This one time at Writer's Camp…
Category Archives: News
So at a very odd hour late last night, I went ahead and wrote a review over at Shiny Book Review. To say that it was an adventure is an understatement. Reputedly, this author has a history of lashing out at reviewers, so we’ll see just how interesting things get around here.
I mentioned elsewhere that the ideal author response to any review is a “thank you for writing a review”. That should be it. Drop mic, exit stage left, fade to black. For some reason some authors feel the need to tell the reviewer that what they read was not what was written, and they missed subtle nuances, etc. Word of advice: if the reviewer missed it, then it’s possible it wasn’t there in the first place.
Nobody knows the story and the characters as well as the author, and it’s completely understandable to see something that the reader does not because you know the characters and story so much better. It’s okay, really. However, lashing out and yelling at book reviewers (or going creepy cyber stalker, like this author did) is not the way to go. You are a professional now, damn it. Try and remember that, even if your Twitter feed is nothing but hyperbole and pictures of lattes (nothing wrong with either, actually).
T-minus five days and counting until Honorcon.
You might be wondering what panels I’ll be doing, or what I plan on talking about, but you may be surprised to know that I’m actually working this convention for The Official Honor Harrington Fan Association. Being the Volunteer Coordinator is, well, a job that nobody wanted so I volunteered (ha!). It’s been an eye opener, and I’ll definitely remember how hard the concom works leading up to any con that I will attend in the future. It’s not like I’m a difficult guest (at least, I don’t think I am… I have almost no requests for anything except a free ticket for my handler), but it’s always good to keep in mind the hard work that goes into running a convention.
Other than that, still writing, still reading various books and trying to find the time to review them. I have both Shattered Shields and The Baen Big Book of Monsters to review, plus a couple of Irene Radford novels. It’s not that I don’t want to review them, really. It’s just that I don’t have the time right now. Between finalizing the purchase of the new house and wrapping up Murder World: Kaiju Dusk and the con, time seems to have just zipped away. Ooh, there it went again!
However, Barb did manage to review Michael Z. Williamson’s Freehold over the weekend (one of my favorite books of all time). I don’t think she was as enamored as I with the book, but she still gave it a very positive review. She’s pretty much carrying Shiny Book Review right now, for which I’m extremely grateful (how she finds the time is beyond me).
Of course, while complaining about a decided lack of spare time, I volunteered to help out with the Youth Bake Sale at church…
Also, the lack of time has been the primary reason I haven’t written anything about #GamerGate yet. I keep meaning to but then life happens, as it usually does, and internet fighting usually takes a backseat to real life for me. I might finally write up something next week, maybe. No promises. People are going to call me a “Johnny Come Lately” (they still use that phrase, right?), but whatever. I have more important things to worry about.
Like finding the time to finish this damn book.
Speaking of, there’s still time to purchase Murder World: Kaiju Dawn and help support My Generous Lords, the Great and Terrible Kittehs! in their world domination scheme.
Late last night, while watching an absolutely atrocious movie, I had a thought experiment come to mind. I dismissed it quickly enough, since the whole point that the director tried to make was his attempt to cause the viewer to “think” (when, in reality, the message was more “I’m smarter and morally superior than you”, but whatever), but then I had a dream about it and how it correlates to the current dust-up in Science Fiction/Fantasy (yes, it’s coming full circle). I’ll pose the moral quandary here for you, and let you decide.
Let us begin.
- There is a train coming. There are 5 individuals of varying nationalities (everyday Joe’s so to speak) tied to the train tracks who will most certainly die if they remain there. There is a lever which you can pull that will divert the train onto another set of tracks. On this second set of tracks, however, is noted white English author Iain Banks (he’s still alive for this thought experiment). Iain Banks will surely die if you divert the train. Do you sacrifice Mr. Banks to save the five everyday Joe’s? Or do you sacrifice the average Joe’s to save the noted author?
Let’s take it up a notch, shall we?
