Playpen

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 10:15 on 29-08-2014, Adrienne
Of possible interest to Ferretbrainers, a great, in-depth essay about the ongoing anti-Sarkeesian bullshit.
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at 10:18 on 28-08-2014, Ash
@Cheriola: Thank you for acknowledging genderqueer people. (And thanks to everyone else for not dismissing that outright.)
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at 18:36 on 26-08-2014, James D
They do it because they tweet/tumblr/whatever faster than they think, is my theory. Obviously most people, if they stopped to think about something cool-headedly and objectively, would not lash out on the Internet like that. So when people go ahead and do it anyway it's a fairly sure sign that their annoyance has overriden their rationality.

That seems the most likely explanation, but it just fascinates me that these people, whose livelihood depends on the goodwill of the internet community, haven't developed a better filter. Does this carry over into meatspace? Do they lash out verbally at waiters when a minor mistake is made in their order? Do they berate family and friends when things don't go perfectly their way? Maybe Aaron Diaz actually does, based on Twitter exchanges like this. I also wonder if, at the time, these types see the situation as them giving a troll a righteous beatdown, only later realizing that they themselves were the bully all along.

Either way, Diaz does seem to be in the habit of deleting his more abrasive tweets, which indicates at least some level of self-awareness.
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at 15:02 on 26-08-2014, Daniel F
I don't know if there is a proper way to respond to that, other than to say (speaking as, I'm sure, only one of the benefit-of-the-doubt people at most) "Thank you". Even with all the real credit going to Kyra, everyone who is offered that trust has a reason to be grateful.

Trust, even if it's only benefit-of-the-doubt potential trust, is something very valuable. All I can really say in response is that I hope no one here would ever make you regret it.
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at 10:31 on 26-08-2014, Arthur B
Not sure how to respond to that save to request that people keep prodding me when I make mistakes.

Thanks should probably belong to Kyra since as editor she's set the parameters for what does and doesn't fly here and Dan and I more or less follow that lead.
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at 07:24 on 26-08-2014, Cheriola
Guys? I know I rarely post here anymore - it's because I have little in common with you in terms of fandoms and literary interests, or even age. But something occured to me today, as I had another bad, stressful experience, and I think it needs pointing out:

You're literally the only cis men I fully trust - in the "terrible bargain" kind of sense. (Read that article, please, if the term doesn't spark instant recognition. It's necessary context for understanding what I'm trying to say here.) Even those of you who don't post enough for me to form an opinion benefit from a kind of benefit-of-doubt-by-association, because I trust the main writers like Dan and Arthur to keep the house safe and welcoming for people like me, so to speak. That there's enough peer pressure on any new participants in the discourse to behave well, or leave. (Obviously, the women and genderqueer people contribute to that just as much, if not more, but this train of thought I'm having was sparked specifically by articles like this one about the importance of being a male ally.) Even if you do mess up occasionally about some of the less obvious stuff, I trust that if I point it out, you won't get aggressively defensive, because I get the feeling you have spent years educating yourself on your privilege and what it really means to listen.

I'm not saying this to flatter you, or to hand out ally cookies. Every cis man should act like this, and it's a sign of how fucked up the world is that I can't expect it. That I have to withhold my trust and friendship from any cis man or boy I talk to online or in real life, because sooner or later he will show his true colors by stubbornly refusing to care about things that harm me or by disrespecting my boundaries or by acting entitled to my time and energy, etc.

I don't feel this way about women of any birth-assigned sex, or genderqueer people, ever. Or well, at least about those under the age of about 50. I've never felt threatened by them, either, physically or emotionally. I have been hurt by women, of course, but never in this disspiriting, always-the-same kind of way. Instead, the interaction always runs on an undercurrent of "you would understand this if I brought it up; you would get angry for my sake; you would have my back". It's rare that a woman manages to say something so spectacularly offensive that she loses this basic trust in my eyes. Maybe that's not fair. But I do think it has something to do with privilege levels and who was and wasn't forced to learn to put themselves in other people's shoes from birth, to walk on eggshells around those with the power to hurt them. I notice that I do give cis men who aren't hetero a bit more provisory trust for already having been taught by life what it feels like not to be at the top of the privilege heap. (Though sadly, being a man of colour doesn't seem to help much in terms of empathising with women. Maybe it's more the constant comparison in our culture between being non-hetero cis male and being feminine, even if that's usually meant to be denigrating?) But they, too, usually mess up badly on feminist issues at some point and I have to brace myself for the disappointment so it won't hurt so much.

