Free

roses

Photo credit: Dale Rogerson

“I’ve escaped. I’m outside of Sanctuary.” Dane Asher’s numb fingers caressed the brittle petals of the frozen roses. They were covered with a layer of snow, and were so beautiful, like the landscape graced by a winter that was slowly killing him.

“I don’t know why I’m free, but now I’m free only to die.” He looked to the frosted forest and the sunset at the horizon beyond. “Better dying free than living like a slave.”

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The Failure

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Found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie for Photo Challenge #355

“Screw this shit! I’ve had enough!” Dane roughly yanked the glorified brain cube off of his head and threw it to the ground.

“Mr. Asher, please retrieve your covering and replace it on your head. The amplified voice from somewhere over the dark stone wall behind him reverberated. Dane had always hated the Counselor’s snotty, superior London accent hidden though it was behind a vocal distorter.

“Fuck you!” He looked down for it anyway, but after having marched several feet away from his assigned position, he couldn’t see it. White fog swirled around his knees, and had mired everything.

The figures surrounding him, already dehumanized by the same isolation gear, seemed like ghosts. In fact, even though he could see again, he remained partitioned from the actual world.

“Mr. Asher, I remind you that you agreed…”

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The Beat Goes On: Mike Glyer and File 770 Decide to Aim the Laser of Disapproval at Me (I’m such a disappointment)

Well, it’s not every day that Mike Glyer uses his File 770 fanzine to insult me, so I guess I should be honored. I’ve been criticized for being an attention hog (look who’s talking) and for not knowing the various names of SF/F authors involved in the Baen Books forum debate (oh the horror…I didn’t kiss someone’s arse or something).

Anyway, here’s the link to the relevant Pixel Scroll. Scroll down for item 6.

Now here’s the screenshot since things sometimes go “poof” on the internet  (keep on scrolling).

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I Wouldn’t Want to Belong to a Club that would “Uninvite” a Guest of Honor

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Groucho Marx publicity photo.

“I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have me as a member”Groucho Marx

This isn’t so much about Jason Sanford and the Baen Books forums saga as it is about its major consequence: Discon III “uninviting” Toni Weisskopf to WorldCon 2021.

Once again, Mike Glyer’s File 770 (he must be pleased about all the free publicity I’m giving him and his fanzine) provides the catalyst.

Item 1 in Pixel Scroll 2/19/21 Why, I Sweep My Scroll With A Geiger Counter Every Day, And Nary A Pixel! is DISCON III REACTIONS.

The most interesting response was the first one, from David Weber (makes me think of Jason Bourne’s original name “David Webb”) as posted on his Facebook page on February 19th and quoted by Glyer the same day:

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The Jason Sanford and Baen Books Saga Continues

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Screenshot from twitter

I know after writing about THIS and THIS, I said I was washing my hands of it all HERE, but people still keep bringing it up, especially on this commentary.

Stuff produced by folks such as Matthew Hopkins and questions asked by retired journalist Richard Paolinelli HERE and HERE led me to see if Sanford’s twitter account might be back up (I didn’t expect it to be), but indeed it is.

In fact, he’s tweeting to a group of people, including me, as I write this (patience Jason, I can only keyboard so fast).

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On Reading Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” and Baen Books

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Cover art for Robert A. Heinlein’s novel “Starship Troopers”

I suppose I should leave this alone, especially after taking quite a bit of criticism, mainly from conservative authors, when I suggested that the left side of the science fiction industry was using the “Baen’s Bar” incident, which I chronicled HERE and HERE, to paint all conservative authors and just plain all conservatives with the same unjust and extremist brush.

However, I also acknowledged that at least some of the things said (or allegedly said, since the accuracy and validity of Jason Sanford’s report has come under dispute) on the forum could foment violence, and this is where I triggered quite a number of people. At this point, the matter has become too muddied for me to make sense of, so I’m going to stop commenting on something I’m not nearly as emotionally invested in as both Baen’s supporters and critics.

Though if indeed, some undisclosed competitor of Baen’s is using up their bag of dirty tricks in an attempt to deplatform a publisher that is just as friendly to conservative science fiction writers as it is to more liberal and socialist authors, it’s a pretty low deed.

