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The Way of the Tinder Warrior

You know, I’ve gotten away from long form blogging in the last few years. Gotten used to saying what I need to say in 140 characters or less. But sometimes, the Internet gives you a thing so beautiful, so perfect, so precious, that you just have to stretch out on your online yoga mat and get ready to hold your goddamned warrior pose.

Today, I am going to translate this essay from Think Piece to English for you. As far as I can tell, it is written by a woman, from the point of view of a hypothetical man, in first person, to a different hypothetical lonely heart woman. It’s some kind of online dating profile Inception. It’s the distilled essence of a hundred thousand Marilyn Monroe quotations on Tinder mated with a million dudes who can’t handle you at your worst but also cannot handle Taco Bell’s dollar menu.

Are you ready for some football weird quasi-medieval unrealistic dating advice?

To my sweet wild woman, I know why it hasn’t worked out with anyone else—you don’t need a man, but a goddamn warrior.

Your previous relationships have not been successful because you have refrained from dating members of the active military and/or domestic abusers. Bad female! No biscuit.

You are the strength of Turkish coffee at sunrise, darlin’, and don’t try to pretend that you’re not. You are one of the wild ones, and no matter how you tried to hide that fact, you can’t be anything other than what you are—and that’s okay. 

You taste like the bin at a cigar club and have severe insomnia. Also no one can stand to be around you due to diagnosed Severe Manic Pixie Dream Girlism and probably all those one-martini lunches to prove to yourself that you’re “one of the wild ones” while working in a mid-level PR firm. AM I DOING NEGGING RIGHT?

You are just as you are supposed to be, magnificently wild in all of your chaotic beauty.

Your make-up skills could use some work.

I know you’ve had your heart broken and I know that you don’t understand why it always seems to never work out, but I’ve finally figured it out:

You don’t need a man, you need a goddamn warrior.

I KNOW WHY YOUR RELATIONSHIPS DON’T WORK OUT IT IS BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT RELATIONSHIPS WITH ME.

P.S. I am not a warrior by any definition of the word.

It doesn’t matter if this warrior drives a Jeep or a shiny sports car, and it won’t matter if he wears silk or cotton—it will not even matter if he works in a high-rise, or on the night shift.

This is an excellent deal for “the warrior.” The Warrior doesn’t need a job, a car, or even a shirt. Unlike all those non-warrior suckers you’ve been dating. You’re one of the wild ones! Wild ones like dates to the Hostess aisle at the convenience store, right? ETHAN HAWKE REALITY BITES IS MY FAVORITE FICTIONAL CHARACTER.

What is going to matter is that when it comes to taking bets on your heart, he is going to be high stakes—all the way.

I am definitely going to stalk you. Like, before, during, and after any interaction we have. I will uncomfortably over-commit on every level. Coffee or tea? COFFEE IS THE ONLY BEVERAGE TEA IS FOR COMMUNISTS. BOOM. I AM A WARRIOR.

Also, when it comes to taking bets on your heart, I would put all your money on “This guy played Vampire: The Masquerade way too much in the 90s and seriously thinks his spirit animal is a “lone wolf.” Someday I will find him on all fours in my kitchen snarling at my pug over a piece of bacon that fell off the counter.”

This warrior of yours will crave your strength, and your intensity. He’s going to look at you and not see something to tame, but something to just fuckin’ admire.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, who brought up taming? It’s like we all went to a nice dinner party together and this guy brought a live antelope. What’s the matter, you SQUARES? Don’t you like my fuckin’ antelope? Only losers refuse to acknowledge where their food comes from! Look at your goddamned jello salad! What’s that, Jeanine? SOUP? Jesus Christ, just get a knife out of the drawer and do what I do! This will bond us all together as an IT Department, I swear.

Also, the warrior drops his g’s because g’s are the wussiest letter. Fuck G’s, man!

This warrior of yours won’t be someone that you can manipulate or play with as you have in the past, so honey, don’t even try—and trust me, you’re going to love him even more because of it.

He is a Men’s Rights Activist and active Redditor.

Because you aren’t just a woman, you’re a goddamn goddess.

