Former TOR editor still longs to gatekeep the field

Brad R. Torgersen

I don’t usually take to fisking the comments of others in the field, but the recent words of Teresa Nielsen-Hayden simply demand it. Since my inception as a professional, I have made the case for an “open” system. No barriers. Not on writers, and not on fans. Publish, connect with your audience (for fun and profit!) and for God’s sake, no more gatekeeping of the “ghetto” that is the literary Science Fiction and Fantasy field. Writers are writers are writers, and fans are fans are fans. My reasoning along these lines is not original to me. Others were saying similar things ten-plus years ago. But now it’s gotten to the point that certain would-be gatekeepers have become so thoroughly convinced of their station — and so absolutely sure of your unworthiness to partake — that it’s time to stand up.

Sad Puppies 3 terrifies SMOF queen (and former TOR editor)…

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All The Scarlet Letters

On the joys of being a conservative in the SF/F world. I feel her pain, as a fan, not a writer (yet) 😉

According To Hoyt

One of the most interesting things – and by interesting I mean scary – about the reaction to Sad Puppies 3 is that many people who are anti-puppy (always wanted to write that) were mad at Brad for “not telling people you were putting them on the slate.”

Okay. The accusation is not true. Brad actually told people, except for a couple he legitimately forgot to contact.

But let’s not defend Brad on that front, because when we are defending him on that front, we’re already swallowing whole a pretty bizarre assumption of the other side.

Instead, let’s step back and take a deep breath.

What are the Hugos?

They’re awards, right? They’re awards given, supposedly, for the best science fiction and fantasy of the year, right?

In theory, theoretically as it were, who is supposed to nominate: why, Lord love a duck, right? Any reader of science fiction who…

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I Got it in the Army

I did not see that coming. The original poster says all in involved were old enough to know better. It’s still funny.

Just Writing!

Tell us a story — fiction or non-fiction — with a twist we can’t see coming.


Last night, our church enjoyed a talent night.  People sang, played instruments, recited poetry, did funny skits, told stories.  It was lots of fun.  The final piece was a skit called I Got it in the Army. 

The setup was four rows of folding chairs, two in each row.  There was a chair for the bus driver, and several passengers filed onto the bus. After the last man sat down, there was still a vacant seat. At the last minute, a man with a terrible tick in his neck and head got aboard and sat in the vacant seat.

The man beside him watched for a few seconds, and then introduced himself.

“Hi.  My name is Dave.  I don’t like to intrude, but are you in pain? Is there anything I can do…

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I haven’t seen the movie, but on the basis of this review, I would heartily recommend it. I will definitely look for it when it comes to Netflix or Pay per View. SPOILERS ALERT

Novel Ninja

Editor’s Note: Lori wanted to review and analyze Cinderella, so here she is in her second guest blog. Enjoy!

~ Matthew Bowman, Supreme Editor Monkey at Novel Ninja.

CinderellaI’ll say it right at the outset: Cinderella is one of the best movies I have seen recently.

Now, after I reviewed Old Fashioned — a movie I wanted to like — Matthew and I were both told on Facebook that we’re not qualified to review rom-coms, so I guess I’m not qualified here either. Or the haters can just go jump in the nearest lake.

The movie is visually beautiful, with a bare minimum of CGI.  The music is compelling, the acting is quite well done and convincing, the humor is tasteful and just enough to make the story light and pleasant (but not enough to make it silly) and the story is almost perfect.

Comparing this version to the…

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First Day of Spring and A Dream

Well, yesterday was the first day of spring and, ironically enough, my grandmother’s funeral. Her ashes were being ‘planted’ and she will ‘sprout’ anew at the Resurrection of the Saints. I had called Brother #2 in the morning to ask if Sister-in-Law #2v3 (#2v1 and #2v2 having been left behind on life’s pathway) still had the same email address since her birthday was coming up and I want to send her glad wishes of the day. I also asked him to take pictures of the funeral. Mother said she would but will probably forget. Sister-in-Law #2v3 and Niece #2 are still in China and paperwork is in process to get them both visas and get her a green card. He said she did and that he would inform her that I would be writing and to watch for it. He said she could also send me new pictures of Niece #2, which would be nice. I had asked him a few days ago, since he seems to have the same fondness I do for hanging on to family mementos, if he would like for me to pass on a gold cross that grandmother had passed to me when I was twelve that her grandmother had given to her when she was twelve. I thought it would make a nice gift for Niece #2 when she turned twelve. She’s only four now, but, as all children do, she’ll grow. He agreed it would be nice. Brother #1 and his family are more focused on the latest and newest of things and don’t seem to be as attached to mementos of the past, so I didn’t want to waste the gift on someone I didn’t feel would appreciate the weight of history behind it. I have a sterling silver charm bracelet that I may give to Sister-in-Law #2v3 for Christmas if she makes it to the US in time. I got it from Great Grandmother, the mother of Grandmother who just passed. It is a delicate chain with small hearts stamped “I love you”.

