Thursday, March 30, 2017

Queen's Heir by John E. Boyle & an Explanation of My Medical Problems

Okay guys, full disclosure. I have been contracted by Mr. Boyle to make the audiobook for this novel. He has sent me an advance for the audiobook, with the remainder to be sent upon completion of the audiobook. Just so we're all on the same page here.

The reason that I'm doing this is that Mr. Boyle is insanely kind and understanding, and I feel a debt of gratitude that I must repay, so I'm giving his book what platform I have in hopes to repay that debt. If you want to follow up on this and actually buy the book, you can click on the image above and it will take you to the amazon store page where you can get it. It's not expensive, and I would consider it a favor if you all helped out this person who has been so understanding of my personal situation, which I suppose I have to describe now.

So I've talked about this a little bit in the podcast, but it's been going on for much longer than that little snippet lets on. The reason I haven't brought this up before other than in a frustrated rant on the podcast is because I don't want people to think that I'm fishing for sympathy, which I'm not and don't fucking want in any capacity. Part of the reason that I took down the paypal donation button is that it felt really scummy to be taking donations for this kind of thing when I could just be providing a product that people want to buy, or advertising a product that people want to buy (you'll notice the blog has ads now), and let people contribute and support me that way. It also has a hefty amount to do with the fact that I've heard some horror stories about paypal's donations being only for non-profits, and them withholding funds from people who aren't registered as non-profits, so I just decided to cut that potential headache off at the source. But back to my health problems, which I'm loathe to talk about but it unfortunately must be done.

Essentially I was slowly going blind.

Now that sounds a lot worse than the actuality of the situation. The quick rundown is this: I let a sinus infection ride for like five months because I always get sick in wintertime and it didn't seem like that big of a deal. Then my vision starts going wonky. I wear glasses, so I figure that my prescription is going stale and go in to the optometrist. He finds out that I've got what are basically lesions in my eyeballs (yes, inside my eyeballs) and recommends me to a specialist. The specialist takes a look and figures that I need an eyeball injection (which isn't as bad as it sounds), and sets me up. I get the injection and we're seeing noticeable improvement in my eyesight, but at this point in the story (current right now) I've noticed the healing has kind of leveled off and my eyes aren't really improving anymore. Not getting worse, just not improving.

Okay. So to describe what I'm going through personally for a minute beyond the bastardized medical summation. One of these lesions in my eyeballs is in the exact center of my eyeball. The other one is off-center, so it doesn't screw with my vision all that much. But the one that is dead-center is fucking with my vision heavily. I've basically been living with a double-vision effect going on constantly. This, as you can imagine, makes in incredibly hard to read. Well, not exactly hard, but difficult. I keep losing my place, I keep re-reading lines that I've read before due to losing my place, and it's been very frustrating in general. It's interfered with my day job to an extent (not just missed days for doctor visits), and it's been messing with me a lot with regards to my audiobooks.

If I were to try to record something while this is going on, I would stumble over my words, I would repeat lines and have to start over, I would lose my place and have to start over, and on and on. Essentially I could go record something, but the actual narration of a given chapter would take 4 hours to correct for mistakes, editing would take twice that, and given that I'm a bit of a hot-head anyways my frustration with this would bleed into my voice work and lead to an inferior performance. And if someone's paying me, which Mr. Boyle has, the absolute last thing I want to do is deliver an inferior performance. So I've been holding off on audio work for the past, I dunno, almost two months now, because of this eye condition.

Moral of the story, don't let a sinus infection ride. Get some damn claratin or something and take the fuck care of it. Learn from my retardation, use me as an object lesson.

But this has been very frustrating, because the audio work is what I really want to do with my life. I want this to be my full time job, and having this albatross slung around my neck is absolutely killing me. Which brings me to Mr. Boyle.

Now, I have to say that I haven't read the book yet. As I say, reading is a bit difficult with this eye malady happening. So I can't wax poetic about the characters, or the setting, or the plot, or the writing in general, and I apologize for that, I truly do.

However, what I can say is this.

I was extremely unprofessional with Mr. Boyle. I let my embarrassment with this eye condition and not being able to work get the better of me. I let my insecurity, natural reclusiveness, and general absent-mindedness get the better of me, and I did not contact him about this when it happened.To the point where he had to find out about this when I ranted about it in my podcast, which he listens to and I am very glad that there are actually people that listen to the podcast.

But this was extremely unprofessional of me. It was cowardly, it was base, it was low of me. I will endeavor to master myself more thoroughly so that this NEVER happens again, and rest assured that I have been flogging myself for letting this ride for so long without getting in contact with my employer. I have recognized my failing, and will correct it in the future. This will not become a habit, I will be sure of that. I was weak, and my weakness reflects badly on me, which I accept. I let my weakness affect my professionalism, and that is unacceptable and I will not forgive myself for it. I will use this as an object lesson in professionalism, learn from it, and be better in the future. I can only hope for the understanding of future clients as I work to extricate this particular weakness from my psyche and become a better person in the future.

But Mr. Boyle's reaction to all this was what spurred me to write this post, and I usually advocate for buying fiction based on the quality of said fiction, but in this instance I owe the man and if I can drive a couple of sales his way then I will repay a portion of the debt I owe.

As I said, he heard about this on the podcast, and afterwards reached out to me to let me know that...

Everything was okay.

I won't reveal the private email conversations that we had, but I will say this. He let me know that my health was the primary thing, and that I shouldn't strain my medical condition to get the audiobook out. He was extremely kind and understanding about the entire thing. He didn't demand his money back, he didn't call me names which I richly deserved to be called, he was almost Christ-like in his understanding. He is a good man, and in my opinion by that virtue alone he deserves more readers and followers, and that is why I'm promoting his book (at this point) sight unseen. I have bought it (I figure that if someone's paying me at my rate, which is cheap compared to most audiobook producers but still, then the least I can do is buy the book I'm going to be reading), but as I said I have not actually read it yet. But based on the way Mr. Boyle has treated me over the past couple of weeks I feel more than comfortable recommending his book to people. I'm going to be doing it anyway after the audiobook is published, so this is just jumping the gun a little bit and I don't think there will be any ill effects from it.

