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Interview with Robert Jackson Bennett

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So, bear with us through the first few minutes. This interview was one of the most fun (and really interesting) bookish things I’ve gotten to do!

Panelists:

Bree from Stories from the Shelf (http://t.co/oaLe72l524)
Nicole from Nicole’s Adventures in SFF (https://www.youtube.com/user/NicoleBo…)
Thomas from SFF180 and SFReviews.net (https://www.youtube.com/user/SFReview…) and
Brock from Let’s Read (https://www.youtube.com/user/brocksbo…)

Robert Jackson Bennett’s website: http://www.robertjacksonbennett.com/

Books:

City of Stairs: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2…

City of Blades: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2…

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And what goes around comes around, or something along those lines

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Some days it seems that this mess isn’t going to end. For those of you who were tuned in to the Hugo Awards for the last few years, you probably know all about, or at least have heard about the Sad and Rabid Puppy groups. I know. It’s that time again.

A bit of background: the Sad and Rabid Puppies are two groups of SFF readers with a similar proclaimed agenda: to get rid of “Leftist message fiction” and lessen its prominence in the SFF awards system. To do so, last year they encouraged their followers to vote for slates of works put together by their leadership.

This in and of itself isn’t too new or surprising, though it flies in the face of the Hugos intention and the spirit of the award.. The problem comes in with some of the supplementary behavior that have happened: doxxing, harassment, review bombing, and general displays of homophobia and misogyny.

The Sad and Rabid Puppy slates were successful in placing a large number of their slate picks on the Hugos ballot, resulting in a big uproar among Hugo voters who aren’t part of the groups and a large smattering of “No Awards” being selected.

So, here’s what’s going on.

After the Sad and Rabid Puppy events of last year and the subsequent plethora of No Awards in the Hugos, I think everyone was kind of hoping that the problems had died down. It seemed like the entirety of SFF fandom was exhausted, and who could blame any of us?

But, of course, life isn’t too easy and there’s always a round 2.

With the Hugo nominations about to be opened up, the movements are back. It should be noted that the Sad Puppies, the more moderate of the two groups, seems to have backed off of some of the rhetoric and are leaving behind some of the more manipulative tactics of the past year. They have no official slate and their website for the year’s campaign is a list of threads for readers to list suggestions. The suggestions themselves seem to actually take up the majority of the space and are varied (and include Ann Leckie’s works?).

It is the Rabid Puppy group that seems to be the point of contention. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Rabid Puppy group is closely tied to GamerGate and has been known for adoption of some GamerGate tactics.

So, since the 2015 Hugos, two “big” things have happened. First, Vox Day was banned from Goodreads, and, second, some independent bookstores have removed Pupppy-affiliated works from their shelves.

*commence uproar*

So, what exactly happened?

Vox Day and the Puppies claim that they had set up a Goodreads group with the intention of talking about Hugo-eligible works, which was taken down 36 hours later because of the nature of the ideology in their movement (more or less. A link to Vox’s post about it here.).

Other accounts claim that Vox Day and the Puppies were advocating for review bombing. Review bombing is the practice of giving false or spurious negative reviews to a work with the intention of displacing its placement in suggestion algorithms and of discouraging people to purchase or use the work. This would be explicitly against Goodreads’ terms of service. 

Additionally, there are claims that the group had been organizing a way to get its members “librarian” status on the site to take down works they disliked. There are also claims that the group had been harassing persons with this status.

Any of these claims would be reason for Goodreads to take down the group, and depending on the validity of the claims, may be cause to get rid of Vox’s Goodreads account. Both were taken down shortly after the group’s creation.

Vox Day has posted this link with a name of who he thinks is the moderator who got him banned from the site.

The actions have been used as fuel to the fire of “SJWs are against us” claims the group profligates. Puppies have been saying that the policy is inequitably applied and that persons with more left agenda are left alone when behaving the same way.

Let’s be clear: Goodreads was within its rights to take down the group and ban Vox Day. As a privately held company, the behavior was a violation of the terms of service and Goodreads’ enforcement of its TOS is fine. Frankly, I think companies should stick to their TOS.

