Poem: "Surviving Hell's Kitchen"

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 06:43 pm
ysabetwordsmith: (Fly Free)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Thanks to new prompter [personal profile] liliane, you get a second freebie!

Read more... )

Poem: "Attainable Goals"

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 03:08 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Two smiling women; Kelly is blonde and Dale is brunette (walking the beat)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is today's freebie for the Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] curiosity. It also fills the "Set Attainable Goals" square in my 5-2-15 card for the Wellness Toolbox Bingo. This poem belongs to the series Walking the Beat.

Read more... )
alexandraerin: (Default)
[personal profile] alexandraerin

monster

The Monster at the End of this Book

Reviewed by John Z. Upjohn, USMC (Aspired)

I remember when the cover of a book used to mean something. When you could look at the cover of a book and know exactly what you were getting. If you saw a gleaming chrome spaceship over the shoulder of an intrepid, chiseled explorer holding a ray gun, you didn’t even have to buy the book and read it because you knew exactly what the story would be just by looking at it. But you bought it anyway! And you read it, and liked it! Because that book was an objectively good book, and you knew it by looking at it.

People used to know how to tell stories back then. They knew which plot was the good plot, and they used that plot. They knew what dialogue was supposed to sound like. Sometimes I buy a book today and the dialogue is different than in other books. People, if I wanted different dialogue, I’d read something else. Stop signs. Trees, maybe. I don’t know. Not books! Books are supposed to be one way, not another way.

The cover of this book is full of false promises and overblown hype, just like a woman. I remember when if a book told you that there was a monster in it, you knew what you were getting. There would be a hero who didn’t make any namby-pamby wishy-washy apologies for being a hero. There would be a princess or dame or broad of some description and she would be beautiful and love the hero after saying many times that she doesn’t, because he loved her and love conquers any objection.

There wouldn’t be any of this pandering PC crap that people spout just to get cred with the in-crowd. I know we all hate that, right? Pandering, right? It’s awful, right, when people pander? When they just say what they know is safe and popular, just repeat what their audience wants to hear? Well, I for one have the guts to stand up in front of an audience of people who hate that, and say that I hate it, too, and I don’t care who in my intended audience knows it!

The cover of this book promises a monster, which implies there’s going to be a battle. But there’s no battle. There is barely even a monster! Just some blue gamma male wimp who begs and pleads with you to stop reading the book on every page.

Looking at the obviously inflated Amazon reviews I can only conclude that a number of weak-willed liberal readers gave in to this blue cuck’s loathsome SJW bullying tactics and stopped reading before the disappointing reveal. Of course this doesn’t stop them from lavishing it with glowing reviews. These people care only about politics and demographics, not merit or value.

Well, I read it all the way to the end. The last thing you want to do is tell this red-blooded American he mustn’t do something or shouldn’t read something because I believe in the first amendment and I will read whatever the hell I want.

So I can tell you that according to the last page, the blue wimp is the monster. Allegedly. Typical self-flagellating gamma male posturing. Don’t you know that ALL men are monsters according to the Feminazis? Agreeing with this sexist sentiment is the only way a pathetic gamma male like this “Grover” character (named after Demo(n)cRAT president Grover Cleveland, I suppose) has of getting laid. I got news for you, Quisling: your complicity will not save you. The foundation of all modern feminism is in gender abolition radical feminism.

I did some digging and it turns out this book was produced by an entity called the “Children’s Television Workshop” and now known as the “Sesame Street Workshop”. Well, if you consider that children are tiny people, you might get a better name for it: People’s Television Workshop. This indoctrination factory produces books and television shows and movies and games for your children using your tax dollars. They air their main shows on PBS or as I like to call it, “Public BS”), in case you needed any proof of the socialist agenda that underpins this thing. They’re targeting your children The whole thing is straight out of a Saul Alinksy Rules For Radicals-style playbook.

Also, apparently this Grover character is a Muppet. A family entertainer like Jim Henson must be turning over in his grave to know that his creations have been turned to a leftist political purpose.

Misandry and the promotion of a culture of fear and illiteracy are what you get if you buy this book.Since I already have a copy, I’ve decided to give it to my kids just so they know what they’re up against. I am pleased to report that they have read it through a dozen times and show no signs of stopping now. They laugh when the blue gamma cuck tells them to stop reading. They laugh right in his stupid, weak face. You hear that, Saul Alinksy? Your little gambit failed! What was supposed to be an indoctrination manual for the left turned out to be a training ground for those who love freedom! We the living read what we want, and we don’t stop just because some emasculated Feminazi puppet-man tells us to.