- There is a train coming. There are 5 white men tied to the train tracks who will most certainly die if they remain there. There is a lever which you can pull that will divert the train onto another set of tracks. On this second set of tracks, however, is noted African-American poet Maya Angelou (again, let’s presume that she’s still alive for this experiment). Maya Angelou will surely die if you divert the train. Do you sacrifice Ms. Angelou to save the 5 white men? Or do you sacrifice the 5 white men to save the noted poet?
Thinking yet? Well then, let’s not stop there. I want to keep going because, well, philosophy and sh*t.
- There is a train coming. There are 5 impoverished minority children tied to the train tracks who will most certainly die if they remain there. There is a lever which you can pull that will divert the train onto another set of tracks. On this second set of tracks, however, is noted physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Neil deGrasse Tyson will surely die if you divert the train. Do you sacrifice Dr. Tyson to save the 5 impoverished minority children? Or do you sacrifice the 5 impoverished minority children to save the renowned physicist?
Let’s do one more, just to put some knickers in a twist.
- There is a train coming. There are 5 wealthy, snobby, bratty white American children tied to the train tracks who will most certainly die if they remain there. There is a lever which you can pull that will divert the train onto another set of tracks. One this second set of tracks, however, is noted author (and outed pedophile) Marion Zimmer Bradley. Marion Zimmer Bradley will surely die if you divert the train. Do you sacrifice Ms. Bradley to save the 5 insanely wealthy, snobby, bratty white American children? Or do you sacrifice the 5 insanely wealthy, snobby, bratty white American children in order to save the famed author and pedophile?
Some of you have already decided that the “Greater Good” trumps all, and that the 5 saved are always better than the 1 lost. However, do you really want to run the risk of losing such an established individual like deGrasse just to have, say three of the five kids you saved die from malnutrition or other diseases, before they’re 20? Think about the loss to humanity if someone like deGrasse were suddenly removed, and none of the five ever come close to his level of intellect or contribution to humanity. Do you save the physicist and murder five children?
Some of you immediately went to saving the noted individuals because you know them, and they’re famous. Much like how society now looks to those who are famous being more important that those who are not, you attached yourself to the idea of saving Maya Angelou and letting the five white men die. But ask yourself… did you put Ms. Angelou ahead of saving the white men because of her contributions to society, or do you feel that race and guilt made the decision for you?
The problem with a moral quandary like this is that there is no right answer (except for the last one, but that’s to come). How do you value one over the other? How does an individual choose?
Well, this is where your own perceptions of what is important come into play for this thought experiment. Your judgment is based on who you identify with, who you associate yourself with, and who your “tribe” is.
Part of what bothers me in this current dust-up is that the legions on one side are lashing out at the problem instead of addressing it, then fall into this sort of congratulatory mutual masturbation session in which they pat each other on the back while jerking each other off (inelegant, I know). The moral problems are still there, but instead of making a decision, they’re attacking the questions posed. They may even say that the root of the moral problems I posed above boil down to “RACISM!” and attack me for this. There may even be harsh language.
With the exception of the final problem (let the pedophile die, and pop up some popcorn so the children can enjoy the show is my vote), there isn’t an easy decision to make in the group. If you found any of them easy, then you may want to check your perceptions of what is important or not. If you picked Maya Angelou over the five white men, for example, did you just condemn five innocent men to die? Or if you picked to save the five white men, aren’t you worried someone may turn around and call you racist for not choosing the African-American woman (oh come one, you knew that was coming)?
But since 3 of the 4 questions aren’t really that “fair”, a Progressive minority might casually dismiss the philosophical implications of the decisions and instead attack me, the questioner. This would make sense to some, since after all, I’m the one who dared to include racial stats into the equation. But if that’s the case, would it make your decision easier? Would it make your decision simpler if it were just five men on the tracks versus Maya Angelou? Or five white kids versus Neil deGrasse Tyson? What do you, personally, place value upon when you look at life?
Take this all into comparison with the current dust-up in SF/F and you might… MIGHT… begin to understand. For some within the SFWA community, battle lines MUST be drawn. The very soul of science fiction is at stake, they’ll argue. It is their job to protect it from racism, sexism, misogyny and whatever other buzzword of the week is.
