Cheeseburger Gothic

Space Rhino gonna have Space Lizard for breakfast

Posted August 8, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

Been listening to Chris Nuttall's Ark Royal series on Audible. It's hugely enjoyable for a bit of walloping po-faced silliness. Long story short? A couple of hundred years in the future aliens attack! They wipe out all the modern space carriers Earth sends to face them, but one lumbering, iron clad behemoth captained by a disgraced drunk still stands in their way.

It's not going to challenge any of Iain M Banks' Culture novel's for literary awseome and there are times I shake my head at moments of balsa wood dialogue and exposition. But what the hell. They're great fun, which is all you want from a space opera, and I will undoubtedly read or listen to every one.

I was nonetheless part way through Vol 2 The Nelson Touch on the way back from the school run this morning when I was suddenly brought undone by the following passage:

"Beside him, wearing combat battle dress, was Major General Roger Ross, a heavy set man with a reputation for winning against impossible odds. The United States Marine Corps had sent their best and brightest to the fight... They called Ross, the Rhino."

You can imagine my distress.

I thought we had something special, Rhino. I thought I was the only one.

28 Responses to ‘Space Rhino gonna have Space Lizard for breakfast’

Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted August 8, 2014
Pretty sure that Space Rhino is having cronuts for breakfast. With a ridiculous cigar.

Have you read Max Barry's Lexicon yet? Why not?

My trashy technothriller this week is "Kill Decision" by Daniel Suarez. Recommended by none other than Warren Ellis. Much splody. Very technothriller. Wow.


Surtac asserts...

Posted August 10, 2014
Well of course a space lizard is going to subscribe to something called Orbital Operations. I too read Kill Decision this week, for the same reasons.
Lots of gunfire and 'splosions. Much fun. With weaver ants and swarming autonomous drones for extra scares.

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Dino not to be confused with would have you know...

Posted August 8, 2014
I could so be that disgraced drunk JB.
Method acting?
Just give me a fuckin' braek...

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Guy mutters...

Posted August 8, 2014
I've read the first of the Ark Royal trilogy and wholly agree with JB's comments. I've also read several of Mr Nuttall's other works - currently trying a rather fun alien invasion story called "Their Darkest Hour". Nuttall has a fondness for referencing other genre writers/films/tv shows. I would guess that it's highly likely that the appearance of Mr Rhino Ross is no coincidence. He reads your books JB, just as you read his.

Rhino asserts...

Posted August 9, 2014
Guy ... actually, I've read Chris' stuff for a long while now he runs in the same Baen circles that I do and he's aware of the Literary Action Hero Rhino persona and thought it would be fun to add it.

Oh, wait, you didn't know that the Rhino was a real thing, huh?

Poor boy.

Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted August 9, 2014
Need to get that third star, man. Like I did.

Or better yet, get promoted to suit wearing status.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches.

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Guy is gonna tell you...

Posted August 8, 2014
I've read the first of the Ark Royal trilogy and wholly agree with JB's comments. I've also read several of Mr Nuttall's other works - currently trying a rather fun alien invasion story called "Their Darkest Hour". Nuttall has a fondness for referencing other genre writers/films/tv shows. I would guess that it's highly likely that the appearance of Mr Rhino Ross is no coincidence. He reads your books JB, just as you read his.

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sibeen reckons...

Posted August 8, 2014
I'll also add my voice of approval to Lexicon, a thoroughly enjoyable read.


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Rhino is gonna tell you...

Posted August 9, 2014
JB - you were my first ::kaff kaff:: and you'll always be special to me. It's not you, it's me. Really.

Maybe not.

If you soul search, honestly, you'll realize that you caused this. You made me into the literary action hero that the other authors would covet. Sure, you couldn't have done it if I hadn't been awesome to begin with, but still, you put me out there in the spotlight. How could you not expect other authors to act on that? Oh, I was a willing participant in the whole thing, I know that. The adulation is/was sweet, the opportunity to take the piss at Havock's expense, the hovercraft rides, the Bunnies, all of it ... sweet.

But I've, WE'VE, grown. And, let's fact it. You don't have time for me anymore. You think I haven't noticed? You are moving on to Hooper. No place for a Rhino in a world of Orcs (Oh, imagine what could have been? The MF'ing, Schwartzenegger-level of mayhem of The Rhino bringing the pain to otherworldly creatures?). But no. You are all, "Hooper this and Hooper that". Even a Rhino has feelings.

I didn't mean for it to happen this way. I should have told you. But, you aren't on FaceBook anymore and Twitter seems too perfunctory. What we have needs more than 140 characters or a hashtag.

With all of that said, I can't quit you JB. I just can't.


Chaz mumbles...

Posted August 9, 2014

Classic!

Thanks Roger you've made my morning

Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted August 9, 2014
Oh wow. Such breakup. So embarrassment.

damian ducks in to say...

Posted August 9, 2014
On a bit of a tangent, the entry for Shiba Inu shows the strengths and weaknesses of wikipedia quite well.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted August 9, 2014
I love this so much I can't believe it. This is so great. I have to read this book.

Yet another reason to envy the Rhino.

It will be interesting, on a purely personal level, to see if Mr. Nutall is one day inspired to base a character on a short, bald, charmingly overweight, long-winded attorney who has a preternatural way with the ladies.


Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted August 9, 2014
If he does write you in, make sure he includes the secret lair staffed by finalists in the "So You Wanna Be A Bond Girl" reality competition. Bond girl wannabes love secret lairs.

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Rhino asserts...

Posted August 9, 2014
Mr Boylan ... you and I are members of a mutual admiration society. Which cause me discomfort as any society that would have me as a member is undoubtedly disreputable and morally ambiguous at best.

I do recommend Chris' work ... it is a lot of fun. He has improved steadily and is prolific so you never really have to wait years (hint, hint, JB) for sequels.

And, yes, I do kick some xenomorph ass.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted August 9, 2014
I certainly think it is better work than getting into Ringo's universes. Folks there tend to die quick, painful, if glorious deaths.

Then again, at least it happens on the page, as opposed to some dark plot alley between books like that poor bastard Dan Black.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted August 9, 2014
Galactic Rhino vs Aliens? Sounds like a character driven examination of human frailties set against the backdrop of existential despair in a conflicted universe.
Then again maybe it's just aliens getting their beans cashed by The Rhino.

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Rhino asserts...

Posted August 9, 2014
Murph. I'm in Ringo's Looking Glass books.

I live.

Despite insane odds.

I'm the opposite of Buckley.

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Rhino asserts...

Posted August 9, 2014
Helllloooo Everyone. This is NOT a break-up. Not in the slightest.

This is two very manly, albeit sensitive, men talking through a very complex relationship. In public. In full view of you rabble.

Sure, JB saw, in me, a magnetic personality that would elevate his trilogy to the next level.

Sure, I saw JB as an intellectual peer that saw through to my core of awesomeness and and gave me the fame I deserved.

It was a case of mutual assured awesomeness. Birmo had me at the email that said, "I have an idea for this character..."

So, now, I'm trying to deal with Birmo moving on. It isn't easy. But, I'll deal.

I'm happy that he's found another character to focus on. Sure, Hooper is no Rhino. I'm sure that he rocks. He absolutely has to if Birmo is writing about him.

That's OK. Really.

There is no breakup here. There is an enduring love and mutual respect that transcends international bestseller lists.

Oh, as an FYI ... I not only had xenomorph for breakfast ..;. it was lunch and dinner too. Buy Chris' book damnit.

Sudragon reckons...

Posted August 9, 2014
Do you have any good recipes for Xenomorph?

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Spanner reckons...

Posted August 9, 2014
Well it seems like someone has burnt a bridge or two here.

I for one think that its time to retire a character that was getting a little tired.

