Posted in Blog

SPV, some thoughts.

I’ve been interested in Sad/Rabid puppies since the day I had my epiphany after reading ‘If you were a dinosaur. Obviously, as a non-published writer with no dog in the fight, it’s quite easy to see things as an outsider.
Take the Rabid Puppies. It’s run by Vox Day, it’s his ballgame and he can do whatever he wants with it. His aim, which he states quite plainly, is to burn the Hugos down. It’s his church, and if that’s the hymn he wants to play then so be it. As far as I can see, as it was in the beginning so it is now.
The Sad Puppies have changed over the years. Larry Correia had his own agenda, as did Brad Torgerson, as did Katie Paulk. Each did things as they wanted to with varying degrees of success. The aim though always seemed to be getting SFF that is genuinely diverse (as opposed to one message fiction) recognized by Worldcon. I accept that this is a gross oversimplification, but I can’t be arsed to list all the differences.
Sad Puppies 5 was supposed to be headed by Sara Hoyt according to posts put out on The Mad Genius Blog. I remember reading the initial post and thinking that ‘this could be interesting’ seeing it as a natural evolution from Katie Paulks methodology from 2016. As someone who has no desire to give Worldcon one single penny of my money that was as much thought as I put into it.
Her comment about ‘someone wanting to hijack the campaign’ (I paraphrase because it’s late and I’m tired) did seem a little overboard, especially as she didn’t provide any corroborating screencaps etc. Like I said at the start, I don’t have a dog in this fight, so I thought nothing more of it.
Then there came the latest post, which explained why Sad Puppies seemed to miss the entirety of this year’s Hugos. Again, no dog, so I took it all at face value, but one thing struck me. There will be no Sad Puppies 6, or 7 or anything. Now there is just Sad Puppies the brand. One that will run forever with there being no need for any further changes in leadership. If the site goes up as described it will roll over year in year out. Will this detoxify the Puppies? Of course not, that would involve the creators of the Assterixs admitting that they were wrong and they’re not going to do that anytime soon.
Honestly, I think that the Sad Puppy campaigns are now over. The Hugos have changed the rules to ensure their will is and will remain paramount so there will be no change there. The Dragon Awards appear to be totally above board so you can’t campaign against them. Not unless they appear to be the wrong kind of diverse of course. Expect Rainbow Puppies to appear next to bring them in line with Worldcon.
Ye Gods I hope I’m wrong.

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Posted in Appendix N Challenge

Appendix N Challenge: At the Earths Core by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Well, it’s been a while since I managed to get any Appendix N reading done. Part of this is down to life and a piece of particularly bad news, but that’s a story for another day. The other part is a desire to write some of my own material while the muse is singing her siren song. There’s also the outstanding ‘Moon Pool’ reading that I need to get done, and yeah, I have to admit I’m struggling with that one.
So, because I needed a change of scenery I picked up At the Earths Core by ERB. It was either that of Pheonix in the Sword by REH and it came down to a coin toss. I nearly ignored said coin toss at the thought of reading yet another Hollow Earth story, but rather than annoy the Gods of Fate™ I decided to stick with it.
Warning Spoilers Ahead!!!

I remember as a kid watching the excellent Journey to the Center of the Earth starring the wonderful James Mason and Pat Boone with my Grandma while playing poker on a rainy day in Western Australia. Before the film was a half hour in I was completely caught up in the tale and Nana had all of my pocket money for a year safely tied up in IOU’s. I didn’t care because the film was completely and totally awesome! I’d been to see Star Wars for the first time the previous weekend and I’d enjoyed it, but it had nothing on JttCotE. Dinosaurs. Science. Lost Civilisations. Evil Scientists. DINOSAURS!
This was well before the era of VHS let alone TiVo and I don’t think I saw the film again for well over a decade. It had aged, and I had too, but it still charmed me, the spell of the storytelling bringing me in once more.
Which brings me to At the Earths Core by ERB. Once again we have science. Dinosaurs. Evil beings. We also have beautiful cavewomen, brave and noble savages, and a hero who is unashamedly a hero. The hierarchy of evil is well thought out, the evolved dinosaur-descended Mahars an interesting if under-utilised big bad. There was a lot to like yet little to love about the tale truth be told.
Oh, I loved the fact that ERB used one man’s love for another to force him to go back into slavery when everything was telling him to go after the woman he loved. I love seeing loyalty used like that, especially as I know that it will be rewarded and not punished ultimately. These guys knew that you didn’t mess around with ideas as big as loyalty, that when it was brought into play it was shown to be a strength, not a weakness. I loved that the hero didn’t understand the woman he had fallen in love with at all. We like to think that the game of love is universal while failing to acknowledge that it really isn’t; that every culture will have its own rules that an outsider is more likely to run afoul of than spontaneously understand.
Liking comes easy with ERB. The pace is great, the story(fairly) solid and the plotting, if not as labyrinthine as others is at least regularly surprising. His characters are all fun and the scrapes they find themselves in are packed full of action that always reveals more about the hero than a dozen pages of telling could be.
I’d like, seeing as how this is my blog, to spend a little time talking about something that’s caught my attention. It’s a beat that I’ve picked up on in so many of the novels from this period. For want of a better phrase, I’m just going to go with ‘Hero gets captured’. Sword of Rhiannon used it, as did The Ship of Ishtar, The Moon Pool (novel, not short story) Earth’s Core and Earths Crater and even Almuric. It’s a fantastic way to show us, the reader, the world that they, the hero, have found themselves in. The hero, David Innes, spends most of the story in captivity, away from the woman he loves. His desire to get to her drives the last part of the story.
There are niggles though. Time, because of the lack of a day-night cycle becomes meaningless. We are expected to believe that the hero has spent ten years in the hollow earth and not been aware of the passing of time. Sorry, but I just don’t buy that. I know that I should just shrug my shoulders and get on with it, but whenever ERB mentioned time passing it jarred me straight out of the story. It just didn’t pass the smell test if you catch my drift. Walking out of the city in Mahar suits, yeah that bugged me, as did not destroying the secret formula first chance they got.
Minor stuff.
What did strike me was that anyone writing such a story today could find themselves with an easy avenue to explore a steampunk setting. Man from our age goes down to Pellucidar and discovers that the cavemen have advanced to the steampunk age due to technology taking a divergent branch? I’d read that book!

That’s it, for now, guys, thanks for reading once again

take care

Dean

PS You can find a free copy of the story here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Trumpocalypse: Kathy Griffin and the Trump Head debacle

Brad hitting the nail on the head…as usual.

Brad R. Torgersen

The Kathy Griffin “Trump Head” debacle would seem to be a textbook example of everything that’s gone wrong—in the brains and hearts of American progressives—since November.

Can anyone imagine the absolute furor which would have descended if a significant conservative celebrity (cough, I know they still exist, right?) did a photo shoot featuring a bloody effigy of Obama’s head—or Hillary Clinton’s head—dangling by the hair?

I keep hoping there will be a collective Progressive paradigm shift. When the delusions and the hatred finally disperse, and Progressives see themselves in the mirror—realizing they’ve become exactly the sorts of hateful, vindictive, violent, abusive, bullying, unhinged cretins they claim to be “resisting” during the Trump era.

And, no, Captain Caring, just because you say you’re “compassionate” and “empathetic” toward a sour-Skittles bowl filled with politically-correct Special Victim Identities, this does not give you a free pass to go full-out rage-hatey bugnuts against the…

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