I’ll use this story as an example of the dilemma any prospective writer who aspires to a reputation among the Noble People will encounter. You can write a good story, one that will stand on its own merits, capable of being read by people from all around the world, but at the cost of (probably) being ignored, or you can add a layer of fashionable dogma that will impoverish your story, restrict its appeal, and reduce its longevity, but with the possible reward of social approval or a nomination.
Ursula Vernon has been nominated a few times for the Hugos, and I have read some of her stories (Jackalope’s Wife and The Tomato Thief.) I didn’t dislike or like them. I know I’m not their audience but, unlike what happens when I read other Hugo finalists, I didn’t get the feeling someone was trying to insult me. They had a personal touch and a bit of humor here and there, plus some of the elements that any Hugo finalists needs, but aside from that, I found them generally unexciting. Tepid.
Fandom for Robots, by Vina Jie-Min Prasad, is a 3530-word short story. It’s about fan fiction and fandoms, but I’m not sure it’s trully about robots. Some things happen, the robot-protagonist watches anime, fan fictions is described and ¿satirized? and the story ends with the (human) protagonist becoming Internet-popular.
These preceding sentences stood alone, in the draft version of this post, for a few days before I managed to write the rest (800 words,) which I have just deleted. Reading this short story was like a sort of reverse writer’s block, for although I had thousands of things to say about it, there’s was no point in doing so. This short story is harmless, annoyingly so. Even if you shaped it like a knife and tried to stab someone in the eyes with it, not even the UK government would consider it a dangerous weapon. Continue reading “Reading the Hugos (2018) Fandom for Robots”
Today is the Lord’s Day so I won’t engage in any posting of wicked and evil news for it is known that all journalists are servants of one devil or another, and reading their shrieking incantations for too long is a sure path to damnation and mental retardation. Instead, I’ll write about swearing in writing and the word fuck.
That game we played during the war is one of the finalists for the Best Short Story category for this year Hugo Awards.
Recently after the war between the nations of Enith and Gaant ended —the Gaanthians being telepaths—, Calla, an Enithian nurse, goes to the nation of Gaant to see the wounded Major Vaark Lan, a Ganthian she had met during the war. Their relationship is slowly revealed, but the crux of it is that both had been each others’ prisoners during the war. Calla had been Lan’s nurse when he had been captured and, later, she had been a Gaantian prisoner under Lan’s supervision. During those two imprisonments, a peculiar bond between them was born, including the pastime of playing an odd version of chess.
These are the posts I wrote at the Puppy of the Month Book Club about Catherine L. Moore’s Shambleau and her other stories:
–A comment concerning Shambleau and drunken Indians [sanity check required]
Published in 1988, “The Intellectuals” by Paul Johnson (born 1928) is a unique book. Not only for its quality but because there aren’t many like it. There is “The Betrayal of the Intellectuals” (1927) by Julien Benda, “The intellectuals and the masses (1990)” by John Carey, “Intellectuals and Society” (2010) by Thoma Sowell, and I guess “Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith” (1980) by James H. Billington, which also deals with a somewhat similar subject. But, acknowledging these exceptions, one has to admit that there aren’t many books about the “intellectual class”, its origins, impact, and so on. That seems to be changing, but studying the intellectuals is still taboo. Not surprising if one realizes they have become a new kind of priesthood.