Shunning and Radioactivity

NOTE: I got my invitations from Loncon 3 today. They’re including my novelette “The Exchange Officers” and my novella “The Chaplain’s War” in the traditional electronic Hugo voters packet. So I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the Loncon 3 concom (and everyone who has been working diligently on the 2014 Hugos) for their professionalism during what has been something of a turbulent time — between the fracas over Johnathan Ross having been invited (and disinvited) to be host, and now the fracas over the Hugo ballot itself. I am reminded of the adage: you can make all of the people happy some of the time, you can make some of the people happy all of the time, but you can’t make all of the people happy all of the time. Kudos, Loncon 3. Thusfar, you’ve treated me like a pro, and I appreciate it very much.

Something else: in the last 7 days I’ve had a number of people approach me both publicly and privately to ask, “How can you possibly associate yourself with that (insert bad words here) person, Vox Day? Don’t you know that he’s a raging (insert bad words here) and ought to be shunned?” Likewise, I’ve been accused of supporting Day; even of supporting the things he’s written about ethnicity, sexuality, and gender. To which I have to say (as I’ve said in each instance) my merely being on the ballot with Day, or engaging him in dialogue, does not automatically mean I agree with Day, nor does it automatically mean I agree with any of the stances he has taken on potentially controversial issues.

So, how come I don’t shun Vox and call him names, because shunning Vox and calling him names is (apparently) the only civilized thing to do?

Let me tell you a fable:

Once upon a time there was a young person named Wanda who believed that she had discovered a way for human beings to live, and a path for human beings to follow, which would lead to true happiness and everlasting life with spouses and family. She went across the land speaking her truth and gathering like-minded souls to her flag. Eventually they were given a name by the outside world, because the young woman had grown up and created a book containing her beliefs: the Book of Wanda, and she and her people became known as Wandians. Now, the Wandians were not well liked by ordinary folk. Wandians had odd ideas and odd beliefs and odd practices. They just weren’t right, according to good and decent standards. So the Wandians began to be persecuted. Their property was destroyed and they were driven off their lands. From region to region they traveled, enduring ever-greater forms of physical and legal abuse. Eventually one of the lords of the land issued an extermination order against Wandians, such that killing a Wandian was lawful. Poor Wanda herself was jailed and ultimately executed by a mob, and the Wandians fled into the wilderness to create their own civilization very distant from where all the trouble had started. Ultimately time passed, and the Wandians were grudgingly re-joined to the society which they had previously fled. But to this day, Wandians are regarded with suspicion, or even (in some instances) hatred. It’s not unusual for a Wandian to hear outlandish stories about his people. Wanda herself is derided in many circles for being a charlatan and a fraud. And Wandians struggle still for acceptance and understanding, despite being good, decent, and upstanding people (in the main) and despite living in a supposedly tolerant and open-minded era.

Now, let me also relate to you an encapsulation of an old Twilight Zone (revival) episode:

A man indicted for a crime is confronted by the police. His punishment is not jail. They apply a device to the criminal’s forehead which alters the shape of his forehead, leaving a grotesque mark. No matter how the man tries to cover the mark with clothing, the mark simply burns through, and anyone and everyone who sees the mark knows to shun the man. He cannot engage in business, talk to friends or loved ones or neighbors, work a job, or have any contact with humanity at all. Anyone caught interacting with the criminal or helping him will themselves become a criminal, thus also enduring the shunning and ostracising of the mark on their foreheads. Even medical help is off limits, as the man discovers when he becomes targeted by other criminals, and is injured badly. He ultimately limps through his term of punishment, scavenging what he can from the margins of civilization. And when the time comes, the police return and the mark on his forehead is removed. Relieved to have been freed from his prison without walls, the man re-enters society as an acceptable citizen. Except . . . one day he sees a woman who is marked as he was marked. She spots him and recognizes him from the days when he was still marked like she is. She pleads with him to not ignore her. He tries to pass by her without stopping, but her piteous cries for his mercy soften his heart, because he knows her pain and anguish, and he turns and embraces her while the robotic drones of enforcement surround them both and announce that they are engaging in criminal activity.

Observations:

All societies and eras have had Untouchables — those castes or peoples who are deemed out-of-bounds for polite or proper folk, and who are divorced from the world of acceptable social interactivity. Either for ethnic reasons, religious reasons, or fear of biological or even ideological contamination. Some societies have doomed their Untouchables to servitude and slavery. Others banish them, as the Soviet Union did with its Untouchables by sending them to die in the infamous gulags. Still others allow the Untouchables to be a part of society, but lurking in a kind of second class status, destined to never partake as full citizens. In each and every instance, the power brokers and enforcers of conformity have had what were (to them) perfectly sane and reasonable excuses to treat the Untouchables as Untouchable.

The thrust of American social progress in the 20th and 21st centuries has been to fully enfranchise practically every previously Untouchable segment of the population. Except, this progress has been haphazard and uneven. Not every demographic has achieved the same results, and mileage has definitely varied. The formerly Untouchable do not themselves always mingle well. More disturbing still, there is an emerging sentiment that says: in order to protect and defend those who were previously Untouchable, we must invent a new set of Untouchables who will become the repositories for societal scorn and ostracism. Ergo, the tables are turned, and the pendulum swings.

Go back and re-read my fable. Change the word Wandian to Mormon. I am a Mormon. That is the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If you’re LDS and you’ve lived anywhere outside of Utah or the United States, you’ve encountered it: the suspicion, the strange reactions, the fear, and even the hatred. We are still an odd duck in the world pond. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but it’s bad enough that our missionaries still bring home stories of verbal and physical abuse from around America and across the globe. Businesspeople and politicians who happen to be Mormon and who achieve prominence cannot do their jobs without having their religious affiliation become a topic of discussion, as well as criticism. In some circles (depending on the politics and depending on the business) you cannot be a Mormon without earning the scorn of your compatriots; be it direct, or subtle.

Now, perhaps it’s because I am a Mormon that the Twilight Zone (revival) episode (“To See The Invisible Man”) continues to resonate with me. I rather suspect this old episode would and could resonate with any dozen other religious or ethnic or sexual demographics which have all experienced ostracism, shaming, or other societal tactics designed to drive us to the edges.

All I know is, the older I have gotten, the less I’ve felt any desire to be on the “right” side of things, and I am distinctly uncomfortable participating in shunnings. Especially if all we’re talking about is words. Not criminal activity. Words. Or ideas. Even ideas foreign to my own. Even people who speak ill of my church. Even things which I find morally or ethically reprehensible. I may desire to criticise the words or the ideas, but I am not eager to make the people themselves into unpersons in the manner of the old Stalinist/Leninist practices of the Marxist days of Russia. Because I myself have been unpersoned on more than one occasion, simply for who I am.

Philosophy:

When I was a teenager I fell in love with all things Star Trek. I was impressed by the series slogan: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations. I became intrigued with the Starfleet ethic of the Prime Directive, which ostensibly sought to keep the society, social values, and laws of the United Federation of Planets from overruling or dominating the social values, laws, and societies of alien worlds. What a tough job, I thought then. And I still think now. As was evidenced by the Federation’s struggle with the fictional Klingon Empire. The Klingons were a manifestation of everything the Federation stood against. So much so, the Feds often doubted there could ever be peace or brotherhood between the two nations. The Klingons were so unlike the Federation at almost every level, they continually challenged almost everyone in Starfleet to live up to the Prime Directive and the quasi-canonical belief (in the series) that all peoples and cultures had an independent validity separate and apart from that which the Federation deemed (for itself) proper, ethical, and just.

I guess I’ve always carried a bit of Star Trek with me in the years since I was a teenager. As a Mormon moving outside of Utah for the first time, I felt very much like I was entering a strange new world. Returning to Utah 14 years later I again felt I was encountering new life, and a new civilization; since I could see my birth culture with fresh eyes. Going into the military was also an exercise in encountering new people, new ideas, and especially learning to work with and get along with those people; often under stressful or harsh conditions. And I’ve been in an interracial marriage for two decades to someone who did not grow up LDS, and with whom I do not share a large degree of political overlap. Talk about boldly going! In my house, every time my wife and I sit down to discuss a given issue, if she’s talking east, I am talking west, and where she talks north, I talk south. Yet we’ve managed to learn from and love and adore each other, despite coming from different experiences with different backgrounds — sometimes, very different.

Outlook:

My life has therefor molded me to be suspicious of shunning, unpersoning, ostracising, and the practice of making an individual radioactive. What do I mean by radioactive? Basically it’s the idea that any person worthy of being shunned is therefore poisonous (by touch or interaction) so that anyone caught associating with or dialoguing with the shunned individual, is also going to be shunned, because now the second party is poisonous by association.

I remember the Twilight Zone episode too well. The trick of the “justice” system in that episode was to make a person radioactive (socially) and I must admit, it seemed a far harsher punishment, and much more disturbing, than throwing somebody behind bars. Even more than exile, to be a face passing through society without earning so much as a single acknowledgment — to have one’s humanity utterly obliterated — is a fate I am not sure many of us could endure without going to some very dark places in our hearts and in our heads.

If all of this seems a rather roundabout way of addressing succinctly what’s happening with the Hugo awards this year, I apologize for bending your (proverbial) ear. This topic is something I struggle to address in a few words. Other than to repeat what I said earlier: I am not a shunner or an ostracizer, and I resist the personal politics of radioactivity. I am concerned (yes, you may label me a concern troll if you must) that the people who call themselves “fandom” are eager to practice radioactivity.

Summary:

Getting back to Star Trek, I feel I have a duty as a practioner of speculative fictioneering to not shun, to not turn my back, to not participate in radioactivity — however tempting it might be to do so, because I know this would be (in the short term) the far less controversial path. Perhaps if I was still 20 years old, I would choose the easier path. But at age 40 I have seen too much of this world (and too much of the human heart) to believe that shunning and radioactivity actually improve things. Because I do not believe that they do. I believe that they are . . . relics of our tribal beginnings as a human civilization. Natural and instinctual modes for dealing with the strange, the uncomfortable, the scandalous, and the bizarre.

Vox Day is deemed Untouchable. I get that. I also get that some of the things Vox Day has written have upset a lot of people. Some of the things he’s written are upsetting to me too. I think being upset by some of what Vox has written is valid. I just hope people can understand why I am not in a hurry to violate personal principles simply to go along with the zeitgeist, where Vox is concerned. I know that would be easier. I know it would also be the expected thing. Because everybody is doing it.

Sometimes, doing the expected thing isn’t always the best thing, though.

About these ads

About Brad R. Torgersen

Science Fiction & Fantasy Author - Hugo, Nebula, and Campbell award nominee
This entry was posted in Personal Thoughts, Tornadoes in Teacups. Bookmark the permalink.

293 Responses to Shunning and Radioactivity

  1. Brad–
    Thanks for posting this. The desire to shun is powerful and primal, and designed to “other” those who do not conform. Like in the Twilight Zone, it is a practice that is designed to pressure others into like minded conformity, and it is often used to Machiavellian ends.

    The effort that others are placing into circling the wagons against a person with whom they have an ideological argument is striking and a powerful demonstration of how hard the progressive left (esp. in SF/F) is pushing to re-engineer fandom – into one that has an “acceptable” tone, content, and message. This effort is bound to fail, and continues to constrain the world of officially sanctioned fandom. It is not unlike the star-systems that slip through the grasp of the Empire as they tighten their grip. Before long they will realize they are not the rebels they think they are, they are the Empire. Luckily for us fans, we have the secret plans that show us their weak spot – we are not as small as they think, we are not as silent as they think. We are not as shunnable as they think. We are their spouses, their co-workers, and more likely than not, their bosses. They have dramatically overplayed their hand.

  2. Julie Frost says:

    Brad, as always, you are the classy one here. I honestly envy your level-headed approach to… well. Everything.

    But for some reason we must not tolerate the intolerable otherwise that makes us too tolerant. Or something. My own opinion is that the answer to “bad” speech is not to shut it down, but to engage in more speech and try to understand where the other party is coming from. This becomes increasingly difficult when one side is determined to stifle any and all dissent.

  3. Jonna Hayden says:

    Thank you for such an honorable and classy response. I try (and sometimes fail) to live in this very space–even when it’s excruciating to do so….nice to have a fellow traveller who can express it so beautifully.

  4. Brad, very well written, as is expected by your ability as a award winning writer.

    I agree whole heartedly. I participated in one of these shunnings in younger years because someone I knew and respected told me something very bad about someone else. I came to find out later that this person whom I respected had heard it from someone he respected and so on. In the end, the story was an exaggeration and there was an element of “he is the wrong kind of person anyway”. I came to find out the truth but only after the person under attack eventually killed themselves. I felt a tremendous amount of shame. Now I never do this, I always have to see the proof for myself.

  5. Krista Perry says:

    Thank you for this. You have eloquently put in to words my own feelings on the matter.

  6. All this internet arguing has given me a newer perspective. A lot of people were victims of Vox Day’s words, so they’re reacting–and in some cases, overreacting. Some of them are flinging accusations of racism/sexism/homophobia towards people who don’t deserve it and didn’t earn it. Such accusations are insulting and hurtful, so those victims are also reacting. The argument heats up.

    It looks like a lot of the differences boil down to how a victim reacts. On one side, the proper/common reaction is to spit venom at the bully/accuser, then treat him as radioactive … and maybe treat his supporters, associates, and friends the same way. On the other side, the proper/common reaction is to spit venom at the bully/accuser, and then make fun of him … and maybe treat his supporters, associates, and friends the same way.

    This can escalate and leave long-standing wounds. I can see where both sides are coming from. The part that bothers me is when supporters, associates, and friends are automatically included. They shouldn’t be. When insulting accusations are being thrown around–whether it’s an accusation of being a sexist racist pig, or an accusation of being a mindless whining libprog–there should be enough evidence to support it for each individual case.

    Otherwise, you alienate an entire group of people. Like the Wandians.

  7. Abby–
    I think we were all missing the part where you become “victim” to words. If there is such a thing, the human race is most certainly doomed.

  8. metwrite says:

    Brad As a Wandians I wanted to say the Fable is true but then you know that…
    :)

    Your Wandian Brother Townsend

  9. Taylor: Words almost always precede a physical assault. Words precede wars. Anyone who’s following the blog of a writer probably understands that words have power to emotionally and psychologically affect people.

    I think the problem is that some people overreact to a very small, implied insult–or worse, misconstrue something that wasn’t an insult. Then they lash out in a way that seems disproportionate to the other side, and his allies. And it escalates.

  10. Absolutely words have impact. Words precede assault, and wars. Like breathing or living or walking. But it is not words that we primarily concern ourselves when study the great histories of the world and civilization. Yes, World War II was full of fiery rhetoric and brimestone, but it is Pearl Harbor, and Normandy, and the Battle of the Bulge, and North Africa, and Panzers and the Bomb that dominate the study and the substance of that history. The words, we study, as an afterthought, if at all. Because the words didn’t kill millions.

    But you did not address the claim that words can no more make you a victim than the grunting of an ape can make you a victim.

  11. James May says:

    Well said. My own thing with the PC in SFF isn’t really what they say and do so much as how they indulge in things they say are wrong. Truly I don’t give a fig if the PC have gay awards or all female anthologies or racially segregated safer spaces.

    The thing is the PC go nuts about awards accidentally skewed by a demography deemed insufficiently diverse, any anthology deemed too white and male and got on Twitter last Spring and went nuts about segregated proms. The PC see racism and sexism in their soup while ignoring their own racism, sexism and lack of diversity within their own precincts.

    The PC forbid to others what they do themselves. There is no sense of live and let live, no neutral definitions of sexism and racism. Worst of all they mostly engage in a shared and formal supremacist ideology formed by bigots hiding within intersectional QUILTBAG feminism whose sole goal isn’t equality, but a remorseless, pathological, and even phobic disdain for men, whites, and heterosexuals. That is not guilt by association; that is a shared ideology with a shared vocabulary that goes way beyond “snowflake” or “wingnut.” It is a vocabulary of “patriarchy,” “privilege,” and “cis-whiteness.”

