Keffy

everything i do is so fucking amazing that sparks are going to shoot out of your eyes

Category: Nonsense

The “Insert Here” Awards, and Trying to Keep SF/F Perpetually 12 Years Old

So… the “Tron Guy” wrote a ridiculous post on the Black Gate website proposing a new award for SF&F because there aren’t any awards that he, personally approves of. While I don’t really have a problem with the perpetual twelve-year-olds of the genre building their own 501(c)(3) NO GURLS, QWEERS, OR POCS ALOWED!!!1 treehouse, (frankly, they can do as they want) my snark didn’t really fit within the confines of Twitter, so.

Tron Guy wants the “Insert Here” award for SF&F Storytelling. As opposed to… literally every other award in SF&F, which somehow manage to not be about storytelling, apparently.

“… it’s a way to ensure that at least one set of awards for SF/F represent what it’s truly about: the story above all else.”

Which means… what, exactly?

From comments by tron guy himself:

The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere and Ancillary Justice. The former is a standard coming-out story with a bit of fantasy bolted on the side, and the latter, while it may be military space opera, wouldn’t have had the acclaim it did if it hadn’t been for the gimmickry used to drive home the SJW-approved message about gender.”

No messages about gender, OH NO. Is Tron Guy too hypocritical to realize that all fiction has a message to it, even if he agrees with it sometimes? Or is his reading comprehension too low to notice said messages? It is a mystery.

“See, for example, the protagonist in Lock In, whose gender is left unspecified throughout the entire book. Scalzi’s been praised for doing so, but to me, it leaves me unable to form a mental image of the character, and I have a much harder time reading a work if I can’t picture the characters involved.”

Nothing that requires effort to read! NO! NO! NOOOO!

File:Darth vader no.gif

Ok, ok, so the problem with awards in the genre, such as the Hugos, is presumably two-fold, by Tron Guy’s reckoning:

  1. Because he disagrees with the winners of said awards, they Do Not Represent TRUE fandom.
  2. It is full of icky SJW-approved messages, and has been infiltrated by the PC police, who won’t let Just Plain Stories win awards.

Fixing the problem of the Hugos not being accessible to enough eligible voters, well, that’s admirable, right? I mean, the fact that you have to pay to be a member of Worldcon to vote is usually a barrier to some people, if only as a contribution to general “meh” over having a say, unless the Hugos are in the process of being hijacked by some racist fucknuggets.

So, obviously, Tron Guy announced how he’ll make the Insert Here award more open, right? Perhaps, no cost to vote? Actively reaching out to groups of fans who don’t typically vote in major genre awards to see what they liked this year?

Let’s see:

To become an eligible voter for the (insert name here) Awards, a person must be vouched for by one or more existing eligible voters.

But… wouldn’t that… limit the number of fans able to vote?

This is defined as having a trust level of 1 or greater. When first registering to vote, a person’s trust level is 0.

So if you decide to vote, you first have to prove yourself, or what? How does one do that? Are you given secret award secrets to test if you leak them to the Evil SJWs?

An existing eligible voter whose trust level is 3 or greater may raise or lower the trust level of up to three other people by 1 each, and this number rises by 1 with each additional trust level until a maximum of a trust level of 10 is reached.

Are we voting for an award here, or designing a tabletop game?

The undersigned, as well as prior recipients of a (insert name here) Award and current and past members of the Foundation Board of Directors and Judging Committee, may raise or lower the trust level of any person by 1. A voter may not raise the trust level of anyone who raised his own, nor of anyone in the chain of trust leading back to those holding unlimited trusting privileges.

Ok, but what happens if someone registers to vote and none of your friends knows that person personally? Do you just reject them out of hand? Does that mean that they’re not actually a science fiction and/or fantasy fan? Yeah, I’m being facetious. Obviously this award to make sure that all of fandom gets a voice and that true fandom can vote on awards untainted by SJWs intends to limit the voting membership to Tron Guy’s friends. Which, more power to you, but why do you think anyone is stupid enough to believe your stated reasons for the award?

I’d respect the NO GURLS ALOWED clubhouse shit-show more (not a lot more, but more) if Tron Guy were just honest about wanting to be in charge of the genre and what is Considered Good SF Storytelling.

All registration and trust level processing shall be done automatically by the (insert name here) Award website. All records of trust levels being raised or lowered shall be retained for a period to be determined by the Foundation Board of Directors; this period is intended to be limited only by practical methods of data storage.

