As pointed out in the last post, Larry Correia is once again telling big fibs to make himself look persecuted. Despite nobody being able to quote a supposed offending comment where somebody (again nobody knows who) said (gasp) that Larry was not a ‘real Gamer’, Larry is now saying:
“multiple fans still insist with 100% certainty that the comment did exist, and when they went back it had been disappeared.”https://www.facebook.com/larry.correia/posts/2641913162486263
And also that “got 3 witnesses who still swear they saw it”. Quite why this comment was so offensive that he’s posted multiple posts about it with quite extreme invective in them and verbal attacks on other people (Cora Buhlert has been singled out in particular is not something he can explain.
Interestingly Larry made his comment on January 12. Meanwhile on January 9, somebody did make an archive version of the File 770 post that outraged Larry.
The last comment was on January 8 and at the time the page was archived on January 9 there were no more comments. Notably NOBODY in the comments was discussing Larry Correia. So, who brought Larry into the conservation?
On January 10, a Sad Puppy supporter makes a new comment unconnected to the previous discussion: http://file770.com/stackpole-resigns-from-gama-board/#comment-940171 Prior to that, nobody was discussing Larry Correia.
Avery Abernethy’s comment sets off a new discussion, which can be followed continuously. There’s zero indication of any break in the conversation. Abernethy has also been commenting at Larry Correia’s own blog but at no point does he either confirm or deny the existence of this mysterious “not a real gamer” comment. Weird, given that Abernethy was actively commenting when this comment was supposed to have occurred that he hasn’t mentioned its existence.
I believe Avery Abernethy has commented here before. I’m curious as to what he has to say about this…
Is it because it’s January? Is it because Hugo Nominations are open? For whatever reason a couple of outbreaks of emotive re-hashings of the past going on. First, at File770, an avowed Sad Puppy trying to revive John Scalzi bashing (apparently still sore from losing an argument in the comments to this post from 2007). Second, Larry Correia re-starts his game of claiming that people are being mean about and gets caught making stuff up. He’s since gone off on a further spittle-flecked rant about the fact that he got caught lying about stuff (not linking to it, it has zero content and is just very nasty invective).
Making stuff up to show how mean people are to him is not a new genre for Larry. A passing mention in a Guardian story about gender in science fiction. This was an accurate description of Larry’s stated position:
‘For writers and fans like Larry Correia, whose virulent attack on MacFarlane was excellently dissected by Jim C Hines, sex is a biological imperative and the idea of gender as a social construct is a damn liberal lie! But Correia boils it down to a much simpler argument. However accurate a queer future might be, SF authors must continue to pander to the bigotry of conservative readers if they want to be “commercial”.’https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/11/science-fiction-needs-to-reflect-queer-fluid-gender-identity
This brief mention has since been spun out by Larry into a claim that he was slandered and that it was also part of a conspiracy by The Guardian and writer and unknown Worldcon admins to make him look bad because he’d been nominated for a Hugo.
Prior to that Larry had claimed that his previous nomination for a Campbell Award resulted in this:
‘A European snob reviewer actually wrote “If Larry Correia wins the Campbell, it will END WRITING FOREVER.” ‘http://monsterhunternation.com/2013/01/08/how-to-get-correia-nominated-for-a-hugo/
‘Actually wrote’ as in ‘never wrote at all’. Larry changes the quote from time to time:
My favorite post however was from a British blogger who said that “if Larry Correia wins the Campbell it will end literature forever”.https://monsterhunternation.com/2014/01/23/some-reactions-to-sad-puppies-2-rainbow-puppy-lighthouse-the-huggening/
The only source for either quote is…Larry Correia. In the past, I’ve speculated that it was a misremembering but the simplest explanation is that Larry makes stuff up and then claims that it is true. Specifically, he makes stuff up about what people he doesn’t like have said about him to cast himself as a victim of systematic persecution. It is a particularly odd habit as he’s not short of actual critics and people pointing out actual flaws in his behaviour and work.
It’s a weird tactic: avoiding criticism by heaping invective on yourself so that you can respond in kind.