    The Twilight Zone you mention is relevant in other ways: though it is no doubt lacking in diversity in casting and even said to be an example of “supremacy” by the PC, it in fact reflects SF’s old concerns with larger principles, not “whiteness” due to a cast. The PC can’t tell the difference between ideological racial supremacy and an accidental demographic, though for some odd reason samba, the NBA, and Bollywood is never in need of racial diversity, or seen as an expression of Lusophone, black, or Hindu supremacy or Stross’s inane idea that a lack of racial diversity is a “monoculture.” Five Arabs who speak five languages will have more diversity than an ethnic Jew, Albanian, African, Argentine and Indonesian born in the same city who all speak English as a first and only language.

    Bottom line is either stop with the attacks on the straight white male as civilization’s whipping boy or expect more return fire, cuz I’m not taking flak from goofball feminists about invisible backpacks, paranoia about suppressing anyone’s writing, or 20 white people in a photo as an informal Klan meeting. That is nothing more than hate-speech by people against hate-speech, and why the PC are routinely seen as Orwellian anti-racist racists and anti-sexist sexists.

  12. Popguy says:

    Brad, I appreciate your effort to discuss this issue in a civilized manner and via open dialogue.

    However, I do feel that this case is very complex and there is no easy solution. Deeming a person radioactive may obviously be problematic, but so is giving any credibility to a guy who thinks some people (blacks, women, homosexuals) are inherently inferior than others. He is on record for saying that women are responsible for getting raped. These are not controversial opinions. It’s just plain repulsive.

    I do think there are some boundaries you shouldn’t cross if you don’t want to become radioactive. In my opinion, free speech comes with a responsibility, but obviously we all don’t feel the same way.

  13. Popguy says:

    I have no idea what kind of negative experiences you guys have had with the people you label PC. I am a white, heterosexual and Christian male myself and I have never come across any sort of discrimination in the fandom, but that’s just my 2 cents.

    Peace & love!

  14. Doug Wardell says:

    What I don’t understand is if Vox Day et. al.’s opinions are so reprehensible, why does the PC left feel the need to misrepresent them? As a brief example, Vox is accused of saying women are responsible for getting raped. What he actually said was, “In no other circumstance is it argued that a victim of a crime is must [sic] be considered wholly innocent of responsibility regardless of his actions – just ask your insurance company if you don’t believe me. As Camille Paglia pointed out, a woman who gets drunk and goes to a man’s bedroom deserves no more sympathy or understanding from society than the man who leaves his unlocked car running with the key in the ignition or the woman who leaves her purse unattended on a public park bench.”

    Saying that Vox says victims are responsible for their own rape is technically true, but it’s deliberately misleading since the implications are that he says they are fully responsible which he does not say, and that he is putting rape victims in a separate class from all other victims of crime when the opposite is true. If people think the above is reprehensible then let them say why those things should be treated differently than rape, or let them argue that no victim ever bears any responsibility for crimes against them, but it’s not ok to straw-man his position and then yell, “shut up because unclean!”

    I could make the same point about his views on race, etc. Frankly, he’s said some things I don’t like either, and one thing I find pretty indefensible which I’m surprised hasn’t been more of a rallying point against him. Mostly though, he seems to be a victim of PC intolerance in the same way Orson Scott Card, where his words are taken out of context, his arguments are twisted and rarely if ever does anyone provide the context and make a reasoned argument against his positions. See OSC’s in-context quotes vs. the attacks against him here: http://www.hatrack.com/misc/Quotes_in_Context.shtml

  15. Oskari says:

    Well, I think that laying any blame to the victim is quite unacceptable, don’t you agree?

  16. Pingback: Monday Morning | madgeniusclub

  17. Doug Wardell says:

    For what reasons do you think so, Oskari? Prima facie, no I don’t agree but I’m open to a well-reasoned argument. If I leave my car running outside a convenience store and it is stolen, I have to admit some responsibility and I’m sure my insurance company would agree. That’s not to say it’s not still a crime and the criminal shouldn’t be punished. It is and they should. I don’t really understand where you are coming from here.

  18. Wes S. says:

    What I find hilarious about the whole Vox Day thing is that his critics, in the main, have proven themselves to be every bit as obnoxious, intolerant, argumentative, segregationist and (N.K. Jemisin in particular) outright racist as they accuse Vox of being. But it’s OK when they do it.

    *rolls eyes*

  19. Stephen J. says:

    The difference is one of proportion.

    Loss of a vehicle is extremely aggravating, but it is not so devastating that it goes outside the bounds of most normal folks’ “well, you left it running with the keys in, what’d you expect?” reaction; in other words the consequence is considered acceptably proportional to the error. Being raped is such a potentially devastating experience that it cannot be considered proportional to any possible error the victim might have made that circumstantially facilitated the crime.

    The controversial assertions of Vox’s position and others is that there may be situations in which that last statement may not actually be true, that the severity of such a position lends it to legal exploitation by the unscrupulous, and that such exploitation not only has already occurred but regularly occurs to such a degree that the original premise may require re-examination.

  20. Chester says:

    Sigh. Reading Vox’s blog lead me to one of Larry Correia’s rants and then I bought all Larry’s books. Now after reading this I feel compelled to buy yours.

    Also for the first time I care enough to vote in the Hugo’s

    My poor wallet and free time …

  21. Doug Wardell says:

    @Stephen J: I think the argument you are making is reasonable. I don’t agree, but I don’t want to get into a protracted debate as we’re getting increasing off-topic and it’s not relevant to my points anyway. My points are that you should be able to make that argument without having to worry about your ability to earn a living, membership to non-political organizations, etc., and that people shouldn’t mischaracterize your argument to attack you. Vox Day, Correia, OSC, etc. should be afforded the same courtesies for the same reasons. Unfortunately, their attackers primarily straw-man their arguments instead and try to shut them up rather than actually debate them in a rational manner.

    Arguing against ideas is great. Trying to silence people with whom you disagree, however strongly, is not. I’m not sure when we went from, “I disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” to, “I disagree with what you say so I will destroy you,” but I do not think it’s good long-term for anyone who values freedom and diversity.

  22. Pingback: This Week in Mormon Literature, April 28, 2014 | Dawning of a Brighter Day

  23. Synova says:

    As a woman (if it matters and it really doesn’t) I’d just like to say about blaming the victim for rape… refusing to allow any discussion of what choices a woman made that contributed to her victimization makes it impossible to even discuss self-defense and safety and that *hurts people*. And not by hurting their feelings either, but by enforcing vulnerability.

    It’s human nature, and for good reason, to view any tragedy and ask ourselves how it might have been avoided. That is how we learn to be safe. Putting rape off limits for this sort of discussion isn’t *good*, and demonizing anyone who dares to point out “what she did wrong” doesn’t keep anyone safer.

  24. Fail Burton says:

    Nebula and Hugo nominated SFF author Saladin Ahmed: “Behold, the saddest creature in all of Whitesupremecia: The person of color who earnestly believes this is all a meritocracy.”

    Hugo and Nebula nominee Saladin Ahmed: “‘I know I speak for everyone.’ – Brad Pitt, standing in front of a lot of Black people”

    Salon.com post written by Nebula and Hugo Award nominee Saladin Ahmed: “Is Game of Thrones Too White?”

    WisCon SF Convention organizer, panelist, and co-organizer of WisCon’s racially segregated “safer-space” and dinner, K. Tempest Bradford: “What is it w/ white ppl who adopt children of color thinking it absolves them of racism forever? Do whites think it works that way for real?”

    WisCon SF Convention organizer and panelist K. Tempest Bradford: “We will once again be in the Solitaire Room (racially segregated room at WisCon science fiction convention) since it affords us an out of the way space with no Gawkers (whites).” 

    WisCon SF Convention organizer, panelist, and co-organizor of WisCon’s racially segregated “safer-space” and dinner, Jaymee Goh: “This is not a steampunk problem, this is a cultural problem, this is a problem with white supremacy.”

    Jaymee Goh: “Detroit,… suffering from problems which essentially stem from white supermacist [sic] capitalism,”  

    Nebula Award nominee Kate Elliott on the film “Noah”: “I find the whole thing deeply offensive, with its white cast”

    Blog post by the then president of the Science Fiction Writers of America John Scalzi: “Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is.”

    Comment on K Tempest Bradford’s blog by Communications Director for a religious-based nonprofit, radio commentator, essayist and fantasy writer with pieces in places such as Minnesota Public Radio, Strange Horizons Haddayr Copley-Woods: “Angry White Men are so boring and so near extinction that it doesn’t seem worth even noticing their feeble last gasps.”

    Guest of Honor convention speech of Nebula and Hugo Award nominee N.K. Jemisin in Australia: “This is not a safe country for people of color.”

    “About” section of “Angry Black Woman” blog created by K. Tempest Bradford: “white people fear us.”

    “From November 15-25, Con or Bust will be accepting requests for assistance from fans of color/non-white fans who want to attend SFF cons in January, February, or March 2014. These include Arisia, which is held from January 17 – 20, 2014, in Boston, MA, USA. The 2014 theme will be cross-culturalism. Arisia has donated two memberships and a hotel room to Con or Bust.” 

  25. Oskari says:

    @Doug: As a quick answer to your question above, I would say that it’s an act of brutal violence. I really don’t see why the victim should ever be blamed for violence.

    If there was an author on the Hugo shortlist who says that all Mormons should be put to death or that the Holocaust never happened, I propably wouldn’t vote for his/her work no matter what it is. I think there are some limits for what you should be able to say. I for one am not going to die for Vox Day’s right to write the vile stuff that he does.

  26. Jeanne says:

    Very nicely summarized. I discovered your books through Vox’s blog, just as I discovered Larry Correia and John C. Wright. I just bought “Light’s in the Deep” and have it cued up to read after I finish “Awake in the Night Land” by John C. Wright.

    I am completely impatient with this shunning of those who commit “Badthink” according to whatever the group mentality decides is “badthink”. I find it intellectual lazy and shallow. I also find that those who scream the loudest about it turn me off to the point where I don’t even bother to take the time to investigate their writings or want to read their books. My time is limited and there is so much out there to read…

    Anyway, I am a HUGO voter this year and am very much looking forward to reading your works, as I haven’t read either of them yet. Congratulations on your nominations and good luck!

  27. Stephen J. says:

    @Doug Wardell: “Stephen J: I think the argument you are making is reasonable. I don’t agree, but I don’t want to get into a protracted debate as we’re getting increasing off-topic and it’s not relevant to my points anyway.”

    Agreed.

    “My points are that you should be able to make that argument without having to worry about your ability to earn a living, membership to non-political organizations, etc., and that people shouldn’t mischaracterize your argument to attack you.”

    I think this would be a noble ideal to aspire to, and I would always try to do so myself, but the problem is that there is no way to enforce this principle without, by the very act of enforcing it, contravening and neutralizing it. More problematically, of course, almost everyone tends to use exception-based logic when they do enforce this rule: it’s not just that certain topics are verboten but which topics are verboten, and if one of the verboten topics is about how one defines what is verboten at all the epistemic closure becomes complete.

  28. Harry says:

    I would argue that even a person determined not to shun anyone just because of the opinions he honestly holds will draw the line somewhere. Holocaust deniers, for instance. There are some beliefs so repugnant and so clearly covered in malice that they cannot be seen simply as one perspective among many.
    Brad, you’ve talked about Vox’s beliefs in such a way that a man unacquainted with his work would get the impression that he is something of a conservative provocateur and little else, a parallel to left-wing soapbox preachers like Jemisin. Why can’t you just admit the obvious fact that he’s an unabashed racist and misogynist? You don’t need to stop supporting his right to be taken seriously as an artist, but not acknowledging the elephant in the room – using words like ‘provocative’ and ‘controversial’ – seems a bit disingenuous.

  29. Harry: so the only civilized course of action is to call Vox names, otherwise I am doing it wrong?

  30. Fail Burton: those are some particularly glaring citations of the double standard, yes. And thank you for posting them. What’s deemed egregious coming out of one mouth is somehow perfectly acceptable coming out of someone else’s mouth? Of course, we’re also talking about writers who seem to enjoy being agitators and activists more than they enjoy entertaining audiences or telling stories. At least in the case of Jemison and Bradford. Saladin is someone I’ve actually met, and he seems a decent chap, though I cringe at some of the things he chooses to say about race. Just as I cringe about some of the things Vox has said about race. I choose not to kick Ahmed or Vox Day to the societal curb. I’d rather engage them on the plain of ideas.

  31. Doug Wardell says:

    @Stephen J: “I think this would be a noble ideal to aspire to, and I would always try to do so myself, but the problem is that there is no way to enforce this principle without, by the very act of enforcing it, contravening and neutralizing it. More problematically, of course, almost everyone tends to use exception-based logic when they do enforce this rule: it’s not just that certain topics are verboten but which topics are verboten, and if one of the verboten topics is about how one defines what is verboten at all the epistemic closure becomes complete.”

    I’m certainly not advocating enforcing it. I’m advocating people make the case about why shunning is a problem, and I’m doing my part where I can.

    Also, I don’t think any topic should be off-the-table for discussion for what it’s worth.

  32. Synova says:

    “I would argue that even a person determined not to shun anyone just because of the opinions he honestly holds will draw the line somewhere.”

    Harry, I think there is an additional element to shunning than just reaching one’s personal limit. Certainly we all make choices about our own associations. Shunning involves demanding that other people join you in ostracizing someone and punishing them if they don’t.

  33. Synova says:

    “I for one am not going to die for Vox Day’s right to write the vile stuff that he does.”

    I would. Because if people don’t have the right to write vile stuff, then we aren’t free. Freedom of speech is worth defending, and that isn’t defined by everything people might say or write that we find acceptable or at least tolerable, it’s defined *exactly* by what people might say or write that we find appalling, even outright and objectively damaging.

    Otherwise people ought to be punished for blasphemy, don’t you think, which sends souls to eternal hell. Because what can be more vile or damaging (for eternity!) than sending souls to hell? I mean, how can anyone argue against the inquisition if their standard for freedom is that they won’t defend the right of people to say or write vile stuff?

  34. I agree with the point Synova made. See, one of the chief problems I have with shunning is the black/white nature of the process. Ergo, those who refuse to shun the Untouchables, are accused of covering for or even agreeing with the Untouchables. I understand that for people with strong emotions this is a very easy habit to fall into: believing that people who don’t shun your enemies the way you want them shunned, must somehow be in league with or agreement with your enemies. So the demand becomes: shun those we want you to shun, or get shunned yourself! Which is just radioactivity. And I don’t support or agree with radioactivity — up to and including being made radioactive myself, by people determined to draw lines in the sand and shove all of us to one side, or the other.

  35. Fail Burton says:

    I am not suggesting Ahmed should be kicked to the curb. I am highlighting how casually the PC violate their supposedly NEUTRAL passionate interest in race and gender. I am also asking why such weird obsessions exist in SFF in the first place. I can live with them – they cannot live with me. Since they have set the ground rules, if anyone is calling for their own marginalization or dismissal, it is themselves, not me. I am tired of their Orwellian upside-down cake. Either make rules all can live by, or prepare for battle. They must stop their incessant attacks on heterosexuals, men, and whites. I did not ride with Lawrence of Arabia, I did not establish Jim Crow, I have no slaves, I did not rob a bank last night or leer at a woman. I will accept no scarlet letters nor the mark of Cain. Ahmed must be made to understand he reviles the idea most Muslims are terrorists as easily as he accepts that most whites are supremacists.

  36. Fail Burton: oh, I agree very much, the chief reason that the activists fail to gain traction with a wider listening audience is because they break their own rules. It’s precisely because certain activists repeatedly display what I’d call anti-caucasian, anti-male, anti-hetero attitudes, that I sort of tuned them out a couple of years ago. Without naming names, I decided that they were basically playing a one-note violin (the world’s smallest violin?) and that the more attention I gave them, the happier they were. So I stopped engaging them. They persist in using whatever media megaphones they can get, but the little boy who cries wolf, and is himself a wolf in sheep’s clothing, doesn’t earn my respect or my ear. Because I too am tired of being blamed for things which are not my fault, just as I am tired of being scapegoated or made a repository for scorn and derision, just because of how I look or what my gender is or who I sleep with at night.

