 2015 2:31 AM  

Finnish fandom has raised its flag for equality. Also in the "Worldcon to Helsinki" -project, this flag for open-mindedness is very visible - and it's a flag against Sad Puppies' values.

The hypocrisy here is delicious, they simultaneously want "equality" and "open-mindedness", yet it's supposed to be against our values. Which, as has been pointed out many times before, is not their goal. It is interesting to see it said in print like this, though. Good to keep this paragraph in mind when they claim these things.

Blogger rho June 04, 2015 2:49 AM  

The hypocrisy here is delicious, they simultaneously want "equality" and "open-mindedness", yet it's supposed to be against our values. Which, as has been pointed out many times before, is not their goal. It is interesting to see it said in print like this, though. Good to keep this paragraph in mind when they claim these things.

I predict the Helsinki Worldcon fans will be surprised. Not because they won, but why they didn't win.

Blogger tim June 04, 2015 4:01 AM  

Koponen became acquainted with Theodore Beale in the Internet, some years ago, when the ideologies of the two men "clicked".

Well, kinda sort of.

Team Calvin.

Well done Markku

Blogger LP 999/Eliza June 04, 2015 5:34 AM  

Mr. Koponen's blonde.

Here is the defining element of CH is συνεργία synergia, synergy of excellence. God's men doing their work, CH is not only meant to be and the challenges included are part of the success.

Anonymous Steve June 04, 2015 5:35 AM  

That Finnish is quite the jawcracker of a language.

Eventually Vox Day aka. Theodore Beale came to stir the soup.

I love this image.

In the partnership, Beale is the foaming-at-the-mouth spokesman

Not so keen on this one. The Dark Lord doesn't "foam". He wields words as if they were scalpels - razor-sharp and carefully precise.

Koponen might be described as the weaponsmith of Sad Puppies, of a sort.

In a clearing deep in the ancient forests of Lapland, Markku is bent over a forge. His face is slick with sweat and fixed in a determined grimace of concentration.

His brawny arms beat the white-hot metal of a new greatsword into shape.

"You shall... be a fine... weapon," he grunts, between hammer blows. "I shall call you... Rabbitsbane..."

Time passes, and the shadows lengthen before being devoured by the night. But still Markku works his forge, the firelight dancing in his eyes.

The moon is fat, and the stars blaze through the ghostly green and violet gauze of the Northern Lights. Markku holds Rabbitsbane to the sky and cries a Suomic curse.

The woods fall silent.

A Shadow appears. It seems to glide into the clearing from the mirk of the trees, somehow blacker and colder than the surrounding darkness.

It whispers in a low and desolate voice that sounds like the sighing of winter wind through a cemetary.

"It is ready?"

Markku offers the iron hilt to the Shadow, and smiles.

Sisättö considers Sad Puppies a backlash to the fact that old, traditional values no longer hold - quite the same phenomenon as with the Finns Party in Finnish politics, Sisättö mulls.

"What was mainstream in the past, is now minority. Culture changes, and when it happens, certain fellows wake up to it and start raising a ruckus."

He doesn't believe the movement is viable in the long run.

"The most active Sad Puppy -buzzers run out of steam, the followers get tired too, and eventually we reach a "is this worth the fight any more?" -phase.


You'll tire before we do, fatty.

Nor does the conservative Koponen wish to eradicate the mainstream sci-fi, but rather wants to raise his own genre to parity with it.

"At that point, we can live in as much peace as is possible."


"Once Rabbitsbane and his brothers have done their work, there will be peace", chuckles Markku.

"Oh, yes."

Anonymous tdm June 04, 2015 6:04 AM  

" Markku Koponen was quite the ordinary engineer"
As everyone at VP knows Markku is anything but ordinary.

Blogger Jack Ward June 04, 2015 7:18 AM  

Markku the Weaponmaster of SF freedom! Our own Q. If you think on it Markku is much more of a real Q than the one in the latest James Bond movies. At least with a computer and programming skills.
Well done; well played and well earned.

The article was somewhat biased but, overall, reasonable. I would not agree that the Pups will run out f steam. We are just getting the boilers stoked up. The speed lever is barely cracked and the big iron wheels have barely started turning.

Now, as for the Ruskies; if they invade how quickly can Castalia relocate to sunnier climates? I know it would be fun to dust off the rifle and clean out the mountain passes but, Castalia must survive uninterrupted

Hail to Markku; Hail to the Dark Lord. Hell yes......