Two stars.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write. Please leave any comments there.

Shopping, a story introduction in Fae Apoc

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 02:56 pm
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
[personal profile] aldersprig
Content Warnings: Fae Apoc. Slavery. Caging. Implied abuse of many sorts. Keeping, non-consensually.


This is the beginning of something inspired by two sources: a Leverage OT3 fanfic I read once & loved & will find again (Parker/Eliot/Hardison, though I may have them in the wrong order) and a handful of really good Falcon/Captain America/Winter Soldier fics. However, Tony, Henri, and the slave are neither Parker, Hardison, and Eliot, nor are they Cap, Falcon, and the Winter Soldier.

...Though I really ought to have made Tony blonde...


Read more... )

April A-Z Blogging Challenge: Reflections Post

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 01:45 pm
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
[personal profile] aldersprig
The Meme Master Post

I do plan on finishing T-Z; you guys left me some wonderful prompts to play with. In the meantime, however, here's my Reflections post, as asked for by the Blogging A-Z People.

First impression: I really like doing A-Z challenges, and I really don't think I'll officially do Blogging A-Z again.

I've talked about this with a few of my readers, but for anyone else who's interested, here are my reasons. It's a bit cranky, so I've put it behind a cut.
Read more... )

Poetry Fishbowl Open!

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 12:36 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith posting in [community profile] crowdfunding
The Poetry Fishbowl is now open on Dreamwidth and on LiveJournal with a theme of "gentlemen in distress." Come give me prompts and watch for the poetry to start appearing.

Poetry Fishbowl Open!

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 12:34 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "gentlemen in distress."  I will be checking this page periodically throughout the day. When people make suggestions, I'll pick some and weave them together into a poem ... and then another ... and so on. I'm hoping to get a lot of ideas and a lot of poems.

Note: The point is to reverse the "damsel in distress" trope.  Therefore, any male or equivalent character counts, not just noblemen.  In the case of alternate sex/gender paradigms, the usually-dominant trait should be in distress.

Click to read the linkback poem, "Dangerous Refuges" (14 verses, A Conflagration of Dragons).


What Is a Poetry Fishbowl?

Writing is usually considered a solitary pursuit. One exception to this is a fascinating exercise called a "fishbowl." This has various forms, but all of them basically involve some kind of writing in public, usually with interaction between author and audience. A famous example is Harlan Ellison's series of "stories under glass" in which he sits in a bookstore window and writes a new story based on an idea that someone gives him. Writing classes sometimes include a version where students watch each other write, often with students calling out suggestions which are chalked up on the blackboard for those writing to use as inspiration.

In this online version of a Poetry Fishbowl, I begin by setting a theme; today's theme is "gentlemen in distress."  I invite people to suggest characters, settings, and other things relating to that theme. Then I use those prompts as inspiration for writing poems.


Cyberfunded Creativity

I'm practicing cyberfunded creativity. If you enjoy what I'm doing and want to see more of it, please feed the Bard. The following options are currently available:

1) Sponsor the Fishbowl -- Here is a PayPal button for donations. There is no specific requirement, but $1 is the minimum recommended size for PayPal transactions since they take a cut from every one. You can also donate via check or money order sent by postal mail. If you make a donation and tell me about it, I promise to use one of your prompts. Anonymous donations are perfectly welcome, just won't get that perk. General donations will be tallied, and at the end of the fishbowl I’ll post a list of eligible poems based on the total funding; then the audience can vote on which they want to see posted.

2) Swim, Fishie, Swim! -- A feature in conjunction with fishbowl sponsorship is this progress meter showing the amount donated.  There are multiple perks, the top one being a half-price poetry sale on one series when donations reach $300.



3) Buy It Now! -- Gakked from various e-auction sites, this feature allows you to sponsor a specific poem. If you don't want to wait for some editor to buy and publish my poem so you can read it, well, now you don't have to. Sponsoring a poem means that I will immediately post it on my blog for everyone to see, with the name of the sponsor (or another dedicate) if you wish; plus you get a nonexclusive publication right, so you can post it on your own blog or elsewhere as long as you keep the credits intact. You'll need to tell me the title of the poem you want to sponsor. I'm basing the prices on length, and they're comparable to what I typically make selling poetry to magazines (semi-pro rates according to Duotrope's Digest).