And if there are, then so be it. I do my best to pay my debts, and damn the torpedoes. Mr. Boyle was kind to me, and I owe him. This is part of my effort to pay back that debt. And I am incredibly, insanely, indescribably grateful to Mr. Boyle for the patience he has shown me. You do for me, I do my damndest to do for you. And Mr. Boyle has done for me, in my opinion. And not just in my opinion, in absolute fact. If it weren't for the advance he sent me, I wouldn't have been able to pay for the initial treatment for my eye, or the recent bills on my car which I rely on to get to my day job. I would've been up shit creek without even a kayak, let alone a paddle, if it wasn't for Mr. Boyle, so I most definitely owe the man and I'm going to do my damndest to make up that debt to my satisfaction.

So, all that being said, it would mean a great deal to me if you would go buy his book, and buy the audiobook when it (finally) comes out. I'm not going to be making royalties off it, but I'm going to add in an ad for it on the blog, in the store page, and shill it in the podcast not just because I produced the audiobook, but because this man has shown me grace, patience, and understanding that I do not deserve, and this is my only real way of paying him back for that.

So Mr. Boyle, if you read this, I cannot thank you enough for all the kindness that you've shown me, and hopefully I can drive a few more readers your way. To everyone else, I think I've explained my reasoning behind this move adequately. If you think I'm needlessly shilling, or have no reason to do this, then you will not be missed. This man has ensured that I'm able to see properly, that I will have a working car with which to get to my job that actually pays my bills, and that I'm able to see properly. That may seem redundant, but my two biggest fears in life are going blind, and going deaf, so someone who has, unintentional though it may have been, kept that from happening has my eternal gratitude from the bottom of my cold, black, charred heart and I will do whatever I can to repay that debt.

Mr. Boyle is a good man. He has hired me to do his audiobook, and he has been undeservedly understanding about my medical problems. I have no problem whatsoever promoting his book, and I hope that this drives a few sales his way.

So thank you again, Mr. Boyle. I am humbled by your understanding, and will do my absolute damndest to make the audiobook of Queen's Heir a masterpiece. It will also have free advertising on my site and in my podcast into perpetuity, until my liver fails or I develop lung cancer, whichever comes first. I owe you.

And I pay my debts.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The JimFear138 Podcast Ep.45 ft. Daddy Warpig

Welcome to another episode of the podcast! This week we have special guest Daddy Warpig joining us! In this episode we talk about making money off the scene you're involved in (specifically with regards to the Pulp Revolution), how to expand the scifi/fantasy readership market, breathing creative life back into fantasy literature, Superversive vs Pulp, and probably a bunch of other stuff I can't list.

Hope y'all enjoy!

Sorry if it seems like I had trouble articulating my points. I'd started drinking when we'd originally started that day, then Daddy Warpig ran into internet issues and when we picked it up later I was already tipsy, and it only got worse as the conversation went on.

The phrase I was looking for around 56 minutes in was "Magnum Opus," by the way.

Warpig Links:



Geek Gab Podcast:

MP3 Download of this podcast episode:

Social Media Dump
Honey Bee Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Unsurprisingly, I'm Retarded

Okay, so in record time I'm proven to be a near-complete sperglord and asshat, which is weird. Usually it takes a couple days. Anyways, Anthony M. over at Superversive SF has read and responded to my last post, and I'm happy to report that all seems well. You can read the comments for yourself here, and Anthony also released a post on Superversive SF to clear up misconceptions. Hopefully this has a couple beneficial effects, such as cementing the fact that the Pulp Revolution and the Superversive Movement are, in fact, allies, and that all this "your scifi waifu is shit" stuff that's been going on lately is actually just the friendly banter and healthy debate that it appears to be. So, to Anthony, thanks for clearing up the confusion, sorry again if I insinuated something malicious in your posts, and I appreciate the good laugh you gave me by proving me to be a drunken idiot again. In honor of this, I've decided to get a new hat that will let everybody know exactly what kind of person they're dealing with.

What do you guys think? Fitting, isn't it?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Clearing Up Some Confusion

Okay, before I get into this, I want to make it extremely clear that I have nothing but love for the Superversive Movement. The articles that go up on are always very interesting reading, and I highly recommend subscribing to their email list. But apparently I've rubbed contributor Anthony M. the wrong way, and I'd like to take some time to just lay this out and respond to what I think is a post talking about my post Let's Talk "Hard SF".

I say, "I think," because no names were named and no links were provided, so I can't be sure. I merely saw this in my email feed this morning, read it, thought to myself, "Hey, I resemble that remark!" and decided to write this post clarifying what I think is a misunderstanding caused by the fact that I probably wasn't being clear in my original post. So, for everyone to get on the same page, here are the relevant links:

Let's Talk "Hard SF":

No Genre Purity Tests! at Superversive SF:

Now, I will be putting an archive link of the Superversive post at the bottom of this one, just as insurance y'unnerstand, but I'd appreciate it if you'd all use that one up there that links directly to their site. They're good people, this isn't anything personal, and I'd like to drive more traffic to their site if I can. I'm not interested in making enemies of people that I think are doing an extremely good thing in fiction. I'm just clearing up an issue that I believe stems from my stupid, drunk ass not being able to clearly articulate when I'm making a personal value judgment from a place of confusion and ignorance, and when I'm talking objective fact. Those positions kind of blend in my Hard SF post, so I can understand the confusion, and I'm going to do my best to correct it here.

The relevant bit from the Superversive article I'll put here in block quotes, but you really should go read the whole thing to get the full context.

Because I’m seeing this: On one hand, it’s “Write what you want! Write what you want!”
And on the other hand it’s “But also, this particular sub-genre is inherently worse than this one and if you write it you’re limiting yourself. But, hey, write what you want!”
No. My philosophy is this:
Write what you want. But remember the Josh Young principle:
A good science fiction story will look upward, towards the stars and away from the self.
A bad science fiction story will fixate downward, towards the ground and focus on the self.
If we keep that in mind, the bigger issues surrounding all of this will correct themselves

That right there is the remark I believe I resemble. There's a bit earlier that's an obvious reference to Daddy Warpig and his Howitzer over at Castalia House, and the post at Superversive SF is pretty short, so there isn't much else to be talked about since it's not my place to defend Daddy Warpig, especially on something that I disagree with him on. All of this in the Superversive post by Anthony M. is just credited to "the pulp revolution guys."