As for a replacement character...well what about a mild mannered Town Planner who turns into a super archer with a razor sharp wit dispatching his enemies with flaming arrows fired with deadly accuracy. His trusty sidekick, a rotund elderly gentleman with a grey beard, caries a quiver of spare arrows.

They could battle an Evil Marsupial who plans to take over the world with her army of genetically engineered super pussies.

Darth Greybeard mutters...

Posted August 9, 2014
OK, as long as I don't have to clap two halves of a coconut shell together.

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Chris ducks in to say...

Posted August 10, 2014

Thank you for the shout-out! I loved the WW books <grin>


John Birmingham mutters...

Posted August 11, 2014
D'oh, now I feel I have to write a full review, to place my snarky balsa wood comment in context.

They are hugely enjoyable reads.

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Aaron mutters...

Posted August 11, 2014
I see an opportunity to repair the relationship with a space opera about invading space rhinos. Here's a start: "you don't get galactic empires like this by petting xenomorphcats" said the heavily amored rhino commander...

Peter Bradley mumbles...

Posted August 11, 2014
Aaron, beat me to it by 3 hours!

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tygertim puts forth...

Posted August 11, 2014
Hey guys it's awesome that da Rhino has new worlds to conquer! It's very badass cool when we end up getting red shirted like that.
It's so fun to be a muse...
Tygertim

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Into the last laps

Posted June 13, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

... but not the final straight, yet. The first of the Dave Hooper books has moved from electroinc to paper, going off to production at Random House in NYC and soon enough at Pan Mac down in Sydney. The second book won't be far behind.

All of the structural and character arc edits are done on those two, although Murph suggested a small but brilliant change to one character this morning that we're going to go with.

I'm hoping to wrap the draft of book 3 in about a month and send it to production by September.

It's been fun doing all three at once. Gives me a chance to retcon earlier volumes in light of stuff happening later in the story. Characters who dont work out can be swapped for characters who did, and they can be given more prominance and action as needed. Plot twists can be properly signposted or deliberately hidden. The laws of the story can be drafted and redrafted before they're set in stone upon release. It's unusually powerful advantage. I expected that to be the case, but have been surprised at how damn useful it's been.

I'm almost reluctant to send the copy to paper, but I think I might work like this more often in future.

Anyways, gots to get back to it. Might have some artwork soon.

13 Responses to ‘Into the last laps’

JG mutters...

Posted June 13, 2014
Three books written over such a short timespan is an amazing achievement, JB. Great to have a stalwart Murph as your researcher and second pair of eyes. Cheers to you too, Murph.

Good luck with the final stretch. I'm glad all three books will be available in paper form as I don't like reading off screens. Great too that all three books will be in bookstores, staggered throughout 2015. Hope you will do book signings.

I look forward to your Dave Hooper/monsters vs techno series, JB.

All the best,

JG

Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted June 13, 2014
I'm the winner in this relationship, Red.

In many ways, I consider my work as something of an apprenticeship.

Thanks.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches


yankeedog reckons...

Posted June 13, 2014
Always there are two-a Master and an Apprentice!

Surtac mumbles...

Posted June 13, 2014


And on that note I've just heard that Jim Keays has died. :(

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Darth Greybeard would have you know...

Posted June 13, 2014
Please don't ban me JB, but there are some people who need taking down and I'm abusing your hospitality for the purpose.

Dragon killing (part 1)
Hooper rarely had time to reflect on his life since the rig had opened up Hell or the Dungeon Dimensions or God's little practical joke. Still, crouching at the bottom of a disturbingly coffin-shaped hole with a poisoned spear, Igor and a smelly hobbit for company wasn't the career path he'd anticipated. Not much choice though. Once the Orcs had wiped out most of the human's air assets, the Dragon fighting had definitely favoured the lizards. Then the Hobbits turned up from England.

Physically they looked like the ones in the kids books but Tolkein must have met a different bunch. Or maybe they just paid him off with some of their recreational chemicals. The "pipeweed" was bad enough - worse than the strongest hydroponic cannabis - and their version of ale was lethal. But those didn't scratch the surface of what the little
buggers had brewed up from mushrooms or squirrel shit or whatever they used for raw materials. Luckily for humanity they were natural poisoners and even luckier, they hated dragons in a way that takes thousands of years to perfect. Their chief chemist seemed to be Beezo or Farmer Jon as they called him. A bald, more or less spherical little
creature with goggles that made him look like a Minion from Despicable Me. Sparse tufts of hair, usually singed, seemed to be intended as a beard and the only link to farming Dave had ever noticed was a faint farmyard odour, like cow manure in his foot-hair. But he did the job and sometimes a bit more. A marine sergeant named Murph or the Hoff or something had been hazing Beezo whenever he had the chance, until he collapsed in the mess one night and started ... changing. He'd never been a handsome man but as a woman he was even worse. No one could prove Beezo had done it and anyway, some of the politicians were probably going to make him an offer, if and when we won. You could make millions with a potion like that. And Beezo (or Guran as the Phantom fans called him behind his back) made a poison that killed dragons when nothing less than a 20mm shell could dent their scales. The only problem was that it had to be smeared on a spearhead, which then had to be inserted in one of the very few weak spots in the dragon's armour. From underneath. The heat from passing down a barrel made it impossible to simply coat a bullet and most people couldn't drive in a spear, even at the weakest points. So that left Dave with his "mana" or whatever it was, absorbed whenever he killed an underworlder like in those crappy Highlander movies. And if Boylan didn't stop muttering "There can only be one" in that mushy Connery accent, there would be another accident.

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Dino not to be confused with mutters...

Posted June 13, 2014
Ok JB I don't mind you cappin' me from fkn orbit, and such, cause libel and slander and leagle shit, and such, but you must dlete the post above this.
For the love of fkn 'obbits JB!
Even fkn Dragons and GOT shit!
Be Fair...

Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted June 13, 2014
Oh Dino . . .

Dino not to be confused with puts forth...

Posted June 13, 2014
Don't worry about me GreyBeard.
Life Sucks, that's the bad news.
The greatest evidence for God is that life is temporary.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted June 13, 2014
But Dino, the Beard was on topic.

Dino not to be confused with reckons...

Posted June 13, 2014
On topic on shmopic!

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted June 13, 2014

Speaking of Masters Apprentices, vale Jim Keays.

And GB - nasty, nasty stinky hobbitses. At least now we know that Beeso hasn't simply been perfecting the art of cheesemaking.

Darth Greybeard is gonna tell you...

Posted June 13, 2014
Ah yes, I haven't forgotten you Mr Therbo.

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Darth Greybeard is gonna tell you...

Posted June 13, 2014
Dragon Killing (part 2)

Dave's current partner/poison-master was Yobbodoc, a gingery little squirt who'd discovered a taste for American beer that disgusted the other hobbits. Some of the Aussie "military advisors" joked that even if hobbits had souls, ginger hobbits definitely wouldn't. Before that there'd been Therbadoc, son of Egfroth (call me Therbs) who'd become quite a friend considering he'd held a knife to Dave's balls within thirty seconds of meeting him. Poor Therbs had shown them that dragon dung was almost as corrosive as their fire when a dying lizard took a dump on his head from a hundred feet up. Then Alfroth the Accurate who'd retired after losing a leg to an Orc. He was rumoured to spend most of his time on the Internet now, looking for Dwarf Porn. Hooper had no idea what the hobbit population was back in Europe but there were always replacements if there were dragons to be killed.

