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Happy Puppies

I haven’t blogged in awhile, for various reasons, none of which involve any decreased interest in speculative fiction or any of my other common topics.  Mostly, I’ve just been doing other stuff that serves those same interests: game design, writing, more writing, working on machine translation, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence software.

I don’t have any major plans to become as active on this blog as I once was.  However, I do intend to still post occasionally.  Perhaps once a month or so, if nothing drags me back to it because of its sheer awesomeness.  Do consider this a “dragged-back” post; do not consider the reason the sheer awesomeness of spec fic.  I’m writing this post for a much more depressing reason:

Sad Puppies.  I love puppies.  Not as much as kittens, but they’re still pretty adorable.  I don’t like it when they are sad.  I wish we could all just be Happy Puppies.  In furtherance of that goal, I have a few things to say about the recent Hugo Awards Slate Voting Controversy, henceforth to be referred to as the Sad Puppies (Incident).  That’s not a value judgement; it just seems like the most people will recognize it without a drawn-out explanation o my part.

So, a few important points:

  1. No one should ever be sending death threats to someone over their political opinions.  Nor rape threats.  Nor creepy anonymous phone calls.  Not to left-wingers, right-wingers, or any sort of -wingers.
  2. In general, the politics of an author are unimportant when judging a book.  If the politics of the book itself (or any other form of writing or story-telling) make you squeamish, fine.  Don’t read it; don’t buy it; don’t vote for it.  But don’t attack the author based on their politics, or their book’s politics.  Not unless they’ve been actively user their author persona to promote those politics.  Still don’t attack them.  Follow Rule #1.  If they open the door by posting politics on their blog, feel free to go there and debate them.  Dislike them as people. Decide not to buy their books.  But don’t drag the spec fic community into it.  Don’t actively campaign against others buying their books.  Don’t actively campaign for them, either, if you don’t like them.  Campaign for what you like, and leave the hate out of it, either way.
  3. I’m politically left.  Possibly even a socialist.  I read plenty of right-wing-slanted stories.  I even enjoy some of them.  I read books by politically-right authors.  The same goes for the left, if we insist on dragging politics into it.  I think some books on both “sides” are great.  I think the majority are mediocre to readable, and I think some books on both “sides” suck.  That’s a separate issue from whether I was the target audience for a book.  I can like some things about a book and hate others.  Maybe it had a great plot but poor prose.  maybe it had deep characters but I hated their politics.  Maybe I thought the politics were tolerable but they hit me over the head with them too many times.  Maybe the book sucked, but I was the target audience so I cut it some slack. (never too much, good writing/story always trumps politics).  maybe it rocked by I was not the target audience so I was a bit more critical of it than I otherwise might have been.  We’re all biased in one (or many) way(s) or another.  Maybe I liked some books by an author, but hated others.  I disagree strongly with much of the politics of OSC.  I still liked his Ender books, and his Gate books.  I hated his Seventh Son books.  Partly for political reasons, partly because I just didn’t like them as stories.

I’m absolutely against what the Sad Puppies are doing.  But I totally believe that they’re telling the truth, or their interpretation of it as far as some of the treatment they received.  I don’t thik they chose the right response.  I don’t agree with their vision for “real” or “proper” Speculative Fiction.  But that doesn’t excuse bad behavior on the part of the Happy Puppies.  Criticize them for their actions, not their politics.  Criticize them for bad quality writing or story-telling, not for their politics.  Criticize their politics.  Challenge their views.  But don’t attack them.  Don’t call them names, don’t threaten them.  (What qualifies as name-calling may differ among groups.  Sorry.)

Better commentators than I have already talked voting policy to death.  Good luck to everyone at Worldcon.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2015 in Sigh

 

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My Affair With the Authosphere

I took a break from reading and writing blog posts this year.  Not on purpose.  Just a confluence of events that lead me to not log into my GoogleReader and thus not be up on current trnds enough to post anything of my own.

