Ask Correia #18: Creating “Offensive” Characters

I love to binge stream TV shows. The latest show that I’ve been streaming on Netflix is Hell on Wheels. I’m really enjoying it. It is probably the most beautifully shot thing out there. It is just so damned cinematic that I can’t paint while I watch it, and I have to actually watch it with my eyeballs and all of my brain.

It is well written, has complex characters, and the best part about it? In a period of American history about an unforgiving place where everybody had to be an unflinching bad ass to get anything done, so everybody is an unflinching bad ass. It plays fast and loose with actual history, but I love the vibe anyway. It doesn’t shy away from otherwise good people doing things that were normal then that we would consider absolutely awful today.

My wife is ahead of me and has seen all the episodes. When I got to season 3 she warned me that we were the bad guys. For the record, we’re Mormons. My wife’s family goes back to ye olden days, of starving hand cart companies, extermination orders, and mill massacres. (for the other Mormons present, she is a descendant of Wilford Woodruff and Lorenzo Snow, so that’ll give you an idea about her family tree).

My only question to her was, do they portray us as pussies? Nope? Good to go. I can handle being the bad guy, but I can’t stand when TV screws up and portrays Mormons as some sort of pseudo-Quaker non-violent bunch of sissy victims. Mormons spent a lot of time getting our asses kicked, but we certainly weren’t babies about it.

So I just finished season 3, and my people have been portrayed as merciless, violent dicks. But then again to be fair in this show the Union, the Confederacy, white folks, black folks, rich folks, poor folks, the Irish, the Germans, the Indians, and Unitarian Congregationalist Abolitionists have also been portrayed as merciless, violent dicks. The hero has murdered a bunch of people and the absolute worst person ever is a psychotic Norwegian who might actually be the devil. So I’m like, cool, whatever. That’s kind of the theme of a show that has Hell in the title, you know?

Then MSNBC resident braniac Melissa Harris “Tampon Earings” Perry educated everybody that Star Wars was racist because Darth Vader was a black guy…

Wow. Okay then. Since it was James Earl Jones doing Scary Robot Voice for a mangled white dude, I always thought it was bigoted against cyborgs and the handicapped. And Jawas… Don’t get me started on friggin’ Jawas, man.

But these things got me to thinking about characters and how we writers make them up and portray them, and how something you do is going to offend somebody. So today I want to talk about that aspect of character creation.

Recently I got screeched at by some idiot SJW who was nitpicking his way through my books to demonstrate how I was racist (because anybody who disagrees with them must be). His straw grasping came down to how I had minority characters as antagonists. Sure, he had to hand wave away the minority characters who were heroes and the majority characters who were antagonists but as we’ll see, the perpetually offended are going to find something to whine about no matter what. But amongst that bleating was some variant of “Correia used someone from SPECIAL VICTIM GROUP X as a bad guy! How dare he? Doesn’t he realize how HURTFUL that is to members of SPECIAL VICTIM GROUP X?”

Hmmm… Let me turn on any given TV show and see how the “groups” I belong to are portrayed by most of Hollywood. Gun nuts are dumb hick Bubbas. Religious types are usually delusional lunatics. Then we’ve got greedy capitalist 1%ers crushing the poor and downtrodden. Don’t even get me started on blood thirsty military contractors and the Evil Military Industrial Complex!

So no, I have no idea how it feels for my “tribe” to be identified in a negative manner. Hang on. I just rolled my eyes so hard I may have physically injured myself.

The thing is, because none of the groups I identify with are the type to flip out and hold protests (mostly because all of them tend to vote Republican, and we have jobs) so those groups are safe for writers to portray in a negative light… And so they do. All the time. The problem with safe is that it can quickly become tired and boring.

You know what else is homogenous and approved? Oatmeal. Smart writers aren’t going to serve their fans bland, predictable oatmeal very often, because they know the fans will get bored and spend their entertainment dollars on something else that doesn’t treat them like they’re stupid.

Culture warriors are going to focus on establishing narratives. They know that politics is down the road from culture, so they’re going to insist on checklists, and only offending groups that it is acceptable to offend. Art and entertainment comes after the mission of the day.

Smart writers are going to focus on entertainment. They’re probably going to offend everybody at some point. But at least they won’t be boring while they do it.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, the unforgivable sin for writers is being boring. As a writer you can get away with damned near anything as long as you are entertaining a big enough audience.

There is a contingent of readers out there who exist only to nitpick and bitch. There aren’t that many of them, but they make up for it by being loud. Many authors are under the mistaken impression that you can make these readers happy. You can’t. At best you can appease them. Temporarily. But you will cross their invisible line sometime and they will get all sorts of outraged.

For example, no matter what you write, a Social Justice Warrior can be offended somehow. If you have a minority character as a hero. Token. Villain? Stereotype. If you don’t have a minority character? Racist. If you feature some minority characters? Cultural appropriation.

See?

This comes up a lot with angry Twitter feminists who never tire of beating the long dead Portrayal-of-Women-in-Fiction horse. Trust me. That horse is nothing but red paste now. This particular type of Perpetual Offense is a cottage industry in video games today, usually from “journalists” who’ve apparently never actually played any video games.

If you give a female character any flaws, you’ll be attacked by angry feminists. Sure, all of us actual writer types realize that flawed characters are drastically more interesting that perfect characters, but the only allowable female character is STRONG WOMYN. Hell, even ACTION GIRL can get the author in trouble for “dude with boobs” or “solving problems in a stereotypical male fashion”. And if you describe her in any way that is traditionally attractive? You and your patriarchy are doomed.

Or if you fail to put the topic of the day into your book, you’ll be railed at for that. Sure, you didn’t write a book about Global Warming, so it didn’t come up, but for them it should have. But I’m sticking with characters today, and not things like SJWs whining how a book I wrote in 2007 didn’t address the concerns of Black Lives Matter in 2015.

Now to be fair this nitpicky outrage totally goes both ways, just far more often from the Social Justice side. I’ve occasionally been accused of “pandering” because I’ve written minority heroes and white male bad guys. That’s just the same asinine nonsense, only flipped around. Well, duh. I’ve written like fifteen books now so I’ve had damn near everyone and everything as a protagonist or antagonist at some point.

So writers can either walk on egg shells to avoid potentially giving offense to the perpetually offended, or we can just not give a shit, and keep writing books that make us happy.

What most of us soon realize is that it isn’t about our work at all (don’t assume they actually read it either) but rather they only care if you’re part of their tribe. If you aren’t with them then anything you write can be offensive somehow, and if you are part of their tribe you can sound like Heinrich Himmler and still get a pass. When the game is rigged so that they always win, why would you try to play their game?

Once you realize that you’re writing for you and your fans, and not a bunch of angry assholes with checklists, it is incredibly liberating.

Authors and aspiring authors, when you’re creating a character don’t worry about what the haters will say. Just make the character whatever you need them to be to fulfill the job in the story you gave them. Make them interesting. Give them whatever traits make sense to you, or that you find fun. That’s the most important thing of all, because if you are having fun writing it, that feeling is contagious and will come through in your writing, and your readers are more likely to have fun reading it.

I’ve often mentioned “checklist” writing. That’s where authors feel like their story has to check boxes off a list in order to appease people. I get this all the time from newer and aspiring writers, some variation of “don’t I have to have X” or “I’m not allowed to have Y!” It doesn’t matter. You could go down your character list checking boxes on an EEOC form, and somebody somewhere will still be outraged that your transsexual Muslim who identifies as a dinosaur, only featured in 7.4% of the book.

That whole Bechdel Test thing? Where they ask are there two females in a scene who talk about something other than a man? Okay, first off, you shouldn’t have to “test” your story for anything beyond is it readable and entertaining enough to sell it to somebody, but second WHO CARES? (well, a legion of Twitter feminists and gender studies professors obviously) Right off the bat most of the mega-selling romance genre fails the test, and most of those books are written by female authors for a female audience (and the romance genre makes serious bank compared to the rest of us).

There isn’t some arbitrary test that if you pass you’re good, and if you fail you’re sexist. Because you see what they call me, and I wrote Grimnoir, where the single most important, pivotal, critical, essential dialog scene in the entire trilogy was two young women talking about origami on top of a blimp. Test passed, and I’m the International Lord of Hate.

The real test for every scene should be asking yourself, is this scene good? Is this entertaining? Does this advance the story? Does this scene expand the characters or the universe? But that should be every scene, not just the one with two female characters in it.

Now, back to what started this train of thought today, having somebody from Group Whatever as antagonists, and how that’s so incredibly offensive… That’s just bullshit. The bad guys can often be the most awesome part of the book. Interesting antagonists can make or break a book. Star Wars wouldn’t have been a hit without Darth Vader. Lord Vader made Star Wars cool. James Earl Jones was the voice of Vader, because he has the most bad ass voice ever. This is CNN… Wow. How awesome do you have to be to make the lameness of CNN sound important?

Antagonists are vital. If you listen to the morons, all your antagonists would be the same. Everybody in the world who has watched Star Wars laughed at Melissa Harris Perry because of how profoundly ignorant she was, but that kind of half-cocked allegation happens constantly, only it’s usually just between some poor author/creator and a Twitter mob. If the Melissa Harris Perrys of the world had their way, every bad guy would be a thinly veiled Dick Cheney. That’s oatmeal. Screw oatmeal. I’m all about equal opportunity in my villainy.

So where is the real racism? Those of us who want to create memorable characters and entertaining stories, or those of us who want to deprive minorities of playing the most interesting parts?

In any book that isn’t navel gazing literati twaddle, or man versus nature, there is probably going to need to be some form of bad guy. Books need conflict. Antagonists equal conflict, and that’s a good thing. For the writers, your bad guys need to be great. They need to be so interesting that they potentially upstage your good guys. Hans Gruber versus John McClane. I’m rooting for McClane, but Hans steals every scene with his casual, clever, villainy (best Christmas movie ever, by the way).

But apparently Die Hard is racist against Germans (played by Englishmen). Go figure.

So if antagonists are so damned important, where to these Perpetually Outraged types get off saying that certain groups of people aren’t allowed to be the bad guys? That’s not fair. If they’d had their way, nobody would be dressing up as Boba Fett now because that would have been unfair stereotyping of Mandolorians.

You want to know one of the secrets of writing good villains? If you can take the story, flip it around, start telling it from the bad guy’s perspective, and their actions and motivations make perfect sense to the reader, then that makes for good villainy. The good guy is a matter of Point of View. Okubo Tokugawa knew he was doing horrible things and he still thought he was the hero in Hard Magic. His absolute conviction was also why he was one of the most popular characters I’ve ever written. The Chairman was like Darth Vader, only effective at more than choking coworkers at staff meetings. Hell, I wrote poetry for him to recite. But he wouldn’t have existed if I listened to the Perpetually Outraged because writing an Imperial Japanese bad guy was a racist stereotype (we’ll just ignore that unpleasantness in the Pacific in the ‘40s and things like Chinese severed head mountains).

When creating characters, give them features that make sense for your universe, make them more memorable, or interesting, or compelling, or something. Don’t just bust out your Mandatory Approved Diversity Checklist and say, oh I have to have one of these, and one of these, and two of these, except for the Bad Guy, who is obviously Dick Cheney from Blackwater. It’s a story. It isn’t a shopping list. Because checklist writing is lazy writing, and it often leads to cheesy, cardboard stereotype characters. Make them believable people, with wants, and needs, goals, desires, flaws, history, likes, dislikes, and personality. And if you make it so all of that stuff makes sense, then they’re aren’t going to be offensive, they’re going to be human.

Characters are about more than what stupid arbitrary narrow box the government makes you check on an EEOC form. I’m all in favor of Idris Elba as James Bond, and it has nothing at all about it being a “triumph of diversity” but rather because he’s a British dude who plays world weary bad ass better than anyone else I can think of. Watch Luther. Plus, Craig’s movies were a franchise reboot, as we saw in Skyfall Bond was his real name, but when he retires, they’ll continue to use his name as the code name for the next agent picked as 007. That fits the universe. And unlike Craig, in real life Elba can drive a stick.

That said, I don’t like the idea of the Rock as Jack Burton. Why? I love the Rock. I love Kurt Russell, but I don’t think Big Trouble in Little China should get a reboot with a new Jack. Instead, they should just write another story in the same universe, set it twenty years later, give the Rock his own unique character, and have old Jack Burton come back to dispense wisdom and bullets. I think that better fits that universe better.

Never assume that your characters—let alone your readers and fans—share the same hang ups as some angry blue haired land whale on Twitter. Just tell your story.

This is why I can watch my people be bad guys on a TV show and not get my panties in a twist. Is Hell on Wheels accurate with its Mormon antagonists? Let’s put it this way, the children’s hymn with Mr. Gunderson didn’t exist for another hundred years, and if we’d ever shot that many people Grant would have scourged us from the face of the Earth. And one plotline involving an imposter? Wouldn’t work. Too small of an interconnected community. But I’ll check my brain at the door and look at this as entertainment.

Were the Mormons interesting antagonists with understandable human motivations? The scene with the father giving up his son to be hanged? Dark, incredibly cruel, but it made sense. An angry father transferring his own failing onto another target? Flip it around and see if it makes sense if you tell their story. Yep, flawed, but understandable. They don’t need to be perfect angels, they just need to be believable humans for the rules established by the universe.

So the characters succeed at their job. Story told. Wow, that was a lot easier that getting all outraged about the part where my kid’s ancestors shot everybody in Cheyenne Wyoming.

The writers of Hell on Wheels get that their viewers don’t want oatmeal. They want conflict between flawed people, challenges overcome, and an occasional triumph. These people also showed Indian stickball-to-the-death so I can only imagine their hate mail looks a lot like mine. (though if one particular character did in fact get eaten by a bear, I’m going to be pissed).

Inevitably I get attacked by dipsticks who haven’t read my books about the imaginary bad think that Straw Larry put into my books. Normally my fans come to my rescue listing off all of the characters that don’t fit their narrative. That’s fun for the fans, but it is ultimately a waste of time, because authors can never sway the willfully ignorant.

The Perpetually Outraged offer advice the same way an abusive husband does, and both do it because they enjoy watching people cower. You brought it on yourself when you crossed their invisible line and unknowingly used a character in an unapproved way. It’s your fault they hit you. Maybe if you’re better next time they won’t have to.

The cool thing is, once you’ve pissed these people off, and they’ve done their best to ruin you, and they’ve called you racist, sexist, whatever-phobic, you’ll learn that the Perpetually Outraged are actually rather impotent. It used to be that this would scare away customers, but the times are changing. Most people are wise to their game and nobody likes them anymore. They’ve worn out their welcome.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to work outlining this Julie Shackleford novel. Now there’s a Strong Woman who’d laugh at the cries of the Perpetually Outraged.

CHRISTMAS NOUN 8: Too Noun Much Adjective
Series II Challenge Coins: Update VII

312 thoughts on “Ask Correia #18: Creating “Offensive” Characters”

  1. If a novelist isn’t offending someone, or some identity group, he’s probably not doing his job. Fiction must be dramatic, and drama only occurs when men must suffer — hopefully, in a good cause. But every character is part of some identity group, and these days they’re all more sensitive than a man 100% covered by third-degree burns.

    It helps to laugh a lot. Or drink heavily. Sometimes both at once.

  2. Ugh. This has become one of the most annoying tropes around. I once found myself hesitating recently about having a villain be a gay man. Because God forbid there be an evil gay man. He’s neither bad because he’s gay nor gay because he’s bad. (I didn’t chicken out, but I still haven’t wrapped up the story…)

    “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to work outlining this Julie Shackleford novel.”

    You had my curiosity but now you have my attention.

    1. It’s as if they don’t follow their own narrative to its logical conclusion.

      They insist that certain groups are culturally, structurally, economically, and personally oppressed/exploited/discriminated against.

      They also insist that human nature is largely a “blank slate”.

      If [insert member of oppressed minority group here] has in fact been subject to those all those things, wouldn’t that individual have serious grievances (if not serious psychological damage)? If that person lives in the West, which preaches equality and freedom, would that person not also suffer from the dissonance between the stated values of the society and their personal treatment?

      If the blank slate is a given, and the poverty and embedded racism are real, does that narrative not REQUIRE that [insert oppressed minority group here] contain a disproportionate number of psychologically damaged, alienated people prone to antisocial and criminal behavior?

