James May on Jack Vance

Posted April 22, 2015 By John C Wright

An excerpt:

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. Read the remainder of this entry »

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Signal to Noise

Posted April 22, 2015 By John C Wright

The beautiful and talented Mrs Wright holds forth on an issue of timely import:

http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/2015/04/22/superversive-blog-signal-to-noise/

Ever wonder why you are having such a hard time getting along with that once-dear friend who is now on the far side of the political Great Divide? This post might help bridge that knowledge gap.

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Do presently lose all desire for light

Posted April 22, 2015 By John C Wright

A man with a PhD in English holds forth on my hidden neofascism:

“If you got John C. Wright drunk at the bar, you could get him to admit that he thinks transhumanism and black people are ugly for the same reason.”

Actually, I am a teetotaler, and I always tell the truth, and I have absolutely no inhibitions about telling the truth requiring the seduction of wine to overcome. It will come as a surprise to my adopted daughter that I am a racist, I assure you.

Someone who pretends to know me well enough to discern the secret and yet strangely always discreditable workings of my hidden heart would know those two things about me.

This is the way of evil. Evil lies because no one is attracted to evil when its nature is clear. The lie serves only limited use, and must be extended and expanded in order to maintain credibility. The lie metastasizes, and grows to a point when no sane man can believe it any longer.

They tell lies even beyond the point where anyone is expected to believe or be deceived by them, pointless lies, absurd lies, unintentionally comedic lies. (Note this comment here.)

At that point, a man makes a decision: either he is loyal to sanity, abandons the lie and saves himself; or so great is his loyalty to the lie, he makes himself go mad, hating sanity and sunlight, and he rides the cherished wreck down through the maelstrom into the darkness.

Even such souls as that can be saved. I was sunk lower than this, and so I pity and do not despise. How empty his life must be if he has nothing but these cold and angular self deceptions to clasp to his breast for comfort, false as the smile of a harlot, and nothing but venom for his milk.

For those of you who do not catch the obscure reference above, it is from the pen of Tim Powers:

“…They move in dark, old places of the world:
Like mariners, once healthy and clear-eyed,
Who, when their ship was holed, could not admit
Ruin and the necessity of flight,
But chose instead to ride their cherished wreck
Down into darkness; there not quite to drown,
But ever on continue plying sails
Against the midnight currents of the depths,
Moving from pit to pit to lightless crag
In hopeless search for some ascent to shore;
And who, in their decayed, slow voyaging
Do presently lose all desire for light
And air and living company-from here
Their search is only for the deepest groves,
Those farthest from the nigh-forgotten sun.. .”
-from “The Twelve Hours of the Night”
(The Anubis Gates)
 

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Architect of Aeons TODAY

Posted April 21, 2015 By John C Wright

ARCHITECT OF AEONS

The next volume of my ‘Eschaton Sequence’  has been published today, and should be in your bookstore right now.  Rush right out in a panic of haste, without pausing to think, and buy nine volumes for your ghosts, noospheres, potentates, powers, principalities, virtues, hosts, archons, thrones.

Potentates are Kardashev I civilizations for terrestrial planets and powers for Gas Giants; Hosts are Kardashev II civilizations; Thrones are Kardashev III.

Anything of a higher order may not be interested in this book, because I do not deal with the Kardashev IV, V and VI order of magnitudes until the last volume.

I forgot was this book is about. I think Blackie Del Azarchel and Meanie Monstrose have lost the Earth because the posthumans moved it. Darn those pesky posthumans! Either they are cooperating or trying to kill each other. And the End of Days arrives, and is not actually, literally the End of Days. Four new race of mankind are created, history goes off the rails at least once, and we move from the millennial scale to the tens of millennia.

And someone gets shot in the last chapter. You’ll have to read it and find out.

The promotional materials all say this is the last volume of the sequence, but it is not. That was a clerical error not caught in time. Two more volumes are in the pipeline: THE VINDICATION OF MAN, which is (as of this writing) sitting on the editor’s desk; and COUNT TO INFINITY, which I was supposed to be working on last night, but I watched Netflix’s Marvel’s DAREDEVIL instead.

Read the remainder of this entry »

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Not so much Dino-hate, Please!

Posted April 20, 2015 By John C Wright

At the risk of alienating my beloved fans who voted either for Sad Puppies or Rabid   and elevated my humble work to a world-record number of nominations, I would like to state something for the record.

A lot of us are ragging on Rachel Swirsky’s prose poem ‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love‘ which was Hugo nominated and won a Nebula for its category.

And, for the record, I for one do not think ‘If You Were a Dinosaur’ is bad. I do not think it is great, but tastes differ.

