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 19:33 on 04-05-2016, Shim
I always wondered how serious it was supposed to be. Lovecraft's section is verging on self-parody, though not outright there, and Howard's section is superlatively machismic. The writing circles did a lot of joking around, so I'm not convinced it was meant to be a super-serious project. As you say, it'd be interesting to know.

Rereading it reminds me I meant to check out Long and Moore and haven't got round to it yet. Merritt's stuff is okay.

I also noticed how short the early sections are. Obviously Lovecraft is very verbose, but I wonder if it's more difficult doing the early sections where you're trying to brew up something without pinning it down too hard for the rest?
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at 15:11 on 04-05-2016, Arthur B
Relatedly, The Challenge From Beyond was kicked off by C.L. Moore, who ended up marrying fellow pulp writer/Lovecraft correspondent Henry Kuttner when he wrote her a fan letter under the impression that she was a dude.

I kind of wonder what Moore thought of the way Challenge From Beyond turned out.
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at 07:54 on 04-05-2016, Melanie
So I found this anecdote involving Lovecraft and Howard and thought of you all.
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at 03:13 on 04-05-2016, James D
Well, lore-wise the Space Marines are supposed to reflect monastic orders, while the Sisters of Battle are supposed to be nuns, and that kind of "separate but equal" thing might work if they were, y'know, at all equal in terms of spotlight, miniatures available, relative power (Sisters of Battle are more akin to elite Imperial Guard as opposed to the superhuman Space Marines, IIRC).

The easiest solution would be to just say "hey women can be space marines after all," but would it be better to make all the chapters co-ed, or make all-female chapters and thus preserve the whole "space nun" thing to go with the "space monk" thing? I mean you'd run into problems either way - if they integrate existing chapters, we'd most certainly end up with "Smurfette Syndrome", because all the Chapter Master positions are taken and all the Primarchs were dudes anyway, so there would be a couple of women like, holding bolters way off to the left somewhere in big battle scene art, and in a big army box you'd get a couple of female marines in your tactical squad or something. Who barely look any different because they're all wearing helmets anyway. Or, you go the sex-segregated route and say that the lost primarchs were women and give them all-women chapters, but there's so much lore behind the existing primarchs that any kind of new inclusion on that front is just going to seem shoehorned-in. What were these lost primarchs doing during the Horus Heresy? Just hanging out? That's no fun.

I mean probably the fairest possible thing would be to just retcon a ton of shit, gender-swap a bunch of the big primarchs, and integrate everything, but then you're left with a mountain of novels that aren't accurate anymore. Maybe there's another way I'm not seeing, but it's just such a boy's game for boys about men doing manly things with other men (NO GIRLS ALLOWED!!) from the ground up that as far as I can tell it's a "damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don't" kind of situation. Which is fitting for Warhams, I guess.
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at 23:45 on 03-05-2016, Arthur B
Header image is an Imperial Fist so I approve.
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at 22:57 on 03-05-2016, Adrienne
Of possible interest to various folks here, because Warhams (and because it's funny):
http://www.pointandclickbait.com/2016/04/female-space-marines-no-way/

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at 21:40 on 01-05-2016, Janne Kirjasniemi
Hyvää vappua! Glada vappen! Happy Walpurgis Night! Although that was last night, but those celebrating it the cool way have probably returned from their Hexennacht Jamboree by now.