And then there was the shuddering thump of a landing dragon and the sound of dragging scales as the lizard headed for the bait, passing right over their pit. The dragon was in the perfect position, legs either side, belly covering the pit completely, radiating scorching heat and cutting off the light. Igor switched on his lamp and Dave tightened
his grip on the spear shaft. Yobbodoc belched foully in the confined space and opened the poison jar, quickly smearing the spear head with black goo. Igor peered through the mesh, waiting for the dragon's cloaca to be exposed. "Shoving it up the Clacker" as the Aussies called it. Igor lifted his hand and Yobbodoc sneezed so explosively that the dragon leapt forward and started to turn. "KNEE!" Igor roared and Dave thrust up and right between the scales. Not the best or quickest spot, but the dragon would die, eventually.

The lizard - one of the black ones they called a Hungarian Horntail for some reason - twisted to the side, leaving the top of the pit clear. "Get to the Choppa" shouted Dave, pointing at Choppa creek a hundred yards away. All three of them ran like hell, Igor in the lead with Dave close behind and the angry scream of the dragon encouraging them to
go harder. Both men dived into the creek and stayed down as long as they could stand. Dave surfaced cautiously but everything was quiet. When they peered over the bank, they could see the dead dragon with two ginger-haired feet still poking from the side of its mouth. Igor smiled shakily "When you and a hobbit are being chased by a angry dragon, you don’t need to outrun the dragon. You only need to outrun the hobbit." He sounded as if he was quoting something but Dave had never heard it before.

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Stalin's Hammer: Cairo. More thoughts on post-Transition Israel

Posted May 23, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

We had a discussion a while back on the fate of Israel post Transition. Yesterdays massive traffic inflow for the Abbott blog saw a lot of readers go back through the archive and one left a long comment on that entry that deserves to be read more widely than it would as an afterthought to a long dead entry.

Not sure who wrote this, but here t'is:

This thread is way old but I just wanted to throw in my two cents since it got me thinking: tl;dr version is basically that there'd be an Israel though it might not have quite the same borders as in the original timeline.

To make a long story short, basically by the 1930s the Jews of the Mandate had all the essentials of a state (gov't, self-defense, economy) so the question to ask here is what would prevent them from becoming independent in the altered circumstances of the new timeline? The Soviets probably conquered outright Iran which means all the various Arab armies that would have invaded have other things to worry about. (I can't figure the Soviets conquering the entire Middle East; just holding the extra territory you have them conquer in Europe and Asia leaves them extremely overextended.)

That leaves on four major players on the ground in the Mandate itself: Britain, Palestinian Arabs, Israelis, and the Hashemites of Jordan. With the Soviets grabbing territory deeper into the Mediterranean the British would probably strip the Mandate of every troop it had to reenforce its hold on Egypt, Cyprus, and Crete. As for Jordan, they and their army were still basically under British control (they didn't become independent before 1946) and if the Soviets have Iran the Jordanians would probably have to send all their troops east to reenforce Iraq where there was after all another Hashemite monarchy in control. They could even have turned north to try and take Damascus which is territory that Britain originally promised the Hashemites anyway but had to renege on because of the French who aren't an issue in the altered timeline. That leaves the Israelis and Palestinians. The problem for the Palestinians is that their leadership was basically the Mufti of Jerusalem who spent the war in Berlin and is probably radioactive vapor in the new timeline. Plus the Palestinians had spent the late 1930s unsuccessfully revolting against Britain and eliminating all potential competitors to the Mufti. So basically they are in worse shape to revolt and put together a Palestinian state than they would have been in the original timeline. That leaves the Israelis who have a government, the core of an army, and with the Holocaust aborted, have a much larger population to count on in the long run.

About the only thing that would change is borders; the British would want Egypt and Transjordan to be linked so would probably push to have the Negev kept out of Israeli hands (something that was kicked around in the 1950s of the mainstream timeline as part of peace proposals). I'd guess that Britain would keep the Negev but give Israel territory from the Sinai adjacent to what is the Gaza Strip in the mainstream timeline.

By the 1940s the ability to outright prevent Israel from coming into being becomes something very difficult to prevent and with all the other chaos and changes going on in the altered timeline, what makes it important to any major power to stop them from being independent?

21 Responses to ‘Stalin's Hammer: Cairo. More thoughts on post-Transition Israel’

Simon asserts...

Posted May 23, 2014
I don't think soviets will have that many troops in asia, because their presence in japan will probably speed up the sino-soviet split. Thing about China is that they are, and probably always have been more nationalist than communist and soviet expansion in asia would automatically be seen as threat to their sovereignty.

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BigWillieStyle mutters...

Posted May 23, 2014

Way too thinky for me.

OT. On a brighter note, you got mentioned in Miranda Devine's haughty blog over at the Death Star. 'Cos of your sweary rant at Toned Abs yesterday. I think Miranda may have accused you of hijacking MH370, and the Fukushima meltdown. May or may not have questioned whether you and Pol Pot have ever been seen in the same room together.

Lulu puts forth...

Posted May 23, 2014
Did she place him on the grassy knoll as well?

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted May 23, 2014

Test


Test


123


test

NBlob reckons...

Posted May 23, 2014


Yesterday's "In Conversation With Rirchard Fidler" (One of my favourite podcasts) was a conversation about Israel with a proud Zionist. As per usual <STRONG>With Both Sides Of The Debate</STRONG> there was lots of retrospective redefining and 20 20 hindsight and I didn't get to hear it all live (podcasting FTW), but one interesting observation that I thought had relevance here was; the gravestones from the UK armies that took Israel from the Ottomon tell an interesting story, many, even most of them are empire troops. A large % Australian & Kiwis.

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Chaz mutters...

Posted May 23, 2014

I'd say the with the uptime knowledge the Zionists would push to annex the west bank and push over the Golan heights and also into southern Lebanon.

They'd want to secure the water rights of the river Jordan and also to give Eretz Israel a bit more strategic depth. The question is would they forcibly remove the Palestinians or learn from the mistakes in the uptimers history books?

The true Zionists would want to cleanse the new areas of Palestinians (in order to avoid any future infatadas however the realists would (maybe) try and fold them into Israeli society. Personally I think the former more likely than the latter.

So I'd postulate the northern edge of Israel at around Sidon (excellent port) and heading east as far as Nawa in Syria and maybe straight down to Dara before stopping the line at Jordan's border.




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Analog Penetration reckons...

Posted May 23, 2014
One question I have is - when's the next installment coming out JB?

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Propnut puts forth...

Posted May 23, 2014

In terms of British strategy for N.Africa & M.E, they would have replicated the strategy that Malta must be held at all cost, not Crete! Malta as history shows us is/was the key to control of the Med, and the base from which axis supply to N.Africa were disrupted. (the Brits, U Class sub did an amazing job in sinking Rommels much needed supplies, - a little known aspect of sub warfare, along with the RAF). Malta was also the base for the invasion of Sicly and inturn the invasion of Europe via Italy (not so soft underbelly). Malta is also basically the half waypoint between the Gib and Alex and also requried as a refueling spot for aircraft enroute to egypt.



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HAVOCK21 is gonna tell you...

Posted May 23, 2014
Prop, I'm wondering if Stalin doesn't make Malta MOLTEN? or very nearly it. The Ruskies will have a much more advanced tech tree, i guess o the west to so its an interesting one. I would imagine , if like you say the decide oits of strategic value. Then it would be defended quite well. GOOD ENOUGH for a nuke or close too...hmmmm

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S.M. Stirling swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 24, 2014
Probably Israel is bigger, what with more Jews surviving and equally eager to get out of Europe, and probably they go the whole hog on getting rid of the Palestinians.

The (unpalatable but true) lesson of the past 150 years is that "population exchange", done thoroughly, genuinely -solves- problems. Vide Yugoslavia, Turkey-Greece, Cyprus, the eastern Germans, Poland, etc. Admittedly this is on the basis of the old Russian saying that if people cause you a problem, you should remember that no people equals no problem.

Attempts at forcing coexistance on populations who hate each other usually just pushes the problems down the road at best.

