Robin Hood the Climate Change Denialist

On Authenticity and Relatability in Historical Fiction.

Authenticity vs. Relatability

Many years ago one of the most popular shows in the Rachelloon house was a comedy sketch show of my native land of Britain called Dead Ringers. And one of the sketches that has most stuck with me over the years was a scene they did ripping on the then-airing historical drama ‘Robin Hood’.

The only Dead Ringers Robin Hood sketch that I can find on YouTube now isn’t the one I remember, but I did remember the introduction that was at the beginning of that video, which runs:

And now on BBC One we’ve a brand new series of Robin Hood, where we’ve taken a much loved classic tale, given it a typically 21st century makeover, and made it shit.”

The sketch that I do remember had the Sherriff of Nottingham planning to impose a Carbon Tax on the local peasants, only to find himself facing strong opposition when Robin of Loxley stirs up the people, insisting that the case for global warming has not been proven.

I know you all know where this particular long ramble is going…

[Disclaimer: I know nothing about anything and don’t listen to a word I say or read a word I type. Just give me mindless praise instead.]


As someone with a strong interest in history I’ve always found it very difficult to watch historical dramas or read historical fiction without sniping ‘that’s wrong!’, ‘that’s really wrong!’, and ‘okay, the writers were on crack when they came up with this’. The only exception being Da Vinci’s Demons, which not only describes itself as ‘historical fantasy’ rather than ‘historical drama’, but has the added crucial element of actually being good.

(And even that will probably be ruined by the upcoming new season, just like all my other favourite shows. /grumble).

On the other hand, ‘updating’ historical persons/characters for the 21st century is not done without reason on the part of writers, and it’s easy enough to see why.

To begin, an excerpt—taken from my new book for NaNoWriMo research, which contains a number of extremely interesting writings from that period; this particular excerpt from the pen of Paolo de Certaldo of Florence, in probably the 14th century:

“Young girls should be taught to sew, and not to read, for it is not good in a woman, knowing how to read, unless you want to make her a nun… Feed boys well, and dress them as you can, in a decent fashion, and they will be strong and vigorous… Girls should be dressed well, but it does not matter how you feed them, as long as they get enough to live: don’t let them get too fat.

… I remind you again, if you have girls or young women in the house, that you should discipline them and keep them on a tight rein. And if, as often happens, any of them is looked at by young men, don’t get angry with such youths, but punish and warn the girls…”

(‘The Towns of Italy in the Later Middle Ages’; Dean, Manchester, 2000, pp195-6)

How widespread this sentiment was is debatable, how often put into practice unknowable, but from what we can tell the advice book this extract is taken from was very popular at the time, and if you write a novel set in this period then these are undeniably some of the prevailing views of the day. How can you make a character have or tolerate the above sentiments and still be relatable? If you make your character not have this sentiment, how do you explain why they don’t?

The answer to that last question is simple enough, and yet it raises a much bigger problem. That being (and I can assure you of this), that the extract above is in no way the uniform view of the time, of the place, of the era. The problem is that there is no such thing, and no such thing for far more than simply the care of one’s daughters.

Historians can’t agree amongst themselves about the reality of life in the Middle Ages, and the perceptions of your average readers can certainly be far off from the truth, if they even know anything about it at all when it’s likely the only thing they remember from school history lessons is ‘Divorced, Beheaded, Died; Divorced, Beheaded, Survived’.

(Well, if they’re British anyway).

Take the Crusades, for example. Few people now would think of them as a glorious struggle to regain stolen land from the evil Saracens anymore, and even at their height there were those in Catholic Europe who didn’t either, but what were they really in that case? Was it just wave after wave of bloodthirsty religious fanatics attacking those of another faith unprovoked? Were there far more Machiavellian motives behind the actions of the crusaders; opportunistic men of fortune seeing a chance to gain wealth and prestige without the disgrace of shedding Christian blood? Or did the whole thing start as a well-meaning attempt to come to the aid of fellow Christians in the Byzantine Empire that went very, very wrong as time went on?

All three of these things? Different things for different people in different places and at different times? None of the above?

And how much of a point in striving for ‘authenticity’ is there when those readers who do have a little knowledge of the subject will differ wildly in their perception of it?

One internet argument that comes to mind concerns a favourite of this blog; that of the treatment of women in Game of Thrones. It runs something like this…

A: “There is no excuse for the excessive brutality committed against the women in this series.”

B: “Except that that was what things were really like for women in the Middle Ages, and the author is just trying to remind people of that to contrast it with other medieval fantasy.”

A: “But fantasy is the operative word here—Westeros is not a real place. Therefore it was entirely the whim of the author that depicted such atrocious abuse of women so often.”

B: “Westeros isn’t real; but fantasy set in a medieval European pastiche is a genre in itself; and part of the point of GoT is to remind people of the realities of that era.”

A: “Especially the dragons and ice zombies, right?”

B: “But that’s also the point of fantasy and speculative fiction—realistic people in unrealistic situations.”

A: “So what reliable data do you have for the violence women faced in the real medieval era?”

B: “Well… to some point that’s going to be a matter of interpretation.”

A: “And of course, G. R. R. Martin interpreted it in a way that made him write as much rape as possible into the series.”

B: “But you can’t ascribe malicious motivations to him for doing that just because you personally didn’t like the results.”

One may take issue with the fact that I suddenly started writing about historical fantasy pastiche here when I had been talking about historical fiction, but I think the same points still stand: people, or some people at least, don’t want the realities other people have interpreted. They want their reality.

They don’t want to see a medieval town of uniformly white faces when they know there were some ethnic minorities in Europe during the Middle Ages, no matter how unlikely it was that you would have seen one in any given town—especially in the north. Or they don’t want to accept that the man widely acknowledged as the greatest painter who ever lived, a genius and an inspiration to millions, was in all likelihood a homosexual—because it’s not like there’s a da Vinci sex tape floating around the internet that would prove it, right?

(Unless it’s Da Vinci’s Demons’ da Vinci, because I wouldn’t have put it past him to casually invent the digital camcorder over a long weekend. Incidentally, the creator of that show got at least one death threat just for making the character bisexual, let alone gay).

And so we get Robin Hood the climate change denialist. And no, to my knowledge no one has ever gone that far and been serious about it, but examples that irk me nonetheless follow fast upon one another.

Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow: ‘Hi, I’ve been transported here from the eighteenth century, but conveniently I hold no views that would be unpalatable to a modern-day liberal audience!’. The female medical examiner in Murdoch Mysteries: ‘I can’t believe my nineteenth century Catholic boyfriend is homophobic! How backwards!’. Achilles in Troy: ‘Allow me to introduce you to my COUSIN Patrocles. *cough* no homo.”. Celaena in Throne of Glass:

Just… Celaena in Throne of Glass.

No doubt the list goes on, and while one can find sources enough that prove unpalatable sentiments were in no way uniform throughout any given period, it ends up that if not only your hero, but every ‘good’ character in the novel goes against the grain of the day, one has to ask why they do so; and the closer the views of the characters get to those of the modern era, the harder answering that question can get.

Ultimately, the easiest answer is that the characters believe what the writer believes because writers everywhere delight in dropping messages as anvils onto the heads of their readers/audience. But to an extent there’s only one way they can do that now that we’re already living in the age of widespread discussion or acceptance of such formerly taboo or radical ideas—by transporting us back to a time when they were still radical so those anvils can fall with impunity.

Thus everyone learns a valuable lesson about whatever. And they learn it over. And over. And over. Forever.

Why not try educating your audience about history, instead of ideas and values they already know about? You don’t have to eject ‘strong’ female or gay characters from the work—it’s not like they didn’t exist. If you want to sink your teeth into the medieval answer to feminism, for example, pick up Christine de Pizan and go from there; fighting misogyny in a way that was authentic to the period.

But if instead your heroine sounds just like a 21st century hipster except that they use the words ‘verily’ and ‘mayhap’, then they sound fake, and if they sound fake, then the possibility of the reader’s immersion ends.

Or it does for me, anyway. As I’ve said before, some people ‘just can’t even’ with characters who they deem unpalatable, and I guess you’ve also got to ask yourself why bother with historical fiction if you can’t stand historical people? So you can have your cake and eat it?

For those of us who can stand to be around characters whose views and beliefs are different—sometimes almost unfathomably so—it’s worth remembering that the people of the past were human too, capable of empathy and compassion. Even if you strive for true authenticity your own interpretation will give colour to the work that some people won’t like, but there’s nothing in true authenticity to any era of history that will make a character automatically unpalatable.

And then again, if something’s good, then it’s good. And if I say it’s good, then it’s good—and my historical novel that I’m going to start for NaNoWriMo this year will be the greatest novel that ever walked the earth!

[It’ll walk when the rats that are munching on the pages after it’s been abandoned in a basement for fifty years decide to make hats out of it, and then scurry away to give people more plague].


#HugoAwards Follow Up: Dextrous and Sinister

DISCLAIMER: I still know as much as my pal Socrates when it comes to this and anything else. Make your own minds up, neckbeards!

Well, it’s been a month since my babbling about the Sad Puppies controversy was inexplicably noticed and linked to by someone who has an actual voice in the community, and apart from gushing over how much I enjoyed ‘The Three-Body Problem‘, I haven’t done much in the way of that follow-up I talked about. Here’s why.

Firstly, I am lazy.

But more importantly, as I began reading the various short stories associated with the Hugos; on the SP3 slate or on previous years’ nomination lists I realised that from the ruckus that has been stirred up I had actually expected the various works on offer to be filled with political propaganda from whatever side they were supposed to be on.

To make a long story short: they weren’t. Oh, I didn’t read all of them–frankly right now I can’t spare the money to get a hold of all of them, but I think I read enough to realise that–while arguments could certainly be made for some–if there was a political bias going on it was primarily for or against the author, not the work. And I’m sure you can guess what I think of judging a work by its author.

That’s not to say I believe in ‘Death of the Author’ either, but you might have gathered from the title of this post that I wanted to talk about the right/left conflict that’s been attached to this controversy. You’d be wrong, because that’s precisely what I don’t want to talk about. From what I’ve read at least, I don’t think you can attach the values of the right or the left to the works in question to enough of a degree that it bears talking about: to their authors, maybe, but I’m not interested in being the kind of person who wishes to deny a deserved award to someone whose politics I disagree with, nor foist one on an undeserving fellow-believer.

So let’s dispense with the dextrous and the sinister (of which I consider myself very much to be the latter). And–for brevity’s sake–with subjective notions of ‘quality’ as well. I mean, I didn’t like everything I’ve read either, obviously.

What are we left with?

For me, we’re left with two points that will please no one, because I have one for each ‘side’ as it were.

1. I vehemently disagree with rating, promoting, or detracting from books you have not read.

It’s the point I keep harping on about. I don’t know if the people involved in SP3 (not those who put that slate together, their fans I mean) can be said to be guilty of this; maybe some of them were, but I feel like most would be fans enough of SF literature in that they were familiar with Correia or Torgersen to a degree that they got involved; that I don’t think it would be too naive to say they’d read the works that SP3 recommended. But Rabid Puppies? That seems to be another story, and from what I’ve heard that was what really pushed the SP3 slate onto the ballot. Not to say that no one involved in that was on the up and up, just that it seems more suspect to me.

It’s not that these are sins unique to one side; I’ve heard enough of “vote ‘no award’!” without any consideration for the actual merits of the works on offer, but when there’s evidence that this was what got the SP3 short fiction nominated, can it really be said to be ‘fair’? Legal, yes–I’m not disputing that. Deserved? That’s up for discussion. But fair? I don’t think I can say that in good conscience.

However, then there’s point–

2. 2500 people are not representative of the entire SF fandom.

This is the number I’ve been hearing anyway, from various people–the estimate of who, in recent years, was actually submitting and voting on the books in question. And from what I can make out, these people are also mostly made up of the fan clubs of a certain select group of authors; suggesting they are perhaps not particularly diverse in their opinions.

Again, it’s not that anything untoward happened to lead to that–no one was stopping other people from getting involved, the whole event just seemed to have become more obscure in recent times, but the lack of mass involvement in recent years has been telling. Perhaps the event just hasn’t been publicised properly, I mean–it’s supposed to be like the Emmys for SF, right?

How was this ever going to change, but by some ‘radical’ action? I’m not saying it had to happen the way it did–I would have preferred it hadn’t since so many authors have felt the need to disassociate themselves–but for new life to be breathed into the Hugos, someone had to put them in the spotlight again. And I do think they needed new life.