The author with admirable brevity of space establishes a gay and playful mood, using a stream of consciousness technique and adhere to a strict textual scheme (lifted from IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE) and then fishtailing into a surprise ending that is poignant and moving, all within less than 1000 words.

More to the point, she did what she set out to do, and created the emotional effect she meant to create if a fashion I and other readers found memorable and moving. She hit the mark at which she aimed. Not every writer can say that.

It is not a great story, not the best of the year. I do not like it because it places technique above story telling — indeed there is no story at all, no characterization, nothing outside the vignette. But that, again, is a matter of taste. Some people do not like Shakespeare sonnets.

And her editor should have polished on or two roughs spots, which in a story so short are more obvious, have more ability to jar the reader out of suspension of disbelief.  One rough spot was the one-line depiction of the bigoted Southern bigots as ‘gin-soaked’ — this was lazy writing, laughably inept.  Gin in not what we drink in roughneck bars in the rural South.

Another was that in a racially motivated beating the racists usually know the name of the race they hate, and do not need to guess.

And, had I written it, I would have taken a different approach: but her muse is hers and mine is mine, and the realm of the imagination, being infinite, grants generous room to all.

But, please, the lady wrote a serviceable story that appealed to the tastes of many readers, and, of course, to the corrupt clique which gave her an undeserved award.

I hope I offend no Rabid Puppy by saying that, in a certain light, the story could be seen as above average, and showed originality and clear professional craftsmanship.

Let us give credit where credit is due.

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Prayer Request

Posted April 20, 2015 By John C Wright

I got this letter today:

Dear Mr. Wright,

I am writing to ask if you would be so kind as to put a prayer request on your site. Through channels at my church it came to my attention that a family in Wisconsin, the Rogen family, is in dire need of prayers and help.

Mr. Rogen dropped his wife off at the hospital to give birth to their eighth child. On his way to drop his seven children off for care while he stayed with his wife, an oncoming car hit a deer and the deer was flung through Mr. Rogen’s windshield. Mr. Rogen and his children were taken to the same hospital where his wife was in labor for treatment where Mr. Rogen later died. Thankfully, her children and their new baby are all well.

A Go Fund Me site was started for the Rogen’s to buy them a new vehicle, to pay for funeral costs and to give them a cushion. I do not know this family personally, but my heart goes out to them. I’m a wife and mother and this is utterly unimaginable to me. I am trying to do what I can to help them out.

Here is the Go Fund Me site and there is more information there:

http://www.gofundme.com/s7hst8

The news story is found here:

http://www.waow.com/story/28828377/2015/04/17/update-highway-closed-due-to-marathon-co-crash

I greatly appreciate your consideration in this.

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Reviewer Praise for PARLIAMENT OF BEASTS AND BIRDS

Posted April 20, 2015 By John C Wright

High praise indeed from Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog

https://jeffro.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/a-few-comments-on-john-c-wrights-the-parliament-of-beasts-and-birds/

(a) I’m not necessarily right in the sweet spot of his target audience and (b) I’m not one to just flat out gush over every single thing that he writes.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about his Hugo nominated short story, “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds”.

This story… first it intrigued me, then it amused me, then it gripped me… then I laughed out loud. Once complete immersed into the world of the story, I next shared the creatures’ curiosity, their fear, and finally… their awe. I relished every transition, every change in tempo, every interaction, the precision in each characterization. And in the end when I finally understood just what was happening and what it meant… I experienced that rare joy that only the best science fiction stories seem to offer: that feeling of a gradually increasing cognitive dissonance due to my assumptions not quite matching up with where the story is going– and then the “aha” moment when I finally understood that the scope of this subcreation is larger and more nuanced than I first anticipated. It’s positively rapturous when all the parts that seem out of place just suddenly fall together.

In other words, John C. Wright played me like a fiddle.

I don’t expect everyone to have quite the same experience when they read it. I mean, there are people that will tell you straight up that they preferred “If You Were a Dinosaur My Love” to “The Queen of the Tyrant Lizards”. That’s fine. To each his own and all that.

But I have to say… I have just been calling for people to attempt to be more mythic in their fantasy gaming, to go back to the parts of Tolkien’s work that we have passed over in recent decades and see what can be resuscitated and translated into new contexts. I really did not expect to see anyone writing quite in that vein– and certainly not at this caliber. I thought that sort of thing was done for, but really… this is about the only thing I’ve seen recently that I can honestly say is even close to being on par with with best work of Lord Dunsany, Jack Vance, and Robert E. Howard.

Read the remainder of this entry »

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NPR Upholds Morlock Journalistic Ethics

Posted April 20, 2015 By John C Wright

Well, well. The NPR weekend show ON THE MEDIA has joined the lynch mob, and done their level best to add hysteria and contumely and smother any trace of rational dialog in the little sortie of the Culture Wars known as Sad Puppies.

