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 23:54 on 12-05-2014, Ibmiller
I hope so, but sadly, as Jo Walton's piece at Tor.com notes (http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/01/what-makes-this-book-so-great-jo-walton-jonathan-strange), it's kind of unlikely. While Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is a masterpiece (one of the few from the past twenty years, that I look back and say, "That was actually a masterpiece"), it wasn't followed up, by the author or the market. Sure, there are things that peek around the sides of it now - Mary Robinette Kowal's Regency fantasies on one side, and Seanan McGuire's October Daye fairy noir on the other - but they're midlist successes, not the kind of movement-starting blockbusters that would need to sustain a phenomenon (see also: Divergent actually managing to piggyback on Hunger Games).
permalink
at 17:49 on 12-05-2014, Janne Kirjasniemi
I'm looking forward to BBC's Jonathan Strange thing. Perhaps it will spawn a veritable fae revolution! I don't know if that's a good thing, but at least it would be something else for a change. Depending on the take, the fae are sort of like vampires. Magical powerful creatures playing with mortals like they are lesser beings. But unlike vampires, which seem to popularly land on a good-bad spectrum of morality, faeries can have, depending on the take, an alien sort of morality, which might project as evil or good on a good-bad axis, but is different. On the other hand, the fae king in Jonathan Strange was pretty much evil though. Perhaps a romantic mega-bestseller or blockbuster might be more effective, to really soak people in faeries and encourage derivative works for years to come.
permalink
at 18:47 on 11-05-2014, Ibmiller
Well, Butcher has those kinds of urban fae in his Dresden books, but even though he's pretty popular, I think he's been tried by the film peeps, and it didn't work that well. (Of course, even as a conservative, I find Butcher a bit skeezy, so it's not like I'm champing at the bit for his stuff to get another film go-around).

We are getting a Jonathan Strange BBC miniseries next year, and there's that Lost Girl series in Canada.
permalink
at 08:09 on 11-05-2014, Janne Kirjasniemi
Captain Blood in Space sounds magnificent. On the other subject, perhaps the next big popular thing be elves of the fairie sort or something of that kind? They're a familiar enough concept and have a good basis in both folklore and spec. fic. literature (Tam Lin, Jonathan Strange, Gaiman &c.). The only thing needed is a breakthrough of some sort for all the other cultural manufacturers to copy to death.
permalink
at 23:23 on 10-05-2014, Michal
Does this mean we'll soon see that Captain Blood remake announced a while back? You know, the one that takes the action out from the 17th century Caribbean and sets the story in spaaaaaaaaaaace?
permalink
at 16:18 on 10-05-2014, Ibmiller
I thought pirates were the big thing in 2003? Have we cycled all the way back?
permalink
at 10:05 on 10-05-2014, Tamara
I think i'm ok (like anyone's asking :-)) with pirates being the big thing now. We've clearly exhausted vampires and Sherlock Holmes, civilizationally speaking.
permalink
at 19:24 on 05-05-2014, Ibmiller
So, NBC is apparently jumping on the Black Sails bandwagon this summer with Crossbones. Which I'll probably watch instead because the pilot of Black Sails was so achingly poorly written and miscast. Which is a shame, since I really like Toby Stephens. Though John Malkovich as Blackbeard (Whitegoatee?) is probably also miscast, this time it's much more likely to be hilariously so. With the added bonus of Richard Coyle and Claire Foy!
permalink
at 05:31 on 03-05-2014, Adrienne
Moiety is actually a great word, and a really useful anthropological concept. Wright is ... not using it particularly well, there.
permalink
at 05:14 on 01-05-2014, Janne Kirjasniemi
bullet-riddled former monsters

That would make a good name for a band.
permalink
at 22:42 on 30-04-2014, Axiomatic
Oh, and on the subject of Larry Correia, he's a man whose politics and mine shall never, ever meet on any subject, ever, but got damn if the man can't write a fun book.

I mean, it'll be a book about COURAGEOUS PRIVATE ENTERPRISE sticking it to the EVIL GOVERNMENT WHICH WANTS TO TAKE AWAY OUR GUNS, but it will also have amazing scenes where people fire fully automatic shotguns at vampires.

I guess I like Correia because his books basically lack any and all pretension. He's not Terry Goodkind, convinced he's writing deep and meaningful stuff. He's here to tell you an exciting yarn with lots of explosions and people getting punched, and the only moral lesson is that shooting vampires is AWESOME.

I mean, if you scratch a bit deeper, you start asking yourself questions like "Why are you talking about how the free market is so much better at killing vampires than the government is, when literally the only reason Monster Hunters Inc. makes any money at all is because the government is forced to pay them bounties for every monster they kill?"