Let’s just take a minute to admire “goddamned” as an adjective modifying “goddess.”

Pretty much the only way I can make sense of this is: “You are a super terrible goddess who really pissed off your Olympian co-workers and will definitely not be invited to Secret Santa this year. GOD, Jeanine!”

Your fierceness is going to bring him to his knees every single time he looks into your gorgeous eyes 

This is going to make going to the movies super awkward. Every time he accidentally looks you in the eye he will fall to his knees uncontrollably, and probably uncontrollably weeping, while the kid shoveling popcorn stares, open-mouthed, silently praying for death.

But the difference is, unlike the others, he isn’t going to be scared off. 

By looking you in the eye. SUPER WARRIOR TIME.

No, this time, you will have finally met your match—because a simple man for you just won’t do. You need someone to match the fire in your eyes with his own. Not only that, my little wild thing, but this warrior of yours is going to want to encourage the flames instead of trying to douse them with his own insecurities.

But he will definitely be the kind of condescending XBox Live poweruser who calls you “my little wild thing.” Nope, no insecurities there! His wildness is WARRIOR STRONG ROAR YES. Yours is adorable. He will encourage you to commit arson without trying to douse your flames with nagging bullshit like: “That’s not your house” or “Help I am on fire.”

Because for you, a warrior is the only man who will ever live in the wild with you.

The Warrior is homeless.

He may not have to slay any dragons to earn your love, but he would still walk through fire if it meant seeing that amazing smile that you hold in reserve for only him.

NO SMILING AT ANYONE ELSE. SMILES ARE ONLY FOR THE WARRIOR. HE EARNED THOSE SMILES! BY NOT SLAYING DRAGONS AND NOT CALLING YOU BACK!

This is the thing, free spirit, this warrior you seek….he’s seeking you too.

The Warrior swipes right on everyone, just in case.

For he’s had failed relationships that have left him wondering if maybe he was meant to be alone for the rest of his journey

The Warrior is an MGTOW.

…and you’re going to change all of that for him. You both have been travelling along on your separate journeys and have been doing an okay job at it, but that about to change too.

THAT’S RIGHT, LADIES! YOU CAN CHANGE HIM! Good thing we’re still running datingin1955.exe You’re gonna FIX him! It always works out!

Because baby, when you and this warrior of yours meet and collide—it’s going to be a love set on fire.

This is not your house. Help, I am on fire.

Don’t try to run this time—I know your heart has been broken before, and that you’re not used to things working out, but this time it’s different. Give yourself time to see that.

*Jabba tongue* You will learn to appreciate me. Don’t try to run. No, seriously. The yard is full of mines.

This warrior of yours needs to see that it’s possible for someone to see all of his wild, and still be there when he craves his freedom and ventures off into this world for a bit. 

He normally lives in a timeshare in an alternate dimension where the Loch Ness Monster rules Britain with gentle benevolence. He just saunters by every once in awhile to do laundry and post to his blog.

You won’t always need to follow him, just as he won’t always follow you. 

You will lose each other in shopping malls for weeks at a time.

Let yourself stay wild, even when all you want to do is curl up in that spot along his side and forget the rest of the world exists.

He is a Tauntaun. Curl up in that spot along his side and keep warm.

Let yourself still wander naked under the full moon

Don’t do that.

Drink moonshine with the stars. 

Stars will burn you to death and also they have been sober for one million days so fucking have a little respect, lady.

Let yourself feel the pull of the wind on your heart

The Warrior has sacrificed you on a pyramid of skulls because that is the only way you can feel the blue-corn moon pull of the wind on your still-beating heart.

…and the sun toward a new journey. Because this warrior is going to love you because of your wild—and he’ll want you to keep it.

Swipe left on grammar.

Also the Warrior gets to decide which of your personality traits you get to keep! The others he will BATTLE TO THE DEATH.

You’ll be in this together now, this amazing, crazy, chaotic, wonderfully heartbreaking life

Wait, what? I did not order the heartbreaking life. I want the other one.

Because it takes a warrior to love a goddess. And it takes a goddess to show a warrior what real love is.