It's the triumph of hope over experience.

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Dino not to be confused with asserts...

Posted May 24, 2014
The first question was put to me by my Grandmother along time ago.
Now I understand it.
Do you remember What the Russians did when one of their own was kidnapped in Lebanon?

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Chaz mutters...

Posted May 25, 2014

Dino, absolutely.

Allegedly the same sort of threat was made against Julian Assange hence the reason he is now a stooge for Putin

Dino not to be confused with is gonna tell you...

Posted May 25, 2014
Chaz,
I no little of Julian. I met him once I think, long ago.
I have read that he is a millionare. I have read that he is supported by Murdoch and the Rothchilds. His unsuccessful attempted at an alliance with Cryptome(look them up) is telling. It is a media circus and those who have chosen to support him lack any creduality the ethos espouses.
Bradley Manning. How is he/she? Chelsea? Is that you?

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A Little Late has opinions thus...

Posted May 25, 2014
re: Malta; Britain would definitely want to hold it but they wouldn't have to scratch troops out to do it with the US army in south Italy. With Crete and Cyprus they need get troops from somewhere to hold the islands both to block Soviet advances further south than Greece and Turkey and protect Egypt. The idea is that if the British have to hold anything in the eastern Mediterranean it would be Suez and most approaches to it at all cost.

re: "Population Exchange"; In the circumstances under discussion, which is an altered timeline where the involved factions have gained some knowledge of what was supposed to be the future, I'd say that both sides would see the fight as an absolute zero-sum game where you either have to go big or go home so to speak. The fight would be much bloodier and the victory much more clear cut than in the original timeline.

Again I think that Israel is likely to win independence but with different borders. I also think that the region would probably be more peaceful in the aftermath, that is there wouldn't be any Arab-Israeli wars or conflict because all the actors who would be involved in that have more serious issues to deal with like the Soviets or don't have the independence they had in the mainstream timeline to do as they like. (There's no way that Egypt is anything but firmly in British hands even if it remains formally independent because control of Suez is too important to risk on the chance that someone like Nasser could take power).

The question in the altered Middle East around Israel seems to me to actually be how it would fit into the region. The Arabs still would be hostile even if they can't do anything about it but does the west have the luxury to indulge them this time around and leave Israel hanging outside the existing power systems? Or would the Western powers be happier to see Israel as an isolationist Mideast Switzerland instead?

(This also got me thinking about the alternate Germany. For instance in the mainstream timeline German reparations and eventually weapons deals helped Israel out immensely in the 1950s. But what does Germany look like in the altered timeline? Did denazification end up being "stop calling yourselves Nazis and don't talk about the Jews anymore"? What would relations look like?)

Dino not to be confused with reckons...

Posted May 25, 2014
The German sub they gave the Israelis a few years ago(reparations from Germany only stopped a few years ago then Syria then Ukraine) that got sunk then the use of nukes- there a few videos, the flash and the double detonation in this one is pretty clear-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLZ-qktlYtw

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S.M. Stirling reckons...

Posted May 26, 2014
Actually, I'd expect a series of "pre-emptive strikes" across the world as the news from the future sank in -- just like Stalin, the people who know they'd lose out if events unfold as they did in our history aren't going to go quietly.

They're the ones with the most incentive to kick the applecart over. They now know that they've got nothing to lose by radicalism and risks and nothing to gain by being reasonable.

It's also obvious that history -can- be changed.

Dozens of governments and groups would set out to kill all their enemies while they still have the chance. I wouldn't like to be a black South African or a North African Arab, for example.

Or a Chechen. Stalin killed half of them in our history; I doubt any at all would survive in the new timeline. In fact, he'd probably kill everyone in the Caucasus except the Armenians and Georgians, and go on a similar rampage in Central Asia.

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Dirk asserts...

Posted May 28, 2014
An option would be that Israel, Lebanon, Lybia, (Trans)Jordan, Syria and Egypt would form the southern axis of Nato.
All leaders there also have 20-20 hindsight, and know the problems arise from being in the wrong camp. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer would be a great credo in this.

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Chrisb asserts...

Posted May 28, 2014
One might hope that being able to see the results so many years after might convince all but the most deluded Zionists that Israel - grouping most of the Jews in a Crusader kingdom that could last about as long as the original, i.e. until the Arabs got their shit together - was from the beginning a really terrible idea. Probably not, but the idea that all the non-final-solution populations would rush to a different cauldron also seems misguided. Surely a more accepting America would be the first, second and third choice?
As for the white south africans preemptively killing the blacks, remember that it was a white South African who said "I'd rather be murdered in my bed than have to make it." Which is why we still have Irish, by the way, despite Cromwell.

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Guy mumbles...

Posted May 28, 2014

It's worth remembering that in OTL, many Israelis in 1948 were hard-line socialists who thought Stalin was a great man. In the alternative timeline that belief might have been shaken. However, the US and Britain would certainly be keen to keep the Arabs onside as a bulwark against the Soviet threat, and a newly born Israel would not help the Allied cause. Perhaps the Soviets would be the ones helping Israel with the West supporting the Arabs?

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S.M. Stirling has opinions thus...

Posted May 29, 2014
Chrisb: "Arabs getting their shit together"... as in what, contemporary Syria? Egypt? Iraq? The Sudan? Gaza, for Ghu's sake?

The term is an oxymoron. The only time Arabs aren't spontaneously killing each other -en masse- is when some iron-fisted tyrant nationalizes and monopolizes the process, which is natural in societies characterized by zero social trust, amoral familialism and murderous paranoia.

It ain't an accident that the main instances of chemical warfare in the past generation have been by Arab governments against their own populations.

The Arab world is a gigantic cauldron of dysfunction, and the reasons are deep-cultural and ineradicable, not subject to change by the day-to-day contingencies of politics and history.

Or to put it in short form: in any of an infinite variety of timelines, they're both fucked up and totally fucked.

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A Little Late asserts...

Posted May 30, 2014
re: "pre-emptive strikes": I agree that the new timeline would be very bloody; the original losers of history wouldn't want to just lie down and die while at the same time the other side wouldn't want to lose out this time around either. If there was anything lacking from the first installment of the sequel, its a sense of hate and rage at the uptimers over how much worse history has become. Using Harry as a POV character has its pluses especially in that his royal status gives him a bit of protective celebrity but you don't get a sense of how a lot of people around him who are now on the wrong side of a much different border would really hate them.

(Also for future installments I'd really suggest that some maps be included; it would help to give a sense of just how different the new timeline looks.)

re: Immigration to post-Transition Israel: So far we don't actually have any evidence in the story that any of the western powers altered their immigration policies following the altered end of WW2. Even in our own history, immigration remained fairly restricted until the 1960s. Europe would be awash in refugees (and in fact the first installment of Stalin's Hammer suggest that this is still the case even a decade after the end of the war) but how likely is that to convince Congress to lower immigration quotas? What exactly is going to change the position of the Roosevelt administration and whoever ended up following him (Dewey? Truman? Marshall?) in this new timeline?

Their aren't likely to be many options open besides Israel for a larger surviving East European Jewry to go to. Now thats not to say that the entire larger surviving population of Jewish Eastern Europe would just pick up for Israel. Some might stay behind and some might head west but overall if immigration quotas didn't come down after the Holocaust, whats going to make them come down in a timeline where the Holocaust was aborted? (Plus Israel wouldn't just have an expanded European population to pick from but also the same Middle Eastern Jews that immigrated en mass in the mainstream timeline, probably with a much larger share of Persian Jews assuming the Soviets outright took over Iran.)

re: Soviets and Israel: I doubt that whatever Israel does form in the altered timeline would be pro-Soviet. The Jewish leadership in the Mandate isn't different in the new timeline, they just have more information about the future. Ben-Gurion and his government in the mainstream timeline were consistently committed to keeping the communist party out of all coalition governments that he formed. Why would that change here?

