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I went on a special episode of [tumblr.com profile] fangirlhappyhour to talk Captain America: Civil War and display my ignorance of Marvel comics characters. Give it a listen!

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Over a week without posting, oops. I'm behind on all of my writing, too. I have no good reason for this. I suspect it's because I've been in the mood to absorb content rather than create it -- I started re-reading the Temeraire series, in prep for the final book's imminent release, and I've been watching T play Uncharted 4 (we never played the others but it's been easy enough to follow along). Work has also picked up a little, with the promise of a few things moving full speed ahead soon, and the election has certainly been a drag on my attention. (I have many thoughts on Hillary Clinton (I did vote for her, in the end) and her historic (presumptive) nomination as the Democratic candidate, but for complex reasons I haven't yet gotten into them here. Soon, I hope.) Mostly, I've been on Twitter -- it's really easy to pop in, leave quick thoughts on a few things, and pop back out. It makes sense, I suppose, but it's a terrible habit to get into. Twitter is even worse than Tumblr for developing complex thoughts.

Anyway, just wanted to assure all that I am still here, and reading, and listening, even if I don't comment. And I know I owe some replies and will get on them soon. Hope that all is well.

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Days written: 22/31
Words written: 13,153
Words of fic written: 4,495
Stories worked on: Three
Stories posted: One

Charts are still basking in post-con glowCollapse )

Specific goals:

1. Write at least five days per week, including at least one writing sprint. I got a couple of sustained writing blocs in. Not every week on the days per week, although on average I came close.

2. Continue work on Wardens of Ivalice by fleshing out at least two more sections. Only made significant progress on one, but it's still continuing to shape up.

3. Write and publish at least one short fic. Success!

4. Write and publish at least one post for [community profile] ladybusiness. Got this one, too.

I feel like I got the letter of the law on these, but not necessarily the spirit, maybe because I did bare minimum when I was secretly hoping to do more. Then again, WisCon was a significant distraction, as were the Hugo Awards, so maybe I shouldn't expect too much. The other interesting thing I noticed this month is that something in my brain has finally switched over, and now I consider blogging to be something I ought to prioritize and make time for -- that it's not time I "ought" to spend working on fic instead, but equally legitimate as a writing endeavor. Since this is a goal I've held for a long time, I'm not in any way sorry. But it's interesting that it's finally happened.

Anyway, let's have some June goals:

1. Write at least six days a week except when traveling.

2. Do at least one prompt meme (I'm feeling the urge to do some short, quick, fun stuff).

3. Write up more detailed notes on at least two WisCon panels and compile a rec list.

4. Flesh out at least two more segments of Wardens of Ivalice, with an ultimate goal of publishing Part 2 in August.

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WisCon: Day Four

WisCon actually ended yesterday, but between travel and tiredness I didn't get the chance to write about it. I definitely want to, though, because I wrapped things up with my favorite panel of the entire con -- Rethinking the "Gift Economy" for Fanworks. The panelists led a fantastic conversation on the history of the gift economy, the limitations of the model, the differences between fanfic (where many people recoil from even the idea of monetary gain) and fanart (which gets bought and sold all the time). There's an expectation that professional genre artists create fanart, especially in the world of comics (it's even expected that you'll have fanart in your portfolio), whereas it's only recently become acceptable for a pro writer to admit to writing fanfiction (except for official tie-in novels). We talked about all kinds of things, from the presumption that capitalism is the default economic model (newsflash: it's not!), to the relationship between IP holders and fans, to the backlash fans (especially female writers) can get for going pro, to the growing popularity of Patreon for fan creators, and how expectations change in male-dominated corners of fandom. I could seriously have spent another two hours in that room, talking with those people, and I hope to see the conversation continue in other venues. The Twitter tag is, as usual, excellent.

Things started winding down after that. I packed, checked out, and then dropped by the Sign Out, which is a tradition of setting up tables for creators to sign their work. Because I neglected to bring anything, and didn't want to buy a ton of books to lug back, I decided to mostly skip it. Naomi Kritzer was signing cat pictures, and those I couldn't resist. After one last meal with [tumblr.com profile] pierceaholic and [tumblr.com profile] magnetsorwhatever, it was off to the airport and back to real life.