0-10 lines: $5
11-25 lines: $10
26-40 lines: $15
41-60 lines: $20
Poems over 60 lines, or with very intricate structure, fall into custom pricing.

4) Commission a scrapbook page. I can render a chosen poem in hardcopy format, on colorful paper, using archival materials for background and any embellishments. This will be suitable for framing or for adding to a scrapbook. Commission details are here.  See latest photos of sample scrapbooked poems: "Sample Scrapbooked Poems 1-24-11"

5) Spread the word. Echo or link to this post on your LiveJournal, other blog, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social network.  Useful Twitter hashtags include #poetryfishbowl and #promptcall.  Encourage people to come here and participate in the fishbowl.  If you have room for it, including your own prompt will give your readers an idea of what the prompts should look like; ideally, update later to include the thumbnail of the poem I write, and a link to the poem if it gets published.  If there is at least one new prompter or donor, I will post an extra freebie poem.

Linkback perk: I have a spare series poem available, and each linkback will reveal a verse of the poem.  One person can do multiple links if they're on different services, like Dreamwidth or Twitter, rather than all on LiveJournal.  Comment with a link to where you posted. "Dangerous Refuges" belongs to A Conflagration of Dragons and has 14 verses available. 


Additional Notes

1) I customarily post replies to prompt posts telling people which of their prompts I'm using, with a brief description of the resulting poem(s). If you want to know what's available, watch for those "thumbnails."

2) You don't have to pay me to see a poem based on a prompt that you gave me. I try to send copies of poems to people, mostly using the LJ message function.  (Anonymous prompters will miss this perk unless you give me your eddress.)  These are for-your-eyes-only, though, not for sharing.

3) Sponsors of the Poetry Fishbowl in general, or of specific poems, will gain access to an extra post in appreciation of their generosity.  While you're on the Donors list, you can view all of the custom-locked posts in that category.  Click the "donors" tag to read the archive of those.  I've also posted a list of other donor perks there.  I customarily leave donor names on the list for two months, so you'll get to see the perk-post from this month and next.

4) After the Poetry Fishbowl concludes, I will post a list of unsold poems and their prices, to make it easier for folks to see what they might want to sponsor.

5) If donations total $100 by Friday evening then you get a free $15 poem; $150 gets you a free $20 poem; and $200 gets you a free epic, posted after the Poetry Fishbowl.  These will usually be series poems if I have them; otherwise I may offer non-series poems or series poems in a different size.  If donations reach $250, you get one step toward a bonus fishbowl; three of these activates the perk, and they don't have to be three months in a row.  Everyone will get to vote on which series, and give prompts during the extra fishbowl, although it may be a half-day rather than a whole day.  If donations reach $300, you'll get a piece of bonus material.


Feed the Fish!
Now's your chance to participate in the creative process by posting ideas for me to write about. Today's theme is "gentlemen in distress."  I'll be soliciting ideas for strong women, the role of the hera as female protagonist, men in need of rescue, the role of the heronet as male love-interest and plot complication, folks of other genders on either side of this equation, gender police antagonists, innocent bystanders, getting into trouble, deciding to help someone, getting out of trouble, asking for help and getting it, when help goes horribly wrong, proving yourself, heroic ladyfeats, epic failures of manhood, dungeons, creepy buildings, bedrooms that someone does not want to be in, gendered spaces, tertiary sexual characteristics, gendered artifacts, endings and beginnings, love polygons, hero teams, the challenges of not being a macho hero, the challenges of not being a delicate heroine,  and poetic forms in particular. But anything is welcome, really. If you manage to recommend a form that I don't recognize, I will probably pounce on it and ask you for its rules. I do have the first edition of Lewis Turco's The Book of Forms which covers most common and many obscure forms.

I'll post at least one of the fishbowl poems here so you-all can enjoy it. (Remember, you get an extra freebie poem if someone new posts a prompt or makes a donation, and additional perks at $100-$300 in donations.  Linkbacks reveal verses of "Dangerous Refuges" The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

Puppy’s Progress

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 09:16 am
alexandraerin: (Default)
[personal profile] alexandraerin

The Puppies keep describing the enemy they imagine they’re fighting in Orwellian terms. Well, if you want to see an example of groupthink setting out to punish badthink in action, head on over to Vox Day’s blog. Actually, that statement could probably stand on its own at any random instance in time, but I’m thinking in particular of this post, where Day wants to contrast three reviews he says are by “Social Justice Warriors” with one that isn’t: http://voxday.blogspot.com/2015/05/smells-like-success.html

He starts the post by saying that the first review “precisely underlines the central point made by the Sad Puppies campaign and single-handedly serves to justify it”.