So here's where I'm going to start clarifying.

Yes, I am one of the "pulp revolution guys." There are a couple of reasons why I've chosen to join up on that particular side of the war in writing and publishing rather than joining the Superversives or just making up my own thing. The biggest and most relevant reason is, I don't think I'm good enough to write Superversive fiction. Writing something like that takes more skill than I've got. When I write, I just write. Half the time I don't even know what's going to happen next in the story, and I'm writing it to get there and see. Most of my story ideas start as characters in a particular situation, and the world just kind of builds itself around that very basic concept via my pen. I have a little control over how things are phrased, but so far as the events and dialogue, my job is to interpret what the muse (or whatever it is) is telling me and put it down onto paper properly, not to be the god of my own little universe. I know this sounds crazy, but it's my approach and no other approach I've tried has actually worked for me. I just have to sit back and let my fingers go and eventually there's a story there that I have to clean up.

It seems to me that this haphazard, honestly slapdash way of writing stories would preclude me from writing a Superversive story like, say, Canticle for Leibowitz, because by whatever insane writing method and law I'm bound by, it doesn't allow that kind of planning. And it also seems to me that planning is required to focus your story around and/or reveal a deeper truth to the universe. While I love reading that kind of stuff, because it is very entertaining and edifying, I just don't know how to write it. So, the Pulp Revolution suits me better because the basic motivation is, "Write whatever the hell you want." I fit more into that category than I do the, "Here's how you write a superversive story and there's this list of things a superversive story must have to be considered superversive" category.

And to be clear, I'm not bashing that type of writing. I just can't do it. So given my style, the Pulp Revolution seems a better fit for me than any of the other movements going on at the moment. Also I'm just a bigger fan of the pulpy stuff than I am the explicitly superversive, or the hard sf stuff.

I think this is the big issue with my previous post, and I have to thank Anthony for pointing it out. Being clear about when I'm talking objectively and when I'm talking personal preference or experience.

So I was talking objective fact when I said that eventually the hard science in a hard sf story will most likely be proven wrong and your story will be down here with the rest of us. The part that Anthony seems to have taken issue with is my claim that this is limiting and seems unnecessary, which was not a statement of fact, merely my personal opinion. Given my personal writing style, I don't understand why someone would put in all the work to make sure that they have their scientific realism nailed down pat when fifteen years down the road it could all be for naught and you may as well have been writing soft or pulp sf. Once again, not knocking that approach, I just don't understand it.

Karl K. Gallagher commented on my post in an attempt to clarify this:

Seeing your science superseded by new facts is part of the fun in the game. It happens to everyone. Larry Niven's first published story, "The Coldest Place," was negated by research finding Mercury wasn't locked to the Sun. The Martian's adventures in water making became superfluous when NASA discovered permafrost where Andy Weir set the story. Fans will try to poke holes in a stories science. This is part of what hard SF fans enjoy.

This explanation is adequate for these purposes, I suppose, but I still don't really grok it. I think that's a better word to describe my confusion. I don't grok. I understand that hard SF fans think it's fun, but I guess that's just something that I'm not going to get on a basic fundamental level that would allow me to partake in that fun. It's like my attitude to sports, which I mentioned in responding to Mr. Gallagher. I totally understand that sports fans enjoy watching the display of skill and talent required to play a sport well. I understand that they enjoy keeping eyes on player stats, team stats, rankings, and trivia going back 200 years (or however long). However, I personally don't see that as fun. Now there is a break in my opinion on this with regards to SF. I don't see that as fun in my own writing. I figure why put all that effort into realism when it's probably eventually going to be fiction anyway by virtue of the inexorable forward motion of scientific discovery? But that stuff can be really fun to read occasionally. Like I said, I'm a bigger fan of the pulpy stuff, but I do enjoy a good hard science tale every now and again.

So, on a personal level, yes, I do view hard SF as inferior to the pulps. This is, once again, my personal opinion. If that opinion that I'm not trying to foist onto anybody else rustles some jimmies, then so be it, but that's how I feel with regard to my own reading and writing choices. I'd rather kick back with an issue of Cirsova than read Clarke. I'd rather just write the story and scientific accuracy be damned than spend hours doing research into something that I probably don't care all that much about just to make sure I've got all the details down with humanity's current scientific understanding of them. Usually I write fantasy, so I don't run into this problem a lot, but occasionally I write something that could charitably be called "science fiction," and when I do I don't like being saddled with what I view as unnecessary restrictions. It feels confining and limiting, as I said, and I don't like doing it.

Which leads me to my next point, jumping off from this:

Because I’m seeing this: On one hand, it’s “Write what you want! Write what you want!”
And on the other hand it’s “But also, this particular sub-genre is inherently worse than this one and if you write it you’re limiting yourself. But, hey, write what you want!”
Okay, look. I am firmly against art policing. I have no right to tell you how to make your art, be it drawn, painted, musical, written, or some other thing I can't think of right now because I've had a couple fuck off. Point is, yes, "Write what you want! Write what you want!" However, this does not preclude me from having an opinion on what you write, how you write, or what you think of what you write and how you write. I also reserve the right to voice this opinion in whatever manner I choose. And since, as I frequently say, I'm just some drunk dickhead, this may come out course or offensive. I'm not going to curb my language or my opinions on my own blog or in my podcast unless I believe it necessary, in which case you'll get slightly fewer "fucks" thrown into the mix. If you find my opinion objectionable for whatever reason, feel free to call me on it. Karl did, and I bear the man no ill will and he actually taught me a couple things, for which I'm grateful. So go for it. Try to change my mind. On subjective matters like my opinion of hard SF, you just might do it. No promises, though. If you find my opinion offensive, you're free to ignore me. You don't have to read my blog, or listen to my podcast, or follow my twitter, or tumblr, or gab, or minds, or whatever. That's an activity that you're willfully and knowingly engaging yourself in when you're well aware that I say offensive shit all the time and you're probably going to run into something that you vehemently disagree with on a fundamental level. And if you willingly put yourself in that situation, I have no sympathy, nor will I offer any apologies.