(Like for example one gay recapper on a feminist TV show recapping website, who usually does quite well on things like abusive relationships and such, but recently didn't take any negative notice of a favourite character of his calling a murdered sex slave "whore". It's not a very big thing in isolation, but he has these little moments of fail often enough, that I don't ever read any replies he might make to comments in which I disagree with him or point out problematic stuff he didn't notice. I couldn't bear the confirmation that he might disagree and defend any misogyny / rape culture issue in the shows. I can't trust him enough to expect him to react with a simple "sorry for not noticing". But I also don't want to lose my respect for him in case I am right in my distrust, because he's one of the few people who do reliably timely and relatively entertaining intersectional feminist analysis of shows I watch. So I can never have a proper engaging discussion with him. I can only inform him of my opinion and hope that he learns from it, while he forever remains this kind of "Shroedinger's sexist" for me. It's deeply frustrating and I feel guilty for ignoring his replies. I shouldn't have to feel bad about trying to avoid getting hurt.)

And isn't it sad that I feel the highest praise I can give a cis man is "I trust you like I would trust a woman"?

Anyway, I'm overtired and stressed out to the point of being sick in my stomach from a related experience earlier today, so it's possible I'm being overly emotional at the moment. (If there is such a thing.)
But I wanted to say: Thank you.

And please, please don't make me regret letting down my guard.
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at 21:21 on 24-08-2014, Arthur B
This seems par-the-course for Diaz. It's probably slightly less creepy than the time he decided to discuss at length how his various female characters styled their pubic hair, but not by much.

Seriously? I must have missed that.

It's hardly a new point, but the internet has been increasing the mixture of the private and the public worlds.

Therefore, the Internet is reality, and reality is less than the Internet...

I dimly recall two-three years back that Guillermo Del Toro was working with THQ and Volition to come up with a horror game called inSANE. Nothing much came of it, since shortly after the announcement THQ caught on fire and burnt to the ground, but I wonder if Silent Hills will be a partial resurrection of the material from inSANE.

Having a handy store of fresh ideas would be useful, though there may be rights issues with the inSANE stuff depending on who bought out the rights in the fire sale and what the terms of del Toro's contract with THQ was.

We've got the Eraserhead baby (who, despite not having tooth buds, has a serious case of sass-mouth)

Well, at least the usual Silent Hill diligence in making sure there's always something significant going on in the toilet is present and correct.
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at 21:11 on 24-08-2014, Arthur B
As if his made-up character actually has a real body to take real agency over - no, he drew sexy pictures of his own character because he felt like it.

Yep. He richly deserves the satire, because pretending that you get a special Feminism membership card which lets you draw cheesecake every once in a while provided that you think feminist thoughts whilst doing it is absurd. If you really want to claim your sexy art isn't objectifying you kind of need to present it in a way which doesn't objectify or fetishise its subject, and ohboy, does this fall short of that mark (particularly with the amputee angle).

Either way, why do web-savvy people still lash out like that? What do they think it accomplishes?

They do it because they tweet/tumblr/whatever faster than they think, is my theory. Obviously most people, if they stopped to think about something cool-headedly and objectively, would not lash out on the Internet like that. So when people go ahead and do it anyway it's a fairly sure sign that their annoyance has overriden their rationality.
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at 21:06 on 24-08-2014, Alasdair Czyrnyj
This seems par-the-course for Diaz. It's probably slightly less creepy than the time he decided to discuss at length how his various female characters styled their pubic hair, but not by much.

Either way, why do web-savvy people still lash out like that? What do they think it accomplishes? Best-case scenario, the artist shouts down one detractor and they shut up. Much more likely is that their dickhead comments get publicity, the detractor's criticisms get publicity, and the artist get a big bowlful of bad press.

It's hardly a new point, but the internet has been increasing the mixture of the private and the public worlds. I suppose it doesn't help that interacting with the Internet doesn't feel all that different writing in a diary, the only difference being that your diary isn't meant to have an audience. Or as I like to say, even with the rest of the world, you're all alone.

