Political commentator, comedian, author and all round top Robot Patrick S. Tomlinson is punching out those words again.
But this time it’s not his epic science-fiction that’s blowing our minds but some wise words on the current political-climate. Below, Patrick shows us how the Hugo/Puppies experience that fandom has witnessed over the past couple of years can act as an example of how to fight back against the system.
Hold on to your hats, its gonna get empowered up in here…
‘The Hugos Show Us the Way Forward’ by Patrick S. Tomlinson
A funny thing happened on the way to… you know what, it wasn’t funny. I’m a professional comedian and I’ve had real trouble finding humor in anything since Nov 8. It felt like someone had punched me in the gut.
And someone had, approximately sixty-two million people walked right up to me and my diverse circle of weirdos and jabbed us in the collective solar-plexus. It hurt. It still hurts. It’s probably going to hurt for a while. But after I’d gotten my breath back and had a little bit of time to run back through the events, it occurred to me that we in fandom have been here before, very recently.
A funny thing happened on the way to WorldCon 73 in Spokane last year. A small but noisy cabal of outsiders and malcontents used an army of Facebook trolls and Twitter eggs conjured from the cesspools of 4chan and reddit flooded into our little community like a rampaging horde and began attacking the Hugo awards at its very foundations for no other reason than to punish them for supporting and encouraging diversity and inclusiveness.
Despite being a clear minority of fandom, the sick/rabid puppies and gamergate urchins, disingenuously hoisting the banner of populism, used slash-and-burn tactics of online mockery, harassment, doxing, and propaganda to spread and mainstream what amounted to a virtual occupation.
In the beginning of the crisis, reactions among the Hugo faithful were a confused mix of anger, desperation, and disbelief. Progress which had been hard-won over years and decades suddenly came under assault. The life’s work of entire classes of people was mocked, insulted, and dismissed for no other reason than immutable characteristics of their nature. The true scale of the threat was not fully understood until the most rabidly misogynistic, racist, and xenophobic core of RP and GGs had already taken over and pushed the marginally more moderate elements who had actually started the movement off to the side and into irrelevance. By the time these people realized their work had been coopted and mutated into something far more insidious and denounced their peers, it was too late to stuff the evil back in the box.
From there, through the targeted manipulation and abuse of the spirit of the nomination process, these invaders managed to hijack the established rules of the awards to fill the categories with ideologically-charged nonsense written by partisan hacks and incompetents.
Any of this sounding familiar yet?
Early attempts to counter the attack were unfocused and confused. Infighting and finger-pointing hampered the emergence of a unified, coherent strategy. Many people were against adopting the same tactics as the enemy. Others advocated doing nothing and letting it burn itself out. Still others wished to reach out to the invaders and begin a dialogue to try and understand their concerns and use reason and compassion to bring them into the fold.
All of this was wrong. All of it. It did not take into account the size and ferocity of the attack, its unity born of ideological homogeny and common cause, or the fact that exactly no one in the movement had reasoned their way into their position in the first place, and would not be reasoned out of it. They were after blood. They wanted revenge and domination, not negotiation.
Eventually, the intractable nature of the invaders became clear and a new strategy of opposition and containment emerged. To countermand the exploitation of the nomination rules slate voting represented, the equally devious, yet totally legitimate under the same rules, voting for “No Award” became the marching orders for the faithful.
And it worked. With a clear plan in place, our superior numbers and organizational skills kicked in and slapped the puppies’ poisoned pills out of five categories, doubling the number of times No Award had been given in the Hugo’s entire seventy-three-year history up to that point. I was sitting in the audience for the ceremony. It was electric.
And despite their whining in the aftermath about “burning down our own awards” the attack had been largely turned back. The very next year, puppy influence over the nominations had already begun to ebb, with fewer categories subject to full slating takeovers and fewer No Awards handed out as a result. More women and POC won major awards. And by next year, changes to the rules will see the threat recede even further in the future.
That is how in two short years we beat back the puppies, and that is the model we have to use now that the same sickness has metastasized onto our society, indeed all of Western Civilization. It’s easy to forget now, but the facts are the forces of fascism and intolerance are exactly like the hordes of GamerGate and the Puppies. They are loud, angry, aggressive, shameless, and without scruples.
