On the loss of innocence. Oh not in any popped my hymen, teenage sort of way, Gods know as a Grandfather that happened a LONG time ago. But as a fan and an author. There’s all these people who seem to be Big Deals, that 6 months ago, I had never heard of. I stayed away from the Blogosphere for a long time with a couple notable exceptions. I hit Jerry Pournelle’s place on a semi regular basis, Tom Kratman, gets my attention when he posts something, and Sarah Hoyt’s stuff, an anonymous Former Naval Officer that blogs by Commander Salamander was a must read, but mostly, I stayed away from all the froth, unless someone cross posted it to facebook and it looked interesting. Then I found myself involved in the OtherWhere Gazette, and about that time someone (OK, it was us) nuked the Hugos.
Now suddenly there’s Vox Day, who I had never heard of, who’s supposed to be the most evil man in the world (Hum, I wonder if his publishing house would be interested in carrying my John Fisher Chronicles, my publisher looks like it’s having issues…) The two Hyphenated twits,(I think I spelled that wrong, used the wrong vowel) who as editors and ex editors, I’m sure I’ve looked at and maybe even bought some stuff from, but who’s name and work wasn’t memorable enough to stick… The Wu-Wus who inspite of my having been a game player since the old atari days, never hit my radar…
Frankly, I think I was happier not knowing all of this shit, and these people existed, but the jin is out of the bottle now.
Innocence was knowing that “Yeah the Hugo’s were now being awarded by a bunch of Gliteraria vary similar to what happened to the Oscars.” (more on that in a moment, lets ‘parking lot’ that for a sec.) Knowing that the rocket ship on the cover of a new release now meant probably not worth buying, unless someone I know and trust the taste of recommends it. Instead of the old days (oh say early 80’s and before) when, if it got the Hugo it was worth buying, and even if you didn’t like what the author had to say, it would hold your interest and not cause you to toss it in the Submarine’s library for someone else, in the hope that someone on board would actually like it. No book was ever thrown away, even if it sucked, after 138 days under water, it might be worth reading. (On a boat, pre Ebook days, book space was LIMITED, hell all space was limited, but I knew (ok I was one of them) guys that put a layer of books under their mattress so that they would have enough reading material to get through the run. That makes opening your coffin rack to get out a set of skivies a LITTLE more difficult). But not knowing the “inside baseball stuff” about all the clowns and characters who have created the swamp that is Speculative Fiction publishing and reading today.
Artist Hugo? Meh, I know what I like, and what catches my eye. Is it cool? does it grab you and make you want to see “What the hell is going on here”? That’s all that cover art meant to me. (now that I’ve started writing, I found out that cover art has become Kabuki theater) I’ve seen some amazingly good work in the art room of cons, and I don’t care about the artist’s politics, unless it spills into their art so much that it turns me off the painting. Goya for instance, technically gifted artist, don’t like his stuff. Picasso? Never saw what the hell people see in him. I’ve seen stuff that makes me want to write a story about what’s going on. That’s as far as my art appreciation goes. Writing Hugos, that’s what mattered to me, either as an advertisement, or later as a warning. I knew who Tom Doherty was/is, hell I was reading stuff he edited before he got his own label. Same with Jim Baen (hell my only published work at this point sat on his desk for a year, before he died, and they got swamped with A listers and couldn’t fit in the que) I knew a few other editors names at least causally, but mostly I knew that if this house put it out, it was probably worth buying, if this other house put it out, it probably sucked.
Gaming? I guess I’m what is called with disdain a “Casual gamer” Yeah I play, Yeah between my son and I we probably have on the close order of 100 games. No, I don’t do the whole “look it up on line to learn all the Easter eggs.” stuff, nor do I watch people game on youtube, or any of that shit, (my son does though) and I might log 8 hours a week on the game I’m currently playing… So I’m beneath the notice of the people that are making decisions in that community. (seems short sighted to me, my money spends just as well as the next guy, and I have more of it to spend than some guy that lives in mom and dad’s basement) (I should mention, lest you get the wrong idea, my son is still in high school, he’s not the guy I’m talking about here) So you’ll pardon me if I never heard of Wu-Wu. I did hear of gamergate, at least peripherally, and it reminded me of the whole “Payola” scandal of my youth, when it was found out that certain music labels were paying radio stations to play their shit instead of their competitors shit. Exact same thing, just a different venue. Seems to me people went to jail over that one.
I promised I would come back to the Oscars. Sadly they suffered from this sort of crap a long time ago. There was a day (oh I guess back in the 60s or 70s) when if you watched movies at all, you watched EVERYTHING that got nominated for the Academy Awards, because it was guaranteed to be worth watching. There are still a couple things that they give awards for each year that are great. But mostly the awards have become two things: A PC stamp, If you are a leftist, and desperately afraid of being “triggered”, you can count on almost anything that gets the nod from Oscar will play to your prejudice, and the Miss congeniality award. “Oh your shit bombed at the Box Office?” Well, you fought the good fight, and “spoke truth to power” (in spite of the fact that the left IS the power these days, the narrative is, and will ever more be, that by definition, they “speak Truth to power” when they call the right names) so let us make you feel better that you lost your ass, by giving you bragging rights. You may not have won the Benjamens but you’re still a “real player”. Now occasionally there comes a movie SO DAMN big, and SO DAMN popular that they CAN’T ignore it, (cough, Lord of the Rings, cough), but still, from here in the peanut gallery, that’s what it looks like. I’m sure that there’s a lot of “inside baseball” stuff going on there too, and the politics and bullshit are even worse there than here in Speculative Fiction. I’m sure that people who are fascinated by that short of shit, could tell me hours worth of tails about some “Big Deal” in that community. After all, we play with at max 6 to 7 figure incomes… Those fuckers play with 8 to 10 figure, so you know that the shit flies.
Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. For the love of anything sacred, preserve some innocence.