To sum up... I don't know that I can really sum up. To say that I enjoyed myself, that I found the panels thought-proking and energizing, that I emerged with a sense of having rediscovered my people, would be an understatement. And yet I did have my moments of newbie angst -- feeling like an outsider, the fear of breaking into a group that already coalesced long before I arrived in the room. Multiple times, I thought of going up to someone and saying hello to someone, to complement them on their work, or something they said on a panel, or to renew an acquaintance from FogCon, and then didn't. A con is a tough place to be a social introvert, especially when you want to be with people but aren't sure where to start. Fortunately, I knew enough people there who were able to introduce me to other people, and I came out feeling both like I'd made a couple of new friends, and like I've laid the groundwork for next time.

Because there will definitely be a next time. I'm already hoping to make next year work, and although I can't promise that I'll become an every-year attendee (if nothing else, BMC reunion is also often on Memorial Day weekend), I certainly hope to do my best. This is a community I would like to be a part of, and that's worth some effort.

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WisCon: Day Three

It's late and I have pack a bit before bed (stupid early checkout time means I have to check out BEFORE the 10am panel I want to attend), but I want to jot down a few things about today before I forget.

I started with a reading featuring a RL friend, Kat Beyer, and members of her writing group, which included Naomi Kritzer, and she read "Cat Pictures, Please", which made my day almost before it had even started. Lunch today was with [personal profile] heavenscalyx and her wife, whom I know through [personal profile] auronlu, and then I had an afternoon of panels: a rousing discussion of female characters and the problems that arise when you have only one woman standing in for all women (or any other sort of tokenizing for that matter) (Twitter feed, a check in with year two of the #INeedDiverseGames project (Twitter feed, and a panel on the queer experience of science fiction modded by the one and only Mark Oshiro ("Queer Eye for SciFi" - Twitter feed). I have more notes and thoughts on all of these, which I hope to share at a later time. One aspect I would like to note, though, is that all of these panels consisted of mostly or entirely people of color. I gather that improving racial diversity of attendees is something that WisCon has been actively working on, and it shows. Mark even commented on it, saying that this is the first time he's ever run this panel and had all the participants be people of color.

Then came the guest of honor speeches. I was promised this would be a highlight, and it was true. All three GoH gave rousing speeches featuring a call to action -- Justine Larbalestier on the importance of taking teens and YA fiction seriously, Sofia Samatar on stretching your wings and writing your truth and not worrying about fitting within the boundaries of genre, and Nalo Hopkinson on the importance of supporting one another while still not letting bad behavior stand -- and she announced her intention to found an award for promoting positive change in the community, the Lemonade Award. I hope that the full text of these speeches are posted eventually, and if they are, I'll link to them; if not, I'll see if I can find good write-ups to share.

Also, the Tiptree award was presented to Eugene Fisher. Then next year's Guests of Honor were announced, and they are Amal El-Mahtar and Kelly Sue DeConnick. I gasped audibly when the second name was spoken. I think that means I have to come back.

Because the speeches ran long, I missed the first part of the last panel I wanted to attend, on female friendships in comics. (As it happens, this panel was all white. But I was still pleased to see this as an exception rather than the norm.) Apparently we missed the more positive part of the discussion (I'm not just saying that, the moderator apologized), and the panel mostly discussed why the large stable of characters in most mainstream comics, combined with the focus on the big franchise names which are mostly not women, leads to relationships between female characters not being able to develop over the years in the same way as, say, Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent's friendship. So as characters drop in and out, sometimes disappearing for decades, there's no chance for true friendships to grow. Lots of good recs at the end, though.

Afterwards I made my way to barcon (after a few false starts) and hung out with folks for a little while before deciding it was time to make my exit, and I worked on this entry while also packing and getting ready for bed. And now it's much later than I planned, so I should get to it. Sorry to make these reports all so sketchy -- I took pretty good notes throughout and should be able to share many more details, including recs, later.

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WisCon: Day Two

Busy day, and it's not quite over, but I'm taking advantage of a lull in the proceedings to make some quick notes about everything I've done so far. I went to four panels today and took notes on all of them, and I hope to dive into them more later.

