Posted in Blog

Gaining a second education, Part three

Fast forward a few years. I’d been reading heavily in the horror and thriller genre and fancied a return to science-fiction. So, I did what any sane person would do and went looking for recommendations. What better place to start than with the Hugo nomination list. I had a quick look and saw that the latest winner was Ancillary Justice and so I ordered it from the library.

And I hated it. I loathed it. The whole gender thing? It felt like a gimmick, put there just to tick a particular box. I had read Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness while at school and found it amazing. I finished it and searched out the Earthsea stories which were even better. Leckies tale was confused and meandered and just seemed pointless. The action sequences were amateurish. And this had won the Hugo? How could this have won, was the rest of the field so poor? It ticked all the boxes I’d been taught to look out for but it was like a cup of frothy coffee, all head, and no real body.

I thought it was me. Back in the pre-internet days, I would have just assumed that it was just me. At this point, I had no idea that there was such furore over the Hugos. Bearing in mind that all I really wanted was something good to read, something to do while my newly arrived Lil Buddy slept. I did what any sane man would do; I investigated. I found If you were a dinosaur my love, a Hugo nominee. I still thought it might be me so I read some of the authors’ other work.

I was revolted.

I discovered the puppies, both sad and rabid and I listened to what they said. I discovered the fans over at 770 and I listened to what they said. And a (year, sorry my timing might be out) later I watched as the Hugo’s handed out wooden asterisks, ignored an amazingly talented editor and a female writer was verbally abused by someone who should have known better.

I was disgusted.

So I started giving my money to puppy writers. I read Sarah Hoyt, Katie Paulk and Larry Correia. Brad Torgerson scratched the itch that Leckie had missed completely. Monster Hunter was a thrill ride from start to finish. I enjoyed John C. Wright. I was entertained by one and all and that’s all I really wanted when I started out with Leckie. I certainly wasn’t looking for a fight.

I feel the need to finish on a more positive note. Three years ago I was hoping to begin writing full-time. Lil Buddy came to live with us and I found myself as a full-time parent again and I put her first, a decision I’ve never regretted. Lil Buddy is the joy in my life and gave me the opportunity to serve a writing apprenticeship, learning the craft of writing. If there’s a book on writing out there I’ve probably read it and that was only made possible thanks to her.

I’ve written over a million words in the last three years, and some of it has been good but most, well not up to the standard. Something was missing and I found out what it was. The writers of the Pulp Era. I need to say a huge thank you to Jeffro Johnson putting the idea in my head to read Appendix N.The same goes out to Jasyn Jones for his indefatigable passion for all things pulp.These stories have meaning, real heart and unadulterated heroism. I have three months before my Lil Buddy begins schools and I can once again resume writing full time. By then I hope to have gotten a good start on my second education, I’m learning more now than I ever did at school.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading guys

Take care

Dean

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Author:

40+, married and a full-time father to my granddaughter (don't ask, it's complicated).

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