      In other words, if true, their narrative requires MORE minority antagonists, as a righteous punishment on an unjust society, if nothing else.

      Example from history: I don’t think homosexuals are any more prone to cowardice and treason than anybody else. Still, many intelligence services targeted them for recruitment because their sexuality alienated them from the larger society and susceptible to blackmail. So, in the SJW narrative, there should be lots of homosexual traitors, because heteronormative society made them do it.

      1. Yes indeed.

        I was listening to NPR recently (I know, I know) and one of the hosts was burbling about “traumatizing our children” by not keeping them wrapped in bubble wrap at all times, and was interviewing some cackling crone who said that the single most important thing to teach our children, in the age of the War on Terror, is “that there are no evil people, only evil deeds, and we have to have empathy with absolutely everyone.”

        There was so much derp in so few words that I suspect I am now stupider for having heard it, and now I’ve inflicted it on all of you.

        1. “and we have to have empathy with absolutely everyone.”

          First off, I’ll guarantee she doesn’t practice what she preaches when it comes to the people she considers her real enemies.
          That having been said, this isn’t bad advice. Empathy helps you get to know people–their blind spots, their insecurities, their true desires–better, and this statement includes your enemies.
          And for them, you can, if they are your enemy because they accidentally misunderstand you, turn them into a friend. If they are your enemy because they understand you, or willfully misunderstand you, then you use the knowledge to wipe the floor with them.

          “that there are no evil people, only evil deeds,”

          I’m pretty sure the definition of “evil person” is “consistent committer of evil deeds.”

          1. “There are people out there who do not love their fellow man, and I just HATE people like that…”

            Tom Lehrer, “National Brotherhood Week”

        2. I was recently reading a writer who discussed how her parents had done their very, very, very best to protect her and her sister.

          Then her mother came down with cancer.

      2. It’s not just that they’re alienated from society. The real reason is that the mental disorders that often accompany gender issues cause the people they manifest in to be highly unstable and unreliable in positions of trust. Listen to individuals like Bradley Manning try to articulate why they did what they did, and you’ll understand. As a general rule, I wouldn’t ban gays and the transgendered from service, but I’d sure as hell subject the ones I’m granting classified access to a whole lot of additional scrutiny. And, frankly, until we’re running that short on qualified straights, I’m not fond of the idea of undertaking additional unnecessary risks.

        One of the major problems with all this is that the same mental issues that manifest with gender confusion are also present with the highly intelligent and creative types. This makes it really hard to separate the Turings from the Mannings, and also makes you look like an asshole when you point this out to people. Not every gay or trans person is a security risk, but enough are that the safe path relies on their being given a bunch more scrutiny and less of an automatic pass.

        To a degree, I think that human intelligence and the mind are somewhat akin to a motor or a computer chip: You want high performance, you have to rev it up, which starts causing problems with stability at the higher levels of performance.

        1. You’re absolutely right.

          Now that you’re done correcting the one example I provided, would you mind saying whether or not you agree with the premise of the original post?

          1. I thought I made it clear that I didn’t.

            Subtract the social issues from being gay, which we are doing and have pretty much accomplished completely, and you’re still going to find that gays are, in general, a higher security risk due to the accompanying mental disorders that often are present in the gender-confused.

            The potential for blackmail in today’s more permissive atmosphere is a lot lower, which is a fact that your post is implying means that the risk is reduced. What I’m trying to tell you is that the real risk is, and always has been, the personal instability and other issues that usually accompany homosexuality. Blackmail isn’t the big problem many assume–In most cases, you tell the counter-intel guys someone is trying to blackmail you, and they’re going help cover that crap up while they use your blackmailer’s attempt against them to feed them false information and find their network. The idea that potential blackmail is the primary reason for caution in this regard is a false one, in other words.

  3. Slight spoiler to Hell on Wheels but Brigham Young shows up as a recurring character in the fourth and fifth seasons. He is portrayed as little different from Doc Durant in that he’s a business tycoon himself, albeit one with a religious following.

    The show overall has been a fun one to watch and I am looking forward to the ending set to air next year.

  4. Well, technically, what with the science being settled in frou-frou French drawing rooms concerning the #ImpendingOmininousRiseOfTheWorld’sOceansDueToGlobalWarming, the concomitant flooding of the Undead’s crypts and coffins by the rising ground water table is probably a factor driving vampires into renewed contact with humanity. So, really, #Aren’tWeAllToBlame? for destroying their traditional resting places and territories? And aren’t you #Bad for failing to reflect that in your writing? #DeadLivesMatter

  5. “every bad guy would be a thinly veiled Dick Cheney” isn’t fair. It’s also acceptable for your bad guy to just simply *be* Dick Cheney.

    1. Clone army of Dick Cheneys! Dooo Eeeeet…. 😀 Why should Mandalorians have all the fun? I’ll bet Mr. Cheney is a better shot than your average Imperial Stormtrooper too. It just makes sense

      1. Well, he did manage to shoot his lawyer buddy in the face with a shotgun, so yeah, better shot than a Stormtrooper.

        1. Am I the only one here bothered by the fact that the Stormtroopers never extend the stocks on their Sterling SM…er, Blasters and use the sights?

          1. Unfortunately since in the Imperial military HUA means Head Up Ass, the helmet mount seriously interferes with their groupings.

          2. The sights were not designed by the Imperial Army so a colonel in Procurement took it upon himself to not order them because Not Invented Here…

    2. That was the point at which I gave up on Stross. His Merchant Princes novels devolved to the point that was literally the plot: Dick Cheney trying to nuke America because oil.

      Then fracking was invented, which took the whole thing from farce facepalm.

      1. I found Dick Cheney one of the more sympathetic characters in that series. He did save the US from narco-trafficking inter-dimensional nuclear terrorists, after all.

  6. The funny thing about the Bechdel test is that the following micro-story passes: “Oh, my goodness, Becky. Look at what she is wearing!”

  7. I have a main character that, while in Japan, tells a Japanese character that her grandfather’s life was saved by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and therefore she will never apologize for the Atom Bombs because without them, she wouldn’t exist.

    She’s also a Korean-American Jew. Will the SJWs be offended or thrilled?

    1. “Will the SJWs be offended or thrilled?”

      Hoping for offended, will settle for ‘who cares what SJWs think?’

      If they were thrilled, I’d be very concerned.

  8. Somewhat off-topic, but regarding the “Baechdel Test”, notice that the first lines of “Baby Got Back” pass the test. It’s two women talking about another woman’s butt.

    1. Sadly, come to think of it, though feminists are loving the Grrl Power of it, I think most scenes in Jessica Jones fail the Bechdel Test. Why? Because most of the time there are two women, they are talking about how they feel about Killgrave. 🙂

        1. As far as I know, the content of the conversation is never specified in the test, other than “it can’t be about a man.”

      1. Notorious 70’s jiggle fest/’Charlie’s Angels’ ripoff/MST3k fodder “Angel’s Revenge” can pass the Baechdel Test.

        1. So can, as pointed out by the webcomic “Shortpacked!”, an all-woman lesbian porn flick.

          And we all know how feminists love porn… 😛

        2. Sex in the City episodes can fail.
          Baywatch episodes can pass.

          This points out: “Houston, we have a problem.”

      2. I don’t understand why feminists consider Jessica Jones to be this epitome of feminism or whatever. Its protagonist is a woman, yes, but she’s a self-destructive alcoholic (so, hardly flawless) who is also white and straight (boo, hiss). They do have a gay female character, but she’s not only part of the 1% (boo, hiss), but also an overbearing asshole who cheats on her wife and ends up being way, way less capable than she thinks she is (so, the exact opposite of “ban bossy”). And, of course, most of the show revolves around a literal damsel in distress.

        Maybe they think the show is so feminist because a bunch of men end up getting killed in it ? Is that why ?

        (*) I loved Carrie-Anne Moss’s performance, BTW, she was fantastic.

        1. These are the same people who think “Thelma & Louise” is empowering. This is a movie in which as soon as the two female leads are away from their male supervision, they proceed to fail at everything … including life, since they finish up by committing suicide.

          1. Indeed. I’ve never understood why being random and violent is supposed to demonstrate female “empowerment,” since not only doesn’t this work in real life, it doesn’t work in the movie either.

        2. And with that, you’ve hit the nail right on the head. The criticisms come after it is revealed that the writer(s) is/are of the wrong ideology. Then, it’s sexist this and problematic that.

        3. I agree. I thought Carrie Anne Moss turned in a great performance. But GASP a lesbian who wasn’t a saint? Hang on. Let them go through the checklist to see if they should be outraged or not. 🙂

        4. I will say this about Alias: it is a very well-written allegory for Complex PTSD/Borderline Personality Disorder resulting from adolescent sexual trauma. It doesn’t try to whitewash the protagonist’s behaviour at all. (Whether anyone really wanted such an allegory in a superhero comic book is an open question).

          The problem with that is that people with CPTSD/BPD are deeply unsympathetic because they’re objectively awful people.

          I would hazard a guess that feminists love it for the same reasons geeks love The Big Bang Theory: it’s a show about them* and it’s accurate. A lot of allegedly “feminist” works (cf. the Supergirl TV series) present their female characters as personal and professional trainwrecks.

          * Yes, there’s a lot of poseurs and attention-whores in radfeminism, but there’s also a large contingent that gravitated to it because they actually were abused or traumatized, and the movement provides a ready-made package of coping mechanisms.

  9. I sometimes wonder how Bechdel herself (who illustrated so many pages of comics BEYOND the one about the damn “Test”) feels about the fact that her career, body of work, vocation and art have been completely reduced from “vast” to “One and ONLY comic strip, drawn decades ago” by the SJW crowd.

    1. Personally, I think the Bechdel Test can be a useful tool depending on what kind of story you’re telling — if you have a large cast in a situation where it would make sense for several of them to be female, and the female cast interact, it is unrealistic if the only thing the women talk about is men and their relationships thereto — but like all tools, trying to use it on everything or using it as an absolute proscription is often counterproductive. (In my admittedly limited experience, one thing I’ve noticed is that the vast majority of straight women like to talk about men and their relationships with them, and will do so with much less contextual excuse than men typically need to talk about their relationships — so two female characters who never bring up the topic can be just as unrealistic as those who only talk about that.)

      I also tend to build an exception into my version of the Test: I don’t consider two women talking about a man to “fail” the Test if the man is clearly excluded as a romantic partner for both the women. A lady cop and a lady M.E. talking about a male serial killer, two sisters discussing how to care for their elderly father, or a female starship Captain and XO discussing whether to promote a male subordinate, would all pass my version of the Test.

      1. One of my favor anime from 2014/2015 is a show name Shirobako about 5 young women wanting to break into anime industry and how their aspiration and hope meets reality of creative work environment in an actual company.

        The Bechdel test comes about when NONE of them ever talked about their personal lives or men, except to what it pertains to their job. The main character (a production assistant in charge of getting various part of the show together) went to see an anime film and all she could do is count the number of cuts within a given scene. Working within the industry sort of re-prioritized how she watch these things.

        Do they have lives outside of the industry? Perhaps, though I doubt it given the unreasonable amount of work for very little pay they got. But it has no pertinence to the show so they don’t show it.

        1. actually animators in the Anime industry DONT have lives outside of work. the average animator in japan makes… 11.50 an hour. Starving artist is the actual name of the game as such.

      2. If you just don’t have any women there won’t be a problem passing the test. Iwo Jima doesn’t pass or in fact the entire history of the Pacific War, and those were real. So, keep your epic fantasy real. No one wants stories of women churning butter or staring out windows back home during the Crusades.

      3. Technically, I believe your exception violates the spirit of the test. The idea isn’t “women are defined by their romantic relationships” but “women are all defined in terms of men.” So in your examples, assuming those were the only conversations we got from those characters, the sisters would be defined just as caretakers to their father, the captain and the XO solely as the bosses of that male subordinate, etc. (the cop/ME talking about the serial killer is a bit of a different case).

        My own opinion about the Betchel test is that it says something interesting about society as a whole but exactly nothing about any particular work. In my current story, I have a male main character, and thus pretty much every conversation either involves him or is about him. I don’t feel the need to add a scene involving Jonathan eavesdropping on his girlfriend and his grandmother comparing their nail polish just so I can collect some arbitrary internet achievement.

          1. Are these people who have never written fiction? Because if you’ve written fiction, you know that every scene has to serve a purpose — either to advance the plot, or develop some other story element. Padding out stories with extraneous scenes renders them bloated and boring.

        1. “Technically, I believe your exception violates the spirit of the test. The idea isn’t ‘women are defined by their romantic relationships” but “women are all defined in terms of men.'”

          Hmm. A good point, but as you say, it would have more teeth if the assumption was that these were the only times we saw the speaking characters. I think I had been taking for granted in my own mind that at least one of the characters was a protagonist, in which case she would by definition have more scenes than those.

          I was thinking that the exclusion of the romantic angle addressed the most common complaint people seemed to have about female characters in film and TV, which was the overwhelming tendency to show up solely as love interests for male characters. Mothers, grandmothers, bosses and colleagues may necessarily be defined by their relationships too (but then I believe all characters are), but at the very least not having to be the right age and attractiveness level for a romance role would free up some options and opportunities, I thought.

  10. I was watching Longmire last night and was coming to the end of the episode and decided on who the murderer was and automatically picked the rich white guy. Every other mystery show out there would generally give you a few choices to pick from but if there was a rich old white guy as one of the suspects you’d just have to point at him and say; “That’s the guy.” to impress your significant other with your perspicacity.
    But it wasn’t the old rich white guy and I was honestly floored.

    Contrast that with the Disney Atlantis movie I watched a couple months ago. James Garner was voicing a character and two seconds after he was introduced I called him as the bad guy. And the only reason I had to do that was that he was an old white guy and they’d made quite the effort to be as PC as possible in the selection of the characters.
    Somebody had to be the betrayer, the bad guy, and there was no other choice. It had to be the old white guy who fit the classic hero mould.

    The lack of surprise in the second example destroys suspense whereas the first example created a true surprise and also set me up for the rest of the series. I can no longer judge based solely on the PC characteristics presented and that truly excites me.

    1. Longmire is a well written show with great characters. Yeah, they’ve done Rich White Industrialist Bad Guy with Gerald McRaney, but they’ve also had antagonists like Jacob Nighthorse (who is a brilliant character). Then you’ve got episodes where they set it up so you think, uh oh, evil logging company… Nope. Angry sister. And characters that you think are bad, but actually are good, or in the case of Hector, super heroes.

      Other than a couple of times in the first season where Hollywood screwed up and thought Wyoming had a gun registry (HA!) it has been really well done. Culturally they do a pretty good job most of the time, and I’m saying that as a westerner.

      1. They also seem to have this idea that you can go from the town Longmire lives in (on the Western edge of the state) to Laramie and back in a single day (or at least, it’s implied to be the same day)…I laughed really, really hard at that.

        But points to them for at least filming it in an area (Mountains of Nevada) that actually *looks* like Wyoming. Unlike some other shows. ::glares at Jericho for it’s hilly, tree-filled Cheyenne)

        1. You can totally drive back and forth across Wyoming in a day. I’ve done it. It’s a LONG day for sure, but it isn’t that big (and you can drive super fast through most of it). 🙂

          I live just west of the border. The next real town east of me is Evenston, WY.

          The longest, most nerve wracking drive of my life was from Cheyenne to Evenston during a blizzard (in a Ford Focus!). Super Author John Brown was with me. Holy crap. That sucked.

          EDIT TO ADD: I think it is actually filmed in northern New Mexico, which does fit for a lot of it.

        2. Yeah, the coasties don’t really understand how big some states are. I’m a native Texan so we get that a lot. A long time ago there was a western movie on the late show that had a group of prisoners being escorted on horseback and wagon to Huntsville , which for those of you unfamiliar with our state is in the Piney Woods of east Texas. The scenery is arid desert, which could work for West Texas, and one character asks the other when they’re going to be in Huntsville. The other looks around and says “by morning.” My Dad and I burst out laughing. Are these jet powered horses? It would have been a helluva day trip in a car on the interstates.

