J.K. Rowling and the Penmonkey’s Opinion

Since this is exploding all over the internet, and I’ve now made the minimum ante-in to speak about Harry Potter fandom (I watched all the movies over the month of January) I feel like I’m privy to talking about this now. Hermione and Harry would be just absolutely awful together. Not as a couple, but for the story itself. Continue reading

Instead of an angry internet rant, here’s my goldfish!

Today, I read a presumptuous, reductionist, condescending article about diversity in geekdom. It devolved into flamebait about white, heterosexual, male self-importance and privilege, and then to hating on male geeks.

I wrote a 1,268 word response to it, and almost clicked “Publish”, but I refuse to spread more internet hate. Instead, here are pictures of my goldfish.

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Front and center, Speckles. To the right, Loam. Loam started out charcoal black, but turned orange as he grew up, which is apparently common for darkly colored goldfish.

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Saya is the biggest, and the sassiest in the tank. I love watching her lumber around the tank and the indignant look she makes when she accidentally bumps the bridge (lower left of picture).

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This is Blaze. He’s the fishtank’s redneck. Lauren says that according to The Internet, Blaze’s tumor is benign, and that in any case, if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be able to save him. It doesn’t seem to bother him any though.

Aren’t they cute?

Wasn’t that better than listening to an angry white geek argue with another angry white geek even though they agree on the central premise?

I thought so.

Yes, It is a Gaming Industry Problem

This came across my Twitter feed earlier today, and, having worked in the gaming industry for five years now (if you count that time working on customer service systems FOR a major gaming company) I have my own horror stories about the culture of silence concerning sexism and sexual harassment in the gaming industry.

As a games tester, there’s tremendous pressure to conform and to operate as some idealized worker-robot. A worker-robot that’s straight, male, and white, because for some reason an industry that used to provide a shelter for alternative lifestyles, hell, used to be an alternative lifestyle in and of itself, apparently operates according to the same dudebro asshole code that high school locker rooms and cliched college frats operate on. It’s like all the geeks saw the assholes who bullied them and said, “Yeah, that. I want to be that.” Continue reading

The Dark Tower, Chiastic Something or Other, and Existential Blue Screens

So, we hit the 10-year mark on the last book of The Dark Tower series this year, but in case you, like me, are a F/SF fan that totally missed the whole thing because the bookstores file it under Literature with the rest of King’s work (WHY!?), I will alert you that yes, there are decade-old spoilers straight after the cut.

For those of you that haven’t read it yet, all you should know is that it’s good to read, and that King does manage to wrap it up with a satisfying-yet-not-satisfying ending. I want to talk about that ending. Continue reading

Snowraven 2014 and other news

Wow, okay, um. Hi.

I haven’t posted an update here since August, and that’s kind of irresponsible. There are a lot of reasons for the lapse, but the best reason is that I dumped a ton of time into finishing Snowraven’s rough manuscript. It still needs edits, but those edits won’t start from the ground up, and that makes me as happy as a… a… well, a writer that’s finished a rough manuscript.

My next project is an as-yet untitled 3-part serial novel with the elevator pitch:
“What if Conan the Barbarian had trouble with women?”

Apparently I think that this story’s more important to tell than the backlog of other ideas that were waiting for post-Snowraven free time to complete. In a way, I find the new story comforting. The plot is quick and silly, but it’s been two years since I’ve had a new story idea rather than just executing on backlogged ideas. It’s a relief to know my stock of story-seed isn’t exhausted.

Notables since August: I finished The Dark Tower series, read Chuck Wendig’s Mockingbird, watched two anime series (“Ika Musume” and “Attack on Titan”), and got lost in Civilization III and IV, The Sims 2, and Fallout 1, all over again. I’ll have reviews for these things up here soon.

Oh, I took the JLPT N1 again. Results will be back in February or March, not that it really matters. I’ve been doing fine professionally without that certification anyways.

Why Writers Should Come Out Of Their Caves

At Norwescon, I sat in a panel assembled to answer a pretty simple question: What benefit can writers get from leaving their caves? More the pity then that the panelists spent more time discussing how introverted they were, how much benefit they get from staying in their caves, and how the light and the outside world exhausts them.

Okay. I get it. You’re a writer. The myth and legend of solitary creation has so captivated you that you’ve dedicated your very life to getting as little human contact as possible. As one panelist put it, “If you aren’t getting something out of your writing, enjoying the very task, then why would you be there?”

Sure. But does forced solitude follow that? I like talking to people. I like capturing the spirit of how people are. I like social gatherings, time with friends, shit, time with strangers. Do I have to offer that up on an altar just cuz some late 19th early 20th century drunks pooled in the societal expectation griddle and congealed like thrice-cooked-and-rancid sausage fat? Does every other writer have to be battered and cooked in that shit? Continue reading