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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Adios, Asimov's

I dropped my subscription 15 years ago. And apparently, the magazine has only gotten worse over time. It's not even a science fiction magazine anymore:
The quality and type of fiction is a magazine is largely dependent on the main editor. If you find a magazine whose editor has tastes that align with your own it’s a guarantee that you will enjoy at least some of the stories included.

Sadly, Sheila Williams and Asimov’s do not align with my tastes at all. Actually I would like to know who her tastes align with because based on the stories in the last few issues I’m beginning to think she doesn’t actually like Science Fiction or Fantasy.

I have a digital subscription. Correction, had because I’m way over waiting for an actual SFF story from this magazine. The latest issue was the last I will ever read. Not one of the stories was an actual SFF piece. The only SF was background window dressing or downright stupid. The crowning achievement of the magazine was an idiotic novella about a gay waiter who traveled to Colonial times pretending to be an angel and getting the locals addicted to meth so he can take back Paul Revere's silver spoons. A premise so stupid and insulting I wanted to toss my Kindle.
On the other hand, maybe we've misjudged these SF SJWs. Maybe they're all just variant on the Chuck Tingle theme. Let's face it, time-travelling gay waiters selling meth in colonial America is a pretty funny concept.

And then there is that moment when you realize that a) they're serious, and, b) they genuinely think it is good. At this rate, Chuck Tingle is going to win a Hugo without requiring any Puppy assistance.

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37 Comments:

Anonymous Ain November 23, 2016 8:06 AM  

"The crowning achievement of the magazine was an idiotic novella about a gay waiter who traveled to Colonial times pretending to be an angel and getting the locals addicted to meth so he can take back Paul Revere's silver spoons."

This sounds like something a master troll would write. Sadly, one can't always tell, anymore.

Anonymous Mike Mike November 23, 2016 8:08 AM  

I wonder what their subscription level is at now? A few years ago I used to see Asimov's, Analog and Fantasy & Sci Fi at the newsstand... now never. Are they pushing digital?

Blogger Nate November 23, 2016 8:12 AM  


"The crowning achievement of the magazine was an idiotic novella about a gay waiter who traveled to Colonial times pretending to be an angel and getting the locals addicted to meth so he can take back Paul Revere's silver spoons. "

what

Blogger Benjamin Kraft November 23, 2016 8:25 AM  

@3. Say no to drugs. Say no to this shit.

Anonymous Wojciech Majda November 23, 2016 8:25 AM  

Was the waiter a dinosaur?

Blogger scotaku November 23, 2016 8:27 AM  

Let's just assume that a waiter, gay or otherwise, can travel through time. Let's assume that said waiter wants or needs to acquire Paul Revere's spoons. At this point, getting people (colonials) addicted to meth is then just essentially a dick move.

Blogger Christopher Yost November 23, 2016 8:33 AM  

Christ, if I read Star Trek anymore I'd probably find a variation of that theme novelized all to hell and gone.

Blogger Lucas November 23, 2016 8:36 AM  

LOL @ gay time travelers.

Blogger bkm ( wut is the great flaw in the Alt-R? too many chiefs, insufficient Injuns. good thing Vox Day is the Little Injun That Could pull that fine train. { Vox Gayness intensifies } ) November 23, 2016 8:56 AM  

6. scotaku November 23, 2016 8:27 AM
At this point, getting people (colonials) addicted to meth is then just essentially a dick move.



especially since meth is a synthetic drug and all the colonials are going to go through withdrawal when their pusher stops showing up since there's no source for it in the 1700s.



3. Nate November 23, 2016 8:12 AM
what



whatsamatta, you?

haven't you ever thought about using Revere silverware to prove Love is Real?

handsome cutlery is as handsome cutlery does.

Anonymous VFM #6306 November 23, 2016 8:59 AM  

Ricky Schroeder's Cat

Anonymous fop November 23, 2016 9:35 AM  

SLAMMED IN THE BUTT BY MY TIME TRAVELING GAY WAITER

Blogger Alexandru November 23, 2016 9:57 AM  

Thanks for sharing my rant. I used to think that I was the only one that missed old school adventurous SF&F while finding modern magazines mind-numbingly boring. Then I came across this place, Castalia House, and all the great indy stuff that makes me excited to read Fantasy again.

Blogger Dexter November 23, 2016 10:06 AM  

Women Ruin Everything!

Blogger Dexter November 23, 2016 10:08 AM  

I'm now reading Ringo/Correia Monster Hunter Grunge. It's got guns... it's got monsters... it's got a shitlord alpha male protagonist...

No time-traveling homos, but you can't have everything.