First up was Female Friendship in Fiction. A lively conversation about the good, the bad, and the missing of female friendships depicted in fiction. Lots of recommendations, including a solid five minutes at the end dedicated solely to recs from the audience. Many of them can be found in the Twitter tag. Lots of my favorite examples -- Supergirl, Jessica Jones, the Spiritwalker trilogy, etc. -- were brought up, and of course my TBR continues to expand.

After lunch (back to the cheese shop!) was probably the best panel of the con for me so far: a discussion of "weaponized kindness" -- when calls for civility are used to shut down important discussions. The Andrew Smith/#KeepYAKind incident was used as an example and jumping off point for talking about why "niceness" as a code word for "sit down and shut up" is a problem (as opposed to actual niceness, which they defined as really listening to other people and caring about their feelings and point of view) and how to fight back against it. I'll definitely want to come back to this later, and maybe see if I can find other people's write-ups. For now, I highly recommend the Twitter tag for this one, too.

Next up was a panel on metaphorical minorities (such as the X-Men "mutant metaphor"), which also moved a lot into thoughts on coded (as opposed to explicit) representation followed by a roundtable on the works of Octavia Butler. I learned quite a bit from these discussions, stuff I will have to process and also probably revisit. Very glad I went to both.

After dinner, I went to the Tiptree Auction, a fundraiser for the award. I was promised a great show, and I absolutely got it. [twitter.com profile] brainwane was the auctioneer, following in the footsteps of legendary auctioneer Ellen Klages, and I thought she was great -- an evening of humor, and Hamilton filk, and smashing of the kyriarchy (literally, in the form of a "Pilates for Weight Loss" DVD), and costume changes, and serious remembrances of significant people. Well worth my time, even though I didn't bid on anything (though I did donate a little when the hat was passed around).

Now I'm headed back downstairs to check out the Floomp, the con's dance party. I'm not sure I'm feeling high-energy enough to dance, but I'm told that it's still a fun scene with excellent costumes to admire. And who knows, maybe I'll be inspired to cut a rug or two.

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WisCon: Day One

Today has mostly been about settling in and having some fun. Although I didn't sleep in as much as I would have liked, I still had a nice relaxing morning -- had breakfast, went to the coffee shop across the street (which might as well be an extension of con space -- there are even some official events there!) for a bit of writing time, and then had lunch with [tumblr.com profile] pierceaholic and [tumblr.com profile] magnetsorwhatever at a local cheese shop -- all before official con events started in the afternoon.

I went to two panels today. The first, "The Fandom Awakens", was essentially a love letter to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Not to say that there was no deep discussion -- far from it, as panelists spoke about how moved they were by seeing women and people of color in such significant roles, the ethics of droid labor, and why we insist on gendering droids. One good question that provoked conversation, though no definitive conclusions, was whether a droid in the Star Wars universe has any sense of gender identity. Next up was [profile] cypheroftyr's panel on the queer gaming experience, with a focus on Dragon Age although several other games were also discussed. Many good thoughts and sharing of experiences about what games do right and the (many more) things they get wrong.

For dinner, I joined the New Attendees dinner gathering. Although it could have been better organized, I ended up with a lively and fun group. We picked up food at a Russian dumplings place, then ate it on the steps of the Capitol Building, chatting all the while about fandom, and we enjoyed the conversation enough to keep it going over coffee until the time came to head to the opening ceremonies. This event was mostly informational, introducing attendees to policies and committee heads, but since this is the 40th WisCon, they also took some time for reminiscences, as long-time WisCon attendees talked about the con community and what it means to them. We also got a stirring speech from Katherine Cross reminding us to treat hotel staff with courtesy and respect, and call from Pat Murphy to make WisCon a "'splaning free zone". Then I wrapped up the night with a panel on Hamilton followed by a singalong, which was a blast. Unfortunately, the timing wasn't organized quite right, and so we didn't have time to sing the whole thing -- just as well, though, because my voice would have likely given out. :) We sang through the entire first act, then hit some highlights from Act 2 ("What Did I Miss?", "Cabinet Battle #1", and "The Room Where It Happens"). About halfway into the first act (I think with "You'll Be Back"), people started getting to the front of the room and acting out the main roles, often to hilarious effect -- maybe my favorite was Hamilton and Burr fighting over the rolled up scarf they were both using in place of their respective newborns in "Dear Theodosia". It was a great high point to end my first full day here.