Now, I’m not sure which central point it so perfectly illustrates, as the central point of the Sad Puppies changes from day to day. Is it supposed to prove that there’s a clique that judges books by demography rather than merit?  Is that which central point Day is saying it supports? If so, I’d like to know how, as the critique is specific and refers to the text and not the author. Is it supposed to be a counterpoint to Brad Torgersen’s famous lament that he can no longer judge a book by its cover? If so, I would think the third review would serve better, as it points out that the ending of the story is explicitly spoiled by the title, Turncoat.

No, taking the three “SJW” reviews in total, I believe the specific one of the Sad Puppies’ nebulous and ever-shifting “points” which Day believes is being proven is just the general idea that some people who are reviewing books (and nominating them for awards and such) are choosing to lie about what’s good and bad on the basis of how they feel about the author or other externalities.

This is not actually something that I’ve seen articulated by any central personality of Sad Puppies, but by those lurking in the comments and on Twitter. It’s more Gamergate thinking than Sad Puppy thinking, at least in its explicit form.

The shortest review and Day’s response to it really hammer it home.

The review reads:

“I hated Turncoat – compared to how Iain Banks, Neal Asher, Peter Hamilton write sentient battleships and describe space warfare it was unbearable, then there were lines like ‘the men who…’ versus ‘the people who’ really jarred against me – it felt like a story written about AIs written by somebody who has ignored any progress in fiction, computing and so forth in 20 years. The opening battle scene at the start of The Reality Dysfunction is better than Turncoat in every way, and that was written in 1996.”

And Day’s response reads:

“I found that to be rather amusing, considering how spectacularly boring Iain Banks’s space battles are. But considering that Daveon hates Sad Puppies and hates Rabid Puppies, how surprising is it that he – mirabile dictu – just happens to hate ‘Turncoat’ as well?”

The first line is great: “I found it amusing that you profess to like A Thing, when I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that A Thing is unlikeable!” Yes, Day has caught another lying liar in another filthy lie! SJWs are so dedicated to the cause they will lie and say that boring things are interesting!

Or, y’know, different people find different things interesting.

See, the actual central point of the Sad Puppies that Day proves with these four reviews—all of which seem perfectly fair to me, as they all are rooted in the specifics of the text and all seem to honestly reflect how the reviewer received it—is the new central point that Brad Torgersen pivoted to last week when he said there’s no such thing as an objective standard and that the Sad Puppies are about packing the Hugos with people whose tastes reflect his own.

Because that’s what these reviews demonstrate: differing tastes. And given that there are three of them where the story is not to the reviewer’s taste and one where it isn’t, maybe Day is right and this does prove the need for a Sad Puppies campaign, from the point of view of the Puppies.

I know that’s not what Day means, of course. His own commentary on the post reflects his inability to grasp the concept of differing tastes, differing yet honest opinions. Understanding those things would require Day to possess some shred of empathy or a working theory of mind, neither of which he shows any evidence of. I suspect that like many people who rely on being able to brag about what society has told them is an objective measurement of their superior mental ability, Day has never bothered much with actual mental development. Why not? The test says he’s already at the top. There’s nowhere to go except for down.

This puts me in mind of a blog post by Christian blogger slacktivist, which started off as part of a scene-by-scene sporking of the first Left Behind movie and digressed into a meditation on Kirk Cameron’s progress as an actor, contrasting Cameron as an actor who believed that he was at the top of his form as a child on a sitcom and had no more room for improvement with fellow sitcom actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, who has never stopped trying to improve himself.

And this brings me to one of the more curious things found at Day’s post, in the comments. One of the reviewers is quoted as saying that Turncoat reads like it was written by an AI that ignored the past decades’ worth of progress in writing. One of the commenters responds to this in part with, “Progress in fiction, HA!” He would like us to read a book published 24 years ago and concerned only with the shape of plots, which he considers to be not just the last word but the only word in what makes writing good.

Progress? Ha! This is what the Puppies represent: people who believe there can be no advancement in the state of the art of storytelling, because to them there is neither state nor art. No room for improvement, and nothing to be improved.

