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 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".)
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.
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.
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.
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.

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:
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.
at 21:19 on 21-04-2014, Adrienne
Robinson L, it goes back several years in some form. I'll try to track you down a concise link, because a lot of it is VERY Inside Baseball.

Correia isn't in the same league as VD -- no one is -- but he's a wingnut, he says vile things on a pretty regular basis, and he's been insisting for a couple years now that the Hugos are CONTROLLED! BY! EVIL! LEFTISTS! and worthy works (like his, natch) can't possibly win since they're not PC enough.
at 20:30 on 21-04-2014, Robinson L
I only barely remember this stuff about the logrolling campaign - would anyone care to refresh my memory?

Also, can someone give me the lowdown on Larry Correia? I know (enough of) Vox Day's story from previous Playpen discussions. Correia, on the other hand, I know mostly from discussion of his work (and one guest appearance on the Writing Excuses podcast; given the venue and what I've heard about him on it, I would have him pegged as someone who probably has some opinions I find abhorrent, but not necessarily as a wingnut on the order of Mr. Beale.
at 18:32 on 21-04-2014, Adrienne
Natalie Luhrs also has a good reaction post over at the Radish.
at 18:18 on 21-04-2014, Michal
I suspect that ranking the works on the "sad puppy ballot" below No Award will be spun to prove that Hugo voters are voting on political lines rather than literary merit, thus proving it's a leftist thing that only goes to "message fic" like, uh, Redshirts.
at 12:28 on 21-04-2014, Tamara
It just looks to me like Hurley and Scalzi are both trying to find a silver lining, or say that it doesn't really matter. Which, of course, it doesn't, in the grand scheme of things - but in the very tiny teacup of people who care about the Hugos? I think it's a big deal.
at 10:31 on 21-04-2014, Adrienne
Also, Tamara, I haven't forgotten your earlier question about things I find traumatic, in fiction -- it's just a slightly hard one to answer, and I'm always struggling with how best to explain it to people.
at 10:27 on 21-04-2014, Adrienne
I am also considering grabbing a supporting membership to vote, this year. Not that I can do anything about Best Novel -- Ancillary Justice deserves it, but fucking Wheel of Time is going to nail it, for all our sins -- but there are several other categories in which I'd like to be a drop in the bucket.
at 10:16 on 21-04-2014, Adrienne
Tamara, I think Scalzi's post about this over at Whatever (and the conversation in the comments, at least the non-stupid part of that conversation) make a valuable counterpoint to your argument. :) Not that your perspective isn't valid -- it is OFFENSIVE to me that people are doing this bullshit, and i think Correia and Beale are both loathesome human beings -- but the Hugos have survived a lot of bullshit and they will survive this.

Also, Kameron Hurley (who has been nominated for two Hugos, herself -- one for best fan writer and one for best related work) has a great post about it here with yet another perspective.
at 09:36 on 21-04-2014, Tamara
I don't see whether they win or not being the issue at all. I don't think for a moment that they will, and I don't think Vox et al particularly expect to win. Nor will it be a 'victory' for the rest of us if they end up placing below "no award" or coming dead last (which I'm pretty sure they will) or anything. No, this round is to them. They made the point they wanted to make and got the attention they wanted to get, with much more success than they deserve.
at 09:18 on 21-04-2014, Adrienne
Also note that while Hugo nominations go by simple plurality, Hugo awards use instant-runoff voting, which is much harder to game. So on the downside, some awesome shit got left off the ballot because Correia and Beale are assholes; but on the upside, they'll find it's much harder to actually win than it is to be nominated.
at 07:17 on 21-04-2014, Tamara
That said, I am kind of enjoying the Hugo being grounds for contention and controversy, and not in the grouchy this-is-not-to-my-taste, get-off-my-lawn Christopher Priest way but at least rooted in genuine ideological battles.

I wonder how this would play if there had been a concentrated campaign to get someone on the ballot - some self published monster porn or something - without the ideological baggage. Then again, I don't think you could get a sufficient mass of people to fork over ...50$?... even if they fans, without that political catalyst. Authors campaign to get their stuff in all the time...not that many succeed.
at 07:11 on 21-04-2014, Tamara
Yeah, it's not like "reform Hugo voting" is a new thing, but this is someone who obviously and transparently managed to kind of game the system. That is, what they did was perfectly fair, as far as anyone can tell, but clearly against the spirit of the nominating process, which wouldn't have been possible with a broader pool. Most other criticism has been a vaguer, less concentrated thing - ballots aren't representative...ballots aren't good...well, representative of what? What's representative, what's good? It's much easier to agree that the success of a systemic campaign by a small handful of rightwing fucknuts to influence the ballot is not representative or good.
at 00:53 on 21-04-2014, Michal
This should totally be a red light for the narrow Hugo voter base (and this was it's best year ever...) Reform! Reform! What do we want? Sensible bureaucratic measures taken to consider a broader nominating pool!

I can see some good things coming of this.

a. Larry & friends could experience huge blowback for their vote stacking and end up ranking below "no award." Even if that doesn't happen, none of them come out looking all that good for their efforts ('cause seriously, getting an award this way just comes across as sleazy).

b. If it's this easy to game the Hugos there will be more pressure to change the process...though all the complaints and anger over previous Hugos didn't manage to achieve that.

c. Way distant third: Voxy's novelette will probably be in the Hugo packet. His books are put out by a small Christian press that gets very little attention and his Amazon/Goodreads reviews are almost solely drawn from the sycophants on his blog (plus he attacks or tries to pull down negative reviews with a vengeance). This is possibly the first time his fiction will come under critical scrutiny from outside his fan base...and the resulting explosion on his part is going to be mighty fun to watch.
His fiction is terrible.
at 11:30 on 20-04-2014, Jamie Johnston
Hopping in slightly late (as usual) to the webcomics thread. It's been ages since I caught up with Bad machinery but I used to really like it. In fact the only reason I haven't read it for so long is because I keep waiting for a nice chunk of free time to enjoy the catch-up. Also Girls with slingshots, which you all probably know about already, and Nimona.

For short funnies with no particular ongoing narrative I enjoy Buttersafe, Poorly drawn lines, The non-adventures of Wonderella, and (like everyone else) Hark, a vagrant!. Kate Beaton's tumblr is also worth checking out for in between Hark updates.

A recent discovery somewhere between 'ongoing story' and 'joke of the week' comics is Chaos life.

It's been nice to see other people's recommendations, quite a few of which I hadn't heard of and shall check out!
at 07:24 on 20-04-2014, Tamara
Oh, and XKCD has a nomination too ;D