  37. Wyldkat says:

    First off, congratulations on the nominations. Is “The Exchange Officers” included in Lights in the Deep? That one is still on my wish list. (That list keeps getting longer and longer with all the “new” writers I am finding.)

    Secondly, this is a brilliantly written explanation of what shunning is and why is was/is so effective – and why it is so hurtful. Being something of a social misfit, I’ve spent most of my life on the fringes of society and have developed empathy for the one being shunned.

    I disagree with Mr. Day, and chose not to read his blog (I do not believe I have run across his professional work) I do not care for the comments/mind set of N.K. Jemisin either. But I would not tell someone to avoid their sites. They have a right to their opinions. Period.

    To paraphrase: I may not like what someone says, but I will defend unto death their right to express themselves.

  38. Pingback: Shunning Done Wrong | Something Fishy

  39. Fail Burton says:

    Here’s a perfect example of how even the simplest comparisons are unavailable to the PC – from the president of the SFWA himself:

    “Ink-Stained Wretch ‏@StevenGould 2h

    “This is excellent. http://time.com/79357/not-all-men-a-brief-history-of-every-dudes-favorite-argument/ … Protector of the protected, voice of the voiced, privileger of the privileged. (via @scalzi)”

    That link brings you this:

    http://time.com/#79357/not-all-men-a-brief-history-of-every-dudes-favorite-argument/

    Yes, it’s about “Not All Men: A Brief History of Every Dude’s Favorite Argument”

    Yeah, that’s really “excellent,” as in Bill and Ted “excellent.”

    And so just like that the PC shoot down their own “not all Muslims are terrorists” thingy, although 1) no one ever said they were, and 2) it’s frickin’ obvious a billion and a half Muslims aren’t terrorists. I don’t know that Gould can perceive not all black men are criminals any more than all white men aren’t racists. I honestly don’t know what they’re saying most of the time. All that comes through all the rhetoric is a vague notion that white straight men are a bad neighborhood and everyone else angelic saints with the big sad eyes.

    I’m just done with these PC morons. They are so blinded by race and gender they’re banging into walls. Add in their smugly moral pronouncements and confidence in their own intellect and it’s really unbelievable to see adults acting like this.

    The next post I expect is “How Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, and Huckleberry Hound default to a white supremacist cis-patriarchy.”

  40. John C Wright says:

    Mr Torgersen, this is very well said, and I salute you.

    I am also about to buy one or more of your books, depending on how much book money I can wheedle out of my beautiful and talented wife. It is the highest form of compliment I know.

    Speaking for myself, I have never met a Mormon, not one, whom I did not admire. Whatever it is your church does to turn out well spoken, devoted, and polite spokesmen, keep doing it. Maybe the larger and older denominations will take the hint and follow suit.

    Yours very sincerely, John C. Wright

  41. John C. Wright: your wife Jagi is a peach, and has been my friend on FB. I hope some time to meet both of you in person, perhaps at a con? And I’ve always admired how much time and effort you put into your blog. There is much thought and profundity there. It’s one of the very few blogs on the internet I specifically make a point of visiting on a routine basis, because it’s usually got “high intellectual nutritional content” which is something I find difficult to come by lately. Thank you, sir, for paying me the compliment of investing your dollars in my work! I am quite proud of Lights in the Deep and I am looking forward to seeing The Chaplain’s War released by Baen, in October 2014. (FYI: Lights in the Deep is a “best of” album containing 10 pieces of my short fiction: one Writers of the Future winner, two Analog magazine readers’ choice award winners, one Nebula nominee, and three Hugo nominees.)

  42. Harry says:

    @Brad Calling Vox a racist is not akin to calling him a name – it’s a recognition of the facts. I’m not asking you to come out with a big long SJW rant about how offended you are that Vox believes such awful, awful things and how awful he is and how you hate his guts – I’m asking you to call a spade a spade. Or do you not consider his remarks to Jemisin racist in any way? That’s not a ‘gotcha’ question, I am genuinely curious.

  43. Popguy says:

    “Because if people don’t have the right to write vile stuff, then we aren’t free. Freedom of speech is worth defending.”

    He has the right to write vile stuff, I agree. We all, on the other hand, have the right to think (if we want to) that he shouldn’t get a Hugo award because of his behaviour, or that he shouldn’t be in the shortlist in the first place, or that he should be kicked out of the science fiction community altogether (to the extent that it’s possible). I don’t think this means taking away Vox Day’s freedom to express his thoughts.

    “See, one of the chief problems I have with shunning is the black/white nature of the process. Ergo, those who refuse to shun the Untouchables, are accused of covering for or even agreeing with the Untouchables.”

    Ah, well. I guess it was me who accused Brad of covering for Vox Day on the previous post, and I still feel the same way. Day has said repulsive things about blacks (half-savages), women (shouldn’t be able to vote) and homosexuals (I don’t even). And people (like Brad) who say that Day should be able to say these things with no consequences and SFF fandom should embrace different views et cetera are enabling him to keep on doing his thing. This sort of issues are polarizing and leave little middle ground, I admit, but that’s how it is with big decisions.

    But what the hell. We are propably not going to agree on this no matter how long we keep going.

    Good luck with the Hugos. I’mlooking forward to getting the voter package and getting to read your stories on the shortlist.

  44. John C Wright says:

    God bless you for an honest man! My wife is a peach, and since I am something of a peachpit, I count myself the luckiest man alive when it comes to love.

  45. Harry: the way I look at it is, can the remarks be perceived as racist? Sure. But does this mean Vox himself is racist? I think Vox could have and probably should have used different words to criticise Jemison, but because Jemison herself likes to pick fights and use quasi-racist language (against caucasians) in the process, I look at Vox’s quarrel with Jemison as perhaps a wash: two people who have said (did say?) some unfortunate things, and neither of them seems entirely clean to me. If I seem like I am trying too hard to not label a spade a spade, it’s probably because racism to me is one of those fire alarms that should only be pulled when necessary. Right now cries of racism so perpetually flood our public communication, it’s like the little boy is crying wolf 900 times a second. Having witnessed actual racism against my spouse, I find Vox’s interactions with Jemison problematic. But then I find Jemison herself problematic too. If Vox had been picking a fight with someone I know does not herself go out of her way to pick fights, perhaps I’d have an easier time being critical of Vox? Since I was not party to the SFWA quarrel out of which Vox’s comments have been parsed (where Jemison is concerned) I try to resist the urge to condemn.

  46. Synova says:

    So essentially, he’s got the right to write vile stuff and we’ve got the right to gang up and pressure everyone else to gang up in order to refuse him access to normal society?

    We might have the right… but it doesn’t make us the good guys.

  47. Pingback: Quote of the Day | John C. Wright's Journal

  48. Popguy says:

    I wouldn’t say that voting “no award” on him or publicly judging his views is quite the same as refusing “access to normal society”.

  49. Harry says:

    @Brad I think we’ll have to agree to disagree. While I think your stance and general defense of separating the art from the artist is admirable indeed, I just can’t see Vox and his beliefs the same way you do. To use your metaphor, I think Vox completely merits a pull on the fire alarm.

  50. Pingback: The Hugo Feud Goes Mainstream | Brian Niemeier's Web Journal

  51. Brad, I remember that episode of The Twilight Zone. It’s one of two that have really stood out to me over the years.

    I don’t like Vox. I won’t pretend that I do. He strikes me as a pompous ass most of the time. However, when looking at his comments about Jemisin in context, I can easily see how they aren’t actually about race but about a person whose behavior he deemed reprehensible.

    Now, like you, I refuse to shun anyone. I swore of buying Scalzi’s work a while back after a post where he derided something that is very much a part of who I am. I will not provide money to someone who thinks me reprehensible. However, I have never said he should be shunned. I don’t ostracize those who seek to interact with him. Hell, if I meet him at a con, we might actually get along famously. Who knows?

    This whole thing about people shunning Vox bothers me, not because I think he’s worthy of some sort of esteem. Like I said, the guy’s ways just rub me wrong on multiple levels, so it’s not because of any such thing. What I see is a failure to recognize that other people’s values may be different than theirs, or that they took information and reached a different conclusion than they did. Instead, they seek to impose their own values, and their own interpretation of events, on people and ostracize anyone who doesn’t toe the line.

    Not a good thing. At all.

    So, I may not like Vox, but I’ll be damned if I shun him. That’s just not my way, and it shouldn’t be anyone’s. After all, if you hope to change minds, why shun people who represent the minds you hope to change?

  52. kamas716 says:

    Reblogged this on westfargomusings and commented:
    Brad Torgersen explains why shunning or ostracizing people of differing values isn’t a good thing.

  53. alauda says:

    Look, Jemison is nowhere near as problematic as Vox is. If you want to point out to me where Jemison suggested throwing acids in women’s faces, prohibiting women from getting an education or voting, or putting “undesirable ethnic groups” in death camps, go ahead, make my day.

  54. keranih says:

    Oskari says:
    April 28, 2014 at 10:18 am
    @Doug: As a quick answer to your question above, I would say that it’s an act of brutal violence. I really don’t see why the victim should ever be blamed for violence.

    If there was an author on the Hugo shortlist who says that all Mormons should be put to death or that the Holocaust never happened, I propably wouldn’t vote for his/her work no matter what it is. I think there are some limits for what you should be able to say. I for one am not going to die for Vox Day’s right to write the vile stuff that he does.

    @Oskari – I don’t think that the intent is to blame the victim for the act of violence. That responsibility lies with the person committing the crime. What does need to happen, though, is for the (adult, self-responsible) person whose actions also contributed to the action happening to acknowledge the consequences of their actions.

    By the same token, the people in the bar who snicker and watch the drunken woman stagger off with the soon-to-be rapist are not to be blamed for the rape, either. But they do need to acknowledge that they have done/not done something that could have changed what happened.

    I am very hesitant to agree that there are somethings which one should not be able to say. I am particularly unwilling to agree that there are some things which one should not be able to say and still have ones art judged on its merits.

    To me, this is akin to praising artwork because your niece did it. It’s an act of love, yes, but not an accurate assessment of the piece.

    As for broader implications – it is not necessary for you to “die” so that someone else may continue to speak.

    But someone else has, already. And someone will have to, again, in the future. Or else he will be silenced, eventually. And then the next, and the next, and the next, until the last of us cuts out our own tongue for fear of harming the stillness.

  55. I don’t think that the intent is to blame the victim for the act of violence. That responsibility lies with the person committing the crime. What does need to happen, though, is for the (adult, self-responsible) person whose actions also contributed to the action happening to acknowledge the consequences of their actions.

    This.

    By pointing out behaviors that can lead to rape, you’re not putting sole responsibility on the victim. That responsibility is purely on the perpetrator of such a heinous crime.

    Not all that long ago, rape wasn’t treated like most crimes. Defending someone of a rape charge typically depended on showing a jury that the victim “wanted it”. How was she dressed? Where was she? What was she doing?

    The idea of treating rape as anything other than what it is – a horribly violent crime – turned my stomach when I learned about this as a teen. Yet, today, we see a flip side of that same coin.

    Today, it’s acceptable to point out that you shouldn’t leave your keys in your car with the engine running. It’s acceptable to tell someone they should be wary of using an ATM in a sketchy part of town late at night. It’s not acceptable, however, to warn a young woman to be careful walking across a college campus late at night by her self.

    The attitude leads to a lack of education, and ends up making life easier for the predators since women aren’t being warned about certain things that these scumbags do.

  56. kamas716 says:

    Brad, well said. If your story writing is as good as your blogs, I’ll get around to shelling out some money for it one of these days.

    I don’t think shunning works well because discussing even vile ideas has merit. As for Vox and Jemison: when two monkees start flinging pooh at each other it’s best not to get in the middle of it unless you’re OK with being covered in pooh yourself.

    As far as the rape comments: Putting yourself in certain situations can have dire consequences. Sometimes you can do everything right and bad things will still happen. Sometimes bad things happen because you failed to take steps to protect yourself. It doesn’t mean that what happened is right, but sometimes you do bear at least a little of the responsibility for what happened.

  57. Wes S. says:

    Regarding the rape comments: The problem is that thanks to the Left, “rape” has become a rather flexible word that covers a whole lot of ground these days, from morning-after regrets to – in the eyes of a fair amount of modern radical feminists – all heterosexual intercourse. See, for example:

    http://theothermccain.com/2014/04/26/reading-heterophobia-i-adrienne-rich-and-compulsory-heterosexuality/

    And, like everything else, the Left touches, having so broadly redefined “rape” the Left can pick and choose on a situational basis what actions actually qualify as rape. This is how on the one hand you can have some hapless college freshman being prosecuted by some non-judicial campus tribunal months after the fact, because he and another student got drunk and slept together (as recently happened at Dartmouth), while on the other hand Whoopi Goldberg can make excuses for Roman Polanski’s drugging and sodomizing a thirteen-year-old girl because “it wasn’t rape-rape.”

    But if you point this out – or even observe that false accusations of rape aren’t unheard of – then the Left wil accuse you of being “pro-rape.”

  58. Shibes Meadow says:

    If Vox Day is a racist — note “if” — then as far as I am concerned it’s a feature, not a bug. When people say they are against racism what they are actually saying is that they are for the genocide of White people.

    Being a White person myself, I object to our being exterminated and/or marginalized. Only a fool or a madman hopes for the destruction of his own people.

    As far as shunning goes: only cowards and weaklings resort to that tactic. A real man of ideas has no fear of any idea, however repugnant.

  59. Legatus says:

    About this new fashion of refusing to buy someones book, or shop at someones store, or otherwise hurt them economically because they said something un PC, I have a question for you.

    Do you still abuse children?
    I mean, when you refuse business like this, you hurt their ability to feed their family, their children.
    I mean, do you like depriving children of food, clothing, and shelter, does it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?
    But wait, there’s more!
    Say you don’t want to buy someones book, or don’t want it to get an award so that less people buy the book. Now you not only hurt the authors children, but the publishers, the distributors, the paper and ink manufacturers, the mailman, lots of people. Same with not wanting to support a business, most of those people there have nothing to do with whatever opinion you are so offended at (you poor baby!). And a lot of them have children, who will now have to go without.
    You must really like hurting children.
    So, I will ask you once again.
    DO YOU STILL ABUSE CHILDREN?

    And that’s what this is really all about.

  60. alauda says:

    Do you ever get tired of parroting Johnny White Rabbit?

  61. Pingback: Shunning and Radioactivity | Brad R. Torgersen | Head Noises

  62. Foxfier says:

    . If you’re LDS and you’ve lived anywhere outside of Utah or the United States, you’ve encountered it: the suspicion, the strange reactions, the fear, and even the hatred. We are still an odd duck in the world pond. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but it’s bad enough that our missionaries still bring home stories of verbal and physical abuse from around America and across the globe.

    ATM, we have a Mormon family as neighbors.

    First time I’ve ever had folks that actually FELT like neighbors. (Catholic. Observant. Conservative. In that order, unlike some “liberal, Catholic” folks.)

  63. Foxfier says:

    I remember the Twilight Zone episode too well. The trick of the “justice” system in that episode was to make a person radioactive (socially) and I must admit, it seemed a far harsher punishment, and much more disturbing, than throwing somebody behind bars. Even more than exile, to be a face passing through society without earning so much as a single acknowledgment — to have one’s humanity utterly obliterated — is a fate I am not sure many of us could endure without going to some very dark places in our hearts and in our heads.

    Pretty sure someone else has already said this, but just in case:
    Shunning is a traditional means of dealing with people that’s somewhere between executing them and locking them up.

    You don’t want to kill them, but you don’t have the resources to lock them away.

    So, you expel them from society.

    In a GOOD area, that’s painful, annoying, etc.

    In a bad area… that’s abandoning them in the middle of the desert without water.

