Heiney Sue.

Once he was established as the grandmaster of SF, and someone everyone else in the field looked up to, all Heinlein’s worst aspects came to the fore, and his books tended to consist of long speeches by middle-aged male writer characters called things like Hobert A Beinlein, explaining why capitalist libertarianism is the single best political system, why incest is a good thing not a bad one like you think, and why red-headed young women should have sex with older science fiction writers, with the other characters then commenting on how wise, clever, and sexually attractive these older writers are.

Andrew Hickey on inserts.

Also known as: Why I Never Want To Hear Anyone Whining About “Mary Sues” Written By Teenage Girls Every Again.

2017-09-04T12:25:35+00:00 20th January, 2018|Tags: fandom, pop culture, sff, writing|0 Comments


I really dislike this trend in sf/f where people are questioned about their goddamn credentials every time they write about mental illness (I’m bipolar and have been hospitalized for suicide attempts) or being queer (hi!) or being trans (hi!) or whatever the hell it is. Because sometimes it is not any of your goddamn business. For years I didn’t write trans characters because I was afraid I would get ripped apart by the wolves for doing it wrong, and the only way to “prove” I was doing it “right” was to–you guessed it–out myself. Now I’m out, all right, and still pissed about it.

Either the work handles the issue well or it doesn’t. But don’t assume you know things about the author’s personal background if they haven’t gone on record. Don’t fucking pressure people into exposing everything for your fucking knives.

Yoon Ha Lee on #ownvoices.

2017-09-28T13:54:06+00:00 19th January, 2018|Tags: books, culture, pop culture, sff|0 Comments

Not being listened to is not being silenced.

Poor, silenced conservatives. It must be dreadfully hard to experience the kind of oppression that involves people disagreeing with your ideas.

For of course, this is what truly plagues people like Hanson and Bolt and the chorus line of similarly prominent and privileged mouthpieces who share their paranoia about a diminishing relevance in the world. When your Uncle Kev laments that “you’re not allowed to say anything anymore,” what he really means is that it’s not fair that people can tell him he’s wrong or offensive or racist or any other number of things that he most definitely is but feels aggrieved to labelled as.

Clementine Ford on “silencing“.

2017-08-31T08:38:32+00:00 18th January, 2018|Tags: culture|0 Comments

The Unloved City.

There’s an unparsable part of my love for Canberra that’s nostalgia. I smell the air, the certain angle and quality of the light filters through my eye, and I feel returned to myself—to the smells and colours of my childhood. Linked to that, I love the special loneliness of Canberra: the suburbs, separated by nature reserve, with barely any other foot traffic, but big native trees and bird calls, and mountains underfoot or gracing your line of view in the distance. The air, in a city built on a plateau among mountains and surrounded by bush, is clear and still and tastes good, and you feel a little bit closer to the top of the sky.

Anna Thwaites on Canberra.

I dunno about this article, man. If we let people in on the Secret of Canberra they might want to move here. And that’s the last thing we want…

2017-08-31T08:30:55+00:00 16th January, 2018|Tags: culture|0 Comments

Norway, Inc.

So, hey, you know how Norway has a bunch of oil it mostly sells off to other countries? Well, basically, the Norwegian government throws the profit money from the sale of that oil into a sovereign wealth fund (commonly called the Oljefondet, i.e. “Oil Fund”) that it then uses to fund social welfare programs.

Oh, and it also invests it. Like, by buying into private companies. Which isn’t too unusual, as far as sovereign wealth funds go. What does make Norway unusual, however, is that it refuses to be a passive investor; when it buys into a company, it buys voting shares and it will use them, generally to promote things like company transparency and environmental sustainability.

If you’re used to the US model (also found in, for example, Australia) of “government gets nothing, private equity takes it all”, the idea that, a) a nation-state can actively manage the profits from its own natural resources, as opposed to allowing private companies to sell them off for private gain, and b) that the government can be an active agent in directly influencing private capital might seem like anathema. But, thing is? It works. Norway’s model totally, totally works.

2017-08-31T08:17:55+00:00 15th January, 2018|Tags: economics|0 Comments

The Waffle House Index.

On the incredibly complex supply chains that make up modern retail. Also, apparently Waffle House has, like, a military-grade preparedness plan for staying open during natural disasters holy shit. Their biggest problem? Getting people to go to work in the middle of them, which… there’s probably a whole other essay in there about coercive capitalism or… something.

2017-08-29T09:57:27+00:00 14th January, 2018|Tags: culture|0 Comments

A leg up.

[I]t is in large part because they are scientists that they do not want to believe these studies [on bias against women in STEM]. Scientists are supposed to be objective, able to evaluate data and results without being swayed by emotions or biases. This is a fundamental tenet of science. What this extensive literature shows is, in fact, scientists are people, subject to the same cultural norms and beliefs as the rest of society. The systemic sexism and racism on display every day in this country also exist within the confines of science. Scientists are not as objective as they think they are. It is an extremely destabilizing realization for someone whose entire career has been rooted in the belief in human objectivity.

Even more pernicious, however, is the understanding that results from reading these studies, the realization that those who have succeeded in science (and in many fields—the implications reach far beyond science) have not done so entirely due to their own innate brilliance. Statistically speaking, just being male will automatically give you a leg up. And no one wants to believe that they did not achieve their success, even in some small part, based on their gender or ethnicity.

Alison Coil on beliefs.

2017-08-29T09:44:21+00:00 13th January, 2018|Tags: culture, science|0 Comments