Reading the Hugos (2020) Do Not Look Back, My Lion

I wasn’t sure if this year I would bother writing these analyses of the Hugo short story finalists. Although my experience has usually been that close to 90% of them are bad, at least they are bad in an interesting way. This year they are mostly bad and boring. Besides, to be honest, I don’t care that much about writing anymore. But these reviews of mine are sort of a blog tradition, so here they are once more. I think, however, that this may be the last year I do these. It’s neither worth it nor funny.

If you have stumbled upon this without knowing what I’m talking about: The Hugo Awards is one of the most prestigious literary awards in science fiction and fantasy. Also, they nominate a lot of crap, but it’s from that fact that the hilarity ensues.

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On commas. This is a post about boring commas—like, with what kind of exciting title do you think I’m going to come up with?

I occasionally proofread texts, and adding missing commas probably takes up half of my time. Removing superfluous ones is a smaller issue, but it’s a close contender. The third, if anyone is interested, is surely missing hyphens in compound adjectives. So, this will be a post about commas and, since they are related, semi-colons. However, the goal is not to remember any list of 8, 10, or 17 seemingly arbitrary rules but to understand the underlying logic, which exists.

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Reality strikes back.

If you are like most people, you are either isolated at home or forced to share your usually crowded public transport with even more people because some genius thought cutting down travel frequency is a good way to avoid crowds. And if you happen to live in real, non-joke countries like Taiwan, Singapore, or South Korea: You are one lucky bastard.

Some while in my country ice rinks are being repurposed as improvised morgues, let’s dedicate a few minutes to thing about what it all means. Hmmm… *thinking* Recently, I have had a lot of time for that *serious thinking*

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Stop trying to prove Jack Chick right you weirdos

Don’t take this too personally, but I’m convinced 95% of people shouldn’t bother voicing their opinions when dealing with people who argue in bad faith, because even when they are right they’ll bungle the point, and that’s worse than just keeping silent. Look at this nonsense from the dark corners of gaming social media:

Evil Hat Productions has been on a roll lately (just look at their ratios!) but even when they are clearly and obtuselly wrong, people still manage to bungle what should be a simple counterargument.

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A short note on the literary offenses of modern writing

As many of you who follow this blog, I came across this yesterday. Naturally, the general objection was about calling out a dead man while profiting from his name and all that.

(click on the tweet to see the image and see what I’m talking about)

Well, sure, but before my mind was even able to process that, what struck me the most was how uncomfortably written the entire thing is (or, at least, the first paragraph.) And I don’t mean typos, grammar errors, and such, but something that is deeper and harder to explain but is quintaessentially modern.

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Hi there, would you like to sign my petition?

These past few days I’ve been toying with various video editing tools for a project I have in mind, and today I came across one potential template I simply could not ignore. So I decided to practice a bit.

The original video is this one that shows relatively famous Jessica Yaniv punching some dude as he asked him a question at exit of a courthouse (why are they there? I don’t know, but I bet it involves testicles somehow.)

I don’t know much about the characters involved here, although I recognize Yaniv for the “Wax my balls” thing some time ago.

The original video is OK, and has the virtue of being real and all that, but I thought it could be improved nonetheless. So here it is:

Keep in mind that this is highly esoteric humor. If you don’t know what the infamous game Postal 2 is or some of the details surrounding Yaniv, the edited interaction may seem even more puzzling than the original one. But since a lot of weirdos follow me, I assume the odds of some of you getting it are quite good.

The three or four types of indie fantasy covers

Looking at the Amazon best sellers is always a good way to waste spend the time, and it proves that thing about everything having to change for everything to stay the same. If you blink even for a moment, books, authors, or even entire new genres that once seemed ready to become the new hot thing are suddenly gone, yet, at the same time, the new thing looks surprisingly similar to what they replaced.

You would be hard-pressed to find a more strightforward example of creative unoriginality and lack of imagination than today’s book covers, although the same could be said concerning their titles and perhaps even their themes and style of writing. But covers are easier to analyze—and funnier.

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Level Inflation is a disease even clerics can’t cure.

I recently read a Twitter conversation about high-level cleric characters in D&D and their effects on the game, and I thought about writing something on that. But as usually happens, I can’t tell the difference between things I have already written or just things I have thought about, because as it turns out, I already had a post about this very same thing. But it was in my drafts folder, from July of 2016, unpublished. For reference, this is the tweet that triggered memories of that three-year-old dusty draft:

So here it is, with some minor variations, the post I wanted to write three years ago but never did for some reason:

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Superheroes and dumbing-up culture

Recently I read this post, Marvel Movies: In a Class by Themselves by J.J. Adamson, and that forced me to gett off my lazy ass and write something I had meant to write for a long time.

Summing up, Adamson’s main points are that superhero movies cannot be considered proper art (I won’t get into that, though) and that there’s something inherently silly about the effort invested in making these movies, which he describes as fake. His example is Black Panther, which is, no matter how great the actors and director may be, still “fundamentally about a cool guy in a catsuit.

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