    I think the AccordingToHoyt.com website addressed that a bit back–weeks, months, I believe no earlier than January but don’t have the time/inclination to look, sorry. Vathara, in her “Embers” story on fanfiction.net, also deals with the theme.

  64. Synova says:

    “Look, Jemison is nowhere near as problematic as Vox is. If you want to point out to me where Jemison suggested throwing acids in women’s faces, prohibiting women from getting an education or voting, or putting “undesirable ethnic groups” in death camps, go ahead, make my day.”

    Alauda, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that you can’t point out to anyone where Vox suggested any of those things either, not seriously at least, instead of rhetorically or as a negative example.

    I’d also suggest, less on a limb with this one, that you don’t view what Jemison says as problematic because you don’t *hear* what she says as it’s not directed at you.

  65. Fail Burton says:

    Marston has gotten to the point where he rates hate-speech and says a 6 trumps a 7.

    In that world, calling the entire continent of Australia dangerous racists because Jemisin saw “Yankee Go Home” sound-trucks in Japan makes sense and is right and noble. A strange speech to give at an SFF convention, and one which betrays an obsession, and it’s not with literature.

    How about zero on a scale of 0 to 10?

  66. dyingearth says:

    For those of you unclear on Fail Burton’s reference. Alauda is Clamp/Yama/Andrew Marston, a perpetual troll against Vox Day. Literally, you cannot mention Mr. Beale’s name in any form without attracting the response from this dedicated troll. Here what he does when not trolling Vox Day, Larry Correia’s blog: http://jordan179.livejournal.com/240847.html

  67. Robin Munn says:

    Synova –

    I’m pretty sure Vox has explicitly said he’s against women’s suffrage. Alauda slipped that one in there along with the others so that when someone demands proof, he can point to Vox’s “Women shoudn’t vote” posts and say, “See? He’s a horrible person!” And you’re then supposed to assume that Alauda is telling the truth about other things he alleges that Vox said (like advocating throwing acid in women’s faces). (Hint: isn’t).

  68. Pingback: Book Review: Lights in the Deep | Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

  69. alauda says:

    Here are some quotes by Teddy Beale: [E]ducating women is strongly correlated with reducing their disposition and ability to reproduce themselves. Educating them tends to make them evolutionary dead ends.

    and: a few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay for lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime, and demographic stability.

    You can fuck right off.

  70. Synova says:

    The first one sounds exactly like the intro to Idiocracy… funniest and truest scene in a movie that I can think of.

    The second one is not advocating throwing acid or saying it’s a good thing, it’s presenting acid throwing as bad in contrast to things that he feels are good. Which I can either agree or disagree with, since I’m not reduced to an incoherent emotional puddle.

    Considering how criticizing Islam and Islamic culture gets one expelled from the “tolerant” confines of places like WisCon… I think we could debate just who it is that most approves of throwing acid.

  71. “You can fuck right off.

    Oh, well, Clamps said you can fuck right off. I guess that just settles all of the discussion, doesn’t it.

    I mean, no one has ever taken a quote out of context or anything, so there’s no need to actually provide links to where Vox said such things so we can evaluate the tone for ourselves or anything.

  72. Joshua says:

    And you can provide some links so that the fact that you’ve clearly distorted and misrepresented them will be obvious to all.

  73. alauda says:

    Er, what? He’s saying that women need acid thrown in their faces if we want to have demographic stability and homogenous populations and low debt.

  74. Again, links.

    I don’t know if you realize this, but we trust you about as far as we can throw the Washington Monument. You saying he said something means nothing. Especially since a quote out of context can mean something completely different in context.

    Plus, the fact that you’ve got such a hard on for Vox doesn’t exactly help us trust your word. So, yet again, links or go away.

  75. Synova says:

    I could say that perfect safety can only be accomplished through complete tyranny and I would not be advocating tyranny. I could say that crime is the price we pay for freedom, and I would not be advocating crime or suggesting that crime was good. I could argue that some guilty must go free in order for our justice system to protect liberty, but I would not be advocating that the guilty go free. I could argue that destroying a college student’s life on the mere accusation of sexual assault absent evidence or proof should never be tolerated and I would not be advocating rape. I could point out that government programs have destroyed what slavery never could, and I would not be advocating slavery.

    I could also say that the idea that ideologies actually do limit the ability of authors to create art has a great deal of merit in that I can not imagine how anyone could create something beyond polemic when all that exists in their heads is simplistic projection. There are no *ideas* in confusing description with desire or confusing (most deliberately) the portion with the whole.

  76. Doug Wardell says:

    Here’s a link to the acid quote: http://voxday.blogspot.com/2012/06/scientist-beats-up-pz.html

    “3. Because female independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills. Using the utilitarian metric favored by most atheists, a few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay for lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime, and demographic stability. If PZ has turned against utilitarianism or the concept of the collective welfare trumping the interests of the individual, I should be fascinated to hear it.”

    Specifically, Vox is making the case that PZ Myers is taking the anti-utilitarian viewpoint (assuming you buy his implication regarding female independence causing social ills which he argues outside of what I quoted) and that’s apparently atypical for atheists in Vox’s experience. Vox himself isn’t advocating throwing acid on anyone, but who cares about truth or context if you can find a way to smear the guy, amiright?

  77. Ah, the old chickenshit Do Not Link link. Heaven forbid that Vox see that he’s a topic of conversation and come and possibly explain himself.

    Here you go. I’ll do it right.

    http://voxday.blogspot.ca/2012/06/scientist-beats-up-pz.html

    As for his meanings, I’ll admit it looks bad. However, I’m not a fan of Vox’s, so I don’t really give a damn.

    For the record though, I didn’t see it as advocating acid to women’s faces so much as excusing it for the greater good. Not any better in my own personal mind, but different. Somehow though, I suspect you know that and just don’t care, partly because you are fine with doing different horrible things to support a different greater good.

  78. Will Shetterly says:

    I followed the link and wasn’t surprised to see the TZ episode was based on a Silverberg story. He got a lot of things right.

  79. alauda says:

    If Vox is sending his monkeys to fling shit around, chances are he already knows.

  80. Taylor Collingsworth says:

    It in no way “looks bad” for Vox Day based on that in-context quote. It is a very simple point. If “utilitarianism” is the metric, as used by atheists to measure the good or bad nature of an act, anything that achieves a good end (aka, a utilitarian end) is justifiable, including acid to the face of women.

  81. Then I misread it.

    Again, I suspect this is part of a longer running discussion rather than just a single post. I can see it clearly in the context of that framing.

    I also notice that Clamps conveniently leaves out other links for his allegations against Vox. One link, out of multiple allegations, and this one just contains the one.

    And next time, man up and actually like to his blog. That Do Not Link is used by chickenshit cowards who are afraid to actually debate.

  82. “If Vox is sending his monkeys to fling shit around, chances are he already knows.”

    Oh, you silly, silly little troll.

    Either you know that Vox has sent no one, in which case you’re a liar, or you know that using Do Not Link was a complete waste of time, in which case you are exhibiting behavior akin with mental illness. So, which is it?

    And don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be an either/or thing. You’re free to choose both, which would surprise no one.

  83. Joshua says:

    Point proven. alauda is dishonest.

    I don’t always agree with Vox, and I don’t necessarily LIKE him much (or at least his internet persona) but it’s a little more difficult to actually put some meat into the typical complaints about him than one might think. Both of the misrepresented and out of context allegations (both from the same post on his blog) that alauda referenced mean something other than what she pretends that they mean.

  84. Joshua: I think that’s the unfortunate thing about becoming notorious. People will begin to attribute things to you that you did not write or say, they will distort what you did write or say in order to make you look bad, and they will (as Larry Correia noted with his Internet List of Arguing) simply make things up and then blame you; whether you deserve it or not. This is all enabled (of course) by the internet. Because nobody ever has to be responsible on the internet. Nobody has to ever own a lie told on the internet. Nobody has to stand in front of the accused and say to the accused’s face, “You, sir, rape kittens and smash the heads of puppies and have halitosis as well as bad dental hygiene!” The human animal is obviously greatly enabled (in all the worst ways) by the internet. Future history may record that the internet was both the best and the worst thing to ever happen to communication.

  85. Joshua says:

    I don’t disagree. For the record, Vox also specifically issued a challenge on his blog, which I thought was interesting (although I didn’t have time to read through the 800+ comments that it garnered). Usually, the fact that he called Jemisin a half-savage (which is a personal insult completely unrelated to her race) and his proponency of the notion that the different races of humanity represent genetic blocks; hence the fact that certain physical features are consistent within races–which is, of course, a fairly logical thing to believe.

    What I’ve seen frequently with Vox is that he’s a polemic. He likes to take the argument of his opponent and then follow it through to its logical conclusions.

    He’s then smeared by his opponents as if he were advocating for those logical conclusions, when in reality, the whole point of it is to highlight how absurd their own position actually is.

    Like I said; I disagree with Vox on a lot of things, and think that in many ways he presents an internet persona that is hard to actually like; but I’ve read an awful lot of his posts after discovering his blog in the wake of the SFWA business, and by and large I find a lot of the things said about him to be completely dishonest, mispresented, taken out of context, or even outright made up on the spot.

    That said, I do really enjoy his series of posts exposing the inner workings of the SFWA and the way that they operate. His blog is worth reading for that alone, even if for nothing else.

  86. Joshua says:

    Argh, accidentally left off part of that post. He issued a challenge to PROVE that he was a racist. http://voxday.blogspot.com/2014/04/am-i-racist.html

  87. Pingback: 2014 Hugo Nominations – the reactions | Far Beyond Reality

  88. John C Wright says:

    “As for his meaning, I admit it looks bad…”

    The part edited out by the lying-ass troll was this “Using the utilitarian metric favored by most atheists…”

    Vox Day in the sentence is condemning utilitarianism and atheism. These are hardly controversial positions.

  89. The part edited out by the lying-ass troll was this “Using the utilitarian metric favored by most atheists…”

    Vox Day in the sentence is condemning utilitarianism and atheism. These are hardly controversial positions.

    Indeed he is. I believe I owned up to my own misreading of the passage and completely missed that phrase (If not, I’m doing it now because I believe I should own up to my mistakes). A key phrase at that.

    Of course, most folks around the conservative/libertarian blog-o-sphere know that Clamps is a lying tool. I’m just happy to see him prove it.

  90. Synova says:

    This is why I said “and not rhetorically or as a negative example” because I expect the lies.

  91. keranih says:

    “The part edited out by the lying-ass troll was this “Using the utilitarian metric favored by most atheists…”
    Vox Day in the sentence is condemning utilitarianism and atheism. These are hardly controversial positions.”

    Well, depends on the type of humanists (or, on occasion, libertarians) you’re talking to. Some are very defensive of utilitarianism.

    Having said that – as an educated female who finds Vox Day’s opinions well outside my preferred sphere and his methods of discourse frequently sub-helpful, when VD says

    Because educating women is strongly correlated with reducing their disposition and ability to reproduce themselves. Educating them tends to make them evolutionary dead ends.

    I think he is factually correct. Women with higher educations do not have as many kids. (Or else population control researchers have been lying for decades when they report that women who finish grammar school/high school/college/professional degrees have fewer kids than their cousins who don’t – at every level.) It is also not clear that women with jobs and families – or women with just jobs – are happier on average than women who have the opportunity to raise kids without having to work.

    If one values college degrees and work hours for ones daughter over grandchildren and the daughter’s happiness – then, yeah, encouraging educating women is better than not. If ones metrics value heirs and daily joy in life, one might not reach the same conclusion.

    It does depend on each person and what they value – and we give up a great deal of “common good” and harmony in American society, because we value individual choice and liberty over what society thinks.

    Somehow, over several decades of listening to “pro women” speakers, I got the impression that the desired end state is for all individuals to be able to consider their options and make their own choices. And that in order to make the correct choice for each person, they had to know the pros and cons of each choice.

    Shutting up people who point out the (possible) cons of a particular choice isn’t allowing for rational consideration. Denying that there *are* any downsides is flat out lying. (TANSTAAFL.)

    I wouldn’t want VD making my choice (any choice) for me – but I don’t want those who oppose him (and worse, don’t want me to hear his opinion, and judge for myself) to make any such choices for me, either.

    Quoting people in the dishonest manner of alauda puts one in the second camp.

  92. dyingearth says:

    Tom, not sure if you’re reading Larry’s black last April, but here’s the place where Clamps rear his head: http://monsterhunternation.com/2013/04/11/a-great-article-about-the-politics-of-sci-fifantasy/ . He made a triumph return to Larry’s blog in December when Larry was book bombing Vox Day’s novel: http://monsterhunternation.com/2013/12/05/a-book-i-need-to-read/

    Marston still haven’t taken down his master piece of writing, so here’s a sample: http://yamathespacefish.deviantart.com/art/Nocturne-chapter-3-105196396

  93. Michael Lucius says:

    I hope this isn’t too off topic. I don’t think it is.

    That episode of the Twilight Zone is one of my favorites.

    The main character is sentenced for being “cold”. He doesn’t get along with other people. His co-workers dislike him and the feeling is mutual.
    When he is sentenced he is initially fine with it, because he imagines he doesn’t need or want contact with other people.

    Through a series of painful episodes he begins to realize how wrong he has been.
    So that, when he reaches the end of his sentence, he is eager to mend his ways and start a new life. The story shows how he is now a good friend and is cherished by others. So his “punishment” worked. He is a better and happier person.

    The story seems to show a short (one year) shunning, though painful, can teach a valuable lesson to someone with this particular problem and turn an anti-social pain in the ass into a valued member of society. So the “punishment” can be seen as a cure. You may think the story is wrong and that the cure is worse than the disease, but that is what the story shows (up to this point)

    Then the story takes a weird twist.

    He deliberately interferes in the cure of another person. Why?

    Maybe his, new found, sense of empathy overwhelms him and he has doesn’t realize what he is doing may do more harm than good.

    Maybe the cure didn’t get to the root cause of his problem: selfishness. Now comforting someone makes him feel good and he doesn’t care that his actions are harming the other person.

    It seems very clear from the concluding voiceover that the Twilight Zone episode doesn’t take my view of this story. The general discussion on this blog seems to agree with the TV show. I have not been able to find the original text of Mr. Silverberg’s story, so I don’t know if the original story ends with any ambiguity or if it concludes by telling you what to think (like the TV show).

    I like this story because it made me think, not only about outcasts and shunning. It also made me thing about unintended consequences and short term versus long term gratification.

  94. Dyingearth,

    While I missed much of that at the time, I’ve seen all of that. And laughed. And laughed. And laughed.

    Most of that laughing was reserved for the writing sample and how buttnugget up there thinks his writing is better than Kratman, Correia, Williamson, Hoyt, Ringo, or so many others who are professionals.

  95. Synova says:

    I like what keranih has said. “Shutting up people who point out the (possible) cons of a particular choice isn’t allowing for rational consideration. Denying that there *are* any downsides is flat out lying.”

    I would hope that I’m not such a delicate flower that I must be protected from the potential truthfulness of a very unwelcome point of view, or am unable to evaluate and consider the difference between what someone says that is true and what they conclude based upon it.

    There is also the issue that I’ve found that people aren’t ever all smart or all dumb or all right or all wrong and that if I can not agree with part and disagree, even vehemently, with part… I’m the one who has given up on reason. People (many of them) will read through these comments and self-righteously proclaim that all of those people agree with Vox and are defending Vox.

    Because it does seem to be all about tribalism, inclusion and expulsion, all and nothing, and that’s rather sad.

  96. Joshua says:

    Oh, alauda is THAT guy. I thought the username looked familiar…

  97. alauda says:

    Being a better writer than Kratman, Correia, Ringo, or Williamson isn’t much of an accomplishment.

  98. Being a better writer than Kratman, Correia, Ringo, or Williamson isn’t much of an accomplishment.

    If it’s not much of an accomplishment, what does that say about someone like you that completely sucks at the craft?

  99. It’s not racist to call Jonathan Swift’s indignation “savage,” or to have Wodehouse’s very name mean “wild man of the woods, woodwose.”