One thing I've noticed: people often use the Twitter hashtags assigned to events, so it's worthwhile to check them. Good stuff on the Fandom Awakens and Queer Gaming Experience hashtags, specifically.

Fortunately, there's nothing in particular I want to do in the first programming slot tomorrow, so I can have another relatively relaxed morning. But still, I should get to bed. Goodnight, WisCon. I'll see you at 10AM.

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WisCon: Arrival

I can't call it day one, exactly, because things don't get really rolling until tomorrow, but I have arrived in Madison, attended one event, and had a lovely dinner with [tumblr.com profile] pierceaholic and [tumblr.com profile] magnetsorwhatever. Now I am sacked out in my room, despite it being before 10pm local time (aka 8pm on my body clock), because I had to get up at four-goddamn-thirty in the freaking morning to catch my flight. Hopefully I will crash soon and get enough rest to be perky for the rest of the con.

The one event was great. A local bookstore hosts a Guests of Honor reception and reading every year to kick off the con. This year's GoH are Sofia Samatar, Justine Larbalestier, and Nalo Hopkinson, an awesome line-up, and I enjoyed listening to all of them read their work. Samatar and Larbalestier each read an excerpt from their most recently published novel, and Hopkinson -- who is one of my all-time favorite readers -- shared a short story from a forthcoming anthology.

Now I need to retire to an easy chair (my room has two of them, it's pretty cozy) and carefully peruse the program book, because I have no idea how to choose between all the interseting-sounding panels. Wish me luck!

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In other news...

I just registered for MidAmeriCon and booked plane tickets. So I guess this thing is really happening.

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After years of meaning to read Octavia Butler's work, I finished Lilith's Brood yesterday, and now I want to talk about it.

In the end, I'm not completely certain what to make of this book. For an author I have so often heard described as feminist and ground-breaking, I was surprised to find so much gender essentialism and heteronormativity, along with such strong "biology is destiny" themes. In a conversation with my friend S, she pointed out that feminism in the late 1980s (when these books were written) was quite gender essentialist and heteronormative, so it may be a product of its times, but the heteronormativity, especially, struck me right away and kept bothering me throughout. Also bothersome: the pervasiveness of sexual situations wherein the consent is dubious at best. This book features coerced sex, forced pregnancy, and all kinds of invasions of bodily autonomy. Unlike with the previous issues, the idea of questionable consent is raised throughout -- the reader is forced to notice it, and think about it. So I'm pretty sure I was meant to find it disturbing and uncomfortable, but I can't be 100% sure. I'll need to sit with it for awhile.

All that said, it was an impressive book , especially for a debut novel [edit: I was incorrect about this, not sure where I got that impression, thanks to [personal profile] firecat for the correction], and I'm glad to have read it. But more than anything, I'm left wanting to discuss it, and I'm sure at least some of you have read it. So, what are your thoughts?

Other topics for conversation: the social structure of the Oankali, the book's critiques of colonialism, the implications of an Earth left bereft of technology and repopulated almost entirely by people of color, and whether human nature is really as bleak and terrible as it's depicted here.

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Agent Carter Season 2

I just posted a article on the second season of Agent Carter to [community profile] ladybusiness. The second paragraph includes minor CA: Civil War spoilers, and of course many spoilers for the season throughout. Check it out!


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Fun times with the Internet

So if you follow my Twitter ([twitter.com profile] iamkj), you probably saw that I got locked out of my Tumblr account for a couple of days. Basically, Tumblr had a password security breach in 2013, and they forced the affected accounts to change their passwords. (I'm not quite sure why a breach of three-year old data necessitates a password change today. Maybe they just now found out about it?) Mine was one of those accounts, so I attempted to reset my password, multiple times, without receiving a verification email.