Look, the Warrior. You’re like 35. If you don’t know what real love is yet, this whole Red Sonja schtick isn’t gonna help. At best you are a Thumb Warrior, so settle down.

So pack up your insecurities and your ideas about picket fences

We will not be able to afford a home with you supporting me ha ha.

Because that was never you anyway. You were born knowing that you were destined for more, and now is the time for you to see what all those dreams look like.

More = the Warrior. Your dreams look like the Warrior. Your destiny is a dude with facial tattoos and an extensive vinyl collection. That’s it. Not painting or writing or politics or coding. Just this guy right here. Aw, yeah.

There is no stopping a love like this, so promise me you’ll hold out just a little bit longer.

There is no stopping the Warrior. Consent is funny! Love means never getting to say no! WARRIOR.

Have a little bit of hope, and always give love just one more try, because I promise you my sweet wild woman—the love that you seek is seeking you as well.

The call is coming from inside the house.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

c is for cat

Christmas Cracker 2015

For the last couple of years, we’ve been doing a little audio surprise around Christmas time, which we call our Christmas Cracker. In lieu of thousands of holiday cards, it’s a gift from our house to all of you.

This year, actor Heath Miller and I recorded the Callowhale PSA from Radiance in all it’s 1930s glory! Listen here.

Our last Cracker was a recording of my story 25 Facts About Santa Claus, which you can still listen to here.

Happy holidays to everyone!

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

c is for cat

End of the Year Awards Eligibility Post

I usually wait until January 1st to post this, but it all seems to be happening a little early this year, so I will bump up my Annual Obligatory Awards Eligibility Post.

As a note, no matter the nonsense tossed about like the world’s worst and slimiest beach ball by the Puppies last year, I believe in the value of authors posting what they have that’s eligible and will keep doing it. I am so often reminded of a story or book that I had forgotten about by such posts. There’s simply too much out there to keep up with on one’s own. So without further throat-clearing, here’s what I did in 2015.

Novel

Radiance

The Boy Who Lost Fairyland (eligible for the Andre Norton Award as well as Best Novel in Nebula World)

Novella

Speak Easy

Novelette

The Long Goodnight of Violet Wild

Short Story

Planet Lion
The Lily and the Horn

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

c is for cat

Happy Birthday, Radiance! (With Exciting Presents!)

You may have heard a distant rumor that I have a book coming out today–well, it is rumor no longer, but gorgeous, tentacled, decopunk TRUTH.

Radiance is wild and woolly and brand new and in the world today!

I’m so excited and biting my nails and can’t believe it’s really out–a book seven years in the making, that began with a Clarkesworld short story and somehow turned into a big fat novel full of everything that lives in my heart. I’ve been saying for years that Radiance is a decopunk alt-history Hollywood space opera mystery thriller with space whales–well, now you can find out what the hell all that means.

If you are the kind of blessed, beautiful soul who is inclined to help out authors with novels in swaddling clothes, there’s lots you can do. Obviously, you know, buy the book so that I can continue to heat my house which is full of cantankerous carnivorous animals. Online or in bookstores, ebook or in print. Leave reviews on Amazon or Goodreads or what have you–people often think these don’t matter but they do, enormously. Come to my readings over the next couple of weeks for I am touring the nation (each stop is themed after a different planet!) and may come somewhat near you! (Big splashy flapper launch party at WORD Bookstore in Brooklyn tonight, Seattle at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park on Thursday, Powell’s at Cedar Hills Crossing in Portland, OR Friday, The Last Bookstore in LA on Saturday!) And spread the word.

In fact, if you do spread the word, I have something pretty cool waiting in the wings.

Any time over the next week (ending Wednesday October 28th), if you post, tweet, Instagram, or leave a review (positive or negative! You can hate the thing, it’s okay!) about Radiance, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win Mr. Bergamot and his stack of books. Who is Mr. Bergamot? Well, he’s this fine fellow:

FullSizeRender (1)

 

IMG_7526In the world of Radiance, Mr. Bergamot, the gentleman octopus, was the star of Percival Unck’s first series of children’s films, beginning with The Majestic Mystery of Mr. Bergamot in 1924. Unck is the most powerful filmmaker on the Moon, and he made the Bergamot movies for his mostly unimpressed daughter, Severin, who would one day grow up and disappear on Venus. Mr. Bergamot is in black and white, naturally, as he never made the transition to color. He is also quite a beefy fellow, coming in at 24 inches tall, including tentacles and top hat. He enjoys long slithers on the beach, horrors from beyond the depths of space, comforting lost children, and signed limited editions–along with Mr. Bergamot you’ll get signed and personalized copies of Radiance, Speak Easy, The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, and the rare hardcover of The Bread We Eat in Dreams.