Another thing I’d note, though I don’t think there’s enough evidence to draw any conclusions, is that the slates for the Hugos (popular award) and the Nebulas (elite award) have been similar, in recent years. Some more so than others, but it suggests there isn’t much difference in the tastes of those deciding on the awards, and why that is could be for several reasons. The obvious is that the works in question simply capture the minds of both the ‘elite’ and the wider public. But then, those ‘select’ authors whose fan clubs I mentioned are authors I’m pretty sure are involved with the Nebulas as well.

I’m probably talking irrelevant BS though, I don’t know.

I guess what I’m saying is, I have my doubts about SP, (and certainly dislike RP), but it didn’t form in a vacuum.

As I meander towards my conclusion, I can see why the awards this year have become suspect, and I can certainly see why so many declined their nominations because of the controversy. Maybe more worthy contenders were denied; maybe perfectly worthy contenders will be unfairly blackened by association with all this.


Before Sad Puppies, I had no idea what the Hugos were. Many people I knew, fellow sci-fi fans, either didn’t know or only knew about it in a vague way, didn’t understand that it was open for popular vote or didn’t know it was any different to any other myriad of awards that exist out there.

That’s changed now, and I hope enough attention has been drawn to the awards that if those on either side calling up their fan-mobs to ‘stuff the ballot boxes’ appear next year, the number of true sci-fi aficionados who are now interested enough to get involved will offset those simply following-the-leader, and produce a truly representative ballot.

As a natural cynic, I’m not getting my hopes up, but who knows? Maybe I’ll even be adding my own voice to the mix next year?

Or maybe I’ll just keep reading YA trash and laughing at it.

(Hey, I read ‘The Three-Body Problem‘! Surely I’ve challenged myself enough for one year!)

Why I’m Glad They Didn’t #SaveSansaStark

When I first realised that writers of Game of Thrones had decided to replace the character of Jeyne-Poole-Posing-As-Arya-Stark from ADWD with the real Sansa Stark for that storyline in season five, one of the first things I thought was ‘Thank god we’re not going to have to watch Sansa’s boring book-storyline’. Immediately after that I thought, ‘I wonder how they’re going to avoid the whole wedding-rape scene?’.

My guess was they were just going to [SPOILERS!] have the Wildlings (replaced by Brienne and Pod in the show) carry out the rescue before or during the wedding rather than after it and that would be that.

Only, they didn’t. They went ahead with the wedding night in full–albeit extremely toned down from the books, which I was grateful for.

But why am I actually glad they decided to do this?

Why is the title of this post not ‘Why it’s Justified that they Didn’t #SaveSansaStark’? other than the fact that I’ve already seen multiple good counter-arguments to those who thought including the scene was not justified. Mainly–this is Game of Thrones, and terrible horrible no good things have happened since Day #1. What makes this any different?

This post is here to explain why I think having Ramsay rape Sansa is not only a justified call, but a good one on the part of the writers, and my reasoning is thus:

If you’ve read my blog before you know I hate it when people are critcised for not making a statement that they could have made about something important–challenged a narrative or trope that begged challenging, etc. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think those who do challenge that narrative shouldn’t be praised where appropriate, and this scene subverts a particular narrative that I’ve wanted to see subverted for some time, that being:

The heroine’s virginity is a sign of her virtue, therefore so long as she is the virtuous heroine, her virginity will not be violated.

Indeed, some of the critics of the rape scene seem to think these terms apply: they’ve framed the scene as the writers punishing Sansa for being a strong female character. Besides the fact that I think Sansa is the weakest major female character on the show, how the hell do you come to a conclusion like that? Because she said she wasn’t afraid earlier in the episode, you think the rape was the show’s way of saying, ‘Yeah? Well you should be afraid, bitch!’ or something? Guys, Sansa knew at that point that she was going to be married off to Lord Psycho, she wasn’t saying that she wasn’t afraid he would rape her–she had to know he would by that point.

My point is, time and time again throughout the history of literature–even in the A Song of Ice and Fire books themselves, the author will only go so far as to allow their heroines to be threatened with rape. In my opinion–and I’m not a scholar or anything, I just know a few–it’s a mindset that harks back to medieval female hagiography: a female saint can have the most vicious tortures inflicted on them by their unwanted suitors, but they are never actually raped, because according to the prevailing thought of the time, female honour is tied up in their virginity, and a heroine must be seen as honourable.

I think that’s a mindset that has persisted to this day. Not in everything, obviously, it’s not like I think the show is the first to have their virgin heroine raped–that’s been done as far back as 1748 at least, with Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa (though Clarissa died soon after, and that’s another trope), but it does present as a popular mindset. In ASOIAF, for instance, Apart from Danaerys in the very first book (and that didn’t happen the same as on the show–it was more statutory than forcible), I can’t think of any female POV characters who are raped during the course of books which are infamous for their sexual violence content.

Think of how many books, TV shows, movies you may have watched where the heroine was almost raped but saved by herself, others, or a Deus Ex Machina before it happened. Or more rarely where rape is part of their backstory, but they are safe from it during the story proper. I’m not saying that any one of these stories on their own promotes the idea of ‘The virtuous girl is always saved from rape’ just because they have their heroine’s threatened, but never actually raped. What I am saying is that Game of Thrones, by subverting that, is acknowledging that ‘virtue’ does not save you from sexual violence, and–and this is the important part–being a victim of sexual violence does not mean you are not virtuous!

The scene in Game of Thrones is particularly important because it happens to a main character, so the audience cannot be allowed to think that ‘it would never happen to someone I know’. Because, much as I disagree with the 1 in 5 statistic and those like it, it could always still happen.

And come on, critics; are you not the same people who are continually trying to advance the idea that all women all over the world live in constant fear of sexual violence? That one-in-five are raped? And now you’re mad a TV show set in a world far less safe for women than the one you live in had the gall to show that women are raped; yes, even the ones we like? Those of you who read the books were fine when it happened to Jeyne-Poole-Posing-As-Arya, but Sansa is too good for it?

As for those of you saying that it does nothing to ‘advance her character’, for one thing I don’t think rapists care that much about advancing their victims’ characters, and once Sansa agreed to marry Ramsay, then bar outside intervention the rape was what was going to happen. For another, it was the last scene of the most recent episode. Frankly, I think this is going to advance her character–first by bringing her closer to Theon in their shared abuse at the hands of the same man, secondly in making her realise that going along with Littlefinger was a bad plan, and getting her out of his poisonous influence.

