Tag Archives: rant

Ruminations of the Relevancy of Being “Relevant”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “relevant” as “having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand” and “having social relevance”.  Just so we’re on the same page, relevance is defined as “practical and especially social applicability” and “the ability to retrieve material that satisfies the needs of the user”.

Anne McCaffrey Photo: Edmond Ross/ Random House

Why, I’m sure you’re asking, am I quoting the dictionary?  Well, Monday on the interwebz, one side of a conversation was showing up in my Twitter feed.  I’ve been trying to stay off Twitter these days because it’s a time sink, and I don’t have much time to sink.  What caught my attention was a quoted tweet from a person in the conversation whom I don’t follow.  The statement was “I’d recommend broadening your horizons.  Anything written in the last 15 years is more relevant than McCaffery’s entire oeuvre”.

Some context, and no, I’m not going to name the person who said that.  My intention is not to engage in personal attacks but to challenge the mindset behind the words because it’s pretty widespread.  Seems someone somewhere declared this week Space Opera Week.  Tor dot com is posting a number of essays on that theme.  There was one post that brought out the old saw about women haven’t traditionally written space opera, and the few that have, well, they wrote it from a man’s perspective, horror of horrors.  Brackett and Moore, in other words.

Certain parties responded.  Conversations ensued.  Anne McCaffrey’s name was brought up.  The statement above was made.

Let that sink in.  Yes, you heard it right.  Someone said that anything written in the last 15 years was more relevant than Anne Freakin’ McCaffrey’s entire oeuvre. Continue reading

In Defense of Romance

What?  Yes, of course that’s a click-bait title.  It worked, didn’t it?  You’re here, aren’t you?

This is not the type of lice hunting romance I’m in favor of.

There’s been some changes recently to how authors can categorize their works when uploading them on Amazon.  Amazon has implemented the following restriction:  Do not add books from any Romance category to these categories: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children’s.

(Children’s? Who puts romance in a children’s book? What the hell is wrong with some of you people?)

And of course the butt-hurt has been epic.  A casual scroll through the comments quickly revealed some of the women who write “blended” novels will be putting them in the science fiction and/or fantasy sections rather than the romance section (which is where they probably belong).

But that’s okay.  I don’t get my recommendations for what I read from Amazon very often.  Usually it’s from people whose taste I know aligns with mine.

They want to write and read that stuff, that’s their business, and I have no problem with their doing so.  As long as they don’t scold me for not reading it or invade my space with it, we’ll be fine.

Here’s the type of romance I’m advocating: Continue reading

Thoughts on Dell Magazines Publication Schedule Change and the Role of Short Fiction

AFF_JanFeb2016_400x580This isn’t any breaking news, just something I’ve been ruminating about lately.  Back in November, Dell magazines announced that their four fiction magazines would be going to a bimonthly schedule.  Those magazines, in case you’re unaware, are Analog, Asimov’s, Ellery Queen, and Alfred Hitchcock.

Up until a few years ago I picked them up on the newsstand since I didn’t like how the USPS tended to tear things up.  (I learned this because F&SF wasn’t always available on the newsstand, so I had and still have a print subscription.  My copy came today, partially accordianized.)  When digital subscriptions became available, I switched over.  (Shelf space had a lot to do with it as well.)

Now, instead of ten issues per year, two of them double, the magazines will have six 208 page double issues.  The current schedule already contained two double issues.  I can remember when Analog published thirteen issues a year, two of them double issues IIRC.  But then I’m a dinosaur.  Sheila Williams, editor of Asimov’s, has said this will allow them to add 16 pages more than their current double issues as well as holding subscription prices steady.  I suspect cost more than anything is behind this move. Continue reading

Daughter of Naked Slave Girls, Illustrated Edition

tribesmen-of-gor-230A few years ago I wrote a post entitled “Why Modern Fantasy Needs More Naked Slave Girls“, in which I said that too many people were taking modern fantasy too seriously and killing all the fun by trying to impose their views on everyone else.  This was before I moved everything over from Blogger.  At the time I transferred everything over, it was the second most viewed post I had written.  (A review about a book on the Bayeux Tapestry was the most viewed.  No, I don’t know why.)

Well, apparently we need to revisit that topic (naked slave girls, not the Bayeux Tapestry) because some people haven’t gotten the message.  The latest dustup involves the Conan board game that set records on Kickstarter, like over $3 million.  There have been a couple of posts recently that have taken the makers of the game to task because of the art used.  The picture in question, which will be shown below the “Read More” tag, shows a damsel in distress.  And we can’t have that now, can we?

I’m going to include some pictures here that some hothouse flowers might find offensive.  I did put “Illustrated Edition” in the title, you know.  If you’re one of those, be advised that I don’t provide fainting couches or smelling salts, and this is my space, so it won’t be a safe space.  If you can’t handle that, go somewhere else. Continue reading

Frm Crcl Jrk t Clstr Fck

See what I did with the title of this post?  No, it’s not a typo.  Nor have I been drinking.  It’s called disemvoweling.  Clever, isn’t it?

No.  No, it’s not clever at all.  In fact, it’s pretty juvenile.  But it’s a favorite tactic of some people when they don’t agree with comments on their blog posts.  I guess it’s supposed to make the person doing the disemvoweling look smart or something.  Mostly it makes them look they’re afraid to engage in a conversation.