Finally… back to the philosophical questions posed above. Please, I want you to be honest with me (and yourself) in this matter… but did you even think of asking if there was someone else around who could help you save everyone? Because, despite your protestations otherwise, you are not the moral majority and you do NOT get to decide who lives and who dies. NOBODY has that right. You do not get to choose whether Neil deGrasse Tyson is more important that anyone else, or that anyone else is more important that Dr. Tyson.
Or, in the case of Science Fiction/Fantasy, you do not get to determine what is the heart, and what is the soul, and you definitely don’t get to decide what is good and what is bad.
Since Kaiju Apocalypse II is being released this weekend (or next week, not entirely sure at this time), Eric and I are working on the third book and final book of the series right now (untitled, but I’d lay money on something like Kaiju Apocalypse III. Fits the theme, ya know?). We also happen to be working on Murder World: Kaiju Dusk as well, which we’ll talk about while at Libertycon this year (plotting and planning some details, mostly just hanging out). I think it’s safe to say that I have quite a few books coming out this year (4 so far, and 5-7 more scheduled). It’s nice, but it’s terrifying at the same time. You always have that niggling little voice of doubt in the back of your head telling you that you are way out of your depth.
Okay, so mine carries around a bullhorn. Big whoop.
The contest is still live. So far, a whopping 7 people have signed up. Now, I know I’ve sold more copies than that of Murder World: Kaiju Dawn, so you people need to get off your butts and enter before it’s too late.
Tomorrow I’ll be over at the Mad Genius Club for my monthly rant. Yep, first Friday of every month I go over there and try to talk about writing (thought lately it seems that everything else but writing gets talked about). I’ll use .gifs to make it fun, though. I always try to make it fun, especially things that make people very uncomfortable talking about.
…I would have been an interesting proctologist.
Well, the Kindle version of Murder World: Kaiju Dawn is out and available now. Best of all, there was a slight cover change (I’m a horrible human being). You should buy this book. It has one of my favorite characters ever in it.
Similar in appearance to Kaiju Apocalypse (but a different universe and story altogether, I promise) here is the rough draft cover for Murder World: Kaiju Dawn. Co-authored with Eric S. Brown again (we make quite the team — this is the third book we’ve collaborated on in the past 8 months), it should see a release over the next few weeks.
That turnaround time has to be some sort of record.
Murder World has a new title and a home. Severed Press (those who brought you Kaiju Apocalypse by myself and Eric S. Brown) bought it Wednesday morning (less than 12 hours after we finished it), and we decided to go with a different title. It’s now Murder World: Kaiju Dawn.
Why did we do this, you ask? Well, two reasons. The first is marketing. With Murder World, quite a few people asked me if I had written a Marvel novel. I had no idea that the name was shared by anything until someone pointed me in the right direction. So… slide in the secondary title of Kaiju Dawn and suddenly it’s an easy genre to guess (is giant stomping creatures of death a genre yet? It should be). Secondly, this leaves us open to write the sequel, Murder World: Kaiju Darkness.
I’m an evil man, what can I say?
Then today I got the contract in the mail for Wraithkin. This has been a long time coming (six years, two months since I began this novel) and it’s a very nice feeling to have this book out there. The publisher, Naked Reader Press, is one I specifically chose for this book. I like their writers and their editors, and that means quite a bit to me in the grand scheme of things. I mean, if you can’t stand what a publisher puts out there for the world to read, then why in the heck would you want them to publish your book?
So two books sold in the week, Kaiju Apocalypse is still hanging around in the Top 100 on Amazon (go awesome people!) and there is, more than likely, another Murder World book on the way. This has been a rather good week.
And, at long last, I can show off the cover for Hero’s Best Friend, which contains my story Hill 142, the untold (and completely alternate) version of the Battle of Belleau Wood during World War One.
Edit: Oh, I probably should mention that this is coming out in the next few weeks from Seventh Star Press. Here’s their website.