So, yeah. Favourite episode of the season so far for me, though that was mostly due to the ‘The dwarf lives ’til we find a cock merchant’ line. I hope for a speedy rescue for Sansa and Theon, Margery and Loras, and Tyrion and Jorah alike!


Mars Needs Feminism Because…

It seems the good gentlemen of the internet use the term ‘fisking’ for what I’m about to do, but I’m going to keep calling it ‘sporking’ in memory of the good old days when doing it to bad fanfiction was popular in fandom. I think it fell out of favour for several reasons, fandom’s migration to the bottomless pit of Tumblr being not too far down on the list, but I still wish those old LJ communities were up and running–most were mediocre at best, but some were truly hilarious.

Anyway, some of you may have seen this article on the Guardian:

And then immediately wished you hadn’t.

But I’m not here to tell you what to think, I’m here to procrastinate by sporking an article that’s obviously easy pickings. So buckle up, neckbeards and sock puppets, and let’s review (article in bold, my comments in normal)…

How can our future Mars colonies be free of sexism and racism?

I think we can all agree that is the most important thing to take into consideration when setting up a colony on another planet. I know it’s where the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise went wrong.

The white, male European conquerors of the New World and 19th-century American pioneers of Manifest Destiny still colour the space age, so is it a myth that we’ll turn nice on Mars?

I find it difficult to know where to start with this subheading. How is the space age ‘coloured’ by white male Europeans and 19th-century Americans? What do they mean by ‘turn nice’? Who is saying that we will? What does the first clause have to do with the second?

Ah, never mind. I’m sure it will all be explained.

We’re going to Mars – eventually.

The voices in my head told me so!

The quest to reach the dusty red planet is our version of Manifest Destiny, the 19th-century philosophy that saw Americans spread across their content

Yeah, I wondered why all those pilgrims had gathered in the town square, loading up the wagons to get to Mars. Manifest Destiny. Sounds legit.

Also, ‘content’? Did you mean, by any chance, ‘continent’? Come on, Guardian, you’re a professional publication, get a proofreader.

with the thought and consideration of a chilly lover stealing the duvet in their sleep.

They sleepwalked across the US? Shit, no wonder so many of them died!

There were a lot of different versions of it, but the main themes, as summarised by Wikipedia,

That bastion of academic sourcing.

should sound quite familiar:

Assuming you have an interest in that place and time in history. Otherwise it’s probably all new to you. But I’ll take your word for it–you did source from Wikipedia, after all!

  • The special virtues of the American people and their institutions;
  • America’s mission to redeem and remake the west in the image of agrarian America;
  • An irresistible destiny to accomplish this essential duty.

So 150 years later, Elon Musk (of Tesla and SpaceX) is arguably the most visible example of Manifest Destiny in the space age.

Elon Musk believes that Mars must be remade in the image of agrarian America because of the special virtues of the American people and their institutions?

He’s the de facto leader of a western “liberal technocratic” consensus that harbours a long-term ambition to put humans on the red planet.

What consensus? A consensus of who? Why is Elon Musk their leader?

Not because they can, but because they feel we must.

Well, yeah, but in this case it’s because they’re afraid humanity might destroy itself if confined to a single planet. Which it might. I mean, personally I think it’s unlikely, but from what I can tell they’re not looking to colonise Mars ’cause destiny.

Phil Plait banged his hammer on this particular nail in a recent article for Slate in which he describes a tour of the SpaceX factory:

“[A] feeling I couldn’t put my finger on before suddenly came into focus. The attitude of the people I saw wasn’t just a general pride, as strong as it was, in doing something cool. It was that they were doing something important. And again, not just important in some vague, general way, but critical and quite specific in its endgame: making humans citizens of more than one world. A multiplanet species.”

What a bunch of bastards–trying to make humans a multi-planet species! And being serious about it! The nerve of them!

Manifest Destiny. But historically, this kind of attitude has come with two big problems.

I’m guessing mostly due to the fact that people had no idea how they’d even get to Mars. Also, just because they think it’s critical that something is done, doesn’t mean they believe it is their ‘destiny’.

Firstly, destiny is rarely great for the people already at the destination.

Think of the rights of those poor Martians, Elon Musk!

When Africans moved north to colonise Europe they obliterated the Neanderthals. When Europeans seized the New World, its cultures were virtually extinguished.

Except for all the cultures that are still here.

Luckily the only population on Mars that we know of is a handful of rovers, but no doubt we’ll start a war anyway, before dragging them into some form of slavery or oppression. It’s just what we do.

Think of the rights of those poor robots, Elon Musk! (Fuck, I hope this is supposed to be sarcastic)

(Two paragraphs cut for being meaningless)

To paraphrase Douglas Adams: “Space is white. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly white it is.”

That’s not ‘paraphrasing’. Adams did not say that. That is taking a Douglas Adams quote and replacing the word ‘big’ with the word ‘white’.

It’s also very male and European. Women in space-colony fiction

Wait, when did we start talking about fiction?

have generally been presented as sexy walking vaginas, whose main purpose is to provide the male astronauts with a place to dock their penis at night. This being necessary in order to “ensure the survival of the species”.

… you stopped reading science fiction after 1969, didn’t you?

(Paragraph letting us know a sexist Russian guy exists is cut)

No wonder Lee says, “I see only a very narrow invitation to this lifeboat.”

So a sexist Russian guy exists and women are allegedly not well represented in space-colony fiction, and this means that only white mean will be allowed on the colonising-Mars mission even though the first photo you had in this article was of three real-life female astronauts of three different ethnicities. Well, I’m sold.

The problem with Lee’s argument is that she’s fighting against possibly the most pernicious space myth in existence, a myth far worse than moon landing conspiracy theories. It’s a myth almost universally believed, that sits at the core of liberal technocratic thought, and has been embedded in practically every other work of speculative fiction for the last half century.

That space has already been colonised by Illuminati vampires?

You can sum it up like this: “When we go into space, we will all magically become nice.”

Yeah, those shows where everyone is nice to each other… in space! have always been big hits.

We see this in coverage of the space programme, with its endless propaganda about “cooperation” between nations,

How is that ‘propaganda’? Would you prefer we all have our own separate, competing space programmes?

and promotion of the idea that clever people in tough situations produce the best humanity has to offer. It’s rampant in fiction, where shows like Star Trek assume that three centuries of civil rights progress will inevitably turn us all into morally-centered middle-class rationalists.