But they are also a clear minority. As of this writing, more than two point three million more Americans had voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. More Americans voted for Democratic Senators. More Americans voted for Democratic Representatives in the House. It is only through exploitation of the rules in violation of the spirit of American democratic ideals that the forces of intolerance and bigotry maintain their majorities. This has been true for more than a decade. This makes them vulnerable to our superior numbers should we have the foresight and resolve to set aside our petty bickering and unify in an organized fashion and agree to a coherent plan of counterattack.
And they know it. That’s why they are constantly introducing new legislation at the state level to limit early voting, close polling places, require ID to vote, and sought to gut the Voting Rights Act. They fear our numbers. They work to keep us fractured and divided.
Don’t let them. This is a rebellion, isn’t it?
You’ll want to pay attention Robots, there’s some books up for grabs!
Over here at Angry Robot HQ we’re having a pre-squee moment for the upcoming release of Jen Williams‘ The Iron Ghost on January 3! And because we want to share the joy we’ve arranged a couple of giveaways over on GoodReads. Not only that, but we’re also giving away copies of the first book in the series, The Copper Promise. Two killer fantasy books for free? Bet you won’t say no to that! One catch, as the books are only released by us in the US/Canada the giveaway is only open to residents of those two countries…sorry!
You’ll find a synopsis, plus dates each for the giveaway, below:
Now-14th December The Copper Promise
There are some tall stories about the caverns beneath the Citadel – about magic and mages and monsters and gods. Wydrin of Crosshaven has heard them all, but she’s spent long enough trawling caverns and taverns with her companion Sir Sebastian to learn that there’s no money to be made in chasing rumours.
But then a crippled nobleman with a dead man’s name offers them a job: exploring the Citadel’s darkest depths. It sounds like just another quest with gold and adventure … if they’re lucky, they might even have a tale of their own to tell once it’s over. These reckless adventurers will soon learn that sometimes there is truth in rumour. Sometimes a story can save your life.
15th-30th December The Iron Ghost
Wydrin of Crosshaven, Sir Sebastian and Lord Aaron Frith are experienced in the perils of stirring up the old gods. They are also familiar with defeating them, and the heroes of Baneswatch are now enjoying the perks of suddenly being very much in demand for their services.
When a job comes up in the distant city of Skaldshollow, it looks like easy coin – retrieve a stolen item, admire the views, get paid. But in a place twisted and haunted by ancient magic, with the most infamous mage of them all, Joah Demonsworn, making a reappearance, our heroes soon find themselves threatened by enemies on all sides, old and new. And in the frozen mountains, the stones are walking…
The Iron Ghost will be released on January 3. The Copper Promise is available from all reputable and less reputable booksellers now.
Robot friends, after six years it’s time that we leave the hallowed halls of Lace Market House and move to pastures new.
So, from this Thursday (December 8) our new headquarters will be:
20 Fletcher Gate
Tel no: +44 115 9338456 (please be aware we’ll be porting over our current number, so if you can’t get hold of us for a couple of days, that’s why *stares at technology* We’ll be on our email as usual in the meantime.)
It’s quite lovely in our new pad, there’s space for a couple of sofas and a hat stand (very important), an original fireplace AND, perplexingly a cage of stones which we’ve already decided are symbolic of the souls of children lost to the building. Our aim is to paint little faces on as many of them as we can before being found out, but don’t tell anyone.
Of course, if ever you’re in Nottingham and fancy popping by, do come and say hello/ offer fealty to your friendly Robot Overlords. There’s talk of getting a fancy coffee machine so I’m sure we can make you a latte or similar, if you’d like. We’ll have biscuits, too.
Here’s a little map so you know whereabouts we are. Yes, we are sandwiched between two pubs and it was definitely a coincidence.
Hello lovely Robots!
Fancy getting your hands on a whole bundle of wonderful books?
Well if you do, you’re in luck! If you head on over to GoodReads, we’re giving away ALL the books in James A. Moore’s Seven Forges Series to celebrate the release of his new book The Last Sacrifice, the first in The Tides of War series.