I know Vox Day has something of a fanboy’s interest in the history of Rome. If he ever gets past the “playing with tin soldiers” phase of things and looks into it a little more deeply, he might notice that there was a trend during the late decline of the empire of poets and authors who trafficked in little more than polite and politic rearrangements of what had come before. No new ideas, no new forms, no new shapes. Aldous Huxley might have been thinking of a grammaticus of this age when he had a teacher in Brave New World ask pupils if they thought they knew better than the World Consensus Textbook: “Do you think you know better than Virgil? Do you think you can do better than Catullus?”

Despite Torgersen’s latter-day admission that it’s actually a matter of taste, this state of art in decline is broadly what the Puppies (and their incestuously close ideological cousins the Gators) are fighting for: stability to the point of stagnation, based around a global consensus of what a story is allowed to be.

Oh, sure, the zealous believers in free speech found in both camps will wring their hands and say, “No, no, no! We want people to be able to both make and enjoy whatever art they want! It’s just the dishonesty of it all that we’re fighting against!”

But when you define “dishonesty” as anyone who evinces an opinion that deviates from the accepted consensus… well… you wind up with things like this, where three reviews that independently arrive at similar conclusions, each making explicit reference to the text, are used as evidence that the reviewers are lying, which is used to justify a “revolutionary” campaign to root out such liars.

As I said, this is the triumph of “groupthink” over “badthink”.

Well, “triumph” might be too strong a word. It remains to be seen if the group is big enough to actually enforce and maintain their consensus reality, outside the carefully insulated protective aegis of their own spaces. Day likes to boast about his millions of monthly page views, yet when he was handing out numbered badges to his “minions” he ran out of takers in the low three hundreds. I suspect he has yet to learn the difference between browsing at someone and browsing with them. I’m also suddenly curious how many hits the Time Cube guy was getting at the height of its notoriety.

Oh, brave new world that has such people in it!

Progress? Ha!

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write. Please leave any comments there.

Poetry Fishbowl Report for April 7, 2015

Monday, May 4th, 2015 09:55 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith posting in [community profile] crowdfunding
This month's theme was "language shaping thought." I worked from 12:30 PM to 4:30 AM, so about 14 hours 30 minutes, allowing for breaks. I wrote 15 poems on Tuesday and another 9 later.

Participation was good, with 27 prompters on LiveJournal and 50 on Dreamwidth. A total of 20 people sent prompts. Please welcome new prompters [personal profile] moongoddessgirl and [personal profile] kiramaru7. You have them to thank for the second freebie.


Read Some Poetry!
The following poems from the March 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl have been posted:
"100,000 and 1"
"Borrowed Thyme"
"Cobble's Stones"
"The Color of Her Eyes"
"haiku in English"
"His Fearsome Horse"
"Imperialist Linguistics"
"More Anxious to Agree"
"Never Carry Them Forward"
"Othering In"
"Realia"
"A Reflection of Your Energy"
"The Rosetta Code"
"The Seeds of Meaning"
"The Shaper-Worf Hypothesis"
"shining wind whispers"
"Speaking of Shields"
"(Un)Truths"

"Silken Dreams" (Dragonsilk, 1/6/15 Fishbowl)
"The Uruk Uncertainty" (The Time Towers, 2/3/15 Fishbowl)


Buy some poetry!
If you plan to sponsor some poetry but haven't made up your mind yet, see the unsold poetry list for April 7, 2015. That includes the title, length, price, and the original thumbnail description for the poems still available.

All currently sponsored poems from April have been posted, and backchannel copies sent to the prompters of the rest. Per the $200 goal, "The Uruk Uncertainty" was the free epic. Per the $250 goal, there will be a bonus fishbowl on Tuesday, May 19. Per the $300 goal, there was a half-price sale in Polychrome Heroics.

This month's donors included [personal profile] technoshaman, Anonymous, [personal profile] marina_bonomi, [personal profile] dialecticdreamer, [personal profile] librarygeek, Anthony & Shirley Barrette, [personal profile] janetmiles, and LJ user Ng_moonmoth. There were no new donors.


The Poetry Fishbowl project also has a permanent landing page.

Poetry Fishbowl Report for April 7, 2015

Monday, May 4th, 2015 09:29 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This month's theme was "language shaping thought." I worked from 12:30 PM to 4:30 AM, so about 14 hours 30 minutes, allowing for breaks. I wrote 15 poems on Tuesday and another 9 later.