    Magically, it is racist to call N.K. Jemisin’s behavior “savage,” and it also turns Vox Day into a white guy of patriarchy, and it also turns anybody else racist and patriarchal unless they call it racist.

    Yep, I think I’ll stick with the literary archipelago, and stay away from the pouty passive-aggressive archipelago.

  100. alauda says:

    Says a guy who wrote some shitty self-published tanstaafl shtf die-ought-if crap.
    Yep, I just read the preview chapter of After the Blast. Spoiler: it stinks.
    I can’t even imagine what the middle of the book is like. I’m sure you’re one of those people who puts all the effort in the first chapter. You know, to hook the reader, or whatever.

  101. alauda says:

    I’d pick out the especially terrible lines but Amazon doesn’t allow copy-pasting.

  102. You think it sucks? Awesome. I should be a bestseller by Saturday.

    Besides, considering what you think of as quality writing, you opinion matters less than nothing.

  103. Joshua says:

    1. John C. Wright: “Speaking for myself, I have never met a Mormon, not one, whom I did not admire. Whatever it is your church does to turn out well spoken, devoted, and polite spokesmen, keep doing it. Maybe the larger and older denominations will take the hint and follow suit.”

    Perhaps I can offer a potential point of view on that. Keep in mind that although I am a practicing Mormon, I am not in any way, of course, an official spokesman for the Church, and this is just my own paraphrasing of doctrine with a bit of my own interpretation. Even were I an official spokesman for the Church, this would simply be my opinion, and the leaders of the Church have often opined on various issues without canonizing their opinions. There’s an old joke that I heard somewhere that, while just a joke, retains an interesting element of truth perhaps. Catholic doctrine is that when the Pope speaks ex cathedra that he is infallible. The LDS prophet, on the other hand, as a point of doctrine, is fallible, since he is a mortal vessel only (witness Jonah or Balan for a few good Biblical examples of fallible prophets.) The joke, of course, is that nobody from either religion really takes that doctrine seriously. Be that as it may, I’m just some guy and this is just my own little maundering opinion, nothing more. If there are errors therein, they are MY errors and mine alone.

    In any case, a particular point of LDS theology relates to the War in Heaven that happened before the foundation of the world. The concept is not unique to LDS theology, but some of the details are. Prior to the War in Heaven, there was a great Council in Heaven, in which all of the spirituall begotten Sons and Daughters of God (i.e., all of us) met and God presented to us his plan for our future progression; i.e., we would come to Earth to be tried and tested and demonstrate that we are willing to obey God’s commandments and follow his Will, thus earning eternal reward. Christ was to be our Saviour. Lucifer presented an alternate plan. Rather than being tried and tested, he would manage our earthly travails. For the greater good, we would surrender our liberty and freedom to Lucifer, and God would give to him the glory, and he would ensure that every single spiritual child of God would be saved. The original “no child left behind” if you will. But our earthly existence would be a totalitarian experience unlike anything imaginable by mortals; we would literally have no ability to sin, and no free will at all. But also no risk of failure.

    Of course, this plan was rejected, and this is the source of Lucifer’s rebellion and the War in Heaven.

    Joseph Smith also stated, and I quote: “We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege; let them worship how where or what they may.” Of course, he said that in the context when all around him were divisive sectarian Christians, but I think it’s not hard to extrapolate from that to a broader sense of “worship” that includes secular and even atheist philosophies. That such are practiced, of course, brings us great sadness, but we respect the liberty of men to make that decision.

    In fact, in general, I’d say that this doctrine leads Mormons in general to be very live and let live, perhaps moreso than many other philosophies. Our freedom is one of the most significant of the gifts and responsibilities granted to us by our Father in Heaven and we have no business interfering in the freedom of another. And the various totalitarian ideologies from Progressivism to Fascism to Communism to Socialism to modern liberalism are easily recognizable as various heads of the same Hydra—mortal reflections of a mindset that is—quite literally—Satanic in origin. It sounds nice; it sounds good, in fact. It’s secure. It’s safe. But it isn’t really any of those things, because it interferes with one of the most important of the tasks that we have here on earth; to exercise our own free will to choose to bring to pass righteousness on our own without being forced to it. It’s a false promise, an allure, a temptation. It would have frustrated the entire point of our eartly existence had it been allowed to come to pass. It is the original temptation, if you will, before even Adam and Eve, and those who followed Lucifer’s plan are the original fallen and lost souls. This doctrine will tend to make Mormons, in general, fairly good neighbors if they connect these dots and live accordingly, because they recognize that in order to claim the privilege of our beliefs, we need to respect the beliefs of others, and not interfere with the practice thereof.

    And then, of course, there’s Harry Reid, so clearly it’s not foolproof.

    I don’t know if anyone is interested in such, but some aspects of this topic in particular are explored in some detail in the Book of Mormon in a practical sense, comprising chapters 43-62 of the Book of Alma, available online. There’s a fair bit of nuance involved in Captain Moroni (and other’s) attempts to protect the liberty of the people from those who would take it away by force. There’s a certain pathos to the whole affair that is quite moving, and I’ve often heard members of the Church lament this section as one of a “bunch of dry history” rather than a portion of the book that is spiritually uplifting, but more and more I can see obvious parallels between this and the days in which we live.

    https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/43?lang=eng

  104. Dave W. says:

    If Clamps thinks a book sucks, I’ve just gotta check it out. Bought.

  105. Thanks, Dave. I’m hoping is sucks in a similar vein to Correia, Kratman, Ringo, Hoyt, or Williamson. It ain’t perfect by any means, but unlike Clamps, I’m not deluded enough to think my own writing is perfect.

    Nor do I reference rays of light suspended in icicles and stuff, nor are there any references to fish semen, which would explain how poor Clamps here failed to enjoy what little he read, so it’s got that going for it as well. :)

  106. alauda says:

    It’s everything that sucks about them magnified tenfold. With quite a bit of awkward phrasing to boot. “which now felt like it weighed the same amount approximately as a small elephant” and “every can of food I could find was stuffed into the bag, along with all of the shotgun shells” and “dropped calls were a way of life for another seven months when I would get out of that God forsaken contract.”
    “not perfect” isn’t how I’d put it. “Shit” is more apt. I know it’s only four pages and two pages are the gigantic poor-font-choice-on-a-stock-explosion, but still. “Shit.”

    “Six and a half thousand resident nanocameras, drifting in the air like fish semen, all burned out at once.” is a line from Empty Space by M. John Harrison. I wish I had his talent.

  107. And every thing you quote is so vastly superior to what I’ve read of yours that the comparison should make you cry, and I don’t describe myself as some supreme master of prose.

    As for M. John Harrison’s talent, we all wish you had it as well. That’s not a compliment to him, however.

  108. alauda says:

    Come on, you barely even know what metaphors and similes are.
    Your prose is completely lifeless.

  109. Actually, I know both quite well. I just don’t need to use them as a crutch.

    And while you may feel my prose is “lifeless”, I’m more interested in telling a story than dazzling readers with metaphors, similies, and flowery prose that does precisely dick. That’s a lesson you would do well to learn.

    Oh, that and to stop stalking people.

  110. alauda says:

    Yeah, a bland shtf story that does absolutely nothing to distinguish itself from all the other bland shtf stories out there. Bravo.

    Don’t think I’ll waste 99 cents on that.

  111. Oh, well, without your 99 cents, however will I go on?

    Probably just fine because you’ve gotten me a minimum of one other purchase so far, and will probably snag me a few more before it’s all over. I think I’ll live.

  112. alauda says:

    How are you ever going to improve if you hang around slimeshitters?

  113. Oh, wow. With a burn like that, how will I ever go on.

    Based on what you think is good science fiction, I’m really alright with not reaching your grandiose standards of “improvement”.

  114. alauda says:

    Okay. Your loss.

    Even Correia, for all his many faults, has a style that isn’t just “there was a nuclear explosion and people ran away and I stockpiled guns and food.”

  115. That’s hysterical.

    Especially since no one in the whole damn story “stockpiles guns and food”. But hey, you based an opinion on two whole pages, mostly because I mock your pathetic attempts and prose and you were gonna put me in my place.

    Whatever. Don’t you have some poor, unsuspecting woman to cyberstalk?

  116. alauda says:

    He puts cans of food in a bag. Who the hell cares?

  117. Fail Burton says:

    Marston, the door to the outside world beckons. Outside it are many beautiful women, the Inca Trail, live volcanoes to climb, a complete circuit of the island of Bali by motorcycle, revolutions to document, the Taj Mahal to visit, the ramparts of Valetta at Malta, sitting at the prow of a boat churning up the Nile on a cruise, the patio doors to your room wide, the night air perfect.

    Go East, young stalker, go East.

  118. Fail,

    Marston would rather complain because a character put food in a bag (food he would need later in the course of the story…who the hell walks across a state without food?) than actually interact with real human women. In part, that’s because real live women have things like pepper spray and tasers, which he’s bound to warrant.

    Of course, someday, his mother is going to kick him out of the basement and he’ll have no choice but to spend time in that big, bad world.

  119. alauda says:

    I’m not complaining because he put food in a bag, I’m complaining because everything that happens is written in the most dull prose possible.

  120. It could have been worse. It could have had a gem like this:
    The three of us holed up in an abandoned factory devoid of any life for the night

    Icicles held captive beads of brilliant golden sunlight.

    Seriously, how in the heck do icicle hold beads of brilliant golden sunlight despite it being night? I mean, I get you’re wanting to emulate lines about fish semen and all that, but don’t you have physics in your world?

    Don’t bother answering though, because you’re already more boring than some of the morons I’ve had to put up with this week, and that’s really saying something.

  121. alauda says:

    There’s a Deviantart link there. Quote that one instead.

  122. alauda says:

    I wrote it while looking at icicles when the sun was setting.

  123. So, after trying to insult me, you have the never to make demands of me? You’ve got balls, I’ll give you that.

    Second, I don’t give a damn what you were doing when you wrote that. Seriously, no one does. Anywhere.

  124. alauda says:

    Yes I do. Quote the right thing.

  125. You wrote the words and put them out there. Suck it up, cupcake.

  126. Besides which, I see no reason to accommodate you. You insult people’s writing, despite your own horrid work, and then complain because I quote something you’re not proud of any longer? Nope. Not going to happen.

    Maybe you should go learn some social skills, then come back and discuss things like a grown up for a change.

  127. alauda says:

    I’m not the one who mis-copypasted.

  128. Whatever, sparky.

  129. Charlie Warren says:

    I followed a link from another blog and found yours. The post was a very interesting read and I enjoyed the fable of Wanda and the Wandians. I was delighted to discover that this blog is written by a LDS member because I converted a little over 3 years ago. I can relate to the fable because I have had some very adverse reactions once people discover my faith. I have tried to explain to them the connection I instantly felt upon reading the Book of Mormon and attending the local Ward. I have not read any of your works yet but now I am going to search some out. It seems like I keep discovering Fantasy & Science Fiction writers I enjoy that happen to be Mormon.

  130. dyingearth says:

    re: Charlie Warren
    As an avowed lapsed Buddhist and Agnostic (I’m not against religion, it’s just not very high on my priority), I’ve never had any issue with LDS. Of course it could be my whole not against religion thing.

  131. Scot says:

    Reblogged this on I Was Misinformed and commented:
    Another example of how we are being manipulated into giving up our freedoms by group think that supersedes individuality.

  132. Tom Simon says:

    I’m not the one who mis-copypasted.

    Tell us, then, my dear Marston, do you deny that you wrote the passage that Mr. Knighton quoted? Or that you made it available to the public?

    That you thought better of it later and issued an emended version in another place is neither here nor there. Nearly all of us on the Internet write things we later regret, but verba volent, scripta manent, and there’s an end on ’t.

  133. alauda says:

    I wrote it and there was much copy-paste fail involved.

  134. Tom Kratman says:

    Hey, Chlamydia, don’t you have some Asian women to stalk? Some sequins to sew? Some beads of sunlight to take prisoner and lock in iclcles, overnight? Shouldn’t you be rounding up some life to put in a factory once night is over?

    Shouldn’t you be finding yourself a stout rope, stool, and tree branch and hanging yourself, much to the betterment of the human gene pool?

  135. Tom Simon says:

    Incidentally, Marston, I have just read ‘Opera Vita Aeterna’, and I attempted to read your screed. It is my considered opinion that Mr. Beale’s story had an interesting idea marred by indifferent execution (in particular, his Latin gives me the dry gripes), so that the story came within reach of moving me emotionally, but did not actually do so. Whereas yours combined such vacuity of incident with such flatulent poetastery in the style, that I simply could not frame to finish it.

    Your work, so far as I read it, reminded me of the complaints B. R. Myers made in his Reader’s Manifesto about the critical darlings of American literary fiction in the 1990s, who piqued themselves on their sentence-level prose and disdained actual storytelling, but in truth were about equally inept at both. I consider this criticism by Myers to be valid and well-defended; but what he would say about your effluvium, Marston, I don’t care to imagine.

  136. Tom Simon says:

    Shouldn’t you be finding yourself a stout rope, stool, and tree branch and hanging yourself, much to the betterment of the human gene pool?

    Now, now, Colonel. I myself have had bilious Leftists advise me to kill myself, at a time in my life when my spirits were so low that I nearly took their advice. You would not want to push a fellow creature over the edge with an ill-timed taunt, I hope.

    In any case, I doubt you need fear much about the gene pool. It strikes me as highly unlikely that our mutual friend Marston will be able to make any detribution to that.

  137. Tom Simon says:

    I wrote it and there was much copy-paste fail involved.

    No, Marston, there was no copy-paste fail, unless you did it yourself. Your work, such as it is, exists online in multiple versions; you do not get to deflect criticism by claiming that your critic chose the ‘wrong’ version. Whichever version they criticize, it is your work that is under the microscope, and you must either own up and take the critique as best you can, or vamoose the ranch. You don’t get to stand there and cry because the critics are not looking at the piece of work you would prefer them to look at.

  138. Fail Burton says:

    “On the dusky horizon red Mars beckoned and redly began to set – all red. I slammed a window sill on it and slam dunked it through my nerf basketball hoop. Then I watched my complete DVD set of Petticoat Junction.”

    THE END.

  139. alauda says:

    You actually take A Reader’s Manifesto seriously? No wonder you liked Opera Vita Aeterna.

  140. Tom Simon says:

    Sorry, Marston, I said I didn’t like ‘Opera Vita Aeterna’. ‘Interesting idea marred by indifferent execution’ is not praise. And why shouldn’t I take A Reader’s Manifesto seriously? It contains an argument based upon substantial evidence and constructed with cogent logic, which is more than I can say for anything I have ever seen of yours.

    Perhaps you have only read the abridged version of the ‘Manifesto’ published in The Atlantic; perhaps (and this is what I strongly suspect) you have not read it at all, and are merely trying to hide your ignorance by sneering at your opponents’ named sources as if they had already been disqualified. This is your frequent method, and it is the one that Uncle Screwtape describes under the name of Flippancy: ‘Among flippant people the Joke is always assumed to have been made. No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it.’ It is a cheap rhetorical trick, and your attempts to pass it off as currency are not succeeding here.

    In any case, the full book version (which I possess and have read thoroughly) makes an exceedingly strong case, by taking passages from the literary darlings of the day, showing that they have been extravagantly praised by multiple prestigious critics for their sentence-level pyrotechnics, and then demonstrating that these pyrotechnics are in fact damp squibs. This last, Myers accomplishes by juxtaposing the praised passages with quite ordinary passages from generally acknowledged and respected literary works from the mainstream Western canon, and letting the results speak for themselves. So Don DeLillo’s endless wittering about brand names is stacked up against Balzac’s shrewd portrayal of the actual psychology of a social-climbing conspicuous consumer, for instance; and it is not hard to see that if the latter is gold, the former is pinchbeck. This is a valid and fruitful method of criticism, whether or not you agree with Myers’ particular conclusions.

