Monster Hunter Nation

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
Francis W. Porretto
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Francis W. Porretto
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Adam Lawson
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Adam Lawson
1 year 2 months ago

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.

rocinante
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rocinante
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
guest
Guest
guest
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
60guilders
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60guilders
1 year 2 months ago
“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… Read more »
guest
Guest
guest
1 year 2 months ago

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

Tom Lehrer, “National Brotherhood Week”

Arwen
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Arwen
1 year 2 months ago

Shades of Ender Wiggin.

Mary
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Mary
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Matt
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Matt
1 year 2 months ago

Evil people are the ones that do the evil deeds.

Kirk
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Kirk
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
rocinante
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rocinante
1 year 2 months ago

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?

Kirk
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Kirk
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
swiftfoxmark2
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swiftfoxmark2
1 year 2 months ago

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.

richard mcenroe
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richard mcenroe
1 year 2 months ago

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

Kristophr
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Kristophr
1 year 2 months ago

Of course, #DeadLivesMatter.

Wrongthinkers can be used to help empower the Metabolically Challenged!

Guest
roystgnr
1 year 2 months ago

“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.

Guest
Sabrina Chase
1 year 2 months ago

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

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Dave H
1 year 2 months ago

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

Andrew
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Andrew
1 year 2 months ago

He was aiming at a fleeing Rebel, so…about the same.

Joe in PNG
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Joe in PNG
1 year 2 months ago

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?

Alan
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Alan
1 year 2 months ago

they have a built in hud in their helmets.

Joe in PNG
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Joe in PNG
1 year 2 months ago

In that case, they SERIOUSLY need to calibrate this things!

Richard McEnroe
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Richard McEnroe
1 year 2 months ago

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

Richard McEnroe
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Richard McEnroe
1 year 2 months ago

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…

TallDave
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TallDave
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Carl Henderson
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Carl Henderson
1 year 2 months ago

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.

rkw
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rkw
1 year 2 months ago

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

Anthony
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Anthony
1 year 2 months ago

Damn – missed your comment when I posted mine.

Coop
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Coop
1 year 2 months ago

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?

richard mcenroe
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richard mcenroe
1 year 2 months ago

She’s just a shield. Ask Brad Torgersen.

Coop
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Coop
1 year 2 months ago

Makes sense.

SteveW
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SteveW
1 year 2 months ago

SJWs tend to be BDS, so “doomed” for being Jewish.

Coop
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Coop
1 year 2 months ago

I mean if you can’t hate the Jews, who can you hate?

Anonymous Coward
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Anonymous Coward
1 year 2 months ago
The Phantom
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The Phantom
1 year 2 months ago

“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.

Anthony
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Anthony
1 year 2 months ago

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.

John R. Ellis
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John R. Ellis
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Stephen J.
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Stephen J.
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
BigFire
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BigFire
1 year 2 months ago
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.… Read more »
joecrouse
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joecrouse
1 year 2 months ago

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.

nathan
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nathan
1 year 2 months ago

The test is a punchline to a comic strip, nothing more.

James May
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James May
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Zsuzsa
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Zsuzsa
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Mary
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Mary
1 year 2 months ago

I have actually read people saying you should put that scene in and it can’t possibly do any harm.

Jordan S. Bassior
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Jordan S. Bassior
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Stephen J.
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Stephen J.
1 year 2 months ago
“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… Read more »
Steve
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Steve
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Coop
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Coop
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Stan Bundy
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Stan Bundy
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Coop
Guest
Coop
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Joe in PNG
Guest
Joe in PNG
1 year 2 months ago

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!

Shadowdancer
Guest
Shadowdancer
1 year 2 months ago

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.)

Patrick Chester
Guest
Patrick Chester
1 year 2 months ago

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!”

Zsuzsa
Guest
Zsuzsa
1 year 2 months ago

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).

Christopher M. Chupik
Guest
Christopher M. Chupik
1 year 2 months ago

And if he’s a patriot, he’s the one behind the supposedly Middle-Eastern terrorists.

Jordan S. Bassior
Guest
Jordan S. Bassior
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
keranih
Guest
keranih
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Coop
Guest
Coop
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Coop
Guest
Coop
1 year 2 months ago

Can’t recommend it enough*

Shadowdancer
Guest
Shadowdancer
1 year 2 months ago

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

Jeff Gauch
Guest
Jeff Gauch
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Scott D
Guest
Scott D
1 year 2 months ago

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.

John C Wright
Guest
John C Wright
1 year 2 months ago

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

Hugh Mannity
Guest
Hugh Mannity
1 year 2 months ago

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 😀

BigFire
Guest
BigFire
1 year 2 months ago

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

Sue DeNym
Guest
Sue DeNym
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Guest
Wayne
1 year 2 months ago

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.”

Shawna
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Shawna
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Shadowdancer
Guest
Shadowdancer
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
James May
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James May
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Christopher M. Chupik
Guest
Christopher M. Chupik
1 year 2 months ago

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

Do I even need to ask?

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago

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?

Christopher M. Chupik
Guest
Christopher M. Chupik
1 year 2 months ago

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.

James May
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James May
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Captain Comic
Guest
Captain Comic
1 year 2 months ago

“There are four lights!”

— Jean Luc Picard

Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
1 year 2 months ago

That seems to have become a meme for I REJECT YOUR BRAINWASHING! and I approve =D

Randy P.
Guest
Randy P.
1 year 2 months ago

The Karing Kocoon of Kindess sounds about right.

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
analogkid
Guest
analogkid
1 year 2 months ago

“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.