I was having a strange dream waking up this morning. It was one of those semi-directed dreams where a scene will pop up out of sync with a line of type visible as if I’m reading it, then the dream will rewind to play out how it would have gotten to that scene. The dream was a story, from my point of view, of course, but not as me. I was living on a farm with a budding crush on the farmer’s son, who was played by Clancy Brown. He was using a backhoe to dig out a building, looked over at me and joked, “I know, I’m doing it wrong.” It seems to be a running joke between the two of us, me always telling him how to dig out the buried remains of the buildings to preserve the treasures buried there, but who goes excavating old homesteads with a backhoe? Dreams. There’s a techno-marvel of a shining city in the distance. Already I’m sensing a dichotomy of philosophies brewing. Then it jumps to a stormy night and a large tree, I think it’s a willow, standing before me, glowing with a web pattern full of curves and circles and glowing dots. It resonates with me. Lightning strikes. I see visions of dirty, huddled children in darks dens, threadbare, frightened and the subject of para-military interest. Then the dream jumps to a time three months later. Electric things glow blue like the web when I touch them. The farms are fighting to remain free and trade without the army taking over. We discover through the visions I had in the lightning strike that the military is taking children from the farms with the newly discovered ability to touch the web and trying to use them. Trying to channel that natural force into machines to make them more powerful to take over the independent farms, turning the children into cybernetic brain batteries.  My best friend from childhood is the principal of the local school. He has been recruiting children from the farms to send to schools in the city, unknowingly sending them into harm. This is where the line of type comes in. “All that is left is the echo of body warmth where his place was at my side.”

The dream rewinds to show the army surrounding our farm complex. I know Clancy and the others are fighting to release the children from a big barn-like structure across the field before the roof caves in from the fires set by the army. A nearby farmhouse of four stories has caved in already and is in flames as well. I am on my knees holding a focus stone, trying to summon power from the web as a wild storm rages. Wind, lightning, thunder to deafen the gods. The principal with a sad smile comes to kneel beside me, puts his arm around my shoulders and we concentrate together. Lightning cracks. Blue light flares blindingly even through closed eyes, then deafening silence.

I open my eyes, my friend is gone. The line of type I read makes sense. I stagger out of the building. The sun is shining, the armies are gone with no sign they were ever there. The fires are out, but we will need to re-build. Clancy is leading the children out of the barns. The dream jumps again. Clancy is digging with the backhoe, looks at me and says, “I know, I’m doing it wrong.” I look up at him. I know we are at peace. The armies are defeated. The cities have their machines. The farms have magic again. The world is in Balance. I say, “Nope. You’re doing it just right.”

A Good Servant But… – Jeb Kennison

An erudite discussion of modern feminism and governmental control of social mores. I must follow up on this man.

According To Hoyt

Marxist-Feminist Poster

A Good Servant But… – Jeb Kennison

[This post was originally published at in 2014]

I’m writing about the history of government thought control and the means of
restraining it by constitutional limitations on its powers. Western
governments are more and more intrusive on private decisions, and modern
activists and feminists strongly influence government policy and propaganda
from their positions in academia, government, and nonprofits. Restricting
government’s powers to interfere in private decisions and control the media
message would give private personal decisions more room, and everyone
(except the nomenklatura) would benefit.

Feminism started out with a quest for equity in job opportunities, voting,
and freedom to choose. This initial agenda (“equity feminism”) won a lot of
support from fair-minded men and women, though even then there was a strong element of
special pleading in the movement.

By choosing to notice only the bad things that happen to

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What White Privilege?- By Rhiain

Voices from the Peanut Gallery. People of color are no more a solid block than are people of.. I guess we would be “un-color”, kind of like 7 UP is the Un-Cola.