As for the Arabs and the West, the United States and Britain would probably want to have some sort of a Middle Eastern NATO (I think thats what Eisenhower had in mind in the mainstream timeline) if there are actually any independent Arabs states besides Saudi Arabia in the new timeline. The question again is whether the creation of Israel could be stopped in the new timeline and what happens if it isn't. I don't think it could be short of a massive troop commitment on the part of Britain and with the Soviets on the move everywhere, how are they going to swing that? The story hints that they aren't able to do that; how would civil war level fighting in the Mandate be able to break out and sustain itself in 1944 if the British have enough troops on the ground to nip it in the bud? Its possible that later on, once the war and post-war scene is settled that they could do something but by that time there'd be an Israel on the ground. So then the question is what to do about it. The US and Britain could settle on Israel as a Mideast Switzerland, a neutral territory where the two sides in the Cold War can intrigue against each other over coffee in the oceanside cafes without trying to lean the country one way or the other. Or they could actively force the Arab states who now have much more of a constrained playing field to maneuver in to accept the situation as it is and be part of an alliance with Israel in it. There is also the possibility that the expanded Soviet borders crushes decolonization completely so that what the Arabs want isn't particularly a major concern either. Most Arab states didn't become independent till after WW2; who's to say that they are independent at all here? Its not even just the situation with the Soviets that can effect that but also the knowledge of the future. Given that the trilogy started with an armada heading off to battle a Caliphate, who from the future would recommend that the Mideast region be allowed to develop without a heavy hand to steer things along to a different conclusion?

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Oh Hugo, you've done it again

Posted April 21, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

I think I'm beginning to understand why Murph had to enrol in that 12 Step Sci Fi Anonymous program. These cats is crazy.

I don't really follow the Hugos, but I do follow the SF blogs which makes it impossible to miss the regular Shock! Horror! Hugo Awards Horrifying Shocker! stories that roll around each year. The last one was only a few weeks ago, when that English TV (or maybe radio) guy Jonathon Ross (I think) was first invited then uninvited to host the awards and Neil Gaiman got very shirty.

Well, what a pity they didn't stick with Ross because he'd a been purrrrfect for this years piss up given the latest Shock! Horror! Update!

The shortlist is in and the shortlist is horrifying because there's some guy on it for Best Novelette who's genuinely horrifying and who asked his horrifying fans and readers to vote for him – Theodore Beale, who writes as Vox Day, and seems to be the kind of guy you punch on the nose as soon as you meet him, just to save time. There's another guy, called Larry Correia, I think, who may be less horrifying and who was shortlisted for best big book, or something, but... well, this is where my professed ignorance of the Hugo Awards lets me down. I don't really know how they work. I'd always assumed they were like 'normal' literary awards, in which publishers nominate their chosen titles and a panel of eminent nobodies gets together over wine and cheese to hand out the gongs.

I've eaten that cheese and necked that wine. I've won some of those gongs and lost out on many, many more. It's all very incestuous but there is something approaching rigour in the process. Maybe not getting there, but at least approaching it.

The Hugos? I'm not sure, and frankly I'm too lazy to even read the wiki page, but it seems you get on the shortlist by being voted there. Possibly by attendees at some big convention. Seriously, feel free to give me the shareware lite version.

This year some writers lobbied their fans for support, both for themselves and for a slate of other writers/books of which they approved. Some of these were shortlisted. As an outsider it seems an unremarkable outcome for a process based on a popular vote, but apparently the SF/fantasy community (the same one which lost its shit over Jonathon Ross) is deeply, deeply unhappy. Either because the books are shit, or, even worse, the peope who wrote them are shit heads. I dunno. Maybe both.

As best I can tell, there is some rigour in the final judging process, and if that's so I guess you'd expect some worthy, but slightly tedious work of art to win out over some stoopid, splodey, but hugely enjoyable abortion of a book. I recognised Ancillary Justice on the shortlist, which I have shortlisted on my iPad for a read later this year. I've been promised it's a space opera. I have high hopes for splodey. It is an uncontroversial choice.

As for all the shock and the horror. Meh. If you open a process to voting you can't complain when people you don't like vote for other people you like even less.

On a cheerier note I just pre-ordered a copy of The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin. It's part one of an award-winning trilogy and, according to David Brin, "arguably the best Chinese science fiction novel ever translated into English." I'm unaware of many books in that category, but I do like the idea. As Brin explains it:


The series explores the world of the Trisolarans, a race that is forced to adapt to life in a triple star system, on a planet whose gravity, heat, and orbit are in constant flux. Facing extinction, the Trisolarans plan to evacuate and conquer the nearest habitable planet, and finally intercept a message—from Earth. The Three-Body Problem, due out in October 2014, has been translated into English by award winning writer, Ken Liu.
Special note… TTBP deals very closely with the issue of the Fermi Paradox and whether we should shout "yoo-hoo!" into the cosmos -- a quandary about which I've also written, from time to time.
I've long maintained that the health of an enlightened and progressive society is measured by how vibrant is its science fiction, since that is where true self-critique and appraisal and hope lie. If so, the good news stretches beyond China!

45 Responses to ‘Oh Hugo, you've done it again’

JC would have you know...

Posted April 21, 2014

These folks never learnt that "fitting in" was always overrated. They've just built their own Mean Girl-esque empire along the outer edge of the fringe wall... Sad.

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Dino not to be confused with ducks in to say...

Posted April 21, 2014

Yeah I solved the 3 body problem.

Lao Tzu?

He got a cuople of punches in but I kicked his arse.

Confuciciuos?

Fuck him.

The fucker won't stop.

Don't know what he eats but it aint right.

He has too much energy JB.

Fuck him.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted April 21, 2014

The Hugos work by purchasing a membership to the World Science Fiction Convention.

Once you have that, you can nominate.

Larry Correia started out as self published at Amazon, sold like hot cakes and transition to Baen Books where he continues to sell like hot cakes. He has a large fan base and they tend to be the type of people who get pretty tired of the endless politically correct bullshit that infests the American Science Fiction Community. After years of simply taking it, most of them rallied to Larry's call to tweak a few noses via his Sad Puppies Campaign.

As for his novels, I can't speak about them by virtue of the fact that current research efforts coincide with the same general theme as Correia's works. Once the trilogy is wrapped up, however, I plan to work my way through the series.

I believe Rhino has read them and I suspect he thinks pretty highly of them.

Anyway, just another day in the land of American Science Fiction.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Stephen has opinions thus...

Posted April 22, 2014

Correia has two series - one of them is modern day monster hunters, the other is a trilogy about people with superpowers set in the 1930's (It feels like Indiana Jones crossed with Avengers and noir detective stories to me). The book in question is the last of the second series.

If you think awards should be given to thought provoking, literary works with not much plot, you're not going to vote for this. I suspect that is part of the outrage, given who's complaining.

Murphy reckons...

Posted April 22, 2014

Personally, I'd prefer to read a novel that did not bore me to death or try to hammer me to death with a freshman level lecture on political science, history, sociology, anthropology or whatever. If I want to do that, I'll crack open a book by an expert in the field and read that.

Rhino asserts...

Posted April 25, 2014

Larry's stuff is well written and fun. Much like JB he writes books that people enjoy and are willing to pay for.

It really is a tempest in a tea pot. What is considered the most prestigious award in SF had a total of 1900 voters participating this year. Essentially, you pay your $40 and you get to vote and get ebook versions of all of the nominees.

The problem is that this year the intelligentsia inner clique, much like the Japanese at Pearl Harbor woke a sleeping giant in the Corriea fan base.