It turns out the problem was on my end -- the email I use for Tumblr is connected to my personal domain name, and the registration had lapsed -- so as far as that goes, this isn't Tumblr's fault. But if I hadn't been able to get my email fixed, I would have had no recourse, because Tumblr doesn't provide any alternate method of identity verification. When I wrote to Tumblr about the problem, their only suggestion was to register a new account with a different email address and start over.

Dear Tumblr staff: this solution is not a solution at all. In fact, it is completely unacceptable. I understand taking security seriously -- I wouldn't want just anyone to be able to pretend to be me, either. But there are ways around this, ways used by many other sites. Offer a back-up method of account verification, such as a secondary email or mobile phone number. Allow your support staff to exercise their judgement and/or common sense in cases like mine and Bryan Konietzko's (read the sad story here). There are all kinds of reasons why someone might lose access to an email account. Maybe you signed up with a work email and then changed jobs; maybe you graduated from college and your school doesn't provide permanent forwarding; maybe your email host went out of business; maybe someone hacked your account and you had to close it... This is a common enough situation that there needs to be some solution beyond having to close your blog and move on.

Move on?? I've been actively curating my Tumblr blog for over 5 years. I have more than 400 followers. I'm a contributor to several side blogs, including two for which I'm the only admin (so those blogs would have been lost, too). I suppose the content would stay up, but the chance to build on it and continue participating in conversations would be lost. And if it can happen to me, it can happen to others (see above), with far more followers and influence than I. Make your site unsustainable to use in the long term, provide poor customer service, and people will move on, all right -- they'll move on to a new blogging platform.

Fix this, Tumblr. Even if it's too late for people like Bryan to regain access to their accounts, please move into the modern era and implement some sort of back-up authentication method. It's absolutely necessary.

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Good news/bad news

Supergirl was renewed for season 2! Hooray! It will be airing on The CW, which seems like a better fit than CBS anyway.

Agent Carter has been cancelled! Boo! So much for my favorite show on television, by like a lot. Also reported today was news that the Bobbie Morse/Lance Hunter spin-off won't be moving forward, leaving Agents of SHIELD as the only Marvel show on ABC.

These two announcements came within hours of each other, so I experienced a bit of whiplash this afternoon. So disappointing. My dreams of a golden age for superhero ladies on television, shattered. Because of course we can't have more than one TV show about female superheroes of entirely different genres, tones, and target audiences. Meanwhile, we can have as many shows about white dudes who kill people but have lots of angsty manpain about it as we want. Goody.

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Civil War Linkspam

I suppose it's no surprise that Captain America: Civil War has provoked a lot of debate on the Internet. As a card-carrying member of #TeamItsComplicated, I've found all kinds of food for thought on all sides of the issue, and so I share some of my favorites here. Expect spoilers from this point forward, in both the links themselves and my commentary on them.

Spoilers and linkspam behind the cut.Collapse )

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Thinking through a decision

With [community profile] ladybusiness being named a Hugo finalist, a potential change -- one I'd been thinking about anyway -- comes to the forefront of my mind: is it time to take down the wall around my fandom identity?

Not long after I started writing and posting fic, I decided to decouple my fandom activities from my legal name. I wasn't super paranoid about it; there are plenty of people who follow my fandom accounts and know my "real" name, and I've always talked about work and other real life issues in my journals (although I've always taken care not to name my employers or the people in my life). My pseudonym is based on my legal name, and not in a subtle way. I've never minded my offline friends knowing that I write fic and am active in fandom. I've left enough breadcrumbs over the years that a really determined person could probably follow the trail. My goal was to keep the name "owlmoose" and my fandom accounts out of a casual Google search for my legal name, and in that I was successful. (It helps that my name is so common that I'm essentially unfindable on Google unless you know my middle initial, and even then I'm pretty buried.)

In practice, what this means is that I've never shared my writing or anything connected to it on Facebook. That's the space demarcated by the online wall: Facebook and LinkedIn on one side; DW/LJ, Tumblr, and Twitter on the other. I had originally meant Twitter to be on the open side (that's why my Twitter handle isn't owlmoose), but I found that many more fandom people were active there, and I decided to give up that pretense. There are a number of people on both sides of the wall -- although very few non-fandom friends read my LJ anymore -- and I have always been open to inviting individual people to cross the boundary. But the thought of throwing the floodgates open and allowing anyone through, including family, former coworkers, and potential professional connections, is a bit daunting.