Participation was good, with 27 prompters on LiveJournal and 50 on Dreamwidth. A total of 20 people sent prompts. Please welcome new prompters [personal profile] moongoddessgirl and [personal profile] kiramaru7. You have them to thank for the second freebie.


Read Some Poetry!
The following poems from the March 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl have been posted:
"100,000 and 1"
"Borrowed Thyme"
"Cobble's Stones"
"The Color of Her Eyes"
"haiku in English"
"His Fearsome Horse"
"Imperialist Linguistics"
"More Anxious to Agree"
"Never Carry Them Forward"
"Othering In"
"Realia"
"A Reflection of Your Energy"
"The Rosetta Code"
"The Seeds of Meaning"
"The Shaper-Worf Hypothesis"
"shining wind whispers"
"Speaking of Shields"
"(Un)Truths"

"Silken Dreams" (Dragonsilk, 1/6/15 Fishbowl)
"The Uruk Uncertainty" (The Time Towers, 2/3/15 Fishbowl)


Buy some poetry!
If you plan to sponsor some poetry but haven't made up your mind yet, see the unsold poetry list for April 7, 2015. That includes the title, length, price, and the original thumbnail description for the poems still available.

All currently sponsored poems from April have been posted, and backchannel copies sent to the prompters of the rest. Per the $200 goal, "The Uruk Uncertainty" was the free epic. Per the $250 goal, there will be a bonus fishbowl on Tuesday, May 19. Per the $300 goal, there was a half-price sale in Polychrome Heroics.

This month's donors included [personal profile] technoshaman, Anonymous, [personal profile] marina_bonomi, [personal profile] dialecticdreamer, [personal profile] librarygeek, Anthony & Shirley Barrette, [personal profile] janetmiles, and LJ user Ng_moonmoth. There were no new donors.


The Poetry Fishbowl project also has a permanent landing page.

The Merger of Railways

Monday, May 4th, 2015 03:43 pm
aldersprig: (unspoken)
[personal profile] aldersprig
First: Prince Rodegard Visits the Imperial Capital

Previous: Edora Begins to Explain Life to Prince Rodegard

For the "Do up whatever story/stories suit your fancy or for whomever most wants/needs 'em." commission and the poll here
.

~~


Edora stared out the train window. The countryside of Prince Rodegard’s mother’s nation rolled by at a stately, weedy pace: Iscandia. The place was at the far western edge of the Empire, pressed against the mountains on one side, the sea on the second side, the Empire on one long side, and on its far side - a unruly collection of states that the Empire did not dignify with a name. It was a weedy, poor place, not good for much, but the Imperial territory it touched was a rich, prosperous country with many natural resources. It behooved the Empire to keep Iscandia within its borders.

“Do you know who built these tracks, Rodegard?”

The prince was not looking out the window, she knew. He was staring at her, trying not to bounce in his seat like a toddler. Her question made him make a noise, somewhere between a groan and a whine, that he quickly suppressed.

“What’s that have to do with anything? I mean. I mean, the Empire built them, didn’t it?”

Edora shook her head. “These tracks in particular were built by a company called Cortenar Railways. The Empire owns the land under them, and it leases the land - and travel rights, and the right to make money off of the trains travelling the tracks - to various railway companies. Nearer the Capital, it’s Helarna-Jakobs Railway and Shipping, and so on.”

“But what does that have to do with--” Rodegard cut himself off. “I’m sorry, Da- Your Highness.”

“All of these railways have to join. There are at least seventeen of these companies – I’m not a railways expert, so please don’t quote me on the number – and they have to link together just so to make the Imperial railway system work. Do you follow?”

“Yes, ma’am.” He was slouching in his seat. He wasn’t listening as well as he should be. Well, he would learn.

“The whole Empire is like that. Millions of tiny pieces that all have to link up just so. Nations with their own royalties, their own laws... and they all have to link up properly with the Empire’s rules and laws. And what’s more than that, millions of people that have to link up.”

“It’s politics.” He nodded slowly. “Takaranne and Caredorn are better at politics than I am. I was always better with crops.”

“Well, that’s part of what I’m here to teach you. It may have been a while ago that I was put on a train like this - but I remember everything I had to learn.”

He narrowed his eyes thoughtfully. “Twenty years ago, the Empressina’s cousin - the Crown Emperito - he, ah. He was killed.”

