Category Archives: very important opinions

Could this really be happening again?

First the anxious checking and re-checking of news and opinion pieces, looking for some sign of certainty amid the noise. Going to bed, content that in the end reason would prevail. Waking to a text message telling me that the world had changed for the worse while I slept. And finally the shock, the disbelief, the creeping dread.

Once again,  a majority of voters has pushed their country down a patently absurd course. Once again, everyone will be worse for it. And once again, the suffering will be nowhere near equal, as the oppressed and the marginalized are punished for the audacity of existing, and of refusing to do so in silence.

Brexit was the rattle of the window-panes and the first, distant howling of the wind; now the gale has arrived, and the rafters are coming down around us to rapturous applause.

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Let’s Read Vox Day’s Post-Hugo Analysis


If you can look at this image without cringing so hard your skeleton collapses in on itself, I will mail you €10

I’m laid up in bed with the ills at the moment, so why not have a bit of fun at the expense of Vox Day (aka Theodore Beale) and his Rabid Puppies?

If you’re lucky enough to not know what I’m talking about, this Gizmodo article does a good job of quickly breaking down the story. I was intrigued to see that Beale had put a congratulatory post on his blog outlining the many ways that his second failure to secure Hugo awards for books published by his own vanity press (for example, whatever the fuck this is) was somehow a victory for the forces of traditional SFF, and I thought it might be fun to take a little dip into this sad, pathetic, very sad corner of the internet.

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I’ve been watching the Brexit debate with quite a bit of uneasiness, but also a quiet confidence that the Remain camp would ultimately win the day. Because there’s no way the people of the UK could be that ridiculous, despite all evidence to the contrary.

As I went to bed last night the initial polls were putting Remain at a small majority and Nigel Farage, leader of the odious UKIP party, had all but admitted defeat, further bolstering my confidence. So I was shocked to wake up to a text from a friend announcing the bad news: the vote swung the other way. The UK has voted to leave the EU.

Maybe you don’t quite understand why this is such a big deal. I’m not an expert by any means, but here’s my take on the possible repercussions of the vote.

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Buy My Brother’s Book Redux: The Preordering


A while back I conveyed important information about preparing to buy my brother’s book; now, that glorious endeavour is ready to move onto the next stage, as the book is available for pre-ordering on Harmony Ink’s website.

This suggests an obvious course of action.

Here, read this plot synopsis if you need more convincing:

James Fisher’s memories of Earth are distant, replaced by the harsh realities of life on the planet Castor. As a “Half-Adapt,” James is one of many who were biologically engineered to survive conditions on Castor—and to labor for the benefit of the ruling class. Indentured to servitude, James has no way to defy or escape the severe caste system… until he meets Vidal Centa, his master’s nephew. The draw they feel toward each other is instant, powerful, and maybe even enough to move beyond the unyielding regulations of their society.

But not everyone blindly accepts the absolute power of the oligarchy. The Independence Society fights for freedom and equality, and since James shares in their ideals, he joins their ranks. Soon he’s faced with an impossible decision: continue the fight against the oppressors or choose the love of the young man who embodies everything the Society loathes. With a looming conflict threatening to tear the planet apart, James fears he cannot continue to fight if he wants to keep his relationship with Vidal.

Let’s Bloviate: Censorship, Gamergate and Nontroversies

Update: Tecmo Koei, who were undoubtedly waiting for my definitive hot take before speaking further, has released a statement basically disavowing the earlier Facebook comment that started the whole mess.

Every so often I find myself bored and jacked up on tea with too much sugar in it in a scholarly frame of mind, and I decide to undertake some deep analysis of other people’s opinions on the internet.

Today, we’re looking at a graphic (NSFW) created by a user of The Hashtag That Will Not Be Named alleging to detail all the ways that feminists have censored video games, which ties into a larger ongoing drama surrounding the concept of censorship, and the many ways it’s mis-applied by angry game dudes.

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Polar Bear Simulator 2017

The BBC’s flagship channel, BBC One, has commissioned an initial eight-part series based on Philip Pullman’s epic fantasy novel in three parts, “His Dark Materials,” from Bad Wolf andNew Line Cinema, which will be produced in Wales.

“His Dark Materials” has been published in more than 40 languages, and has sold worldwide close to 17.5 million copies.

Well, I sure as hell didn’t see this coming.

As I documented in my marathon-length His Dark Materials post, the last time someone tried to give this franchise a whirl in live action the results were akin to a small meteor strike. If ever there was a property marked for permanent death, it would seem to be this one.

But maybe I was jumping the gun a bit. The enduring popularity of the books (which are still getting new editions and reprints) obviously indicates there’s a payday here waiting for someone to find the right way to unearth it. And in a post-Game of Thrones world there’s now a recognized way to adapt big fantasy epics without spending Hollywood levels of money.

More baffling is the fact that New Line (aka the company whose film subsidiary the Golden Compass adaptation torpedoed) is one of the production partners. I frankly expected them to ditch the rights to the franchise in a similar manner to how people traditionally dispose of vampires, but I guess not. A small part of me hopes that someone at the company (which surely does not include anyone involved in the film debacle) realized that their last attempt at an adaptation failed mostly due to their own stupidity.

Usually I’d apply the same disclaimer as my Kvothe post that these projects are announced far more often than they actually come to fruition, but in actual fact this seems to be on pretty firm ground, mostly because “we’ve greenlit a single TV adaptation with multiple production partners” is a lot more sensible than “we’re bankrolling a giant assload of cross-media projects”. Also the His Dark Materials books include things that people might actually want to watch, like talking armoured polar bears tearing people’s throats out. Good, wholesome family entertainment.

Now, is it going to be any good? The announcement makes me hopeful for a few reasons:

  1. The BBC recently did an adaptation of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and while I haven’t seen it I’ve heard it had top-notch production quality and good special effects (amusingly, New Line Cinema was going to do a film version before The Golden Compass caused their collapse, so it seems as if the BBC is now rescuing their failed projects)
  2. Phillip Pullman is one of the producers, whereas he took a completely hands-off approach with the movie. This could frankly go either way– the man has apparently become even more cranky and up his own ass in recent years– but at the very least he might stop them softening the story or chopping the first book’s ending off
  3. The fact that it’s being produced in Britain instead of ‘Murica makes me hopeful that they’re not going to be as jittery about tackling the religious themes
  4. You could actually do a lot of the book’s material justice with a good TV budget. The movie went with a heavily-CG steampunk-ish version of Lyra’s Oxford, whereas the version described in the book could be achieved with little more than the effort required to make most period dramas. The second book takes place half in modern London and half in a location that any number of real world cities could stand in for with little alteration. The big expense would presumably come from things like the Panserbjorn and the wheel elephants, and as much as it pains me to suggest it of the former, both could be written out of books two and three without too much difficulty if they proved prohibitively expensive

The only really troubling question is how in the holy hell they’re going to handle The Amber Spyglass, assuming the first season is successful and they get that far.