THE UNLIKELY HERO – Beau Schemery’s Aryan teenage unicorn fetish

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Despite the suspicions Mother Dragon shared with Celestrian before her death, he may be the last surviving unicorn of Vrelenden—though most may simply think him some crazy person with a horn attached to his forehead. Nevertheless, Trian has nothing to hold on to but hope, and he’s about to hang that hope on an unlikely hero named Renwald Mallorian. Ren may have been born an accountant’s son, but he’s longed to be a professional hero for as long as he can remember, and he’s read every book on the subject he could get his hands on. When Trian arrives and hires him to find the last remaining unicorns, Ren jumps at the offer and their quest begins.

But the evil Father Denkham is intent on obtaining the last unicorn and sets a deadly assassin on their trail. If that isn’t bad enough, they’ll face a Vampire, Dragon, bandits, and zombies. Their only hope now is for Ren to prove he’s the hero he always dreamed of becoming—but no book in the world could have prepared him for what’s in store.

Yes, that’s a unicorn furry wearing a thong. This, as you will soon gather, is a book about copious teenage unicorn sex. Rejoice, for we’re about to embark on the beautiful and magical journey of someone’s D&D campaign involving a shitload of erotic roleplay turned into a novel.

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HYBRID CHILD by Melissa Goldberg pt 2, plus racism

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A long while ago I disemboweled this self-published piece of watery shit to cries of BULLYING!!! or something, and then I found my notes and remembered why I went after this author in the first place. Celebrate! Here’s part two and an explanation on why Melissa Goldberg is a racist little crybaby who’s not much better at being a progressive liberal than she is at writing. It must really suck to be so politically tone-deaf, unintelligent, self-centered and talentless at the same time.

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HOUNDED – Kevin Hearne is a rancid neckbeard ape

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Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

People’ve been asking me to have a go at this for a while, and what do you know, it turns out to be exactly the same type of excrement as Jim Butcher! Misogyny? Check. Wish-fulfillment bullshit? Oh yes. Juvenile Gary Stu material, aka Rothfuss? You fucking bet.

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why tone doesn’t matter – the white tears burden

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Look at that tweet. Absorb it. Drink it in. Gape. It gets worse. And no, @cheilt isn’t talking about xenophobia directed at Eastern Europeans. She is a native white Irish living in… Ireland.

Now I’ll tell you a story about why tone never matters because white people will flood you with their tears at the slightest provocation. Lesson: being manipulative, racist faux-martyrs is an entrenched characteristic of the white culture.

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THE CASUAL VACANCY – JK Rowling still can’t fucking write

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Haha, just kidding. I’m not reviewing that shit–you can’t pay me to read a whole book of petty white middle-class suburban bollocks that matter to no one but other petty white middle-class suburban insects. No fear though, I skimmed through the fucking thing and have collected some quotes to share. For a sample:

Together he and Fats had become connoisseurs of silicone-enhanced breasts, enormous, taut and round.
‘Plastic,’ one of them would point out, matter of factly, as they sat in front of the monitor with the door wedged shut against Fats’ parents. The on-screen blonde’s arms were raised as she sat astride some hairy man, her big brown-nippled breasts hanging off her narrow rib cage like bowling balls, thin, shiny purple lines under each of them showing where the silicone had been inserted. You could almost tell how they would feel, looking at them: firm, as if there were a football underneath the skin. Andrew could imagine nothing more erotic than a natural breast; soft and spongy and perhaps a little springy, and the nipples (he hoped) contrastingly hard.
And all of these images blurred in his mind, late at night, with the possibilities offered by real girls, human girls, and the little you managed to feel through clothes if you managed to move in close enough.

Yes, the book’s full of this creepy male-gaze shit. Also a lot of “cunt” and such, which lets you know this is a Truly Grown-Up Book That’s Not For Kids. I understand there’s rape, pedophilia and the like in it as well, which as R Scott Bakker and assorted purveyors of grimdark have shown us are the true hallmarks of maturity and literary erudition.

The Casual Vacancy – digested read

“Fairbrother’s dead?” roared Howard, but then Howard was as prone to roaring as an angry lion effervescing in the atmosphere since he was the archetypal reactionary Middle Englander, a man as flabbily obese as this prose.

[...]

Simon, Arf, Maureen, Gavin, Gaia and Kay all fluttered like a foetus with fear at the prospect of being minor characters with little development for the next 500 pages. “It’s all right for you lot,” Sukhinder moaned as softly as a not very cruel wind. “You’re only representative of a single issue. I’m Asian and a self-harmer.”

The Casual Vacancy – hoping to work the old magic

JK Rowling’s new book has been out less than 24 hours and some who have read it all have admitted tears at the ending.

