Susan’s Salon: 2021 October 17/18

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Please use the comment section to just chat about whatever you want. Susan’s Salon is posted early Monday (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Whatever Standard Time, which is still Sunday in most other countries). It’s fine to be sad, worried, vaccinated, unvaccinated-yet, angry or maybe even happy (or all of those things at once).

Please feel free to post what you like (either troubling news or pleasant distractions) in the comments for this open thread. [However, no cranky conflicts between each other in the comments.] Links, videos, cat pictures 🐈 etc are fine! Whatever you like and be nice to one another πŸ˜‡

Debarkle Chapter 68: History Rhymes β€” Nebulas 2019

One of the contradictory themes of the 2015 Sad Puppy campaigns was its dual claims of tradition and change. Brad Torgersen had sought a traditional publishing path within science fiction, seeking a mentor from an influential editor (Mike Resnick) and publication in one of the longest-running science fiction magazines, Analog. However, the Sad Puppy campaign would quickly shift to claiming that it was championing the new independent paths to publishing created by the proliferation of ebooks and ebook readers. In the 2015 Sad Puppy slate, Torgersen had in particular included independent author Annie Bellet as an example he could cite of the Sad Puppies introducing independent writers into the Hugo nominations. That many independently published writers were already present in the shorter fiction was not something acknowledged by the Puppies nor was the fact that the most notable bΓͺte noire of the Puppies, John Scalzi, had self-published his first science fiction novel on his blog.

In the chaos and bad blood of the 2015 Hugo Awards, Annie Bellet had withdrawn after the Puppy sweep of the nominations became clear. While the maelstrom that was the Puppies dominated science fiction news in 2015, other significant changes were occurring. 2015 also marked a major change in the membership eligibility rules for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). After a referendum of members, the SFWA amended its rules to make it easier for self-published and small press writers to become members[1]. Bellet had been a member of the SFWA prior to the rule change but was part of a growing number of independently published authors joining the SFWA.

The territory of science fiction publishing was changing during this period. New small publishers focused on ebooks were coming into being. From 2016, the newly created Dragon Awards featured some finalists from new publishing collectives such as Chris Kennedy Publishing[2] particularly in the military-SF and space opera subgenres. Ironically, after a busy year in 2017, Vox Day’s own boutique publisher Castalia House effectively withdrew from science fiction publishing in 2018.

Continue reading “Debarkle Chapter 68: History Rhymes β€” Nebulas 2019”

Debarkle Chapter 67: Vox and Q

Starting in 2017 and spreading through the alt-right in 2018 and then further beyond in subsequent years, the compendium of conspiracy theories known as Qanon has become so complex that an adequate account is beyond the scope of this project. For those looking for a more detailed account of the key figures instrumental in propagating the Qanon conspiracy theory, the HBO documentary “Q: Into the Storm” by Cullen Hoback[1] is worth watching. For information on the broader movement, its influences and variations, the entertaining Qanon Anonymous podcast[2] has been covering the phenomenon since April 2018.

The precipitating element of the conspiracy theory was a series of enigmatic and anonymous postings on imageboards (first 4Chan and later 8Chan) by a supposed intelligence agency insider who used the codename “Q”. The content of these posts was both very thin and very cryptic, with much of the surrounding lore and beliefs being constructed by fans of the theory. “Fans” is, I believe, the correct term to use here as the Qanon movement resembled fannish culture in multiple ways including the importance of fan theories, and often anarchic (even if ideologically reactionary) decentralised structure as a movement and the shared social experience of participants. Where Qanon differs from more conventional fandoms was the extent to which its participants do not believe they are dealing with fiction.

Continue reading “Debarkle Chapter 67: Vox and Q”

Debarkle Volume 2: The eBook!

The collected ebook edition of the second volume of Debarkle is now available. https://books2read.com/u/bxayov

Volume 2 covers the chaos of the 2015 Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy sweep of the Hugo nominations through to the decline of both campaigns in 2016 and 2017. It is available from Books2Read (the offshoot of Draft2Digital) and is also being distributed to a range of other online bookstores including:

Can you be both a polytheist and monotheist at the same time?

Alternative title: how deeply buried in layers of nonsense am I right now?

So, the previous Debarkle chapter was Comicsgate, the next one is Qanon and specifically Vox Day’s promotion of Qanon because Qanon itself is too big a topic. Unfortunately, before getting onto how the two forms of toxic nonsense (Comicsgate and Qanon) meet up, I’ve got sidetracked into Vox Day’s theology. This is mainly to show how Day’s pre-existing (and I don’t doubt sincerely held) religious beliefs tied directly to his Qanon beliefs.

