• Member Since 11th Apr, 2012
  • offline last seen July 15th

Bad Horse

Beneath the microscope, you contain galaxies.

More Blog Posts698

  • 5 weeks
    Strong film rec: Ёжик в тумане (Hedgehog in the Fog, 1975)

    Great Russian authors have a reputation for being wordy. Yuri Norstein, director of Ёжик в тумане (Hedgehog in the Fog), is not. There are words, and they are important; but there aren't many. It's a 10-minute stop-motion-and-animation film "about" a hedgehog lost in fog. But like Tony Earley said and I stole, "A story is about a thing and

    Read More

    8 comments · 298 views
  • 5 weeks
    I need volunteers to run "And That's How Equestria was Made" at Everfree NW

    Who's going to Everfree NW (near Seattle, Aug 13-15)? You can reply here, but you get bonus Internet points if you reply on the fimfiction Convention Planning page for Everfree NW 2021.

    Read More

    4 comments · 178 views
  • 17 weeks
    WallStreetBets is a cult

    You Can't Squeeze the Same Lemon Twice

    I've been looking into the recent GameStop (stock symbol GME) saga, including lurking in reddit/WallStreetBets. I'm not gonna write my usual lengthy explication, supported with references and quotations, 'coz I'm busy. But I want to warn you ponies not to go ape for GME.

    Read More

    33 comments · 716 views
  • 18 weeks
    Hugo nominations close tomorrow (Friday) evening

    The nominating period for the 2021 Hugo Awards, Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, and Astounding Award for Best New Writer opened on January 25 and will remain open until 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT; UTC – 7) on March 19, 2021.

    Read More

    21 comments · 397 views
  • 38 weeks
    Don't Forget

    I've visited every historical museum, festival, re-creation, or archeological site that I had the chance to since I first got my driver's license--except US civil war re-enactments. They made me nervous.

    Read More

    9 comments · 879 views

Hugo nominations close tomorrow (Friday) evening · 3:09pm March 18th

The nominating period for the 2021 Hugo Awards, Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, and Astounding Award for Best New Writer opened on January 25 and will remain open until 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT; UTC – 7) on March 19, 2021.

The 2021 Hugo Awards are for science fiction, fantasy, and maybe horror if it's by someone the SFF community likes like Neil Gaiman, published in 2020. I know, it's confusing.

The Astounding award was called the John W Campbell award until Jeannette Ng, while accepting her Campbell award, denounced him as a white male fascist. If you want to talk about this, let me know, and I'll create a separate blog post for talking about it.

Are any of you eligible to vote for the Hugo awards?

Can any of you name a ponyfic you'd nominate? The only story posted in 2020 that I added to my favorites was Expert Amateur by TheBandBrony.

Fan fiction is eligible for all fiction categories. It's not likely to win any category other than fan fiction, but it could get on the ballot, leading many people to read it (I think voters are sent copies of the nominated stories? Anybody know for sure?)

Report Bad Horse · 397 views · #Hugo #fandom
Comments ( 21 )

Here's a good article on the John W. Campbell thing, from Doctorow.

Cory Doctorow: Jeannette Ng Was Right: John W. Campbell Was a Fascist

And another from Scalzi.

Jeannette Ng, John W. Campbell, and What Should Be Said By Whom and When

And they were far from the only ones who note his problematic beliefs and behaviour. Quite a few writers also considered him a fascist, most notably Michael Moorcock.

Short version: They both agree that Campbell was a profound racist and sexist, who approved of the government murder of protestors at Kent State (among others), and had generally fascist leanings.


My 2020 favorites list is kinda short too. If I had a say, I'd nominate SS&E's "PROTOTY." The sublimely inventive use of emojis merits heaps of awards.

5478011 So, you're right about him being sexist [1]; and also right about him being "racist", although it turns out his racism was not the kind which believes one breed of humans is inherently superior to another, but that it could temporarily pull ahead of another population of humans in intelligence, but only temporarily. My primary reference is his letter to Tom Godwin of Aug 12, 1953.

However, he was no more racist or sexist than Jeannette Ng, who, remember, denounced him in that speech for advocating "white male" views.

I would be very surprised if he were ever fascist; but discussing that would require agreeing on what we mean by "fascist", which in itself would probably produce a dozen comments of argument and still not lead to agreement.

I've trimmed my post in the probably- vain hope of preventing this post's comments becoming a war over Campbell.

[1] Scalzi was wrong in writing that Campbell "leaned hard on Tom Godwin to kill the girl in “Cold Equations” in order to turn his story into a parable about the foolishness of women and the role of men in guiding them to accept the cold, hard facts of life." Campbell wrote about why he made that character female, and that wasn't why. But I think I'll show that, if ever, in some other post, to try to confine the culture war to particular posts.