Blogger Dexter November 23, 2016 10:09 AM  

Christ, if I read Star Trek anymore I'd probably find a variation of that theme novelized all to hell and gone.

No doubt starring Ensign Sulu as the time (ass)bandit.

Blogger bkm ( wut is the great flaw in the Alt-R? too many chiefs, insufficient Injuns. good thing Vox Day is the Little Injun That Could pull that fine train. { Vox Gayness intensifies } ) November 23, 2016 10:18 AM  

oh yes, the Real Problem with time travel stories, which i've never seen addressed:

http://2m2l2d2d.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-real-time-travel-problem-that.html

Anonymous Millenium November 23, 2016 10:28 AM  

I should right a sci fi story about Campbell, Heinlein, Asimov and Van Vogt rising from their graves and slaughtering modern sci fi writers and editors.

Anonymous Rawle Nyanzi November 23, 2016 10:30 AM  

I used to think that I was the only one that missed old school adventurous SF&F while finding modern magazines mind-numbingly boring. Then I came across this place, Castalia House, and all the great indy stuff that makes me excited to read Fantasy again.

Likewise. Appendix N has been a godsend in this regard; it opened a whole new world of fantasy literature for me -- and showed that mixing sci-fi and fantasy elements can lead to amazing results.

As of right now, Poul Anderson is my favorite among the Appendix N authors.

Anonymous Gen. Kong November 23, 2016 11:26 AM  

I dropped my subscription 15 years ago. And apparently, the magazine has only gotten worse over time. It's not even a science fiction magazine anymore...

I have to wonder.... why is it still in operation? MPAI? The power of inertia? It's somewhat related to yesterday's business with Spencer. Why is the (((media))) still influential at all? They might as well go minimalist like the old Soviet press did: 2 newspapers in the whole bloody country - Pravda (Truth) and Isvestia (News). As the zeks used to say, there's no news in the truth and no truth in the news. Lying propagandists, nothing more.

I expect the axiom about SJWs rendering any enterprise they control as incapable of carrying out its original function is true, but the process appears to take much longer than one would think.

Blogger Cataline Sergius November 23, 2016 12:20 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Cataline Sergius November 23, 2016 12:30 PM  

@18 Rawle Nyanzi

As of right now, Poul Anderson is my favorite among the Appendix N authors.

Rightfully so.

I note that you have been reviewing stories from it and I hope you continue the good work.

Everyone seems to gravitate towards Three Hearts and Three Lions but I am actually more partial to The Broken Sword. I feel it's a stronger work. Then again maybe I just like Imric the Elf Earl

This is very much a story of the West. Anderson himself was a reported agnostic but regardless of that, Christianity is treated very favorably in this story. I know that just makes it a product of it's time but still, I'm not used to that.

The fascinating thing for me is Anderson's depiction of his elves.

Tolkein's elves were intrinsically good if unearthly. They were the Golden People. Not so much closer to God but closer to Man before his fall at Eden. They toiled not and lived lives of Unearthly beauty.

Anderson's elves on the other hand are not nice at all. They not creations of God. They have no souls and hence are fundamentally incapable of love or morality. They are the anti-Tolkein. However, they are very much in keeping with the old stories of faerie. This soullessness is a central theme of this book. All of the faerie are soulless. Both the elves and their enemies the trolls. And all of faerie blanches before the encroaching power of the White Christ whose church will drive them to oblivion.



Kindle has been a godsend for a lot that demi-collection.

Blogger Cataline Sergius November 23, 2016 12:37 PM  

@ Rawle Nyanzi

The Dying Earth stories by Jack Vance is one of the influential books that no one has ever heard of. Vance actually managed the not so minor miracle of making magic dramatic useful instead of destructive.

He did this by the simple trick of making the Magician forget the spell each time he cast it so it has to be re-memorized.

Yet his books are unheard of in modern Hugo circles. There is a reason for that.

This is from John C. Wrights blog.




When Jack Vance, one of the greatest writers of SF and fantasy, died in May of 2013, one of SF’s new breed of racialized feminists, Aliette de Bodard, multiple nominee and winner of SF’s highest awards, the Hugo and Nebula, Tweeted, “I don’t actually think I’ve read any Vance. Should I?”

Had Jack Vance been a non-white gay woman, de Bodard would’ve sent up rocket flares when he died, since she is well acquainted with the most obscure women, non-white, non-Western authors in SF and fantasy. De Bodard represents a culture within SFF that fetishizes a black mid-list SF author like Octavia Butler whose influence and talent compared to Vance is minimal but whose race, politics, and gender represents a trump card. Vance represents the complete opposite: devoted to word and artistry to the exclusion of all else. And yet Vance has been enrolled in a de facto supremacist ideology by radical feminism by fiat and so is of no interest to them whatsoever other than an example of a smotheringly oppressive patriarchy. Aside from that, an SFF writer who had never read Vance is like an Egyptologist missing a dynasty or two. It’s betrays a rather stunning disinterest and lack of knowledge of one’s own literary ancestors and history of one’s own genre.