How do you let me know you’ve entered the drawing? Use @catvalente or #Radiancenovel on Twitter, tag me on Facebook or Instagram, or leave a link in the comments to this entry.

Also, you can listen to the INCREDIBLE audiobook, read by Heath Miller, who has turned the book into a veritable radio play of voices, songs, and assorted pyrotechnics. (It’ll be out on Audible in a day or two.)

And that’s all! Here are excerpts, an interview or two, and here are places where you can get a copy of my funny intimate little tale about silent films, space whales, and the end of the universe for yourself.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

c is for cat

My Worldcon Schedule!

Here are the places where I will be doing things at Sasquan over the weekend. Come to some of them! Also I will have a copy of Radiance and a copy of Speak Easy to give away to lucky attenders of my first reading on Thursday. (Yes, I have two readings! One is for kids and one is for grown-ups but you can come/bring either to either.)

Improv Acting for Kids

Thursday 15:00 – 15:45, 207 (CC)

Improv with the best

Reading – Catherynne Valente

Thursday 16:30 – 17:00, 301 (CC)

Exploring Orientation and Gender in Fiction

Thursday 20:00 – 20:45, Bays 111B (CC)

Fiction has evolved from presenting all characters born with a specific gender and sexual orientation to presenting a broad spectrum of genders and sexual orientations.  What are some of the early works to explore these areas? Who are some of the best authors exploring them now?  Does the gender/orientation of the author matter?

Stroll with the Stars

Friday 09:00 – 09:45, Breezeway/Statue (CC)

Signing

Friday 14:00-14:45 Exhibit Hall B

The Future of Video Games

Saturday 13:00 – 13:45, 401C (CC)

Video games continue to evolve in many ways: sophistication, emersion of the player, story telling, graphics, and platforms, to name just a few.  What’s next in the evolution of video games.

Fantasy Tales

Saturday 14:00 – 14:45, 206BCD (CC)

A special reading for children and children in big bodies–bring cookies and stuffed animals and curl up for an afternoon story!

Kaffee Klatche – Catherynne M. Valente

Saturday 17:00 – 17:45, 202A-KK1 (CC)

Fanwriting from Twiltone to Facebook: Zines, Blogs, Social Media — What’s the Diff?

Sunday 14:00 – 14:45, Bays 111C (CC)

From fandom’s earliest days, fen have written to one other. We write about our favorite sf, chronicle the cons we go to, gossip about clubs and the fans we know and detail what’s happening in our lives. Fanwriting began with letters to prozines and then evolved into styles suitable for fanzines and apas. Now, we have blogs and social media. Is there any real difference in the fanwriting? Does one medium require more discipline or skill? Is one more revealing or more relevant? Which generates the most egoboo (positive feedback)?

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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The Ecstasy of Pre-Orders, the Agony of Not Having a Book Right This Very Second

Hello, everyone! It is summer in Maine, which means sticky air, sticky food, and sticky brains. I’m getting ready to go to Worldcon in Spokane next week and working on a million and four projects, as well as hiding from the heat, watching The Wire in an improbably short amount of time, and chasing my German Shepherd with a furminator brush because apparently she thinks gently plucking a single loose hair from her constantly shedding body is tantamount to murder.

I’m also Guest of Honor at Bubonicon in New Mexico the week after Worldcon, so I hope to see lots of you in the very near future!

Lastly, should you be into the whole pre-ordering thing, you should know that at this very moment you can pre-order my new novella, Speak Easy, which is a very loose retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses involving Zelda Fitzgerald, prohibition, the Ansonia Building, a giant pelican, and Al Capone as the King of the Fairies. AND you can pre-order my newest adult novel, Radiance, which has been pushed back to October 20th. That would be my decopunk alt-history Hollywood pulp SF space opera mystery with space whales and silent movies. It also has a totally amazing cover.