          Europeans have an even harder time grasping the difference in distances. We live in Houston and a while back some friends of ours had friends in from London. The UK couple loved to backpack and mentioned they’d heard that Big Bend had some good trails (which it does) and they were planning a day hike. We asked what their plans were and they said they were planning to go out on Wednesday morning to be back in time to sleep in and catch their flight to NY Thursday night. There was an awkward pause and then I pointed out that the trip was over 750 miles one way. I suggested the Big Thicket instead.

          1. Yeah, most Europeans aren’t used to the scale of American states. Heard about some German auto execs who were in Los Angeles for a meeting. They looked at a map and said, “Hey, it might be fun to drive up to Porland, spend the afternoon there, then come back in the evening.” At the scale of maps they were used to, it looked like the drive would take 2-3 hours. When an American colleague suggested they take another look at their map’s distance scale, and explained how long it would actually take, they were flabbergasted.

          2. One of my Dad’s favorite stories was about one of the guys he served with in the Army Reserve who worked in the Brownsville office of a company headquartered in St. Louis. One of the higher ups called him and asked if he could drive up to visit a client in Amarillo. Dad’s friend paused for a bit and responded, why don’t you, you’re closer to him than I am.

          3. Follow that up with “Most Americans can’t imagine the scale of US states vs Australian states.” It usually has to do with trying to explain how big Queensland is, and the disbelief that comes with the description that “there are cattle ranches here that are bigger than European countries” along with “No, you can’t just ‘drive to the next state’ in a few hours to “visit someone.”

            LOL at trying to drive to Portland from Los Angeles for a quick trip.

            On a humorous scale, I run into a lot of Germans here. Australia seems to be a favorite tourist destination. Rhys and I were in our local grocery a couple of days ago, and heard Dutch, what may have been Russian, German, and French in a single visit.

          4. True. A few years ago my company was taking our Board to see our Australia operations, starting with the Perth office. We also wanted to show them some of our projects in Karratha on a day trip. The event planner was asking around for bus charters because they’re in the same state. I pointed out the distance and noted we’d need to charter planes.

          5. Just looked up a size comparison. Texas fits comfortably in Queensland with a lot of spare room. Australia as a whole looks to be about the size of the continental US.

      2. Southerner, here, so I can’t speak to the Western culture aspects, but I *really* like what I have seen of the show. They do some (occasionally annoying) grand-standing about hotbutton topical issues…and then bring the actual conflict back around to relatiable human passions in conflict.

        The way they humanize all of the characters is what gets me the most. The S4 sequence with the prosecution of outsiders for the rape of a local woman is one of the best I’ve seen done – the complications of not having decent physical evidence, unsympathetic family of the victim, admittedly damn poor judgement of the victim, and the responsibility of the cops to be fair and legal, while sympathetic to the emotional pain of the victim – all of what makes rape so hard to prosecute in real life. (Although Cady really should know better than to expect the defendants to be punished sans trial.)

        Nighthorse is a great character, but so are half a dozen others, from stellar one-scene wonders to long-running re-occurring characters like Mathais and Bob Barnes. And then there is the landscape, which is a character in and of its own right.

        1. Agreed, on all of that. The “hotbutton” issue ones are usually the weakest. Like the fracking exploding house one. Though they did bring that back around to basic human villainy, that just isn’t how it works.

          Mathais and Bob are great characters. I want to see more of the medical examiner too. That guy was awesome.

      3. Well written, maybe. Not well researched. The local CPS farming Native kids off to ‘rich white couples’? Have they never heard of ICWA? A tribe has full control of their kids. Period. Always. The state agencies cannot even sniff at the case even if it is ICW (Indian Child Welfare) abusing the kids.

    2. Don’t forget the sexy Aryan woman was a villain, too, yet not as villainous as the old white guy.

      Also, Longmire is a fantastic show that almost makes me forgive that they have no idea how Wyoming gun laws or PTSD works.

      1. The sequel to Atlantis was a lot better than the movie (appeared to be 2-3 pilot episodes of a failed TV series proposal woven together). Lots of Lovecraftian undertones, though still with mostly white villains (well, since half of it was in Iceland, finding anything else would have been difficult).

        The anime Nadia (which ripped off the same Verne and Miyazaki sources, and some accused Disney of ripping off despite work on Atlantis predating the anime) is an interesting alternative, though its setting (a decade or two earlier) also made having something other than white villains difficult.

        1. Can’t say I’m hugely into anime, but I did like Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Mainly for the Mike Mignola art style and the 1910’s era setting.

          It did seem too compact, though. I remember the promotional material making a huge deal out of the Leviathan, which was only in the movie for like 2 minutes, tops.

          Also, Atlantis ripped off Stargate more than it ever could have Jules Verne/Miyazaki.

      2. I think they got better on both as the series went along. I only remember season one having really silly gun stuff. (Let’s check how many 45-70s there are in this county… HA! 45-70s in Wyoming? Like ALL OF THEM). On the PTSD thing they’ve kind of been all over the map, like the married soldiers, with the wife tripping out, but on the other hand they’ve got the whole thing with Vic and the baseball bat beating to the helmet.

    3. The newest Star Trek (colon Into Darkness) was irritating as it was pretty obvious from the start that Admiral Peter Weller was going to be a run of the mill .Mil bad guy.
      Yeppers… ooo, look, Benedict Cummerbund isn’t reallllly a badguy, it’s the Admiral. WHAT a GREAT surprise!

      1. From what I’m told it’s from mashing together Wrath of Khan with some of the plotlines in …I think it was DS9?

        (I tend not to watch things in English while writing because it gets in the way of my actually writing.)

        1. The DS9 episodes where some Admiral was using the threat of Changelings to seize power or something?

          “General Hague is on Deep Space Nine. His agent double-booked him there was nothing we could do!”

    4. John Nolte has a name for that: the “liberal tell.” It soaks any suspense out of a mystery story because you know that the murderer is the rich, white businessman (if he’s wearing a cross, that means that he’s a child molester as well as a murderer).

        1. During the Cold War, there was from the 1970’s through 1980’s a long series of TV shows and movies where anybody but the Russians (or Communists in general) was always to blame. This got ridiculous when James Bond novels, which had Russian villains, were adapted into movies and the ethnic identity or politics of the villains changed to make them non-Russian or non-Communists.

          From the 1990’s on, the same thing has been done regarding Muslim terrorism. It’s only gotten WORSE since 9-11 in this regard.

          This is magical thinking. They imagine they can banish enmity by pretending that enemies don’t exist.

          1. Look at the controversy surrounding Red Dawn sometime. Milius got a never ending ration of shit from the critics for that movie. Actually, just watch the movie about him. His whole life is fascinating.

          2. Ah, Red Dawn (the original one, I mean.) I introduced a gal friend to that – she’s leftist feminist, and was deeply dubious, based on hearsay. (“You make me watch some crap jingost chest pounding, and you’ll be sorry!”)

            (I will note that she is not above enjoying jingoist chest pounding so long as it is not crap.)

            She came away shaking her head in amazement – “That was awesome! Not ‘anti-war’ so much as ‘war sucks!’ and ‘being brave counts!’ and it said pretty much the same thing about the other side!” And in general converted to being a fan.

            I was rather disappointed in the Chris Helmsworth remake, which did have a couple nice things in it (aside from Jeffery Dean Morgan, who was wasted in that re-written role) but otherwise failed to live up to the promise of the original.

          3. The Sum of All Fears movie starring Ben Affleck changed the villains from Islamic terrorists to a Neo-Nazi Illuminati smoking lounge or something because they didn’t think Islamic terrorists were actually a viable threat to America. The movie finished filming in June 2001.

            I can’t recommend watching it with the director and Tom Clancy’s commentary. Tom basically calls him out on his bullshit every chance he gets.

        2. That was the thing that seriously, SERIOUSLY annoyed me about Big Game, which otherwise bucked a bunch of different tropes and was entertaining.

  11. The thing to remember is that there is no such thing as an intelligent Progressive – if they bothered to actually think, they wouldn’t be Progressives. As such, they can only be correct by pure happenstance. You are literally better off taking writing advice from a Magic 8 Ball. At least the 8 ball doesn’t have a political agenda.

    1. Nah, that’s too neat, and they already make those kinds of statements about conservatives. (Few Republicans in academia? Well, you do have to be smart to be a professor.) Progressives completely fail on economics because Rousseau, and later Marx and Engels, built up a narrative where the wealthy live well at the expense of the poor. Seemingly nothing can break this narrative, despite its huge and obvious contradictions. It’s not about lacking the intelligence to see those contradictions, but in failing to coherently think about economic matters from the perspective that would expose them.

      1. These are folk who can think but choose not to. To them, reality is the enemy, and rational thought, a hate crime.

  12. I picked up Monster Hunter Nation because of the whole Sad Puppies debacle – I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

    I binge-read all 5.

    Now I’m savoring Son of the Black Sword and have the Grimoir Chronicles queued up on my Kindle.

    I have only one complaint: You have totally failed to offend me. C’mon Larry, you can do better than that 😀

    1. And if you like your conspiracy theory binge, Dead Six and Sword of Exodus (and the book NOT named Project Blue).

    2. If you REALLY want to enjoy the Grimnoir series, listen to it on Audible with Bronson Pinchot (!!!) reading it. I think I listen to it over gain about every six months because it is SO good. Actually all of Larry’s narrators are incredibly excellent, but Bronson was exceptional reading these works.

  13. It’s good for your fans to go and point out the flaws in the reviews where they obviously didn’t read the book, though, because as I have read around the internet somewhere, “Arguing on the Internet is a spectator sport.”

  14. I really think that even for those who take the Bechdel test seriously, they need to incorporate an exception: if those three requirements are not met, yet they’re also not met in reverse (like there’s no scene about two men talking about something other than a woman), then it still passes.

    I think about the whole “is this going to offend someone?” issue sometimes with my writing. Not in a way that actually means “should I change this?” but just pondering how certain people might react to it. I’m never quite sure, since there’s so much mixture that one aspect might seem like it would please these people but another aspect they’d get upset over. If a biracial white/black woman attacks a biracial white/Asian woman, is that racist? Sexist? I can never decide. So I stop thinking about it and go back to writing characters who are people rather than checked boxes.

    1. I mockingly asked that of a feminist on twitter recently, who was saying that Milo’s opinions were less valid because he was a white male (in an article about birth control side effects, with cited sources.) I asked if my opinion as a non-white female counted for more, and that I agreed with his points about the negative reactions that birth control has on the female body, and I got snapped at that it wasn’t more valid, because I have no right to opinions about another woman’s abortion. Then block.

      It’s almost a script with them. You never get the actual question answered (abortion wasn’t the topic, but negative reactions to birth control), they never address the actual facts cited, are completely unable to refute anything in the discussion, and cis a real term but Islam is a race. Oh, that was a hilarious thing too. Milo’s racist because he mentions Muslim invaders. then Islam became a race AND a description of geography, because reasons.

      I mockingly noted it was the battle of stereotypes: Asian chick doing the ‘smart stereotype’ and blonde white girl being cripplingly stupid. I actually begged her not to prove the stereotype true and she got all offended about my comments about her hair.

      Oy. Vey. (Because I’m culturally appropriatin’ like a thief yo!)

  15. As in all things with feminism in SFF, there is no correct way to depict characters. It is a “Are you still beating your wife?” kind of thing where straight white men are meant to lose coming and going, standing or sitting, alive or dead.

    In fact the most offensive characters in SFF aren’t fictional but the writers themselves. A new Kickstarter anthology just came out featuring stories compromised from their Hugo destinies by the Puppies disturbing the Force. Of the 12 names whose non-fiction rhetoric I am acquainted with, all 12 would be right at home in a New Age KKK which targeted straight white males. For a group whose main claim to morality is to be obsessively against group defamation, they obsessively support group defamation. No writer should lose any sleep worrying about what such morons think about writing the “other.”

    1. Do they include anything from Toni Weisskopf and the other people who got No-Awarded?

      Do I even need to ask?

      1. Naturally the cocoon of kindness at 770 think it’s the cat’s meow because they see Orwell’s 1984 as a how-to manual. It’s called The Longlist. It should’ve been called The Rat’s Cage or How Many Fingers Do You See Now, Bitch?

        1. From the comments at a certain Hugo-nominated blog:

          “I have it in my shopping basket and am greatly looking forward to reading the short fiction that honest SF fans honestly loved enough to nominate earlier this year.”

          You hear that? We’re not merely wrong, we’re deliberately dishonest.

          1. The funniest thing is how riled they get at the idea we say SJWs affirmative action shit into awards with a zillion SJW Tweets calling for affirmative action in SFF. The more they do a thing the more they get angry when we say they do that thing. They’re still angry we say A. Justice was promoted on the basis of it’s daffy pronoun structure when they were clapping their little hands on the basis of its pronoun structure from day one. One of Cameltoe’s commenters referred to this process as a fetish for quotes. That’s how Orwell’s kids admit to being liars, because they generally treat quotes as “stalking,” ‘hate-reading” or the plague.

      2. The thing I love about how our social justice nitwits are doting on the Long List is that according to their obsessive so-called “principles” about racial incitement and group defamation they’re always boasting about, they should hate and shun the majority of the authors.

        Even worse, it is that very penchant for racial incitement and group defamation that so clearly makes them “like” the Long List stories; they’re frickin’ ordering it sight unseen. They don’t “like” the stories, they “like” how the authors simper about straight white men.

        How dumb do you have to be to think you actually liked the artistry of a lesbian revenge story written by a radical lesbian where straight white men are savaged by an imaginary dinosaur? Considering its status, Swirsky’s PoS is the single most awful short story in the history of SFF. The same is true of the morbidly average Ancillary Justice. This cult loves to talk about “bias” but since they possess no tools of self-criticism such as “rules” or agreed upon definitions of words like “racial bigotry,” they are the most unable to deal with bias. Is it any surprise the actual dinosaur are novels like The Mote in God’s Eye? To this day Andy Weir’s The Martian attracts zero enthusiasm from SJWs. Some even attacked him on Twitter. To the shame of the SFF community, it took rednecks from the mainstream to promote The Martian. Meanwhile SJWs were lamenting how some dipshit short story by Mary Kowal was declared ineligible because of some technicality. No love like that for The Martian. Let it sink. After all, it’s just a white guy on Mars, not a “Lady Astronaut.”

        Why would anyone bright enough to write Mote or Martian join the SFWA? Didn’t Van Vogt, Asimov and C. L. Moore rock stories when they were in their early 20s? Where are those people now?

        There are so many Orwellian layers of stupid to this cult they can’t be unwrapped.

        1. “Andy Weir’s The Martian attracts zero enthusiasm from SJWs. Some even attacked him on Twitter.”

          Except when they use him as a club to bludgeon their enemies in culture war. Some SJWs were screaming nonstop “PUPPIES KEPT THE MARTIAN OUT OF NOVEL NOMINEES, PUPPIES KEPT WEIR OUT OF CAMPBELL NOMINEES” in the Hugo awards chat stream. This was utter nonsense, of course. The Martian had been declared ineligible since it was considered to be published in 2011, and so Weir would have been ineligible for the Campbell (best new writer) award as well.

        2. Technically, Swirsky is identified as bi, at least according to my research. And to be rigorously fair, the race of the men who beat up the narrator’s beloved in “Dinosaur” is never explicitly specified — one can make some fairly plausible inferences but it is never outright stated. (I don’t have a lot of love for “Forget what X said, we all know what X really meant” arguments when they’re directed against people and things I like, so I try to avoid using them myself.)

          “Dinosaur” has gotten kudos far beyond its aesthetic merit by virtue of its philosophical signalling, I don’t disagree with this in the slightest. But I would suggest that in order to make the case for separating philosophical from aesthetic evaluation as clearly as possible, we should be as correct as possible about our touchstone example cases, if only because the opposition will seize on any factual errors in evidence as proof our entire thesis is not worthy of further consideration.

          1. There was no wishful thinking on my part. There are “five blustering men” used to using terms like “a fag, a towel-head, a shemale, a sissy, a spic.” Who does that leave? It’s obvious that by identification and by omission it’s the amazingly oppressive straight white male at fault there. You don’t have to be a genius to figure that out, especially in the context of the general and specific gay feminist politics of the author and that entire culture. It is as I have stated and it is based on the author’s own words.