Star Trek and what else? I mean, I wouldn’t even agree with you about Star Trek, but what else, author? What else?

And it’s there, unspoken and unchallenged, at the heart of our current aspirations for space. There’s no room for discussion about social justice or equality when it comes to planning our future Mars colonies because we all just assume that decent educated scientists and engineers – the “right kind” of people – won’t have any problem with that sort of thing.

Or maybe we’re still so far out regarding the technical aspects of setting up a colony on Mars that there’s no point in planning for the social side of things yet!

Except every available single scrap of historical experience tells us that this is an incredibly naive and dangerous assumption to make.

… what? Don’t get me wrong, colonising other places has historically ended up a big mess more often than not, but we’re talking about colonies set up often without any planning at all in ages where communication was much more difficult than it is today, by people who had different life-experiences and therefore held different values–thinking that those histories would apply to something that would take as much careful planning as any mission to colonise Mars would is ludicrous!

Colonies and outposts are portrayed as lights in the darkness; hot spots of progress, ingenuity and adventure. That may be true to some extent, but they’ve also been places of crime, vigilante justice, tyrants, rape, pillaging, abuse and war.

Don’t forget cannibalism, that one’s my personal favourite!

It’s true that when things get hard we can see the best in people, but oftentimes we see the worst too.

200% of women and 117% of penguins have been sexually assaulted in that research outpost in Antarctica, mostly by white Europeans. Just because there’s no evidence for it, doesn’t mean it’s not true.

(Cut a paragraph that shows more sexist Russian assholes exist)

The first woman to be raped in space has probably already been born.

… *sigh*

I mean, that could be true, but it’s written there like it’s going to be a landmark moment in human history.

And if that last sentence makes you howl with protest or insist that such a thing just wouldn’t happen, then I’d stop a second and ask yourself why.

I was more inclined to ask why you’d be thinking about such a thing? Is there so little going on in the world that we have to write articles on the implications of hypothetical space-rape?

(cut obligatory ‘it’s not that I don’t think Elon Musk is doing a good thing’ so author can pretend mentioning Elon Musk earlier had some kind of point to the article)

 I think Lee is absolutely right though when she says:

“When we look around and see a homogenous group of individuals discussing these issues – issues that command insane budgets, we should pause. Why aren’t other voices and perspectives at the table? How much is this conversation being controlled (framed, initiated, directed, routed) by capitalist and political interests of the (few) people at the table?”

What group? The only guy you’ve mentioned is Elon Musk. And are you actually going to do any investigative work into answering your questions or are you just going to sit there and wail ‘White men! So many white men! My eyes! My eyes!’ until someone shoves a token minority into shot to shut you up?

It’s early days, but if we really want to create a progressive new world then issues like these should be at the hearts of our efforts from the very start.

Forget about shit like ‘how would we even get to fucking Mars’, and how you’d justify the cost of such an expenditure, deciding on a preset identity pallet for a mission whose undertakers have probably not even been born yet is the most important part!

I hope Musk and his peers open up that discussion sooner rather than later, and I hope that people like Lee can take part in it.

D.N. Lee is a biologist who studies animal behaviour and ecology, and by the time anything like a colony expedition is within sight of being feasible, she’ll probably be dead of old age like the rest of us.

The last thing we need is to wake up in 50 years and find that a bunch of #gamergate nobheads are running Mars.

The only thing worse than that would be a Mars run by a person who doesn’t know how to spell ‘knobhead’. Also, if the video game nerds get to Mars before NASA then frankly it would prove the point about SJWs never actually achieving anything and you’d all deserve it.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this sporking–it wasn’t on my itinerary but honestly I couldn’t resist. Until next time!

#SadPuppies : Stop the Hugo Awards Bullies?

[EDIT: 29th April, 17:44. It’s kindly been pointed out to me that the book I picked for my in-depth analysis for this year’s nominations was one of the (supposedly few, from what I had understood) that wasn’t on the Sad Puppies slate. That’s on me, but the less in-depth analyses (out-of-depth? Har, har, har…) are still set for this weekend, and maybe that will help me decide on my actual selection. Stay tuned.]

Ah, the Hugo awards. A tradition so close to my heart that I only heard about it when #GamerGate noticed it; which is especially bad as I’m supposedly a sci-fi fan, but I’m not actually a gamer.

So I’ve been doing some research as only I can do it—shoddily and with as little effort as possible—and it made me think back, back to days of yesteryear. In 2013 when I first started this blog one of my first posts was about the STGRB controversy. For those of you who don’t know, STGRB stands for ‘Stop The GoodReads Bullies’, and was a group who formed one side of another SJW conflict—however, this was a little different to the more recent debacles we’ve grown to love.

The basic background was this: a number of popular intersectional feminist book-reviewers had been declared ‘bullies’ by a group of mostly independent authors whose books had been criticised by them for reasons of sexism etc. Now, the timeline here was very murky, or at least it was when I first became aware of it, concerning who had stated this whole thing. There were accusations of ’rounding up mobs of fans’ flying back and forth from one side to the other (I’m sure the SJWs have a word for that in their Newspeak lexicon… eh, I probably don’t want to know) and of course, accusations of doxxing, threats and harassment.

Those who supported STGRB claimed that their books had been criticised unfairly, and that when this occurred more often than not the friends and followers of these feminist reviewers, many reviewers just as popular, would immediately give their book a correspondingly poor rating on Goodreads without even thinking of actually reading it for themselves—and with many of these being indie authors, drive the average rating of the book down significantly and negatively impact the impressions of potential readers.

Reviewers, on the other hand, considered these authors to be sexist, thin-skinned whiners who wanted to limit their free speech, many of whom by contrast to the indie authors among them had substantial enough fanbases or followers that when they complained about their bad reviews, a wave of negative comments and messages would be sent to the reviewer in question. A popular tag or ‘shelf’ used by these circles was ‘bba’ or ‘Badly Behaving Author’, which STGRB particularly despised as it indicated the reviewer was reviewing the author, not the book. Their cries not to be censored seem almost ironic in light of how things are now.