On her blog and Twitter, De Bodard never ceases recommending literature according to the race and gender of those writing it; whether they’re actually any good or not seems immaterial. It shouldn’t be any surprise that in this new climate, de Bodard is relentlessly nominated for awards based on her own patronized and pandered to racial identity and that of her stories rather than her skills, which are nominal

Blogger S. Thermite November 23, 2016 12:40 PM  

Tingle's new book Slammed in the Butt by my Smartphone's Missing Headphone Jack sounds like a definite Sci-Fi contender.

Blogger Emmett Fitz-Hume November 23, 2016 1:12 PM  

As fas as Sci-Fi magazines, Cirsova, has become my go-to. If you like what Castalia is doing (I certainly do), give Cirsova a try.

Anonymous BigGayKoranBurner November 23, 2016 1:30 PM  

Let's face it, time-travelling gay waiters selling meth in colonial America is a pretty funny concept.

I am actually curious as to how the gay waiter gets their hands on a time traveling devise that have controls simple enough for him to operate. Obviously the author has not meet many gay waiters, unless that is the sci fy part.

oh yes, the Real Problem with time travel stories, which i've never seen addressed:

I have seen it addressed before as a reason to only being able to go back full years at a time instead of some portion of a year, but even then the earths orbit might not always be perfect.

I should right a sci fi story about Campbell, Heinlein, Asimov and Van Vogt rising from their graves and slaughtering modern sci fi writers

The ultimate green power source being the founding fathers and them spinning in their graves.

Blogger Alexandru November 23, 2016 1:52 PM  

@25 Well you see, the waiter gets blackmailed by a Cartel drug dealer and a university professor who actually run the time machine.

Anonymous Alice De Goon November 23, 2016 2:16 PM  

oh yes, the Real Problem with time travel stories, which i've never seen addressed:


I think the movie "Primer" did a good job addressing the time travel problem by linking the time travel to both a time and a certain space. There were severe limitations to it too, such as not being able to travel any earlier than the moment the time travel box was turned on, having to sit in the time travel box and travel the slow way back to the past in a low oxygen environment, etc. Things in the movie started to become a complete mess once alternate timelines started being generated, (which brings up another problem with time travel: having free will means that when you go into the past, you can choose to do things differently than the way you know they occurred. Would that break space and time? Would there be a version of the "time cops" that burst in and force you to do things a certain way? Or would everyone's memories "correct themselves" to conform to the new timeline?)

Oddly enough, I think "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" also did a good job at portaying Time Travel, since the box they were travelling in could travel through space as well as time. They were also (in spite of being rock stupid) able to realize that having a time machine meant that one could plan to have their future selves go back and leave things in the past to help their present selves. That was the kind of 4th dimensional thinking that I wasn't expecting to see in this kind of film.

Blogger Student in Blue November 23, 2016 3:28 PM  

@BGKB
I am actually curious as to how the gay waiter gets their hands on a time traveling devise that have controls simple enough for him to operate.

"...aliens."

Anonymous WaterBoy November 23, 2016 3:48 PM  

bkm @16: "oh yes, the Real Problem with time travel stories, which i've never seen addressed:"

Not a problem if time projection was broadcast across the space/time continuum, rather than PtP. The "waves" would travel through time and space simultaneously, essentially remaining in the same relative point at which they left, being rooted at that location. Their physical travel would mimic that of the planet/system/galaxy during the intervening period.

It would also explain the traveller's other physical properties like momentum and vector being the same, as depicted in the Back to the Future franchise.

I think it would be far more difficult to calculate travelling to both a different time and location, at the same time, like Bill and Ted. That would require the kind of point-to-point projection you address.

Blogger bkm ( wut is the great flaw in the Alt-R? too many chiefs, insufficient Injuns. good thing Vox Day is the Little Injun That Could pull that fine train. { Vox Gayness intensifies } ) November 23, 2016 4:32 PM  

25. BigGayKoranBurner November 23, 2016 1:30 PM
I have seen it addressed before as a reason to only being able to go back full years at a time instead of some portion of a year, but even then the earths orbit might not always be perfect.



a - location within orbit is not even 1% of the problem. and the orbit precesses anyways. so IF you go back exactly 365 days, you're going to be offset, not only from the planetary position on the orbital arc but at a different orientation to the sun from the earth's core.

length of year is 365.2425 ... in round numbers.

b - yes, the apogee and perigee are also precessing. so if you launched from perigee and went back x number of years you could arrive at apogee and miss the planet altogether that way.