ALSO, Saga Press is reprinting Six-Gun Snow White in a beautiful illustrated edition in November! Good lord, this year is gonna break my bookshelf.

I’ll be touring for Radiance in the fall, and again in the spring for the final book in the Fairyland series, The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home (which, coincidentally, is also available for pre-order). It is a busy time for this sleepy creature.

SO MANY PRE-ORDERS. And I will get to see so many people so soon! GO GO LAST THIRD OF 2015 OH GOD HOW DID THE YEAR GET TO BE THIS FAR ALONG THIS FAST.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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Holding the Hugos–and the English Language–Hostage for Fun and Profit

The Hugo nominees were announced on Saturday. It is now Wednesday. In internet days, that’s about a decade. Enough for me to read through several 1000-comment threads about What Happened, to laugh, to cry, to be disgusted, to be angry, for my face to get stuck in permanent dropped-jaw mode. And to move from information gathering to a little analysis. Everything that can be said about how incredibly unpleasant this whole situation is has been said, so I won’t add my two WTFs to it. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, there are lots of places to read about it. I’ll sum up quickly. The following facts are not, as far as I know, in doubt:

1. A group of writers led by, but not limited to, Brad Torgerson, Larry Correia, and Vox Day, pulled a swell little 1919 and told their followers to vote a straight ticket–a slate devised and approved by these writers. There were two slates with many works in common, the “Sad Puppies” led by Torgerson and the “Rabid Puppies” led by Vox Day. This is the third year this group(s) have done this, but the first that it has been so overwhelmingly successful. Due to many factors in the Hugo nomination process, this resulted in a nearly-swept ballot of approved authors and works.

2. These writers are politically conservative, mostly deeply religious, and profoundly homophobic, sexist, racist, the whole nine. This is indeed the Vox Day who got kicked out of SFWA for using the official channel to harass N.K. Jemisin and call her subhuman. Though there are some exceptions, many of the works on the slate are also by writers of this political persuasion.

3. The group is of the opinion that their work was being overlooked because of their politics, and that the Hugo ballots and winners of the last several years were only awarded due to leftist politics and the racial/sexual/gender identities of their authors, not quality. The tenor of the call to arms was explicitly and often resoundingly political–“this is your chance to hurt SJWs.” If you don’t know what an SJW is, I hope you’re enjoying your new computer. It stands for Social Justice Warrior, which to a normal person sounds like someone who fights for justice and cares about all human beings, and to conservatives like the devil himself. The implication that they then must support injustice seems to be lost.

4. None of this is strictly speaking against the rules. It’s unethical. It’s almost laughably petty and mean-spirited. It’s most certainly against the spirit of the awards, which is why no one else has done it.And to an author of integrity, it’s a pointless act of bullying, because if you don’t compete against the best, an award is meaningless. But there is no bylaw that says not to cheat in this particular way.

Two more which are being hotly debated:

5. Whether or not it was successful, there is no doubt that SP and RP attempted to reach out to GamerGate to drum up support for their plan, and that “hurting SJWs” was the rallying cry, not “support great science fiction.” When questioned on this, they have refused to respond. The extent to which they found comrades among that crowd isn’t clear. A slate is so inherently unfair that it doesn’t take many people to fix the outcome, so despite the crowd of GGers on my Twitter feed telling me I’m an idiot for thinking they were involved, only a handful had to jump on board to make a difference, and they absolutely went looking in the halls of GamerGate for that handful. Which is maybe isn’t that surprising, given GG’s history of harassment and horrific examples of human behavior.