“You know your history.” Edora kept all emotion out of her voice. Emperito Mateusz had been a bit older than her, but he had been kind. After all this time, that was most of what she could remember.

“Empressina Nadia is not married yet.” He was speaking very slowly, carefully, picking his way through the rocks and gopher-holes.

“She is... not exactly married yet.”

There was a moment where Rodegard’s shoulders relaxed, and then his eyes narrowed again and he tensed. “This is more complicated than lining up railroad tracks, isn’t it?”

“People always are.” Edora allowed herself a smile. He might not be entirely useless. “People are always more complicated.”


If you want more - and I'm pretty sure this wants to be a full-length romance novel - drop a tip in the tip... handcuffs ;-)


Call for Prompts

Monday, May 4th, 2015 02:20 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 [personal profile] kay_brooke is hosting a prompt call with the theme of "nature."  Leave a prompt, get ~250 words.  There are perks for linkbacks and donations.

(no subject)

Monday, May 4th, 2015 02:59 pm
kay_brooke: Two purple flowers against a green background (spring)
[personal profile] kay_brooke posting in [community profile] crowdfunding
Ooh, I've been in this comm for awhile and just now figured out I should advertise here!

I hold bi-monthly prompt calls over at my journal, and the May/June prompt call is now open! The (optional) theme is Nature. The post at the link has more information.

Can we talk about Ultron?

Monday, May 4th, 2015 10:24 am
alexandraerin: (Default)
[personal profile] alexandraerin

So, this post will contain some spoilers for Age of Ultron, which is why there’s a cut underneath this introductory blog is relatively new-ish and I have it cross-posting to a lot of different platforms to make it easier for my established readers to follow it wherever they’re used to following me. I’ve never hidden things beneath a cut on this blog before. My understanding is that the automated cross-posts will obey the cut. I’m going to be checking them out after I post this to try to catch them if they don’t. But in the event that some unwanted spoilers leak through and you see them before I catch it, sorry!

Read the rest of this entry »

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write. Please leave any comments there.

aldersprig: (Library)
[personal profile] aldersprig


I missed Lexember and "February is World-building month" so this year I'm doing "Three Weeks for Worldbuilding."

Starting on the 25th of April, I am trying to answer an average of one world-building question a day for three weeks.

But I need your questions! Is there anything you've been curious about? Anything that piques your interest? Something you think might be fun for me to answer? Ask it here!

I have a lot of settings! Check out the Landing Page if you don't already have a pet setting. Check out here for last year's post.

4/25 - Something about the world of SCIENCE! beyond the laboratories.
4/26- How many psychics are there in other places in the world of Tir na Cali?
4/27- What do the Strands in Stranded World look like?
4/28- Unicorn Factory: what "common knowledge" or assumptions about the Governors is? Are they government officials? Factory owners? Something stranger? What's their history?
4/29- Planners: is there a timeline of the catastrophes (large or small) that have happened? Are there specific potential catastrophes they're concerned about?
4/30-Reiassan question: Talk about some of the wild animals that might be found!
5/1-
5/2-
5/3-
5/4-
etc.

WHAT?! YOUR SAD PUPPIES ARE EVOLVING!

Monday, May 4th, 2015 09:41 am
alexandraerin: (Default)
[personal profile] alexandraerin

So, the past week saw both camps of Puppies, Sad and Rabid, evolving their narratives in significant ways.

Vox Day, over on his blog, made a post declaring that burning the Hugos to the ground is “now a sub-optimal strategy” for the Sad Puppies, which is a weird thing to say given that this was never stated as the Sad Puppies’ goal, but was associated with his own campaign, the Rabid Puppies.

But let that go.

What does our master gamesman see as the optimal strategy now? Ah, he sees it as a big win if no slate fails to have any impact beyond the nomination process because there are too many people involved in voting now…

It’s weird, I’d swear I’ve heard that before. Oh, right. In their more moderate moments, that what the Sad Puppies have claimed to be fighting for all along.

He’s declaring it a firm victory because he either believes or is depending on the cattle that stampede behind him believing that there is a powerful clique that the Puppies are a countering force to, so if no one controls the final voting this doesn’t mean the Puppies win, it means their invisible enemies lost.

But of course, part of his meta-strategy is to declare everything a victory for him. He keeps referring to this as a “Xanatos Gambit,” which is a term for when someone engineers a situation so that all possible outcomes ultimately benefit them. It’s named for a fictional mastermind, though, not someone who simply doesn’t care what actually happens as long as his followers still think he’s cool, so I’m not entirely certain it’s the most accurate application of the term.