Amazing right? That’s 4 books for free! Although there’s a different book scheduled each week, this means you have four chances to win the whole series. Eeeeeek. Below is the date for each giveaway, plus synopsis for each book in the series:
December 1 – 8 Seven Forges (bundle)
The people of Fellein have lived with legends for many centuries. To their far north, the Blasted Lands are vast, desolate and impassable, but that doesn’t stop the occasional expedition in search of the ancients who once live their and their rumored riches. Captain Merros Dulver is the first to find a path beyond the great mountains known as the Seven Forges and encounter the half‐forgotten race who live there, who appear to be expecting him. He returns home with an entourage of strangers, but starts to wonder whether his discovery has been a positive one.
December 8 – 15 The Blasted Lands (bundle)
The Empire of Fellein is in mourning. The Emperor is dead, and their armies have grown soft. Merros Dulver, their newly-appointed – and somewhat reluctant – commander, has been tasked with preparing them to fight the most savage enemy the world has yet seen. Meanwhile, a perpetual storm ravages the Blasted Lands, and a new threat is about to arise – the Broken are coming, and with them only Death.
December 15 – 22 City of Wonders (bundle)
Old Canhoon, the City of Wonders, is facing a population explosion as refugees from Tyrne and Roathes alike try to escape the Sa’ba Taalor. All along the border between the Blasted Lands and the Fellein Empire, armies clash and the most powerful empire in the world is pushed back toward the old Capital. From the far east, the Pilgrim gathers an army of the faithful, heading for Old Canhoon, where the imperial family struggles against enemies old and new. In the distant Taalor valley, Andover Lashk continues his quest and must make a final decision, while at the Mounds, something inhuman is awakened and set free.
December 22 – 29 The Silent Army (bundle)
The City of Wonders has been saved and the Silent Army is risen, ready to defend the Fellein Empire and Empress Nachia at any cost. The power that was hidden in the Mounds is on the move, seeking a final confrontation with the entities that kept it locked away since the Cataclysm. Andover Lashk has come to accept his destiny and prepares to journey back to Fellein. The Sa’ba Taalor continue their domination over each country and people they encounter, but the final conflict is coming: The Great Wave of the Sa’ba Taalor stands to destroy an empire and the Silent Army prepares to stop them in their tracks.
We know you’re all thrilled that The Broken Ones – a prequel to Danielle L Jensen’s rightly adored Malediction trilogy – is coming out in June 2017, and what better way to prepare than reading the original series on your Kindle?
For one day only – Saturday 3 December – you can bask in magic and romance for just $1.99 / £1.99 each!
- Stolen Songbird – Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
- Hidden Huntress – Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
- Warrior Witch – Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
Many good things have been said…
“Amazing world building. Incredible writing. Awesome characters. No dull moments. Fierce and not-whiny-and-annoying heroine. And a swoon worthy Troll prince. Stones and sky! I was completely engulfed in the world of Trollus. It felt like I have been living inside its world throughout the entire time I’m reading this incredible book.”
– The Nocturnal Fey
“If you’re looking for a YA fantasy full of magic and mystery and intrigue and romance and wonderful, heartfelt characters that you could easily accept to be trapped under a mountain with, then don’t just read Stolen Songbird – inhale it. Deliciously written in two POVs that are deep and personal and completely intertwined with one another, this book is at once like hot chocolate on a rainy day with a cat on your lap, and a shot of something wicked when you’re feeling wired. There’s nothing I even remotely disliked, and a list as long as most Welsh train station names of things I loved. Stolen Songbird was a dream to read, a dream to adventure through, and a nightmare to leave. I didn’t want to wake up – and neither will you.”
– Jet Black Ink
“This was an absolutely fantastic YA fantasy novel. There is a ton of wonderful magic and intrigue in this book. I love the chemistry between Cecile and Tristan and how they are both striving to make the kingdom a better place for all involved. I really enjoyed this book a ton and am very excited to see how the story wraps up in the final book of this series. This series is highly recommended to fans of intrigue heavy fantasy.”
– Hidden In Pages
“Overall, Hidden Huntress undeniably surpasses as a sequel to Stolen Songbird. I was blown away by the ending and cannot wait for book 3! Danielle L. Jensen has shaped an underground city of magical creatures into one of my most valued book worlds – and that makes me extremely excited for future works.”