On the other hand, the Internet landscape is very different from when I first started doing fandom over ten years ago. Fanfic has become more acceptable as a mainstream hobby. (If I'm being honest, the fact that I don't write much porn, and almost no slash, probably helps here. Still, I have some porny stuff out there. And I don't think I want my mother to read it.) I'm not as serious about building a librarian career as I was then. I no longer work with students, and even if I did, I doubt most of them would bat an eye. And "editor for a Hugo-award finalist website" is a pretty nice thing to put on a resume, especially if I'm serious about getting into freelance writing. This news is exciting, and I'd like to share it with people. And as I mentioned above, I've been thinking about lowering the wall for awhile now. It's more work to keep things separate, and as fannish writing becomes a bigger part of my life, it starts feeling kind of weird to hide it from people.

So that's where I am right now. This is not a small decision -- if I decide to do it, there's no unringing the bell -- so I'm thinking it through pretty seriously before I make any moves. If anyone has thoughts, or experience with making this same choice for themselves, I'd be interested to hear it.

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Captain America: Civil War was an excellent Avengers movie -- much better, certainly, than Age of Ultron. It was also a great Iron Man movie and a pretty good Winter Solider movie. It was even, as some have pointed out, a much better Batman vs. Superman movie than the one we actually got. But was it a good Captain America movie? On that question, I feel like the jury is still out.

Cut for spoilers.Collapse )

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Exciting announcement!

Today, it was announced that [community profile] ladybusiness is up for a 2016 Hugo Award in the Best Fanzine category. Our official statement on being named a finalist is here.

I've known since Sunday, and let me tell you, sitting on this news has been pretty difficult. It is really exciting, if a little nerve-wracking, for me and especially my fellow editors to be recognized for the work we've been doing, to be told that our voices are heard and valued. (In a way, I feel a little odd claiming this accomplishment for myself, since I didn't officially join editorial staff until this year, and the award is based on works created in 2015. But I've contributed guest posts and helped with various projects, including a major statistical analysis effort last year, so I suppose that's close enough.) That's part of why we accepted the finalist position in the end: because it's important that voices like ours are heard and valued. I don't doubt that certain racist trolls' heads will explode when they learn that their lock on the category was broken by a blog that calls itself Lady Business, that showcases female and genderqueer voices, that takes an explicitly feminist viewpoint. Ours are the voices they have been trying to silence; ours are the voices that will demand to be heard.

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April update; May goals

Days written: 21/30
Words written: 7,840
Words of fic written: 5,133
Stories worked on: One
Stories posted: none

Charts are distracted by other things that I might talk about later.Collapse )

1. Write an average of six days per week, with at least one writing sprint, with a goal of getting down to less than 20% behind the annual pace. I forgot when I made this goal that I had an East Coast trip planned for April, and other distractions also came along, so I missed this almost entirely. I did get almost five days a week, though.

2. Add at least double the current wordcount (currently around 7k) to the current draft of Wardens of Ivalice, part 2. Not quite, I only added a little over 5k words, but I feel pretty good about what I did add. I also watched a bunch of FFXII videos and read bits of the DA lore books, which may not add to wordcount but certainly helped with planning and inspiration. The videos, especially -- I've been away from immersion in Ivalice far too long.

May includes both a concert week and some travel, so I will set my goals accordingly. I want to keep working on Wardens of Ivalice, of course, but I find it creatively odd to be working on only one project; on the other hand, I don't really have anything else nagging at me right now. I do have a couple of older Genprompt Bingo cards lying around, and a couple of potential exchanges I could check out. We'll see what comes along.

Goals for May:

1. Write at least five days per week, including at least one writing sprint. (I'm going to keep putting this as a goal until it sticks, because I really do think it's important.)