In udder neus,

Double holy crap: new Silent Hill game is being made by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro. If any auteurs are going to make the series worth paying attention to again it'll be those two.

I dimly recall two-three years back that Guillermo Del Toro was working with THQ and Volition to come up with a horror game called inSANE. Nothing much came of it, since shortly after the announcement THQ caught on fire and burnt to the ground, but I wonder if Silent Hills will be a partial resurrection of the material from inSANE.

Also, in case anyone didn't know, the announcement for Silent Hills was made through by P.T., a playable teaser (har har) that was mocked up to be a game from an indie studio. If y'alls wanna watch it with no one yammering through it, this video's all right.

Now there's no way to tell if any of this is indicative of the final game, but the thing that really leapt out for me was how much David Lynch there was. We've got the Eraserhead baby (who, despite not having tooth buds, has a serious case of sass-mouth), the soundtrack seems to be borrowing a lot from the ominous ambient work from Mulholland Drive, and there's a lot of talk about duplicates and violent patriarchs who consider themselves failures, i.e. Lost Highway.

On the other hand, Baggie, character find of 2014, seems to have fallen out of a Sam Raimi movie.
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at 17:07 on 24-08-2014, James D
Apparently the satire comic was specifically a response to this series of Dresden Codak pin-up drawings. I love the first line:

Inspired by some amputee photo shoots, I decided to try my hand at some cyborg-themed pinup sketches with Kim, a sort of celebration of the female form and taking agency over one’s body.


As if his made-up character actually has a real body to take real agency over - no, he drew sexy pictures of his own character because he felt like it. They weren't part of a storyline or anything. It's not really comparable to real amputees choosing to have erotic photos taken of themselves.

Either way, why do web-savvy people still lash out like that? What do they think it accomplishes? Best-case scenario, the artist shouts down one detractor and they shut up. Much more likely is that their dickhead comments get publicity, the detractor's criticisms get publicity, and the artist get a big bowlful of bad press.
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at 10:49 on 24-08-2014, Arthur B
Mary Cagle produces a bang-on-target (NSFW) satire of webcomic artists who claim to be super=feminist but then go ahead and create objectified, sexualised fantasy girlfriends anyway.

It is a little too on-target for Aaron Diaz (Dresden Codak guy).
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at 22:30 on 21-08-2014, Robinson L
I hope you'll give it a review, Arthur; I don't feel strongly enough about the book to review it myself (and my writing time is extremely limited), but it is a very good book which probably deserves a proper write-up on the site, and I think you could do it much better justice (pun not intended) than I could, anyway.
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at 11:04 on 21-08-2014, Arthur B
Bought Ancillary Justice on Kindle half for the praise you guys have offered it, half because anything which denies Wheel of Time the big prize deserves a reward as far as I'm concerned (though Brandon Sanderson, for his part, doesn't seem excessively tore up about it).
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at 03:12 on 21-08-2014, Michal
I was underwhelmed by the short story nominees this year too; thought "Selkie Stories are for Losers" was the best-written of the bunch but not very satisfying. The short fiction field is so fractured that it's difficult to scrape together enough votes to get a nomination going, a lot of great stories get overlooked simply because a particular anthology didn't sell that well. (Corollary: Has a short fiction magazine that wasn't online and not widely available in the States ever had a story nominated for a Hugo?)
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at 01:03 on 21-08-2014, Chris A
@Pear - I didn't read "Ink Readers," but I did read the other three nominees in the short story category, and found them all really underwhelming. I thought "If You Were a Dinosaur" was fun, but I can see why it ending up on the ballot earned so many raised eyebrows. "Selkie Stories" was a great concept that fell utterly flat for me. And the winning story, "The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere," was a coming-out story I've read a hundred times before, done neither particularly well nor particularly poorly by John Chu. With a cool but superfluous (heh) SF twist.

I don't read a lot of SF short stories, so it's possible that the field was unusually weak and these really did represent four of the best things published this year, but Kelly Link at her least inspired writes better stories than any of these.
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at 22:00 on 20-08-2014, Robinson L
I read Ancillary Justice over the summer, convinced to do so by a mixture of the Vox Day/Larry Correia Hugo Ballet Controversy (i.e., several of the commentators praised it) and the now-defunct chiusse wordpress blog. I even remember one of the former bemoaning their prediction that Wheel of Time was going to win out over it simply because more people have read WoT.

