Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 16:21 on 19-02-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj

I...I can't take this anymore.

I, too, have been reading Bakker's blog, but I have not been seeing any of this "pity party" that everyone else has been going on about here. Not a hint of it. What I have seen is someone who is no longer interested in valse's arguments (since, as he and others have made pretty damn clear, there really is nothing like a structured argument that can be properly reasoned and/or refuted in your complaints, is there, valse?), but is interested in the way she argues and its implications.

And then I come over here and I find you all crowing and sneering and congratulating valse on making a direct it, when it's crystal fucking clear that this is exactly the problem he is diagnosing.

valse, you are an asshole. I don't think you are nearly as smart as you think you are, and I also think you are so wrapped up in you sexuality and ethnicity issues that you can't think of anything else. When I read your blog, I see a whole lot of strutting and preening and yelling that cloaks some fairly dull commentary. You don't really seem to care about what a story is doing, as long as it involves marginalized groups, which I have always felt is a massively blinkered way at looking at art.

And the worst part? People here agree with you because you confirm their prejudices. If you wrote exactly the same way you do now, but were, say, a libertarian Baptist instead, everyone here would loathe you, and they would pick out the exact problems with the way you write that Bakker has. But because they agree with you, all that is pushed by the wayside. Which is a tragedy, because you are the last person I would listen to about gender, sexuality, or race issues.

(Oh, and when Bakker made the first of these new responses, why did you come over here and crow about it? Why the need to gloat?)

Bakker is a dick. But I find him more bearable than you.

(And in case anyone is wondering, this has been building for a while, but it was Shimmin's "Bakkker" that pushed me over the edge.)
at 14:04 on 19-02-2012, Cammalot
Aw jeeze, I read the comments. All the comments. I'm going to shower now. And exfoliate. Possibly bleach. Maybe when I'm done I'll go kill and disembowel and eat a deer or something in order to have some feelings of self worth.
at 13:07 on 19-02-2012, valse de la lune
As a friend said, Bakker seems to think I've snatched the bread out of his children's mouths, the shoes off their feet, the steak off their plates. Like, me personally. Not that his books are not very good, or not interesting to most people, or... I mean, as you said, Orson Scott Card for one and John C Wright for another--and Jay Lake too!--continue to sell, continue to get published. He's giving me a whole lot of credit. While in the same breath saying that "feminism has lost." So what is it? A single feminist's blog post about him has seismically affected his sales so that must mean feminism is going strong, or... it's lost, in which case what?

I'll take you up on the swishy cloak. Maybe a false mustache too? Twirl twirl, swish swish. In the meantime a reader helpfully linked me to this post from Bakker. Something about writing serial rapists.
at 09:29 on 19-02-2012, Shim
I had a brief skim over the actual post, only it was embarrasing pseudojoycean rubbish and not worth the time. The main thing I noticed was some EM person writing a frank and detailed response to all his whinging and telling him to sort himself out, which Bakkkkker then... actually I have no idea what Bakkker did, it's some kind of non sequitur Wai So Srs slash inverse tone argument slash hey look at the fancy city type with all them big words. The most bizarre bit was probably where someone claims EM's writing like Chandler, which is both wildly incorrect and irrelevant if true, although I suppose if the only writing they're used to is netcommentspeak and Bakkkker's attempts to be literary, then I can see everything else might look the same.

But yeah, I have no interest in Bakky as such and everything about the site is so offputting that I don't read it unless someone prompts me to. As always the comments are the icing.

I do like that he sees Valse as a kind of sinister mastermind single-handedly manipulating the world into not buying his books (even the vast majority of it that doesn't care about the internet, as Michal pointed out). We should get you a swishy cloak.
at 08:14 on 19-02-2012, Michal
'Tis strange. It seems like Bakker's blamed the perceived unpopularity of his books (according to recent sales) on you. But this sort of thing rarely effects sales to any appreciable degree. I'm pretty sure most people who do read Bakker aren't really aware of his blog or the accusations of misogyny (or else just ignore both). And if Orson Scott Card can be a complete bigoted piece of shit time and time again on the internet and still sell just as many books as he always has, I don't see how a single blog post accusing him of misogyny is going to make his family starve. But I guess he's determined to paint himself as the victim here.
at 07:53 on 19-02-2012, valse de la lune
I read it as an attempt to further justify himself as the martyred victim of bullying, which is to say identical to some of his previous posts and then my eyes glazed over.

Bakker's meltdown may be simply embarrassing, but Peter Watts' vicarious defense of him is... something else. One-upping Bakker, at any rate, albeit with much fewer words.
at 05:49 on 19-02-2012, Frank
oh. and thanks for the heads up, Ibmiller. I'm almost done with The Magicians and will gladly stop there.
at 05:28 on 19-02-2012, Frank
It's neither a capitulation or an attack. It's just some unhealthy guy experiencing traits or a disorder of narcissistic personality (cluster B) and sharing his needy, grandiose, and empatheticless writings, or e-stink, to the world.

at 05:04 on 19-02-2012, Arthur B
Well, I realised Black Library do better Dark Eldar stories and the rest is history.
at 04:27 on 19-02-2012, Michal
What, the further adventures of the alien bodysnatching BDSM enthusiasts didn't entice you?
at 04:05 on 19-02-2012, Arthur B
Make that a trilogy.