I would be very surprised if he were ever fascist; but discussing that would require agreeing on what we mean by "fascist", which in itself would probably produce a dozen comments of argument and still not lead to agreement.

Reminds me of some multinational committee or other unanimously agreeing to denounce terrorism long before they agreed on what "terrorism" actually was.

How, exactly, we went from "Hugo nominations closes tomorrow", to "this is the new declared racist/nazist/facist we choosed to cancel this week...but it is monday yet, so give us time, and we´ll find more" ?

Christ, I mean, if we really had to care about what all the writers had thought or done before reading their books, our bookshelves would be severely depleted.

5478199 Yep, and our great-grandchildren will wonder why the bestselling author Dr. Seuss only had one book.

Personally, I don't care what an author believes. (gasp) Do they write interesting stories? Then I'll read them. Do they tend to write mindless pap on either side of the political spectrum? Then probably not. The best authors I've found to read are the interesting ones, and that generally means "Authors who are not much like me" because if I wanted to read me, I'd have to write me, and that's a lot of work. I'll read author blogs that I disagree with 85% of the time and still happily read their next blog just as quick, if they're interesting. Scalzi and Hoyt spring immediately to mind.

FYI on topic and speaking of interesting, I just read All Things Huge and Hideous by G. Scott Huggins (Ok, I cheated and had the library order it, but it still counts as a sale for him). Falls into that narrow crack between young adult and slightly older, but enjoyed it greatly. He plugged it on a Life, The Universe, and Everything panel, so I had to see what it was.

Chris #9 · March 19th · · 1 ·

I need to read more horsewords. I've read barely anything published in 2020, so I can't do much recommending of recent fanfic!


That's just how words work, though; that's like saying "we all agreed that people should be good, but couldn't agree on what 'good' meant."


So... as an elementary educator, I've been baffled by this Dr. Seuss thing. Maybe, as a right-wing culture warrior, you can enlighten me: why is it a big deal this year, all of a sudden? Why weren't people upset in 2019, or 2020, when there was also no partnership with the Seuss estate for Read Across America day? I can't imagine it's about the estate not renewing publication on a handful of books, since that has nothing to do with the NEA or with any politician (and since that's who I see people getting angry at, rather than at the Seuss estate itself). Why are people only getting upset this year, about something that's been going on since 2019?

Georg #10 · March 19th · · 1 ·

5478430 I'm not really a right-wing culture warrior, more like an overweight geek in sandals carrying a pointed stick, but I'll give it a shot by starting at the basics.

Hey, pay attention to me! (or more commonly known as Virtue Signaling, a common disease of both the Left and Right)

The bigger the target, the more virtue you signal. In this case, Dr. Seuss had the unmitigated gall to create a bestselling line of children's books in the 50s that do not hew to the modern era of inclusivity by having a particular fraction of minority representation, and those minorities he has in his books are represented poorly. (In their opinion. I'm certain certain over-signaled heads would pop off if they read Ping the Duck or The Five Chinese Brothers from my childhood library, or viewed certain WW2 cartoons.) Modern media didn't help by piling on, and now the emboldened ignoramuses will proceed to find another something to hyperventilate about, and the Legions of Perpetual Outrage will raise their battle flags once again. It's the 'Avalanche' that gets people in trouble, because I'm fairly certain that somebody somewhere is upset about everything that has ever gone onto paper. And it will only get worse in the future as we get more interconnected, and millions of idiots are able to 'spontaneously' overreact about trivia in a matter of minutes. There's a randomness to it all that makes Chaos Theory look like a marching band, although at times it gets directed from behind the scenes (as much as Discord can be steered anywhere.)

Seriously, I was worried that during the MLP run that some major media type would make a backhanded comment or wear a shirt wrong, and the howling mass of morons would descend on the ponies. Can you seriously imagine the screeching if Baron Trump had been seen in public wearing a Rainbow Dash t-shirt even once?


...Okay, but none of that answered my question. Why is this an issue this year, when Seuss books haven't been a featured part of Read Across America day for three years? Why are people getting upset at the president and the NEA now, but didn't notice or care in 2020 and 2019?

Georg #12 · March 19th · · 1 ·

5478483 (shrugs) Hey, if I could predict pseudo-random stuff like that, I would have made a fortune off fidget spinners. 'Avalanche' is a good term for it, because you can't tell exactly when it's going to happen or what direction it's going to tear off in, but various big companies spend millions of dollars on people just as clueless as myself only they're better liars about it. You're going to see an exaggerated response if a major media outlet like The Atlantic for example does a story on 'how people are upset about X' because all the other cool kids will then follow up with stories of their own. "If it bleeds, it leads." (And the press is more than happy to provide the knife)

It begins by books, and it will gradually spread to any sort of publicly available media. I’m sure sooner or later there will be an outcry over the way minorities are under- or mis-represented in all the movies shot before, say, the 80s. Maybe those movies will be chucked aside, and replaced by newer, bowdlerised versions, acceptable to the eyes of the hordes. Hasn't it already begun with 'Dumbo'?