    No, my dear Marston, I fear you are not equipped to participate in any conversation on matters of literary merit, unless it is as an example of Dunning-Kruger effect in action. The mere fact that you imagine your own drivel to have literary value disqualifies you. Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses.

  141. alauda says:

    How is this passable?
    “The pallid sun was descending, its ineffective rays no longer sufficient to hold it up in the sky or to penetrate the northern winds that gathered strength with the whispering promise of the incipient dark.”

  142. alauda says:

    I can’t find anything in that morass that is Correia’s comment section. As far as I can tell, not much was actually quoted there.
    You, quote the freaking DeviantArt link.
    Listen, Correia, you can have threaded comments or flat comments, but you can’t have both.

  143. “You, quote the freaking DeviantArt link.”

    Or what? Who the hell do you think you are to issue orders to the people you’ve been insulting? Well, we’re not, because we’re having fun with this chew toy called your writing. If we get bored, we might head to DeviantArt and find a new one. Not really interested in going there right now. But you won’t do a damn thing about it, so quit trying to act big behind a computer screen.

    And WTF does Correia have to do with this? He’s not in this conversation, you pathetic worm.

    Brad, I’m sorry, but you’ve got to get a better class of troll.

  144. alauda says:

    … it’s hard to argue with someone on your level.

  145. Yeah, it probably is difficult to argue with someone who you can’t creep out into avoiding you.

  146. Tom Simon says:

    How is this passable?
    “The pallid sun was descending,
    etc., etc.

    The short answer is that it isn’t; it is reaching too hard for a cheaply poetical effect. The idea of the rays of the sun holding it up in the sky is too far-fetched to work even as an imaginative conceit, and the whole effect (and rhythm) of the sentence is spoilt by dragging that conceit in by the heels. This puts it, on the sentence level, very nearly on a par with the opening of your own piece. The difference is that Mr. Beale has at least an interesting idea as the basis for his story, and comes near to telling it; whereas your opus was so soporific, and so excessively concerned to display all the tawdry costume jewellery of your style, that I never could get far enough to discover whether it contained any idea or not. All things considered, it is one up to Mr. Beale – but that is faint praise.

  147. Tom Kratman says:

    Indeed, it is said that the FDA is looking into the work of the Greatest Pensman in all of Catatonia as a possibly less dangerous alternative to certain sleep medications. The risk, though, is that someone reading the silly shit’s drivel might never wake up, his brain refusing to further risk being so tormented and insulted.

    It would be one thing if Chlamydia could actually do something stylistically, as he claims to prefer style to story (or hasn’t clue one that there’s any need for a story). But he can’t! He’s a miserable failure gramatically, stylistically, logically, and in every other aspect of the storyteller’s art. I’d pity him, I think, except that men…oh, all RIGHT, creatures who are technically human and arguably male…who stalk females ought be locked up or done away with, presupposing they don’t have the decency to do away with themselves.

  148. Tom Kratman says:

    “The short answer is that it isn’t; it is reaching too hard for a cheaply poetical effect. The idea of the rays of the sun holding it up in the sky is too far-fetched to work even as an imaginative conceit, and the whole effect (and rhythm) of the sentence is spoilt by dragging that conceit in by the heels.”

    You know, I think that _does_ work, actually. Why? Because in the non-technoligical, indeed magical setting, the locals may well look at the sun, it’s rays, and its relationship with the planet in that way. So if it doesn’t speak to us in our idiom, it does perhaps explain to us theirs.

    That said, except for really egregious and disgusting crap like Chlamydia’s I don’t usually criticize other writer’s work. Why not? Well, who the hell am I?

  149. Tom Kratman says:

    By the way, Tom, remember that my job, for most of my adult life, was either training to kill people, training others to kill people, or trying really hard to kill people, where “people” meant folks who had never done me a lick of harm and whose demise might mean a poorer world, overall. On that scale, Marston’s a cockroach, better to be stepped on.

  150. Tom Simon says:

    Why? Because in the non-technoligical, indeed magical setting, the locals may well look at the sun, it’s rays, and its relationship with the planet in that way.

    This is a valid bit of worldbuilding, but you’re the one doing it, not Mr. Beale. He makes no effort to sell this metaphor as something that people in that world actually believe, or even entertain as a poetic conceit. The great weakness of the story, I find, is that it relies on the reader to recognize all the borrowed tropes and interpret them exactly in the way that the author intends them. But I hope to be writing a review on my own blog that will go into this in more detail.

    By the way, Tom, remember that my job, for most of my adult life, was either training to kill people, training others to kill people, or trying really hard to kill people, where “people” meant folks who had never done me a lick of harm and whose demise might mean a poorer world, overall. On that scale, Marston’s a cockroach, better to be stepped on.

    On the scale of eternal souls, which I am required to measure by, Marston is a child of God as much as any other, and ought not to be sent on to eternity while there remains any chance that reality will slap some repentance into his silly head.

    I may say that the rhetoric of calling people cockroaches does not recommend itself to me. My enemies have said similar and worse things about me, but I do not recognize them as my judges. No man is competent to judge another man’s soul as valueless.

  151. Tom Kratman says:

    Maybe so, but any story is a conspiracy between the writer and the reader. Perhaps Vox and I conspire better together.

    That, like contemplating the prospect of Michael Moore being one of God’s special treasures, is one of those things that really complicates the question of faith. But, in any case, it was not his soul I judge as valueless (though God may so judge); it’s his life and what he does with it. I find no value in it, or as little as a cockroach’s. I’d be lying if I said differently.

  152. Tom Simon says:

    If Marston were to take your advice and hang himself, he would be judging his soul as valueless, and he would be doing it at your instigation. I can’t imagine that you would find that easy to bear: which returns to my original point.

    As to the value of his life, he does, I suppose, serve as a warning to others, a living example of C. S. Lewis’s dictum: ‘Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.’ That’s more work than any cockroach ever does.

    Anyway, Colonel, if you do at some point find it necessary to step on him like a cockroach, I shall probably trust your judgement. Just don’t ask him to do it himself; that’s a dangerous road.

  153. Tom Simon says:

    Oh, and P.S.: It’s quite common for people to find no value in my life or what I do with it. This occurs frequently even among members of my own immediate family. I should like to be more useful than I am, but I have not so far contrived a method to get myself from here to there with the degrees of freedom available to me. I still dare to hope that no one will see fit to squash me like a bug; not even your good self, Sir.

  154. Tom Kratman says:

    You might be surprised at the things that don’t or wouldn’t bother me.

  155. Tom Kratman says:

    I don’t squish people for just any old thing, Tom; somebody has to work at it.

  156. Brad, I’m sorry, but you’ve got to get a better class of troll. — TL Knighton

    Give me a couple of years to sell a few more books to Baen. I’m just a soldier, not a capo. Once I make capo and have my own crew, then — then! — I shall rate high-quality haters. Not the low-grade off-brand folk who’ve been nipping at my calves; some of them since as far back as 2006.

  157. Tom Simon says:

    I don’t squish people for any old thing either, Colonel; but addressing a person formally by title, and being tutoi’d in return without leave, sends an uncomfortable twinge up my squishus nerve. Verbum sap, Sir.

  158. Brad, poor Brad. We can always try to take up a collection for you or something. I mean, you’re a talented, award-winning writer. One who actually writes good stuff even! You deserve better.

  159. Dave W. says:

    *pictures self standing at an intersection with sign: “Writer needs better trolls. Please Help.”*

  160. Don’t forget about bake sales. I can whip up some brownies or something.

    Does Utah have Krispie Kreme? If so, they sell donuts for fundraising. Maybe we can try that too?

  161. Joshua says:

    But, in any case, it was not his soul I judge as valueless (though God may so judge); it’s his life and what he does with it. I find no value in it, or as little as a cockroach’s. I’d be lying if I said differently.

    An interesting distinction.

  162. Dave W. says:

    @TL: Just finished ‘After The Blast’. I liked it! It was a good first effort. First couple of pages were a little awkward, but then it felt like you hit a groove and it flowed a lot better.

    Even better, no mention of fish semen whatsoever! :-p

  163. Dave, I appreciate it. Yeah, there were some issues with the first couple of pages, but it did indeed get better. Not my best work by any means.

    As for fish semen, I may try and work that in on the next one. :)

  164. Oskari says:
    April 28, 2014 at 10:18 am

    If there was an author on the Hugo shortlist who says that all Mormons should be put to death or that the Holocaust never happened, I propably wouldn’t vote for his/her work no matter what it is. I think there are some limits for what you should be able to say. I for one am not going to die for Vox Day’s right to write the vile stuff that he does.

    Then who is going to die for your right to say vile, or even not so vile things?
    We protect the liberties of the jerks and outcasts because they are the canary in the coal mine. Precedents set can be widened and eventually they will be used against people you like.

    Two more thoughts: (1) I thought SF folks loved dangerous visions. (2) I need to get a Nancybutton that says ‘I’m so old I remember when liberals thought blacklisting was a bad thing.

  165. Tom Kratman says:

    Do you see a colonel in my sig line?

  166. Tom Simon says:

    Do you see a colonel in my sig line?

    Sir, if that is directed at me, I don’t see any sig line at all. I do know that you are a retired lieutenant colonel, and therefore address you by that title of rank, as I have seen others do; but if you prefer plain Mister Kratman, I will so address you. However, I do not presume to address my betters familiariter without invitation, and I do not take it kindly when they presume upon their superiority to address me familiariter without reciprocity.

    You may call me what you wish, within limits. You may call me Simon, if the mode of address intended is that of a social superior to an inferior; I have no quarrel with that. You may call me Mr. Simon if, for some unfathomable reason, you wish to address me as an equal. You may call me Hey-You, Fathead, Dunce, Jerk, Ass, or even Dog of a Peasant, if it will ease your passage through this vale of tears, Sir, and I will make no complaint, provided it is clear that it is I who am meant. But to address me by my first name, and the short form of it at that, is to presume a degree of familiarity and friendliness which I have not observed in our actual relations, and which is to that extent bogus; or else it is to presume upon your own superiority without acknowledging the dignity of the inferior party. I am, I know, very old-fashioned, but I have very little in this world apart from my dignity, and even that is sufficiently tattered without your help.

    Sir, I am doing my very best to respect the dignity of your rank and attainments, to say nothing of your status as a man and a citizen. If you do not see fit to respond in kind, then I must respectfully withdraw from conversation with you.

  167. Did we go back in time at some point and I didn’t get the memo?

  168. Tom Kratman says:

    I am quite informal and generally egalitarian; I prefer just my first name. Otherwise, I wouldn’t use it.

  169. Tom Simon says:

    Colonel, or by your leave, Tom:

    In that case I shall try to oblige – but I should say that my own first name is about the worst sound in the world to my ears, and it will not come natural to call you by it. Part of me is convinced that it is a deadly insult to call anyone ‘Tom’.

    Mr. Knighton:

    Not all cultures are as breezily informal as the American; and I am not an American, as the word is used in English, though by stretching a point I might be called americano in the Spanish sense of the word. Going back in time is not really the trouble here.

  170. That may be, but this still strikes me as a discussion better suited to a time several generations prior.

    I’d tell you to just call me Tom, because I’m uncomfortable being called. “Mr. Knighton”, but with three “Toms” floating around in the conversation, it would get confusing quickly.

  171. Tom Simon says:

    If the occasion should arise, may I then call you T.L.?

  172. If ever in person, I’d prefer Tom, but as I publish under T.L., I can hardly complain for being called that. :D

  173. alauda says:

    Even the name “After The Blast” is clichéd.

  174. That’s funny. I don’t remember giving a shit what you thought about the title you pathetic little man.

  175. alauda says:

    Well, your title is bad and you should feel bad.

    No, Kratman, it doesn’t work.

  176. Dave W. says:

    Clamps….. telling someone they should feel bad…… BWAHAHHAHAHAHA!!!!
    *wipes eyes* Thanks, I needed a good belly laugh!

  177. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!

    That’s seriously the best you have? Really?

    That’s it, Brad. We’re definitely doing the bake sale to get you a better troll. Clamps just isn’t even trying anymore.

  178. Tom Kratman says:

    Go sew some sequenced shirts, Chlamydia. No one cares about your opinion, except you, and that you care establishes an irrebutable presumption that your opinion is worthless.

  179. Tom Kratman says:

    And, see, I like my first name. Then again, when your last name is Kratman in an Irish ghetto like South Boston, to paraphrase, “you grow up hard and you grow up mean; your fists get fast and your wits get keen…”

  180. Tom Kratman says:

    Yes, Tom K., Chlamydia is right. You should feel awful that you haven’t a single sequened shirt, no after hours captive beads of brilliant golden sunlight (x2), no factories devoid of life but only for an evening. Everyone know that things like that are the mark of truly great…hmmm…literature? Well, no, not the mark of great literature. Style, at least? Well, no, it’s so self conscious and self indulgent that it just sickens, so not great style.

    Oh, I know. Garbage, pure unadulterated garbage. Great, stinking, festering piles of garbage. Great, unadulterated, stinking, festering piles of garbage, with bird-shit frosting…but sequened, for the evening, and the little piles of guano illuminated by captive beads of brilliant golden sunlight.

  181. Tom Kratman says:

    Sequined, rather

  182. Pingback: Murderous, heartless cowards | Something Fishy

  183. Honestly, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Clap is a serious, clinical masochist. It’s the only reason I can come up with for his continuing to show up at the fora of conservative authors, claiming to be better than multi-nyt best sellers when he so clearly is not, and then bending over grabbing his ankles and asking to be spanked.

    Son, you need professional help, seriously.

  184. Tom Simon says:

    Great, unadulterated, stinking, festering piles of garbage, with bird-shit frosting…but sequened, for the evening, and the little piles of guano illuminated by captive beads of brilliant golden sunlight.

    The sad thing here is that your parody is actually better style than Marston’s ghastly original.

    It’s the only reason I can come up with for his continuing to show up at the fora of conservative authors, claiming to be better than multi-nyt best sellers when he so clearly is not, and then bending over grabbing his ankles and asking to be spanked.

    I used to deal with trolls for a living (saddest job I ever had), and I can tell you that it probably isn’t masochism. More like, he is so socially inept and so incapable of reading emotional clues from text, he actually thinks that his words are inflicting righteous damage upon us, the heinous foe, and that he is returning to his Leftist lair covered in glory after causing us all to writhe in soul-deep agony at the sudden exposure of our horrible, horrible guilt. And he is so plug ignorant of the art of dialectic that he actually believes he is winning his arguments with us.

    Moreover, as a person who despises religion, theology, philosophy, and history, who knows nothing about art, literature, science, technology, or any of the useful trades, he is gloriously unequipped to appreciate any mode of thought but his own – and his own mode contains no actual thought, just an angry clashing of slogans without ground or consequent, like Nietzsche on cheap drugs. Therefore (hello again, Dunning and Kruger) he imagines that his own mental slush is superior to all our thoughts; that we disagree with him is, to him, proof of our imbecility. We all have gone through a phase of being something like him – usually in childhood, before we learnt sense; we all have outgrown it, seen through it, put away those childish things – but he imagines that there are none but childish things, and that we can only differ from him by falling short of his measure, not by exceeding it. I may be mistaken on one or two points, but that is my reading of the man, based upon more experience of his kind than anyone should have to endure.

    In short, Marston is like a blind man carrying a burnt-out and wickless lantern, wandering from town to town, unshakably certain that he is bringing the benighted people around him their first experience of light.

  185. You know, I was thinking about the fact that I should feel bad for a cliche title.

    If I should feel bad for that, then Clamps should be wanting to play “Let’s drink what’s under the sink” for what he’s written, and yet he’s still here. I mean, if people should feel bad based on what they’ve written, no one should feel worse than Clamps.

    Even the guy who wrote Eye of Argon feels better about his skill after reading that crap.

  186. Tom Simon says:

    Even the guy who wrote Eye of Argon feels better about his skill after reading that crap.