2. Continue work on Wardens of Ivalice by fleshing out at least two more sections.

3. Write and publish at least one short fic.

4. Write and publish at least one post for [community profile] ladybusiness.

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Here we go again

Maybe the world doesn't need another post on this year's Hugo Awards, especially since Barry Deutsch already said much of what I've been thinking, but I feel compelled to share some thoughts anyway.

The 2016 Hugo Award finalists were announced today, and unfortunately -- but not unsurprisingly -- the Rabid Puppies ran away with them, to the tune of around 80% of the nominations (I can't get a direct link to the post to work, but the comparison to the slates should be at or near the top of the blog). This result, after a record-shattering 4,000 nominations came in, dispels three claims that have been part of the Hugo conversation lately:

1. The problem will be fixed if more people nominate -- a larger nomination pool makes it harder for a small voting bloc to game the system. I used to believe this myself, and I was moderately hopeful that getting people who signed up last year to vote against the Puppies to nominate would blunt the effects of a slate. Now, though, I'd say the evidence against that theory is pretty strong (although we won't know until the long lists come out in August). When you have a straight winner-take-all voting system, and the pool of potential nominees is this large, it doesn't take much of a bloc to overwhelm the legitimate nominations.

2. The Puppies are in this to see that popular authors writing quality works get nominated, as opposite to "authors who buddy up to the social justice warriors" (I feel dirty just typing that out). Considering that I have never heard of most of the authors on their list (except for a few big names, clearly nominated as cover), I don't see how anyone can make that argument with a straight face anymore.

3. Another argument that no one can make with a straight face: the Puppies are in this to keep political, "message fiction" from being nominated. A simple look at the Related Work and Short Story categories puts the lie to that assertion. (But look with caution. One of the titles in Related Work actually caused me to curse in chat, multiple times, which [personal profile] renay can tell you is something I only do at times of great duress.)

So, yeah. That happened. And it sucks, especially to have my hopes about the larger nomination pool dashed. But here we are, again, and what should we do about it? In the long term, obviously, WorldCon needs to pass E Pluribus Hugo, the change to the nomination rules that seems most likely to make a difference. I understand that the analysis of last year's voting data suggests that it would have blunted the effects of the slates but not removed them entirely, but it's better than nothing, and I think it's worth giving it a shot to see how it works. As for how we deal with this year, I have two thoughts.

First, on how to vote. Like last year, everyone is going to make their own decision on how to proceed, and there's no right or wrong way to do it. Last year, I voted almost entirely anti-slate; the only Puppy nominees I put above No Award were in the Dramatic Presentation categories and Editor-Long Form, the former because those categories rather removed from fandom politics (and some of their choices were on my own nomination ballot) and the second because good people convinced me that some of the editors were worthy of my vote. I think that was the correct choice last year, because we needed to make a strong statement that slates are wrong, and that opposition to diversity is wrong.

But this year, I think I'm going to take a softer line, and consider more of the slate-listed items. The aforementioned cover, of course -- enough people have spoken highly of Seveneves and the Sandman story, for example, and I'm a big fan of Lois McMaster Bujold -- and anything else that folks can convince me is worth my time. Why am I less inclined to sit this one out? For one, it's more obvious which of the choices are cover and which are [the loathsome troll who will go unnamed here] rewarding himself and his cronies. For another, we already tried the hard-line No Award strategy, and it didn't stop [LTWWGUH] from running a slate yet again. So now I feel like the better choice is pretending he doesn't exist. He's going to claim victory no matter what we do, so I prefer taking the path which gives me more satisfaction. And this year, that means looking at the works and judging them by my own standards. (And in some cases, the title or the person's name will provide more than sufficient data to make that judgement.)

Second, one of the reasons I got involved in this whole Hugo thing to start with was the hope of discovering new works and authors for me to get excited about. There's a few things to get excited about on this list, but not nearly enough. Last year, the Hugo long list provided some of that, but why should we wait? There's nothing to say that we can't share our nomination lists and get excited about things we love now. So, as an antidote to all this angry-making business, I propose that we do just that. Someday later this week, I'll kick it off with a list, and I hope those of you who nominated will share your lists with me, as much as you feel comfortable. And then we can get back to having some fun talking about the works we love, because isn't that what fandom is about, in the end?

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