And that’s how she wants it: “I don’t think I would have much to say to anyone who did not at least tear up a bit,” she told an audience. “I don’t think I could have any kind of warm feeling towards someone who didn’t feel sad towards the end.”

Madam, people reading this should be breaking out in tears of joy when they reach the end if only because it is the end and there’s no more of this fucking terrible shit they have to read, but expecting self-awareness from Rowling may be like expecting a dead squirrel to do trigonometry. The New York Times may be the only major rag that’s given it a negative review, but I’m not sure the reviewer is entirely a trustworthy reader with gems like:

Many authors, of course, have created portraits of small-town life that capture the texture of ordinary lives with great depth of emotion. This, alas, is not the case here. Whereas the Harry Potter universe was as richly imagined and intricately detailed as Tolkien’s Middle Earth or L. Frank Baum’s Oz, Pagford seems oddly generic — a toy village, in which rooftops pop off to reveal adultery, marital discord and generational conflict among the tiny toy people.

[...]

In some respects “The Casual Vacancy” is grappling with many of the same themes as the Harry Potter books: the losses and burdens of responsibility that come with adulthood, and the stubborn fact of mortality. One of the things that made Harry’s story so affecting was Ms. Rowling’s ability to construct a parallel world enlivened by the supernatural, and yet instantly recognizable to us as a place where death and the precariousness of daily life cannot be avoided, a place where identity is as much a product of deliberate choice as it is of fate. What’s missing here is an emotional depth of field. It’s not just because the stakes in this novel are so much smaller. (In “Harry Potter,” the civil war was literally between good and evil; here, it is between petty, gossip-minded liberals and conservatives.) It’s that the characters in “The Casual Vacancy” feel so much less fully imagined than the ones in the Harry Potter epic.

Though I guess next to The Casual Vacancy even the HP books, mindless subliterate dreck that they are, would look pretty good and pretty deep. Having said that, why don’t you go read some better books, dear person? Read the comments by the way, very fun. Of all the tangents!

How on earth can anyone call Tolkien mysogynistic? He had many strong female characters, and one of my favorite feminist-empowering lines is spoken by Eowyn. Examples:
* Galadriel is described as every bit as strong and intelligent as her male relatives, and is clearly the primary ruler of Lorien, although she and Celeborn are technically jointly in charge.
* Luthien takes a large, active part in the story of Luthien and Beren, directly confronting numerous villains (including Sauron and Morgoth, Sauron’s leader). She also saves Beren, who is male.
* Eowyn defeats the lord of the Nazgul. She also gives Aragorn a scathing dressing-down when he tells her she should stay out of the battle, saying: “All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men have died in battle and honour, you have leave to be burned in the house, for the men will need it no more. … I can ride and wield blade, and I do not fear pain or death.”

Really now. On which note I suppose it could be useful to compare whether Tolkien or JK Rowling is the bigger racist and sexist. Tough contest, man.

line up the links and bring the firing squad

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Marsomething Kaye (who I’ve never heard of before except in the context of “what a racist fuck”) has stepped up toe defend Save the Whites: A Thoroughly Non-Racist Book. Keep in mind that Martin Kaye thinks HP Lovecraft is awesome.

Weird Tales seldom prints SF, but this story is a compelling view of a world that didn’t listen to the warnings of ecologists, and a world that has developed a reverse racism: blacks dominating and detesting not just whites, but latinos and albinos, the few that still survive of the latter are hunted down and slaughtered.

He’ll publish the first chapter in WT’s next issue. Considering that even if you set aside the offensiveness the book’s still shit, what more needs to be said of either Weird Tales or Kaye?

Brent Weeks, who writes some barely-readable, forgettable dribble featuring cover art that looks like recolored Assassin’s Creed boxes, made a whiny tweet to the tune of “how dare mere mortals–like, readers!–complain ebooks are overpriced?”

What stuns me is that it takes him more than two years to churn out such barely-readable dribble. Mr Weeks, most hacks of your caliber need just one year per novel, if that. Step up your game! You’re writing dreck that’s barely a step above tie-in fiction, dude, not creating great art through blood and tears (unless the tears are for the knowledge you’ll never be anything more than mediocre). You should be grateful anyone’d even pay $4 for one of those things. I can direct anyone curious to pirated copies of his books, by the way.

I was hoping critics and writers in litfic were less entitled and testerical than the ones in genre. J Robert Lennon, whoever he is, decided to prove me wrong.

