Taking Responsibility

September, my birth month, has become sort of my Little New-Year. This year I’m starting a new fitness and nutrition program. Revitalizing my interest in endurance sports as well as training for those kinds of events. Renewing my commitment to my family, my friends and myself.

In short, I’m taking responsibility for all the things I influence. I’m taking ownership. This also means I’m going to take more ownership for my artistic vision.

Last night I re-read METAtropolis: Cascadia and this made me realized how far away I’ve gotten from the speculative-fiction vision I started with only a few years back. Yeah, in the last two years I’ve written almost nothing but space opera, a fact of which I’m keenly aware. I’ve been happy writing these stories, but this kind of fiction isn’t really what stokes my coals.

Consequently, even though I have many outstanding projects I’ll still be diligently working on, I’m going to add some more input to my vision. Writing for my perception of “what the market wants” often means abdicating responsibility for what I think it could become. I don’t need to repeat Ford’s Edsel failure to realize a Mustang is what most people would love to drive.

Love Yourself

Recently I was feeling pretty bummed. After a couple of, what felt to me, awkward social encounters I was beating myself up, generally feeling unloved and unloveable and wallowing in the self-pity that comes with that. Then to top it off, I watched a bunch of youtube videos of people rowing across some ocean or another. Adventure porn, but tinged with the understanding that I’ll likely never do those things. I felt like crap and then didn’t do anything to help myself.

What I wanted through all of that was for someone to show me that I mattered to them. An “attaboy” would have sufficed, but an “I love you Dad, ’cause you did blah-blah” would have been better, but neither of these was forthcoming. If I’m honest, I didn’t deserve them anyway. I made dinner, I folded some laundry, I watered some plants. Absolutely nothing noteworthy.

Then evening came, I ran the kiddo through the wash cycle, and Tess put him down for the night. My dog came and rested her fat head on my knee. At first, I was like “Hey, don’t do that. It’s hot, and I don’t want to pet you.” Then, when she started to press her chin into my joint and began to whine, her message made it through my thick skull. “I love you, let’s go for a run.”

I ran with my dog, not too far, but far enough for her. We had a pretty good time. Eventually, round about mile 2, I crawled up out of that pity pit and found that I could love myself once more.

A little triumph and a big reckoning.

And the Hugos Go To

They’ve been handed out and now the party has begun. Congratulations to everyone who took home a rocket this year.

BEST NOVEL (WORKS 40,000 WORDS AND ABOVE)

  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc)
  • Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)

BEST NOVELLA (SHORT WORKS BETWEEN 17,500 AND 40,000 WORDS)

  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
  • The Builders by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com)
  • Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum)
  • Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment)
  • Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)

BEST NOVELETTE (SHORT WORKS BETWEEN 7,500 AND 17,500 WORDS)

  • Folding Beijing by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)
  • And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead by Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed, Feb 2015)
  • Flashpoint: Titan by CHEAH Kai Wai (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
  • Obits by Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Scribner)
  • What Price Humanity? by David VanDyke (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)

BEST SHORT STORY (SHORT WORKS LESS THAN 7,500 WORDS)

  • Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015)
  • Asymmetrical Warfare by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015)
  • If You Were an Award, My Love by Juan Tabo and S. Harris (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015)
  • Seven Kill Tiger by Charles Shao (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
  • Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services)

BEST RELATED WORK

  • No Award
  • Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986by Marc Aramini (Castalia House)
  • The First Draft of My Appendix N Book by Jeffro Johnson (jeffro.wordpress.com)
  • Safe Space as Rape Room by Daniel Eness (castaliahouse.com)
  • SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police by Vox Day (Castalia House)
  • The Story of Moira Greyland by Moira Greyland (askthebigot.com)

BEST GRAPHIC STORY

  • The Sandman: Overture written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)
  • The Divine written by Boaz Lavie, art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka (First Second)
  • Erin Dies Alone written by Grey Carter, art by Cory Rydell (dyingalone.net)
  • Full Frontal Nerdity by Aaron Williams (ffn.nodwick.com)
  • Invisible Republic Vol 1 written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, art by Gabriel Hardman (Image Comics)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM

  • The Martian screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron written and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Ex Machina written and directed by Alex Garland (Film4; DNA Films; Universal Pictures)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller (Village Roadshow Pictures; Kennedy Miller Mitchell; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens written by Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt, directed by J.J. Abrams (Lucasfilm Ltd.; Bad Robot Productions; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM

  • Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile” written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions; Netflix)
  • Doctor Who: “Heaven Sent” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Television)
  • Grimm: “Headache” written by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, directed by Jim Kouf (Universal Television; GK Productions; Hazy Mills Productions; Open 4 Business Productions; NBCUniversal Television Distribution)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: “The Cutie Map” Parts 1 and 2 written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller (DHX Media / Vancouver; Hasbro Studios)
  • Supernatural: “Just My Imagination” written by Jenny Klein, directed by Richard Speight Jr. (Kripke Enterprises; Wonderland Sound and Vision; Warner Bros. Television)

BEST EDITOR, SHORT FORM

  • Ellen Datlow
  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Jerry Pournelle
  • Sheila Williams

BEST EDITOR, LONG FORM

  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Vox Day
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • Jim Minz
  • Toni Weisskopf

BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST

  • Abigail Larson
  • Lars Brad Andersen
  • Larry Elmore
  • Michal Karcz
  • Larry Rostant

BEST SEMIPROZINE

  • Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews
  • Daily Science Fiction edited by Michele-Lee Barasso and Jonathan Laden
  • Sci Phi Journal edited by Jason Rennie
  • Strange Horizons edited by Catherine Krahe, Julia Rios, A. J. Odasso, Vanessa Rose Phin, Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons staff

BEST FANZINE

  • File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
  • Castalia House Blog edited by Jeffro Johnson
  • Lady Business edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan
  • Superversive SF edited by Jason Rennie
  • Tangent Online edited by Dave Truesdale

BEST FANCAST

  • No Award
  • 8-4 Play, Mark MacDonald, John Ricciardi, Hiroko Minamoto, and Justin Epperson
  • Cane and Rinse, Cane and Rinse
  • HelloGreedo, HelloGreedo
  • The Rageaholic, RazörFist
  • Tales to Terrify, Stephen Kilpatrick

BEST FAN WRITER

  • Mike Glyer
  • Douglas Ernst
  • Morgan Holmes
  • Jeffro Johnson
  • Shamus Young

BEST FAN ARTIST

  • Steve Stiles
  • Matthew Callahan
  • disse86
  • Kukuruyo
  • Christian Quinot

THE JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER

Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2014 or 2015, sponsored by Dell Magazines. (Not a Hugo Award, but administered along with the Hugo Awards.)

  • Andy Weir *
  • Pierce Brown *
  • Sebastien de Castell *
  • Brian Niemeier
  • Alyssa Wong *

* Finalists in their second year of eligibility.

Kindergarten Practice

There are roughly twenty-five days of summer left for A-bear. Once they’re gone, he’s going to Kindergarten. This is a big new experience for our little guy, and so I’ve been examining our options. The duel questions — how can encourage him to be excited in anticipation of this new experience (even though it sometimes seems overwhelming and scary) and how can I, in parallel, continue to carve out enough time for me to write, has been riding on either of my shoulders.

Aral_lunch

Practice Lunch

Today we woke up sorta late, but that’s okay because practice Kindergarten didn’t open until 10:00 AM. Our Island Library is librarian-ed by late risers apparently, and that’s not a bad thing because practice Kindergarten should allow for late summer mornings.

Aral_train

Fire Train

Right now he’s happily working on a rather complicated maze and deeply engrossed in the activity. Unlike the iPad I have to stop what I’m doing from time to time, but the interactions are all part of the process. It’s just going to slow things down for me a tad. The library is an optimal place to do this because the expectation is that he will moderate the volume of his voice. There are rules as well as social expectations here that he doesn’t necessarily encounter elsewhere, and learning to live (if not thrive) within these confines is going to be one of his chief challenges once school begins.