I found the first book of the sequel series in a charity shop, bought it, had it sat on my shelf for some months, and then sold it again because I couldn't bring myself to care. I begin to think his japery on his blog is the first even moderately attention-grabbing writing he's done for years - for all the wrong reasons.
at 03:55 on 19-02-2012, Michal
Arthur, I think you're the only one here who's actually read a Bakker book cover to cover, and can therefore muster the will to care.

I haven't really followed the meltdown, so actually reading the link was...pretty bizarre. I'm kind of tickled by the thought of someone reading that without any context. Imagine if this was the first thing you ever read on Bakker's blog? "I'm e-stinky"? "I like the lay of your sausage, kid"?

The fuck?
at 01:52 on 19-02-2012, Arthur B
Possibly I'm the only person here who's still paying attention to RSB's really embarrassing meltdown (I imagine even valse is bored by now), but hey.

He's posted two new blog posts since the last one which deal more or less exclusively with the subject and the issues arising from it - which makes it six posts in a row - but I wanted to bring everyone's attention to this charming story, because I cannot work out whether it's meant to be a capitulation or some sort of really oblique attack and I'm hoping the hivemind will help me work it out.
at 23:04 on 18-02-2012, Michal
A fascinating article on fictional maps. Discussion of the neat-o map from the 1976 Russian edition of The Hobbit included.
at 02:18 on 18-02-2012, Janne Kirjasniemi
Trout is certainly an important source of omega-3 fatty acids and proteins.
at 02:03 on 18-02-2012, Arthur B
It kind of looks like "trout".
at 01:46 on 18-02-2012, Janne Kirjasniemi
I have no idea what you might see in that line of letters. Whatsoever.
at 01:34 on 18-02-2012, Arthur B

at 01:08 on 18-02-2012, Janne Kirjasniemi
It is a good idea though. It would most certainly be preferable to the current circumstances. I did train our dog to do the typing, but it could only ever type one letter at the time and each time I rewarded it with a trwat, it would drop the little pointer in its mouth and would have to scamper down to get it and up again to the letter input device for the computator. And its spelling, although estimable for a canine, was really quite awful.

But training a teenager resembles too much real work and would require communication either verbally or then in writing, the first of which is unpleasant and the latter a bit too time consuming for Facebook status updates, or for searching Youtube for videos of that cat who likes to be in boxes.
at 23:02 on 17-02-2012, Shim
I suggest employing a second team (perhaps of teenagers, who I believe have special training) to transcribe your elegant handwritten script onto the difference engines. Not only does it avoid an unpleasant duty, but it provides valuable employment in these straitened times.

(A joke, of course. I cannot in seriousness endorse the use of tacky modern inventions like the computer, the pen, or the opposable thumb)
at 19:30 on 17-02-2012, Janne Kirjasniemi
Well obviously everybody here is wrong on this issue. Everybody who really likes books or literature doesn't really touch a book that's been made with any modern technology, like movable type or technologies after that. This only true opinion of things also carries the benefit that you can truly be a member of a choice group and differentiate yourself from the common rabble who imagine they like reading.

Of course it makes it more difficult to read some more modern works, but I myself employ a team of monks to do the work of copying the text to a more acceptable form. Expensive, of course, but in some cases one really has to make an effort to maintain a touch of taste in one's milieu. Don't anyone bother to point the irony of me using as barbaric a method as a modern data computing contraption to point it out. We all have to make some sacrifices in this world.
at 14:49 on 17-02-2012, James D
I didn't mean to imply everybody has the same experience that I do (admitting
that I did accidentally sit on my Nook and destroy it not long ago and it was
very traumatic), but my point was that an ebook is only the text without
anything else, so by definition they're appealing to somebody who likes the
reading part above collector of objects part.

Ouch! Sorry to hear about your poor Nook; that's exactly the kind of thing I'd worry about if I had one. Anyway I ought to mention I prefer physical books pretty much exclusively for practical reasons; most of the ones I buy are cheap used paperbacks and not worth a damn as objets d'art. I'm leery of that kind of collecting in general.

I'm sure one is as annoying as the other.

I'd say so.
at 06:06 on 17-02-2012, valse de la lune
I encounter a lot of fetishistic "but paper is so magical" hand-wringing online, plus all the usual silly arguments like "e-readers won't survive a dunk in the bathtub." Because, of course, one dunks paper books in bathtubs constantly.

I've just now discovered Adam Roberts' reviews of Waste of Time, incidentally. Oh my. Jordan fans' reactions to that were nothing if not ridiculous.
at 02:33 on 17-02-2012, Michal
It seems like he's writing a response to people who act like a preference for physical books is mature and sophisticated, while people who like ebooks are all subliterate members of the twitter generation.

Huh. So far, in actual day-to-day life, I've only encountered people who act like preference for ebooks is hip and modern, while people who like paper books are Luddites retarding the rate of Glorious Progress. (As discussed by Ursula K. le Guin)

I'm sure one is as annoying as the other.