The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Death, Destruction, and the Dragon Awards

Posted on | April 8, 2016 | 19 Comments

— by Wombat-socho

I am probably the last person to find out that Dragon*Con, probably the largest non-comics convention in fandom, has finally bestirred itself and created its own set of awards – the Dragon Awards. This has been greeted with much glee by Sad and Rabid Puppies alike, with Declann Finn going so far as to declare victory. I’d say he and our Supreme Dark Lord are probably correct in predicting that the Dragons will almost certainly eclipse the Hugos, given the much larger voting base which makes any kind of gaming the nominations or the final vote futile. Looking forward to seeing how it works out.

Bosch Fawstin has attracted a fair amount of attention for being a “recovered Muslim” and outspoken cartoonist, currently engaged in annoying his former co-religionists by offering to draw Mohammed on Everybody Draw Mohammed Day for people who can’t draw. He’s also gained some notoriety for his comic book series The Infidel, featuring Pigman. I picked up all three issues (the other two books are War of Words and Reprisal) for the Kindle, and was pleasantly surprised that the Kindle Fire does an outstanding job of presenting comics. The Infidel itself is a complicated tale, being at the same time an examination of the divisions between Muslims (and ex-Muslims) played out between twin Albanian brothers and a superhero comic in which Pigman wages a violent counter-jihad against Muslims that comes to a climax in Mecca itself. Fawstin’s style is reminiscent of Frank Miller’s in The Dark Knight Returns, though Killian Duke has far less to work with than Bruce Wayne. It is disturbing, thought-provoking, and very well done; I hope Fawstin has more issues planned.

I wish I could say the same for Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, which I’m very glad I borrowed from the county library instead of blowing eighteen dollars (!) on the Kindle edition. While it starts with an interesting idea – the Moon is hit by a pair of fast, dense objects that break it into many smaller pieces, which threaten humanity with extinction, so a global crash priority effort to expand our presence in space rapidly ensues – the execution is sadly reminiscent of his previous SF novel, the clunky Anathem. Most of the book is taken up with the base of the story: rapid expansion of the International Space Station as an ark for humanity, selection of an elite group of kids from around the world, a tragic mission to retrieve a comet to provide water to the rapidly expanding orbital colony, and a disastrous attempt to reach Mars by a breakaway group of colonists. Many important (and not a few unimportant) characters carry the Idiot Ball in this part of the book, to the point where one begins to yearn for a Heinlein Individual of either sex to just start shooting the assholes causing all the trouble. This unfortunately doesn’t happen, and soon humanity in space is reduced to seven women and a genewriter, which over the course of five thousand years grows to several millions of men and women living in a greatly expanded set of orbital habitats largely built from Lunar rubble. We don’t get any exposition of that part, nor do we get any narrative covering the people hiding under mountains or at the bottom of the sea in submarines. What we do get, as in Anathem, is a hurried final section telling the tale of the orbital folks meeting the undermountain folks and then the undersea folk, with a fair amount of conflict between the two blocks of orbital folk. It’s almost as if Stephenson got bored with the plot and just decided to wrap it up and turn it in; frankly, I would have much rather he just stopped after the council of the Seven Eves. This has been nominated for the Hugo, but frankly, I don’t think it deserves it; if I bother to buy a MidAmericon membership and vote, I’m certainly not going to rank it very highly if I vote for it at all.

Speaking of my county library, apparently somebody in the purchasing department likes the combination of BDSM pornromance and technothrillers that is John Ringo’s “Paladin of Shadows” series, because they have the whole series from Ghost through Tiger By The Tail, which Ringo co-wrote with Ryan Sear. I checked them all out, because they’re decent brain candy, and the proportion of rough sex to balls-out violence diminishes as the series goes on. In addition, Ringo is parceling out information about the Keldara culture bit by bit, and I admit to being very fascinated with it. The series has all been out for a few years by now, so I’m not going to bore you with plot summaries, especially because it’s pretty formulaic: the US has a problem, usually involving WMD (although in Choosers of the Slain, it’s a missing daughter of a political donor with clout) and only the Kildar and his Mountain Tigers have the plausible deniability and sheer “git er dun” to solve that problem. And somehow, wherever they go, the Kildar keeps collecting loose women…many of whom turn out to be real people with useful skills, or at least trainable. Adds some occasionally dark humor to the tales of dirty deeds done in the nastier parts of the Third World…like, say, Disney World. At $6.99 apiece for the Kindle, I may wind up adding these to the electronic part of my library.