Via a convoluted path, I suppose, this all gets back to empathy. Teaching children the ability to imagine themselves in a situation, one in which they comprehend how other’s think and feel, is a HUGE challenge. It’s also a skill that they have to practice to perfect.

In a little bit, we’re going to head out to the adjacent park and eat lunch and play with the other kids. An obvious reward for working so hard this morning. I’m pretty excited to see what we can accomplish together in the time we have before school starts.

Picking out some books to read

Picking out some books to read

Toxicity

The degree to which a substance (a toxin or poison) can harm a being varies, but it’s something we can study. Toxic behavior, especially on the male side of our society, is apparently growing like a algae bloom in an over-heated Florida lake. It’s everywhere and it’s perhaps the saddest component of our shared American cultural heritage.

Yesterday, a collection of bigots dog piled Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) after the recent opening of her movie. You can google the trash that was flung in her direction if you really want to, but I don’t recommend it. Here’s one more example of popular culture and technology colliding in a fantastic mess. And that’s how many are describing this instance, which makes me feel an additional level of sickness.

As the world adjusts to the post-Bowie era I believe it may be important for us to describe train wrecks like this with precision, to identify and even persecute those responsible. The public calumny that @Lesdoggg experienced didn’t just happen. Even if it wasn’t organized, or orchestrated, the result was the same.

Sure there’s no hate speech exception to the First Amendment, but that’s no reason it should be condoned. Twitter is a private platform, and even has policies in place to deal with this kind of activity.

  • Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.
  • Harassment: You may not incite or engage in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Some of the factors that we may consider when evaluating abusive behavior include:
    • if a primary purpose of the reported account is to harass or send abusive messages to others;
    • if the reported behavior is one-sided or includes threats;
    • if the reported account is inciting others to harass another account; and
    • if the reported account is sending harassing messages to an account from multiple accounts.
  • Hateful conduct: You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.

It is, on the whole, miserably bad at enforcement of its own rules. So, how does anyone find accountability, let alone justice, in this situation?

Legally, quite a bit of what was lobbed is not protected speech. SCOTUS has ruled time and again that “true threats, fighting words, incitement to imminent lawless action, criminal solicitation or defamation” are not deserving of First Amendment protections. Twitter should be working with local law enforcement to track these folks down. And before someone starts to mansplain that this is “impossible” let me just point you to The Geography of Hate. Yes, you’re looking at geotagged tweets in the US, add the dimension of phone owner and guess what, you’ll get addresses (IP and physical).

The future of law enforcement is in data analytics.

Second, shame. It’s a powerful motivator that isn’t used effectively in society. Imagine, what if your hate speech cost you your job, your friends, and even your close or intimate relationships. Imagine if your racist uncle Bob was relegated to the back deck every Thanksgiving dinner? Let’s not tolerate this sort of BS even for a second. Learn how to correctly identify and respond toxic behavior.

For my part, I’m sorry to have seen one more woman on Twitter treated like this. It’s sick and sad.

Stop Killing People

Right now I can’t say much more than this — stop killing people. There is nothing glorious, nothing virtuous, nothing even noteworthy in a willful act of violence that robs someone of the rest of their days. It makes you a thief, it should make you a pariah. Murder is murder, regardless if it’s justified by some notion of self-defense, a government, or any of the very many reasons we use to excuse this easy and all too common behaviour. Taking a life is a sin against your own humanity.

It’s true, guns don’t kill people but inculcation in a culture of violence and easily available tools of this trade apparently raise the odds of murder significantly. Yet again I am outraged, spitting mad, two recent police killings are making the rounds and apparently people are arguing over minutiae. Whose life matters? They all do, so when one is lost stop pretending that yours is in jeopardy and at least show your remorse that someone else lost theirs. Someone’s son, someone’s father, someone’s friend is dead. “All lives matter” is a distraction, an insulting madness, that ignores just one face of the beast of a social order we’re all living with.