This last bit is quoted just because of my own personal LOL. Keeping a record of who vouched for who to make sure that NOT ONE SINGLE voter is improperly allowed to vote, and, presumably, to make sure that if someone turns out to be an SJW, the people who vouched them can be reprimanded for their lapse in judgement sounds like a lovely breeding ground for future hilarious drama.

So, he’s going to “give all of fandom a means of influencing an award that represents them” by starting an award that can only be voted on by people that he and his friends “trust”. Sounds legit.

 

What about his second concern, that SJW disapproval is ruining science fiction for the rest of us?

Obviously, in order to make sure that the award isn’t hijacked by political grudge matches, and the like, and that political correctness won’t ruin the awards, it’s important to make sure that worthy, interesting, GREAT STORIES aren’t excluded. Therefore, obviously no work should be excluded for politics, right? Clearly the voice of the voters should be tantamount, and whatever they say, goes. After all, these are voters with “trust levels” who need to have their very own award that isn’t tainted by politics.

The nominees are then considered by the Judging Committee. The judges shall evaluate each work solely by its storytelling. The judges may disqualify any work they find to have an emphasis on other than telling a good SF/F story.

Oh.

 

It’s hilarious, because this award proposal is abysmally stupid, and so very obviously full of shit. It’s not-so-hilarious, because I think Tron Guy believes the shit he’s shoveling, and truly does believe that  a story about gender neutral/gender unmentioned/queer/POC/women can’t possibly be Good Storytelling. That’s depressing because it’s just same-shit-different-day.

That said, Maynard can continue to gleefully tootle the Tron theme on his dog whistle if he wants while I go back to writing filthy “SJW-approved” fiction, like the 8,000 word NOVELETTE I currently have in Uncanny issue 6 (available if you buy the issue now, and free in October), or the flash I’ve got in Fireside Magazine.

PS:

Best Novella – Written SF/F stories between 5,000 and 50,000 words in length.
Best Short Story – Written SF/F stories 5,000 words in length or shorter.

Giving yet another god damned word-range to what counts as novella is not going to minimize voter confusion, for the love of Jesus H. Tiptree.

 

PPS: I’m now a grad student and will not complain if you throw money at: paypal.me/keffy

Just saying.

What I did this year… as far as I remember.

Well, I had a few short stories come out this year, and I went to some conventions. I’m still more-or-less employed, still more-or-less carrying my Clarion debt, and still haven’t gone surgeon hunting because a) not enough money b) the plan was to lose weight first… welp.

I managed to acquire more books than I read, again. (Which was less of a financial burden than it sounds due to how many of them were purchased on sale/clearance/given to me.) I should probably cull the shelves. Even if I wanted to read all these (not always true anymore) I think I have at least 10 years worth of books unread.

I had a few short stories come out. I’m listing them here because even though it’s a pathetically small number, it’s more than I managed last year, so there’s that.

“Mice” in Fireside (August 2013).
“Gazing into the Carnauba Wax Eyes of the Future” in What Fates Impose (Sept 2013).
“HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!!” in Lightspeed (Oct 2013). [Link]
“This is a Ghost Story” in Apex (Nov 2013). [Link]

Of these, I’m still astonished that Ghost story and Robot Army sold in the first place. Ghost Story, for one, contains poetry. LOOK I NEVER THOUGHT I COULD WRITE POETRY? (maybe I can’t) SO IT’S STILL WEIRD TO ME THAT I EVEN DID. I’m still overly proud of the story, though, so I don’t know. Go read it or whatever.

HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! also inspired a kickstarted anthology which over-funded.

I have four reprints on deck for some time next year. Two of these are foreign rights sales (French and Polish), one is HELP FUND… for the Kickstarted anthology and the other is a reprint that was accepted back in March, but Stuff occurred, so I’m still waiting for the okay to announce that one.

I did turn in a short comic proposal this year. I don’t feel super hopeful about it, mostly because I know they can only buy 10-ish out of the 220 open call proposals that came in. This is not very many, and I suspect there are people in that pile with much more impressive comics/writing/art credits.