19 Responses to “Death, Destruction, and the Dragon Awards”

  1. Francis W. Porretto
    April 8th, 2016 @ 5:09 am

    The “Paladin of Shadows” books are wish-fulfillment stories for men. They’re diverting enough as action tales, but their major appeal comes from imagining oneself in Mike Harmon’s / Mike Jenkins’s / the Kildar’s place. (BTW, I suggest you eschew reading Tiger By The Tail. It’s terrible. It will leave you wondering why Ringo allowed Ryan Sear to write it.)

  2. Fail Burton
    April 8th, 2016 @ 7:06 am

    Dragon Award or no, the Nebulas and the Hugos are mostly given to the most prominent bitter mentally ill sociopath or ally of same. The Puppies resuscitated a corpse when it comes to the Hugos. The Nebulas are brain-dead. The Hugos will have the plug pulled in short order. Then they can have the “Best Novel-Length Cure for Heterosexuality Award.” They can add the “Best Short Racial or Sexual Revenge Raptor Award.” “Best Television Show or Movie With the Most Redcoats or Western Frontiersmen Killed Award” seems apt. Then there’s the “Delany Ass-At-Risk for Best YA Hog-Callin’ Award.”

  3. Eric Ashley
    April 8th, 2016 @ 8:40 am

    Neal Stephenson is notorious for his odd endings of his novels.

  4. Dianna Deeley
    April 8th, 2016 @ 11:10 am

    When John was talking out the Keldara, he said he couldn’t figure out how to get the Varangian Guard to Georgia. I said, “Trebizond. And the last Byzantine ruler there had a Georgian princess for his mother.”

    I take full responsibility.

  5. Dianna Deeley
    April 8th, 2016 @ 11:13 am

    I’ve thought that he doesn’t actually *have* endings planned, nor any idea what his plot is. He just writes until he can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and then arbitrarily calls a halt.

  6. Quartermaster
    April 8th, 2016 @ 12:21 pm

    While both awards are zombies, the Dark Ilk have had a lot of fun with them.

  7. Wombat_socho
    April 8th, 2016 @ 1:45 pm

    I actually liked it, but then I wasn’t expecting more than entertainment.

  8. Wombat_socho
    April 8th, 2016 @ 1:46 pm

    Reamde ended well. So did Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle novels. it’s just his recent SF that sucks, which makes me wonder if he’s just trying to kill off a contractual obligation.

  9. Wombat_socho
    April 8th, 2016 @ 1:47 pm

    Well, I’m happy with the results.

  10. sotarrthewizard
    April 8th, 2016 @ 9:10 pm

    I was there, when Ringo shared “The Wanker Piece”, that turned into the first vignette of “Ghost”. He stated at the time, that he wrote it simply to get it out of his skull, so he could get to more important, paying books he was under contract to write.

    The rest was history.

    And “wish-fulfillment” ? You betcha. They’re the male equivalent of Harlequin Romances and other “bodice-ripper” literature.

    OF course, if you want all the violence and very little sex, there’s his newer “Black Tide Rising” series. . .

  11. Nohbody
    April 8th, 2016 @ 10:48 pm

    I thought Tiger was an okay actioner, but not really a Kildar book. Also, if continuity matters to you (does to me, part of why I wasn’t particularly fond of Tiger as part of the setting), Ringo has declared it to be non-canon for the Kildar universe.

  12. Fail Burton
    April 8th, 2016 @ 10:52 pm

    Let’s be honest about what the difference between DragonCon and the Hugo means. The Hugos has mostly become an initiative devoted to the no-platforming and defamation of men, ethnic Europeans and heterosexuality itself. In short, the Hugos have become a Third Wave Feminist shithole where racism, man-hatred and sexual deviance mostly trump any consideration of fun, entertainment or artistry. Our feminist version of Nazi-like biological supremacy declares this to be progressive and social justice. The Hugos is nothing more than an affirmative action hate movement based on spurious blood-libels no straight white male can wash off, like rape culture, sexism, racism, privilege, homophobia and including outright lies about the history of magazine publishing in America. Within a cultish congregation like that, radical lesbianism rules, and the goals are little different than the activism and indoctrination of woman’s and gender studies classes.

