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.

 

An Open Letter to Key Washington State Legislators

I wrote this letter to key State representation because the current permitting process a) does nothing improve or promote public safety and b) represents an unnecessary hurdle to accessing public lands. Many tiny communities along this amazing expanse of trail are currently hurting. They are dying under many pressures, but most suffer because there simply aren’t long-term job prospects for the people who live there. They need ways to attract people to these places and all 253 miles of the John Wayne Trail are just the sort of thing to make that, at least in part, happen.


TO:

I urge you to reconsider RCW 79.73.020 and repeal permitting requirement for this section of this Rails to Trails national treasure. While the adoption of a fee and permitting system could prove helpful to the state to raise revenues necessary to better support and maintain this section of trail, the requirement appears to be in place to do no more than limit or discourage public access to public lands.

The public’s safety is not improved through the permitting process. No additional requirements or rules are passed on to the public who use this section of trail as those prohibitions called out in the WAC are prohibited broadly under current state law. Consequently, the public is required by law to enter into an archaic, bureaucratic agreement with a rural State agency unprepared to manage the system. The State gains nothing and the public, at best, must wait to be provided access.

If the State is interested in obtaining trail usage information along the Milwaukee Road Corridor it would be much better served if it installed trailhead sign-in ledgers at key locations. This would provide the state valuable usage information which could be used to better justify and potentially promote the trail as a recreation resource to the citizens of the State of Washington and the Nation at large.

If the State is interested in promoting public safety along the corridor improved signage and designated facilities at these key locations would meet that need.

Bike tourism broadly and bike packing more specifically are already very popular endeavors within the State. Anything the State of Washington can do to improve people’s access to the resources we already have should be encouraged. Both RCW 79.73.020 and DNR adopted WAC 332-52-500 do little as policy measures to this end.

Sincerely,

Matthew Alan Thyer

Vashon, WA

Happy Earth Day, Now Change

A recurrent debate that a particular subsection of the science fiction community regularly engages in attempts to answer the resolve “how will the world end?” I write a good deal of climate science fiction and consequently I have my preferences. On balance, sure, there are plenty of potential dangers to all of humanity. The rise of an incurable super bug or a sucker punch from a big space snowcone would get the job done, but most of these things are only possibilities. Possibilities that are fleetingly unlikely.

The death of a food network and major niche

The death of a food network and uncountable niches

Climate change is a sure thing. There is no probably about it. It is the face-off of the epoch: Mike Tyson on horse stimulants versus Paul Reubens with his hands tied behind his back. We don’t even get the luxury of being represented by Bruce Lee (who might have been able to keep up for a while) or Chuck Norris (who would provide us a false sense of confidence until that moment when he is hypothetically crushed). Consequently — given the near universal failure of the world’s conservation movements to change anyone’s behavior and the perfect prediction/realization record of climate science over a similar period of time — I’d say we’re good and royally fucked.
Welcome to the world you created ladies and gentlemen. The temperature record (direct measurement) begins around 1880. It’s 2016 now. In 136 years of measurements, we’ve documented the unintentional manufacture of a mass extinction event caused by a species farting itself to death.

“On this earth day, we watch climate change progressing as predicted by scientists for decades. Meanwhile, the US, the largest economy on earth, has no leadership on this issue and we continue to vote for politicians who deny the validity of basic science.” — Clay Arango

I don’t want to sound flippant or impertinent, I’m just as much responsible for this sad state of affairs as anyone else, but I woke up this morning and looked out over the water toward the volcano and noticed the brown streak of smog that had already formed from all that human activity flying along the I-5 corridor. I felt helpless and completely useless. I felt the smallness of my vote and my voice and my being against the magnitude of the universe. I hugged my youngest child because clinging to those we love is what we do when faced with our impending mortality. It is all we can do if we’re lucky, I wonder how much comfort it brings in our last moments. I’m realistic enough to realize that it may not be much comfort, if any at all, so I hug him tighter.

Volcanic casts of a family in Pompeii

Dear readers, I’d like to offer you some morsel of hope. I’d like to suggest that if we all just agreed that there was a problem we’d be able to figure a way out or around this mess. It somehow seems important to me to remind you that we can’t have nice things –Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité — if we burn down the stage where these things will be enacted. And then I acknowledge how powerless I feel to affect even minor changes, motivated by my own self-interests, in my own life. Je désolé pour tout le mal que je t’ai fait.