The simple fact is that Larry Correia hates Mike Glyer and File 770 because the site presented accurate and truthful coverage of Sad Puppies. Mike gave Larry the kind of coverage that Larry thought he wanted because he expected everybody to be awed by his awesomeness. When they weren’t and his campaign spiraled into awfulness instead, he blamed the messenger. Don’t believe me that File770 gave the Larry the coverage he wanted? Let’s ask Larry:
‘On this note, I’d like to extend an olive branch to Mike Glyer at File 770. We’ve gone around a few times, but I’ve got to hand it to him. Recently he’s been fully quoting my side and letting our arguments stand without interpretation. Well done, sir.https://monsterhunternation.com/2015/04/06/a-letter-to-the-smofs-moderates-and-fence-sitters-from-the-author-who-started-sad-puppies/
Caught in the trash filter was a reply from our long lost pal Phantom about Sarah Hoyt’s weird wold-population figure denial. It was better than normal and raises some weak but interesting points. With very little to go on for what the arguments for World Population Denial might be, I’ll need to go with Phantom’s weaker position.
“Communist and other corrupt regimes continuously lie about everything, floppy. Whatever direction their monetary interest is, that is where their lies will point. We know this is true because the lies change as circumstances change.”
The lies that are told change as circumstances change which is what makes it very difficult to lie consistently about population figures. The 2015 lie has to work with the 2014 lie and the 2016 lie and any lies about economic output or levels of unemployment etc etc. That doesn’t mean every lie or distortion can be identified but it does put strong limits of the scale of any deception.
In addition, for Hoyt’s claims to be true and the world population be substantially less than 7 billion, multiple governments would have needed to lie in the same direction in a way consistent with all their other lies for decades and gone undetected despite multiple different kinds of agencies and demographers looking at them.
Uncertainty is not the same as knowing nothing. Any vaguely numerate person should be able to understand that estimates of a figure has an error range. The uncertainties you are pointing at help circumscribe that error range and it simply isn’t big enough for 7 billion to be substantially wrong without a huge systemic error on the magnitude of at least half a billion people. Show me an error of that magnitude with some better evidence than an anecdote and I’ll give the claim that its less than 7 billion more credence.
“I note that you have entirely ignored the influence of international aid on population figures. If East Bongoliastan can get another couple of million bucks from the UN by inflating their population numbers, and the UN -wants- them to inflate those numbers, then I do not find it unreasonable to suspect they are inflated.”
I didn’t rely on UN figures, I also used US figures which aren’t exactly the same but also point at 7 billion. So let’s check US foriegn aid. Is it based on population size?
On Wikipedia is a table that shows the top 25 recipients of US foreign aid. Here are the top 5:
Oh my gosh! Looks like foreign aid has got very, very little to do with population size. Your theory is based on a very faulty assumption that aid is doled out on a per-capita basis. Some aspects of aid may relate to particular sizes of groups (e.g. people in a refugee camp) but that’s different from census data — heck a lot of aid is for displaced people who don’t get captured in census data well (because the host country doesn’t count them as living there and the country they fled from prefers to claim they are a tiny number) and actually tend to be UNDERcounted in national population figures.
Does that mean nobody ever, ever lies for the purpose to inflate aid? No, but the assumption that lying about a national population size will get you more aid is nonsense. It is also another area where a cynical or pathologically lying government has contradictory pressures. You as dictator of Phantomland would need to exaggerate the number of people living in extreme poverty or the number of people without fresh water or without adequate medical care to get more aid — simply exaggerating the national population won’t get you anything. Yet that means basically exaggerating the number of people your government isn’t looking after properly. In reality, if you as a dictator are going to lie to get aid then you aren’t going to do it with census figures but with lies about infrastructure projects or lies about how your opponents are all communists funded by Iran.
Anyway, for kicks, I decided to find general data on aid totals which I got from here: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-most-foreign-aid-in-the-world.html and then plotted that against UN population figures from Wikipedia.
Look, honestly thinking that the amount of aid a country gets should have SOME connection with how many people live there is a reasonable and humane assumption about how the world should work. It isn’t remotely true though. Now I grant that the graph is somewhat distorted by India being in the data set but even with India removed, the connection just isn’t there.
I could keep slicing the data down until we got some group of nations where maybe population size made an observable difference but by that point, the bias (if it existed) wouldn’t be enough to have any serious impact on the 7 billion figure. Heck, if the top FIVE recipients of international aid actually had zero people living in each of them, the world population would STILL be greater than 7 billion!