6. I will probably get some heat for this. But the emperor is butt damn naked. This is not, and has never been, about getting quality science fiction with a conservative slant on the Hugo ballot. The ballot looks ridiculous. John C. Wright has three nominations in the novella category and six overall, a record. The vast majority of the works are published by Castalia House, a Finnish micropublisher barely a year old and owned, I’m sure coincidentally, by Vox Day. Wisdom From My Internet, nominated in the Best Related Work category, is neither science fiction, nor, strictly speaking, a book, (Edit: many things not books have been nominated in the category, let’s say it’s not an original work) but a collection of right-wing chain emails and one liners–which, among other works, edged the biography of Daddy Heinlein off the ballot. This is not what an organic ballot looks like. Big publishers can only dream of dominating awards in this way. No one can argue Wisdom From My Internet is the best SFF has to offer. It’s absurd on the face of it to say there was nothing better than this small clique of authors in 2014. That John C. Wright is, essentially, the greatest science fiction writer of all time. These are works by the friends, employees, and, perceived or actual, allies of Brad Torgerson, Larry Correia, and Vox Day. That is their chief, and in some cases only, virtue. (There are some works of some merit. But their merit seems to have been secondary to their ideological purity, especially with regards to someone like Jim Butcher, whose books feature sexist attitudes meant to indicate a flawed character, not a mission statement.)

7. Some of the benefitting authors knew and approved of the slate, some did not, Torgerson claims to have sought consent from everyone, some say this is untrue. Some nominated authors have said nothing either way. Not all the information is in.

I think that’s about it.

I’ve been accused, as have many at this point, of only caring because of personal reasons. After all, I’m not on the ballot, so I must be crying tears of selfishness. Well, I barely had anything eligible this year and did not for a moment expect to be on the ballot, so that’s not even a little personal.

But on the other hand, when these men talk about how horrible recent ballots have been, how they have no literary merit, how they are simply leftists voting for leftists regardless of quality, how the nominated works have been terrible, how they have ruined both science fiction and the Hugos for the Real Fans…well, I’m included in that. Since my first nomination in 2010 I’ve been nominated seven times, only missing one year. They are talking about stories I’ve loved and voted for as well as stories I’ve written. I’m part of the shit they want to clean up. I guess I should have been collecting chain emails all this time if I wanted to make real art. So it does take me aback on that level, because here I thought I was spending years working hard at my craft, when I was actually part of a leftist conspiracy to get nominations. (Which, if leftists could work together long enough to conspiracy? We’ d probably aim higher.)

What’s shocked me, through all of this, and disturbed me even more than the fixing of the Hugos itself, is that the Sad and Rabid and Otherwise Emotionally Overwrought Puppies seem to have wholly lost their grip on the English language. It’s deeply unsettling to watch writers denying that words have meanings. YOU GUYS, WORDS MEAN THINGS. IT IS YOUR JOB TO KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN.

For example, one of the new acronyms for “people we don’t like” is, apparently, CHORF, which stands for Cliquish, Holier-Than-Thou, Obnoxious, Reactionary Fanatics. It truly floors me that people who are busy gathering their friends into a group that believes it is on the right side of God, calling names and yelling about how we need to go back to the old way of doing science fiction and colluding to fix an award can use that acronym for anyone other than themselves. The DICTIONARY DEFINITION of reactionary is: of, pertaining to, marked by, or favoring reaction, especially extreme conservatism or rightism in politics; opposing political or social change. How can this possibly describe the Evil Leftists such Brave Puppies must fight against? You keep telling us you’re the best writers in the genre, and yet basic words and their meanings seem to elude you! And while I’ve been told over and over that the Wicked Lefty Clique I am apparently a part of does “the same thing,” all that ever seems to mean is a link to John Scalzi or Charlie Stross’s blogs, as though John telling people what he has eligible and then opening his comments for others to do the same, or Charlie saying his editor is eligible, is some kind of evidence. The word “slate” means something. You know it does. It’s monstrously disingenuous to pretend any kind of “Hi, I have a book eligible” is identical to blatant vote-fixing and ballot-stuffing. There is no “both sides do it” or rules would have been changed a long time ago, as they may be changed now. No one would be shocked if this had been going on all along. The last people who tried this were Scientologists. The very fact that the Puppies are accusing others of having conspired–admitting by implication that this is wrong–while absolutely having conspired themselves–but insisting this was right–gives me a migraine.