It's a fine book, and by the end I was quite enthralled, but it took me a looooong time to get really invested in the story; I think because Leckie took so bloody long establishing Breq's character. In her first few chapters, her long- and short-term agendas are kept hidden, and they're interspersed with flashbacks where she plays a completely passive observer role. Only the high praise and my own bull-stubbornness got me through to the point - around halfway through - where it started getting really exciting for me. (Also, I still feel like a society like the Radch appears to have plenty of opportunities for a reasonably conscientious being to say "this shit be wrong, yo; to hell with you!" without having to make it as personable as "
you made me murder my best friend
.") Mind you, when I did finally get really into it, the book was a fun ride, and the climax I found downright riveting - one of the most thrilling climaxes I've read in a while.

So, Ancillary Justice, my take: is it a good book? Yes. A great book? Quite probably. Does it showcase great worldbuilding, charaterization, plotting, and engagement with complex ideas and important themes without being wank-y about it? Again, I'd say yes. Do I think it deserves a Hugo Award over The Wheel of Time (the only other nomination I've actually read)? Almost certainly. Did I enjoy it as much as Wheel of Time? Absolutely not. (That's slightly unfair, as I was unable to listen to an audio version of Ancillary Justice, unlike the Wheel of Time books, and an audiobook might have smoothed over some of my issues - but I doubt that was the deciding factor.)

So there you are, *shrug*

I also remember one of those commentators arguing, re: Vox Day's contribution "Yeah, he may have mustered enough support to get his story on the ballot, but now it will have to contend with the general Hugo readership," whom said commentator predicted would be a lot more difficult to win over. I guess they were right.
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at 12:19 on 20-08-2014, Pear
I'm also glad that Ancillary Justice won!

I read one of the short stories in the running and wow, it is... something. Carried in the arms of embarrassingly musty prose are exoticism and hilarious inaccuracies, which we so totally need more of when reading white people writing about South East Asia. (Ink Readers of Doi Saket).

(also, lol @ Vox Day for ever.)
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at 04:21 on 20-08-2014, Michal
The awards, all of 'em, were a bit disconnected from me this year because I don't appear to have read any novel recent enough except Hild (nominated for the Nebula). Hild was excellent, if not an sf novel at all, but I'm just not keeping up with what's buzzing on the blogs for the most part.

2013 was the only year when I'd read most of the books on the Hugo best novel shortlist, and was also unique because I thought they were all depressingly mediocre.

Much more happy with this year's results despite my ignorance. By all accounts Ancillary Justice looks like a great space opera and I'll get around to reading it soon.
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at 04:06 on 20-08-2014, Adrienne
I am SO GODDAMN THRILLED that Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice swept the awards this year. (Clarke, Nebula, Locus Award for Best First Novel, and the Hugo.) It was my favorite SF novel of last year and it deserved every one of those awards.
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at 02:03 on 18-08-2014, Chris A
Well deserved!

I would have liked Abigail Nussbaum to win best fan writer, though.
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at 17:56 on 16-08-2014, Michal
Wow, I completely missed that detail. That makes a lot more sense.
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at 14:29 on 15-08-2014, Ibmiller
Well, only Hero is supposed to be 15 in Nothing Much To Do (almost 16). The rest are 17-18, in their final year of high school. According to their blogs, they are all about that age in real life as well. As far as high school, I agree that it doesn't seem to have an affect on the plot, but I'm assuming they're taking the Rian Johnson's Brick approach to setting a formerly adult story in high school - high school was pretty forgettable in terms of the actual school part. Which makes the teacher in me sad, but it is apparently a thing that happens.

I couldn't really get into New Adventures of Peter and Wendy - mostly because I'm still wedded to the Jason Isaacs/Jeremy Sumpter/Rachel Hurd-Wood 2003 film, and while I appreciate what the series is doing, it's not connecting to me in a way that allows me to forget the other version (or the play).
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at 06:48 on 14-08-2014, Melanie
Holy crap, guys: Ice-Pick Lodge might be remaking Pathologic. They've already got a teaser trailer up and a countdown site; whether it's to a Kickstarter or a release I can't say.


Hot damn! ...fingers crossed that someone does an LP of it.
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