“I mean, look at the US ground-station data for temperature. We know that’s been inflated for sure. Why else are there so many official NOAA thermometers in the middle of asphalt parking lots? Hundreds of them. Whole websites are dedicated to documenting it.”
And as you’ve read here before, you never rely on one data set. Don’t believe the ground station data? Then compare it with the satellite data. Don’t believe the UN data? Then compare it with the US data. The fallacy you are illustrating in both cases is one often used in FUD style arguments.
The fallacy of FUD: If there is some degree of doubt or uncertainty around a figure then we know nothing at all about the figure. (To be applied selectively to figures we don’t like.
It’s nonsense because no real world figure is ever measured to perfect accuracy or is immune to some degree of human error or foolproof to somebody lying about it. The reason we don’t all collapse into a fetal position of doubt is that we know that error has limits.
For example, we’ve never met, you certainly don’t trust me but if I say I’m 5 foot 9 inches tall (I’m not*) then it is still absurd to say that you have zero idea about how tall I am. You know I’m not 15 foot tall or 1 foot tall. You know it is reasonable (i.e. you are unlikely to be wrong) to assume I’m within a few inches of 5 foot 9 inches.
“So my point on Sarah’s post was that I do not know what the true population of China or India is, much less Venezuela, Cuba, Congo, North Korea or even South Africa. And neither do you. You’re saying we’re all crazy to question the UN numbers because it suits your rhetorical purpose, not because you have any evidence to support those numbers.”
The ‘true’ population? Sure! Likewise I don’t know my own true mass – it’s constantly changing by small amounts due to eating and pooing and sweating and breathing as meat robots do. I don’t know my ‘true’ height either as that literally fluctuates and my tape measure isn’t perfect. Your observation isn’t saying anything useful at all. The question is not can we know a true figure but how ACCURATE our ESTIMATES of the true figure is for all of these things.
Honestly, I’d have thought that was just common sense and while I could admire the bravery of a radical scepticism that says that the only true knowledge is perfect knowledge and hence we know nothing, I know for a fact that isn’t a position either you or Hoyt hold. Heck, you’ll believe all sorts of stuff based on limited information or even no information or worse yet when the information says the exact opposite.
For example, let’s take this specific claim from Sarah Hoyt in the original piece:
“Not to mention that it’s just a coincidence, I’m sure, that countries that are net recipients of international aid PER CAPITA have the highest population growth. I’m sure.”https://accordingtohoyt.com/2018/12/10/bad-bad-futures-which-didnt-happen/
Countries that are net recipients of international aid per capita versus population growth? OK, that’s something we can graph using the data sources I’ve already listed. “Growth” here is per cent change from 2016 to 2017.
I’m just a not sufficiently humble blogger but I’m not seeing much support for Hoyt’s claim there. I guess she means in a broad brush strokes sense in so far as wealthy European nations have low population growth and are net providers of aid and developing nations often (but far from always) often have high population growth and tend to be net receivers of aid. However, the data shows that aid isn’t driving population estimates among the major net receivers of aid.
“If a person lies about all kinds of things all the time, it does not mean that for sure they are lying -this- time. But it does mean one would be imprudent to assume they are not.”
Let’s generalise. If a person is verifiably wrong about all kinds of things much of the time, it does not mean that for SURE they are wrong -this- time but it does mean one would be imprudent to assume they are not. Heck, we can just go and check! Oh surprise, surprise! They were wrong, again…
*(Obviously Camestros Felapton is an abstract cognitive meme-complex to which spatial dimensions don’t apply. The meat robot is bigger than 6 foot and shorter than 2 metres.)
My plan was to return to this today — the claim that the human population of the Earth is substantially less than 7 billion. Before we get to the main course I learnt something that was only a little surprising: the crypto-fascist and terrorist-supporter Vox Day is into moon-landing conspiracy theories. The links are at the bottom of the post for reference. The first is a recent link to a video by a guy called Owen Benjamin. Vox has been pushing this guy’s videos recently because he was a former supporter of Jordan Peterson who has since decided that Peterson is satanic. The video is rambling and poorly argued — not worth watching as there’s nothing new there and its interspersed with homophobic tangents. Vox’s scepticism about the moon landings is older though and he links to a position he’s had on them since at least 2006.
