SENSOR SWEEP: Corrupt Cops, New Voices, Brighter Days, and Candy-Ass Nonsense

Wednesday , 17, August 2016 9 Comments

The Scouring of the Shire (CS Globe) 70 Years Ago Today, WWII Vets Took Up Arms Against Corrupt Cops and Ran Them Out of Town — “After the former soldiers retrieved pistols, shotguns, and various other weapons, throngs of citizens joined them in surrounding the county jail where at least 25 deputies had run for cover. The GIs began firing in an attempt to draw the errant lawmen out — but it wasn’t until around 4 a.m. that they finally surrendered. Many called for the corrupt to be hanged, but ultimately they ‘were taken to the edge of town, tied to trees, stripped naked and told not to come back.’ They eagerly complied.”

D&D (War in a Box) World’s First D&D Actual Play Podcast — “Jon Petersen, of Playing at the World fame, dug up the demo tape for a short, semi-actual play session that was recorded way back in the earliest days of D&D.  It’s not really a podcast – such a term hadn’t even been invented yet – but more of a radio play slash gaming session.  That description doesn’t do it justice; it is a heavily produced and edited radio play that clearly is taken from an actual play session.  Some of the things the characters do could only have been done by actual players sitting at a table doing exactly the sort of things that make a DM wonder if they are serious or if they are just messing with him.”

Appendix N (Publisher’s Weekly) Ann Leckie’s 10 Best Science Fiction Books — “Brackett’s Mars owes a debt to Burroughs, and so does Stark–born on Mercury, his parents die and he’s adopted by Mercurians. I have this as an old Ace double, back to back (and upside down from each other), full of pulpy goodness–ancient technology, body-switching, tribes from the Drylands of Mars massing for war, a world with space travel and interplanetary mining concerns, where the light of the two moons of Mars glints off swords, spears, and mail. This is great, engaging adventure.”

Bizarro World (The Verge) Science fiction publishing has a major race problem, new report shows — “While science fiction can be found across novels, television, and film, the short fiction market is a particularly important marketplace to consider. It publishes a relatively high level of content, and allows newer authors to break into the field with their own fiction. Successful authors such as Ken Liu, N.K. Jemisin, Charlie Jane Anders, and Paolo Bacigalupi each got their start writing shorter stories for a variety of magazines, which helped them as they began writing novels. Short fiction also allows authors to experiment with form, style, and narratives which can have great impact on the field as a whole. Barriers for specific groups of people hurts the field as a whole by blocking new voices and styles from reaching a wider audience.”

Publishing (Brad Torgersen) Addressing The Problem™ — “This is a field given over almost entirely to the progressive ‘side’ of the ideological landscape. Thus when progressives attack the field for marginalizing or excluding X, Y, or Z demographics, it’s a bit like watching a man pick up a hammer and smash his own thumb — because the thumb had it coming. In calling out the field (over and over and over) for failing to be sufficiently supportive and inclusive, progressives are essentially indicting themselves in a self-conspiracy — of the left hand working against the other left hand.”

Magazines (Monster Hunter Nation) Fisking the Latest Diversity in Sci-Fi Freak Out — “This article is focused on sci-fi magazines, but they are a relic of an earlier time. I think most of them have gone out of business. This article says they looked at 63 sci-fi magazines. I was shocked there were that many. I’ve sold around 30 pieces of short fiction, and I could only think of like half a dozen sci-fi magazines off the top of my head (and most of those are really just websites). If there are actually 63 sci-fi mags, I’m guessing some of them have readership measured in the tens of readers. And that’s only if you count the editorial staff. So I’m really not sure how much these marginalized authors are missing out on here. I wonder how many of those pay in ‘exposure’?”

Hit Him Again! (Rod Walker) the writer’s creed — “Traditional publishing is so obsolete and in such dire straits that criticizing it feels likes kicking a man while he is down, but traditional publishing nonetheless still considers itself the sine qua non of book distribution, just as the French knights considered themselves the supreme military force on the morning of St. Crispin’s Day, 1415. Then those French knights encountered the English longbows.

Pulp Revolution (Cirsova) Very Brief Thoughts on the Fireside Sci-Fi Diversity Study — “Cirsova is open to anyone writing crazy-go-nuts over-the-top high-octane seat-of-your-pants action fantasy and science fiction. Okay, so all of it’s not Philip Jose Farmer or Gardner F. Fox levels of crazy-go-nuts, but we do aim for awesome. In doing so, we may achieve some degree of what I call ‘accidental diversity’; if you’re legitimately looking for a wide range of awesome things, you’ll probably end up with pretty diverse range of contributors. I won’t single anybody out and won’t ante up any diversity tokens, though, because I feel like that would be a disservice to our contributors, all of whom are awesome.”

Game Design (EN World) Braunstein Reaches From The Origins Of RPGs To Today — “As I have said in previous reviews of ‘old school’ games, I think that it is important for gamers, and particularly designers, to be conversant in the origins of the species in addition to the current and ‘new hotness’ of games. Not only can it spawn ideas that you might not have otherwise considered in games, but it allows you a wider view of how others play their games. You also sometimes realize that those novel and innovative ideas that you have had been developed by someone else, in a similar fashion, years previously.”

Comics (Dr. Xaos Comics Madness) … to see something really scary? — “The Warren mags were political, in a sense that I fear is wholly lost today. For Warren, to hold a policy position was no more nor less than breathing. To be a publisher is to speak your mind; there is no candy-ass nonsense about ‘balance’ and ‘neutral.’ There’s no wussing out with ‘we publish entertainment, it’s not our place to say anything.’ Money – making or spending – is simply a subroutine of these things, with no intrinsic power to override them. Ask yourself which pop culture equivalent said anything like this in 2003. Or 2010. Or says it now.”

Appendix N (Seagull Rising) On Vance and Hernstrom, A Comparative Defense — “This is not to say that Vance is a terrible writer.  His sprawling adventures feature some of the most colorful characters, creatures, and wizardry ever put to paper.  Aside from the oppressive tone of the setting, Vance’s prose stand tall in the field, and his tales are enormously enjoyable.  This is only to say that Vance’s writing in the Dying Earth stories utilizes a dark tone works better as a counterpoint to brighter days.  The counterpoint for those who live in the twilight times, who feel in the wind a darkness gathering, is lighter tales of adventure that use doom as a spice rather than a main ingredient.”

Expert Witness (Maclean’s) How gaming companies co-opt the language of oppression — “Older was quick to point out that he hasn’t played the Deus Ex games, but that hardly matters.”

Pulp Revolution (Every Day Should Be Tuesday) Throwback SF Thursday: Cirsova vol. 2 — “I started this series, in part, to highlight hugely influential female pulp authors who were getting ignored, as in this list of 100 “must read” books by female authors that inexplicably omitted C.L. Moore, Francis Stevens, Andre Norton, or Leigh Brackett (to her credit, in Ann Leckie’s post on her 10 favorite science fiction books, 7 of her 10 selections are Vintage SF, and 4 of those are by women).  Rusch noticed the same thing, and censures her tranche of female authors and those who have succeeded them for ignoring their predecessors.  Forcefully.  Very forcefully.  But, hey, it’s a little crazy to pretend that no one came before when there was pulp great Jirel of Joiry, a female hero written by a female author who was introduced in an issue illustrated by a female artist.”

Movies (SuperversiveSF) Suicide Squad: A Review — “Harley Quinn’s relationship should be completely one-sided. The Joker shouldn’t rescue her. When she gets out, he might try to find her to use her somehow, but he’d abandon her – even kill her – in a heartbeat if she interfered at all with his plans. Harley’s dream life with the Joker is tragic, and it’s tragic in the movie as well – but it should also be tragic because it’s clear that not only is the dream impossible, it’s completely delusional: The Joker simply doesn’t care about her. She’s a minion, a disposable tool, worth only the most perfunctory efforts to keep her as a sometimes useful ally. That normal life isn’t just impossible because they’re both bad. It’s impossible because the relationship doesn’t even really exist at all.”

Pulp Revolution (Cirsova) Cirsova Contributors Find Themselves in Good Company Within Our Pages — “I had been completely unaware of Tubb before reading this essay, much less his thirty-three (!!) volume Dumarest Saga. Major props for introducing me to this awesome series.”

Appendix N (Rawle Nyanzi) The High Crusade — “Instead of cowering before the aliens, the knights fight and win. Instead of being humbled by superior alien technology, the knights fight on, confident in the rightness of their cause as they learn more and more of the alien mechanical arts. Instead of a tale of modernist victimization, it is a tale of Christian strength and bravery — not a fight for mere survival, but a fight to seek ultimate victory. These qualities made this old book seem fresh and new.”

Appendix N (Rawle Nyanzi) The Broken Sword — “The Broken Sword moves at a breakneck pace. Filler is few, and every chapter moves the story forward with as much action as you could swing a broadsword at. The pacing is absolutely phenomenal, with many small climaxes as the story builds up to its final confrontation. It holds nothing back in showing the brutality of medieval warfare, but it does not graphically revel in gore either. The characters are many, but each one is distinct, and you will grow attached to them as you read.”

Appendix N (Rod Walker) a review of The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson — “THE BROKEN SWORD in particular captures the grim, fatalist grandeur of pre-Christian Norse paganism, with its cruel sense of destiny and the ominous sense of fatalism. Of course, Tolkien’s work does have a Christian sense of hope to it – the Valar come to cast down Morgoth at the end of the Silmarillion, and in THE LORD OF THE RINGS, it is Sam’s mercy to the pitiful Gollum that allows the Ring to be destroyed in the end, which is a Christian concept that would have been utter alien to the ancient Norse. THE BROKEN SWORD perfectly captures this pre-Christian concept of fate, and is an excellent fantasy novel in its own right.”

Appendix N (PC Bushi) The Grand List Preview — “I’ve been hard at work the past couple days compiling nerdcronomiconal syllabi into one great list. A Grand List, one might say. It’s unclear to me whether such a resource would be of general interest or aid to anyone, or if it shall act mostly as a map and itinerary of my own journey through Fantasy and Science Fiction.”

Pulp Revolution (Seagull Rising) Cirsova, Issue #2 — “The next generation in the evolution of the genre magazine, Cirsova picks up where the dry and dusty modern magazines left off. It has abandoned the dry and ‘meaningful’ stories carefully crafted to appeal to the right kind of readers, and instead offers the kind of adventurous fun that the pulps used to offer.”

  • PCBushi says:

    Thanks again for the mention, Jeffro. I find myself in great company. By the way, said Grand List has now been posted. If you get a chance to have a look at some point and have any thoughts on possible editions (or arguably superfluous entries), would love to hear them.

  • Rawle Nyanzi says:

    Thanks again for the mention. I’m glad to support classic and classic-style fantasy stories.

  • Anthony says:

    Wow, I just caught that my Squad article made the sweep. Nice! And thanks.

  • Rod Walker says:

    Thanks for the links! Rod Walker enjoyed reading your Appendix N series.

    It is always refreshing to read a writer who does use the Current Year as the rubric against which the totality of human experience must be judged.

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