Second, have a little humility about your opinion. Even if you don’t like the writer you’re reviewing, not even a little bit, acknowledge, at least to yourself, that some people do, and that this fact is not meaningless. In your review, let your reader know what it is other people like about this writer. If you disagree, say so, in a non-condescending manner. The goal is to explain and persuade, not to hurt. Though I thought Ben Marcus’s last novel was largely unsuccessful, I understood why some people might like it. Marcus is well-regarded and has clear strengths — he does things in his work that I can’t, and many people I respect, respect him. Thus, I respect him too. The first half of my review acknowledged and characterized that respect before I presented my case.

What is this claptrap? Nobody owes anyone shit, boyo. He did however link to a wonderfully entertaining review (while whining of course that it’s too mean).

Ohlin’s language betrays an appalling lack of register — language that limps onto the page proudly indifferent to pitch or vigor. Mitch’s “heart sang” and then Mitch’s “heart sank”; poor Mitch “felt his heart cracking like ice cubes in warm water.” Annie “had touched Grace’s heart” but had also “gotten under her skin.” Grace feels “marooned on her own private island” and then “her nerves were singing.” In just 13 pages you will be asked to endure eyes “fluttering,” then “shining,” then “fluttering” again. Mitch’s girlfriend is “brilliantly smart” — imagine for a second the special brand of languor required to connect those two terms — and also blows her nose “goose-honkingly hard.” Ohlin’s preferred simile is some variation of the lazy “like a child,” and she has a baffling fondness for the most worthless word in English: “weird.”

down with “Coals”; save the whites! Victoria Foyt’s REVEALING EDEN pt 1

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Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she’ll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she’s cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden’s coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she’ll be safe. Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father’s secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land. Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity’s last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her “adopted aunt” Emily Dickinson.

It’s not every day I get to review a book whose series title is literally “Save the Whites.”

It’s also not quite every day that I encounter a YA dystopia whose basic premise comes down to “white girls must ‘mate’ with black men by eighteen or they’ll be executed.” Victoria Foyt, incidentally, believes herself to be an enlightened human being who wants everyone to live in a “color-free” world. Oh, if you’re wondering why the girl on the front cover is one half Aryan and the other half black (literally), be puzzled no more: she’s wearing blackface. Yes, that’s a promotional video. I understand there are forty-nine of those on youtube.

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fight! fight!

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Caitlin Kiernan is angry with me because I said “lol,” which she perhaps feels was unsuitable to the gravity of our discourse, twitter being a sacred symposium. My bad, Ms Kiernan, I do so apologize that I never capitalized my tweets to you either. Next time I promise I’ll speak real serious. Kari Sperring notes

And I am uncomfortable that so many of [requireshate's] attacks are aimed at women, rather than men.

This is in response to a post that’s in turn a sequel to a previous post where Kiernan repeatedly singles out this demographic as the cause of all things intolerable on the Intertubes–

There is an ever growing contingency of people online (and, presumably, offline) – largely, it seems, young, college-educated white women/girls in the Echo Boomer/Homeland Generation age bracket* – who are so astoundingly, viciously, humorlessly hyper-politicized that they are incapable of approaching a given work of fiction as a work of fiction.

I’m not sure how Sperring squares “she attacks women rather than men and that makes me uncomfortable” with what amounts to a blanket dismissal of humorless feminists in almost as many words (and an automatic conflation of caring about politics with naivete) to go along with the rather gendered “shrill screeds.” At a guess it would be because I said something to Sperring and she said something about me making her an example “imperialist bitch.” The “bitch” is hers in assumption (or hyperbole), not mine. You can see parts of that exchange here.

There’s a bunch of fun straw men in Kiernan’s post, so enjoy!

I will also point out that the individual who considers Silk racist also made statements like “goddamn 99% of white people should break their keyboards and their hands period unless they promise only to write about whites.” No, truly. I’m not making this up. “jesus white people really can’t write China for shit. or Thailand either.” And “white people writing fantasy China give me the creeps.” Okay, so. If I am of whichever many, many Caucasian lineages (many of which readily qualify as people of color), I should never, ever write Thai or Chinese characters, unless I want my hands and keyboard broken. Because, by this person’s estimation, in so doing, I shall inevitably commit “racefail.” Does this mean they advocate torture and censorship? I don’t know, but it wouldn’t be an outlandish conclusion to draw, based on their comments. Should Caucasian Americans never write about any other people in any other country? Or an American member of a race other than one’s own?**** Is that forbidden?

