Catch up on the Debarkle with ebook of Volume 1

While Part 3 is heading towards the fires of Sasquan, you can now read the century-spanning Parts 1 & 2 in the single volume eBook.

Debarkle Volume 1 1880-2014 covers chapters 1 to 33 but with fewer typos than the raw-and-edgy blog version. This is the ‘second draft’ version and once everything is finished, a final more definitive single-volume version will be made with more revisions to the text.

The book is currently available form:

And will be in other retailers soon.

Regular readers will spot that I’ve not gone with Smashwords this time. Instead, I’ve used Draft2Digital. There’s a couple of reasons why.

Firstly, I just wanted to try out how Draft2Digital works. They claim it is more seamless than other services and it really is pretty simple to use. Overall, quicker to get an ebook formatted from a starting position of a Word doc than Smashwords.

The second reason was a problem I had with Smashwords and the Hugosauriad. As part of their automated checks, Smashwords looks for Amazon links and flags them as issues. This is because nefarious authors try to use other eBook stores to drive business to books that they have as Amazon exclusives by putting links in non-exclusive books. The problem is that these checks catch any and all Amazon references. For the Hugosauriad that mean some really weird changes to the Chuck Tingle chapter!

Susan’s Salon: 2021 June 27/28

Locked-down salon today!

Please use the comment section to just chat about whatever you want. Susan’s Salon is posted early Monday (Australian Eastern 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 😇

Debarkle Chapter 46: July

The substance of the argument about the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns had already run out of steam in June but the attempt to foment a GamerGate-like campaign against Tor Books fuelled the surrounding arguments for another month. July was a month of exhaustion.

Late in June, under general instructions from work, Brad Torgersen pulled back from social media but did become a scheduled blogger at Mad Genius Club discussing issues about writing[1]. Larry Correia’s professional commitments (one of his reasons for not running Sad Puppies 3 in the first place) meant that he had limited time to blog. On the other side of the widening chasm, Mike Glyer announced that he’d be winding down the daily Puppy round-up posts. The final one ran on July 6 and attracted 1,887 comments.

Continue reading “Debarkle Chapter 46: July”

I am in Lockdown [updated]

[Update: the state government has decided the plan was too complicated and now the Greater Sydney Area is all in lockdown. So my situation is basically the same but less ambiguous.]

The delta variant has officially come to town in Sydney and once again the oddly social class nature of Covid is on display. There’s nothing new about infectious diseases having a socio-economic aspect – social interaction and mobility play a role, as do access to healthcare and resources. However, at different stages Covid has had an odd impact on wealthier areas, often radiating out from areas of affluence (e.g. in the early international spread via ski resorts). That impact, of course, affects people of all income levels not just rich people.

For Sydney, the location of the airport and quarantine hotels is at the Eastern end of this very asymmetrical city and that’s also where the posh suburbs are. Not just posh suburbs of course and not just wealthy people. The suburb of Redfern is caught up in this core area and while that suburb is undergoing rapid gentrification it still retains a significant Aboriginal community. The current outbreak has put four local government areas into lockdown and basically, those areas are the main CBD (the bit with the opera house and the bridge that gets blown up by aliens) and the suburbs directly east of the CBD with the beaches, gazillion-dollar homes, pricey shops and (not so many any more) scruffy backpackers etc.

On a personal note, I’m safely well away from that area, way out in the sprawling areas that are prone to bushfires but less prone to sporadic Covid 19 outbreaks. But…the lockdown also applies to people who have worked in CBD in the last two weeks for at least three days. Which…isn’t quite me, did two days of work in the CBD the other week but better safe than sorry. So according to the official advice I’m not obliged to be in lockdown but I’m going to err on the side of caution.

The slow and fumbled vaccine roll-out here is part of the problem. There are still lots of vulnerable people not vaccinated and this current outbreak involves an unvaccinated limo driver whose job was ferrying flight crew to their hotel.

Debarkle Chapter 45 – The Reviews (April to July)

The focus of this project has been on a small number of people who set chains of consequences in motion but at every stage, it was fans who determined the outcomes of the Hugo Awards by voting.

The sheer volume of comments and debates that the dual Puppy campaigns engendered makes it impossible for this project to adequately capture the range of opinions and discussions that took place. In particular, lengthy comment threads at File 770, Making Light, Monster Hunter Nation, Mad Genius Club and Brad Torgersen’s blog saw opponents and supporters of the Puppy campaigns duelling over the aims and legitimacy of the Puppy campaigns.

As the leader of the Sad Puppies 3 campaign, Brad Torgersen had appealed to critics of his slate to read the works nominated and evaluate them fairly. Proponents of the No Award Strategy argued that the impact of slate voting (particularly from the Rabid Puppy campaign) meant that even a reasonable work was compromised as a finalist by the Puppy slates. In those categories where there was a single non-slated finalist (such as Best Fan Writer and Best Novelette), even the non-slated finalist was competing against a field that many fans regarded as illegitimate.