I’ve finally figured out what I needed to make a webcomic concept I’ve been playing with for years interesting enough to start drawing it, though I’m holding off right now because a) I need to draw dogs, dogs, dogs, more dogs, and dogs and b) I need to figure out what layout works best: page? strip? individual panels? WHAT. So I don’t know when that will go live, since after I figure that out I have to work up a reasonable backlog before I start posting. See also: things I learned about webcomics by doing it all wrong the first time.

What if I just want to draw hands for other artists.

I went back to freelance writing for one job, which I promptly worked my ass off to finish in five days and then got stiffed by the customer, who disappeared from the face of the planet, although the text I wrote for him is being happily used on some fucking website. This kind of killed what little I AM GOING TO MAKE ENOUGH MONEY TO GET TOP SURGERY momentum I had because I don’t have the time or energy to do stuff for assholes for free. It’s probably time for another batch of angry emails, but I hate writing emails and to be honest, I feel demoralized enough to just pretend that it didn’t happen. Oh my god, do I ever fucking hate chasing people down for payment.

To be honest, my overwhelming feeling regarding the last year is wondering why I even bothered. The number of open calls that I wanted to write stories for but couldn’t finish because I was having trouble creating my way out of a paper bag is too high to mention. (And I’m fucking ashamed). I feel even more strongly like whatever YAY NEW WRITER promise I might have pretended to have a few years ago is fully gone and squandered. Which is all stuff I probably shouldn’t even say, so when nobody wants fiction from me, it’s really my own fault. Surprise! I still suck.

I’ve got messy half-drafts of three short stories, and am still fucking around with the vampire book that people tell me not to call a vampire book, but I think I’m at about 10 completely separate reasons as to why it’s Never Going To Sell, so whatever. Gay. Vampires. One of the characters smokes. Right now 0.3% of the words in the rewrite are “fuck.” It may or may not be YA. Etc. No, but seriously, more people should totally go LOLSNORT TWILIGHTTHHHHNNNNNGGGG at me because that’s fucking clever. Good job, nobody else has ever thought to compare any and all mentions of vampires to Twilight, you must be a god-damned genius.

That said, this year I did watch about 3 minutes of one of the Twilight movies because it contained Vampire Baseball, which was just as awesomely stupid as I expected, up to and including the fact that apparently vampires don’t know the difference between the hand signals for “safe” and “out.” (“WHOO~! OUT!” he screams, gesturing “safe” with his stupid vampire arms.)

I have been watching some newer TV shows. I wanted to like Sleepy Hollow, but it was too stupid and not interesting enough to hold my attention. I think I made it one or two episodes past the massively awful Magical Indian episode.

Almost Human tried to be good, and I do love Karl Urban, but cops cops cops all shows are about cops if the show isn’t about cops why even bother cops cops cops cops cops. This also applies to Sleepy Hollow, which would have been 99% less stupid if the protagonist hadn’t been a cop. Seriously, if she’d had literally any other job, it would have been a much better show.

I am still watching Dracula, also known as Crackula, because it’s incomprehensible nonsense but it’s entertaining incomprehensible nonsense. Sure, Van Helsing is a mad scientist who brought Dracula back to life so that together they can perfect green, wireless energy and destroy British big oil. Or… whatever is going on. I don’t know. I admit that I have trouble telling all the random British dudes apart. So far their sideburns are my best bet. Plus, it’s not about cops. Is it the only TV show on all of TV that’s not about cops? I think so.

Movies: Catching Fire was as good as the first movie in the series and was exactly what I wanted it to be. Byzantium (MORE VAMPIRES) was an awesome movie, if you like moody vampires staring off into space and being moody and then killing some dudes. Which I do. I rented a bunch of things that were mostly terrible, so I won’t talk about those. I also actually enjoyed Gatsby for the costumes and:

-Although the movie overall seemed to be trying to recreate the feeling of reading Fitzgerald in a 10th grade English class. HERE, LET ME PICK OUT THE THEMES AND PUT THE TEXT UP ON SCREEN FOR YOU.

In 2014, I’ll turn 30, so I’ll close out my 20s without having accomplished much of anything and with nobody to blame but myself for it. So that’s fun, I guess.

In short: wah, I want 2014 to be better, but I feel like I’ve run out of “try” and I’m honestly not sure what to do now. I feel terribly cut off if I turn off social media, but I get stressed out when I leave it on. (It feels like Twitter consists of nothing anymore except for Important Hashtags that end up getting trolled and notices that friends of friends have succumbed to suicide.) I feel like I only have two emotions anymore, despair and anger. So, there’s that. I’d say “here’s to 2014 being better” but to be honest, everything I hated about 2013 was under my own control, and I have no idea what to do anymore. New Year’s is typically the only holiday I give a shit about anymore, and today I’d like to just pretend it isn’t happening.