But you're really not supposed to ask stuff like that. The government agents are meanies because they're government agents, our heroes are awesome and independent because they're heroes, and ancient monsters become bullet-riddled former monsters because guns are awesome.
permalink
at 22:34 on 30-04-2014, Axiomatic
Hey, moiety is a nice word! It means, uh, a society of those bug-headed women from Perdido Street Station.
permalink
at 19:54 on 29-04-2014, James D
My favorite part is when asked to be more specific regarding his claims, such as that SFWA are "a mob of perpetually outraged gray-haired juveniles" who have made "organized attempts to harass [his] readers and hurt [his] sales figures," he not only refuses, but twists his vagueness into a virtue.

Several people, both publicly and privately, have asked me for the details of my claims, to name the events and persons involved.

I politely but firmly decline to do so since some of the names are those I have worked with in the past and might work with in the future, men whose work I read with pleasure and admiration, and I seek no public shame to visit them.

Such is the courtesy which, at one time, one professional expected from another. I find it sad that I am required to explain it.

So trying back up your sweeping claims is sadly unprofessional, but the juvenile name-calling aimed at the SFWA leadership isn't? This is 1984-level doublethink here, folks.
permalink
at 07:24 on 29-04-2014, Michal
Even better, here's a screencap.

(Yes he used the word "moiety." And "jihad.")
permalink
at 06:24 on 29-04-2014, Adrienne
Michal, do you have a link? i'm sure he resigned because it's a hotbed of liberal pinko commies or something but i'm curious.
permalink
at 03:12 on 29-04-2014, Michal
Oh hey, J*hn C. Wr!ght apparently resigned from the SFWA today. Who'd a thunk it?
permalink
at 00:15 on 29-04-2014, Arthur B permalink
at 17:34 on 28-04-2014, Arthur B
Gotta say, I'd be more impressed by VD's efforts if he'd got onto the Hugo Ballot in a year which actually meant something. (I have this mental image of him breaking into the 1963 ballot and upsetting everyone by referring to a certain other nominated work as a "delightful utopia".)
permalink
at 17:00 on 28-04-2014, Michal
I am now of the view that the only good that will come from this year's Hugos are some snarky reviews. VD wanted in on the ballot solely to upset people (and Correia put him there for the same reason), not to win, not even to prove the Hugos are "just a popularity contest" like he & Correia claim, because everyone already knew that.

VD has proven that you can indeed gain success and notoriety solely by shitting in other people's breakfast. He is a thoroughly mediocre artist and would have never gained a large following otherwise.
permalink
at 07:12 on 25-04-2014, James D
I'm sure his supporters care far more about his message than his writing quality; that sort of attitude seems rather common in the far right. I mean, Terry Goodkind can't write for shit and yet he's famous as hell.

I don't agree with their views but I have to admire their ability to mobilize support - to me the fact that VD got nominated seems like less of a knock against the tactics he used and more a of a knock against the complacency of the rest of the fanbase.
permalink
at 02:41 on 25-04-2014, Adrienne
Hah! I remember the Mormon space whale rape story! I actually just saw some new snark about it the other day (rehash of the old snark, mostly). It was a terrible story, but it doesn't surprise me that VD's is worse. The man's blog posts are turgid and unreadable.
permalink
at 18:07 on 24-04-2014, Michal
I have read the story in question.

I don't know if anyone remembers the snark directed at the Hugo-nominated Mormom space whale rape story a few years ago...but that story was significantly better than VD's novelette.

Nothing. Happens. It's a set of religious dialogues thinly cloaked in a story, only most of the dialogues are missing, and what is there reads like someone trying to imitate Augustine and Thomas Aquinas and completely failing because, well, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas were highly intelligent and very clear writers while VD isn't. So instead we get stuff that reads like Friar Tuck's troll logic in The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, only Friar Tuck's troll logic was meant to be a joke.

Blech.
permalink
at 13:57 on 24-04-2014, Adrienne
James Hogan is dead -- has been for a few years now -- so I'd be impressed if he were patent trolling at this point.

In re the Hugo nominations, here's a delightful review of the nominated VD novella: http://secritcrush.livejournal.com/485664.html
permalink
at 23:35 on 22-04-2014, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Michal, I think you should handle this the way I handle all my disagreements I have over the Internet with people I owe money to: send a polite email requesting that they fight you IRL. Works wonders.

Also, I thought that name was "James Hogan," which was a bit surprising (though not as surprising as reading his bio). Still, that's only half as good as the moment I typed "James Logan" into Google and began wondering whether Wolverine had invented podcasting during Claremont's run or Morrison's.
permalink