On the subject of that Supes vs. Bats article, I vote for the image, but the point of the article is very illuminating. It seems that Snyder is very investedin making sure that any other filmmaker should have any fun within the DC cinematic universe ever again. At the start of the next film, Booster Gold, Blue Beetle and men of Elongated, Plastic and Animal persuasion will be summarily executed by... something or other, but not by Darkseid or anything too cartoony. At the same time, Batgirl, Batwoman and Starfire will explode in an explosion in the background.
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at 11:50 on 30-04-2016, Arthur B
That guy seems to have evaporated after dropping his drive-by comment so engage away. :D
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at 09:57 on 30-04-2016, Adrienne
I just now noticed that there was a Fionavar review that i missed weeks and weeks ago; wish i'd caught it so i could engage more. (But also holy crap, creepy MRA dude in comments. Possibly it's better I didn't?)
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at 21:16 on 29-04-2016, Arthur B
I don't know which better: this mildly spoilery article about Superman vs. Batman and how one small and apparently innocuous decision on Zach Snyder's part underscores a really wrong-headed approach to filmmaking and constructing a shared cinematic universe... or the header image.
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at 10:48 on 29-04-2016, Arthur B
Yeah, we try not to use the spoiler tag within actual articles because an article consisting of a huge slab of blank space just doesn't look good. It's better used in comments because whilst the Articles RSS feed don't deliver the full text of articles, the comments feed does deliver the full text of comments - but if you use spoiler tags the text in question is left out of the feed, so people don't get spoilers in their Feedly.

As Robinson pointed out my personal style, if I think I need to talk about spoiler-y stuff to make the point I want to make in an article, is to start the article by covering enough non-spoilery points to let the reader decide whether they want to stop now and go play/watch/listen to/experience the subject matter before getting to the spoilery bit, tacking on some spoiler space, and then discussing whatever it is I wanted to discuss.
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at 05:30 on 29-04-2016, Robinson L
@nxnwinaad: Personally, I'm pretty chill about spoilers for stuff I know I'm probably not going to read/watch/play, or I'm just on the fence about, and you can always use the spoiler tag to talk about them.

In terms of reviews, we sometimes include spoiler sections for stuff we're recommending, and I'm sure I've read at least one article from the past year or two that was a paragraph or three of generalized praise and then the whole rest of the review was given over to the spoiler section, so it wouldn't be unheard of. My philosophy is to give fair warning, then say what you have to say and let folks work out for themselves whether to read the spoilers or not.
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at 08:53 on 28-04-2016, Arthur B
@Adrienne/Robinson: Given how that voting work I think it's fair to say that, unless the next boss Sad Puppy reverses what Kate Paulk has done, the Sad Puppies have basically reformed themselves into irrelevance compared to the Rabids.

Prediction: next year the Rabids declare their slate early and sic their members on the Sad Puppy nomination process to ensure that all the Rabid nominations get on the Sad list.
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at 06:26 on 28-04-2016, nxnwinaad
@Robinson L: Highly, highly recommended, if you ever have time. They're about 10 hours each. Mostly I want to talk about giant spoilers for the end of the first one and how well it carried through narratively to the second, but I don't want to spoil them if anyone is planning to play or decides to. They're a sort of bleak post-apocalyptic Norse-inspired Oregon Trail with tactical turn-based combat, with *gorgeous* art and soundtrack. I could do a review, but it might be mostly spoilers for the first game in order to talk about the second.
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at 05:30 on 28-04-2016, Robinson L
@nxnwinaad: Whoa, funny coincidence, I just learned those games existed within, like, the past twelve hours. Obviously, I haven't played either of them, and I probably won't (really don't have much time for video games these days), but from what I've heard about them, I'd definitely be interested in hearing more about them from folks who had.

Of course, if no one else here has, or they just can't get a good discussion going, you could always submit a review ...


@Adrienne: Okay, I was wondering about Ancillary Mercy ever since I first heard it was on the Sad Puppy suggestion slate, because, yeah, the series pretty much embodies everything which - to my understanding - the Puppies are in revolt against. If you're right, I suppose I should congratulate them for sticking to their promises, even if it means playing along with being trolled by "SJWs." It also makes my prediction for the eventual fate of the Dragon Awards seem even more likely.
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at 03:41 on 28-04-2016, Adrienne
Arthur B: you don't need to feel bad about Ancillary Mercy - the Sad Puppies still DON'T like it. Several File770 regulars popped in over at MGC during the recommendation process to see if the Sad Puppies were serious about the "OPEN rec list" that they swore they were going to have by submitting works that were likely to be rejected as "message fic" or whatever. That is presumably how Mercy got on the list, since as far as I know none of the items on the list got more than a couple handfuls of separate nominations.
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at 01:41 on 28-04-2016, nxnwinaad
Hi! First-time commenting (after a long period of lurking). Has anyone played the first or recently-out second Banner Saga games? I'm dying to talk about them.
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at 18:18 on 27-04-2016, Arthur B
OK, forget Martin and File770 and Vox Day and all that noise: Inverse interviewed Chuck Tingle about this nonsense and he's given the definitive statement on Puppies:

Don’t know about any puppies but it’s BAD NEWS BEARS if you want to disrupt awards. That is a scoundrel tactic and probably part of Ted Cobbler’s devilman plan. Ted Cobbler is notorious devil and has been seen using dark magic to control puppies around the neighborhood. I do not support the devilman agenda but i think that Space Raptor Butt Invasion proves that LOVE IS REAL and no scoundrels can stop that. Especially not some dumb dogs.

So that's that then.
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at 16:33 on 27-04-2016, Arthur B
Fair point. I'd even be willing to go to bat with the argument that the artwork in the Sandman series as a whole is a more significant contribution to fantasy than the writing.
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at 16:30 on 27-04-2016, Bill
It's bugging me how everyone is shorthanding Sandman: Overture as "Gaiman" considering the excellence of JH Williams's art.
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at 14:11 on 27-04-2016, Arthur B
Further: File 770 does a decent breakdown of the shortlist, the Rabid slate, and the Sad recommendations which highlights just how well the Rabids did and just how much the Sads watered themselves down.

George R.R. Martin is calling for those whose entirely innocuous works were nominated by the Rabids (like Gaiman, Reynolds, etc.) not to withdraw them, on the basis that whilst that was an effective protest last time, it's become quite clear that Vox Day will declare victory regardless of the results, so people may as well shunt the toxic crap down under No Award but feel free to vote for works of actual merit anyway.
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at 11:25 on 27-04-2016, Arthur B
I also note that the Rabid Puppies seem to have done better than the Sad Puppies in several categories, possibly because they limited their recommendations on their list to as not to dilute their vote.
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at 11:19 on 27-04-2016, Arthur B
Abigail Nussbaum has a pretty good response to this.

I particularly agree with her point that where Puppies have made it onto the ballot, it seems to have resulted in two different outcomes:

1: The category in question has become irredeemably shat up by Puppy candidates. This seems to have mainly happened to Short Stories and Related Works. We don't have the full breakdown of the voting numbers yet and I don't have a year-by-year chart of the votes in front of me, but part of me wonders whether this has happened mostly to categories which don't usually get many nomination votes in the first place, and consequently are much more vulnerable to Puppies.

2: The category in question is near-impossible to distinguish from the way it could have plausibly shaped up in a Puppy-free year. This isn't the same thing as the Puppies having no effect, just that, as Nussbaum puts it, they've "pushed middling but not-awful work onto the ballot over better, more deserving nominees", which as she points out happens all the time in the Hugos because that's how the vote tends to work. I note that the Sad Puppies went for Star Wars: the Force Awakens and Mad Max: Fury Road, and both they and their Rabid littermates went for The Martian; is anybody seriously going to tell me that those movies were not going to be on the ballot this year if the Puppies hadn't been a factor?

I mean, strewth, the Sad Puppies went for Ancillary Mercy and so far as I am aware it meets none of their ideological criteria and is there solely to troll people who wanted to vote for it but now feel conflicted because the Puppies licked it.
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at 08:02 on 27-04-2016, Adrienne
James D: Also "Safe Space as Rape Room", which is an abortion of a hit piece. It's a terrible ballot. Noah Ward is gonna take home a number of categories again this year, I suspect.

(The GOOD news is that their success is going to tip the scales even farther in favor of EPH passing, and that should at least blunt the edges of slates in future years.)
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