If there is similar behavior that also violates the TOS on the anti-Puppy side, they should also have their groups taken down.

Is this a vast conspiracy? I doubt it.

The second matter is the issue of bookstores removing Puppy-affiliated works from their stock.

The story popping up has been extremely hard to verify. The rundown looks like this: someone claims that a Jim Hines summary of the Puppies was sent around to Toronto bookstores. The bookstores then took affiliated books of their ordering lists.

It has not been proven.

But, let’s assume it’s true for a minute, which accounts of bookstore stock from people seem to indicate it isn’t.

What constitutes censorship? Should we be concerned?

Censorship is always a complicated topic. We get touchy about the issue and conflate a lot of different things with censorship.

Censorship is when a book or books is systematically made unavailable to the general public, usually with the consent of the government.

A few bookstores refusing to stock a book shouldn’t worry us, especially if those bookstores are independent, which would be the suspected case. Accounts still have Correia and others on the shelf in Indigo stores (the Barnes and Noble equivalent in Toronto), there have been no accounts of libraries removing the books (this is generally against library policies everywhere), and the internet has not ceased to make the books widely available in print and electronic form. So, censorship seems like a particularly unlikely thing to be happening.

No need to fear, Puppy-beloved books are still obtainable.

So, what should we expect over the next Hugos season?

My suggestion would be that, provided we as a community engage with moderates who disagree with us, remain civil, and try hard to rebond with people on the opposite side of the “schism” that is the Puppies, then nothing. We should have a fairly peaceable and engaging Hugos, hopefully with a continued increase in the amount of people voting and becoming active in the community. At least, that’s my best-case scenario. We can make it happen.

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Let’s all play some #BOOKTUBEBINGO

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Hey, all!

So, you want to play some #BooktubeBingo? Awesome! Let’s get to it!  Here’s the link to the bingo cards. Print yourself off one. You can take as long as you want to complete a bingo! Just update us so we can all check out your progress. 😀

Comment below with your name and your channel/blog info!

Huge shout out to all the awesome folks who helped to create these bingo cards!

The Bendis Backlog

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You may or may not know this. Despite having been brought up around comics and CCGs, I don’t actually have a lot of comics knowledge. I can tell you the different publishers and most of the big names. I can describe what I find appealing about storylines and panel layout, but I’m not very well versed in the classics or in many author’s works in an extensive basis.

So, I’m trying to identify some works and persons on whom I can focus.

For the next few months, I’m going to be trying to catch up on some Brian Michael Bendis. This is no mean feat. First, Bendis is a Marvel legend and has had a go at almost every major Marvel hero or team there is. His list of works is huge. To top it off, alot of what he does and is really famous for can be hard to get a hold of. Check it out, his list of works is HUGE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Michael_Bendis)

Some things I’m looking forward to reading by Bendis and crew:

Fire,
Jinx,
A.K.A. Goldfish
Torso,
Alias (especially hard to secure, may take a while), and
Powers

Things I want to keep reading by Bendis and crew:
Magneto
Uncanny X-Men (current run)

Most of this is his more self-contained works. To be honest, the Bendis-verse is a scary place to enter into. I thought it prudent to limit myself to his more consumable stuff so I don’t get overwhelmed. Let me know what you think. Anything I’m missing?

Reaction GIF for Parasite by Mira Grant

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I spent all last night finishing Parasite by Mira Grant. My whole reaction was pretty much:

How I felt when reading. I could see what was there, but jumped anyway.

Keep tuned. A full review will be up later in the week.

A bit of a belated #FridayReads

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Happy Fourth of July to those of you in the US. Here’s a Friday Reads for the week.

This week’s reads:
The Martian by Andy Weir
Habibi by Craig Thompson
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

Upcoming Reads:
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Tic Tac Tome from QuirkBooks!

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Tic Tac Tome from QuirkBooks!

So, I haven’t beaten this yet, but I have tied it (after a good thirty minutes)! Ah hah!

Tic Tac Tome is a book that plays you in Tic Tac Toe. It allows you to play through a variety of boards that adapt as you play. I’m looking forward to bringing this to my family barbeques to see if any of my siblings or cousins can beat it.