According To Hoyt

*I don’t know Rhiain personally except she’s one of my fans.  But reading this I realized we were sisters under the skin.  Now, because I have spent the last five years, give or take, mainly indoors — I’m looking forward to better health allowing me to hike more again — I have only a vague soupcon of gold, (Spun Gold, according to paint chips) but my kids are… much darker and also blessed with more ethnic features.  Being treated as victims embarrasses them, even if they grew up — writer’s sons — at the edge of falling off the middle class any minute.  Because we get in trouble and we cope — though once at least I had to ask you guys for help, but that was different.  I do provide this blog almost every day for free — we don’t ask the charity of strangers?  And what is all…

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It Makes You Uncomfortable?

All right. Listen up, you hot-house, privileged, snot-nosed, lily-livered, precious, little snowflakes at UC Irvine. If flying the American flag at an American University on an American campus in an American city on American soil offends your delicate sensibilities, you really need to re-think where you are attending school. Or if you are actually prepared for the *real* world. I’m sure we can find places where they don’t hang the American flag in the lobby. For example, Mexico or Cuba or Russia or even Communist China. Renounce your federally funded American education and go there.

Isn’t the point of going to college to expand one’s horizons? To expose oneself to uncomfortable situations and people? To learn who one is in extremis by testing oneself and one’s convictions against the onslaught of opposing worldviews and opinions? Am I missing something here? The purpose of college is to take the first steps of adulthood, establishing oneself as separate from one’s parents and as an independent entity, with views, tastes and talents of one’s own.

And what’s with UCLA? A young woman applied for a position on a student judicial panel. She was asked, (and there is video proof) if she thought that, given that she was Jewish and active in Jewish Community activities, if she could really be impartial. Replace the word “Jewish” with “Homosexual” or “Black” or any other minority and see how it sounds. Four members of the panel actually voted against her before a faculty advisor reminded them that being Jewish wasn’t against any rules. Then, and only then, did they mumble a “sorry-not-sorry” and reverse their decision.

What is it with our college campuses today? What kind of weak-minded fools are we churning out? I realize the ultra socialist left has become entrenched in academia thanks to the wonders of tenure but isn’t anyone, anywhere making headway? Has “Question Authority” lost all meaning or is it only “Question the Authority your Professors tell you to question”?

I hear from many the lack of critical thinking skills. I see the dearth of correct grammar, spelling, and sentence structure on-line and in fan-fiction. I am beta-reading a story for a friend. He is obviously a first-time writer with a severe case of adjectivitis and redundancy. The characters’ vocal patterns are inconsistent and changing constantly. He has grizzled cops saying please and thank you to each other on a casual basis. He hopes to make a trilogy of it. <Deep Breath>


Why I Write

Otherwhere Gazette

Kris Keldaran/Contributor

I sing the song of the wrath of Achilles. So said Homer in opening the Iliad. Several thousand years later, in writing the closing of his novel “Voyage Across The Stars” David Drake quotes these words, explaining how he builds upon the reputation of Homer and others. That it is a privilege to stand on their shoulders, and leave a mark in the world.

I echo these sentiments, for many reasons. My introduction to written science fiction came in high school. I preferred books to people. Books didn’t cause drama, books didn’t try to pick fights with you for no good reason; books didn’t care that you wore the cheap jeans your mother bought at Walmart because it was all she could afford, not Aeropostale, Hollister, or Abercrombie.

I stumbled over David Drake’s Hammer’s Slammers in the school library, followed by John Ringo’s Posleen-verse. This…

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Winter At Valley Forge

As an extra treat, I am re-blogging an intelligent statement by a writer I follow.

According To Hoyt

Lately there has been a wave of talk about leaving the GOP behind, going third party. It’s seemingly everywhere (except this blog, where the people espousing it are people who always have – hold on to that point, it will be relevant later.)

I know I responded with a twitter rant of someone who got more snippy than I would have because he said it better than I could – not the snippy part, but the point of his rant – to someone who said that two days ago. I am sorry, no offense meant. It’s just that I think you – all of you – are barking up the wrong tree and failing to see both the progress and the problems with your chosen course.

Sure, some people I respect – Chris Muir, Bill Quick, sometimes Bill Whittle – advocate that. I’m going to say they haven’t looked at…

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