“I tend to support the faked Moon landing theory myself, not because of any particular detail, but simply based on the theory that if the Official Story is that we landed there, then we probably didn’t. This mysterious disappearance tends to support that… it’s intriguing to see how tapes, videos and recordings never seem to survive whenever an Official Story is questioned by the public.”
I’ll concede one point in Vox’s favour: he very neatly encapsulated the core fallacy at the heart of his thinking and in Sarah Hoyt’s position on the population of the Earth. I’ll generalise his argument as follows:
The fallacy of denial: If the official story is one thing then this a lie and the truth is in a specific other direction.
As a fallacy, it is a species of the genetic fallacy that treats the source of the argument as determining the truth of the argument. There are instances where similar arguments are not fallacious, for example, if we are evaluating the reliability of evidence from a particular source and that source is known to be unreliable. However, an unreliable source doesn’t contaminate all the other surrounding evidence nor is it rational to conclude that an unreliable witness/source must be lying without additional evidence.
Additionally, there is a fallacy of unreliability here. The fallacy is that if a source of data is unreliable and that all we know about it, then the unreliability can only be in one direction. For example, Vox contends that NASA are obviously lying about something but then doesn’t contemplate whether they are hiding extra moon landings etc. If if you grant that somebody is lying to you, you need other evidence or arguments to conclude even vaguely the nature of the lie.
Back to 7 Billion
Returning to the denial that the population of the Earth is 7 billion, we can see the same fallacy in operation here:
“I don’t think we’re 7 billion or whatever number the UN claims, and frankly I can’t understand why ANYONE believes the UN on this. They can’t be trusted on anything else, pretty much taking the word of dictators and totalitarians for proven facts, but you trust them on this? Really?”
Hoyt argues that the official story is 7 billion and that the official story can’t be trusted and therefore the actual population must be significantly less. She doesn’t say by how much but presumably enough that people would be less concerned about the population of the Earth. It is essentially the same argument as Vox’s but on a completely different subject.
The claim is fallacious even if we can regard some parts of it being credible. To wit, these are reasonable points:
- Census data can’t be wholly accurate in general.
- Census data will be even less accurate in less developed countries.
- Authoritarian regimes do sometimes (or even often) lie about national statistics.
However, none of those points address either the size or the direction of any errors that apply to the 7 billion figure. What they tell us can be summed up as:
Population of the Earth = 7 billion +/- some error
That error is not zero but we knew that already and nobody is claiming it is zero. Hoyt’s argument requires the error to be both negative and substantial, neither of which can be derived from “you can’t trust the UN”.
Denial versus conspiracy
The basic claim we are looking at (i.e. that the population of Earth is substantially less than 7 billion) is best described as denial. By itself, it is simply a claim that something with substantial evidence behind it isn’t true. That’s not the same as a conspiracy theory but it is the seed of one.
The move from a simple denial to conspiracy comes from when further evidence is presented.
In the case of the Earth’s population, we do not need to use the UN figure at all. Instead, we can use the USA’s Census Bureau estimate or we can use an estimate by a private organisation The Population Reference Bureau.
For 2015 these estimates were according to Wikipedia:
[Links take you to sources. For UN and USCB these are interactive sources and the figures vary to some degree from what is quoted on the Wiki page but confirm 7 billion + ]
So different groups come to similar figures. Maybe the USCB is lying as well and in the same way as the UN? Well, that’s a definite move into conspiracy theory territory.
A less conspiratorial source of skepticism is that national governments lie. It’s a fair point and if each of those estimates above used the same raw data and that raw data was false then maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that the figures are similar. After all, a billion+ of that 7 billion is from China and there is no particular reason to assume that the Chinese government would be honest.
However, that assumes that all these estimates are is simply adding up some top level numbers. It ignores that these numbers are just part of a wider discipline of demographics. Behind the figures are estimates about population density and population growth. These estimates aren’t perfect either but they do make lying about population figures substantially harder.
The estimates are also part of a historical record of estimates and hence would require a government to not just lie but to do so consistently over decades. It might be plausible to believe that the Chinese government would lie but during the years of the much vaunted one-child policy, in what direction would the government lie? To bolster the policy initially a cynical government might inflate population growth but overtime a cynical government would start exaggerating the degree to which the policy had worked. Lying plausibly about such things would be quite a challenge but not impossible in a relatively closed society. While modern China is still under one-party rule, it’s relatively easy to visit and see the size and scale of Chinese cities. That’s not enough to confirm the accuracy of Chinese census figures but it does limit the degree to which they can be inflated.