What am I looking forward to in 2014? Right now, nothing.

I am not evolutioned to eat worm!

I spend way too much time on Twitter, which mostly has to do with how easy it is to check on my phone. This is also something that I tend to regret if/when I wake up in the morning and immediately check my feed, to find out that, yet again, everything in the entire world is bullshit, and therefore, why are we even bothering? WHYYYY.

Anyway, here is an extremely short list of some of the feeds I follow on Twitter that make me laugh.

It’s also a bit of an experiment to see what the crosspost to LiveJournal will do with this formatting.

I love @ProBirdRights. First, because it occasionally mocks the MRA crowd, and second because it’s frequently hilarious even without context.

@forexposure_txt is a collection of quotes ripped from various forums and job-listings in which people ask for free creative work — usually art. I was never a particularly good artist, but I knew enough good artists that I’ve heard a surprising number of the things that get tweeted through this account. So many tantrums when artists won’t work for free. So many.

Which, as a side note, authors… I know that part of the big deal with self publishing is that you’ve got to pay for your own cover, but I wince every time I hear authors talking about how you can get REALLY CHEAP ARTWORK from people on Deviantart. I just hope you’re paying the artists you dig up fair rates* for the right to use their artwork (and more, lots more, if you’re paying for a commission.) Also, if you’re doing comics? Just writing the comic is considerably less than half of the work. Sorry!

I don’t think I need to say anything about @fanfiction_txt.

*Although, I also understand that sometimes it’s really hard to get those assholes to actually take the money you promised to pay them. WHAT. WHY. STOP IT.

STALE BEANS and Blogging Like I Tweet and also Sidewalks

This morning, after making sure that the blog post telling everyone to go throw money at a magazine with my story in it was actually scheduled, and that the Twitter plug in was ACTUALLY working, I had a dilemma.

With only 90 minutes before needing to leave for work, is that enough time to make coffee? Will I just end up sipping half a cup while distracted by the internet, and then have to dump the rest of the searing hot pot of coffee down the sink? WILL I WASTE MY PRECIOUS BEANS (note: said beans were ground for me a million years ago and are probably so stale that the purveyors of said beans, who actually have standards, would probably be horrified that I still have them and intend to drink fluids I’ve strained through them).

DO I HAVE TIME to drink enough coffee to make using MY PRECIOUS BEANS worthwhile, I thought, staring at the dirty, doddering, ancient Mr. Coffee perched on the peeling 60’s olive green countertop. DO I?

I immediately went to the bathroom, found the only mirror still extant in the apartment, stared deeply into my eyes and wild hair for a moment, and then tentatively slapped myself. I was still confused so I turned a light slap into a brutal THEWACK. And then, I knew. OBVIOUSLY I HAD TIME FOR COFFEE. Sheesh.

Similarly, I’ve been spending way too much time screwing around and thinking, “Boy, I really ought to blog more often, both my website and my LiveJournal are like these horrific ghost towns full of nothing but begging for cash for my stuff and begging for cash for other people’s stuff.” Because I used to blog a lot, back when LJ was pretty much my only social network, because Facebook sucked then, and Myspace also sucked and the others hadn’t been yanked kicking and screaming into the tubes.

The problem is that I keep telling myself that I should blog about something TRULY INTERESTING and be like those people who craft amazing essays on the nature of publishing or whatever and blog them. Except that then I’m like WELL IF I’M GONNA SPEND ALL DAY ON IT I SHOULD TRY TO GET PAID, and then I think about trying to find buyers for Essays In Which Keffy Has Opinions About Shit, and feel tired, and decide to say screw it! and go back to tweeting incessantly.

BUT THEN, at some point between turning on Mr. Coffee to make this glorious stale coffee (anything is okay with enough chocolate syrup, that’s what I always say), and now, I realized… WAIT.

What if I blogged like I tweet.

Neurotically, in great volume, about pretty much nothing.

BRILLIANT.

Also, here is a picture of a sidewalk. I have a lot of them. They bring me joy. I cannot explain this. SIDEWALKS! YOU WALK ON THEM!

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