Brad R. Torgersen

official home page of the author, essayist, and veteran.

When the Inner and Outer Parties of SFWA attack

Word reached me this week about an imbroglio involving SFWA, and SFWA members and/or SFWA-sympathetic fans slamming non-American indie and small press authors who’ve recently gotten Nebula award nominations.

For those who don’t know, SFWA stands for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the so-called “union” of SF/F literary professionals.

Now, setting aside the irony that the vast majority of SFWA members are not professionals — meaning they don’t publish much, or even at all, and they certainly don’t make a full-time living from their fiction sales — one of SFWA’s biggest problems is that it is infested with people who style themselves as taste-makers for the genre. Ergo, they are the ones who decide for the rest of us which works/authors are “worthy” or not. With the Nebula awards as the capstone of their taste-making power.

Back in ye olden times, it was easy for the taste-makers to determine what was or was not worthy, because there has a hard division between traditionally published authors who were doing stories and books with established magazines and New York-based publishing houses, and “vanity” print — the (according to the taste-makers) disreputable practice of paying a publisher to print your book or story. Naturally, the taste-makers had a quietly-discussed gradation of the establishment venues, and not every venue had equal merit in their eyes.

Just ask MCA Hogarth, former SFWA officer, who had a front row seat for some of those “discussions” which dripped with derision and condescension toward the “low end” of the trad pub spectrum.

Anyway, this past week, some indie authors got on the Nebula ballot, and the taste-makers — many of whom are ardently “woke” political activists — began braying about how a “slate” had ramrodded these indie authors onto the sacred SFWA ballot, and how it was high treason against all things Good and Clean in the genre for any “slate” to influence the Nebula final selections.

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Manning up is not toxic

Since everyone from shaving supply companies to woke psychologists seem to believe that the country is drowning in a crisis of “toxic” masculinity, I thought I’d lob two nickels.

Manning up is not toxic. And never has been. The only thing which appears to be in doubt is: what does “manning up” look like? Because there are now 1,001 definitions in America, and everyone seems to be insisting that their definition ought to be the definition for everybody else.

Frankly, I’ve always thought that one of the first rules of manning up, is that you don’t give a hoot who thinks you’re doing it wrong. Beyond, perhaps, a very select few quality individuals you consider to be mentors or exemplars.

Still, there may be some baselines which cut across most definitions, and which pass what I call the Marriageable Smell Test.

I do not perfectly practice these, and can never claim to be getting it all right even half of the time. Nevertheless, I know these things to be TRUE.

1) Manning up means being able to financially provide for yourself, then your spouse, then your kids. Pay attention to the ordering. It’s very important. Sure, you can be the stay-at-home-dad. It’s good to know how, because she needs help. But have your crap together so that if she loses her job, or simply wants to be a stay-at-home-mom, you can step up and put dollars into family war chest.

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Wednesday’s double-barreled Book Bomb!

WEDNESDAY MORNING DOUBLE-BARREL BOOK BOMB! My friend and colleague Larry Correia has been kind enough to double-promote Tuesday’s releases of A STAR WHEELED SKY and Dan Willis’s IN PLAIN SIGHT. Please, please, please, share wide and far! Dan’s noir urban fantasy is only 99 cents on Kindle right now. It’s a steal! And there is a paperback to boot. (I have three paperbacks on order myself, in addition to the Kindle download.) I will vouch for Dan, as one of Utah’s veteran authors, and a great guy as a person. You cannot go wrong putting down dollars on both books for the holidays!

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Book launch for A Star-Wheeled Sky

Amazon paperback.
Amazon Kindle edition.
Amazon Audible.com audio book edition.
Barnes & Noble paperback.
Barnes & Noble Nook edition.

FOR OVER A THOUSAND YEARS the Waywork has been both boon and bane: an alien interstellar highway system, which offers instantaneous travel between a closed network of stars. Within this bubble, the orphaned refugees of Earth—long lost—vie for control of humanity’s destiny. Can the beautiful daughter of a royal family, together with the rugged son of a shipping magnate, join forces with a proud but disgraced flag officer, to seize the initiative? Because the Waywork may at last be ready to give up its secrets, and one woman—a merciless autocrat, from the Waywork’s most brutal regime—is determined to ensure that she controls it all . . .

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Site revamp for 2019

5 DECEMBER EDIT: apparently the spiffy Sliding Doors theme does not play well with mobile devices. (sigh) I am old enough to remember when we had big clunky CRTs and it was a minor miracle jumping from 800×600 to 1024×762. And then with the big flatscreens, it got even better! So much bright color! So much space! A web designers dream! And then . . . everybody started looking at the web on their pocket gadgets. Literally everything started to be drastically redesigned to fit the iPhone format. I am not thrilled with it. But I realize it’s the way things are. So, I am testing out a rather radically simplified theme, just to see how it looks on mobile devices. So much for the joyful hours of doing web graphics.

1 DECEMBER EDIT: Pardon the construction! A site revamp has been overdue. I’m getting everything ready for 2019. Lots of new working coming out, and I wanted to be able to more easily edit the site’s contents on the fly. I knew after last deployment I was very probably going to swap over to a WordPress front end, but I wasn’t going to do it until I found a theme that would let me feature my most prominent books and stories. Voila! A visit to David Drake’s web page solved that. I hope the theme displays correctly for everybody. I am still fiddling with lots of bits and pieces, especially for cell phone display. So it’ll probably be a few more weeks until everything is ironed out. Looking forward to the new year. Again, lots of new work coming out! Starting with A Star-Wheeled Sky on December 4th!

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