I’ve repeatedly seen Brad Torgerson and Ken Burnside (a nominee but not an organizer) refer to the ballot as a “more inclusive” and “more diverse” ballot than recent years have offered. That…is not what inclusive means. It’s definitely not what diverse means. This ballot features one man in three out of five novella slots and six in total, one publisher in nine slots, and an overwhelming majority of white straight men. Even if you think all this is appropriate and excellent, you cannot call it inclusive or diverse without assaulting the English language. Let’s go to the dictionary! Inclusive: including a great deal, or including everything concerned; comprehensive! Diverse: of varying kinds, multiform, including representatives from more than one social, cultural, or economic group, especially members of ethnic or religious minority groups!

I suppose you could say “this list is more inclusive of myself and my friends, and more diverse in that myself and my friends are on it when we were not before” but that’s not what any of it actually means. It’s grotesque to defend oneself by claiming inclusivity and diversity when that is exactly what the unaltered ballots of recent years, the ones they hate so much, have given us.

It’s a near intolerable amount of cognitive dissonance, and it betrays a deep confusion. The Puppies hate SJWs–those awful people who keep prattling on about inclusivity and diversity. So why in the world would they claim to support those things? Why not use some other word to describe the ballot they’ve made–strong, perhaps, or exciting?

I suspect it’s because they know inclusivity and diversity are considered positive attributes by most people. Exclusivity and uniformity don’t sell. Despite their conviction that they are the persecuted majority, they know that no one wants to hear: we made a club so that we could be sure only people we approved politically and personally would be nominated. No one wants to hear: isn’t it nice how we’ve scrubbed the ballot of all those undesirables? Now it’s just us! What they did is unpalatable, and they know it. But now that they’ve gotten what they want, they need people to be happy about it in order for the award to have any meaning, and so they’ve grabbed the language of the enemy to praise themselves. Only it doesn’t work, because words have meanings. It’s a pretty classic conservative technique (see the fact that Social Justice Warrior now means a bad person), but it’s depressing–or perhaps hilarious–to see it used by individuals because they can’t face the consequences of what they’ve done. You guys spent ages telling us diversity was bullshit and inclusivity was a creeping evil. Why are you now telling us, with a sneer and a smirk, that you are their champions? What is wrong with you? It’s all so unfathomably dishonest and intellectually bankrupt I have a hard time believing any of these people put together a coherent novel at any point.

Puppies: if you truly believe that what you did was right and good and honest, if you believe you have struck a blow for virtue and excellence–be straight with us. Tell us that. Don’t try to paint over the mess you made by insisting you’ve done it all for the sake of inclusive, diverse happy kittens and rainbows. Conservative politics are supposed to be all about straight-shooting real talk. So just say you used your clique (and probably some others) to do something you believed in, no matter what the cost. You do not get to have your ballot and eat it, too. You did this. You have to face the consequences. You cannot tell the world that they should vote for you to strike back at women, liberal, people of color, and queer writers (and even worse–literary science fiction authors, the horror!) and then call yourselves diverse and inclusive.

I don’t know what’s going to happen to the Hugos. I haven’t yet seen a suggestion for rule changes that would fix much of anything. I suspect that even the Puppies are embarrassed that their tampering is so obvious, but they won’t break ranks now. I suspect this will be the most awkward award ceremony in history. It seems strangely small potatoes, to pick a science fiction award as your battlefield to die on when it can have so little effect on the political world at large. Surely there are larger stakes when you see the world as one huge Us vs. Them. I suppose you have to start somewhere. Even Darth Vader did data entry for awhile. I don’t even know what I’m going to do–whether I’ll go to Worldcon, whether I’ll vote No Award.

But I would like to ask, for the sake of a language I love: however you vote this summer, when you see people using words to mean their opposite, when you see these attempts at kidnapping and rehabilitating language, if nothing else, call them out on that. If they want the ballot, that’s one thing, but they can’t just take English. The rest of us are still using it.

vadermeme

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

c is for cat

Hey California! Come see Cat at Rakestraw Books TONIGHT!

FOGcon’s come and gone, but Cat’s still in the California area and will be doing a reading in Danville tonight!

Drop by Rakestraw Books at 7 PM to meet Cat and hear her read from The Boy Who Lost Fairyland.