Here comes another "however."

HOWEVER. I am open to correction, if you're actually right with regard to objective matters, or can convince me that you're right with regard to subjective matters. This post on Superversive SF is a good example of the latter. Honestly, Anthony and I don't disagree except in matters of personal taste. At least with regard to this latest bit of saber rattling between allied forces. I dig what he's laying down in that post, and I agree and endorse that last bit, the Josh Young Principle. That's something that I can 100% get behind, and I think it would do SF authors good to take that into account. But once again, "Write what you want! Write what you want!" Don't let me, or anyone else for that matter, tell you how to do your thing. Although, of course, constructive criticism should be taken into account.

So if you think I'm fucking up on something, call me out.

And this is just a personal aside to Anthony, who seems to be doing most of the critique of the Pulp Revolution over at Superversive SF, KEEP IT UP. If there's one thing I've learned in my time on the internet, being apart of fandoms, movements, philosophies, it's that we drastically need people willing to call us on our shit. Especially if our shit is shit. Someone has to be willing to suffer the slings and arrows of ass-pained fanboys, and I have nothing but respect for those who do, provided they're actually providing criticism and not just going, "lol autism," which Anthony doesn't. I should've been clearer, and I appreciate the bullshit-calling he did. So this post, while it may seem adversarial or combative at times, is not an attack on either the Superversive Movement, or Anthony personally. Though I will say, if you're going to critique something I wrote, you can name me, dude. It's not like I'm going to appear from the shadows and defenestrate you without warning or something. Unless you have an issue with personally calling someone out and linking to their post, in which case...keep doing what you're doing?

This is the issue here on my end, and why I'm a bit nervous about posting this, because I'm not totally 100% sure Anthony's post is referencing me, and I might be letting my ego get away from me. It might turn out that this post on Superversive is just a general thing about the supposed obsession the Pulp Revolution has with genre walls, and have nothing to do with me. Although his post was released a couple days after mine was, to my knowledge I'm the only one who beat this dead horse of genre distinctions within that time frame, and I do think that I resemble that remark. So I'm like 95% sure that this post was in regards to mine, but that certain level of uncertainty still nags.

Maybe it would help to end this post with describing how I view the Pulp Revolution and the Superversive Movement in relation to each other, and in relation to the crumbling edifice of traditional publishing. Because I'm apparently constitutionally incapable of just shutting the fuck up and leaving it at that.

I view what we're trying to do here in military terms. Maybe I've been listening to Sabaton too much lately, which is entirely possible, but this is how I've been conceptualizing it. There is, as I said, a crumbling edifice that I'll dub Tradpub (yes I stole that from Brian Niemeier shaddap). Tradpub is a kingdom on the decline. It ruled with an iron fist for many years, but now there are many disparate forces that are looking at the jewels heaped inside and thinking, "I'll be damned, but those would look mighty spectacular in my coffers." There are also those that just want to burn the place to the ground to watch the light show. And so, not through any conspiracy but through sheer organic growth, armies formed and began to assail the kingdom of Tradpub. The two we're concerned with are the Superversive Army and the Forces of the Pulp Revolution.

Each of these armies has different specialties. From what I can gather; and these are by no means fixed lines, but hear me out; the specialty of the Superversive Army is long, protracted, seige warfare. They release large novels of earth-shattering quality, the likes of which the Kingdom of Tradpub hasn't seen in decades. These strike mighty blows against Tradpub. This is not to say that the Superversive Army doesn't have their skirmish forces as well. There are Superversive authors that do short fiction very competently, but the majority of the writing that I've personally seen coming from the Superversive Army is long-form. So we're speaking in generalities here.

On the other side of the field, you have the Forces of the Pulp Revolution. These are mostly skirmish forces. Cavalry, infiltrators, assassins, what have you. This is mostly a random assortment of people who all decided to do the same thing at once. They climb the walls and engage in all sorts of fuckery, ambush from the tall grass, and generally do their best to befuck and befuddle the forces of Tradpub through their prolific short fiction that brings customers away from the coffers of Tradpub with more frequency, but with less turnaround with regards to financial gains.

Now, both of these armies are explicitly engaged in achieving the same goal, the destruction of Tradpub. Fortunately, there is more than enough loot to go around. These armies may be allies of convenience and circumstance, but allies they are, and there is more than a little overlap between their forces. Of course, as I mentioned before, there is saber rattling. Competition and conflict between allies of convenience and circumstance is only natural. But we should remember that our goals are similar, and while we may disagree on personal matters we gain nothing from this kind of dick measuring. Admittedly, this particular conflict was spurred on by my inability to make it clear when I'm talking about subjective or objective matters, but the point remains. There is a damn good reason I called my newly-forged blogroll "Brothers In Arms," and further there is a damn good reason Superversive SF is listed there. I view the Superversive Movement as an ally and compliment to the Pulp Revolution, and I would prefer we didn't engage in petty arguments over personal taste. Which is why I'm penning this post right now. My personal failing led to this needless saber rattling, and perhaps I can stop it so we can all move on to talking about something more interesting by attempting to clarify my points. Although I'll probably just wind up making it worse as usual because I'm a tactless, thoughtless, drunken arsehole. But what will be will be. I just hope I've made my point clearer with this post.