– Life Writings of a Reader
Ever wish you could just escape from it all, fall through a portal into a new world? Well, with us you can – in a book! Let Foz Meadows take you on an adventure with the first three chapters of An Accident of Stars, entirely free, right here.
It’s a “portal fantasy for grownups, with grit and realism, and characters I loved from the first page”, so says Trudi Canavan, author of the Black Magician trilogy!
Here’s the synopsis:
When Saffron Coulter stumbles through a hole in reality, she finds herself trapped in Kena, a magical realm on the brink of civil war.
There, her fate becomes intertwined with that of three very different women: Zech, the fast-thinking acolyte of a cunning, powerful exile; Viya, the spoiled, runaway consort of the empire-building ruler, Vex Leoden; and Gwen, an Earth-born worldwalker whose greatest regret is putting Leoden on the throne. But Leoden has allies, too, chief among them the Vex’Mara Kadeja, a dangerous ex-priestess who shares his dreams of conquest.
Pursued by Leoden and aided by the Shavaktiin, a secretive order of storytellers and mystics, the rebels flee to Veksh, a neighboring matriarchy ruled by the fearsome Council of Queens. Saffron is out of her world and out of her depth, but the further she travels, the more she finds herself bound to her friends with ties of blood and magic.
Can one girl – an accidental worldwalker – really be the key to saving Kena? Or will she just die trying?
An Accident of Stars is available in all good bookstores and wherever books are sold.
Listen up guys!
The second book of K C Alexander‘s fabulously fantastic, ass-kicking SINless trilogy has been given a name! Get ready for it…
…Nanoshock! We’re super excited to bring you the second in the series, which is going to smack you upside the head with more cyber-punk fuelled drama with a side of zombie.
To get you excited before Nanoshock comes out, here’s some praise for the first in the SINless series, Necrotech:
“Necrotech bleeds with raw & unapologetic badassery. Riko is the cyberpunk heroine I’ve been waiting for, struggling with the truth that the tech we embrace to solve our problems just creates new ones, and no one has a chipset to fix humanity’s bugs. K.C. Alexander dials up the attitude, anguish, and adrenaline in this explosive debut, and I’m looking forward to Riko’s next run.”
– Kevin Hearne, NYT Bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles
“Necrotech is a high-octane cyberpunk thrill ride that starts at full throttle and never slows down. Riko is an amazing, diverse, ass-kicking character that will leave readers wanting more.”
– Tim Moore, Strange Horizons
“Mixing together high-tech imagination and conspiracy, this one is sure to satisfy the cyberpunk craving you didn’t know you had.”
“Hard hitting and fun, it reads like a sci-fi action film.”
– Pop Culture Beast
“So this is not my usual kind of review. And that’s totally fine by me, because this is not my usual kind of book. It is so much fucking better than ‘usual’. There’s no lily to gild here. Necrotech is awesome. Go and buy it.”
– Over The Effing Rainbow
Nanoshock will be out in July 2017, so fear not you’ve still got plenty of time to read Necrotech if you haven’t already.
Hello Robot buds!
We have to hold our hands up – due to a clerical error, the promised BookBub for Ferrett Steinmetz‘s Flex, pegged for 20th November – didn’t work out. We know, we’re sorry and rest assured that the system responsible has been angrily shaken and computers have been thrown through the window.
If you’re wondering what people have been saying about one of the greatest obsession-based magic systems of all time, then take a look at some of the reviews, below.
“A well-paced, sometimes serious, sometimes zany mission to save the world from a mass murderer, with some moral dilemmas mixed in for spice, Flex was an enjoyable read that ended up somewhere close to Breaking Bad by way of Scott Pilgrim versus the World.”
– Speculative Post
“The writing is tight, the plot intense, and the story wonderfully creative. Definitely a book for those who enjoy strong visuals and who want a book that inspires creative questioning, introspection, and who like a little wondering about the relation between reality and ourselves. Highly recommended for obsessive folks like myself!”
“I loved Flex. All the thumbs up and all the stars checked.”
– I, Fat Robot
“I’m going to go ahead and call this my Book of the Year.”
– Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviewer
“I couldn’t put this book down. I loved this take on magic-this world of ‘Mancers.”