They were paid for by my tax money, my dear readers, and yours.

And before you ask, no, no journalist, no editor, no one contacted me or interviewed me or made any attempt known to me to hear from the counsel for the defense. At a real witch trial held by the real Inquisition, even the devil gets an advocate and someone speaks up for defendant being accused of witchcraft.

It is a sad, sad comment on modern journalism that they are not even up to the moral and ethical standards of medieval Witch-burners.

This is the first news outlet of which I have ever heard joining the bunny mobbing of the Sad Puppies. Alas, the sharp, sharp teeth of the coneys somehow fail to inspire my poet’s heart with terror.

http://www.onthemedia.org/story/hugo-awards-sad-puppy-edition/?utm_source=local&utm_medium=treatment&utm_campaign=daMost&utm_content=damostviewed

Read the remainder of this entry »

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Daredevil: Blindingly Well Done

Posted April 19, 2015 By John C Wright

I just saw the first episode of Netflix’ MARVEL’S DAREDEVIL. So much better than the Ben Afflick movie that it’s not funny.

Recommended. Time permitting, I will write a more detailed review in days to come.

Meanwhile, THE FLASH is also extremely well done, and a favorite show of mine. Their take on the character is more dramatic even than some of the magazine versions, and that takes some doing. THE ARROW did a similar make-over with the Green Arrow drawing out a more interesting angle on the character. Very well done shows.

ADDED: as WATF says in the comments below, It’s a great time to be a comic book fan. This is a golden age of geek TV/movies.

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Letter to the Editor

Posted April 19, 2015 By John C Wright

I was not the only person libeled. This is from the pen of Theodore Beale of Castalia books, my publisher, who goes by the pen name of Vox Day. I join him in asking you, my readers  — for you were also defamed — to write:

Dear Editor,

I am writing to demand a retraction and apology for the libelous article posted Apr 17th, 2015 at 3:00pm by Mike VanHelder. Mr. VanHelder wrote:

“Big winner Vox Day is an outspoken white supremacist and campaigner against women’s education and suffrage, who is on the record as supporting the Taliban’s attempt to assassinate Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousifazi, finding it “scientifically justifiable.””

  1. I am not a white supremacist. This is flat-out false. Also, I am a Native American with Mexican heritage.
  2. I am not a campaigner against women’s education. I am not an activist. I have never campaigned against it.
  3. I am not a campaigner against suffrage. I am not an activist. I have never campaigned against it.
  4. I am not against women’s suffrage. I support direct democracy for all, including women.
  5. I am not on the record supporting the Taliban’s attempt to assassinate Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousifazi. This is an absolutely outrageous accusation and utterly false.

All of these statements are false, provably and demonstrably false, and appear to be malicious. Therefore, I am requesting an immediate retraction of this error-ridden article as well as a published apology to me. Some of these additional errors include:

  1. Gamergate is not anti-feminist.
  2. Neither Sad Puppies nor Rabid Puppies courted any assistance from GamerGate.
  3. The extent of the collaboration between the THREE groups, (not two, as in the article) is not difficult to quantify. There are precisely two GamerGaters who are also Rabid Puppies, myself and Daddy Warpig.
  4. It is false to claim “No nominated author has ever before withdrawn their work after making it onto the Hugo ballot.” It is actually not uncommon for an author to withdraw one of his works after getting more than one nominated in a category. To give a few examples, Harlan Ellison withdrew his Hugo nomination in 1968. Jack Gaughan withdrew his nomination in 1968. Fritz Leiber withdrew his nomination in 1971, as did Robert Silverberg in 1972.
  5. Therefore, the action of withdrawing a nomination is not “unprecedented”.

I will appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.

NB: If you would like to add your voice to this call for a retraction and apology, this is the editor’s email: letters@popsci.com

***

Commenter Nate adds:

Below too is a contact form for Bonnier Corporation, the parent company that owns PopSci.

http://www.bonniercorp.com/contact/

They would love to hear from you. It says so right there.

And, more to the point, Commenter Zen0 adds:

Jim C. Hines Blog

DETCON1 AND DIVERSITY

Detcon1 has gotten a lot of things right on that front. They established a Diversity Advisory Board, consisting of Muhammad A Ahmad, Anne Gray, Mark Oshiro, Kat Tanaka Okopnik, Mike VanHelder, Pablo Vazquez, and Sal Palland. They chose to honor a range of guests that acknowledges the broader scope of the genre. They established the FANtastic Detroit Fund to help provide free memberships to fans who might otherwise be unable to attend.

 

 

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