    Sadly, no. Jim Theis died too soon to have that consolation. It’s a pity, really, for he did not deserve his reputation. ‘The Eye of Argon’ is a terrible story, terribly written, but at least it’s a story: Theis had some understanding of what he was trying to do, he just wasn’t skilful enough to do it. And for pity’s sake, he was sixteen when he wrote it. Marston has let fly his unfletched arrows without even knowing where the target is, and he hasn’t got the excuse of youth.

  187. I believe Clamps crappy writing is able to transcend the veil of death. Theis has probably seen it, and feels soooooo much better about his attempt.

  188. Tom Simon says:

    If Marston’s writing is capable of passing through the veil, then surely it must arrive in Hell on the other side; and I believe Jim Theis suffered enough in this lifetime, and hope he is in the other place, where trash like that cannot come.

  189. Special dispensation would be made for Jim Theis, so as to know that he is no longer the author of the worst piece ever written.

  190. Tom Simon says:

    That is a hopeful thought.

    (But then, Theis was never the author of the worst piece ever written. As I say, at least his screed met the formal definition of a story. Woe unto all the Marstons of the world, and they are legion, who wrote so-called fiction that did not even meet that formal definition – and could not, because they did not understand what a story was.)

  191. Tom Kratman says:

    “The sad thing here is that your parody is actually better style than Marston’s ghastly original.”

    Well, of _course_ it is. ;)

    You know, I had to train myself out of a more florid style. It was actually what came naturally to me as a child, all of which was badly exacerbated by my high school. It had, however, no place in the Army, except for the sarcastic writing of Staff Duty Journals, in the service of screwing with anally retentive battalion executive officers. (ie, “And as rosy-fingered Dawn, the Child of Morning, raised her glorious head over the battalion stadium, illuminating thereby not only the pleasant, jungle-fringed expanse of our little Panamanian home away from home and outpost of empire, but raising the odor of the puke trees behind B and C Companies to an uncomplaining Heaven, lighting up the thrice to be marvelled at mermite cans, most unwisely left unattended by miscreants so far unidentified, guarded but by A Company’s airborne caimen team, and also a brace of drunken Cunas, sleeping it off by the negatively to be celebrated…”)

    I will, as a miniimum, add one simile and one metaphor per book, just to prove I can. But unless it serves the story, any more than that I do not bother with.

  192. Tom Simon says:

    I like the way Lloyd Alexander used similes in the Prydain books – for comic effect and characterization. Whenever his Princess Eilonwy opened her mouth, there was a far-fetched simile inside, and she could rarely shut it again without letting that simile and its sister escape. But that is quite a different thing from having a florid style.

    My own style is orotund rather than florid, as you have doubtless perceived; I don’t much care for dumbed-down vocabulary or chopped-up little sentences, and I think well enough of my readers to suppose that they are better educated than the average product of the public schools, who does not read for pleasure at all. This style is heavily out of fashion at present. But it has Samuel Johnson and the Old Testament to recommend it, and I figure that God and Sam and I can lick any three writers now living (no thanks to me); so I am still in there plugging.

  193. Similes and metaphors have their place, and can be a very useful tool. Unfortunately, when someone insisted on using them too much, the result is prose that accomplishes nothing while taxing the reader unnecessarily. After all, with so many metaphors and similes, it becomes difficult to keep up with the story.

    And really, language is nothing but a tool we use to craft a story.

  194. Tom Simon says:

    And really, language is nothing but a tool we use to craft a story.

    Well, it is a tool we use for all sorts of other purposes as well; but in the context of this discussion, I take your point. As I have said elsewhere, style is the rocket; story is the payload. The language has to be powerful enough to get the story off the ground and deliver it on target.

  195. Tom Kratman says:

    I’m inclined to disagree; if the story can’t get off the ground on its own, language only makes it crash the harder.

  196. Tom Simon says:

    How is the story going to get off the ground if you don’t use language to tell it? For written fiction, language is the delivery system; without it, the story is not communicated to the audience at all.

  197. I think the problem is that the metaphor has things arranged a bit wrong. Language is the ship, the story is the fuel. Without a solid story, it won’t take off. Language, however, determines if the trip is going to be merely utilitarian or something much more luxurious.

    However, a luxurious ship won’t go anywhere if the story sucks.

  198. TL: good analogy. Using it, I find that modern literary taste is to have a superbly luxurious coracle that drifts aimlessly. It’s left to the reader to tease out some form of direction or purpose — and if you don’t get the direction or purpose, you clearly don’t get literary sensibilities. Which is why I’ve never hitched my personal writing philosophy to the lit side of things. I believe firmly that story (which includes plot and character) is the thing, more than language. Ergo, a robust car with a full tank that follows a definite path to a specific destination, yet has basic features, will be a better seller than a luxury automobile with amazing interior goodies, a spectacular paint job, and phat rims, yet which handles poorly in town, guzzles fuel, has a faulty GPS, and tends to quit at stop lights. (grin)

  199. Exactly.

    Probably the best balance I’ve found recently was John C. Wright. The language was pure luxury, like taking a ride in a 767 outfitted and staffed just for your own personal enjoyment. However, there was an actual story that the language served and enhanced.

    More literary works tend to focus on metaphor, simile and other tricks to enhance the language to such a degree that they are performing a kind of slight of hand, hoping you are distract you with a beautiful use of words so that you don’t notice that no one is really doing anything.

    Mr. Wright, on the other hand, crafted something that could easily have distracted you, but there was no point because there was…oh…a story.

    If only more of the “literary” writers would realize you can do both. The world of fiction would benefit greatly.

  200. alauda says:

    On the other hand, prose like Vox Day’s (someone describes it as simultaneously overwrought and strangely robotic) could bring down even a good story.

  201. First, stalker boy, you’d have to know what a story was, then you would have to absorb minor issues like “plot.” Then you would have to have some clue what “good prose” actually _is_.

    Hint: If you have to resort to metaphor and simile in every other paragraph, you ain’t doin’ it right.

    But of course, “someone” would have to describe Vox’s prose that way, because a nicely turned phrase like that is beyond someone of your … skill really doesn’t describe it, you have none … abilities? No, that doesn’t work either.

    Someone help me here, I’m not sure there’s actually a word for The Clap’s level of incompetence with the written word…

  202. alauda says:

    It was an anonymous comment. One I can’t disagree with.

  203. Oh, Chlamydia, we knew it had to be, you’re not capable of writing anything like that. While I disagree, it’s pithy, trenchant and well constructed. I have yet to see you write anything approaching even that minimal level of competence.

  204. Tom Kratman says:

    You’re right; I shouldn’t have said “language” but perhaps something like “literary style.” Though I thought that would be understood.

  205. alauda says:

    Vox Day isn’t competent. His prose is leaden and robotic.

  206. And yours jumps with light and sings of glorious competence?

  207. Oh, and creepyboy, I should mention, Vox’s competence is measured by the only standard that matters: He sells books, lots of them, you do not.

  208. Tom Simon says:

    I think the problem is that the metaphor has things arranged a bit wrong. Language is the ship, the story is the fuel.

    No, thank you, I arranged that metaphor that way on purpose. You see, in practical use, the purpose of a rocket is to make a payload go somewhere. (I’m not talking about spaceships, I’m talking about rockets, the kind we use here and now.) You design the rocket to be powerful enough and have sufficient fuel capacity to deliver the payload to the target with a specified margin of safety. You don’t underbuild or overbuild it for the job, and you certainly don’t go building a liquid-fuel rocket with hundreds of tons of fuel just for the pleasure of shooting the thing off.

    However, postmodernists and academics and some other assorted Leftists have the idea that rockets really are built for their own sake, just to be used as phallic symbols; and the very same sort of people have the idea that the sole and sufficient purpose of poetic language is to show off the writer’s cleverness. The idea of delivering a payload, like the idea of telling an actual story, does not impinge upon their consciousness. This was the point of my metaphor as originally given; but I only referred to part of it here, because I did not wish to bore you unnecessarily with the rest. I hope that, given the context, you can see how I might have had some point in choosing as I did.

  209. Tom Simon says:

    Oh, and creepyboy, I should mention, Vox’s competence is measured by the only standard that matters: He sells books, lots of them, you do not.

    Oh, Mr. Richardson, when will you learn? In Marston’s world, selling books is not a feature, it’s a bug. That’s crass commercialism, and you’re supposed to be ashamed of it. The real purpose of writing is to vomit your sensitive poetic soul onto the page so that people can stand around and applaud your wonderfulness. Oh, yes, and to get government grants.

  210. Tom Simon says:

    You’re right; I shouldn’t have said “language” but perhaps something like “literary style.” Though I thought that would be understood.

    The thing is, it was I who said ‘language’, and I was speaking of language in the general and inclusive sense, not of the garbage that is passed off as ‘fine literary writing’. You disagreed with me because you assumed that I meant the latter, apparently. It would seem that I was in error when I thought that I would be understood.

  211. alauda says:

    Vox sells novels because of his politics, not because of his (nonexistent) literary talents.

  212. Ahh, so then all those liberal writers, they sell because of their politics too?

    Oh wait, that would be expecting intellectual honesty from someone with the intellect, kindly, of a slime mold.

  213. Tom Simon says:

    Marston sells no novels because of his nonexistent literary talents, not because of his politics.

  214. alauda says:

    Unlike Vox, those liberal writers are actually competent.
    This is the kind of deathless prose Vox writes. This is why he had to start his own publishing house. Castalia House doesn’t have submission guidelines or even contact information on their website.

    It would destroy them just as they had destroyed his race, Speer vowed. For these would be the only children he would ever have, these small, mewling abominations would have to serve as the foundation of his father’s vengeance.

    The guards did not speak, they only cleaned their weapons before one of them pointed at him, then toward the castle. He rode slowly toward it, with three of them on either side. A bell rang out from the tower. At first, he thought it was announcing the time, but when it did not stop he realized it was in honor, or perhaps warning, of his imminent arrival.

    Brother Sperarus, no longer young, lay dead in the snow, his face frozen in the rictus of violent death. Beside him lay his staff with dark green ice encasing one end of it. Goblins.

    “Are you sure this is a good idea?” Speer said, sensing that the older man was hesitant about summoning what Speer assumed must be a demon . He was eager to learn diablerie, but from what he had read of the art , the sort of precautions Cajarc was taking were extraordinary and indicated that the spirit being called was of considerable power.

    I am a witchking ! How could that be? It didn’t seem possible . The witchkings were creatures of terror, of legend, they were powerful, and evil, and cruel. How could he be a witchking when he was only a boy? He pulled the note out of his coat. I am the son of… Mauragh. Thauragh was my grandfather. My name is Dauragh.

  215. And yet it remains better than anything you’ve ever written. You might, maybe, become almost competent if you were willing to learn from your betters.

    But I see now! Liberal writers are competent, conservative ones not so much! Thus sayeth the slime mold! All hail the slime mold!

  216. alauda says:

    Somehow I doubt my betters include Vox Day and T.L. Knighton.

  217. Tom Simon says:

    Marston, the purpose of fiction is not to have ‘deathless prose’. The samples of Mr. Beale’s writing that you just gave are workmanlike and undecorative, but they get the job done; they tell the story. They are, of course, incoherent when ripped from their several contexts and jumbled up like that; but coherence is not a trait you are equipped by nature or training to appreciate, anyway.

    Your own writing, on the other hand, what I have seen of it, is conspicuously and self-consciously ugly, and does not function in the service of telling a story, or indeed, in any other service worth performing. Your cheap stylistic tricks might be impressive and precocious coming from a child in school, but coming from a grown man with literary pretensions, they are merely contemptible. All in all, your subliterary ravings put me in mind of the man who thought he could dance like Baryshnikov when all he could actually do was shamble like a dancing bear.

    Now run along, sonny, or I may say something that will simply make you rear up on your hind legs and howl.

  218. Dave W. says:

    Don’t these people realize that the more they rip Vox, the more I want to add his stuff to my reading queue, just to piss them off?

  219. Somehow I doubt my betters include Vox Day and T.L. Knighton.

    Well, at least one person in just this thread has said they liked what I wrote. I can’t find where anyone has liked that crap you call writing. Anywhere. I mean, maybe your mom said it, but she was lying. I hate to break it to you, but it’s true. She just didn’t have the heart to tell you how much you sucked.

    That puts me…well…way the hell ahead of you. So, it would seem that I actually am your better. Heartbreaking, I know, but once you embrace it and learn to grow from it, you’ll find yourself in a happier place.

  220. alauda says:

    And Day’s is… unconsciously ugly? Because that’s the ugliest prose I’ve seen by far. Undecorative, yes, but also ugly and stilted and leaden. The only thing that sets Vox apart from the thousands of other shitty self-published writers is his redundancy and his awkward style. And if you ignore the prose, you’re left with “elf discovers religion.”

    To refresh your memory: “The dead goblin didn’t have any answers for him, and the gaping mouth gaping loosely open made it look about as stupid as Forex was feeling”
    “…side of the hill and the opening that gaped like an open wound.”

  221. alauda says:

    You might regret that decision.
    Though you didn’t regret After The Blast, so who knows?

  222. You’re right, I don’t regret After the Blast. I’m damn sure not regretting the money it’s making me while your writing languishes away on DeviantArt with all the other hackneyed prose begging for someone to love you.

    Don’t worry though. They won’t.

  223. Tom Simon says:

    And Day’s is… unconsciously ugly? Because that’s the ugliest prose I’ve seen by far.

    Don’t worry, Marston. One day, you’ll get used to reading books without pretty pictures in them, and then you’ll have a wider acquaintance with prose and be able to judge of such matters.

    One day, perhaps you will even learn that prose style is not the be-all and end-all of writing. The job of an imaginative writer, as Tasso said, is to please and instruct; at the very least, it is to please or instruct. A writer who merely shows off his pretty prose without entertaining or informing his audience is simply masturbating in public. But you probably think that is a meritorious activity, don’t you, Marston? Else you would not think you have accomplished something by putting your work up on the gigantic circle-jerk that is Deviantart.

    Undecorative, yes, but also ugly and stilted and leaden. The only thing that sets Vox apart from the thousands of other shitty self-published writers is his redundancy and his awkward style.

    Actually, the principal thing that sets Mr. Beale apart from thousands of other self-published writers is that you have tried to read his work, and you have never tried to read theirs. But that doesn’t stop you from making a perfectly idiotic pronunciamiento about the literary quality of self-published work. How does it feel to be a wilfully ignorant little bigot?

    And if you ignore the prose, you’re left with “elf discovers religion.”

    That’s really where the shoe pinches, doesn’t it? You hate elves, and you passionately loathe religion, and you cannot admit for a moment that any book containing either of those two horrible things could be of any value, lest your snotty little head explode.

  224. says the guy who used the same metaphor twice in one paragraph.

  225. Tom Simon says:

    Was that last remark directed at me? Because it came right after mine, and was not addressed to anyone by name.

  226. No, sorry it was directed to the Clap

  227. Tom Simon says:

    OK, thanks. I thought as much. The juxtaposition of your comment with mine was, shall we say, infelicitous?

  228. Tom Kratman says:

    “Don’t worry, Marston. One day, you’ll get used to reading books without pretty pictures in them, and then you’ll have a wider acquaintance with prose and be able to judge of such matters.”

    I think you’re being hopelessly optimistic there. He will never be able to judge anything.

  229. alauda says:

    As I said, the only reason anyone read anything by Day is because he says controversial things about women and minorities.

    The metaphor being used twice was a mistake with copy-pasting and I fixed it.

  230. Tom Kratman says:

    Not quite accurate, Chlamydia. You posted it for all to see, then had to be _told_ by us what a moronic dweeb and illiterate piece of shit you were. THEN you fixed it…halfways…because even once was too much.

  231. Tom Simon says:

    I think you’re being hopelessly optimistic there. He will never be able to judge anything.

    Oh, I don’t suppose he’ll ever judge correctly. But he will at least have sufficient information to base a judgement upon, as opposed to simply talking out of the orifice closest to his brains.

  232. Tom Simon says:

    As I said, the only reason anyone read anything by Day is because he says controversial things about women and minorities.

    You have interviewed each and every one of his readers to determine this, yes? Or did the voices in your Rice Krispies reveal the apodictic TRVTH?