Now that it’s summer and school is out of the way, I figured I’d get back into it.  And I’ve learned something.  Something very interesting, but also a bit disappointing: As an unpublished writer in the authosphere, the period between becoming involved and having learned what you can learn is very short.  It’s the honeymoon phase of being a blog reader.  Everything is new and wonderful, and you can’t get enough.   There’s always something else to discover.

Right after my discovery of the writerly blog community, I went crazy.  I searched all over the web, followed all the links I could find, read every post.  And for two years, there was plenty to keep me going.  But towards the end of that period, I began to find that very few of the new posts on my favorite blogs were really relevant to me.  All the things about reading blogs I had once enjoyed now felt tawdry and dull.  I had seen it all before.

I was beyond the point where blogs could be a useful resource to me purely as a writer.  There was still plenty of scandal and gossip to entertain me, still reasons enough to hang around, looking at old photos, reliving a few of the best memories.  But it wasn’t enough to hold me there.  After our little break-up, I would occasionally log into my reader, scroll through a few posts when I had nothing else to do.  Once or twice I even spent a few days going through every unread post.  But then I would get bored again, and move on to some other, more exciting activity.

And now coming back after more than a year of not reading blogs and articles and writing sites, I find that that still holds true.  I tend to scroll past most posts, every now and then opening something interesting in a new tab.  But not too many new tabs, because the information isn’t all that new to me anymore.  I’ve seen the same posts a hundred times before.

But I want that feeling back.  I enjoyed tearing through entire new blogs in a day or two, learning a secret with every scroll.  And there’s still stuff I want to learn about, approach in greater depth.  But blogs are a somewhat shallow medium.  There’s only so much discussion you can have, at least with other people’s blogs.  I often feel a bit weird responding with what are essentially entire blogs posts of my own.

For that reason, I hope to be much more active here at the Chimney, but I know it’s going to be rough going.  Because one of the primary ways to encourage discussion on your own blog is to contribute to the discussion on someone else’s.  And yet I feel like I wasted all my energy for such discussions, and now I find it very hard to come up with anything constructive, because you can only have the same discussion so many times before you have nothing left to say.

I’m a bit curious as to the turnover rate on blog readers.  Being back now, I see many of the same commentors on the various blogs I follow that I saw when I first discovered those blogs.  I wonder how they’ve managed to stay engaged.  Maybe they don’t follow as many blogs as I did.  Maybe they stick to one or two, or have other activities and interests that limit their time in the blogosphere.  Maybe these topics that I find so passe are still fresh to them.  If so, I envy them their interest.  I wish I knew where mine has gone.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2012 in atsiko, Blogging

 

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Bloggers I Wish I Was

One of the best parts about becoming active in the blogosphere, or, more specifically, the authosphere, is meeting all the awesome people follwoing the same track, published or unpublished.  One of the worst parts about becoming active in the blogoshphere, or, more specifically, the authosphere, is meeting all the awesome people following the same track, published or unpublished.  If there’s one thing that can drive home the dismal chances of a writer beating out the pack for publication, it’s seeing what the pack really looks like. 

 There are quite a few published authors with impressive and thriving blogs and their surrounding communities:  John Scalzi at Whatever, Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, and also the folks at Deadline Dames, Magical Words, and The Magic District.  There’s also Lauren Oliver, Justine Larbelestier, and Carrie Ryan.  And that’s just the people I’ve looked at recently.

For the unpubs, we have: Sierra Godfrey, CKHB, and many, many more.

So, I’m definitely in great company here.  I guess the title is a bit isleading I would love to reach the same level as any of the people on that list.

Now, I have to admit, competing against these people is scary.  A lot of them write in different genres than I do, but considering the number of people not on my list, I think it’s safe to assume that there are just as many fantastic writers in my genres, published or not.  And while writing is not a head-on-collision sort of competition, there’s limited space on the lists of agents and publishers, so to an extent, someone else getting published means I have less of a chance.  And just wait ’til we’re talking about the marketplace.  I can read a few hundred books a year, and that’s not even scratching the surface of published material out there.

So, yeah, the authosphere is a very scary place, but I’m enjoying it.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2010 in atsiko, Authors, Blogging

 

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