Anyway…I described Day’s beliefs as “polytheistic” because he literally does believe there are multiple gods. But then…I don’t like to misrepresent people and calling an avowed Christian “polytheistic” isn’t a neutral description β€” it is the sort of insult that warring Christian denominations hurl at each other to attempt to delegitimise them. So, I thought I’d better check to see if Day describes himself as a monotheist…and also how he does that given he does quite literally believe there is more than one god.

Luckily for me (but not for you dear readers who came here for either fan history or cat ramblings) there are a couple of posts where he explains himself. It all comes down to the conventions of proper nouns.

The first is in response to a basic atheist argument that presents atheism as just the natural next step for a monotheist who has already accepted that a range of gods do not exist:

“I’ve noticed that those who are taking exception to my point are very free with confusing the concept of god and God. But the atheist quote refers only to gods, and as I have demonstrated, the Bible refers to many sorts of gods who are not God, from false gods made by man to the mighty gods of the assembly to the evil god of this world.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20160112215906/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2005/11/mailvox-some-christians-dont.html

Lower case-g gods and upper case-g God.

In the next, he explains himself a bit further by explaining what he means by “gods”

1. god = a powerful supernatural being that is capable of interacting with the natural realm and is worshipped by humans or other supernatural beings. Examples: Satan, Moloch, Quetzalcoatl etc.
2. God = the Creator God of the Bible. Also known as Yahweh, Jehovah, the Lord God of Israel and numerous other appellations. At war with some of the aforementioned gods, worshipped by others.
3. false god = an imaginary being that may or may not be worshipped by human beings; while it may have a natural manifestation, it has no supernatural existence. Examples: The Great Spaghetti Monster, wooden idols, Shub-Niggurath, thunder.
4. mythical god = a being of historical legend which may or may not exist on the supernatural level. It is either a god or a false god, but as they are unworshipped and are not known to manifest today it is difficult to have an opinion on their existence. Examples: Zeus, Tyr, Morrigan.

https://web.archive.org/web/20160112215905/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2005/11/mailvox-deitic-definitions.html

So, yes, he believes that beings of type 1 exist (i.e. n[gods]>1). However…

“Interestingly enough, it is difficult to condemn the atheist too harshly for his inability to understand the difference between belief and worship, especially given that in this case it appears to be built around the concept of monotheism. My two favorite online dictionaries give two similar, but significantly different definitions:

Oxford Online: Monotheism – the belief that there is a single god.
Dictionary.com: Monotheism – The doctrine or belief that there is only one God.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20160112215905/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2005/11/mailvox-deitic-definitions.html

So Day is a “monotheist” because he believes there is only one being with the proper name “God”. However, that doesn’t answer my question: is Vox Day a polytheist? For that, we have to look at what the definition of a polytheist is and to avoid being accused of dictionary definition shopping, I’ll rely on Dictionary.com:

“the doctrine of or belief in more than one god or in many gods.”

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/polytheism

Lower case-g “god” and even if I did go dictionary shopping, I’d be unlikely to find a definition that asserted that polytheism was the belief in more than one upper case-G “God”. So if we grant Day the two dictionary.com definitions, he is reasonably both a monotheist and polytheist and all before breakfast.

A better word to clarify matters is monolatry: the worship of one god. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monolatry

To cut a long story short, I removed the word “polytheist” because it would require unpacking and used “multiple gods” instead because I’m not the theology police.

I too can use calendars

It is October 11 2021 or at least it is in Sydney, Australia as I write this. Why is that relevant? Well cast your minds back to 2019 and one of my moments of literary masochism: https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2019/11/15/reading-vox-day-so-you-dont-have-to-part-ive-lost-count/

This didn’t come up in the last chapter of Debarkle because it is about Vox Day’s attempt to cash in on both Comicsgate and Qanon simultaneously, so I’m saving it for the next chapter and also because October 11 2021 is when Day claimed he would reveal whatever stunning victory he won over crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Meanwhile, it isn’t quite October 11 in the rest of the world but I’m waiting for what I am sure will be very anti-climatic news.

Ebook coming soon

The collected ebook version of Debarkle will have its second volume available soon. If you want a kerfuff by kerfuff history of a kerfuffle in one handy ebook the here you go. The font choice does make it look like it is Volume Z though.

Susan’s Salon: 2021 October 10/11

πŸ“Ί

Please use the comment section to just chat about whatever you want. Susan’s Salon is posted early Monday (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Whatever Standard Time, which is still Sunday in most other countries). It’s fine to be sad, worried, vaccinated, unvaccinated-yet, angry or maybe even happy (or all of those things at once).

Please feel free to post what you like (either troubling news or pleasant distractions) in the comments for this open thread. [However, no cranky conflicts between each other in the comments.] Links, videos, cat pictures 🐈 etc are fine! Whatever you like and be nice to one another πŸ˜‡