But let that go

This is a significant shift from Day for two reasons.

The first is that it signals what he thinks is most likely to happen. He rode high on the sweeping fantasy vision of himself as a Roman general leading a slavering horde of berserkers across the frozen river to assault the well-fortified position of his enemies (note to self: suggest history lessons for Vox), but he has just enough self-awareness to know that his strategy of lying and repeating the lie could come back and bite him if he tried to claim a sweeping victory where none existed, so he’s starting the spin now.

The second is that—as mentioned before—the endgame he now endorses is something the Sad Puppies have claimed to have wanted as their ultimate endgame.

I will not speculate as to the extent to which Day worked with the Sad Puppies. It is apparent from the timeline that he either did not read all the works he nominated or he had an advance look at their slate, since he nominated the same works within a day. It seems likely that there was similar cooperation in coordinating the official campaign artwork.

But let that go.

As the strangely moderated Vox Day’s stance melds seamlessly with the more moderate version of the Sad Puppies’ stance, it’s no longer necessary to try to tease out how their origins may have intertwined, as they’ve ended up in exactly the same place. If Day has enough awareness to even be conscious of the fact that he’s now thrown in completely with the Sad Puppies, I have to think he imagines this some sort of complex flanking operation he’s just completed, or maybe a pincer maneuver where two columns come together to the surprise of… well, absolutely no one, in reality.

And then the two columns get lost in the mcHe’s declaring it a firm victory because he either believes or is depending on the cattle that stampede behind him believing that there is a powerful clique that the Puppies are a countering force to, so if no one controls the final voting this doesn’t mean the Puppies win, it means their invisible enemies lost in the crowd? The wargame metaphor breaks down pretty quickly, to be honest.

But let that go.

On the other side of the increasingly illusory divide, we have Brad Torgersen. In what looks like a Facebook conversation, he appears to have dropped the central contention of the Puppy campaign. That is, he’s no longer maintaining that there was an organized effort by “SJWs” to nominate works and authors for “PC cred” reasons or to reward members of a clique and that the Sad Puppies were conceived to make sure that the nominees and winners really deserved them.

Nope. Now it’s just a matter of taste. You can read the comments in full at http://www.deathisbadblog.com/brad-torgersen-goes-full-post-modern/, where I read them, but I’ll excerpt the most significant lines here:

“Gents, thing is, there is *no* objective standard. None. Pretense to the contrary, [it] is just that: pretense. […] Year after year, a great swath of SF/F’s audience watches as the Hugos parade off to works which leave that swath cold. […] Again, no objective standard. Just taste. If people with taste similar to yours can vote in sufficient numbers, then your taste prevails. If those with a different taste can vote in sufficient numbers, your taste does not prevail.”

I kind of doubt at this point that Torgersen is either honest enough nor self-aware enough to be consciously admitting that the Puppies were founded on a pretense, that the lines that have been used to rally up a small army of small-minded followers were essentially lies, but there you have it. Just as I’ve been saying all along, just as many others have been saying: different people like different things for different reasons.

No need to imagine a clique or conspiracy or cabal or collusion or whatever scary c-word you want to slap on it this time. It’s just differing tastes.

The post I’m linking to is already almost a week old, so I’d expect if this admission were to herald a serious change in the Puppy discourse we’d have seen it already. But why should they start being self-consistent and internally coherent now? The Puppies are an apolitical group, except when they’re not. The Puppies don’t care about diversity, except when they’re its true champions. What exactly they did and why they did it changes from day to day, and I’m not even just talking about if you ask different members of the effort.

That is because at the end of the day, what we’re dealing with is people rationalizing away an irrational response to their feelings at not having their tastes represented as best/most mainstream. When defending its own naked, ugly self-interest, the human brain can and will pivot smoothly from one position to another and just not acknowledge the contradiction between the two but not acknowledge that any movement occurred at all.

They love to throw around the word “Orwellian”, but the way the Puppies constantly shift and evolve their narrative would leave the Ministry of Truth dizzy. If today the Puppies are about subjective taste, then the Puppies have always been about subjective taste.

But let that go.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write. Please leave any comments there.

Glow Table

Monday, May 4th, 2015 03:12 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 Watch someone make a table with glow-in-the-dark streaks.

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