Anonymous ticticboom June 04, 2015 7:24 AM  

@Steve:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOc_FrazzNs

Blogger Markku June 04, 2015 7:31 AM  

I knew EXACTLY what video that would be without even opening the link.

Blogger Steveo #238 June 04, 2015 7:58 AM  

Celebrity descends upon Markku, and the future looks bright... well done & congratulations - CH Rocks.

Sisättö - "At the time there was a minor brawl in the fan circles when Johanna Sinisalo came and spoke on behalf of the status of women in Sci-fi. The contrarians came silent pretty fast, and in the nineties it was not an issue any longer."

Hilarious, Sisättö opines, mulls & speaks out & contrarians go silent & to bed forever. Much fun ahead because Markku evangelizes & profits! It is the market that will roar in Finn Land.

The real Sci-fi battle, like a AI tank waking up & digging itself from the debris of earlier war..., comes again for the first time. Main stream fans are not what Sisättö believes, but they are awakening, and soon, they will surprise. I had too much fun reading Tom Kratman's Big Boys Don't Cry to disengage from the melee, ever.

Anonymous joe doakes June 04, 2015 8:23 AM  

You jumped into the deep end and did well, Markku. Sisu.

Blogger VFM 188* June 04, 2015 8:48 AM  

@Marrku: All your quartermaster weapons are belong to us. Vile faceless minions.

A query: It seems clear that Marrku is Finnish and lives in Finland...but his standard American English is too good, too colloquial. Marrku, have you spent time in or did you grow up in America?

Anonymous Alexander June 04, 2015 8:55 AM  

And now a lesson in: Ilk Homophones!

Markku: Quartermaster
Tom Kratman: quarter Master

Blogger Markku June 04, 2015 9:19 AM  

Marrku, have you spent time in or did you grow up in America?

No. Constant exposure to internet and media is enough to do the trick, especially if you are linguistically curious and easily pick up new phrases and words.

Anonymous Porky June 04, 2015 9:48 AM  

Finns sure talk funny.

Blogger Jack Ward June 04, 2015 10:14 AM  

Lets try that again: If you want to vote for Helsinki for 2017 do you have to be an attending member?

Thanks

Blogger darkdoc June 04, 2015 10:40 AM  

He doesn't believe the movement is viable in the long run.

"The most active Sad Puppy -buzzers run out of steam, the followers get tired too, and eventually we reach a "is this worth the fight any more?" -phase.



Struck by the authors clear assumption that the left always eventually wins, the right/conservative/religious view always will cave or compromise, and give up the fight.

The writer has no concept that a tipping point has been reached, and the leftist assumptions are being increasingly challenged. This isn't about personal feelings, it is about societal and Christian foundations.

Blogger Markku June 04, 2015 10:49 AM  

Struck by the authors clear assumption that the left always eventually wins, the right/conservative/religious view always will cave or compromise, and give up the fight.

We didn't take the left seriously either, when we still had the culture. They were so pathetic individually - how could they possibly rise even to the level of competence in the culture wars?

That was our downfall.

Anonymous Sensei June 04, 2015 10:50 AM  

No. Constant exposure to internet and media is enough to do the trick, especially if you are linguistically curious and easily pick up new phrases and words.

I noticed this with some of my Chinese-speaking friends over here. Those who studied hard in school can read English well, and sometimes have good vocabularies, but are often barely conversational and certainly can't think in English at all, whereas some students who have the habit of hanging around on English-speaking forums talk exactly like the teenagers who hang out on those forums. At least online they write like native speakers.

I'm curious if that's true for you Markku, do you think in English when you're writing English online?

Blogger Cail Corishev June 04, 2015 11:15 AM  

and eventually we reach a "is this worth the fight any more?" -phase.

He's making a false assumption: that we're fighting for some specific goal, so either we'll achieve it and stop fighting, or we'll stall and lose interest and move on. Because that's what he'd do.

But what if we just like to fight?

To put it another way, he pretty much understands Sad Puppies, but he doesn't get Rabid Puppies at all.

Blogger RobertT June 04, 2015 11:41 AM  

kudos to Markku

Anonymous Steve June 04, 2015 11:54 AM  

ticticboom - Finland ROCKS!

Anonymous Snickers June 04, 2015 11:58 AM  

Rabbitsbane is the name I gave my sludge hammer I use to crush rabbit skulls on slaughter day...

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 04, 2015 12:36 PM  

Lets try that again: If you want to vote for Helsinki for 2017 do you have to be an attending member?