  233. alauda says:

    I posted it when it wasn’t even finished or polished and it was still better than anything Vox could ever write.

    That’s why I picked that chapter specifically.

  234. Dave W. says:

    Well, Clampsy, if you think it’s so full of Awesome & Win, why don’t you put your money where your fish semen is and self-publish it on Amazon or Goodreads? It’ll obviously be a big hit, right?

  235. Tom Simon says:

    I posted it when it wasn’t even finished or polished and it was still better than anything Vox could ever write.

    There is precisely one person in this conversation who has that opinion, and that person is disqualified on the grounds of personal bias. Everyone who has delivered an opinion on your writing sample has agreed that it is irredeemably awful, except the author. That should tell you something; but nobody and nothing can tell you anything.

    The trouble with you, or part of it, is that you are so convinced that you know everything, you will not listen to anyone or try to learn anything. So you will never know any more than you know now, which is very little indeed.

  236. alauda says:

    I keep telling you, the story with the fish semen simile is by Harrison.

    The Kefahuchi Tract trilogy is critically acclaimed, by the way. More than could be said about Vox Day or Tom Kratman or T.L. Knighton.

  237. Tom Simon says:

    More than could be said about Vox Day or Tom Kratman or T.L. Knighton.

    And infinitely more than could be said about Andrew Marston, who nevertheless insists upon displaying his own puerile ravings as exemplars of superior literature.

  238. Oh, we know where the line comes from. But since you think it’s brilliant, we’re branding you with it. Learn to deal with it.

  239. alauda says:

    That makes no sense, but okay.

  240. So yo suck at reading comprehension too. No wonder you can’t recall much of anything from Caliphate.

  241. alauda says:

    No, I couldn’t recall the hero’s name because he was a cardboard cutout. I do remember some points, like how Muslims aren’t meant to be sympathetic but the good guys were so utterly vile that I fount it hard not to. Like the shitty line about the guy quivering like the product of a jello mold, which Kratman will defend to this day. I remember Kratman hammering in the hawk and rabbit analogy like a crucifixion.

  242. Sure. You just keep telling yourself that.

    Maybe someday, you’ll find someone who actually believes it besides yourself. I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.

  243. alauda says:

    You seriously mean to tell me you haven’t found anyone else on the internet who doesn’t like Kratman’s novels?

  244. Sure I have. However, they can give me a reasoned response that isn’t boiled down into a couple of sentences that really shake out to “Kratman doesn’t write about fish semen, so he’s no good.”

  245. alauda says:

    I said why I thought Caliphate wasn’t good. Do I need to dumb it down further for you?

  246. No, you gave me your reasons, but they’re bullshit and you know it. It boils down to you don’t like Kratman.

    As for dumbing it down, I don’t know though. Can you get any dumber?

  247. alauda says:

    You mean to tell me Caliphate was a well-written story with brilliant prose and fully-realized characters?

  248. I thought it was a well-written story with solid prose and fully realized character. What you’ve never understood is that “brilliant prose” isn’t necessary for a story to be delivered effectively and enjoyably.

  249. That’s because the Clap doesn’t understand the point of writing is to communicate, anything which gets in the way of communicating, whether it be fiction or nonfiction needs to be eliminated, florid prose inevitably gets in the way of communicating.

    In the mass communication business we call this “noise in the system” if your “signal to noise ratio” is too high, you fail to communicate and you personally are a failure.

    The Clap’s failure is of an epic, nay biblical level, but he’s incapable of understanding this. Mainly because he’s a fukkin’ idiot.

  250. Well, old Clamps believes that language exists for its own sake, rather than as a tool. His idea of what constitutes “good” writing is the literary equivalent of someone buying a finely crafted saw, then hanging it on the wall.

    That’s why he has a propensity for collecting quotes, both good and bad (by his definition). For him, all prose exists in a vacuum and should be displayed as if it were a trophy.

    The Clap’s failure is of an epic, nay biblical level, but he’s incapable of understanding this. Mainly because he’s a fukkin’ idiot.

    And that might be to great an insult to fukkin’ idiots everywhere. :D

  251. http://madgeniusclub.com/2014/01/24/write-just-write-a-guest-post-by-patrick-richardson/

    A few thoughts on writing above for ol’ Chlamydia.

    Point four — write to a sixth grade audience. “Do what!?!”

    No I’m not talking about dumbing down your writing. I’m not talking about writing “see Spot run.”

    I’m talking about not writing over the heads of your audience. This entire post has been written using words that any sixth grader should be able to understand and yet I haven’t talked down to you once.

    But a novel, or a newspaper article, is not the place to show off your command of obscure portions of the English language. That sort of mental masturbation is the province of scholarly papers on the mating habits of the Lesser Prairie Chicken where idiot academics compete to prove how big their PhDs are by the use of ever more arcane and florid language.

    Save it for love poems to your sweet babboo, folks.

    Keep your prose light and simple. Not stupid, but easily readable and understandable. The point is not to show how big your, er, vocabulary is, but rather to tell a story — to communicate. Florid prose gets in the way of that and should be disdained. (See what I did there?)

    So that’s it in a nutshell folks.

    Write, let others read it, accept editing and don’t write over your audience’s head.

    Simple as pie.

    There’s the nugget section for Creepy Stalker Boi.

  252. As if he’ll actually comprehend it.

    Instead, he’ll write some one or two line comment where he instead tries to insult me or Kratman, along with Vox who’s not even in this conversation.

    Really, I have to wonder if he’s in love with Vox or something but only has a kindergarten playground kind of way of expressing it?

  253. alauda says:

    My riposte to you: Final Fantasy XII. That game did not use a 6th grader’s vocabulary and yet it sold 5 million copies worldwide.

  254. alauda says:

    Perhaps you would like to tell me the name of the hero from Caliphate?

  255. John Hamilton and Petra. Why do you care? After all, because he’s an action oriented hero, he’s really just a cardboard cut out, right?

  256. alauda says:

    Eh, just wondering. I guess there are people who care about Caliphate enough to remember that. Or maybe you just looked it up. Who knows?

  257. 61 five star reviews on Amazon, 37 four star reviews compared to 10 one star and 6 two star reviews. Especially since most of the negative reviews are about Kratman’s politics, not his writing.

    But nope, no one you encounter could genuinely like a book that fails to use fish semen in a metaphor.

  258. alauda says:

    Who the fuck cares about Amazon ratings?

  259. alauda says:

    Dipshit, that wasn’t a metaphor; it was a simile.

  260. People who buy on Amazon, for one. They’re also the kind of people who leave ratings. Either you don’t realize that, in which case you are an even bigger moron than I gave you credit for – which is one hell of an accomplishment – or you can’t really refute the fact that you’re apparently in the minority regarding Kratman’s work so you’re trying to deflect the discussion.

    You know, for a guy who’s been trolling for as long as you have, you really suck at this.

  261. You’re right. Blew that one. Of course, you’re fascination with fish semen is still alarming, whether it’s a metaphor or a simile.

  262. alauda says:

    Did you not notice that even the worst novels get good ratings on Amazon?

  263. alauda says:

    Well, worst self-published novels. There doesn’t seem to be the kind of circle jerk with publisher-published novels.

    Also, it seems like the best way to get negative reviews is to piss off the Amazon community. And that star ratings are in no way indicative of quality.
    Light is 3.2 (35, 26, 14, 22, 26)
    Caliphate is 4.1 (61, 37, 8, 6, 10)
    Road of the Patriarch is 4.1 (35, 17, 13, 3, 3)

    Sometimes the mighty who have fallen get bad reviews, I guess.
    Flashback is 3.0 (63, 42, 20, 46, 61)
    Flashback should be lower. I feel like Amazon suppresses a lot of the negative reviews.

  264. That depends on how you define “good reviews”. Any book will get some five star and four star reviews.

    If you’re talking about overall score, then I disagree. I’ve come across some with fairly low ratings in the past. Plus, there is the obvious fact that what you call a “worst novel” may not meet my definition.

  265. And just how do you figure Harrison pissed off the Amazon community? Sincere question here, since I’ve never heard anything about him doing something that would piss off Amazon readers (and I am one).

    A more likely scenario is that a lot of people just didn’t care for Light as much as you did. That’s far more likely than Amazon suppressing negative reviews that will lead to more pissed off customers who won’t trust their rating system and thereby hurt their sales.

  266. alauda says:

    They suppressed negative reviews for Flashback. They’re just subtle about it. One day, there’s 30 one star ratings and the next there are 27. A few more pop up. Nobody notices.

    They’re trying to sell a product here.

  267. Yeah, OK, whatever helps you sleep at night. It couldn’t possibly have been for anything else. Especially since a lot of authors complain about not being able to get rid of one star reviews when the reviewer clearly says they didn’t read the book. Don’t you think that if Amazon wanted to suppress negative reviews, this would be a hell of a place to start?

  268. Tom Kratman says:

    Your problem here, Chlamydia, is that if you fnd something wrong with something; it’s the best possible proof that’s it’s right. If you don’t like something written; it established a virtually irrebutable presumption that it’s good.

    Sadly, among your many, oh, _many_, problems is inability to see things as they are in real life. Jello from a mold quivers differently. You can’t see it, because you’re incredibly – I mean really brain-bustingly, unbelievably – _stupid_. You can’t write a decent sentence, not reliably, anyway. You have no experience, so you can’t understand which metaphors and similes, which descriptions, actuall work and which don’t. You’re – see above – so stupid that you’re unaware of these defects, so they will remain defects forever (at least until you do yourself and the world a favor and find that stout rope, stool, and tree branch mentioned above). Your brain, poor, pitiful, Swiss-cheesy thing that it is, can’t even keep straight the books you’re trying to condemn.

    I pity you. Really. In your shoes, I think I’d do away with myself.

    On the other hand, you are good for comedic relief.

  269. Tom, I’m not sure I can agree with that.

    He’s not all that funny.

  270. Tom Kratman says:

    Well…imagine you’re French and Chlamydia’s life is a Jerry Lewis movie. You’re rolling on the floor then, no?

    Admittedly, if one imagines oneself as small, Asian, and female, and a victim of Chlamydia’s stalking, then it only becomes funny if one realizes that this grotesquerie, this slithering assemblage of semi-sentient shit, this diseased ruminant in quasi-human form, is so goddamned fat that rape is impossible, because even donkeys aren’t hung well enough to reach past lard layered on like that.

  271. Tom Kratman says:

    “Flashback should be lower. I feel like Amazon suppresses a lot of the negative reviews.”

    Then _clearly_, Flashback should be higher, perhaps much higher. Why? Because you’re an idiot.

    And your feelings, Chlamydia, are no more accurate than your thoughts; both amount to methane quasi-farts, rising from a fementing manure pile. Amazon doesn’t do anything on its own with regard to stars. It will pull a review or comment for obscenity, or similarly unsavory language, or if an author raises a legitimate complaint, say, for reviews that are personally libelous.

  272. alauda says:

    Leaving aside the awkward phrasing, humans don’t quiver like “products of jello molds” or “regular jello”

    You know what similes and metaphors work?
    “icicles held captive beads of sunlight.”
    “it was like falling head-first into a jewel box, past double and triple and quadruple systems spinning in stately pavanes.”
    “and through the gauzy mist the emergency lights looked like a string of dying red suns.”
    “it had just rained and the street was a neon-lit mirror.”
    “painted silver, shining with the light of Paradise, it wobbled like a wounded insect in the sky.”
    “flecks of burning ash made constellations of new stars.”
    “yellow clouds encircled the setting sun like a dying Red king.”

  273. alauda says:

    What’s with the Asian thing?
    Or the small thing?

  274. alauda says:

    Quite frankly, I can’t be fucked to watch jello made with a jello mold and jello… not made with a jello mold… quiver so I can compare the two.

  275. Yeah, Tom, I never got the whole French/Jerry Lewis thing either.

    The rest of your description? Funny as hell though.

  276. alauda says:

    Here are more good similes and metaphors: This tower, patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven.

  277. It would be good if it were possible for masonry to be “knuckled,” since it’s not …

    Oh hell, who am I kidding it wouldn’t be good no matter what…

    Clamps, let us begin at the beginning. You can’t patch a tower with black ivy. The tower could be “covered in patches of black ivy like sores upon a leprous arm,” perhaps, but why would you want it to be, there’s far better ways to describe the scene without resorting to that sort of overwrought prose.

    You see, again, your objective is to _communicate_ and “This tower, patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven.” Communicates nothing because it simply doesn’t make SENSE.

    OH hell, here I’m trying to give writing lessons to a functional illiterate…

  278. Tom Simon says:

    T.L.:

    The French actually got over Jerry Lewis many years ago, as I’ve heard from various Frenchmen.

    Marston, on the other hand, seems highly unlikely ever to get over himself.

  279. Tom Kratman says:

    I screwed my courage to the sticking place, zipped my mansuit all the way to the neck, and read that shit, Chlamydia. No, none of it really works. Strained, inaccurate, the products of a diseased mind. And that’s it. They don’t communicate. They don’t illuminate. They’re just shit, boy.

  280. alauda says:

    Patrick, let me know if someone reads Caliphate or A Throne of Bones in 2082.

  281. It’s more likely than that they’ll be reading about sun-drenched shit Sickles with captive beads of captured piss or whatever your crap was.

  282. alauda says:

    Titus Groan was written in 1946. There are songs about it, plays, a miniseries, a stop-motion animation short film with puppets, even an opera. People are reading it.

    Maybe Peake was doing something right with his “mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven.” and Kratman is doing something wrong with his “Quivering like the product of a Jell-O mold.”

  283. Tom Simon says:

    Marston, Titus Groan isn’t remembered for its metaphors, but for its characters. It isn’t the mutilated fingers among the fists of knuckled masonry; it’s Steerpike and Fuchsia, Lord and Lady Groan, the Prunesquallors, Barquentine and Mr. Flay – the whole cavalcade of super-Dickensian grotesques. In almost any other context, that prose would have been ludicrously overwrought; but in that book, it was appropriate – mad words put together in a mad order to tell a mad story about mad people. It takes a fool to generalize from that.

  284. Majestic_Moose says:

    Clamps, “it was like falling head-first into a jewel box, past double and triple and quadruple systems spinning in stately pavanes.”
    Is literally the worst simile I ever saw. And what the fuck does jewelry! boxes have to do with well the whole rest of the sentence.

  285. luscinia says:

    No, the worst simile you ever saw was “quivering like the product of a jello mold.”

  286. KiheBard says:

    Patrick, perhaps I am among the lowly dregs and missing something here, but the immediate point isn’t / doesn’t have to be some high pinnacle of a carefully selected literary element — the description is DESCRIPTION, providing overt IMAGERY. Yeah, yeah, there are layers and layers of possible interpretation and whatever the heck else, but can’t you just SEE what is being described in that passage?

    Or am I just that differently visual in my response to the world as it is written about?

  287. Patrick Richardson says:

    KiheBard, no, I’m not suggesting it has to be the pinnacle of a carefully selected literary element, but it does have to work. It does have to track and it does have to make sense. That’s the problem with Clap’s “work” it does none of the above. It’s bad on a level it’s almost good. Unintentionally hilarious, but not “good” on any actual level of communicating.

  288. alauda says:

    What would you know? You think everything should be at a sixth grade level.

  289. Well since I’ve been making my living with my writing, and I make a fairly nice living doing it, for the last 20 years — I suspect I know quite a bit more than you. But then, my toddler granddaughter knows more about writing than you do.

  290. alauda says:

    You’re a blogger and journalist. That doesn’t mean you know anything about how to write fiction.

  291. I also am a fiction editor and first reader for several authors. So yeah, I know a little something about writing fiction as well. I am also a fiction writer, albeit still working on my first novel (little thing called needing time to write) but the snippets given to actual authors, ones who even get paid by big publishers, have been well received, which is more than I can say for your drek.

  292. alauda says:

    The lines about stars dancing pavanes and lights like dying suns and yellow clouds encircling the setting sun are in published novels too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s