Review of “APPLESEED: A Founder Effect Legend”

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Cover art for “The Founder Effect”

After the whole Baen Books or rather Baen’s Bar kerfuffle and being “shamed” into silence by various groups and individuals (including garnering the disapproval of Paul Weimer who I actually kind of like), the one thing I decided to do when I gave up everything else, was to read more Baen Books.

I probably have over the years, but unlike modern “fandom,” I’ve never paid much attention to who published what book as long as I enjoyed the reading (or even if I didn’t).

I can say that I do remember consuming Cobra (1984) by Hugo Award winning author Timothy Zahn. I don’t know how many others I’ve read over the years, but my current review is an effort to pay more attention to that sort of thing. After all, for whatever “crimes” individuals on Baen’s Bar may be guilty of, to the best of my understanding, the worst we can hang on Baen Books in general and editor Toni Weisskopf in specific is that she neglected to police her forum. I’ve seen discussion groups violently crash and burn over the years for this exact reason.

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Review of Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers”

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

I decided to re-read Robert Heinlein’s 1959 classic Starship Troopers (I probably last read it sometime in the late 1960s or early 70s) because science fiction writer Neal Asher‘s book Prador Moon (which I recently reviewed) was unfavorably compared to it by a few Amazon readers.

I must say Heinlein doesn’t disappoint. “Troopers” remains timeless, or nearly so, but as I understand it (I wouldn’t have picked up on this as a teenager), even in the late 1950s (and so much more now), the book was considered to have numerous controversial elements.

Yes, the idea that only military veterans are allowed to be full citizens with voting rights does go against the grain. However, this novel was Heinlein’s breakout book from “Young Adults” novels. Thus, Heinlein injected (supposedly) his personal perspectives into the world he created. His reasoning relative to citizenship is only a soldier, who is willing to give up his (all ground troops are males and most Navy pilots are females) life for the many of society has the moral and ethical perspective to casts a vote in that society. It’s also why he advocates for a volunteer only Army rather than a draft or compulsory military service for everyone. A volunteer willingly enters that world and can quit at any time during training. If the volunteer makes it to soldier, goes into combat, and remains, then they’ve established themselves as that ethical/moral model.

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Crushing

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Screenshot from LinkedIn

“Being unafraid of making mistakes makes everything easy for me. Not worrying about what people think frees you to do things, and doing things allows you to win or learn from your loss — which means you win either way. Hear me now: you are better off being wrong ten times and being right three than you are if you try only three times and always get it right.” -Gary Vaynerchuk from his 2018 book “How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too”

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Free

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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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