To vote for Helsinki for 2017, you have to commit to be a supporting member next year, in addition to being a member now.

So pony up an additional $40 for an "Advance Supporting Membership (Voting) fee". Deadline August 10, 2015.

You could think of it as preordering RB2.

Details here.

Blogger CarpeOro June 04, 2015 1:04 PM  

Here I thought that all the Commie Finns moved to the UP of Michigan. Apparently you need to work harder on the expulsion this time Markku. And no, you can't send them here, we have enough already. #105

OpenID malcolmthecynic June 04, 2015 1:31 PM  

Such "proper sci-fi" is one where heroes are manly, white hetero men, women are victims to be rescued and enemies are disgusting aliens.

Just like Asimov's Susan Calvin stories, or "Starship Troopers".

Blogger tim June 04, 2015 2:20 PM  

Koponen became acquainted with Theodore Beale in the Internet, some years ago, when the ideologies of the two men "clicked".

Well, kinda sort of.

Team Calvin.

Well done Markku

Anonymous Ain June 04, 2015 2:32 PM  

... Beale is the foaming-at-the-mouth spokesman...

As tropes go, judging by his videos and podcasts, he seems more the affably "evil" type.

Blogger Markku June 04, 2015 2:53 PM  

Though there is another word that expresses even more contempt, "suvaitsevaisto". I might translate it as toleraterati.

Blogger Masha K. June 04, 2015 11:29 PM  

I know it's a function of poor translation and is not meant to be taken that way, but to me this reads like an epic poem that might need to become a movie :)

Blogger Markku June 04, 2015 11:50 PM  

I know it's a function of poor translation

If you refer to the extreme dramatization, it is in the original. And it's so over the top that I think the author INTENDED it to be camp. Like he was trying to capture the essence of how ridiculous the situation is, when on one hand it's New York Times et. al. and GRRM is involved, and on the other, it's "sad puppies" and one engineer with a computer.

Blogger Tupla-J June 05, 2015 3:20 AM  

Yes, the dramatization is intended. The newspaper extra happens to be aimed at tweens and the writing shows it throughout.

Blogger Markku June 05, 2015 10:17 AM  

Update: The article is also in today's paper, on the centerfold, which is the most noticeable place.

Blogger TommiM June 05, 2015 12:32 PM  

I wrote lenghty post about how i don't understand your point of view (because i'm part of "suvaitsevaisto" as Markku put it), but i would like to try to understand it. For some reason post was deleted when i published it because of somekind of error message.

I was asking what themes you would like to Scifi to handle and twenty or so examples of non-modern (from last century) books from different authors (i already know about Heinlein, CS Lewis and Orson Scott Card) that fit in your view of Scifi. And because this whole debacle is about Science fiction, no pulp or fantasy please.

Blogger Markku June 05, 2015 2:33 PM  

Tommi: I just unspammed all autospammed messages, but it didn't seem to include your message as the number is still at 126. I certainly didn't delete it, but perhaps Vox did, I wouldn't know. As I don't know what was in it. Perhaps Vox will clarify.

Blogger Markku June 05, 2015 2:44 PM  

Actually, an error message sounds like a genuine error. Deleting a message would give no such thing.

However, twenty such authors would not be possible for me. The reporter cut some major corners in the article. I specifically said I never paid attention to authors. I picked up sci-fi books quite randomly at the library. The article makes it sound as if I was a major sci-fi fan, but that just was not the case. It's Vox who's the sci-fi guy here.

So, he might be able to answer your question, but I couldn't even give you five.

Blogger TommiM June 06, 2015 4:10 AM  

I think that it was a part of problems Elisa had yesterday why i had problems posting on this blog.

I can understand why it might be hard to say twenty or so authors, i doesn't have to be that many. I just want broad spectrum of your kind of authors, not just those that i can easily find by googling or lists that are full of 2-3 authors books. I hope Vox can help me with this.

Blogger Markku June 06, 2015 4:24 AM  

You know, I think I'll help you with show instead of tell. Email us at books@castaliahouse.com . Write in Finnish so I'll know it's not someone who is just trying to get a free book. I'll send you There Will Be War, volume 1, free of charge, tomorrow when I get to my computer where I have my passwords.

This will give you a completely unfiltered picture of the sci-fi that we see as the Golden Age. Since the stories were selected at the time, when it was still the mainstream. So, there is no political bias to the selection.

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