One last little thing I'd like to clear up before I finally end this fucking thing already. Yes, I am one of the Pulp Revolution guys, but that said, I don't speak for anybody else, nor would I presume to do so. My opinions are my own. I don't speak for Daddy Warpig, or Jeffro, or Jon Mollison, or Alexander, or Rawle, or anybody else. I also don't know if I'm considered a "thought leader" or influential person within the (at the moment) meager bounds of the Pulp Revolution, but if I am I'd like to make it very, painfully, excruciatingly clear that I only speak for myself and you take my information and opinions into your worldview at your own risk. I frequently fuck up, am wrong, talk out of my ass, and say stupid shit in a fit of drunkenness. Take me seriously at your own risk. But the point of bringing this up is to let anybody who may take issue with something I say know that, if you do take issue with something I say, it's perfectly, 100% okay with me if you address me directly. I won't take offense, file a DMCA, or something equally retarded. Because quite frankly I'm not shy about naming and quoting people that I think are addressing me (when I have a reasonable certainty that they are), let alone people responding to me directly. And I would expect the same treatment in kind. So, if you want to respond to me, respond to me. Don't lump me in with a bunch of other people and act like I'm speaking for them when I'm explicitly not and attempting to avoid the perception that I am. Not that I'm offended at being lumped in with Daddy Warpig, Jeffro, Alexander, or whoever else. I consider it an honor, so long as they're not saying something I disagree with. But I'm an individual. And if you have an issue with something I individually said, address me as an individual. I think we'll all find that a much easier way to continue forward instead of painting with unnecessarily broad brushes.

Besides, that post was the culmination of weeks of thought, reading, and consideration needing some kind of fucking outlet for god's sake. This happens frequently to me. I'll just be thinking about something off and on for a couple weeks, and eventually it'll pop up in either an autism-laden rant on the podcast or an autism-laden, unnecessarily long post on my blog. Most of my writing is done drunk, besides all that, and I'll frequently say stupid shit when I'm drunk, or make my point badly, try as I might to curb this.

So hopefully I've cleared everything up here, and we can move on to talking about something more interesting. Once again, I thank Anthony M. for his criticism. I should be clearer in the future when I'm talking matters of personal taste vs objective fact. And to everyone at the Superversive SF blog, and the Superversive Movement in general, keep doing what you're doing. I thoroughly enjoy it all, and I really, truly do want you all to succeed in your efforts. So with a respectful nod to my brothers and sisters in arms, I'll finally shut the fuck up now and leave you with this slightly relevant Sabaton song to close things out.

Archive link of the Superversive SF post:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Updates on Advertising, Donations, and General Shilling

Okay so you might have noticed that there have been some changes to the blog. I thought I'd take a post here and explain what's going on, just so we're all on the same page here and there's no confusion.

I'm just gonna come out and say it, I'm trying to get paid. I don't expect to be the next PewDiePie or anything, I just put a fair bit of effort and time into running this whole online bullshit that I've got going on, and if I can work it out so that I don't have to work a day job anymore, then I will. I don't do well in day jobs. I don't know if I'm autistic, or just that anti-social, but my track record with day jobs hasn't been the best, and the only work path that seems to work out for whatever reason is being myself on the internet combined with doing audio work for commission. Now if I had my ideal situation, I'd be able to just transition from doing this on the side in addition to my day job, to this being my full time job. But we're not there yet. So in the interest of getting the ball rolling on not having to put up with normies in meatspace everyday, I've taken a couple of measures, all of which I will fully disclose and explain in this post to the best of my knowledge.

The first thing you'll notice is that I've added a paypal link on the left side of the blog. Basically what this amounts to is a tip jar. There's nothing special I have to do, according to paypal, until I'm getting over $10,000 in donations, so we're good there for a good long while. I'm doing this in lieu of a patreon, because A) patreon takes more of a cut of the donations than I'm comfortable giving them, and B) because this paypal link puts everything right in your hands. You can decide how much to give and how often. There's no commitment, and I'm not withholding content so every donation is based solely on whether or not you enjoy my content enough to throw a few shekels in the hat. I think this is a bit more amenable than patreon, mostly because I've been known to lapse in content production before, and I don't want to tie people to a commitment to my terminally procrastinating ass when they could just one-and-done it, or come back for more if I keep my shit together and they feel so inclined.

Secondly, you'll notice an Amazon ad above the paypal link. This is here because I've joined Amazon's Affiliate Program, which basically means that I put that little widget on my blog, people click on it, they buy stuff on Amazon, and I get a commission from driving traffic to their site. It doesn't cost the customer any more, it just lets Amazon know that they came from me, and they'll cut me a slice of whatever you spend for sending you over there. It's not some weird virus fake ad, it's a legit bit of html code given me by Amazon, so there's no worries about downloading something funky by accident because you want to support what I'm doing here. So, if you would kindly click that link before you do your online shopping on Amazon, I'd be eternally grateful. Now, there is a little bit of confusion as of now, since I literally just set this up today, so I'm not entirely sure whether or not you have to buy the product advertised (they rotate those around), or if you can click the link and buy whatever you want, and it'll still count. But that'll be worked out one way or another. If you see something that interests you, click the link and buy it. If you want something else, click the link and navigate to your thing and buy that. I'll bring you the updates on this as they come so we can all be better informed about how to monetize your content.

Thirdly, I've put in an application for Project Wonderful, recommended by my friend Dan Wolfgang. I'm not entirely sure how this'll work out, but apparently it's an adsense-like ad service where people who want to advertise their products will bid on the ad space that is my blog, and whoever wins pays me for the ability to host ads on my site through Project Wonderful. This is still in the application stage, and I won't hear back from them for max 4 business days. So nothing could come of this if they don't consider my site worth putting ads on or my content is too objectionable for them to host. But hopefully we'll be seeing that rolling out within the next week. Like I said, I'll bring you the updates as they come.

Fourthly, I've added a blogroll to the left side of the blog. This list isn't exactly in any particular order, though I tried to make the top 20 or so sites linked there go to people that I'm friends with, or interact with a lot in some fashion, or they direct traffic to me in some fashion. But it's not a ranking like back in the days of Myspace where you'd list your top ten friends and knock people off when they piss you off. I just added people I'm friends with and/or am interested in supporting. So if you'd go check those guys out at your leisure I'd consider it a personal favor. They're all decent people and deserve more attention than they're currently getting, so if I can do some small part to increase their traffic, I will. And that list was a pain in the ass to compile and organize, so if you're featured there you can be sure that I got nothing but love for you.