A pertinent question then was whether the 2015 finalists were any good.

  • Had the Puppies actually nominated award-worthy works and people?
  • Would a No Award strategy unfairly penalise worthy finalists?
  • Were the few non-Puppy-slated finalists any good or were they unwitting beneficiaries of a distorted nomination process?

There was no simple, objective process that could decide these questions. In the end, the decision would come down to how Worldcon members voted but in the meantime what fans could do is read and review the Hugo 2015 finalists.

Continue reading “Debarkle Chapter 45 – The Reviews (April to July)”

Loki Episode 3: Lamentis

Back to our favourite god of mischief but before we begin, we once again must preface a review of a Disney+ show with another entry in the annals of Disney being awful about copyright. This time the Mouse’s IP lawyers have become very possessive of the Norse god of mischief themself, which surely is tempting both fate and the gods. So 1. pay Allan Dean Foster and 2. no you don’t own Loki (or Thor or Cinderella for that matter and even older Mickey Mouse cartoons should have gone out of copyright by now and if anything Loki should own Mickey Mouse).

It’s a shame because this would otherwise have been a squee heavy review for what was barrels of fun. This was the Missy+The Master Doctor Who spin-off show that probably exists in a variant timeline that’s better than this timeline. Not a great episode for Owen Wilson fans but Tom Hiddleston gets to bounce his banter off Sophia Di Martino aka the Lots of Asgard’s Have a North* version of Loki aka Sylvie.

Thematically and plot-directionally, I still have no idea where this show is going. It really does power along with charm, banter and a big visual effects budget. This week was tighter as an episode with something approaching a self-contained story as Loki finds himself (their selves in the plural sense) on a doomed moon with a doomed populace.

That setting is played beautifully and cynically but also cynically in a way that feels oddly sincere. Just like Pompeii in the previous episode, everybody is going to die and that’s the only reason why the pair of mischief makers end up on the doomed moon. Yet, it is a natural home for them. Everybody will die and nothing matters. Loki, by his underlying nature, is many things but Hiddleston’s version is a man consumed by his own solipsism. If nothing about the universe matters then he is the only thing that matters (except his mum). There are classically and narratively many ways to refute the self-centredness of a character but pairing Loki up with himself is a clever one.

The best episode of Doctor Who in years.

*Technically she’s from Nottingham, so the Midlands depending on where you draw the line on what counts as the North but the vowel contrast with Hiddleston was a nice touch.

Debarkle Chapter 44: June Part 2

[Content warning for dicussion of a racist mass shooting in a later section]

The Tor Boycott and harassment of Tor creative director Irene Gallo by supporters of the dual Puppy campaigns dominated the discussion in fannish spaces in June. However, neither fandom nor the rest of the world stopped for the quixotic campaign against the publisher.

The same weekend that Vox Day started his campaign against Gallo (see the previous chapter), the SFWA presented the Nebula Awards for works produced in 2014. The timing of Day’s release of the screenshot of Gallo’s Facebook comment and the Nebula Awards was almost certainly not a coincidence. Out of curiosity, Mike Glyer emailed Day and asked him directly about the timing. Day explained:

“I’ve held onto this since I had the screencap, which as you correctly note was made several weeks ago. As for the “sinister plotting”, I have long been in the habit of never using all of my ammunition at once, or pointing-and-shrieking for its own sake. I am a patient man and I didn’t strike back at TNH, PNH, or even John Scalzi right away either.”

Vox Day via email quoted here

The Nebula Awards presented a what-might-have-been look at works that potentially could have been Hugo finalists if the Puppy campaigns had not occurred. The Hugo and the Nebula awards often have an overlap in finalists but the outcomes can vary substantially between the awards. Nonetheless, the difference between the two awards was quite stark in 2015.

The winners in categories with equivalent Hugo categories were:

  • Novel
    • Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer (FSG Originals; Fourth Estate; Harper Collins Canada)
  • Novella
    • Yesterday’s Kin, Nancy Kress (Tachyon)
  • Novelette
    • “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i,” Alaya Dawn Johnson (F&SF 7-8/14)
  • Short Story
    • “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon (Apex 1/7/14)
  • Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
    • Guardians of the Galaxy, Written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Of those, only the Dramatic Presentation category had any overlap with the Puppy slates and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was arguably the least controversial Puppy-pick.

Continue reading “Debarkle Chapter 44: June Part 2”

Susan’s Salon: 2021 June 20/21

Happy solstice, everybody. May the Earth’s axis wobble in your favour.

Please use the comment section to just chat about whatever you want. Susan’s Salon is posted early Monday (Australian Eastern 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 😇