There was a lot more going on than can be summed up in three paragraphs, of course, but I don’t think my thoughts on the STGRB debacle have changed all that much in the last year and a half. These were said thoughts:

  1. The reviewers should have the right to declare the book to be whatever –ism they wanted to.
  2. The reviewers should have the right to be as cruel in their reviews as they wanted to.
  3. Although I personally think it’s uncalled for, the reviewers should also be allowed to say whatever they wanted to about the author personally. Goodreads is a consumer guide after all, and some consumers don’t want to give their money to people they think they wouldn’t like.
  4. The reviewers should not be rating or reviewing books they had not read, either because they wanted to back up their friend’s opinion, or because they wanted it to be a comment on something they’d heard about the author.
  5. The authors had the right to complain about any reviews they were given; especially if the review was misrepresentative of their work or of their character, though I would add to that that if you’re talking about an author with a massive fanbase; then one, I would expect their skin to be pierced only by the most outrageous of unfair reviews, and two, I would expect them to realise in advance that while they’re not their fans’ mother it never hurts to make known that you don’t want someone you’re in a disagreement with to be harassed by your supporters. The same goes for particularly popular reviewers taking on indie and small press books.
  6. Criminal behaviour such as doxxing, threats or harassment is criminal. On both sides.

I think that about covers it. The old STGRB blog seems to have been taken down, but I saw a few of their detractors up and about after I googled the term, though since Goodreads implemented one or two of the policies they wanted maybe STGRB have just gone away. Honestly, looking back on it I find both sides kind of unpalatable, though at the time I leant towards the STGRB side: they were both pretty censorious and both loved playing the victim. I also never liked the term ‘bullies’, I’ve always associated it with children on a playground and these people were all adults, despite how many of them acted.

Anyway, it only matters now in that for me it’s an interesting point for comparison, and you can probably see why I’ve brought it up, though I don’t really associate either side in that controversy with either side of what I’m about to discuss, just that I’m getting a little déjà vu. And speaking of which…

Sad Puppies.

Accusations of isms and political agendas within both present and past nominations. Accusations of being only concerned about the author and their politics rather than the quality of their work. Accusations of rounding up the mob to see that their whims are done. Accusations of promoting or detracting from books without reading them—and this one I believe, sadly, has definitely been going on this year.

That was always what bothered me the most about the STGRB thing, and is something still I disagree with, even if I do agree that if the SJW clique really has been dominating the awards, then that needs to change so that other deserving authors can have their chance. Of course, for all I know, the SJW clique has been doing the exact same thing in previous years, and just as I saw two years ago, ‘revenge’ ratings are also out and about.

When I first thought of writing this post I wanted to come to grips first of all with what the Hugo Awards truly were; because there has been some debate about that and what is ‘supposed’ to be decided by the award. The best sci-fi books of the year? The most popular? The most well-crafted? The most meaningful?

All but the most popular are subjective, but if we’re going to use that as the metric, we have to admit… sometimes some awful shit can become popular. You know what I’m talking about. And yet, supposedly, if it is what’s voted for—and anyone can vote if they pay for membership, then a critical failure (whether it deserves such derision or not) is still worthy of a Hugo Award.

But what other metric are the Hugo Awards supposed to be decided by? What the literary elite considers ‘quality’? Not that that necessarily isn’t quality just because it not necessarily is, but then what else do we have the Nebula Awards for—assuming I understand the purpose of the Nebula Awards? Are they not the crème de la crème for said literary elite, in contrast to the Hugos’ vox populi?

Because the elitist-populist divide as it is seen by many following the controversy is as important a sticking-point as the left wing-right wing split—more important, to some. And I don’t know if there’s a real test to see whether a certain work is imaginative avant-garde versus pretentious garbage.

I mean, I’ve liked the avant-garde. One of my favourite TV series of all time is Patrick McGoohan’s ‘The Prisoner’—which you’ve probably already guessed from looking at my avatar if you’re at all familiar with the show—and that show, particularly the ending, could be very experimental in its expression, I think a lot of such experimental works have both major artistic and entertainment merit.

And some of them can fall into both avant-garde and popular categories; I mean, it’s rare—a lot of the avant-garde stuff, even the ‘good’ stuff, requires a lot more thought and reflection than what the average reader/viewer might consider entertainment—but then so does a lot of the really ‘hard’ science fiction: a more straight-forward exploration of complicated scientific theories, maybe, but to some people far more impenetrable than the more emotionally-driven artistry that certain works use instead of traditional narrative; works for whom evoking feeling is as or more important than evoking thought.

Are these the type of books the Hugos are meant to be giving recognition to?

I’m not in the in-crowd in the science fiction literature world—as an author I hate to admit it but I honestly relate far better to TV and movies and am only now getting into this because I’m writing my own sci-fi book (well, technically I’ve already written one, but it was YA, and I’ve always seen it in the context of the YA market rather than the sci-fi). I don’t know if, in recent years, the Hugos have become decided by a criteria more suited for the Nebulas, if this is about solely works approved by a clique of intersectional feminists dominating an award supposedly meant to be without political bias, if it’s a mix of both these things. I may be misunderstanding everything entirely.

One thing I really don’t think it is, is a reactionary attempt by straight white cis-men with delusions of persecution trying desperately to hoard whatever prestige comes from the Hugos away from more deserving women and minorities who were ‘just starting to be heard in the science fiction community!’… two hundred years ago when Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. She’s a unique example, perhaps, but a telling one all the same.

All I can really do now is begin to take a closer look at the nominations themselves. This is a two-fold operation—first to analyse at least the literature nominations made over the last… Mm, let’s say five years for now, that’s how long the militant SJWs have been a really visible force in my opinion, and see if any patterns or talking points emerge from such analysis when contrasted with this year’s slate.

Second to read at least two of the books myself: one from this year’s slate, one from a year or two ago, just for comparison—and also because I haven’t been doing enough serious reading lately.

I know, I know, in the past I’ve more than deserved the title of ‘Grand Lord Universal Procrastinatrix (it’s Lord rather than Lady because… patriarchy), Mistress of Starting what She does not Finish’, but I’m going to do it! I swear!

Here—we’ll take a look at the analysis of present and past nominations another time; for now I’ll leave you with the selection of which of the ‘Best Novel’ nominations this year I’m going to read.

‘Ancillary Sword’, ‘Skin Game’, and ‘The Dark Between the Stars’ are out because I’m too lazy to read even the one preceding book in the Ancillary series; besides which that and the last one just don’t seem like my kind of book. ‘Skin Game’ sounded more my style, but as the fifteenth book in a series, I don’t think I have the time to catch up on the continuity enough that I—a continuity fiend—would feel happy judging it.