Stephen J.
Guest
Stephen J.
1 year 2 months ago
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,… Read more »
James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Jordan S. Bassior
Guest
Jordan S. Bassior
1 year 2 months ago
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.… Read more »
BobtheRegisterredFool
Guest
BobtheRegisterredFool
1 year 2 months ago

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.

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Christopher M. Chupik
Guest
Christopher M. Chupik
1 year 2 months ago

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. 🙂

votermom
Guest
votermom
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Slave Girl Leia
Guest
Slave Girl Leia
1 year 2 months ago

Oh boy, the file 770 commenters are going to wet their pants. Entertainment ahoy!

Christopher M. Chupik
Guest
Christopher M. Chupik
1 year 2 months ago

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.

trackback

[…] Creating Offensive Characters […]

Wes S.
Guest
Wes S.
1 year 2 months ago
“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… Read more »
Elements Rook
Guest
Elements Rook
1 year 2 months ago

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

Christopher M. Chupik
Guest
Christopher M. Chupik
1 year 2 months ago

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.

TRX
Guest
TRX
1 year 2 months ago

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…

RogerDodger
Guest
RogerDodger
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Taysha
Guest
Taysha
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Shadowdancer
Guest
Shadowdancer
1 year 2 months ago

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.

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Andrew
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Andrew
1 year 2 months ago

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?

DaveP.
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DaveP.
1 year 2 months ago

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?

Bugmaster
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Bugmaster
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Joe in PNG
Guest
Joe in PNG
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Guest
WyrdBard
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Dan Lane
Guest
Dan Lane
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Captain Comic
Guest
Captain Comic
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Guess
Guest
Guess
1 year 2 months ago

The Star Wars is racist line comes from a 1990s comedy movie. When I saw this in the theaters I laughed so hard I couldn’t breath.

Bruce
Guest
Bruce
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago

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.

rocinante
Guest
rocinante
1 year 2 months ago

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!

Jordan S. Bassior
Guest
Jordan S. Bassior
1 year 2 months ago

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.

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Joe in PNG
Guest
Joe in PNG
1 year 2 months ago

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?

Brian Niemeier
Guest
Brian Niemeier
1 year 2 months ago

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.

nathan
Guest
nathan
1 year 2 months ago

Good grief! Chasing Amy is supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual! /sarc

Achillea
Guest
Achillea
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Randy P.
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Randy P.
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Guest
Wolfmanjim
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Brian Niemeier
Guest
Brian Niemeier
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Rawle Nyanzi
Guest
Rawle Nyanzi
1 year 2 months ago

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.

richard mcenroe
Guest
richard mcenroe
1 year 2 months ago

Tony Stark. He’s pulled shit Victor von Doom could only dream of.

Guest
Wolfmanjim
1 year 2 months ago

I meant the comics.

James May
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James May
1 year 2 months ago

You’re wrong; it’s the Red Skull and Dr. Doom. They had actual talent. Magneto was a magneto.

Achillea
Guest
Achillea
1 year 2 months ago

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)

bruce
Guest
bruce
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
John R. Ellis
Guest
John R. Ellis
1 year 2 months ago

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.”

MClark
Guest
MClark
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Christopher M. Chupik
Guest
Christopher M. Chupik
1 year 2 months ago

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.

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Jordan S. Bassior
Guest
Jordan S. Bassior
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago

Look at the table of contents of Astounding 1942-45.

nathan
Guest
nathan
1 year 2 months ago

Hmm… Roman Reigns as Owen? Nah… too handsome.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick
1 year 2 months ago

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.

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Christopher M. Chupik
Guest
Christopher M. Chupik
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Taysha
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Taysha
1 year 2 months ago
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.… Read more »
James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago

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.”

Taysha
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Taysha
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Randy P.
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Randy P.
1 year 2 months ago

“Alpha Centuries.”

DaveP.
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DaveP.
1 year 2 months ago

Far more manly and assertive than those Beta centuries.

James May
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James May
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Kirk
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Kirk
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Jordan S. Bassior
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Jordan S. Bassior
1 year 2 months ago

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.

ss
Guest
ss
1 year 2 months ago

ripper street is a good series you might like

TallDave
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TallDave
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Arwen
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Arwen
1 year 2 months ago

Well, if they were writing a story where Mormons were badass, then I hope they included Porter Rockwell.

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago

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.

nathan
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nathan
1 year 2 months ago

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.

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago

The Bechdel Test is worthless claptrap. How’s that for a definition?

Guest
Crazdmadman
1 year 2 months ago

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.

fiddlysticks
Guest
fiddlysticks
1 year 2 months ago

” 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.

Fruitbat44
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Fruitbat44
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago

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.

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Patrick Chester
Guest
Patrick Chester
1 year 2 months ago

I think you’d get to the “BLOCK” portion of the “debate” a bit sooner. 😉

Christopher M. Chupik
Guest
Christopher M. Chupik
1 year 2 months ago

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

Brian McGoldrick
Guest
Brian McGoldrick
1 year 2 months ago

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?

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Paul Weimer
Guest
Paul Weimer
1 year 2 months ago

Merry Christmas James

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago

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?

BobtheRegisterredFool
Guest
BobtheRegisterredFool
1 year 2 months ago
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,… Read more »
James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago

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

Christopher M. Chupik
Guest
Christopher M. Chupik
1 year 2 months ago

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.

Zsuzsa
Guest
Zsuzsa
1 year 2 months ago

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…

Sean
Guest
Sean
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
nathan
Guest
nathan
1 year 2 months ago

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.

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago

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.

richard mcenroe
Guest
richard mcenroe
1 year 2 months ago

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.

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 2 months ago

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?

richard mcenroe
Guest
richard mcenroe
1 year 2 months ago

Anglo-Saxon Protestant Greeks are the WORST, man!