Corriea is Latino and is constantly painted as beeing an angry white guy. I've never seen him at any of the meetings. Anyway, the ironic part is that the Hugo Clique usually criying about diversity, etc., is not acknowledging that Larry is the only minority on the slate. /snork.

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Dino not to be confused with would have you know...

Posted April 21, 2014

Hey Guys,

Going to court tomorrow.

Likely unsuccesful 75%.

There will be a shitload of househod goods on the street in the next two days.

Bring your wheel barrows.

If the coppers come I will resist arrest this time.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted April 21, 2014

Also, I'm looking at my bookshelves to see if I have anything on them that is a Hugo Award Winner. Aside from Brad Torgersen's Lights in the Deep short story collection (he was nominated in 2012 and again this year but has not won one yet) I can't find much that was published in the last fifteen years.

Most of what wins the Hugos pretty much fails to speak to me as a reader.

Up way to early this morning.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

pi mutters...

Posted April 22, 2014

Hugo's? The ones I can think of in my book collection from the nominiees are...

Heinlein's Have Space Suit - Will Travel

Heinlein's Starship Troopers

Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land

Piper's Little Fuzzy

Herbert's Dune

Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar

Niven's Ringworld

Zelazney's Jack of Shadows

Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama

Heinlein's Time Enough for Love (my favorite Heinlein book)

Niven and Pournelle's Mote in Gods Eye

Silverbergs Lord Valentines Castle

Wolfe's Claw of the Conciliator (an awesome read)

May's The Many Coloured Land (another awesome series)

Clarke's 2010: Odyssey Two

Heinlein's Friday

Wolfe's Sword of the Lictor (another awesome read)

Gibson's Neuromancer ('nuff said)

Vinge's Peace War

Niven's Integral Trees (one of my faves of all time)

Niven and Pournelle's Footfall

Bear's Blood Music (not his best book IMHO)

Card's Speaker for the Dead

Gibson's Count Zero (best book in the series IMHO)

Vinge's Marooned in Realtime

Bear's Forge of God (the sequel is his best book IMHO)

Wolfe's Urth of the New Sun

Sterling's Islands in the Net

Gibson's Mona Lisa Overdrive

Simmons' Hyperion

Card's Prentice Alvin

Bear's Queen of Angels

Card's Xenocide (meh)

Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep

Robinson's Red Mars

Robinson's Green Mars

Bear's Moving Mars

Gibson's Virtual Light

Robinson's Blue Mars (deserves every award IMHO)

Stephenson's Cryptonomicon

Rowling's Prisoner of Azkaban

Rowling's Goblet of Fire (I don't care what you say... i like em)

Robinson's Years of Rice and Salt.

Not an insignificant list.

Bunyip has opinions thus...

Posted April 22, 2014

Actually just started rereading Ringworld for the nth time last night.

There's some good shit in that list, Pi.

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 22, 2014

Published within the last fifteen years?

I've got a number of Hugo novels but they are all much older.

Darth Greybeard ducks in to say...

Posted April 22, 2014

Agreed Mr Bunyip and Pi, good stuff indeed. My lot would be similar and as Murph notes, not from the last 15 years. Did Peter Hamilton or Iain Banks ever get a Hugo? But meh, I get a lot of my reading ideas at places like this anyway these days, not from awards. Actuall from places exactly like this.

Blarkon puts forth...

Posted April 22, 2014

Interesting to note how many of those on your list were written in the last 15 years.

pi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 22, 2014

I'm not sure I'm a good 15-year guide to what is the hugo award. The hugo has always been both a sci-fi and a fantasy award. Right back to Zelazny and Silverberg. I definitely don't read as much fantasy as I used to in a time in which it has become much more main-stream.

That being said... Stephensons Anathem (which I missed in my list) was definitely a good novel nominated in 2009. And Scalzi's redshirts (which I have not yet read) is the 2013 winner, and by all accounts a pretty good book? There's no doubt I'll be reading Robinson's 2312 as well. And George RR Martin's Dance with Dragons?

It's not all bare of good reads as far as I can see...

Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 22, 2014

Scalzi's Redshirts is (well the first part is) a fun riff on Star Trek.

Sort of like Galaxy Quest. A fun movie. A movie I have in DVD and Blu-Ray. But not a movie worthy of serious awards.

There were other, much stronger, books that came out that year that weren't nominated. Brin's "Existence". Reynold's "Blue Remembered Earth". Bank's "Hydrogen Sonata". Hamilton's "Great North Road" - and a large number of other books I haven't mentioned.

The problem is that the Worldcon attendees by and large tend to be quite insular in what they read - so we keep getting nominations for the same authors year after year, rather than substantive books.

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SeantheBookonaut asserts...

Posted April 21, 2014

Actually I thought the response to the racist fucktard Day was pretty low key compared to Ross.

I enjoyed Ancilliary Justice, possibly not enough explosions if that's you thing John.

But mate the Fancast category is almost 50 % Aussie Goodness.

As for a political correctness infestation. YVMV but I think the community is trying to drag itself away from the "good' old days when tit groping a female author on stage was considered a hoot.

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted April 22, 2014

I am about 10 pages from finishing 'Ancilliary justice' I found it okay, the genedered pronouns stuff made me rethink how I see gender in novels but its been a struggle to read and definiately light on the explodey stuff. I don't think it is really space opera.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted April 22, 2014

Noooooooooooooo.

Murphy asserts...

Posted April 22, 2014

Sean, last I checked, Larry's never tit groped anyone on stage.

Nor has Vox Day.

As stated up there elsewhere, I get pretty tired of preachy, politically correct, let's change their thinking, novels written by folks who took a humanities class one or twice in college. To me they come off as third rate freshman level lectures on topics I have heard (or in some cases, given lectures on in my own job) only eleventy million or so times.

Perhaps it is too much time spent in Baptist Sunday School as a kid but there is very little I hate more than suffering through a sermon.

Which is how a fair bit of present day science fiction reads.

Blarkon mutters...

Posted April 22, 2014

Ancillary Justice will win this year's Hugo because a vocal segment of the SF/F community is presently more interested in waving a flag about non-traditional gender identity than they are in literary merit.

I went the audio book route. It's an adequate novel. It's not a novel you put down and think "holy fuck this author is insanely clever"

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted April 22, 2014

Having spent good 'lectronic money on this book, nothing I'm hearing here is making me feel good about the purchase.

w from brisbane would have you know...

Posted April 22, 2014

It is possibly the first fictional work in the history of publishing with the word 'Ancillary' in the title. That's got to be worth something.

Therbs puts forth...

Posted April 22, 2014

The word "Ancillary" when used in the tite of a book means "Be Wary Of This One". If the book is a novel then the meaning intensifies to "Do Not Read Me".

Coming up with titles for novels is obviously not the author's strong point. This then doesn't bode well for the scribbling which follows the title.

pi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 22, 2014

The first "non-traditional gender identity" mechanism I ever saw in a book was by Greg Egan (Diaspora). It was Ve did this, and Ve did that. As a mechanism, I thought it worked quite well, especially when there were clearly no possible gender stereo-types for artificially created consciousness'.

Anthony ducks in to say...

Posted April 22, 2014

And for non-traditional gender there's always Ursula LeGuin "The Left Hand of Darkness". I used to avidly look for the Hugo Award winners but now there's so much other good stuff, I can't be bothered.

As for the political polemics, I disagree with a lot of the right-wing stuff out of Baen but I have bought an awful lot of it because it's good.

Blarkon mutters...

Posted April 22, 2014

Oh it's certainly been done before - but there seems to be a push for this particular book to be awarded not because of its literary value, or because it is a rollicking great read, but because "it deals with these particular topics which are IMPORTANT and must be dealt with".

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Alexvdl puts forth...