For other nations unintentional inaccuracy in census figures cuts both ways. There are reasons that some people may be over-counted and reasons why some people might be under-counted. USCB estimates for the population of China in 2015 were 1,367,485,000. Let’s say the ‘true’ figure was HALF of that then the world population would be 6,652,692,500 — less than 7 billion but still 7 billion when rounding to the nearest billion. To get the figure down to 6 billion requires both accidental over-counting and intentional lying from multiple nations.
Such lies might work in a sufficiently rural population where the impact of people is harder to observe but much of the growth in the world is in cities, cities that are observable by satellite. Again, hard to get exact population figures from such data but its not hard for demographers to use economic data, land use data and other sources to provide corroboration.
Put another way: population figures may be ‘wrong’ but there’s a limit to how wrong they can be.
Motive is insufficient
Now imagine the 7 billion figure is a hefty 2 billion people out and in one direction i.e. the actual world population is 5 billion. That figure would require not just huge lies from both China and India but the active collusion of demographers in multiple countries and the governments of hostile nations going along with the deception. But let’s grant that and imagine it’s all part of a plan to frighten people by the spectre of over-population. Is 7 billion seriously that much scarier than 5 billion to be worth all of that effort? And the effort to shave 2 billion off those figures would be significant.
Critical thinking versus credulous thinking
I mourn the word “skeptical” but unfortunately it’s not up to the job of the modern world. “Critical thinking” isn’t much better because what ever word we might use, it will then be misused by flim-flam You-Tube “philosophers” like Stefan Molyneux. However, for the time being at least I can use it to point out a distinction.
It can seem paradoxical the extent to which some people we encounter (not all on the right but increasingly concentrated on the right) can be both so sceptical and credulous at the same time. While doubt and belief look quite different, the “scepticism” is routed in their credulousness. The core issue is not a capacity to believe or disbelieve but rather an unwillingness to interrogate their own beliefs (or disbelief for that matter).
It’s not unlike the very basic advice given to people learning how to do maths or physics problems. It’s not enough to churn through calculations and plug numbers into calculators because small errors can lead to big mistakes and misunderstanding the problem can lead to correct methods to the wrong problem. Adept problem solvers take a step back and ask the question “does this answer actually make sense?”
“Now, I have not said that the Moon landings were a hoax, I have only observed that I do not believe the Official Story concerning them. I don’t know what people are lying about or the full extent of their lies and deception, I only know that the Official Story is not entirely true. That does not mean it is entirely false.”http://voxday.blogspot.com/2018/12/skepticism-required-here.html
“I tend to support the faked Moon landing theory myself, not because of any particular detail, but simply based on the theory that if the Official Story is that we landed there, then we probably didn’t.”http://voxday.blogspot.com/2006/08/fortuitous-loss.htm
“As with all things for which there is no clear historical consensus, I remain entirely agnostic on the issue. To the extent that I lean one way or the other, I tend to assume that the landings were faked due to the means, motive, and opportunity heuristic and because I am a confirmed cynic when it comes to Official Stories narrated by the U.S. government”.http://voxday.blogspot.com/2018/12/no-one-went-to-moon.html
I know many regular readers of this blog will not be sad to learn that Jon Del Arroz has deleted his Twitter account. I shan’t rehash Jon’s various actions over the past few years but these links are relevant:
The latest twist in the Ballad of Del Arroz is comicsgategatecomicsgate related. According to JDA himself, Ethan Van Sciver (arguably driving force behind the online harassment campaign known as ‘comicsgate’) had told him to go away:
“Ethan finally came out and said he didn’t like me over the weekend, told me to “go away”, as if I didn’t have any part of this movement before he even showed up. The hubris in that statement and resentment shows that he blames me for his crumbling empire, even though I have little to do with him (I’ve not been around his youtube crew at all for 2 months now!). Last night, he escalated attacks by coming after someone for following me on Twitter, accusing him of being a “Jon del Arroz acolyte” and promptly blocking him.” http://delarroz.com/2018/11/13/two-face-finally-came-for-me/
JDA himself has been variously harassed and counter harassed since the conflict between Vox Day and EVS over the ‘comicsgate’ label erupted in September. Surprisingly, when a movement based on trolling, name calling and harassments falls out with itself the result is not an amicable break-up and everybody agreeing to let bygones be bygones.