To find Rakestraw Books, or contact them about the event, check out the contact information below:

3 Railroad Avenue
Danville, CA 94526
925-837-7337

If you get any pictures at the event, share them on social media with the #Fairyland tag!

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

c is for cat

Where to Find Cat at FOGcon

Going to FOGcon this weekend? CMV will be there as one of their Honored Guests! Read on to find out where you can find Cat at the con.

Local to Walnut Creek, CA? If you missed the pre-registration window for FOGcon, or missed that Cat’s going to be there, you can still show up and grab day or weekend passes! Check out FOGcon’s Registration page for the details.

And this is where you’ll find CMV:

Friday, 4:30-5:45 PM: Stories within Stories within Stories within Stories…
Location: Salon A/B
Panelists: Elwin Cotman, Phyllis Holliday, Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist, Catherynne Valente. Moderated by Sunil Patel.
What’s it about? “Valente’s ‘Orphan’s Tales’, Gaiman’s ‘Sandman’, Rothfuss’ ‘Name of the Wind': some of the most fun stories are stories about stories. How does that work? What tricks can you use when you have a story within the story?”

Saturday, 8:00-9:15 PM: Cat Valente writes on your skin.
Location: Salon A/B
What’s going on? “The con will provide supplies (body paint, temporary tattoo ink, or similar) and Cat – as well as the other panel attendees, write or draw on other, agreeable attendees. No guarantees as to what!”

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

illumination

The Boy Who Lost Fairyland

The fourth book in the Fairyland series, The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, is out today!

Yes, that is a boy and Chicago and a knitted wombat on the cover. Do not fear! This is still a series about September and her adventures in Fairyland, and you will absolutely find out what happened after the admittedly cliffhangery end of the third book. Fairyland has become such an awfully big world that I thought it time to show a glimpse of the bigger picture. This is the Changeling book--a book about the other children who go back and forth from Fairyland--the ones who are required to wear identifying footwear and play the grummellphone for the Marquess. It is a story about how their stories intersect with September's, and how they come to be friends in the new Fairyland where the Fairies have come home to roost.

This time September's story catches a troll and a fetch and a baseball and a wombat and an army of changelings in its whirlwind. You know those trolls. Always leaping up and demanding things in big, deep, rumbly voices.

Yes, indeed, I wrote a book with boys and baseball in it. Miracles do happen.

Hawthorn is a troll living happily in Fairyland until the Red Wind spirits him away to the strange, magical, frightening world of humans, where he must battle the legendary creatures known as parents, schoolteachers, bullies, gym class, and loneliness before he can find his way back to Fairyland. With his No. 2 pencil and his winter hat with kangaroos knitted on it as well as his friends Tamburlaine (a Changeling like him) and Blunderbuss (a stuffed wombat his mother knitted for him, brought mysteriously to life), Hawthorn finds Fairyland in turmoil, the Fairies returned from their exile and ruling with sparkling fists--and living in fear of a powerful strega called the Spinster.

Read an excerpt here.

I honestly can't believe that I'm writing about the fourth Fairyland book--it all started so innocently, a little story on this very website, and now it's this sprawling series bristling with characters I love so well. I want to thank everyone who has read and supported this series for so long, every kid who brought a balloon animal A-Through-L to a signing or hugged me and told me her favorite part, every school who has let me natter to their students about fairy tales, everyone who has told a friend about this weird book with a wyvern on the cover or read a chapter to their children. You have made magic in my life over and over. There's one more book in the series. The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home will be out next year, and I already start tearing up when I think about writing the last lines. It's been, without hyperbole, a miraculous journey, and it's not over. I hope you enjoy the troll-and-wombat loop-de-loop on this madcap ride.

The standard (hopefully not too annoying) schtick applies: if you want to help out, buy the book, tell your people via Twitter and Facebook and WhatHaveYou, ask your local bookseller or library to carry it if they don't. But really, just read and you've done the best thing you can do for a book.

Also! The audiobook will be out in a few days, read by Heath Miller, and HOLY CATS are you going to love it. Who knew one guy could make a whole country come to life with a voice and a microphone?

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