29. WaterBoy November 23, 2016 3:48 PM
The "waves" would travel through time and space simultaneously, essentially remaining in the same relative point at which they left, being rooted at that location.



really? that DOES look quite simple.

let me know when the first man made object travels one light year from Earth, would you?

now, figure out how much EXTRA energy you're going to need to use to displace something in Time as well as simply Space.

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-farthest-human-made-object
"at a relative speed faster than any human-made object, at a velocity of 17,087 m/s (38,200 mph, 61,400 km/h)."

Milky Way moving at +1.2 million mph relative to CMB, the velocity of Voyager ( fastest man made object ) is not even a significant rounding error.


you could rehabilitate Flat Earth cosmology as well, i suppose. that would fix ALL spatial displacement issues.

Blogger bkm ( wut is the great flaw in the Alt-R? too many chiefs, insufficient Injuns. good thing Vox Day is the Little Injun That Could pull that fine train. { Vox Gayness intensifies } ) November 23, 2016 4:44 PM  

alternatively, Time Travel is a quantum function. impossible to accomplish unless including a conscious observer.

the presence of the Observer locks the Time Machine to a specific Spacial Orientation ( why wouldn't it also lock the Time orientation? maybe that's why you need Spice )

which means Skynet was confused about the need to cover the T-800 in flesh, due to time travel experiments with inanimate objects not providing an observer.

Anonymous WaterBoy November 23, 2016 5:40 PM  

bkm @30: "let me know when the first man made object travels one light year from Earth, would you?"

Irrelevant, since the time traveller never leaves his initial position on Earth. How much energy am I personally expending travelling through the galaxy right now? The time traveller's "portal" would be subjected to the same orbital motions that we are, but in reverse as he travels back.

The energy requirement for the time travel itself is another matter entirely not addressed in your OP, which described a problem with point-to-point travel. This is a way of approaching it that does not suffer the same problem...though ultimately still requires some suspension of disbelief.

It IS fiction, after all....

Anonymous Mr. Rational November 23, 2016 7:59 PM  

If you conserve gravitational potential and momentum between the two ends of the time jump, you can pretty much confine any destination to someplace on Earth and probably at about the same time of year/day.  Maybe at substantially different spots on the globe, though.

Blogger bkm ( wut is the great flaw in the Alt-R? too many chiefs, insufficient Injuns. good thing Vox Day is the Little Injun That Could pull that fine train. { Vox Gayness intensifies } ) November 24, 2016 12:56 AM  

33. Mr. Rational November 23, 2016 7:59 PM
If you conserve gravitational potential and momentum between the two ends of the time jump



that's like saying that the global avg temp has increased by < 1* C and claiming that it's a 2% rise in temp.

why are you zeroing to the Earth's gravitational bound rather than the Sun's? or the CMB?

you're trying to rehabilitate the Ptolemiac Model without admitting that's what you're doing.

which i already pointed out was a possible ( partial ) solution.

rehabilitating Flat Earth Cosmology is even better ... turtles don't move very fast.


32. WaterBoy November 23, 2016 5:40 PM
It IS fiction, after all....



well, sure.

if you assume that Time Travel is less energy intensive ( or even net energy gain ) over Spacial Travel ... then Time Travel isn't particularly difficult at all.

which begs the question, "how come ain't no honkies doing this?"

Blogger Rex Little November 24, 2016 3:00 AM  

You only dropped Asimov's 15 years ago? I subscribed when it first came out (1980) and dropped it as soon as that subscription expired. It was hard for me to believe it was published by the same company as Analog, which I've been getting continuously for about 40 years now.

Anonymous LastRedoubt November 24, 2016 1:17 PM  

@alice de goon

Oddly enough, I think "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" also did a good job at portaying Time Travel

Primer was excellent.

And Bill and Teds is a guilty pleasure, even as totally silly as it is

Anonymous Mr. Rational November 24, 2016 1:51 PM  

bkm wrote:that's like saying that the global avg temp has increased by < 1* C and claiming that it's a 2% rise in temp.
Maybe that's what it says to you, if you can't read.

why are you zeroing to the Earth's gravitational bound rather than the Sun's? or the CMB?
Perhaps you're dumb enough to confuse "conservation" (which observers in all frames can agree on) with "zeroing".  No, you're definitely that dumb.  And wrong.

Looking for plausible, plot-driving constraints on the capabilities of time travel is the sort of thing that makes good SF.  Not that you'd know.

you're trying to rehabilitate the Ptolemiac Model without admitting that's what you're doing.
You project like a movie theater (see @30).

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