Why is it an issue this year? There’s probably no answer to that. I mean it's totally random. But basically it’s like we’re living on a room full of gas, or kindling. Nothing happens until someone hits two flints one against the other and poof! suddenly a big conflagration.

What's worse, is that this process is doomed to backfire. Once everything will get expunged, there will be no evidence left to contradict revisionists, or people who claim that racism, or every other sort of discrimination, never existed.

This rewriting of the past aimed at concealing all that’s not proper to modern eyes was, alas, already outlined in Orwell's 1984.

Sunny #14 · March 19th · · 1 ·

If the estate had said 'We arent making copies anymore because they dont sell well' nobody would bat an eye.

Like seriously books go out of print all the time.

In the end all it is is 'Hey we dont think this is very good anymore so we're stopping producing more of it'. Like, every existing copy is still out there, I am sure digitized copies exist, no knowledge is being lost here.

It's being cleared off the shelves for new stuff, and like, yay? We have 70 years of Children's Literature since Seuss to include, pick from, etc.

I don't see a lot of hand wringing over the fact Horatio Alger books aren't as prominent as they once were, for example.

Well I know Seuss's case is a storm in a cup of tea. I'd argue it’s the undercurrent that matters.

Might be an isolated case. But it seems to bud everywhere these days. Like, the recent rebranding of that famous Agatha Christie's novel (Ten Little N…) in French. So far, no one cared. So yeah, it’s 'cosmetic'. But still I can’t help but twitch.

5478483 Ok, Chris. Did some more research. I can't tell you *why* people do this kind of crap (much like this midwestern kid has no clue why people spray paint buildings with obscenities) but I can give you an idea *how* people whip up media and social frenzy. There's an excellent book 'Trust Me I'm Lying' by Ryan Holiday that details his career as a social media manipulator and how he's made a living out of creating this kind of mindless frenzy. It's a little like watching an auto accident as you drive by. Certainly something a prospective minion applying to the Evil League of Evil would be interested in.


Sounds like a depressing read. It's just sad to think that so many people can get whipped into a frenzy over something like this. "Look at this thing that happened years ago, that you never even noticed! Well, trust me, even though it self-evidently changed nothing, it's suddenly an existential threat to your very way of life!"

Thanks for the response; let's both hope that some of the people complaining about how "They canceled Dr. Seuss!" can come around to more event-based, less narrative-driven decision-making.

People hated Campbell while he was still alive, too, and for the reasons Ng cites. But he was so important to everybody's careers that nobody could safely criticize him.

One of the few who dared, a bit, was Randall Garrett. He used to sing a cheeky little parody of the old street ballad "Oh, No, John" that later made it into the Hopsfa Hymnal. I heard it from the man himself at IguanaCon in 1978. The entire lobby of the Phoenix Hilton joined in on the chorus...

..."Well, then" says the Master, smiling
"Since my wisdom you deny
Would you rather sell to others
Where the rates aren't quite so high?"

...so it seems the sentiment was widely shared.

He had a nose for a good story and a keen business sense. He worked hard and delivered the goods, on time and under budget. But so do lots of other editors. The key to his success, I think, was that he found a bunch of nerds he could bully, and became their overlord. In this he was like Harlan Ellison, or Hemingway, or like every editor of The New Yorker:

Though I do recall Ellison actually calling him a fascist in print, more or less, but I guess everybody thought that was just Harlan being Harlan. Well, I did at least.

EDIT: calling it the Astounding award is a good move. It memorializes the best thing Campbell did. That's no bad way to be remembered.

EDIT EDIT: Oh Christ I completely forgot about The Iron Dream, an absurdist alternate-history novel in which Adolf Hitler, instead of becoming the Fuhrer and starting World War II, becomes a popular SF author. The work is a thinly-disguised lampoon of several prominent SF figures, chiefly L. Ron Hubbard, but now it seems to take a smack at Campbell too.

Huh. I quit The Iron Dream after the first chapter, without ever getting to the framing story, thinking it was just straight-up fascist fantasy. I thought I'd been misled by people who said it was a parody.


Well, there you go: it's a joke. It worked better when SF was smaller and pretty much everybody knew that Spinrad was a leftist. Even then some folks didn't get it.

Then again, a joke that takes 200 pages to tell and has to be explained afterwards isn't a very good joke (it is, however, very German).

Someone should write a book of jokes that work only in German, because they all work by having an unexpected verb at the end.

Login or register to comment