Many of the same people who engage in this practice are some of the same ones who’ve been having a hissy fit for the last six months over the Hugo Awards.  Which should tell you all you need to know about the maturity level of disemvoweling.

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, just fell off a turnip truck, or have a life, here’s a quick recap.  This is of course my interpretation.  It’s going to be long, so consider yourself warned. Continue reading

The “Reading Only X Writers for a Year” Challenge…

…or Just When You Thought the Stooopid Couldn’t Burn Any Worse Than it Already Does.

I wasn’t going to post anything after today’s Trigger Warning.  I’ve got three reviews to write, plus a ton of reading to get caught up on, not to mention the second set of exams that I haven’t started grading.  So what did I do tonight?

finger-shaking-scoldI got sidetracked by a number of things, with the highlight being the latest fisking (read it, it’s brilliant) by Larry Correia of K. Tempest Bradford’s challenge to only read approved writers for a year.  Approved being defined as what she thinks you should read, of course.

Or rather in this case, what she thinks you shouldn’t.  That would be books by straight, white, cisgendered males.  Finger lady there doesn’t think you should read books by authors who fall into this demographic.  Because badthink or something.  You’ll notice that the book she’s holding up is by Neil Gaiman, while the T-shirt she’s wearing is Dr. Who, some episodes of which were written by Neil Gaiman.  (What is it with these people and Gaiman lately, anyway?)

Bite my ass, lady.  Who are you to tell me what to read or not read?  I’ll read what I damn well like and make no apologies to anyone.  Certainly not to the likes of you.

Here’s my challenge.  It’s twofold.  First, I’m challenging myself to read interesting, exciting, entertaining books by writers who gender, race, religion, etc., I don’t give a rat’s red ass about.  Second, I’m going to challenge myself not to read any books by outspoken SJWs who want to indoctrinate me in goodthink more than they want to entertain me.  That would include authors like…what was her name again?…the finger lady up there.

And don’t raise your scolding finger to me, Bradford.  I might raise my middle ones in response.

I’ll Continue Using My First Generation Nook (Even Though I Don’t Want to)

This post is going to be a lot of bitching and moaning.  Feel free to skip if you aren’t in the mood to hear me kvetch.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a rant about how the Nook Glowlight is a big step in the wrong direction, as least as far as my ereader needs are concerned.  Long story short, in spite of a much better battery life, the Glowlight limits how much of the internal memory can be used for files that aren’t Nookbooks, things like screensavers or, say, third party books.  Hint: not nearly enough.

GlowLight_imgI could only load about 2/3 of my third party books on it.  At the time, all of these would fit on the first generation Nook.  (I’ve since filled the device memory.)  The Glowlight (what Freudian slip is making me keep typing Blowlight?) does not allow for a memory card.  Time to switch  to a different brand of ereader.

The logical thing would be a Kindle, except that all of my third party books are in EPUB format.  Plus, none of the Kindles I looked at would allow the addition of a memory card. (I’m talking ereaders, not tablets.)

I did some research on Kobo, but they were a little pricey.  Then I noticed yesterday that they had the Aura on sale, which does allow the insertion of a memory card.  While I’m not willing to pay the full retail price, especially since I would rather have the Aura HD which is more expensive, I was willing to shell out the sale price.

So I set up a Kobo account and ordered one.  The transaction was declined.  I thought it was a security thing with my credit card, so I called to authorize the payment.  No, the payment went through.  After a day of emails and phone calls to Kobo that didn’t really go anywhere, I called the credit card company to cancel the payment.  Turns out that after I talked to them yesterday, the payment was automatically canceled.

I decided to give it one more try, and this evening I sent a new order in to Kobo.  During the checkout process, I realized what the problem was.  I had put my home address (i.e., the shipping address) in for the billing address.  I use a PO box for most of my mail, certainly for things like credit card bills.

Well, duh! No wonder the credit card transaction was declined.  The billing address I entered didn’t match the billing address on the credit card account.  Proof that you have to be smarter than what you’re working with.  Which, as least as far as yesterday is concerned, I wasn’t.

So I entered the correct information in the correct places.  I clicked the final SUBMIT button.

And the order didn’t go through.

Kobo refused to accept a PO box.  Not as a shipping address, because I put my home address for that.  As the billing address.  You know, the billing address that my credit card company declined yesterday because it wasn’t a PO box.

There is no number to call to make a direct order.  Which means I wont’ be buying a Kobo.  So there is no ereader that meets my needs that is available.

I will continue using my first generation Nook.  At least the battery dies.  (I suspect you can’t get batteries for the original Nook anymore.)  Or until someone comes up with an ereader that has a long battery life, will let me add a memory card, and actually is willing to take my order.

Until they do, I have a message to all B&N, Amazon, and Kobo: a pox on all your houses.

An Open Letter to the AAS

So with the holidays coming up, my reading list – We interrupt this blog post for the following public service message:

Earlier this month, the Rosetta mission made history by landing a probe on a comet.  This is slightly more difficult than playing a video game, in case you were wondering.

t 2Dr. Matt Taylor was the spokesperson spokesman for the ESA, the organization which accomplished this feat.  He wore a shirt which caused some people to get knots in their knickers.  I discussed this at the end of my review of Interstellar.  I’d hoped we’d heard the last of this because the stupid, it burns.

Then the AAS (American Astronomical Society) issued a statement.  Let’s look at it in detail, shall we? Continue reading