Plus a lot of infants shitting themselves in joy in the comments that someone–AT LONG LAST!!!–steps up to protest those dreadful PC police. But seriously, that’s waaaaay too many fucking words just to say what amounts to “stand and fight against POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD, BRAVE WARRIORS! DEFEND YOUR ART. ART, MAN, ART.” I’ll note here that when the first word you reach for to describe an East Asian girl is “exotic,” that’s lazy shorthand, not art. Unless your idea of art is lazy shorthands, in which case what more is there to say? The best part is that I don’t think Kiernan actually read my rather mild review of her book, though even if she does she may not be happy that I ultimately declared Silk an unreadable clusterfuck of flat plot, unscary horror, and uncompelling characters. Yes, that’s a dreamcatcher on the cover art that features a white girl, why did you ask? Yes, it appears in the novel. She makes one to protect her friends against her demons, if I recall correctly. Madam, let us say that your committing racefail is not a thing in potentia, y’know what I mean? Even if we ignore that Silk is a pretty awful novel for reasons having nothing to do with its politics.

While defending herself from clearly spurious charges of racefail (MADE BY DUMB, NAIVE, HUMORLESS WOMEN WHO MAKE SHRILL SCREEDS ON TWITTER–MOST OF WHOM ARE WHITE AND COLLEGE-EDUCATED… except the third party who called her a troll is, in fact, a woman of color), Kiernan goes on to defend Heart of DarknessAnd Dr Doolittle.

Well…I have, and I would [encourage people to read Dr. Doolittle]. We saw a wonderful exhibit at the Peabody Museum of Natural History in the winter of 2008 or 2009, which displayed Hugh Lofting’s original illustrations and manuscripts and letters. The exhibit also discussed the inherent racism (and other issues) within the context of the time when they were written. We cannot toss out all literature before the emergence of more equal and educated Western societies. They exist, many are powerful and important (despite their social weaknesses), and we cannot pretend otherwise.

Could not make up a better caricature if I tried. It’s so amazing that I can’t be offended. It’s just, man, how do you even do that? Is there any piece of western literary canon she won’t defend because it’s “powerful and important”? What does she think of Lovecraft given that she’s a horror writer? She also seems to believe that criticism equals stifling and banning, a bit like how Richard Morgan likes to throw his toddler tantrums about “fatwas” because he writes rapetastic grimdark. When was the last time feminist or postcolonialist readings cast something out of her precious literary canon or resulted in effective public condemnation…? I didn’t realize minorities wielded such fearsome power!

One might be compelled to ask “Powerful and important to whom?” but perhaps that is irrelevant to Ms Kiernan, college-educated white individual (and I emphasize these qualities because it is funny that she jeers at those with the same), who’ll insist simply that it’s ART, MAN, ART and never you say otherwise because fuck you, hater of love, freedom, and all things ARTISTIC. She seems mostly interested in “Western societies” and a “polarized America” anyway, so that’s that. Let us then leave her to her America and her Westernlandia, where–it is to be hoped–she will forever stay. No worries, madam, despite your martyr complex nobody’s out to “brand” you. If Elizabeth Moon’s, Paolo Bacigalupi’s, Jay Lake’s and Dan Simmons’ careers never suffered on account of racism, why would yours for insisting that Dr Doolittle and Heart of Darkness are above criticism?

Click here to read Nick Mamatas’ post about writers and readers, part of which has to do with the Kiernan entry that started it all, and part of which has to do with Samuel Delany’s Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders, which everyone has been daring me to read.

EDIT: And this

The problem is that a PoC will say “you know, that dialogue’s a little stereotyped”, and the white author will hear “RACIST! SHUN HER! KILL THE RACIST BITCH!” And everything goes to hell. Seen it repeatedly in discussions on Romance blogs and in fandom.

Plus this:

Telling someone they shouldn’t be hurt by it doesn’t make it not hurt. If it did, this would be a much easier life for all of us.

I can’t help but think you are descending into special pleading here, Victoria, and running a little too close to privileging your ‘hurt’ over the hurt of authors of colour being unable to market their books to white audiences, or people of colour unable to routinely see characters like themselves in romance books or other genre fiction. I appreciate that you are trying to write more CoC, but you are heavily insulated by white privilege from any real consequences from screwing up in doing so, and the imaginary consequences far outweigh any actual problems you will face.

When writing Characters of Colour, white authors have much more to fear from readers when they are lousy at their craft than for simply writing outside their race. It’s more than time to call bullshit on this ‘risk’.

FROM DEAD TO WORSE pt 4 – Charlaine Harris goes Gorean, the US is a disease

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Icky, rapey situations follow after the cut. No, the text of course doesn’t question or challenge them in any way. What did you expect? This is Planet Gor. I must say, by the way, that whoever designed these covers must’ve really Not Given a Shit. Just look at them: not a single shit is given. Less tacky than these, sure, but damn that’s a lot of ketchup spillage.

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