I've also properly updated my right sidebar and store to include Enjoy The Decline: Accepting and Living with the Death of the United States by Aaron Clarey. Honestly this should've been done months ago when the book came out, but I'm terminally lazy and a perennial procrastinator from hell. I have been mentioning it in the podcast, but now thankfully it has its own ad on the blog. I don't collect royalties from this audiobook, but you should still go buy it anyway. Not gonna lie, a fair bit of my current mindset comes from lessons learned from this book, and there's a ton of good information in it besides that's just useful to know, even if the US doesn't collapse under its own bloated weight.

You'll also notice another Catherine Kimbridge audiobook up there. In keeping with this theme of finally getting off  my lazy ass and getting shit done, I've put a link to that on the sidebar as well. I do get a royalty off that book, so if you're into some kickass scifi adventures I highly recommend those. I had a lot of fun recording and editing them, and I stand behind my product, so I can almost guarantee that you'll have an enjoyable experience listening to them. That's if you're into listening to my voice acting for extended periods. If that's not your bag, then I can't really help you, my dude.

So yeah, that's basically where we're at right now. Like I've said before, I'm trying to turn this audiobook/content creation thing into a career that can pay bills. This seems to me to be the best way to do it. We've all gotta live, and we've all gotta pay bills. I figure that this is the most sustainable way to do so. I don't know if I've got some mental problem, or if I'm one of those people like Henry Rollins, but a straight job working for someone else and going to the same building for the next 40 years just makes me feel dead inside. Fortunately, we're in a new world, and that doesn't have to be the case. We live in a world where I'm able to monetize my autism, and make a living making audiobooks and other content for people to enjoy. Whether they get off at laughing at me, or genuinely enjoy what I'm doing doesn't matter all that much to me. What matters to me is not having to answer to a boss. What matters to me is trying to set myself up as an entrepreneur. What matters to me is not having to inflict my bullshit on other people in meatspace, and having people choose to interact with me because they either enjoy what I'm doing or just like laughing at the fucking goober making an ass out of himself on the internet.

So whatever reason you're here, I'm glad that you are. And if me trying to monetize my ramblings, and drunken rants, and blog posts about retarded shit that nobody cares about is off-putting to you, then you're more than welcome to forget about me. Or attempt to defame me online. Gene Simmons made a very good point with the phrase, "No press is bad press," so if you share me around in a fit of rage then I can only thank you for driving traffic to my site.

I can say this, though. These advertising opportunities and tip jars and what have you will in no wise change the content that I'm going to be delivering. I'm a horrendously bad liar, and I can't put on a fake persona just to keep advertisers around. So you're still going to be getting 100% unvarnished me, whether or not the advertisers have a problem with it. And if they do have a problem with it, then I assume they'll let me know and terminate the contract, in which case we'll continue on minus them. I'm not going anywhere for a very long time, and if these particular advertisers decide they want nothing to do with me, then fine. There'll be others, and if there isn't then I'll have to ramp up production of marketable material to even things out. Which, that'll be coming anyway, just so you know. But I can promise you that I will not compromise myself, or my standards, or my code of honor, for any advertiser, no matter how much money they offer. I'd rather make an honest, meager living being a complete asshole on the internet than kowtow to sponsors and have no outlet for my insane, fucked up ramblings.

I thank you for your time, understanding, and if you're so inclined your support.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The JimFear138 Podcast Ep. 44 - Voice Acting, Updates, and Chimerical Races

Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of the podcast! This time I'll be giving some bad advice on how to voice act and telling you where to find better advice, giving some updates on the blog and my personal health, and talking some more about the benefits of chimerical races vs traditional fantasy races.

A big thanks to Daddy Warpig, Brian Niemeier, and Dorrinal for having me on Geek Gab! It was a blast, guys!

Geek Gab Podcast "JimFear138 In Da House!":

The monster girl post I made this past week:

This podcast mp3 download link:

Social Media Dump

Honey Bee Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Friday, March 17, 2017

Let's Talk "Hard SF"

Recently Daddy Warpig, Eminent Sage and Howitzer Operator, has been blowing up the Castalia House blog with posts about "hard science fiction." I know it's been a couple of weeks since this all happened, but I'm slow and take a while to form my thoughts, so give me a little grace here. I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring on this topic and play with it a little bit, tease out where I stand on the issue. There might be a little bit of retreading some covered ground here, fair warning.

Now, DW has made his position abundantly clear, and if you'd like to read up on that you can scroll to the bottom of this post where I'll be linking several of the articles in question. I'm going to be linking in order at the bottom of this post. So if you'd like to catch up, then head on over there. I'll be here when you get back, promise.

Okay, now that we're caught up here, it seems to me that this topic is contentious for a damn good reason. There's a lot of people out there who like hard science fiction. But maybe it would be useful to define our terms first. Going with the first thing on Google because I'm lazy like that, "Hard science fiction is a category of science fiction characterized by an emphasis on scientific accuracy." This is what I think of when I think of "hard scifi," so that's the definition I'm going to use.

 I think it's safe to say that hard sf absolutely does exist. There are most definitely writers out there that try to keep as close to the accurate science of their time period as possible, and good on them for that. John C. Wright, on the Superversive SF Podcast, has mentioned several times that there are enough planets and stars and all that good junk out there in the real universe that we currently live in that you don't have to make anything up, and I can understand that point of view. The world we live in is fascinating, and truth is oftentimes stranger than fiction in a very literal sense. I distinctly remember, and forgive me if I'm mis-paraphrasing, Mr. Wright saying that writers of science fiction have no excuse for scientific inaccuracy in their work.

Well, allow me to respectfully disagree.

Not about excuses. If you're trying to write hard sf, then you really don't have any excuse for scientific inaccuracy in your work. With the internet we have nearly all of human knowledge at our very fingertips, and if you need to look up say, a particular planet name, or the gravity on Titan, or what have you, all it takes is a quick search on your engine of choice and you have your information. The only valid excuse I can think of is that the particular information you're looking for is behind a paywall and you don't have the money for it, in which case I think even the most hard-nosed hard sf purist can make an exception.

