I blame Heinlein

It’s a day that ends in a “y”, so Sarah Hoydt must’ve said something stupid again. Yup:

The main reason I like first person singular is that for a moment it tricks you into that space behind the eyes of another person, relieving the loneliness of that narrative voice that can only ever describe your own life.

This is a universal and enduring quality. I’ve had teachers tell me — and to an extent they’re right — that first person is “less believable” because you KNOW you haven’t done those things.

Who believes that? Seriously, who believes that? Nobody, that’s who. First person singular is how you tell what you did this weekend to your cow-orkers around the water cooler on Monday. Nobody would confuse that with what they did that weekend. But that’s not the annoying thing about this quote. Rather, the tone of voice is what grates. I blame Heinlein for this. He was a master of selling total bullshit with a straight face, sounding authoritative even when it was clear he was talking out of his hat. But filter it through 3-4 generations of right wing imitators and it becomes what you see here: all the bullshit, none of the authority.

Not that I actually disagree with any of this

It takes a ten minute video for professional John Lennon crossed with Sasquatch impersonator/Youtube anime critic Digibro to grope towards the same idea as Damon Knight managed to express in one simple sentence: “science fiction is what we point to when we say it”. In other words, that on a certain level the quality of a given anime is determined by the sum of opinions about said anime and that as opinions shift, the critical consensus about this anime will also shift. Not the most stunning of insights, but anime criticsm is indeed roughly on a par with science fiction criticism fifty years ago.

The apocalypse near you is always different

Seeing New York be blown up by aliens, London submerged under glaciers in a new Ice Age or Tokyo trampled by Godzilla is old hat, but seeing your own neighbourhoods being smashed by the after effects of a comet hitting Earth, that’s something else entirely. On The Edge Of Gone is Corinne Duyvis’ second novel, an apocalyptical survival science fiction story that takes place in and around Amsterdam. As such it’s an entirely different feeling when it isn’t people desparately trying to escape the Bronxy to flee for the safety of New Jersey, but rather have the heroine trying to make her way from Schiphol to Gorichem and the dubious safety of the shelter they were promised a place in…

It’s also interesting that Duyvis has chosen to set her novel here in the Netherlands when she’s writing for a mostly American audience; I don’t expect many readers will be familiar with Amsterdam outside of the tourist hot spots, if at all. Thomas Olde Heuvelt meanwhile has rewritten his fantasy novel Hex to move it from the Netherlands to upstate New York to make it more accessible for the US market. Two different strategies from two Dutch writers looking for foreign success. Duyvis held a book presentation a few months back at the ABC here in Amsterdam in which she explained her reasons for writing her novel the way she did, as shown in the video above.

Your annual Hugo sabotage

Well, that made me laugh in the midst of yet another puppy temper tantrum/Vox Day publicity stunt thrown at the expense of the Hugos. As you know Bob, “Chuck Tingle” is a cult writer of increasingly bizarre gay porn, usually about being pounded in the butt by metaphysical concepts. The pups thought it would be hi-larious to nominate his story “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” for Best Short Story, just because it sounded similar to Rachel Swirsky’s “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” which they still have an incredible hate-on for. And of course also because these are the kind of people who think calling somebody gay is both funny and an insult.

Of course the only real reason it’d bother anybody is because it means some more worthy story lost out because of this stupid stunt, not so much that a bit of gay porn with a sci-fi flavour got nominated in the first place. Tingle nominating Zoe Quinn to receive his award is a great piece of counter trolling. Zoe Quinn was Victim Zero of Gamergate, as her ex-boyfriend Eron Gjoni involved the shadier parts of the socalled gaming community to harass her. Puppies being who they are they’re of course on the harassing side, so having Quinn accoet is a giant fuck you in their direction by Tingle.

It helps soften the annoyance and pain of having to deal with their shit for another year.

Rocket Girls — Hōsuke Nojiri

Cover of Rocket Girls

Rocket Girls/Rocket Girls: The Last Planet
Hōsuke Nojiri
214/250 pages
published in 1995/1996

Morita Yukari came to the Solomons Islands to look for her long lost father, who disappeared on his honeymoon seventeen years ago, leaving behind her pregnant mother when he went out on a walk to look at the moon. She has little hope of finding him, but feels she has to try after hearing rumours of a Japanese enclave on one of the islands, which led her to Maltide. What she doesn’t know is that the enclave is the Solomon Space Association which is attempting to create a manned rocket capability but having little success with their new booster which keeps going kaboom. So they decide to go back to their older design, but that has less weight lifting capacity so the race is on to shave off as much weight as possible, including from the astronaut. Who promptly flees. Various things happens, Yukari gets caught up in it and when the SSA director sees her, he has the bright idea to turn her into an astronaut — no weight loss needed for a high school girl weighting only fifty kilos.

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