          2. Also note that they are “blustering” even though they then proceed to commit fairly serious violence, while if they were black their anger would be taken seriously by the SJW’s even if their intended victim proceded to unload a can o’whupass on them. Indeed, if that happened, the SJW would get upset about the intended victim’s “brutality” toward them.

            As described, the incident would be hard to believe, if I didn’t know how stupid people can get in groups, especially when they’re drinking. It’s kind of improbable, though, and it’s interesting that the narrator describes nothing about any legal followup.

            You’d think, at least, that there’d be an investigation. But of course there can’t be, because if there was, the attack would be seen in context as something against the law and social norms, while Swirsky wants us to believe that the attackers were enforcing the social norms of our evil white male heteronormative illiberal society.

          3. The assailants were a Chinaman, a Zulu, a Jap, a Korean, and a Swede. There are no legal consequences because the story takes place in a post-human future devoid of racism, where people are routinely beaten to death over cues too subtle for us to be aware of. The attackers’ ethnic identity is distinct despite this because they had been grown from ancient samples dating from our era.

          4. And don’t worry, there’s more on the way. I just read the first 2 chapters of Seth Dickinson’s Traitor Baru Cormorant. If a clever satirist wrote a send-up of moronic social justice crusading lesbian liberation ideology this would be it. The problem is, Dickinson’s not kidding. I’d bet money giving 10 to 1 odds that book will be nominated for both the Nebula and Hugo as Best Novel. It is breathtakingly childish, stupid, transparent and agenda-driven and makes Ann Leckie’s gender pronouns look like amateur week.

            The much heralded new SFF novel by Seth Dickinson is about a deluded masked meritocracy – an imperialist empire of “exotically pale” heterosexuals who begin to colonize a PoC culture of non-binary gender the empire considers “sodomites.” You can’t make this shit up nor surpass it for sheer brainlessness.

            Another stunning surprise: they never shut up about it at 770, where it’s all about the art.

  16. The other day I was watching Taras Bulba, starring Yul Brynner. Cossacks and Poles fighting it out in the Ukraine. All of my ancestors hated each other. 🙂

  17. Antagonists, at least in my favorite stories, tend to be the most compelling and memorable characters.
    P.S. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but none of the WordPress Social buttons like me.

      1. They were hilarious though, weren’t they?

        Anywho, I saved a copy of your post for whenever I get back off my lazy ass and try to write again. My villians either end up as Space Hitler or Space Stalin.

      2. Oh they still “love” you at 770 Larry –


        I’ve talked to a couple of book store owners in Toronto and someone is sending out Jim Hines roundup of the SP/RP affair. As a result, they are stopping making orders for Correia, Wright, Torgersen, Williamson and others of the worst broadcasters who have supported homophobic statements. I would assume the originator is part of Toronto’s gay community (which was oddly intertwined for years when Baka Books and the GLAAD bookstore were next door). It’s only the independents that I’ve heard so far, but if it hits Book City or Indigo, that could be a big repercussion. – Dexfarkin on January 2, 2016 at 7:59 pm

        Also priceless quotes on how we can’t possibly have read Seveneves or other Stephenson work, or other non-puppy authors, or we wouldn’t actually recommend it, how we’re just dupes following Larry/etc because we want to be part of a cause and don’t think, etc….

        1. 1. What homophobic statements have I ever made?
          2. As for the threat… Same old, same old. At least SP got them to move their behavior into the open.
          3. I’ve liked Stephenson since Cryptonomicon.

  18. Heck, those people weren’t just complaining that Larry had the Imperial Japanese as villains, they were also complaining that his African-American characters lived “in a world without racism”. I guess it’s not enough to just show the past as a craphole of racism and oppression, you have to depict modern day America as somehow worse than the Segregation era to satisfy these racemongers.

    1. I’m trying to figure out that world with racism allegation, considering Sullivan went to prison for killing a sheriff while stopping a lynching, Jim Crow laws featured prominently in the plot, people used racial slurs accurately, there were eugenic programs, and actual literal slavery… And the problem is the protagonists, who were an international secret society, from every country, who set aside their societal differences to unite in defense of magical people, whose survival depended on each other, tended to judge each other based upon their skills and competency rather than their skin color or class they were born into. And that makes me the racist… Uh huh…

      1. They might have meant MHI, but that’s just as silly. Modern America, despite what the racemongers want us to believe, isn’t that racist.

        1. Except the main black char I can think of is a monster hunter (Trip). Thus he already has resilience and most of the folks he meets that he detests are folks from the MCB. Although they’ll probably say he acts white and isn’t a real black man like Shaun king.

          1. Shaun King is a crazy white dude who built a career as a professional social justice writer out of getting a Kid & Play haircut, a skinny mustache, and flaring his nostrils for photos. He went on to rip lots of people off with his bogus charity, and the part that has to be really especially galling to the SJWs, this clown was exposed by Breitbart. 😀

          2. I love Trip. Entertainment: Curl up in room with books.

            I’ve a character planned who is a pragmatic football scholarship winner.

  19. “But apparently Die Hard is racist against Germans (played by Englishmen). Go figure. ”

    Well, to be fair one of those “German” villains was played by a Russian, the late Alexander Godunov. (Who, if I recall correctly, used ballet dancing as his path to international stardom.) He and Alan Rickman made what I think is the absolute best badass tag-team of Hollywood history: the thuggish barfighter attitude of Godunov’s “Karl” paired with Rickman’s suave, cultured malice, both of them playing *perfectly* off Bruce Willis’ snarky, EveryJoe heroism.

    And let’s not forget that the gang of “German” terrorists also included a black safecracker (Can’t remember his name, but I still laugh every time I see him as Chuck Norris’ sidekick in “Walker, Texas Ranger” re-runs, remembering “Oh my God, the quarterback is toast!”). But hey, by today’s standards that too was probably racist.

    “Die Hard” is one of those movies I have to watch every time it comes on, because it was the perfect blend of script and casting.

    1. reason number 652 of why I love my wife. The other day she tells our 11 year old daughter that we are watching one of the best Christmas movies ever made and pulls up die hard

      1. Someone made a good point that Die Hard qualifies as a Festivus movie as well, because of the feats of strength and airing of grievances.

      2. While it takes place over Christmas, the particular holiday wasn’t really part of the story. Any evening office event would have worked.

        This Christmas Eve, we’ll slip the “Hogfather” disc into the player again. Hogswatch isn’t *quite* Christmas, but it’s close enough…

        1. Writing “Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho” on a dead guy’s sweater wouldn’t have made much sense if it weren’t Christmas time, and that’s a vital element of the story.

  20. My personal take on the Bechdel test is that it’s a good concept but a bad execution.

    Women should not be used in literature exclusively to reward or encourage the main male character. I think we can all agree on that. A female character should have a life, a background and a purpose just as much as any male one. I think the “two women talking about something that is not a man” came about from the idea that if a woman has a life, a background and aspirations she is not limited to talking about “the main character.”

    In all technicality, my first book doesn’t pass the Bechdel test, and my second barely scrapes by. But my main female character has a life, aspirations, a job, a car, a house, friends and a very itchy trigger finger and she will not hesitate to shoot the main character if he so much as thinks about playing her. She is not subject to being an accessory and has her own part to play. She’s also one of the guys, because that’s what she feels comfortable being.

    So…boo, Bechdel fail; yay, strong womyn character? It confuses me, to be honest, whether she qualifies as a failure or a success. She’s fun as all hell to write, I like her, and she adds zing to the story. But my own definition is that none of my characters are there as plot devices for others, or foils to their honor. They are themselves.

    1. I’ve a female character I’m actually struggling with. Has no concept of regular social interaction because of being raised by societal outcasts who themselves live life from the tenets of bad advice all around.

    2. The test was supposedly inspired by Virginian Woolf who was – surprise – a lesbian. People need to stop pretending this stuff comes from disenchanted “women”; it does not; it comes from politicized lesbianism. This ideology sells that “disenchantment” because they claim to speak for all women and it benefits them by disguising their antipathy for men as “equality” and “social justice” all women share. That is a delusional fantasy.

      Theocritus wrote a conversation between two imaginary Greek women named Gorgo and Praxinoe in Alexandria, Egypt 2 thousand years ago. At no point do they wish men would disappear in a puff of smoke and yes it passes this daffy test which has been hijacked by identity supremacists and narcissists.

  21. Mr. Correia, I really like this article and enjoy the points it makes about villains motivations. How do you apply that to a group of nut-bars like Mortal Condition or similar? I get “eat me last” and “I’ve been promised…” but these are cracked views and viewpoints. To a large degree, the story from their POV is insane. How do you manage that?

    1. I’m not going to answer for LC, but I will point out that some organizations really do have a cracked worldview. Consider Heaven’s Gate, where we carry a roll of quarters in our pocket, so when we commit suicide to get to the alien mothership we can still get snacks from their vending machines. Is there any way that adding primordial squid gods could make that any less sane?

    2. Well I don’t spend too much time developing the individual mooks, but Hood makes sense (maybe too much). And it isn’t like we’ve got a shortage of real life charismatic nutters like Jim Jones and David Koreshes, now just imagine what they could accomplish if they actually had working magic.

        1. The charisma is that they recognize things people want or need, psychologically. The “hooks” if you will. Acceptance, participation in something larger than themselves, power, the ability to “get back” at those they feel have wronged them, belonging… Meet their perceived needs, and the minions will follow.

          Start with a good religion. Any of the major ones, really. Now twist it. Make some really horrible ends, like, oh, the annihilation of all mankind, the earth, puppies and kittens, and everything else, forever. To balance that, you need to hook people in. Or even a good, perfect end- but to get that seeming perfection, some truly horrible means are “necessary.” That “necessity” will pervert any cause, and the people in it.

          These people, at the bottom, are probably going to be fringers, folks that don’t naturally fit in anywhere- that’s their hook, the rest are also pretty self-explanatory. Then you’ve got the desperate. Nice, good low level minions. Moving on up, the broken. These folks are missing pieces, like, say, empathy. Mid-boss types. Further on up, the misguided. They might be almost perfectly, sickeningly normal, except for a few degrees of deviance, which in the long run puts them out there ripping out still beating hearts and feeding souls to demons and such.

          Way out front you’ve got the driven. The driven have a Cause, an End that Must Be Met, and any means are acceptable to achieve that End. They can be pants-on-head crazy, or frighteningly sane. But they have to be competent. Effective. They’re driven to succeed at whatever pants-on-head crazy thing they Must Do. So these will be your toughest opponents, save for mega-big world ending badness- whatever it is they are serving, summoning, whathaveyou. The true evil that all this is in service of.

          This instant cult formula has been brought to you by the letter “sleep,” and lack of caffeine.

          1. There are a couple of others at the top, possibly above the Driven. They are both sane and purely evil.

            First you have the manipulators. They have other goals and the cult are, to them, patsies and pawns. (Often very useful pawns. ) Rarely do they care beyond results not because they can’t (many of this type love their families and their grand children and their close friends very much. Everyone else? Expendable.) But because they choose not to. They are neither psychopathic nor sociopathic. They pull the strings as convenient to themselves and their own goals (often their own comfort and power, but sometimes it’s other things and it varies.) These get parodied as Bond villains, I’ve met several people who would fall into this category.

            Then you have the worst of all. The ones who have looked the demon in the face and shown no fear, but rather said ‘yes, you have what I want and I am on your side wholeheartedly.’ These are capable of all the human virtues… and chose to embrace and further evil, to USE the virtues to corrupt and twist others, to manipulate as above, but also to attack the notion of good, not as the SJWs do (this is what they wish they could be) but effectively. There may be smaller localized goals. Of these I have met one. He was the most terrifying person I have ever met.

          2. As to your last paragraph: I made the comment to a friend once that the medieval catholic habit of burning witches made as much sense form a practical standpoint as it did from a theological standpoint: if there really is someone out there who is actually willing to sell his immortal soul for demonic power, would you really want them alive to exercise that power for one second longer than necessary?

          3. Yes.
            “But surely the reason we do not execute witches is that we do not believe there are such things. If we did—if we really thought that there were people going about who had sold themselves to the devil and received supernatural powers from him in return and were using these powers to kill their neighbours or drive them mad or bring bad weather—surely we would all agree that if anyone deserved the death penalty, then these filthy quislings did? There is no difference of moral principle here: the difference is simply about matter of fact. It may be a great advance in knowledge not to believe in witches: there is no moral advance in not executing them when you do not think they are there. You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believed there were no mice in the house.”

          4. He might; I haven’t read it. It came up in the process of a discussion about a piece of fiction where a primary character sold his soul for power. I think I used the phrase “theological Darwinism”; weeding out the dangerously stupid in the hopes that you’ll get fewer of them in the next generation.

          5. That was actually one of the reasons advanced by witch-finders for hunting witches. Witches were, among other things, by definition REBELS — and rebellion was no joke in an unstable, medieval to early-modern State. Nor was it only a threat to a few elite people — everyone would suffer in times of civil war.

  22. I know I usually disagree with LC, so I just wanted to chime in with my total agreement, for a change. If your writing technique involves a diversity checklist, then maybe you shouldn’t be surprised when no one buys your books.

    One thing I can’t stand, though, are Mary Sue characters. I think this is the flip side of the minority checklist, when the author just makes her (or, somewhat more rarely, his) protagonist good at everything. She (or, somewhat more rarely, he) is a charismatic genius-level action heroine who is also a sex goddess, so she just bulldozes over all the obstacles in her path. It sounds cool in theory, but is utterly boring in practice, because the outcome is so obviously inevitable, and thus there’s no tension.

    One interesting variation I’ve seen is to give your protagonist a maximum rating in every skill category, then arbitrarily subtract one skill. So, maybe she is a charismatic genius-level action-hero sex goddess who is awesome at everything… except computer programming. Or maybe she’s good at programming too, but now she’s an alcoholic. Problem solved, right ? Well, no, because obvious hack is obvious.

    I much prefer reading about characters with a realistic set of skills (realistic in universe, of course, so if most people can fly, so can our protagonist). Now, when they are thrown into a rapidly evolving battle against mounting odds, there’s some real conflict, not just a curb-stomp battle.

    1. Sometimes an uber good character can work if the tension is not in the IF our hero will solve the problem, but HOW. We know that Holmes is going to crack the case, that Conan will defeat the Stygian hordes, that The Culture minds have some backup plan… the fun is just how they will do it.

      1. The thing there is that those heroes have to work for it… Where as the ones Bugmaster is describing don’t. (Fan fic is famous for them.) It’s no fun if you know every set of bad guys is just going to effortlessly have the snot beat out of them, and the clock will be beaten with hours, not minutes or seconds, to spare.

        1. This.

          Even Conan had to work for it. The omnibus is cheap on amazon, and you can see where he constantly is challenged, and has to work to play to his strengths. Conan has no magic, so he uses guile, stealth, and misdirection to get to a point where he can crush the squishy magic user. Jim Butcher does the same thing with Dresden- he’s constantly outclassed (and usually outmassed) by his opponents, but he’s always looking for a way to play to his strengths at the expense of his opponents.

          Holmes is the multiply masterful genius, but the question is quite often not “how will Holmes defeat his opponent,” but instead “how will Holmes puzzle out this mystery?” He does not start out with all the answers, indeed, he must search for clues and use inductive logic to put them all together- but the story is in the “how does he do it?” It is no less interesting for this, but it is indeed a very different kind of story.

  23. My personal favorite OUTRAGE is Denzel Washington’s Oscars?

    “Why did he only win when he played a slave and a corrupt cop?”

    Because Silas and Alonzo were incredible damn characters!

    A lot of his strait heroic characters were kind of bland and even his chops couldn’t raise them up to a great level.

    But the whipping scene in Glory? I can’t imagine that with anyone else doing the stare down.

    Training Day? Rolling hard, going from friendly to casually (and seriously) threatening mayhem and murder? Flipping cigs and calling people “Monica” (I may be mis-remembering that part)? Denzel was perfect in a hard-ass role.

    There’s a reason I put question 7 and the melanin bit on my flyer for WorldCon. And it’s the same reason Dori et. al. got all-a-flutter over it.

    Another great post, ILoH. Now get back to trying to fit minority and ethnicity mixes realistically into a story where Frankenstein’s Creature is a government agent that punches Cthulhu worshipers in the face.