My disagreement with Mr. Wright is about the very principle of whether or not it's necessary for writers to attempt scientific realism in their writing. As the Eminent Sage and Howitzer Operator himself laid out in probably several of those Castalia House posts, the rule of thumb in hard sf is that you get ONE AND ONLY ONE bit of magic in your story, and everything else has to conform to the scientific standards of your particular time period. Now some people might disagree with my use of the term 'magic' here, but that's basically what it boils down to. This technology that we don't have and can't explain in proper science exists in this universe you're building, and that's what allows them to travel faster than light, or what have you. But technology that we don't have and can't understand and furthermore can't explain might as well be magic, so in lieu of writing all that out again and again I'm just going to call it 'magic' or 'magic tech.'

The issue that I have with this rule of thumb is that you're already sacrificing your scientific accuracy by adding in this ONE AND ONLY ONE magic tech. Why are you limiting yourself to just that? I've said before that I think limiting the human imagination is a fool's game, especially in speculative fiction. So if you're adding in this one piece of magic tech, why not add another? Or two? Or three?

Why not just throw scientific accuracy out the window and let your imagination run free?

Now I'm absolutely certain that hard sf purists have their reasons, but they don't make sense to me. If anybody would like to help me understand, I'm more than game, however as of right now it is completely baffling to me that some people would set up arbitrary rules for themselves like that. I will say that I completely get wanting to challenge yourself and set up rules that you must abide by to prove to yourself that you can do it. For example, I've beaten Metro 2033 so many times that now when I play it I set up all kinds of retarded challenges for myself to make the gameplay interesting again. I have to get through this level without dying, I have to sneak through this station without getting spotted, I have to kill everyone in this station without firing a single bullet, etc etc ad infinitum retardum.

So I can 100% get the desire to write a story within certain parameters and stick as closely to those parameters as you can, just to prove you can do it, or to make the writing challenging and fun. But, that said, writing every single sf story you produce like that seems needlessly pedantic to me. This kind of thing has been going on since Campbellian sf became a thing, and do you know what happened to the incredibly vast majority of writers in that sub-genre?

They were proven wrong later.

Inevitably, science is going to change. That's just what it does. It's a continually evolving picture and explanation of the universe and the phenomena in it which is altered as time goes on and new information is added to the picture. I won't get into attempting to quantify all knowledge and demonstrate how limited human understanding is, we all know how stupid that attempt is. But, I will move forward on the premise that human understanding, especially human scientific understanding, is limited. I think that this is a premise we can all agree on, hard sf purists and others alike. And with the rate at which scientific understanding is progressing nowadays, you could finish your book, send it off to the editor, get it back, send it to the publisher all fixed up, and the day before you go to publish it the main scientific underpinning of your story could be wiped out of existence because someone was eating cotton candy at the Higgs-Boson supercollider and wound up turning into the fucking Pink Hulk or something retarded like that.

It might not be that quick, though. You could have the reputation for the most scientifically accurate sf novel for decades, maybe even hundreds of years, and that would be quite the achievement. I wouldn't knock that at all. However, eventually, somewhere further on up the road, someone's going to discover something that will turn your hard work into the equivalent of an sf story based on phrenology. Which will inevitably lead the reading public to say, as we so often do now of sf authors gone by, "Yeah, they were really scientifically accurate for their day. Of course it's all nonsense now, we know better. Science has moved on. But it's still a fun story."

People say this about Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, pretty much any hard sf writer will suffer this same fate, all in the name of some arbitrary commitment to current scientific accuracy. The thing I would draw your attention to, and I put it in this example statement because I've heard and said it so many times, is the last sentence.

"But it's still a fun story."

This comes up every. Single. Time. Every time I'm talking nerd shit with one of my friends, or someone on social media, and we wind up discussing hard sf authors past, that eventually comes up. I'd imagine you've had this exact line leave your own lips in regard to people who thought they were hot shit with scientific accuracy in their day. Which brings me back around to the drum I've personally been banging on for nearly a year now, and will continue to bang on until the day I die: Speculative fiction should, first and foremost, BE FUN.

Fun is the point here, not conforming to scientific standards. The phrase "science fiction" has two components. I don't mean to insult people's intelligence, but the science portion delineates the main setting, levels of technology, whether or not we've achieved space flight yet, etc; while the fiction portion delineates that this story is, in fact, not true. It is a work of fiction, there will be something that the author put in there regardless of their commitment to scientific realism, that is in effect magic. Personally, I think the fiction part of "science fiction" is the most important, and allow me to further bloviate and explain why.

I'm just gonna come out and say it. The vast majority of the populace is not scientifically literate. Most people don't read the latest study or paper by Michio Kaku, or Niel Tyson, or [insert personal favorite physicist here]. Unless the science has some immediate, practical application to their everyday lives, the average person doesn't give a wet fart in a supernova whether or not their scifi is the most accurate, up to date science fiction story on the market at the time. They just don't. I'm sorry to tell you, but there's a reason John Carter of Mars recently got a fucking multi-million dollar movie (unfaithful to the source material as it might have been), and that everyone I talk to about 2001: A Space Odyssey thinks it's some of the most boring crap that's ever been slapped on a screen. I know that anecdote does not equal evidence, but unless you're a science nerd, or a film nerd, or you've just got your head so far up Kubrick's decayed asshole you can't even see the light of day anymore, stuff like 2001 just isn't exciting.

Oh, sure, it's a classic. You'll get no argument from me on that. And the FX are technically magnificent. That rotating corridor was some hype shit practical effects. I loved that part of the movie. But how many people can you convince to sit down and actually watch the damned thing? I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say, "Not that many." Or even better, how many people can you convince to actually read the book? (Yes the movie was based on a book. You young'uns don't be tryin mah patience with that.) Once again, I'm betting the number is vanishingly small. The only person I know personally that's read that book all the way through (that I know of, at least) is my younger brother, and he said it was basically the same thing as the movie. Boring, pretentious, should've been called Shit Floating Through Space To Classical Music, and the AI HAL was the only interesting character in the whole damn thing.