– Black Girl Nerds
Sounds great, right? Well, go and get yourself a copy before the discount runs out! Go – go now!
The Nick Leach Award recognises those writers who take the time to help other achieve their full potential, and who are cheerleaders for the rest of the group. The winner is presented with a globe, which is pleasingly steampunk-esque for the man himself.
For Rod’s reaction to the news do read this lovely little piece on his Gas-Lit Empire Facebook page.
Rod, as always, we salute you for being a wonderful
robot human. Congratulations and well deserved.
In other great news The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, the first in The Fall of The Gas-Lit Empire series (and a nominee for the 2014 Philip K Dick Award), just surpassed 1,500 reviews on GoodReads. Pretty impressive, eh? If you’re wondering what all of the fuss is about, here are a few select comments:
“Looking for a good book? Mystery, duplicity, secret societies, alchemy, romance, action … The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan has it all.”
– Looking for a Good Book
“A well-written novel, the story fantastically put together with elements of alternate history and steampunk, topped off with a strong, resourceful heroine. You can’t help but be drawn to Elizabeth Barnabus.”
“A wonderful story that I would recommend to anyone even remotely interested in speculative fiction.”
– The Haunted Reading Room
“A rollicking steampunk adventure, filled with intricate twists and turns, top-notch world building, and a heroine that quickly became one of my favorites ever.”
– Books. Bones & Buffy
There are currently three titles in the Gas-Lit Empire series, available from all reputable and not-so-reputable bookstores now!
The iTunes Cyber Week couldn’t sound more perfect to us, especially since it’s definitely more than a week long. It’s a great time for you pick up amazing reads to get you through the coming winter.
From November 20th to December 4th, each of these exquisite word baubles will be just $2.99! Hit the titles below to seize them from iTunes’s cyber grip:
- “A fusion of excellent hard sci-fi and action thriller, with a soupcon of mystery.” (SF & F Reviews)
- “Fast-paced travel with political intrigue and danger, amazing martial arts fights of extreme skill, cultural immersion from around the world, and a little hint of romance.” (In Pursuit of My Own Library)
- “The blend of steampunk alternate history wrapped in the enigma of a chase makes for first-rate entertainment.” (Graham Joyce, author of Year of the Ladybird)
- “A fresh urban fantasy with superheroes, Chinese folklore, realistic heroine and a great story.” (Bookworm Dreams)
- “A gritty, grungy, funny, sweary noir thriller with added demons.” (Dave Hutchinson, author of Europe in Autumn)
- “Posthumanism, science fiction, an amazing plot with this Blade Runner-like context.” (Donde Acaba El Infinito)
- “Blend two lovable rogues, a magical doppelganger, and a nasty empire. It’s like an epic steampunk Firefly.” (Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger)
What do red tape magicians, Super Mario and this weekend have in common? Flex, the first book in Ferrett Steinmetz‘ ingenious ‘Mancer series is up for grabs on BookBub this weekend. It’s time to get your internetshoppingmancy fired up!
- In the US and Canada Flex is just $1.99
- In the UK Flex is 99p
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, then this is definitely the urban fantasy book for you: “Do you like magic? Do you like drugs? Donut-based psychological theories? Video games? Do you like PAPERWORK!? Read this book!” (Ann Leckie author of Ancillary Justice and winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke Awards)
Want to know more? Read More→
Do you want to…die…?
You do? Excellent! We can help you out. In a purely literary way, of course.
If you pre-order a copy of Brett Savory‘s chilling sci-fi mindfuck of a novel A Perfect Machine Brett himself will write you into your own, personalised 500 word story, complete with unique and chilling death.
That’s right! Your own, personal death. And even better it will be at the hands of an ANGRY, HOMICIDAL ROBOT.
Don’t want to die yourself? A personal death story is a wonderful and unique gift for ex-lovers, ex-landlords and family members who you just really, really hate.
To acquire your story just email our Pen at firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of your A Perfect Machine pre-order receipt and the name of the person you’d like to see killed horribly and she’ll forward it to Brett.
A Perfect Machine will be released February 2 (UK/RoW) and February 7 (US/Can), so make sure to get your orders in prior to this date for your story.