    1. That’s a dumb comedy movie, but Star Wars tweaks the plot of a pro-Confederate pulp story- Obi-Wan is St Marse Robert E Lee, Darth Vader is the Dark/North’n ‘Vader (From Richmond Examiner 1860s cartoons of Beast Butler and Abe Lincoln), C-3PO and pal are a minstrel show version of Tom and Jerry, the smuggling ship called the Falcon is from a bunch of fast Confederate smuggling ships called the Falcon, and so on. When I saw Return of the Jedi I mildly regretted the failure to use James Earl Jones as the redeemed Vader. Would have been a better story if they’d used Henry Fonda in a top hat, though.

      Melissa Whatsit is pretty dim not to notice this. The Trent Affair starts the dang movie!

      1. A rebel alliance of monarchists which treat sentient androids as slaves plots to overthrow an elective republic which has understandably declared martial law and a state of emergency to deal with the rebel scum and their breakaway systems. Rather than free Anakin’s mother from slavery the Jedi exploit her bondage to enlist her kid in a cult. The kid is so brainwashed he doesn’t even remember his mother is a slave until years later.

        1. Q: Why don’t Jedi Knights carry handcuffs?
          A: Because no one in Jedi custody has ever kept both their hands for more than five minutes!

        2. Rather than free Anakin’s mother from slavery the Jedi exploit her bondage to enlist her kid in a cult.

          This is kind of strange, especially as the kleptocracy which runs Tatooine is hostile to the Old Republic.

          1. I woulda had the Jedi cut that flying freak’s head off, stolen the mother and the kid and the spaceship parts. Then Jabba coulda come in whining about killing one of his henchmen and chased them around the city with lots of hiding and fighting. Scratch one stupid and boring race sequence. Plus I don’t like kids with a lisp who look like they get their hair cut in a bowling ball washing machine.

          2. As Mr. Plinkett pointed out, the flying freak was using an even older mind trick than the Jedi’s. The slimy merchant says he’s the only one in town with that part, and Qui-Gon is actually buying it? He’s not going to the other dealers and asking them? Does anyone else smell gin?

    2. I’d hoped that Harris was just trolling the audience like the character in Smith’s film. But either she doesn’t know that Vader is a white dude who dresses in black, or worse–she thinks that wearing black actually makes someone black.

      Which is a new low in transracialism.

      Someone should ask her about Johnny Cash, the Dread Pirate Roberts, all of the agents in Men in Black, and all Catholic priests.

      1. I got dragged into watching Chasing Amy years ago. All I remember about it was the scene where the ‘lesbian’ tells her supposed friends she’s fallen in love and instead of being happy for her, they ostracize her because her lover has a penis.

        1. It’s the same guy who argued all LOTR is about is walking.

          Well crafted writing is not his forte and that lame joke proved it. It was like he’d never read or seen a fantasy or adventure story before.

  24. Any Marvel comics fans here? Right- who is the best villain in the MCU? It’s not Doctor Doom, Loki, Kingpin or the Red Skull. It is Magneto: a character retconned to be Jewish and whose ethnic background contributes to his history and outlook.

    Granted, it was a retcon from Claremont and for a while Marvel was leery about it (for a while he was Gypsy). But it’s a damn good retcon and makes the character make sense. He’s no Snidely Whiplash. He’s no cackling movie Bond baddie facing off against Roger Moore. He is a terrorist and I mean that in a value-neutral way. He commits violence to further his ideological cause.

    I actually like diverse characters. I am old enough to recall the shows when everyone on the team was a WASP- and there was, at best, one woman. My novel, which I am shopping around, has superheros from all over the world. But the important thing is to make the characters good from the ground up.

    1. In the MCU, you’re absolutely correct. In the comics? Doom fits the “flip the script, and I’m actually the hero” mold better than anybody.

      Mishandling Doom’s motivation is the worst blunder that every recent Fantastic Four movie has made. The guy’s whole deal is that he sees himself as the world’s greatest hero. And absent his bitter rivalry with Reed Richards, he might be.

      The occasions when Doom’s heroism has shown through are some of the most impactful Marvel stories. Probably the best example was when he descended into hell to save his mother’s soul. He succeeded but had to destroy their relationship forever to do so.

    2. Any Marvel comics fans here? Right- who is the best villain in the MCU? It’s not Doctor Doom, Loki, Kingpin or the Red Skull. It is Magneto…

      If, by “MCU” you mean the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then there’s a problem with that statement: Neither Doctor Doom nor Magneto are in it thanks to character rights issues.

      If you mean “Marvel Comics Universe,” then I have no reason to dispute you.

    3. In the MCU-based rpg I run online, the main villain is actually shaping up to be Henry Gyrich, since we’re heading toward our version of Civil War. He’s not one of the grandiose king-of-the-world wannabes like Doom/Skull/Magneto/Loki. He’s a quiet, tenacious, smart soldier determined to avenge the murder of his son by the Brotherhood and protect his country from the ‘mutant scourge.’ His motives are logical, even laudable, IMNSHO. (at the risk of overstepping, y’all are welcome to join in at http://live2rise.jcink.net)

    4. Fu Manchu, father of the Master of Kung Fu, is a lost opportunity. Marvel Comic got all squeamish about using him as a villain, because person of amarillo, but they blew their chance to make him a really good Magneto-style hero-villain. They just used him as a generic supervillain wearing a funny costume, holding hostages, galloping his concubines, and meditating in his sanctum sanctorum. And then they wrote editorials about, well, we’re still liberals and we feel funny about this. He never does any actual heroic stuff fighting the White Man’s oppression of the Yellow Man, no flashbacks to him fighting the first French invasion of Vietnam, defending Taiwan, providing food to India during Brit famines. He doesn’t even hump the odd Theosophist while founding the Indian National Congress. It’s a real pity.

      1. The original reason they ceased using the character wasn’t because of racial concerns, but them losing the license to the character.

        In more recent years, Jeff Parker did some very interesting things with the villain the Yellow Claw (Or the Golden Claw. Or Plan-Chu), making him much more complex, nuanced, and interesting….while at the same time making clear he is NOT a nice guy or “just misunderstood.”

  25. At a sci-fi con, Tim Powers related something about including the latest modern issue into a story. He said back in the late 60s Galaxy magazine had all these sci-fi stories- taking place hundreds, even thousands of years in the future. They had this huge galactic empire, fighting an unpopular brush war, with student activists all opposing involvement in the war. Those stories are incredibly dated now.

    Researchers once did this experiment with confinement raised chickens. Going back fifteen, twenty generations, these chickens had lived in a giant warehouse, and had never seen a hawk. The scientists rigged up a cardboard hawk on a wire in the rafters of the warehouse, and ran it across, so the hawk cast a shadow on the chickens. Those poor birds went nuts, squawking, panicking and running for cover.

    So instead, he advised, write a story that reaches into most everyone and triggers that instinctive fear center, that not even centuries of civilization can overcome.

    PS. Racist? They do know that Pitt is part Samoan? He should be played by Dwayne Johnson’s chubbier, plainer, younger brother? BTW, what is the status of the MHI movie?

    1. Better tell Jim C. Hines. He thinks Larry’s MHI series is about a musclebound manly white man who has big-busted blondes throwing themselves on his penis. Seriously.

      1. Yep. My books are all manly white men having manly white adventures, while busty white women throw themselves on manly white penises. PLUS apparently that never changes. Whew. Good. I’d hate to mess up such a winning formula! 🙂

        1. Kind of like Heinlein’s characters in “Starship Troopers” or “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”?

        2. That’s why I love those stories. It reflects my life to a ‘T’. I can only enjoy characters that look and act like me. Especially all the monster killing.

    2. SJWs don’t get that; they are stupid people. They don’t understand why Golden Age authors defaulted to an everyman rather than specific identities. They don’t understand why they ignored WW II and Prohibition. They just can’t grasp that.

      1. They’re poor time-binders, which is why they nit-pick so fanatically. They really don’t get that the hot-button issues they get all frothed up about today will be forgotten or laughable a generation or two from now, and that almost all of them depend on the survival of liberal democracy for their relevance.

        Oh, and the Golden Age writers didn’t actually ignore WWII and Prohibition. It’s that the ones whose stories have survived were the ones who were smart enough to write the same issues as universals with different specifics. For instance, there are a ton of stories about oppressive authoritarian regimes and various cultural reactions to dangerous drugs in the 1930’s – 1940’s, and one of the greatest series from that era, “Doc” Smith’s Lensman series, was about a liberal democratic interstellar federation fighting an evil totalitarian empire which was, among other things, trying to subert Civilization with narcotics. But Smith was smart enough to see the universals underlying the specifics, and that the specifics would in any case be different hundreds of years in the future.

    3. I honestly wouldn’t mind The Rock as Pitt. He’s been my pick for awhile. If we got Jason Mamoa as Mosh, I’d be stoked. But the one person they absolutely have to get right is Franks. And for me, Ron Perleman IS Franks.

  26. Given all the Writing the Other workshops given by SJW nobility, here’s some tips on how the Other can write dead-on accurate depictions of whites.

    * From Moscow to Lisbon and London to Palermo, Europeans are a monoculture of Disney parks and people wearing baseball caps. Feel free to rove about this blank empty space as needed. “Pip pip, cheerio” is authentic dialogue for Albanians and people in Barcelona like to say “What’s up, Doc?” as much as Swedes.

    * Whites open catsup bottles, drive cars and operate microwave ovens very differently from PoC. Write your characters accordingly

    * Germans and Austrians usually have dueling scars. Whites love dueling but Germans and Austrians are particularly clumsy

    * Whites are vicious racists. If they’re not colonizing or conquering PoC your characters won’t ring true.

    * Whites erase any PoC populations among them in history. So if you’re writing a story set in 9th century Norway or Regency England, multiply PoC by 100

    * Remember that whites cannot be offended. So pepper your stories with “Irishman” and “Yanks” and “IngSoc” all you wish while staying away from racially offensive terms like “Chinamen,” “Japs” and “Chi-Com”

    * White Anglos tend to steal slang from PoC and so are often behind the curve. Have your whites use slang like “You’re in the groove, Jackson” even if the story is 500 years in the future. If the story is set at the end of time, you can use “shade”

    *Whites don’t understand that Indonesia and China are different places or that Sikhs and Muslims are different religions. That’s because they don’t like PoC and so it doesn’t really matter.

    * Authentic white dialogue will often include racial micro aggressions like “Hi! Where are you from.” Don’t mistake this for genuine enthusiasm or friendly curiosity. Whites are diabolical.

  27. Lots of hate over at the site with 47 Hugo nominations, but this one stands out in its utterly cluelessness:

    “tintinaus on December 16, 2015 at 2:03 am said:
    I haven’t read any of Corria’s books but a couple of lines in his latest rant makes me doubt he us worth reading.

    First he doesn’t see the need to focus on establishing narratives. Colour me surprised, but I alway thought narrative was a basic of good storytelling. If there is no narrative the writer is just putting together meaningless scenes in the same way MMOs put in grinding missions to pad out their games.

    Then there was the doozy:

    If you give a female character any flaws, you’ll be attacked by angry feminists.

    Wow. You know what “angry feminists” like? They like a narrative that drives a flawed female character and changes her—as a narrative arc should do for any character. But I suppose Corria doesn’t believe characters can grow and change. His men are real men. His women are real women. And his little furry creatures from Alpha Centuries are…(you know the rest).”

    And he can’t spell your last name, either. Don’t worry, they can’t spell my name or Brad’s either. 🙂

    1. They’re so fucking clueless, it is like watching a monkey try to explain physics.

      DERP! He didn’t explain plot arcs in this post about character creation! DERPY DERP!

    2. Is he confusing “narrative” with plot? Because by the use of “colour” he may be dabbling in semantics he’s not ready to defend.

      I liked this bit “I alway thought narrative was a basic of good storytelling”. Yeah, I was always told I couldn’t write a book without an outline, a written plot, plot notes, additional commentary and character narratives.
      Somehow I managed to write five. Still unable to do an outline to save my life.

      I’ve caught plenty of heat for having a submissive woman as a character. Because she’s “lacking” according to some people. Me? I like her. She’s soft and squishable.

      1. Yes, he’s confusing a political agenda as narrative with plot as narrative. They are not the brightest people. If they were, they wouldn’t champion racists while claiming to be anti-racists. That Long List book they’re pushing could be called “The Little KKK That Could.”

        1. I figured, I was trying to grant him the benefit of the doubt. Poor lamb shouldn’t walk into a fight, fists flailing, without making the distinction.
          Plot is vital.
          Politics, not so much.

      2. Yeah, I’ve only written like 15 novels now, and have a really successful writing career, with lots of fans, so why would somebody who hasn’t read any of my books assume I understand “plot” or “character arcs”? 😀

  28. SFF’s mighty crusaders are willfully disingenuous about the Bechdel Test and pretty much everything else. When it suits them they’ll claim your epic fantasy should reflect real world reality. When it doesn’t suit them they’ll claim one should ignore reality.

    Epic fantasy is usually military in nature and it is influenced by real-life historic events. Anyone who’s read Prescott’s and Diaz’s histories of the conquest of Mexico knows there is only one woman featured, and that as an interpreter. All the histories of the Crusades put together are devoid of women.

    Put in whoever you wish in your stories, but don’t lay claim to these dishonest here-today-gone-tomorrow “reasons” which always unerringly point to the sexism and misogyny of men no matter which way you turn. Just put them in and leave those who don’t alone. If it’s a shitty story I’m not going to enjoy it no matter who you put in it, but then I’m not a Third Wave fuck addicted to their own mirror.

    1. The point that should be made, here, is that there were a horde of women involved in those events. However, comma, their involvement was mostly indirect. To say that there was only one woman involved in the whole Conquista thing ignores the motivational role played by the women in the lives of the men at the pointy end of things. Pizzaro and Cortes did not spring forth from dragons teeth flung on the ground–They were birthed and at least raised to adolescence by women. They were also at least partially motvated, in the end, as one of my crasser friends put it, by “…pussy, and the money to get pussy”. If women didn’t offer the rewards they did to the successful Conquistador, then there wouldn’t be any. That is, I think, at least as significant as swinging the sword itself. That’s just me, though.

      Somewhere, I read a passage by an older mother, writing to her daughter, who was frustrated by her inability to affect the world directly. Her mother wrote to tell her not to despair, but to remember that men were the weapons used by women to change the world…

      1. A weapon few SJW women will ever forge or wield. Why? Because one can be ugly or obnoxious and still be attractive, but one cannot be both.

    1. I like Ripper Street. I’ve seen two seasons of it. I also liked the one season of Copper that I’ve seen.

  29. On a more important topic, my Fallout4 water farm has reached 500+ output. I have raided shops for every bit of junk and ammo they have (including 5 fusion cores), fully upgraded my guns and T-45 (for my level), put pockets on my armor, and my dog is carrying 300 water around. I feel like such a CPA.

    Also built a whole bunch of shack-stacks with stairs and put turrets on the top, which seems to keep my settlers from getting killed too often. Now that they all have beds and food and beacons I’m finally ready to go kill stuff.

    I was starting to get meh about the game and then I traveled to a settlement to build some beds (yawn) and OMG SYNTH INVASION!! PEW PEW PEW PEW! Turrets firing everywhere. I couldn’t find most of the bodies. Some were my settlers I think, I may have shot them.

    Best part was stealing a Nuka-Cola for Sheffield in the middle of Diamond City where everyone’s huddled around a murder scene. I’m not sure exactly what happened, there was a very brief period of very angry yelling and loud bangs and then I was a falling. headless corpse. When I reloaded, the security guard was repeatedly riddling a corpse with bullets. He never stopped, even after I helped him by setting it on fire with my laser gun. Then I nicked a civilian’s toe and yelling-BANGBANGBANG-nohead again. Awesome.

    The most important thing I learned (PS4) was to use the arrow keys in workbench, NOT X/O which also tries to attach itself to any random thing that’s highlighted. Honestly, they should have just disabled that so you had to use arrows.

  30. Ace social justice feminist bovine intellects Shaun Duke, Alisa Kranostein and the Great Orm Natalie Luhrs are tuning in on Twitter. Using terms like “feminist peer review research” is always good for a laugh. That’s where they prove heterosexuality was invented by Conan in the Garden of Eden and medieval Christian men killed 9 million witches who’d been taught sorcery by English Hobbits. The gender binary only exists because we call each other “Mr.” and “Mrs.” and if we stop the illusion dispels and we revert to lesbians. In other words “feminist peer review research” is indistinguishable from magical myths and incantations. When your “peers” are mentally ill paranoiacs such reviews carry weight.

    Here’s a shout out. Moo!

    Darth Duke-akis
    @shaunduke
    In which Larry Correia doesn’t understand what the Bechdel Test is. Surprise. “Pixel Scroll 12/15”
    ·
    maureen k speller
    @maureenkspeller
    @shaunduke But he has passed the Being a Dick Yet Again test with flying colours.·

    Darth Duke-akis
    @shaunduke
    @maureenkspeller well, it comes naturally to him. He was born with one, and he’s spent decades shaping his personality to match.

    maureen k speller
    @maureenkspeller
    @shaunduke His lack of self-awareness is awesome, in a case study of awfulness sort of way.

    1. If people like that ever approve of anything I do, it will cause a great deal of self examination on my part.

    2. Something tells me LC won’t be on the Hugo-nominated Skiffy and Fanty Show like the “brilliant” Hugo-winning Kameron Hurley just was.

      Ever been in a hospital where you can just smell medicine? Same thing here.

    3. When Bechdel herself has disavowed the test as anything other than a punchline, somehow I don’t think it’s Larry doesn’t understand it.

    4. Shaun Duke, and the Skiffy and fanty folks…Lying egotistical shits.

      I remember when Duke and one of the cohosts, whatever her name was, spent an hour flat out lying about Tom Kratman and his opinions of women in the military.

  31. ” It used to be that this would scare away customers, but the times are changing. ”

    As for me and my house, when we see a ‘Zon review that is obviously written by an SJW-affiliated-unit, we know to read it as its polar opposite. Kind of like using the ACLU as a gauge of Truth and Righteousness in reverse. Very handy, actually.

  32. As others have pointed out ‘The Bechdel Test ‘ had it’s roots as punchline for a sour joke. It was never intended as an litmus test for how feminist a movie was e.g. a movie which passes the test with flying colours? ‘Showgirls. ‘ -eg-

    Larry’s piece does make a good point about how to make “good” villains. (And good to know he passes The Bechdel Test.) In R/L evil can be petty, incomprehensible and best avoided. In fiction it can be magnificent.

    And Larry’s comment about the worst thing a writer can to is be boring? Too true.

    This may already have passed, but may I propose “Correia’s Law: XY & Z doesn’t matter as long as it’s awesome!”

    1. Well, it’s changed just slightly. Mary R. Kowal’s version went something like “No white men won a Nebula! Hip-hip, hoorah!” There’s your miserable end game for the Bechdel Test.

  33. Let’s imagine a conversation on Twitter at Paul Weimer and Shaun Duke which goes like this:

    Hey Skiffy and Fanty, why not invite L. Correia onto your show?

    Well, he’s too insulting.

    Don’t you mean he disagrees with you?

    LC engages in name-calling.

    You mean calling LC a “dick” isn’t insulting?

    Well… I only affirmed that.

    So you don’t have an interest in SFF per se, just authors who back Third Wave Feminism?

    BLOCK

    Please don’t tell me these raging assholes don’t engage in bald-faced exclusion, censorship and discrimination. They live and breathe it right through the length and breadth of SFF’s core institutions. All the while they claim to be against “exclusion,” and “marginalization” and for inclusion and diversity. That’s because SJWs are ratty liars.

      1. Some of them use pre-emptive blocklists, to automatically block people who have too many friends and followers on the “wrong side”.

    1. I’ve never heard of Skiffy and Fanty before you guys brought it up.

      How do you ever manage to find some of this psychotic crap that you talk about in these threads?

      1. Paul Weimer is half of Skiffy and Fanty. If there’s any comments section kissing feminism’s ass he’s in it. SK was also nominated for a Hugo for best podcast. Shaun Duke also puckers for any feminist he comes in contact with. Back when I was researching these people his Twitter feed was a weird combination of self-flagellation and sociopathy which continues to this day. He’s the moron who called Kameron Hurley “brilliant.” She’s so “brilliant” she recently admitted she’s been “nuts” and went on meds, a thing I could’ve told her 3 years ago. Only someone who’s nuts talks about men like the Hounds of Tindalos coming to get them through the wainscoting.

          1. When are you going to write a time-travel story where Virgina Woolf goes back in time to the Garden of Eden and assassinates Conan the Barbarian before he invented heterosexuality, colonialism and red panties?

          2. Don’t be absurd James.

            Everyone knows you cannot travel in time to before The Flood.

            Furthermore, Eve, Lilith et cetera were later fabrications added to the Eden story. Adam was created complete in himself, and never had a female ‘companion’.

            Women, sex, and reproduction by pregnancy were invented by pre deluge degenerates. (In the future, medicine will be able to correct this and, unneeded, sexuality will wither away.) Women were established by the time of Kull, and Conan was a descendent of Kull. Conan could not have been a contemporary of Adam.

            If Weimer were to suggest something so laughable, he would never be able to show his face in respectable society.

          3. When are Skiffy and Fanty gonna invite LC onto the podcast. No politics, just art and story. Or could it be politics trumps art?

          4. Paul Weimer: Dude, maybe you shouldn’t be cruising comments for hate or getting Google alerts on Christmas. What’s the point?

            And he made his comments a week ago, not on Christmas. Doesn’t change what he said, I know, but it wasn’t intended to wreck your Christmas.

  34. Can we get a short story where Julie Shackleford deals with the Perpetually Outraged? Admittedly, it’s hardly worth her time when there are vampires and elder gods to be hunting, but it would be so theraputic for the rest of us to see her put them in their place.

    And, just so the story isn’t accused of being a racist whitewash, maybe Trip could help out too…

  35. Honestly, I think this comment at 770 trumps the one mentioned previously (sorry if somebody else posted it):

    [I]
    Aaron on December 16, 2015 at 6:18 am said:

    . . .

    (15) Does anyone other than Correia call Correia the “International Lord of Hate”? Could he be a more ridiculous person?

    Every time I see one of the Pups bleating about how they only care about a “good story” and how caring about whether there are female or minority characters in the story (and how they are treated) is just some bean counting exercise, it tells me they don’t really understand stories. Correia brings up the Grimnoir series, which has a lot of problems (a paper thin plot, cardboard characters, flimsy world-building), but one of them is that it only has about a half dozen female characters in 1,800 pages of books. On the other side, there are at least fifty male characters, and probably more (I’m not going to go back and count them up).

    That sort of gender distribution says something about your story. It affects the quality of your story. It tells the reader that half of the human race is worth only a token nod in their direction. Writing a science fiction story in which no non-white characters appear affects the quality of your story, and may be telling the reader something you didn’t intend to tell them. Creating a diverse story doesn’t hinder telling a good story, it enhances it, and as long as the Pups whine about doing so, they will continue to turn out needlessly weak stories
    [/i]

      1. They’re humor impaired too, considering where the ILoH came from. And since it has been a running joke for a couple of years, it tells you exactly how much they actually read what any of us write. But then again, these are the same people who were bewildered by the presence of a manatee. 🙂

        1. Where did ILoH come from ? I want to know because I’m jealous, I want to be the International Lord of minor annoyance, at the very least… :-/

          1. It was during an earlier Puppy year. I think John C. Wright came up with the Evil Legion of Evil part of the joke. I’ll see if I can find the original posts.

          2. OK found the post. Sorry I don’t know how to put in the link, but it’s the June 2014 post of John C. Wright called “The Evil League of Evil is Given Pious Advice.”

          3. And the first post I can find in which LC calls himself an International Lord of Hate is dated June 11, 2014, called “By Popular Demand, CorreiaTech swag, Powered by Hate!”

          4. You’ve had the last laugh. Since then, and despite The Guardian having a larger platform than Breitbart, Milo has surged from 20 or 30 thousand followers on Twitter to well over 100 thousand. Damien Walter has stagnated with the same 5,000 plus since then. Walter had his chance and he blew it by telling falsehoods rather than humorously slinging the truth-bombs Milo does. One by one all the lies of this stupid cult tells about straight white men have come undone. It helps that so many of their leaders are flat out mad. Did they really think civilization would stop clapping to avoid PTSD?

      2. Too true. I don’t really understand how they can be that dumb.

        “…but one of them is that it only has about a half dozen female characters in 1,800 pages of books. On the other side, there are at least fifty male characters, and probably more (I’m not going to go back and count them up).

        That sort of gender distribution says something about your story. It affects the quality of your story. It tells the reader that half of the human race is worth only a token nod in their direction.”

        Do they not understand the time period? It’s the 1930s. In a story about a secret society that engages in combat. Of course female characters will be outnumbered. It’s like writing a story about WW2 and people being pissed about the lack of LGBT characters. These SJWs won’t be satisfied until they suck the fun out of everything and replace it with “proper fun”.

        1. I wrote an article about morons busting out checklists, to to prove me wrong they bust out their checklist. 😀

        2. Most of those “50 or more” male characters are cannon fodder. Gone by “percentage of POV” or even *importance* of characters, Grimnoir is very much about the women … but looking at it by time on the page, POV, or importance, would be silly because it wouldn’t support their fantasies. If one of their *own* wrote a book that depended so heavily on women characters (who have many interactions that have nothing to do with the men characters, btw,) they’d be praised to the skies. It’s all trick questions with NO objective standards and in the end someone gets to decide if you “did it right” or not.

    1. Frankly, the day I take advice from the people who are cratering science fiction sales in the middle of a golden age of SF in film, TV, and video games is the day I do some serious soul searching. Perhaps even don sackcloth and ashes.

      1. That’s a good point. And for the first time in 100 years of SFF history you have authors, webzines and even publishing houses telling their own readers, their own history, they’re a pack of privileged bigots. I’m trying to imagine back in the day anyone hating the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series, Ace or DAW and I can’t. That’s because they sold art and entertainment and a genuine love for the genre, not this disdain and even hatred for their own literary ancestors and readers.

      2. I was in a Barnes & Noble in San Antonio a few weeks back walked in and was almost run over by a swarm of robots rolling, crawling and walking all over the story. They were hosting a build-your-own robot competition.

        Kids are building their own robots but the Big 5 publishers can’t sell science fiction to them. W. T. F.

    2. Hard to imagine being that stupid. Remember, this is the comments section where one person declares the Greek classics “white,” though there is no self-conscious ideological awareness of that in the classics themselves, and then declare that’s why we like them. These folks never fail to amaze. “Gender distribution”? Really? PoC a must-have? Who are these amazing dolts?

    3. “The Pups claim we want a bean counting exercise! How silly!”
      *then engages in a bean-counting exercise between # of female characters vs male characters*

      1. Almost any discussion of a new movie/TV show ends up getting hijacked by people counting the ratio of POCs/women/LGBT/whatever. It what’s they do. It’s all they do.

        1. It’s worse (and creepier) over in comics fandom. Increasingly, the first response to the announcement of a new comics series is not “Oooh, what’s it about” but “How do the characters pleasure their genitals?!?” I’m not even kidding. The SJW-infested site ComicsAlliance spends 99% of EVERY response to a new series announcement with “But what’s their SEXUAL LIFE like?!?”

          It’s getting beyond ridiculous. And disturbing.

      2. It is kind of awesome how to attack my blog post they go on to do exactly what I talked about in the blog post. 🙂

        1. I’m glad this conversation is taking place. In my opinion one of the key reasons this cult has been able to so effortlessly mainstream itself is it keeps using the word “feminism.” After all, who can be against feminism, equal rights for women. Similarly, I’d bet only a small percentage of people have known the origin of the Bechdel Test or know anything about its inspiration – Virgina Woolf. Again, most people just think of the test as “feminism.”

          If these people want to push lesbian intersectionality, then call it that. Stop claiming it is “feminism.” This cult has nothing to do with law or equal rights; it has nothing to do with feminism. Like the Bechdel Test itself, the only thing this “feminism” measures is the immorality and inferiority of men.

          No matter which part of this weird SJW cult’s whining you encounter, whether you track back “rape culture,” “white privilege,” or “heteronormative,” it always goes directly back to lesbian theory pushed by Eve Sedgewick, Gayle Rubin, Charlotte Bunch or Judith Butler; they practically invented those concepts out of whole cloth in their essays. You’d think people at some point would ask that if heterosexuality were “invented,” if it is a “social construct,” why wasn’t it invented by all heterosexuals instead of just men? That question is never asked but the answer is obvious. “Feminists” don’t hate men – this cult does, or at least it does in its origins. Take away those origins and you have mostly useful idiots pushing this as “social justice.” Well, I’m putting those origins back in.

          Even now the idiots at 770 are laughing about a “lesbian cult” even while they have relentlessly pushed its dogma for months. That is the definition of “clueless” and “useful idiots” who’ve had this shit mainstreamed into their consciousness as falsely being a continuation of the feminist equal rights movement. Women’s suffrage did not operate like a supremacist KKK for gay non-white women, lesbian intersectionalism operates exactly like that.

  36. I’m beginning to wonder if Gamergate, Sad Puppies, etc. is a civil war between convention fandom and everyone else over what the hobbies should look like, with convention-based fandom thinking they are the gatekeepers. Look at any controversy in the fandoms, be it anime, gaming, video gaming, science fiction, etc., and you always find the same names pushing the same agenda of outrage or rushing to the defense of someone they knew from a con.

  37. That whole Bechdel Test thing? Where they ask are there two females in a scene who talk about something other than a man?

    Weelll, if you understand that the context was a comic strip with two non-het women who were having trouble relating to het women who had romantic interests in men, the Bechdel test becomes even more risable.

    Having said that – I think the test is useful on a population/whole country (or genre) basis, and when looking at trends over time. I don’t think it’s useful to note if a particular film “passes” the test or not – Alien does not, Pacific Rim does not. But I can also remember when film and genre roles for women were largely arm candy and bystander romantic interest for the lead and his sidekick (or the antagonist) to spar over. It’s not accurate to pretend that the genre doesn’t have that background.

    (Yes, yes, guys are not gals, active explorers in dangerous areas are going to overwhelmingly male in most scenarios, yes, I get that.)

    The Bechdel test is a decent. but imperfect, tool for tracking how women are characterized. There is no more reason to reject “The Cold Equations” because it fails the test than to celebrate, oh, the catty intro to ‘Baby Got Back’ that was referenced above because it passes. There are good storytelling reasons for going either way. Where the BT is most useful, imo, is for pointing out that the story doesn’t have to be told only one way (so long as the story is *good*, first and foremost.) Putting “passing” the BT over good story telling is a major, *major* flaw.

    1. This is a tangent, but:

      …the context was a comic strip with two non-het women who were having trouble relating to het women who had romantic interests in men…

      I get that there are some people whose minds work that way, but in general, this notion is another massive problem with SJWism, as I see it. Most people are able to comprehend the struggles and emotions of others; it’s only the SJWs who say, “oh, I am a gay black woman, and the protagonist of this story is a straight black man, so obviously I cannot identify or even empathize with him in any way. This is why I demand to see more stories whose protagonists are exactly like me in all respects !”

      1. Most people are able to comprehend the struggles and emotions of others;

        Yes, as I can attest from years of enjoying stories about brawny male characters. 🙂 And of picking out numerous characters who looked nothing like me – from cast ensembles that included characters who *did* look a lot like me – to be “my” viewpoint character.

        Where I think the “identity politics” people have somewhat of a point is when a writer is ignant of his/her own skewed pov so that they write characters that bear little resemblance to reality, or that grate on people in ways that should be completely avoidable. It’s not a problem to have female characters that are arm candy. It is a problem to only have female characters that only want to be arm candy and expect most of your female readers to be thrilled with this.

        (I also think it’s a problem for individual readers to assume that because they’re female or male or physically crippled or winged, that all readers who are female or winged, etc, will have the same reaction to a given character or situation. I’ve been completely turned off works just on the basis of one bad line that bothered no one else I knew. And I’ve quite liked stuff that has been badly panned for good reason. There is no accounting for taste.)

        As with so much SJW stuff, it’s not the baseline intent but the horrible, lousy, no good, very bad execution.

      2. It’s worse than that. Remember, our social justice crusaders are motivated by the idea they can accurately see racism straight across the length and breadth of America. But many of them don’t even live in America. Watching the now months long ongoing mental breakdowns on Twitter of Foz Meadows in Scotland and RequiresHate in wherever and the non-stop racial incitement about America by Justine Larbalestier in Australia or Aliette de Bodard in Paris is sheer stupidity.

        And of those who do live here, how many do you think know what happens at 1 AM at the Greyhound bus station in Jackson, Miss, or at sundown at the intersection of Camp and Jackson in New Orleans. How many have gone looking around Ave. B and Houston St. in N. Y. City or even know what I mean by that? These people slum in oppressions they know absolutely nothing about and yet their entire world view of politics is based on the idea they have an intimate acquaintance with these things. Because of that, they are the perfect useful idiots for Black Lives Matter. SJWs are idiots who think the sheer wisdom of their judgments and a computer screen allows them to make decisions based on zero data.

        In all the years these morons have been going to Uncle Hugos Book Store in MPLS, how many do you think frequented the now vanished and fairly dangerous Sunny’s Bar right down the street? They would’ve shit their pants just going into that place on a Fri. night. What would they have done if they’d won a pool game and the guy said “I’m not paying you the money you just won”? Looked for a “safer-space”?

        The same is true right across the board for all the other bullshit. They think they can parse the demographics of a frickin’ story or movie and declare lesbians and women the victims of hate, misogyny and “erasure” and do the same thing across 100 yrs. of SFF history and see right into the evil hearts of straight white men. There may for a fact be reasons why certain demographics don’t show up in certain places but it’s not my fault they’re 1.5% of the population, or weren’t at Iwo Jima or never built great urban centers. Stop whining and actually get out into the action and you may see the world is quite different from what you imagine.

        The irony is no one could hang out at Sunny’s on weekend nights and be an SJW; they couldn’t survive that joint. However you could dance, have fun and get high as fuck, but only if you understood people are people, which SJWs don’t. They would be eighty-sixed for goggling at “authentic” PoC, or worse.

    2. But I can also remember when film and genre roles for women were largely arm candy and bystander romantic interest for the lead and his sidekick (or the antagonist) to spar over.

      The birth of American science fiction as a genre comes from Edgar Rice Burroughs — who consistently wrote strong heroines. You may have missed this, because his heroes were even stronger. Edgar Rice Burroughs did a lot of social satire in his stories, and one of his consistent points was the contrast between strong, determined characters who fought hard for good; and whiny over-civilized types who either learned to become stronger and more determined in the course of the story, or failed to learn (and often died in consequence). Either role could be played by men or by women.

      Most of ERB’s output was in the 1910’s to 1930’s.

      1. Oh, I do remember ERB – and while his characterization of women was not what I would call ideal, I did find his books far less problematic than many others. (And he had complex villains who were female, even!) What was even more surprising was finding – on a much later re-read – that he wasn’t the racist sob he was billed as, either.

        (If old Edgar was to get an eyeroll from me, it would be on accounta failures of biology and natural history. But in this he was mostly a product of his times.)

        1. I think a lot of us moderns don’t have any right to bitch about historical writers having a weak grasp of biology.

          We have fewer excuses for our politically convenient falsehoods that are biological absurdities.

    3. I remember the original comic strip.

      (I lived and worked at a creative job in a Major Urban Center until my early 30’s. The gay culture or the 90’s was all around me, and yes, I actually managed to enjoy some of it. At one point, a friend said of me, “I think you know more lesbians than most lesbians”.)

      It appeared in a comic strip titled “Dykes to Watch Out For” (http://dykestowatchoutfor.com/the-rule ), so I knew that (a) both people in the comic were lesbian, and (b) the joke wasn’t aimed at me. Because (c) I saw something familiar, I laughed (with, not at) anyway.

      It never occurred to me that a wry, witty acknowledgment that popular entertainment doesn’t appeal to a group (lesbians) that are a low single-digit percentage of the population would become some kind of social-justice manifesto.

      PS – “The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green” is a much funnier (and better drawn) comic. Then again, I find gay men easier to understand than lesbians, so YMMV.

      1. It never occurred to me that a wry, witty acknowledgment that popular entertainment doesn’t appeal to a group (lesbians) that are a low single-digit percentage of the population would become some kind of social-justice manifesto.

        Agreed. What should have been a way for various people to understand the frustration of other various people when they were a small, written-off part of the consumer base instead became this mis-handled commandment.

        OTOH, any light-bulb dawning epiphany of “Wow, I get that! That’s just like looking for something to read when I’m at my great-aunt Agatha’s house, and all she’s got is romance novels and Better Homes & Gardens! Man, that sucks!” would get dismissed by SJW types as “making the conversation about you” instead of focusing on the pain of the Oppressed Class.

        (Come to think on it…wouldn’t a bunch of straight gals taking a lesbian’s expression of frustration in lack of source material for sexual titillation and repurposing it to promote work for (primarily) straight gals be…appropriation? Or some thing?)

        The more I think on it, the more annoyed I get. This could have been an opportunity for finding common ground about what appeals to different people, and the value of writing/creating art, even if only a few people “get it.” (Because yes, The Author Needs To Get Paid, but there’s more than one way to skin a cat.) But instead it’s been remade into a way to issue “approved” stamps on art.

      2. “I think you know more lesbians than most lesbians”

        It’s not just me, then? That’s a relief. 🙂

  38. This is the con game bigots always sell: they take a biological demographic and turn it into an ideology so it can be “critiqued.”

    Jews are Marxists; let’s get rid of Marxists. Blacks are criminals; let’s reduce crime. Whites are racists; let’s diminish the footprint of racism. Men are misogynists; let’s eliminate misogyny. Cis scum are transphobes; I oppose transphobia, not cis scum.

    This works in reverse. Lesbians are the soft oppressed petals of flowers; let’s shoe-horn them into Star Wars. Women have been erased from military history by men; let’s make them admirals of the space fleet. There are no PoC in Larry Niven’s racist stories, just a frickin’ albino and the token stereotype of a “Chinaman”; let’s make a PoC planet.

    That’s the soft underbelly of SJW bigotry. No matter how the Bechdel Test originated, that’s how it operates today among our crusading zealots and that goes for all “oppressed” groups.

    “I don’t dislike you. No… really; just your oppressive ways – all eleventy kabillion of you. I just want to see more of me – all eleventy kabillion of me. I can’t help it your entire privileged demographic is actually an ideology of hatred, genocide, colonialism and slimy things and that my demographic represents all goodness and innocence.”

    “Diversity” is nothing more than a cover for supremacist bigotry based on lies about why random demographic spikes exist in hobbies. By the most amazing of coincidences, only straight, white or male hobbies. Everyone else skates. You can have your “Queers Destroy Fantasy” and your Lambda and Tiptree Awards and review-censor white men at Lightspeed cuz “reasons.” Amazing how that all works out.

    1. Oh, it’s worse than that. If the writer doesn’t agree with the whole SJW agenda, he gets no credit for having “diverse” characters. The most famous female space admiral in the whole genre is David Weber’s Honor Harrington, but David Weber is an evil militarist conservative so she doesn’t count. Sarah Hoyt has written one of the few stories I’ve ever read, A Few Good Men, to have a gay man as a philosophical action hero in the mold of a Heinlein protagonist, and most of her books star female action heroines, but she’s one of the Sad Puppy leaders, so no. (Also, Sarah’s an Anglo white man, even though she’s a Portuguese woman — at least she is in the minds of noted Women of Color such as John Scalzi).

      1. Let me give you a little peak into how insane the post-structural gibberish is this “SJW” crap is based on. To have a proper debate on why – for example – Ancillary Justice was pushed like a car run out of gas, you have to understand who lesbians Gayle Rubin, Adrienne Rich and Judith Butler are and why Butler refers to her own Derridean theories and of the other two with the metaphor AND also double entendre in the Kafkaesque phrase “before the law” as things which anticipate themselves and are therefore false, namely, heterosexuality.

        Researching the origins of this cult was like visiting a mental asylum. At the other end of that straight men come out as pricks, and that’s all that really matters, but it’s nice to have “reasons,” especially if you can confuse the fuck out of people with big words and moronic ideas.

        There used to be a cartoon character named Katnip the Cat whose catch-phrase was “That sounds logical.” That pretty much sums SJWs up.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duZ8DbQ6Hl4

  39. I actually agree with the bedwetters Larry. Now that you mention it, I actually DO get offended and pissed off when gun owners are portrayed as ignernt rednecks and racists, and anyone associated with the military is a mass murderer.

    I can usually tell when I have a book written by an SJW within the first 50 pages. I don’t write the author to whine – I throw it out. I don’t read any SF anymore unless the book is free or it’s been vetted – because I want to be entertained, not lectured about narratives.

    Hey – have ya heard the latest Star Wars joke? “Darth Vader is the only black guy to ever admit he was the father!”

    NYUK NYUK NYUK! WOO WOO WOO WOO!!!!

    1. I remember seeing that in the theater. “I am your father, Luke!” I was thinking, “that’s about the lamest attempt at distracting an opponent I ever heard.” And then “don’t fall for it, you moron!” And then it was canon…

      Yeah, the Evil Sith Lord comes up with a line like that right in the middle of a fight scene, and you *believe* it? Or at least stop to think about it long enough to get your hand lopped off? It was pretty apparent beforehand that Skywalker wasn’t the sharpest spork in the drawer, but that was stupid.

      1. the line Vader says is ” No, I am your father” He says that line after he cuts off Luke’s hand. If you are going to make fun of, poke fun at, mock , get the facts straight. sigh.

        1. It also, in hindsight, shows that Vader was playing with Luke during the fight- pushing him, testing his abilities, and then disarming him.

      2. Many years ago, I saw these two buttons at a con:

        “Hello, My name is Luke Skywalker. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

        “Hello, My name is Darth Vader. I am your father. Prepare to die.”

        1. I saw a variant of the first one:
          “Hello, My name is Luke Skywalker. You are my father. Prepare to die.”

          I’ve also seen:
          “Hello, My name is Domino Montoya. You burned my pizza. Prepare to die!”

    2. Generally agree. Though I will say that while the worldview/politics of Ready Player One made me sick, and the author was a total SJW, the story was good enough that I read it twice.

      1. Ready Player One was excellent. Armada, somewhat less so. It just wasn’t a good enough story to meat the expectations of RPO, and the politics were far more blatant.

  40. Isn’t the Bechdel Test the part of the fiction checklist that requires a villainous megacorporation? Or do I have it confused with the Bechtel Test?

  41. How about The Bigot Test? The rules are one must obsessively single out groups based solely on their biological origins and write things about them that are 100% negative.

    That applies to virtually every person we call “SJWs” in the SFF community, including the 70 most activist members of the SFWA. How many Pups fail that test?

    This test is not in any way weighted or biased. Turn your fingers on yourselves SJWs and see if you can measure up to being a decent human being. You can’t, but try anyway.

    1. The commenters at 770 are angry I called out a dozen SJW authors for failing “The Bigot Test” on the just published Long List anthology which features work compromised from the Hugos by the Puppy initiatives.

      I challenge the “scholars” at 770 or anywhere to find a dozen Puppy authors who fail The Bigot Test. In fact, let the social justice crusaders find a dozen SFF authors anywhere who fail The Bigot Test other than their own ratty heroes who sport coffee mugs with “white tears” logos and use phrases like “mansplaining” and “cis scum.”

      Let me make it more interesting. Find a dozen SFF authors from the supposedly golden age of racism and sexism from 1912 to 1970 who fail The Bigot Test. The fact I feel confident to compare a single anthology to 6 decades shows what incredible liars and racist supremacists SJWs are. Get to work SJWs. If straight white males are as bad as your lies say, you should have no trouble finding dozens of names. Even the serial liars at Glyer’s won’t be able to lie their way out of this one.

      1. You might want to add at least -some- caveats. There’s a -lot- of crap, and the line ‘SFF authors’ is actually mighty wide. Hugo nominated authors maybe? Or, next you know we’ll be arguing about some random BDSM authors proclivities or something.

        Additionally, it needs to revolve around -human- biology, I think. Arguing about Puppeteer sexual practices/politics/insanities seems futile.

        1. I’m talking about the non-fiction writings of SFF authors who show a persistent pattern of demonizing people based on their biological characteristics. That means Arabs, Jews, Latinos, blacks, whites, men, women, gays and straights as an entire group. I am not talking about fiction.

          For example, N. K. Jemisin wrote that R. Heinlein was “racist as fuck.” Anyone who’s read Heinlein’s letters knows that is false. He showed no particular interest in going after Jews, blacks, etc. Anyone who’s read Jemisin’s non-fiction writings knows she is in fact racist as fuck. She is obsessed with demonizing whites and on a daily basis. I can name 50 contemporary SJW writers just off the top of my head who do the same thing with men, whites and heterosexuals in their own non-fiction writing. The total number is probably more like 100-125 in the core SFF community.

          I stand by what I said: the persistent demonization of men, whites and heterosexuals by those dozen writers in The Long List Anthology in their non-fiction comments surpasses the entirety of the so-called racist, sexist era 1912-1970. If they’re looking for a thing like the KKK it’s in their fucking mirrors.

          The reason Glyer’s minions are loving that anthology is precisely because of that demonization, but which they call “social justice.” They don’t even need to read the stories to love them. The authors are the “correct” authors because of their correctthink. Art has jack shit to do with it.

          1. Solid clarification. Not arguing with you, I just think it’s useful to put the key pieces in the same place(s) to somewhat hinder the rampant strawmen.

        2. Additionally, it needs to revolve around -human- biology, I think. Arguing about Puppeteer sexual practices/politics/insanities seems futile.

          Why? In-universe in the Known Space continuity, the Puppeteers are as real as the Humans. What strikes me as precisely wrong with the SJW approach to the issue of race and sex in science fiction is that they’re parochial: they’re only interested in existing races and sexes, and only in the roles they exist in today.

          For instance, if I wrote a world where there was a black-skinned race renowned for their stiff upper lips and sexual proprietry, and they were shocked by the emotionialism and lewd behavior of a white-skinned race, this wouldn’t be writing blacks and whites “authentically,” in SJW eyes. Indeed, I’d be “appropriating.”

          Yet, unless you do assume that blacks are inherently more emotional and lustful than whites — the racialist attitude — then there’s nothing particularly implausible about this situation. I can even show you examples of this in real history, regarding the Egyptian attitudes toward the (lighter-skinned) barbarians to their northeast.

          1. What would be wrong with a new Ann Leckie novel called Queen Foucault where a spaceship named Zhe J. Russ from a nature-loving empire of noble androgynous post-binary gender annihilist post-structuralists set off to investigate a rogue planet of anti-science rebel cis scum intent on reintroducing the fundamentalist heresy of heterosexuality and spreading it like a plague across the galaxy by the use of subversive performative pronouns.

  42. I really like your bad guys because they’re interesting and they’re human and because they think they’re doing the right thing, which makes them way more interesting and way scarier. It’s not that hard to write a story which describes a bad guy thusly:

    “Stalin H*. bin Laden started his day in his usual manner by deflowering and then decapitating seven virgins while listening to his favorite song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ by Rick Astley’
    ‘What kind of all-consuming evil shall I pursue today?’, he mused as he spooned carob powder and artificial sweetener into his blender and then added an incredibly cute puppy and an incredibly cute kitten and pressed ‘puree’ to make his morning smoothie.”
    *The H. stands for ‘Hitler’.

    It’s not hard to write characters like that and a lot of lazy writers do exactly that. The first Captain America movie was decent but as much as I like Hugo Weaving and thought that he did a good job playing The Red Skull I thought that Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was a much better bad guy. Here’s a man who is handsome, suave and charming and who believes that he can make the world a better place by murdering a few million people, all for the greater good of course.
    I love the MHI books because the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad, but not badly written. Sure, Lord Machado is your standard issue bad guy who’s in it for the money and the chicks, but in the end he turns out to be a puppet for the real bad guys, and Alexander Stricken and Martin Hood, each of whom has his own ideas on how to deal with those bad guys, are far more frightening.