So for the part where I get to the fucking point already, what I'm getting at here is that by holding up Campbellian scifi, or hard scifi, or big men with screwdrivers scifi, as the gold standard not just of science fiction but of speculative fiction in general you are alienating a huge part of the market. Now we're all good little capitalists here, so I don't need to explain to you that in a free market system like the writing and purchasing and reading of speculative fiction, if you don't have an audience your product will not sell. And if your product does not sell, your genre dies on the vine. You might have the best, most technically accurate science fiction novel to come out in the last 300 years. But if nobody buys it because they're bored by all the science talk and there's not anything HAPPENING, nobody's going to care how accurate you were. You could perfectly describe the living conditions on Titan, down to the accurate terminology for how the gravity is and how it's different from Earth's and what effects that has on the human body, but if that takes up more space than the conflict then people are going to get bored.

And conflict could be anything. Political machinations, a war like in Cowboy Bebop, or simply trying to survive like in The Martian. But if the conflict, if the story, is not your centerpiece with all this nice, neat, perfectly laid out science around it and enhancing it, people are going to stop reading. They'll probably also start leaving negative reviews scattered around the internet about how bored they were. People aren't shy about doing it on Steam, I don't see why Amazon should be any different.

It's like that image I posted at the beginning of this post says. "Hard Scifi. Because the physicists and thermodynamics experts deserve to be entertained too." Now I'm not contesting that. Those people are a portion of the market, and if someone wants to capitalize on that then go to and good luck. I won't knock you at all for getting paid by catering to a niche market. I wish you all the best.

But making those people the arbiters of what is and isn't "real" or "good" scifi is alienating your average reader that isn't a physics or thermodynamics expert and doesn't really care about that stuff at all. And if you alienate your readership, your genre will die. These people deserve to be included, surely. Without science and actual scientists, science fiction would be nothing more than the fever dreams of crazy drunk assholes like me. It might as well be fantasy at that point. And that's not a knock to fantasy or caving to this Campbellian vision of how scifi "should be." That's me admitting that much of fantasy would be properly classified as fever dreams of drug addicts were there no precedent for these insane ramblings about what elves are doing in Middle Earth or whatever. It's crazy stories about shit that doesn't exist. Point blank. So of course the actual scientists among the authors and readers out there should have their say and their preferred method to writing stories.

However, that is not and should never be the gold standard. Your accurate science can and very probably will be actual fiction within a few short years or decades. And at that point, you'll be down here with the rest of us whether you like it or not. The issue here is that if you set this arbitrary benchmark of "hard scifi is best scifi," you're going to eventually convince the readership and the authors that this is something they should be shooting for and anything else is "kid's stuff." We don't have to speculate on whether or not this is a possibility. We've seen it happen. It's why most Appendix N stuff was memory holed. Or one reason, at least. It's why when you ask the average fan to list off three of the most important authors in scifi they say, "Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke," instead of, "Burroughs, Merrit, Vance."

People have this weird obsession with "acting adult." They want to be considered mature by their peers, and if everyone is telling them that the sword and planet stories they're writing are juvenile crap and not "real scifi," eventually they're going to start listening. The phenomenon of internalization is very real, and people rely on their peers for cues going forward with their projects. I do it, you do it, we all do it. So this setup of, "It must be scientifically accurate or it's nothing," is a quick way to kill the genre by playing to an incredibly small, unsustainable audience. Sure, they're going to absolutely love your stuff, but eventually you're going to have to get a regular job because the flagging book sales aren't making ends meet because you've limited your marketability to people who understand astrophysics. A subject which many people find incredibly boring, sorry to say. So in the interest of reviving the genre, which has been on the downslope for a while now, I propose that we get rid of this supposed "gold standard" and encourage writers to write whatever they want.

Having said all that, I do know from talking to Jeffro and Daddy Warpig that there are people out there who like Campbellian hard scifi and are actively worried that the Pulp Revolution is going to get rid of it. It's a bit funny that they think we've got that kind of power, but they wouldn't be worried if it wasn't a threat. At least in their minds. Whether or not that's true is up in the air. But, in an effort to assuage those fears, I'm going to just come out and say it once and for all. Of course I'm speaking only for myself here, but I can't imagine the other Pulp Revolution guys disagreeing with me.


There. I said it. You can direct all complaints to the contact form on the side of the blog.

But seriously, we really don't want to get rid of Campbellian scifi. Or at least I don't. I enjoy a good hard scifi story myself from time to time. I do enjoy the pulpy stuff more, but every now and again it's fun to read a story that's scientifically accurate. Extrapolating a bit from what I know of Jeffro and the Eminent Sage and Howitzer Operator, their purpose in seemingly maligning hard sf lately is to get rid of the false narrative that hard sf is somehow better than the pulps, or any other subgenre of scifi. They don't seem to want to destroy it, they're just ripping off a band-aid that, quite frankly, has grown fucking septic. This rigid adherence to scientific accuracy is killing the genre, it is restricting creativity, and it is driving away readers.

I will be the first to say that hard sf has its place, but if we make that the go-to of what sf should be then we will be (and have been for decades) consigning our beloved genre to slow death. There needs to be room for all types of scifi. If you want to write hard scifi, go do it. If you want to write pulpy scifi, go do it. Hell, if you want to write feminist scifi, go fucking do it. All of that stuff has a market, and honestly the more and different kinds of scifi that's out there, the bigger the market grows. And the bigger the market grows, the more slices of the pie there are to go around.

And isn't that really what we all want? For our genre to grow, be successful, and find more readers who are willing to pay for it? We need to get rid of this arbitrary distinction that "hard sf is best sf" and let people do whatever they want with their science fiction. And for the love of fucking god, stop shitting on people because their tastes differ from yours. Unless, of course, it's harmless, "Your waifu is shit," type stuff. That's all in good fun, and shouldn't be taken seriously by anybody. But the in-all-seriousness, "Your scifi is childish and shouldn't be read by REAL FANS because muh scientific accuracy," type of malarkey has got to go.

Castalia House Blog Links: