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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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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Reading the Hugos (2019) A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies

Of the six short story nominees, three have a witch as the main protagonist (or two, depending on how you define “main”) who is also pretty woke. Outside of these Hugo finalists, I don’t think I have read a story with a witch protagonist in years.

Another trend I have noticed these last years is what I call trivial or mundane fantasy. These are stories with characters that have reality-altering powers yet they don’t use them for anything moderately interesting or to help other people (or themselves) even when that’s the point of the story. In fact, most of these characters are surprisingly powerless and victimized through the entire story. Why? Well, there are many reason, but here are a few: these are fantasy stories only superficially, the fantastic elements being clearly tacked on; related to that, they are not proper stories either but allegories, where powers and fantastic elements stand for something else; and, finally, the ideological consensus of these stories demands victimized characters and it naturally frowns on superpowered characters or even assertive ones—hence why many of these stories are such downers and need a quota of woke characters/moments so they don’t feel absolutely nihilistic. You obviously can’t have an oppressed, let’s say, witch, which is a stand-in for women, if she can blow somebody’s head off with a word.

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Book Analysis/review: “Law of the Wolves” and “Mortu and Kyrus in the White City.”

I mentioned in a previous post, and here they are, Schuyler Hernstrom’s latest two works, “The law of the Wolves,” a short story fable, and “Morty and Kyrus in the White City,” a sword & bikery novella with future installment already in-the-making, or at least planned out.

I’ll start with The Law of the Wolves, which is the shortest one, and one that won’t require me to sperg too much. Also, if you are a stingy asshat who can’t bother buying two books at 1$ each, I’d recommend this one first. Simpler, straightforward, shorter, and in a style underrepresented these days.

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The institutionalized, privileged, casual, and shallow racial animus of the Woke Generation.

 

“On a second front, the distinction between belief and behavior, between prejudice and discrimination, came under growing assault. The key moment here was the rapid acceptance of the concept of “institutional racism,” hailed by many as a great analytic advance, when, in fact, the only advance was in an ideological agenda. Institutional racism referred to the structural inequalities between racial and/or ethnic groups, in short, to the consequences of behavioral discrimination. These were said to be independent of individual attitudes, indeed, to have a self-perpetuating institutional life of their own. Attitudes were asserted to be irrelevant to the existence of institutional racism.”

From the entry “Race (Racism)” by Pierre L Van den Berghe in The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2007 Bolded part is mine.

Another day, another idiot on Twatter, but this time, and showing that mainstream liberal press is scraping the bottom of the barrel, this idiot is a New York Times hire.

Continue reading “The institutionalized, privileged, casual, and shallow racial animus of the Woke Generation.”

Bad Writing: Amazon bestsellers edition

The original goal of this post was to write a mini-essay on something that annoys me about contemporary writing. As far as I know, it has no name, and I struggled to find one, so I had to settle for something as cumbersome as “mid-action or mid-description beginnings.” Essentially, the story starts in media res, but not in the middle of the plot, but in the middle of a scene, with people (sometimes a lot of people) doing, sometimes exciting or action-related, stuff… for no reason we can discern. No goals, context, purpose, or meaning are given. It’s just a picture, like a movie scene (and in many cases, it shows the writer imagined it as such.)

The protagonist can be fighting another person (and we know nothing about them so we have no reason to care,) sweating profusely from some equally strenuous activity, engaging in a heavy dialogue with a character we know nothing about, or sometimes it’s a cliché-ridden description as the character prepares to do one of those things (the standard in fantasy until a few years ago was to describe, for some unfathomable reason, the sky – usually a sunset or dawn- and how that light reflected on the local vegetation.)

The opposite, of course, is to start like all stories have always been written, with a small, perhaps only a single sentence, explanation about the why, where, and when so we can contextualize what is happening and will happen.

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“Where does coffee come from?” Asks multinational coffee megacorporation. “Dunno,” it says and shrugs.

There is a type of news or news article that reflect the current zeitgeist so well that they deserve their own analysis.

Coffee industry discusses need to improve diversity, inclusion – The Seattle Times 18.04.2018

Coffee farmers, buyers, roasters, retailers and baristas from around the world are gathering in Seattle this week to show off their wares, compete in the U.S. Coffee Championships and do business.

And nothing goes better with coffee than conversation.

 At an industry symposium on the sidelines of the Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle, talk focused on challenges ranging from climate change and consolidation to the industry’s struggles with equity, diversity and inclusion up and down the supply chain.
[blablabla]
Other speakers pointed to an economic reason to welcome more under-represented minority groups into the coffee business, particularly as the industry looks for its next wave of growth. In the U.S., young, ethnic minorities represent a huge and growing market of would-be specialty coffee drinkers, but they may not see themselves reflected in the industry, said Phyllis Johnson, president of BD Imports.
How should the industry increase coffee consumption among African Americans and other minority groups, Johnson asked. Her answer: “Hire them.”
This article links to an older article: “After arrests, Starbucks is talking race.”
I know most of you reading this are American, so bear with me when I say this is the most American thing I have read in a long time. It combines self-centeredness and lack of geographical knowledge, peak wealthy liberalism, and peak corporativism, all mixed together in an unholy brew of moral superiority and ignorance.

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Disavow this post!

Today we are going to learn the difference between condemning and disavowing, especially in the context of calls for condemnation/disavowing. Why? I don’t know; I just felt an inexplicable urge to write about it. It seems like an appropriate and relevant subject, for some reason.

To condemn, criticize, or disapprove something merely means to express, publicly, that you don’t like something. It could be anything: ideas, public works, a movie, how people dress, dogs, whatever.

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“Fat studies” ¿”Estudios de gordos”?

[This is a translation of this dailycaller article by Peter Hasson about something called “Fat Studies”]

Nota: Sé que “black studies” se suele traducir como “estudios afroamericanos”, ¿pero y “fat studies”? ¿”Estudios gordos”? ¿DE gordos? ¿PARA gordos (y JUNTO Y CON, supongo)? Creo que “estudios de los gordos” o “estudios de la obesidad” quizás sería mejor, pues el primero suena fatal, y justamente por eso lo usaré. ¿Cuánta veces puede uno decir que -seguramente- ha sido el primero en traducir un término? Estoy haciendo historia aunque no lo parezca.

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