  43. After reading this, I think you might get a kick out of some of the reviews I picked up on my book. The book is so dark that Dark Fantasy is a bit mild of a category for it. This is a book that only takes notice of PC as something spit on and excoriate, and the righteous anger raised some of the PC crowd reviews makes me laugh every time I read them.

    I also read through your 1 stars from MHI one day, and I could not stop laughing at those either. You should take pride in the venom you got the PC pussies to spew.

    I noticed that you said links are kept in moderation until you approve them. Since you can approve or delete as you choose, I’ll put in the link.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0131CP35K

    1. I love the Gaiman quote. As far as I can tell that guy sits around writing, going to book signings and giving lectures. That’s fine, but don’t talk to me like your Lord fucking Byron or Indiana Jones and need to tell me to make “friends” with non-white books in order to expand my horizons. Go run around the jungle or enter Afghanistan illegally. You’ll make lots of friends and I guarantee you none of them will be dumbfucks on racial guilt trips about how sad and lonely their own cultures are.

    2. “One glaring example of where I failed was that by aiming to reach traditionally ignored or overlooked voices in the United States, I forgot that they might be the very forces of oppression in their ancestral countries.”

      I realize that to a certain segment of the population the public confession of unconscious racism gives you extra morality and virtue points among your peers but honestly… how myopic does a person have to be not to realize *without having to think about it* that Chinese in China are not an oppressed minority?

      I remember this “don’t read white men for a year” thing when everyone was going on about it and how this was supposed to be about “pushing one’s comfort zone” and otherwise experiencing new and different ideas and how this was a self-improving sort of thing… while what those enthusing about it intended was to read books that were *comfortable* to them. It was only Other People who would be improved by enforced discomfort. My suggestion to one of these people that if she desired something outside of her comfort zone she ought to read the books by the white male author she was having an internet fight with was not received particularly well.

      It might well be that reading books by authors you’d not otherwise read would be self-improving but that list of authors has nothing to do with their ethnicity or biological reproductive strategies.

      1. Well, I gather that there are Han who feel that the PRC excessively favors foreigners and non-Han over Han. The Han who feel that strongly might be a minority. 🙂

  44. OK, so this gets a bit away from your topic because you’re saying let your characters have flaws even violent ones to get conflict, but make them sympathetic to get believability. What if you make your characters sympathetic by making them mostly reasonable (even if they don’t all want the same thing), and you put it in a fairly non-violent setting as well. Is that just a mistake? Are you kind of SOL for direct ofttimes physical conflict, because even if they might fight they’ll talk first?

    Take Son of the Black Sword, you could have its characters (a matriarch trying to hold her house together, a stalwart warrior who has been mentally twisted, his friend who’s outlook has been changed by a sudden revelation, etc. [well with the exception of the genocidal politician…]) all together in upper class America, but they wouldn’t run around killing a bunch of people and dispensing harsh justice, because well, upper class America. Does the plot of such a story have to focus on day to day victories and defeats? Or is there some good trick for getting that direct conflict into the plot?

    Meh – that’s probably not even a question that can be answered. Sitting here I can think of A) day to day events blown up B) a largely off screen villain who MUST BE STOPPED but who doesn’t really do anything because he’d get dog piled or C) a sub-setting that has considerably more conflict (basically what you’ve got going in the MHI books). All of those angles are, at best, hard to write and at worst just dull.

    The best instance I can think of for “everyone is reasonable and the setting is civilized” is the The Golden Oecumene novels by John C Wright where the *good guy* is basically the one who must be stopped because *he* might break society. (But he has a cool space ship so you still want him to win…) However, I’m not sure that represents a repeatable approach. Heh – maybe I should go over to Wright’s blog and bug him.

    Anyway, thanks for the post. 🙂 Oh, and also Son of the Black Sword rocked. Other readers may disagree but it might be my favorite of yours yet.

  45. Here’s what stupidity and dishonesty looks like:

    “Kevin Standlee on December 18, 2015 at 8:59 am said:
Imagine that you’re a member of a non-profit society that owns a community center chartered for a certain legal purpose, and suddenly a bunch of other people who don’t really want to join your organization and who don’t actually support any of your chartered goals say, ‘You should turn out all of the people who have been using your building and do things that I tell you do to, although of course I’m not going to do any of the work or contribute any of the resources to make it happen. Just do it, because I say so.’ Sound reasonable?”

    Here’s what honesty looks like:

    Imagine you’re a member of a non-profit society that owns a community center chartered for a certain legal purpose, one of which is a stated commitment to give awards to purple and gray writers. It turns out that society only gives awards to gray writers.

    You certainly have a right to do that. But if you’re going to, just fucking say so instead of bullshitting. The Hugo’s are the Tiptree Awards now. The Tiptrees describe themselves as “an annual literary prize for works of science fiction or fantasy that expand or explore one’s understanding of gender.”

    Just fucking say that, cuz that’s what you do. Without your stupid bait and switch, you could’ve saved yourself an awful lot of trouble. Just look at The Long List Anthology made up of stories interrupted from the usual process by the Puppies. Of the 90% whose authors politics I know, 100% of them push the peculiar and bizarre cult of Third Wave Feminism typical of WisCon, which by an amazing coincidence is what the Puppies wanted to prank and short-circuit. Stop pretending you don’t discriminate against writers outside your dumbfuck cult. You people have no more interest in the art for art’s sake of Jack McDevitt or genre for the sake of genre of Peter Hamilton than does WisCon. The Hugo is nothing more than an SFF literary arm of politicized lesbianism. If your dipshit brand of SFF fandom had existed from the ’40s on, there never would’ve been a Heinlein, Bradbury or Vance.

    I notice that on your own website you don’t even say why the awards are given out; nothing about “best SFF of the previous year.” Why doesn’t that surprise me since they clearly are not about the best SFF but about being a bigger league for and giving a bigger platform of mainstream credibility to your lesbian intersectional farm team of fake “diversity” at WisCon.

    1. “Kevin Standlee on December 18, 2015 at 8:59 am said:
Imagine that you’re a member of a non-profit society that owns a community center chartered for a certain legal purpose, and suddenly a bunch of other people who don’t really want to join your organization and who don’t actually support any of your chartered goals say, ‘You should turn out all of the people who have been using your building and do things that I tell you do to, although of course I’m not going to do any of the work or contribute any of the resources to make it happen. Just do it, because I say so.’ Sound reasonable?”

      Very well said, Kevin. Great to have you on the anti-SJW side. Wait, that’s not what you meant?

      1. Ever since the Puppy thing came about, Standlee, in his private person, has acted like a mid-level bureaucrat whose had his power challenged. Given his acrimonious defenses here and elsewhere, he should step down. Fandom needs new blood, not petty tyrants.

    2. So I take it that Mr. (Ms.? I wouldn’t want to commit a microagression by assuming) Standlee is preparing to take up the cause of Christian student groups being forced to admit non-Christian members and allow them to be elected to leadership positions in said groups?

      1. Or colleges and schools founded by Christians, named after Christians, who are now being forced to create prayer rooms for Muslims. Basic Leftoid logic: “What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine!’

      2. If people would just accept the fact the Hugos and Nebulas are now the most prestigious awards for ideological lesbian SFF the medicine would go down a lot easier. When you take the Bechdel Test seriously you know you’ve been infiltrated, diluted, back-doored and generally fucked. I have an idea for another test: how about how many rocket ships and aliens and castles are in a fucking SFF story? We could call it “science fiction and fantasy” and write about asteroid bases and moonbeams ‘n shit. I’m sure it would be a smash hit.

    3. And I didn’t even get to the part of the Hugo’s disturbing pattern of honoring writers whose main claim to “artistry” is to wittingly or unwittingly indulge in the non-stop defamation of and incitement to hate whites and men. Even the least offensive of them such as Max Gladstone put so-called “women of color” in their books on the basis that men and whites systematically “exclude” and “marginalize” them due to the innate bigotry of white men. This stupid incitement and demonization is so natural a part of that cult’s background noise they don’t even see anything wrong with it unless your name is Vox Day or John Wright. Then suddenly the words “group defamation” burst into the night sky like fireworks.

  46. In grieving memory of our Royal Irish Constabulary Special Reserve and Royal Irish Constabulary Auxiliary Division martyrs. #BlackAndTanLivesMatter

  47. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to work outlining this Julie Shackleford novel. “

    Hmmm… So that is what Monster Hunter Guardian should be about 😀

  48. Hahaha, oh yeah. I learned a very long time ago that some people find criticism empowering; satisfy anything they complain about, and they feel like you’ve actually hurt them until they can replace that anger in their soul. They have to deny the “fix” or create a new problem, from whole cloth if necessary.

  49. “…that your transsexual Muslim who identifies as a dinosaur, only featured in 7.4% of the book. ” Funniest line ever!! After finding you through Joe Vasicek’s blog and fell in love! I think now I have to pony up the cash to buy your books!! Oh how I wish they were available from Kindle Unlimited!!!

  50. I am deeply and profoundly offended by the ‘Superfluous Marketing Dog’ character. And the three legged dog from Monster Hunter Alpha. And whatever vaguely canoid monstrosity you come up with so that Heather can have a dog again.

  51. Supremacist bigoted ideologies do two things: they portray themselves as an entire innocent biological demographic; all women, all whites, etc.

    They portray their targets which are an entire innocent biological demographic as an ideology; Jews are Marxists, men are a misogynist patriarchy, etc.

    George R. R. Martin has just compared L. Correia to Ann Leckie by suggesting they reside on some comparable political plane.

    Leckie is part of an ideological cult which in both fiction and non-fiction promotes the idea most men, whites and heterosexuals oppress women, non-whites and gays. Those straight white males who don’t do that are those who recognize their oppressive power and privilege and stop acting like typical SWMs.

    I defy anyone to show me where L. Correia has ever promoted such nonsense or show how SFF’s social justice crusaders do not. And yet LC is the one social justice crusaders portray as a “racist” and “misogynist.” Leckie on the other hand is portrayed by social justice crusaders as an anti-racist and anti-supremacist. The reason LC is portrayed that way is because – true to form – social justice crusaders portray anyone who pushes back against their sick ideology as hating an entire demographic: all women, all non-whites and all gays. On the other hand social justice crusaders hating all men, all whites and all heterosexuals is “anti-oppression.”

    GRRM needs to rethink this one, because he is promoting a hoax and is the duped victim of an ideological scam. Calling liberals or conservatives names is one thing, the KKK another. Third Wave Feminism is not a legitimate political position because its sole positions involve group defamation and supremacist hate speech which demonize all men, all whites and all heterosexuals. I defy anyone to show me otherwise or make a case that SFF’s social justice crusaders are not Third Wave Feminists.

    If GRRM wants a legitimate debate, that is the one to have. We can use these things called “facts” and “quotes.” Whether GRRM likes it or knows it or not that is what is at the heart of this divide. Pretending it is not won’t solve one single thing. If an entire literary community of adults is too cowardly, dishonest or stupid to not be able to agree on what the term “supremacist bigotry” is, then they are essentially too stupid to even agree on what “law” is.

    If that is the case then just carry on, and I congratulate The Traitor Baru Cormorant in advance for its award nominations the same way I did Ancillary Justice in advance, and for the same reasons: the “white, straight, cis dude” (Leckie) is a depraved asshole and “cis scum” (Alex McFarlane). Sorry for the “mansplaining” and “white tears.”

    1. You use ‘entire innocent biological demographic’ in two places, and I am not sure if you intend the same meaning, or a different meaning in the same place. One possibility is that you are trying to describe ‘claiming that one such group contains only the innocent’ and ‘claiming another such group contains only the guilty’.

      On the other hand, you might be trying to say something like ‘sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.’

      (Issue is that for them, claiming that everyone’s ideology or culture is tied to biology is being even handed. The bias is only obvious when noticing that allies just so happen to be tied to ‘good’ ideologies, and enemies to ‘bad’ ideologies. As you have noted many many times.)

      I think humans have never done a perfect job of sorting a large group into smaller groups of just the innocent and just the guilty.

      1. You cannot say all Jews, Arabs, blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians, men, women, gays and straights are good or bad as an entire group. The road supremacists take is to pretend they are a type of ideology with a history of shared failings of character or morals or even supremacy forever frozen into their group and then go after them. Conversely, they will claim a shared morality for their own group. That is how colonialism and slavery in Third Wave Feminism become whites-only affairs and how no women or non-whites can be sexists or racists. Elsewhere it is how Jews become greedy or blacks lazy. That’s why Black Lives Matter is a KKK in blackface. The trick is to make morality and immorality static in a group.

        This war is one of demography vs. ideology – identity vs. principle. It is the war Orwell tried to teach us about in 1984. Confuse those things and any democratic society falls, large or small, because law ceases to be blind and instead you put your trust in identities you trust, such as a Big Brother. Because of stupid hashtags like #JustListen feminists have worked around due process and gotten the Dept. of Education to extort kangaroo trials for men in sexual assault cases in colleges. No legal representation, no right to face one’s accusers or present evidence. Spread that out through the layers of a society and it is dead. Why are we surprised old SFF is dead due to lies and discrimination to power affirmative action literature? I urge everyone to read the first two chapters of The Traitor Baru Cormorant at Tor. It reads like a gay PoC diversity feminist satire written by Milo Yiannapoulos. It is truly that stupid a first time novel and will be affirmative actioned all over awards short lists next year.

      1. He might. Can we really blame Martin if he’s a normal human being who doesn’t know what queer theory is? Let’s be realistic: that’s how the majority of our do-gooders have been suckered by these daffy WisCon cultists; they really believe they’re fighting an extension of Jim Crow and women’s suffrage. They’re also stupid. Has it never occurred to a single one of these dolts to ask themselves why simple “feminists” would use terms like “cishetero” in the pejorative 100% of the time? Why would normal heterosexual women come up with something like that? Have these people never questioned why it is that men unilaterally “invented” heterosexuality and apparently had each other’s phone numbers? You don’t even need to read between the lines to smell the stink of WisCon’s lunatic cult ideology there or understand these are not “feminists.”

        And prior to the entrance of this cult into mainstream SFF fandom, what was the only place one could find lesbian liberation ideology as central to SFF? Gee, it was WisCon. Our social justice do-gooders have been punked by daffy broads like K. Tempest Bradford, Mary Ann Mohanraj and Liz Bourke. Look at the PDF about “intersectionaliy” lesbian feminst and gender abolitionist John Scalzi linked us to on his site. In it, the goddess of “shamanic power,” black intersectional gay feminist Audre Lorde claims being “thin” is a part of “privilege” and “intersectionality.” That’s right… being normal is an oppression. Surprise! That’s the mental Lorde who blurbed the mental Andrea Dworkin’s book as “much needed” that claimed 17th century English matriarchal sorcerer Hobbits taught a secret cult of female human witches how to “levitate” and “telepathy,” for which 9 million were killed, sans footnotes.

        The short version is there’s no way Martin knows that stuff. I could straighten him out in about a 2 hr. conversation but that’s not going to happen and I don’t think the Nebulas or Hugos can be or are worth saving. These people are just too far gone with their goofy crusade of radical lesbian mooing.

        1. I met a girl New Year’s Eve who declared herself a “feminist”. i can guarantee she’s never read Dworkin, Mackinnin, Millet, et al.

          What frustrates me is that you don’t have to be a feminist to believe that women are capable human beings.

          1. These days you’re more likely to think that women are capable adult human beings if you’re *not* a feminist. But yeah, lots of women are “feminists” in the sense that it sounds good and they’re certainly not *against* equal rights. Doesn’t mean they don’t love their fathers, husbands and sons. If that’s all it was no one would object to it beyond a few utter fringe crazies with mother issues but there is no *power* in a movement or ideology with 99% agreement and all the feminists would have to declare victory and go home, and what is the fun in that?

  52. On this day in history men invented the following things:

    1. The microwave oven
    2. Boot polish
    3. Heterosexuality
    4. A library at Alexandria which contained the world’s knowledge and history and failed the Bechdel Test
    5. Red panties

  53. I love Hell on Wheels. I agree with most of your points. I do think though that the portrayal of Mormons was pretty good over all from a non-Mormon view point.

    Since I can’t remember which season has which events, part of the byproduct of binge watching, I am not going to go into detail. But I think the portrayal was of honest, but stern people.

Comments are closed.