    To give you an idea of the moral ethos involved, a few weeks back an SF author named James Harris committed the crime of using 20-some books to illustrate a topic he wrote about at SFSignal. Not only was he publicly shamed by feminists in the comments, the lesbian president of the Science Fiction Writers of America and former woman’s studies teacher directed Wallace to a site to educate him; a site promoting a segregated all-women SF anthology, because there is no awareness, irony or fair play within a supremacist cult.

    That’s not the worst of it. Noah Berlatsky wrote a post criticizing Wallace for his lack of pie-chart awareness. Berlatsky is the guy who claimed he cried when the monstrous pervert and seminal founder of lesbian feminism Shulamith Firestone died. In that same post he expresses admiration for the “brilliant” Firestone’s “achievement” and includes this quote about a “feminist utopian imagining” from her Dialectics of Sex: “Relations with children would include as much genital sex as the child was capable of—probably considerably more than we now believe…” Not included in Berlatsky’s post but in the next sentence of her book Firestone writes “Adult/child and homosexual sex taboos would disappear…” and in the same paragraph advocates the elimination of the incest taboo, and in the previous paragraph writes there would be no reason for a mother to reject “sexual advances” from her own son.”

    Now, I’m trying to wrap my head around what moral ethos would be offended at a guy for doing essentially nothing while being inspired by a woman who advocated a day when adults could bang kids willy-nilly.

    DragonCon’s award will be a dose of normality, the very normality chided as an oppressive and obsolete dinosaur by these insane and sociopathic feminists.

  13. Wombat_socho
    April 8th, 2016 @ 11:20 pm

    The only thing I can add to that is…

  14. Wombat_socho
    April 8th, 2016 @ 11:20 pm


  15. Fail Burton
    April 8th, 2016 @ 11:40 pm

    This is the Berlatsky who wrote Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948, published by Rutgers U Press, the same Rutgers whose women’s studies program was founded by yet another lesbian radical feminist, Charlotte Bunch. Here are two examples of “praise” from the press’s site:

    “[Berlatsky] combs the verbal and visual texts to show how Marston and Peter conveyed their unique notions of liberation through bondage, submission, and the glorification of lesbian sexuality while simultaneously linking these ideas to feminism and freedom.”

    —Gay & Lesbian Review

    “Berlatsky does a dazzling and remarkably accessible reading of the 1940s Wonder Woman comics against some of the heavyweights of modern feminist theory—Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray, Shulamith Firestone, Julia Kristeva, Susan Brownmiller.”

    —Joan Hilty, Wellesley Centers for Women, Women’s Review of Books

    Radical feminists have done a remarkable job of mainstreaming their sexual deviance into mainstream young adult pop culture. Anyone who recognizes those names from Butler to Brownmiller knows they are looking at French Queer Theory 101, an insane pseudo-academic cult with a hatred of men and phobia of heterosexuality they have institutionalized into a comprehensive ideology taught at over 700 university programs across America and lighting up sci-fi Twitter feeds morning, noon and night. Three other French Queer Theory “heavyweights,” Foucault, Derrida and de Beauvoir, all lobbied for lowering the age of consent laws in France.

    “Lesbianism is the key to liberation and only women who cut their ties to male privilege can be trusted to remain serious in the struggle against male dominance.” – Charlotte Bunch, The Furies Lesbian/Feminist Monthly, January, 1972, Volume 1

  16. Fail Burton
    April 9th, 2016 @ 7:18 am

    Your room mate’s a whore.

  17. Oldsailors Poet
    April 9th, 2016 @ 7:31 am


  18. sequax
    April 9th, 2016 @ 7:15 pm

    REAMDE was awesome. Cryptonomicon had a “fuck this, I’ll do THAT” ending. Not as smooth as I thought through the first reading, but you don’t care, because it’s “molten nazi gold squirting out of a valcano” awesome.
    Personally, I think Stephenson writes spy thrillers with his brain, and science fiction with his id.

  19. News of the Week (April 10th, 2016) | The Political Hat
    April 10th, 2016 @ 9:00 pm

    […] Death, Destruction, and the Dragon Awards I am probably the last person to find out that Dragon*Con, probably the largest non-comics convention in fandom, has finally bestirred itself and created its own set of awards – the Dragon Awards. […]