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Book Review of “All Systems Red”

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Cover art for “All Systems Red” by Martha Wells

First the “official reviews” including praise for the author’s other works:

“I love Murderbot!” ―Ann Leckie, author of Ancillary Justice

“The Murderbot series is a heart-pounding thriller that never lets up, but it’s also one of the most humane portraits of a nonhuman I’ve ever read. Come for the gunfights on other planets, but stay for the finely drawn portrait of a deadly robot whose smartass goodness will give you hope for the future of humanity.” ―Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous

“Clever, inventive, brutal when it needs to be, and compassionate without ever being sentimental.” ―Kate Elliott, author of the Spirit Walker trilogy

“Endearing, funny, action-packed, and murderous.” ―Kameron Hurley, author of The Stars are Legion

“Not only a fun, fast-paced space-thriller, but also a sharp, sometimes moving character study that will resonate with introverts even if they’re not lethal AI machines.” ―Malka Older, author of Infomocracy

“We are all a little bit Murderbot.”―NPR

“Wells gives depth to a rousing but basically familiar action plot by turning it into the vehicle by which SecUnit engages with its own rigorously denied humanity.” ―Publishers Weekly starred review

“I already can’t wait for the next one.” ―The Verge

“Meet your favorite depressed A.I. since Marvin.” ―B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

“A great kick-off for a continuing series.” ―Locus

“Wells imbued Murderbot with extraordinary humanity, and while this is a fun read, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s not a profound one.”―LA Times

The Cloud Roads has wildly original world-building, diverse and engaging characters, and a thrilling adventure plot. It’s that rarest of fantasies: fresh and surprising, with a story that doesn’t go where ten thousand others have gone before. I can’t wait for my next chance to visit the Three Worlds!” ―N. K. Jemisin, author of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

And as far as author Martha Wells’ awards:

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Revenge of the Baen, the Jason Sanford Report, and the Quest for Justice (or is it Vengeance?)

baen

Baen books logo.

What a mess.

Scrolling through twitter this morning (it always comes back to twitter), I found Paul Weimer’s thread (never heard of him before this) citing File 770‘s article Baen Strikes Back; Sanford Under Growing Storm of Harassment.

As you may remember from my previous blog post, a whole bunch of nastiness has been happening, not really exactly at Baen Books, but because of an investigative piece written by Jason Sanford titled Baen Books Forum Being Used to Advocate for Political Violence.

That was three days ago and this has gotten anything but better.

According to the aforementioned “Strikes Back” write up, a number of people have come to Baen’s defense, and some of them in a spectacularly hostile manner (so much so that Sanford has temporarily locked down his social media accounts based on a great deal of harassment including death threats).

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January 6th, Baen’s Bar, and the Definition of “Evil”

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AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Addendum, 2-17-2021, 4:45 a.m. mountain time: Just an update from File 770 (still not a fan but it is an information source) on the whole Baen Bar fiasco. Of course, from that perspective, all conservatives are evil, but while 770 is also heavily biased, we must make certain that our own behavior and attitudes doesn’t support violence. No one is going to (I hope) cancel us because we believe in smaller government, the freedom to worship as we wish, free speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment, and eating actual beef hamburgers in opposition to the dictates of Bill Gates.

Original content starts here: Oh, good grief. Here we go again. I can just hear it. “All people even slightly to the right of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are Trump, Hitler, and Satan combined.”

What do I mean?

Well first off, a little personal background.

When I started reading science fiction in the 1960s and 70s, it was well before we had any idea of an “internet” much less “social media.” Today, we can investigate pretty much anyone’s past, at least up to a point. And not just individuals, but organizations as well. Thus we can make some sort of determination if we want to be associated with people and groups with a particular “reputation” before we partake of any of their “wares.”

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Review of Denton Salle’s Novel “Black Earth Rises, Hall of Heroes Book Three”

black earth

Cover art for Denton Salle’s novel “Black Earth Rises”

Black Earth Rises is the third book in a series by Denton Salle, but it stands very well on its own since I haven’t read the first two novels.

Denton asked me to review his book and was aware of recent difficulties I’ve had reviewing books by people I know. He assured me that he’d understand me being forthright and fair about my review, and I have been.

For being a supernatural urban legend thriller, the story is pretty standard, up to a point. Two college buddies from very different backgrounds, the women in their lives, coming up against frat jerks, all seems normal.

Then the frat jerks turn out to be werewolves and there is a sinister school being operated by an evil sorceress in the bowels of a Texas university near Dallas. But this school also has an old graveyard haunted with the unexpected, both evil and good.

A good Catholic boy named Jim gets pulled by his frat friend Mike into an Orthodox religious group (most of which are Mike’s family) of an ancient order sworn to protect our existence from occult dangers. They live an uneasy peace with the “Otherworld” by a compact signed untold centuries ago…but not all of the Otherworld creatures are obedient, or perhaps they just didn’t sign on the dotted line.

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