JDA also has a more recent blogpost on why comicsgate failed: http://delarroz.com/2018/11/16/a-failed-movement-in-three-acts/
It’s worth a read because it provides some insights into how a participant in one of these campaigns percieves the arc it follows. Jon identifies three phases to comicsgate:
- Identify The Problem and Raise Awareness
- Alt-Hero ushers in a revolution of crowdfunds
- A movement falls to contraction and fighting
It is phase one that Jon identifies as the ‘fun’ part. Of course, that was the part where the comicsgaters were primarily harassing actual writers and artists. The ‘unity’ was unity in spreading hatred and inciting harassment. The second phase was when people tried to make money out of the
suckers, um ‘activists’. The third phase was when the infighting started for multiple reasons but JDA ignores the most obvious one: campaigns like comicsgate reward obnoxious behaviour and hence any internal dispute is likely to escalate.
And Jon almost, almost, almost gets it:
“The whole premise was based on outrage, not actual products, and so these guys have to perpetually stoke outrage…”
Yes, yes we know. That’s what people were pointing out from wayyyy before ‘comicsgate’ started. That’s why we’ve been using the term ‘outrage marketing’
The Countess Moggymotheaten of the House of Moggymotheaten surveyed her surroundings on her palatial spaceship.
“F-ck, f-ck, f-ck,” she said using her customary choice of vocabulary.
“Would…” asked her lawyer and occasional ex-lover Buggles Tinternabbeygiftshop, “…you like to me to…take care of this unfortunate incident for you?”
“Of course I want you to f_cking, f-ck take f_cking, f-ck, f-ck care of f_cking it. F_ck” said the Countess.
Then for good measure she repeated the word “F_ck” sixty seven more times at varying distances from Buggles Tinternabbeygiftshop’s face.
Across the Interminabledependnecy a thousand human habitations drifted through a pithy and not wholly irrelevant info dump that, with a few asides, discussed much of both the history and the underlying physics of the setting of this novel.
True, most of the population of the Interminabledependnecy already knew this, having sat through (as a largely un-talkative population) the first novel of this series and beside which they had all presumably gone to school or something, although the exact details of how these people lived is beside the point as we’ll largely be looking at the lives of particularly sweary aristocrats for several more chapters.
The Emperatrix Betty Niceperson considered her options which despite the massive power of her position was highly limited. Not naturally being a sweary aristocrat left Betty Niceperson at a distinct disadvantage when negotiating with the powerful families of Interminabledependnecy. She simply did not know how to say “F_ck” with sufficient vehemence to make herself understood. She had experimented with saying “gosh darn it” but it hadn’t had the same effect.
Just then Buggles Tinternabbeygiftshop arrived with his customary vague threat from the Countess Moggymotheaten.
“I’m sorry,” explained the Emperatrix, “I’ve completely lost track of which person was my half-brother and which person was the Moggymotheaten scion I was supposed to marry and which one was trying to murder me.”
“The simple answer,” explained Buggles, “Is they are in fact all exactly the same person with different names. It’s a technical term we call SRAMP.”
“SRAMP” said Brunomars Nicechap, the Emperatrix’s pet physicist from the first book.
“Some rich arsehole merchant prince,” explained Buggles acronymically.
“I see,” said Betty,” but how does that help with the imminent collapse of the Empire?”
“It doesn’t,” explained Buggles, “I just accidentally wandered in from the earlier chapter.
“F_cccckkkkkk” continued the Countess Moggymotheaten for at least another few paragraphs.
Brunomars Nicechap stood in front of the crowd of angry looking space geologists.
“Please,” he pleaded, “you have to believe me that the whole Interminabledependnecy is going to collapse!”
“Of course we believe you,” said the scientists, “your math checks out and anyway the whole thing started to collapse in the last book. We aren’t idiots.”
“But, but, we’ve a whole chapter to fill with you guys not believing me.” said Brunomars Nicechap.
“Maybe we could just all sit here and check our emails instead?” suggested the scientists.