Posted April 22, 2014

I liked the blog post, but what really intrigues me is the idea of someone going to court, and therefore putting all their things on the curb. This is a story I want to read more of!

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Bill swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 22, 2014

I always thought the Nebula Awards were more prestigious than the Hugos. At least with the Nebulas writers were being judged by their peers. The only criteria to voting with the Hugos is having a ticket to WorldCon.

Blarkon puts forth...

Posted April 22, 2014

The Nebulas are also very cliquish. It's been said that they are more a reflection of the author's ability to play politics within SFWA than the quality of the work.

The inclusion of Fantasy with SF has also skewed the results, with at least one book winning the award because they were the only "obvious SF" on the list of nominees amongs other nominees that were straight fantasy.

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted April 22, 2014

Hugo Award winners I remember reading were the likes of Poul Anderson, Robert Heinlein, Ursula le Guin, Phillip K Dick, Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg and Kim Stanley Robinson. It was mid-90's when I largely gave up on SF. It became even more silly when they included Harry Potter. If they include that, they may as well include Enid Blyton's Famous Five.

Just reread War of the Worlds. Fascinating how what I once regarded as gripping writing seemed now drawn out. I blame twitter.

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Surtac would have you know...

Posted April 22, 2014

Ho hum. Another year, another Hugo kerfuffle. I'm kind of over it now. Ian McDonald (The River of Gods, The Dervish House etc) tweeted last year (?or was it the year before?) something to the effect that Hugo results may now be determined by social media pressure, and I think he may be right. This year's 'issue' certainly seems to be in line with that opinion. I'll wait and see.

I've been buying a supporting membership and voting for the Hugos since about 2009, having realised how few nominations it took for some books to reach the final ballot. And then when I realised that changing my original intended vote in 2010 the way that I did directly enabled the best novel tie that year between China Mieville and Paolo Bacigalupi ... anyway I've been a regular voter since.

This year's novel list looks a bit 'meh' to me, apart from the Leckie (which I liked a lot) and the Stross (which I haven't yet read).

Oh, and Ancillary Justice just picked up the BSFA best novel for this year (in a tie with Ack Ack Macaque as it happens).

Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted April 22, 2014

The Leckie was adequate. I suspect it is going to win because of the big push to show how inclusive Hugo voters are about non-traditional gender identity rather than on literary merit.

Murphy reckons...

Posted April 22, 2014

HERESY! HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST THAT A WORK WOULD WIN FOR POLITICAL REASONS OVER LITERARY MERIT!!!

:)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches . . . for a reason.

Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted April 22, 2014

I enjoyed reading Ack Ack Macaque more

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted April 22, 2014

"arguably the best Chinese science fiction novel ever translated into English" yeah that may be in a catagory of one, but Its one I am defenitely looking to read.

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Stephen swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 22, 2014

The Hugos are given out by the World Science Fiction Society, which runs the World Science Fiction convention each year. All members of the society can nominate and vote - there is no judging process at all. The people running it can (and have in the past) intervene if they have evidence of ballot stuffing, but otherwise it is purely votes from the members.

To get membership of the society for a given year, you buy a membership of that year's WorldCon. If you're not going, then you only need a supporting membership, otherwise you buy a (more expensive) attending membership.

I didn't hear about the lobbying mentioned until yesterday, but as it happened I nominated three of the works myself - two of my noms got on. I also nominated a few others that got got on, including Ancillary Justice.

I did hear about a large campaign to get Wheel of Time (the entire series) nominated as best novel, and it got on the shortlist. This was because of a loophole which states that an entire work can be nominated when the last part becomes available - aimed at novels released in magazines over multiple issues. I haven't heard any outrage about that - maybe because it's better known?

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Blarkon mutters...

Posted April 22, 2014

The Hugos and Nebulas are "in crowd" awards. There are only a couple of thousand voters. Most of them read the same stuff as each other.

Iain M Banks never won a Hugo. Stanislaw Lem never won a Hugo. Terry Pratchett hasn't won a Hugo. Peter F Hamilton hasn't won a Hugo. Alastair Reynolds hasn't won a Hugo. I could go on naming great writers that haven't won a Hugo, but I'd be here all week.

Lois McMaster Bujold has won four Hugos. Three of them for the same series of books about Miles Vorkosigan. Connie Willis has won three Hugos.

The books are okay - but were never the most brilliant works of the year in which they won.

Darth Greybeard is gonna tell you...

Posted April 22, 2014

Thanks Blarkon. But then, we know who's never won the Man Booker prize, don't we?

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted April 22, 2014

Easy, Tiger.

sibeen has opinions thus...

Posted April 22, 2014

From Wiki:

Bujold is one of the most acclaimed writers in her field, having won the prestigious Hugo Award for best novel four times, matching Robert A. Heinlein's record.

One of these people I have heard of, the other, no.

Blarkon mutters...

Posted April 22, 2014

The Vorkosigan books are fun reads. I certainly buy them and read them when they come out. I was very surprised that they had won Hugos (as I'd mentally reserved the award for works which were towering in their brilliance, casting long shadows and which could be re-read many times, each time giving the reader some new insight).

One of the issues the award has is that people nominate authors they *like* rather than books they *like*.

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Dino not to be confused with would have you know...

Posted April 22, 2014

Ok Jb,

Coppers can kick the shit out of me.

Keep writing Jb,

Keep writing.

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JD is gonna tell you...

Posted April 23, 2014

Larry Correia writes books with lots of gun-porn in them. And explodey-goodness. You should read them, JB.. Especially the Grimnoir novels. I really think you'd like them.

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Sam ducks in to say...

Posted April 28, 2014

Sinica has an interesting podcast on Chinese science fiction at http://popupchinese.com/lessons/sinica/science-fiction-in-china

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My digital publisher drops digital

Posted April 1, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

Just got the press release:

In a shock announcement sure to make waves in the Australian publishing industry, Momentum, the digital-first imprint of Pan Macmillan Australia, has announced that they will no longer be publishing books digitally. Their entire back catalogue will be converted to print, as will all upcoming books.

Momentum’s publisher Joel Naoum said, “While we’ve had an extremely valuable experience working in digital, we’ve had to make the decision to go to a print-based model. We’ll still be publishing the same kinds of projects, but we’ll be delivering them via an exciting new system.”

The second part of the announcement was that instead of sending print books to bookstores, the books will be delivered to individuals via drone. This follows the death of an extremely wealthy relative of Naoum’s, who bequeathed the publisher an undisclosed sum.

“Printing each title on demand and delivering them via a fleet of drones with my face painted on them has always been a dream of mine,” said Naoum, as he prepared to drive a monster truck over a Porsche. “It’s effective and great for the consumer,” he continued, while lighting a cigar with a hundred dollar bill.

The drone system is inspired by Amazon’s recent announcement of drone deliveries, although Naoum claimed he had thought of it first. Each drone will have Naoum’s smiling, winking face painted on the front and sides, with Banksy being commissioned to hand paint each of the 100-strong fleet.

The new range of Momentum print books will be priced between $15-$30, with a drone delivery fee of approximately $10,000. For those who want the books without drone delivery, Naoum said “get with the 21st century, man” before diving into a pool filled with champagne.

The changes to Momentum will take place today, 1 April 2014.

16 Responses to ‘My digital publisher drops digital’

Lulu would have you know...

Posted April 1, 2014

I see what you did there.

BigWillieStyle ducks in to say...

Posted April 1, 2014

Me too. Laugh? I thought I'd never start.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted April 1, 2014

Pfft.

You've got to get up earlier. The builder already tried it on me by announcing they will be here at 6.30am sharp to commence new deck & dungeon installations at Casa Q.

Bwahahahahahahahahaha yeah sure.

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Surtac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 1, 2014

Right ... tell me again after mid-day and I might consider believing you. :)

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insomniac puts forth...