This leaves ‘The Goblin Emperor’ and ‘The Three Body Problem’, and the former had the phrase ‘hoping for the possibility of romance’ in its summary on Amazon, which made the eight-year-old boy within me go ‘Ugh! Lovey-dovey stuff!’ so, ‘The Three-Body Problem’ it is!

This originally Chinese book is perhaps not something I would have ordinarily read either—it seems a lot more ‘hard’ sci-fi than what is wont to compel me, but the ideas that I gleaned drove its plot from the Goodreads summary and a few of the top reviews on its Goodreads page really intrigued me despite my apprehension that I won’t be able to understand the science involved.

But it’s good to challenge yourself once in a while, isn’t it? Besides, one of the ideas it mentions relates somewhat to something in my book, and I need to make sure no one will ever think I ripped off this story. Otherwise I’ll have to build a mass memory-deleting machine, the power will go to my head, and I’ll become the laziest Evil Overlord Earth has ever known!

Look for my first glance at the Hugo Awards nomination slates on the weekend; I want to do a final post on ‘518′ before NaNo ends, and of course there’ll be another Missing Word Story on Friday.

Aren’t you glad it took a whole two posts before I started talking about SJW issues again? 😉

The Diverse Walking Dead

Since I became a zombie at the end of the post I did before my book commentary on Wings—and that one I wrote over a year ago, so even a zombie could have posted about it— and my other post about the Hadringar, I thought it might be time to write about dead things.

Not about the actual TV show ‘The Walking Dead’, I’m afraid, though in a way it does tie into it. If you’ve been following TWD fandom, you might have heard of the ‘Blacklander’ phenomenon; the idea that there can only be one black main character on the show at a time, and if another one comes along the previous one has to be killed off.

Well, it only refers to black male characters now so that there’s still something to complain about, but the point is they still complain about it. This started in Season 3 when the only black main character was killed, another black guy showed up for a few episodes and was then killed, and then another black guy showed up [who, in all fairness, has since been killed]. I’m sure this has nothing to do with characters being killed left and right in every season, or possibly actors wanting to go off and do other things, and everything to do with hatred of black people.

Uh, black men—because the two female black characters introduced that season were still alive at the end of the last one. I guess by those standards ‘The Walking Dead’ believes in Asian and homosexual supremacy, because 100% of the Asian and gay cast have survived up to the end of Season 5.

… now I want to see a spin-off show where a bunch of gay Asians lead by George Takei roam the zombie-infested countryside, head-shotting zombies and protecting the vulnerable black, white, and heterosexual populations. It would be AWESOME.

Anyway, I don’t like that I’ve been going on about the whole Social Justice thing so much lately—I promise after this one I’ll get back to the usual, apolitical ramblings of a complete moron—but the thing is that this thing, this ‘OMG! You killed off the black character!’ thing, is soon going to be affecting my own work. Such are the realisations you come to when you actually work on your projects for a while—thanks NaNo!

So what is the crux of the matter but the fact that you can only have so many main characters in a single work before you begin to get confusing, (and I’ve already got a lot of characters), but ‘diversity’ covers far more than just ‘black and white’? There’s what, 200+ countries in the world? And different regions within those countries who receive less attention than others—I mean how many times is your exciting drama set in South Dakota, for example? There are a dozen different ethnicities out there and a lot more combinations of those in mixed-race people that I’m sure exist in the world, but how often do they get represented? What about queer versions of these characters? Disabled versions? Religious minority versions?

Ultimately there’s only so much room for diversity, even if you eject your white men out altogether, which I haven’t. But the humans in the book I’m working on this month are diverse because I wanted the characters to each relate some way to a different aspect of the alien invasion, which is happening differently all around the world. So I include as much as I can by having only one or two examples of each.

Thing is, I’m writing a sci-fi drama involving conquest! Terrorism! Murder! Assassinations! People are dying all over the place! And if I kill off, say, my Jewish character—that means I killed off ‘The Jewish Guy’! Anti-Semitism abounds! I have two Chinese guys, so I guess I can kill one of them and still not be racist, but what about my Russian character? Sure, he’s a straight white male, but I wouldn’t want to offend Russian people—or have them think the killing off of a character in a book was, like, a condemnation of Putin’s doing whatever he’s doing in the Ukraine or something.

Granted, most Russians probably wouldn’t give a shit. And, frankly, writing my story the way I envision it comes before the feelings of a bunch of hypothetical Russians. But there’d be plenty of SJWs ready to give a shit on their behalf and I kind of wonder how they came to see the world that way—one character being automatically associated with everything associated with one, trivial aspect of that character and a mountain of bullshit that exists nowhere in reality.

It’s kind of weird. But what can you do about it?

I mean I know what I’m going to do about it—i.e., nothing. As I was saying in my post on the New Mary Whitehouse (Mary Whitehouse has joined the zombie hordes! Run!) earlier this month; some people think the way you treat characters in a book is always intended to be, or whether intended or not simply is, a commentary on the superficial ‘diversity’ status of that character.

Muslim villain? You’re perpetuating hate against Muslims. Kill off the gay character? You’re telling gay people they deserve to die. Have a white character rescue a black character? White Saviour. Have a black character rescue a white character? Magical Negro. Woman displays traditional femininity? Reinforcing gender roles. Woman displays traditionally masculine traits? You believe masculinity is superior.

So many of these exist in no-win situations it makes some people think they shouldn’t even try writing diverse characters, because honestly? They seem to get more vitriol for ‘doing it wrong’ than the straight white cis-scum brigade gets for their supposed ‘erasure’.

Well I am trying: trying to write a good story, anyway, and in this story characters who are superficially diverse for reasons other than blatant tokenism also have diversity of inner character, and if people don’t like it they can do whatever they want to do about it—it’s a free country, assuming you’re not enslaved to the kyriarchy, or your own narcissism.

I mean, as long as they don’t, like, kill me or anything. I promise, I’m a nice zombie. Barely eaten anyone all week.

In other news, I hit my NaNo target of 30K yesterday, so have a cartoon of all my diverse characters in celebration and place your bets on which ones will survive the book! XD

Diversity and DEATH!

[Sorry, Americans—I couldn’t really render some of the individual state flags very well… or even recognisably. And sorry to you too, LGBT folks… I didn’t have a purple pen, so the bottom stripe in the flag is now pink].