Which is what they did.
“F_cccckkkkkk” continued the Countess Moggymotheaten for at least another few chapters.
“What was I doing again?” asked Buggles Tinternabbeygiftshop of the Emperatrix.
“I think you were still supposed to be in chapter 1 getting orders from the Countess Moggymotheaten.” suggested Betty as nicely as possible.
“There’s not much point, she’ll be swearing for another six chapters at least.” said Buggles.
“Well we could have sex instead?” suggested Betty.
“Only if it is perfunctory and somewhat unerotic,” suggested Buggles.
“F_ck,” said the Emperatrix.
Then the Interminabledependnecy collapsed.
“F_ck” said everybody.
“That’s not how you write a novel,” said Jonathon Franzen.
“F_ck off, Jonathon Franzen,” said the Countess Moggymotheaten who then crashed a spaceship into the sun.
Cast your minds back to May 11 2016. It was a kinder, more innocent time and not-so-crypto crypto-fascist website Vox Popoli invited people to “Meet Rod Walker” (archive link). Walker was, we were told, the “new new Heinlein” and like Heinlein would be writing some exciting “juvenile” targetted science fiction novels for Vox Day’s Castalia House.
“We are very excited about our new series of Rod Walker books, because they are exactly what we founded Castalia House to publish. They are pure Blue SF, and contain no foul language, no adult themes, no nihilism, and they are 100 percent social justice-free. Robert Heinlein revitalized science fiction with just 12 wonderful novels – 13, if one counts Starship Troopers which was originally supposed to be a Scribner novel, but was foolishly turned down – and we believe it is possible to do achieve similar effects by applying the same principles that made his early novels so successful.”
The supposed success of “Mutiny in Space” was much trumpeted by Vox Day and this first “juvenile” was followed by two more: “Alien Game” and “Young Man’s War”. All the books had somewhat clumsy 3D model art covers. This was all according to the plan Vox Day had laid out in August 2016: [Archive link]
“He is one of the most professional authors in the industry, delivering what must be some of the cleanest manuscripts delivered anywhere. He’s not only professional, he’s prolific, as we’ll be publishing two more of his novels before the end of the year, Alien Game, which is a second Heinlein-style SF juvenile, and an as-yet-untitled fantasy novel set in Minaria, the world of Divine Right.”
“KU is the real game-changer now, because the traditional publishers can’t play there. But we can, and last month, one of our better-selling books sold more via KU than through all the other means and editions combined. It doesn’t make sense for us to sell all our books that way, as we’ve experimented and some books do great while others don’t, but KU editions are now every bit as important in their own right as paperback, hardcover, or audiobook editions.”
In July 2018, Rod Walker’s “Young Man’s War” was on Vox Day’s nomination list for the Dragon Awards.
But what about that fantasy series that was mentioned? In February 2018, the Castalia House blog had a review of a Rod Walker fantasy book called “Master Rogue 1: Mage Tome” http://www.castaliahouse.com/quick-reviews-mage-tome-karma-upsilon-4-and-appalling-stories but aside from that “Rod Walker” had gone a bit quiet.
More recently a stray comment in a post that appeared both at Vox Day’s blog and Castalia House blog caught my eye:
“Castalia House is not doing YA right now,”
A quick trip to Rod Walker’s own blog led to this:
The Wayback machine had a version of his front page from August 2018 but at some point since the blog had been blanked. The archived version showed a fantasy trilogy of novellas called “Master Rogue” . A simple google search for “Master Rogue: Mage Tome” gives a link to an Amazon page but that link leads to:
Does Straw Puppy work for Amazon now? Did he always work for Amazon? No, that’s a side issue. Off to Voxopedia. There “Rod Walker (science fiction author)” is a red broken link:
Rod Walker’s last blog entry appears to have been in July 2018. After that point, the mysterious Mr Walker appears to have disappeared and at least some of his book scrubbed from Amazon. The trilogy of novellas appear on Goodreads but no links to the books themselves function. There are odd remnants of the fantasy books on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/aw/cr/B077SGPHK2/ref=mw_dp_cr ) which prove they existed but they’ve since gone.
The conclusion was obvious: Rod Walker has vanished as swiftly as he once appeared and with him a trio of fantasy novellas. The new new Heinlein simply…vanished…