Posted April 1, 2014

It seems like a wAIST of the tECHNOLOGy but I GUESS the tablet's going in the BIN ... thanks a LOT!!

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Chaz reckons...

Posted April 1, 2014

As I've seen some crap (& completely illogical) decisions made by publishers in my time you had me until the 2nd paragragh :))

Nice go though.

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MarkatVAVS mutters...

Posted April 1, 2014

You had me going for minute.

Well played Good Sir

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted April 1, 2014

and I presume the US publisher will be anouncing this tomorrow

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted April 1, 2014

Forgive the indelicate inquiry, but is this yet another example of what you munted fuckers call "taking the piss?"

Because if it is, it isn't funny. Not a bit. Nearly went into AoT withdrawal.

insomniac would have you know...

Posted April 1, 2014

oui

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted April 1, 2014

Is that a subtle pun? Because if so, it isn't funny, either.

insomniac mumbles...

Posted April 1, 2014

just like when ms insomniac says i'm not funny, i say "that's right; i'm not funny ... i'm hilarious"

Barnesm asserts...

Posted April 1, 2014

non

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted April 1, 2014

You haven't been married long, have you?

insomniac mumbles...

Posted April 1, 2014

Now I see why my first marriage failed. All this time I thought it was because she was a cheating lying insane bitch, but it was really just me.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted April 1, 2014

Thanks.

I'll put my AED away then.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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The Hardy Boys Dark secret revealed

Posted March 22, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

The author was a committee!

Franklin W Dixon is the name on the spine, but that was a convenient cover for hungry writers press ganged into churning out the multimillion selling titles for less than a hundred bucks a pop. There was one guy in particular, Leslie MacFarlane who wrote a lot of the early titles and did his best to introduce some literary merit into the series - all to no avail. He hated the books so much he would never even refer to them by name.

It's a great story, told by Jeff Stone over at Whenyouputitthatway.com, and I dips me lid to Beeso for the heads up:

Leslie McFarlane kept voluminous diaries. His family has them. He wrote in fountain pen, in elegant strokes that squirreled up a little when he was touched by despair or drink. In these diaries, “The Hardy Boys” is seldom mentioned by name, as though he cannot bear to speak it aloud. He calls the books “the juveniles.” At the time McFarlane was living in northern Ontario with a wife and infant children, attempting to make a living as a freelance fiction writer.

Nov. 12, 1932: “Not a nickel in the world and nothing in sight. Am simply desperate with anxiety. . . . What’s to become of us this winter? I don’t know. It looks black.”

Jan. 23, 1933: “Worked at the juvenile book. The plot is so ridiculous that I am constantly held up trying to work a little logic into it. Even fairy tales should be logical.”

Jan. 26, 1933: “Whacked away at the accursed book.”

June 9, 1933: “Tried to get at the juvenile again today but the ghastly job appalls me.”

Jan. 26, 1934: “Stratemeyer sent along the advance so I was able to pay part of the grocery bill and get a load of dry wood.”

Finally:

“Stratemeyer wants me to do another book. . . . I always said I would never do another of the cursed things but the offer always comes when we need cash. I said I would do it but asked for more than $85, a disgraceful price for 45,000 words.”

Statemeyer said no.

21 Responses to ‘The Hardy Boys Dark secret revealed’

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted March 22, 2014

I've never read a Hardy Boys book. I've seen them, but I thought they were thinly disguised gay erotica.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

insomniac asserts...

Posted March 22, 2014

As in "Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys"?

NBlob mumbles...

Posted March 22, 2014

& the sleepy one wins the intermanetz, again.

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Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 23, 2014

"The Hardy Boys Dark secret revealed" we planted those drugs.

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Trashman would have you know...

Posted March 24, 2014

When I was young I read both The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books. They were so similar in style I always thought they were written by the same person.

However, the best series I read back then was the 'Three Investigators' series that was 'written' by Alfed Hitchcock. I picked up one out of nostalgia a couple of years ago and I still en joyed it enough that I picked up the rest via abebooks over the follwoing few months. Great stuff - far superior to the Hardy Boys.

Barnesm asserts...

Posted March 24, 2014

It was a simpler time, now there would be some marketing genius who would be pitching a cross-propmotional book where their investigations would cross over.

and don't even consider what the slash/fan fiction would be if these series were written today.

anyone else remember the TV series they made of the Hardy Boys?nancy Drew mysteries back in the 1970s?

Lulu asserts...

Posted March 24, 2014

I loved the Three Investigators.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted March 24, 2014

Yeah, they rocked.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted March 24, 2014

Okay, if we are gonna get all nostalgic about this stuff, The Mad Scientists' Club by Bertrand R./ Geer Brinley (1965) did it for me when I was of that age. Mystery solving bunch of precocious small town American kids.

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted March 24, 2014

I was a big fan, I seem to recall reading some of the stories in copies of the American Boy scouts magazine that were around the scout hall. Went to track them down in book form. A much ahrder task in those days before Amazon.

BigWillieStyle reckons...

Posted March 24, 2014

It was snotty little British kids for me. The Secret Seven. The Seven were constantly solving mysteries before the Chief Inspector had the first fucking clue what was going on. Now that I think about it, he was either (a) totally incompetent, or (b) on the take with the local ruffians and crime lords. If it was (b), he probably would've had the Seven rounded up and sent them to sleep with the fishes. This never happened, so I'll go with (a). A clear example of a public servant promoted once too often.

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 24, 2014

And who can forget Encyclopedia Brown?

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted March 25, 2014

It seems like I have completely forgotten Encyclopedia Brown.

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S.M. Stirling mumbles...

Posted March 24, 2014

I read 'em when I was about 8, 9. Then I progressed to Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Frazetta covers, anatomically impossible though the women were, didn't hurt.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted March 24, 2014

Didn't hurt? For me Frazetta was the reason I initially discoved Burroughs. I entered for the Frazetta. I stayed for the Pellucidar.

As for his Mars stories, yours are better. (No, NBlob, I'm not kissing ass. They are better - even if, as is likely, the man is unwilling to admit it.)

NBlob mutters...

Posted March 24, 2014

*** Warning. I try to maintain a MA15+ level, so as to support a welcoming & friendly ambience, but this may dip below the navel***

It cracks me up when *people* use the terms "Unrealistic portrayal of women" or "anotomically impossible." For the slow kids in the back of the room; It's Fantasy Art Dumbarse! Did you critique the muscle masses on the Hydra or the wing span -mass ratio of the faeries? No because they are Fantastical creatures. Just like the Buxom Barsoomian princesses. Who by the way often had dimply butts and boobs that were easing towards thier armpits, eminently realistic from my *ahem* limited experience of looking at such. Far far far more realistic than Any of the women's Mags on the newstand. And while we are at it, who the righteous Frack thought that Conan's "walnuts in a condom"* biceps were realistic?

I don't know what impact Mr Frazetta had on yoof's body dismorphic conditions, but I know, with a dull aching certainty, the impact he had on my pants.

Purely in the name of research I urge you to point your peepers @ http://frankfrazetta.org/

@PNB SIr While I disagree with your ass-kissing, I will defend To My Death, your right to kiss any & every ass may wish to kiss.

*TM Clive James

NBlob mutters...

Posted March 24, 2014

As a post script;

After further research I now have a more clear understanding of my fascination with Big Strong Girls.

Dino not to be confused with mutters...

Posted March 24, 2014

You know Frank did a song about Frank-

"You Make Me Feel so Young"

Don't go to the inferior versions by modern 'Artistes'.

How can a Canadian Production Company fuck up so many good songs?

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted March 24, 2014

any fans of the series True Detective out there, here it is as filtered through the Hardy Boys books.

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