23 Idiots with a ‘Message’

This article appeared on my twitter-feed today, and it’s a Buzzfeed article, so you know it’s going to be comedy gold. A good one, I thought, to really start showing my fee-fees for those plucky little SJW darlings.

Oh wait, calling them ‘darling’ is sexist. And since I am also a woman, I have also now lost HP. Curse my dastardly internalised misogyny!

Anyway, the article is here:

Let’s see what it’s about… without taking it too seriously, of course…


“23 Writers with Messages for Straight White Male Publishing”

Do they mean ‘publishers’? Or is there a particular technique that only straight white males use in publishing? Your average SJW is probably poised to jump in and answer ‘Yeah, it’s the one where they only publish other straight white males’, or at least they would if my voice carried any weight… anywhere. But firstly, that would be a preference, not a technique, and secondly, it wouldn’t be true.

We asked attendees at the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference if they had any messages for the predominantly white publishing industry. Here are their answers.’

What follows being a series of pictures of non straight-white-cis-male-scum holding up their messages for all to behold. Let’s see what deep and meaningful statements they come up with…

‘1. Diversity is NOT publishing ‘the one story’. It’s publishing multiple stories from people of diverse backgrounds’

‘Diversity is not publishing’? Learn how to use words, mate. Though I suppose that’s difficult with your only literary references being that ‘one story’ the shitlords keep republishing. Is it ‘Twilight‘? Because I read a lot of teen fantasy, and I’m guessing it’s ‘Twilight’.

‘2. My main characters are NOT always black.’

Okay… it’s a black woman in the photo, so I guess she’s saying that shitlord publishers aren’t looking at her work because they think all her characters are black, when they’re not. So basically, she’s willing to write about white people if it means someone in the big leagues will publish her? What a sell-out. Unless she’s writing about, like, Asians or Native Americans or something… but I don’t know why the shitlords would care about that.

‘3. Read less straight white men.’

Straight white man Stannis Baratheon would like to inform you that your message should read ‘Read fewer straight white men’. And probably have a ‘works of’ or ‘works from’ stuck in there somewhere. Also, you should be telling them to read more minority works, not less of what they’re already reading–assuming you want more minority voices heard.

4. We read. (And buy books.)’

‘We’ being who, Social Justice Warriors? Because I’ll admit that one is new to me, I thought you guys only read poorly researched online articles and agenda-pushing web-comics.

‘5. Get over it.’

No! Aethelstan is dead! I’ll never get over it! Fucking Floki and his fucking jealousy, Grrr! ‘Vikings’ is RUINED!

… that’s pretty much the only thing I’m upset about right now, I mean, I don’t know what you were talking about.

‘6. Be Honest.’

Thanks, Barney the Dinosaur, why don’t you tell them to do their recycling and eat their five-a-day while you’re at it?

‘7, Listen.’

To what? You? The Mary-Sue? The voices in your head? Oh wait, I know–you forgot to add the ‘and Believe’ to the message, didn’t you? It’s understandable, I mean, you only had the whole page to write on.

‘8. We owe you nothing.’

No, I suppose you don’t… unless you took some of their books without paying, I guess. Or feel the slightest bit of gratitude for the hours of entertainment, thought and discussion traditional publishers have brought the world over the years. I mean, it’s definitely not like they owe you anything.

‘9. Grow up.’

Your mum. XP

’10. Look out the window.’

… why? *Looks outside window* I mean, there’s nothing out there–

*Meteorite falls on house; kills unrepentant shitlord*

’11. Sit down and let us abolish you.’

Wait, you want to literally ban straight white men from being in the publishing industry? Or did you just mean ‘demolish’? Either way, you’re an idiot.

’12. Ain’t nobody got time for THAT!?!’

Sigh. That’s the way of these things, just devolving into tired old internet memes/catchphrases.

’13. It’s over 9000!’

Just kidding.

’13. Chill.’

This time it’s the real one. No, really. That’s this woman’s only message to the white male publishing industry. Chill. And I don’t see how they can with Miss 11 up there coming to abolish them.

’14. [arrow pointing towards messenger] Asian American author w/an Asian American editor.’

That’s great, I’m sure the shitlords needed to know that–you’ll totally blow their minds–for realz. Things will never be the same again.

’15. She’s coming for you. [arrow]’

In this picture, a woman holds the message up so that the arrow points at her friend, another woman, who gives the camera a middle finger. No doubt those shitlord publishers are quaking in their leather boots.

’16. Plz stop.’

Is this an example of that ‘disemvowelling’ I’ve been hearing about? Or is it just dumb all on its own?

Anyway, in answer to your question: No.

’17. We are not tokens.’

Written by a woman wearing a t-shirt saying ‘I am not a token’. You’d think she could have thought of something else to say and given them two messages at the same time–or just pointed at her t-shirt and saved the ink and paper. And I’m assuming she’s not a character in a book, so I don’t know how she could be a token.

Unless she’s saying her local publishing house has a ‘token’ policy for including minorities, and she didn’t make the cut. And I can see why she might be upset about that. Still, I hope the page goes in the recycling.

’18. You have not doomed us, you’ve doomed yourselves.’

Heh heh. Every time someone say ‘doom’ I think of that Doom fanfic; ‘Repercussions of Evil’. I guess the shitlords have failed to include minority voices in their publishing and now it’s too late…

… far too late for now, anyway.

’19. Pay attention to the world!’

What was that? Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention. Okay, next!

’20. Hire women. Diversity makes you strong.’

And hiring people based on their gender makes you super-strong! Wait, no, it makes you… what’s that other word? Oh yes, a moron.

’21. We don’t need you. XO’

Then why are you even talking to them?

’22. Take a vacation. A long one.’

Aww, the SJWs are thinking about the shitlords’ well-being, wanting them to have a good time, be rested, and come back stronger than ever before, revitalised and ready to give valuable publishing deals to the next generation of shitlord authors. You guys!

’23. Don’t assume that you are at the center.’

Of… the publishing world? Because if this list is supposed to be addressed to ‘the predominantly white publishing industry’, the term ‘predominant’ kind of suggests they are.

So there you have it; SJWs had this opportunity to deliver a message to the evil shitlord publishers, and this is the best they could come up with. And the best use of my time I could think of was to spend an hour mocking them, so who’s the real loser here? Ah, there’s plenty of loss to go around. Now back to NaNo, and all the many joys therein… ¬_¬

And then Rachelloon… was a ZOMBIE!