The Main Benefit of Diminished Social Media

It’s the final day of January, the 31st post in a row, and I want to talk about the benefits of reducing social media.

But first, the downsides.

I miss some of my friends I interacted with on Twitter. That’s the biggest problem I’ve had since deleting my Tweets and reducing my time on all social media platforms. Some of those relationships are true friendships, and I look forward to seeing those people in other ways.

Another potential downside: I’m not as on top of news and trends. I fell out of the habit of checking my news aggregator every morning. I’m no longer seeing the Trending Topics, so some things I might like to know about are flying under my radar. For example, the horrendous murder in Pennsylvania, where a son cut off his father’s head, broadcast it, and called for a revolution against Biden.

For some reason, that story didn’t get a ton of coverage. I happened to see something about it on Bluesky, and I found it on some paywalled news sites, but then it’s like the story just vanished. Apparently, the gruesome video was up for hours, and people saw some things they really didn’t want to see. The Pennsylvania murder never showed up on my news aggregator.

That leads nicely into the main benefit: I don’t have to partake in the online drama.

For example, Taylor Swift. Apparently, some people are upset about her dating a football player or something. I’m being vague and light on details here because I don’t know what the beef is, and I really, really don’t care. I hope she has a good time. I think her boyfriend is on the Chiefs, playing against the 49ers in The Big Game so I hope he loses, but really, I hope they make the most of the time they have.

There is a lot of nonsense and bullshit that flows through the social media rivers, and while I still get a big whiff when I visit, I’m no longer drowning in it like I had been. People I will never meet, with opinions I will never agree with, may be saying some absolute nonsense. Chances are, I won’t see it and my life is better for it.

But what about the discourse?

There is no real discourse on social media. No one is scrolling through Twitter looking to expand their horizons or explore the nuance of a topic. On Twitter, you will find memes, advertisements, arguments, threats, blasphemy, nonsense, and war crimes. You know what? I can find memes on Discord.

I sort of like Bluesky, but I’m not as into it as I had been. I like the people I engage with on Facebook, but I can’t stand Zuckerberg. Instagram is kind of fun, but again, Zuckerberg.

There’s probably some political schadenfreude I’ll be missing this year. Actually, social media in the two thousand twenty-fourth year of our Lord is likely to be a radioactive war zone, so maybe I’m not missing anything on that front.

I’m sure you know me by now, and while I’m not going to get into politics that much in this space (for now), I will say: I’m ridin’ with Biden, though not nearly as enthusiastically as some. If the other guy is re-elected, we will probably lose our Republic. That is not hyperbole.

So in summary, while there are things I miss from social media, the main benefit — avoiding the bullshit — outweighs everything else.

Talk to you all tomorrow.


Bringing Back the Dead on Screen

It’s Day 30. This count will get much more interesting in a couple days.

Personal News

I woke up rough and considered calling in sick. I made it through most of the day, but then a headache hit me around lunch time and didn’t subside. After SCRUM, I took a nap and slept until almost 5PM. I feel better. I must not be getting enough sleep.

The Topic: Bringing Back the Dead on Screen

There is a new Ghost Busters movie coming out, and the trailer looks pretty good to me. On YouTube, I watch a bunch of videos on New Rockstars, and today they posted a breakdown of the trailer. At the end of the video, Erik Voss gave his opinion on the SAG rules and what he thought of recreating Harold Ramis.

Here is that video, hopefully right where Erik talks about this:

If you don’t want to or can’t watch that clip, Erik is basically saying:

  1. The SAG rules don’t go far enough in protecting actors from being necromanced by greedy studios
  2. Consent from the living relatives isn’t enough, because who can say what the relationship is between the deceased and their kin?
  3. Instead of using VFX to recreate deceased actors, recast with actors that look similar, and maybe don’t show their face

Naturally, I have some thoughts.

I’ll start with the second point. I’m not sure that it’s a great idea to assume the worst with regards to familial relationships. If there is no evidence of estrangement, why would we assume estrangement exists? Are we trying to protect the deceased? If so, paying their families what the actor would normally be paid seems like it would be a kindness.

If that point is muddled, maybe this one is better: if an actor’s living relatives are allowed to say whether they live or die when they’re in a vegetative state, I think those same living relatives should be able to say whether or not the actor’s likeness can be used after they’re gone.

Let’s tie this in with the first point: the greed of the studios. If you want to address the greed, then use the point I just suggested, which is the actor’s estate should be paid just as much for using the likeness as the actor would be paid if they were still alive. When you factor in the cost of VFX and the potential backlash the studios will face for resurrecting beloved actors in this way, the greedy studios will have to think long and hard as to whether or not their necromancy is worth it.

Third point… they already wind up using other actors to stand in for the deceased. Whether it is make-up, VFX, or clever camera angles, the new actor isn’t really getting great exposure or the opportunity to shine. I think that’s ultimately what Erik Voss is angling for with that point. Let the dead lie, and celebrate the living. Let new actors have a chance to take the stage.

I do think we should be looking to tell new stories and make new things. One of the reasons the years seem funny, that 1995 feels like it was 10 years ago and not nearly 30, is because I’m old. But another reason is that movies and music have sort of stalled out. The digital media doesn’t degrade. With streaming services, all of the old content is available in perpetuity. Before The Internet, we had tapes and CDs, but we also listened to the radio for new things. Now you can create a playlist in 2011 and still be listening to it 13 years later, without losing fidelity.

It feels harder to find new things these days. Movies are in a similar rut, in that the studios mostly just keep revisiting existing franchises and banking on nostalgia. We get a couple of morsels of something new every year, like Barbie and Oppenheimer, but then a glut of remakes, rebrands, and retreads. Kind of like the Ghost Busters movie that’s getting ready to come out, that spawned this post in the first place.

Anyway. I’ll stop shouting at the clouds. Let me know if I’m way off base, here.



Personal News

I’ve been out of it today, for some reason. I woke up poorly, and then I had trouble focusing on just about everything. I got some work done, but not enough. We’ll see if I can have a more productive day tomorrow.

Upcoming Events and Such

We leave for Boskone a week from Thursday. We’ll have quite a few books available at the table. About 20 soft copies of The Repossessed Ghost and around 20 of One for the Road.

The Topic: Melissa

I might have failed to write my post today, but Melissa saved me. She found me sitting in front of my work laptop, not working but just doing nothing with intense purpose. I was listening and partially watching someone play Lethal Company on Twitch while also mindlessly playing solitaire over and over. There’s something very soothing about taking the chaos of the cards and rearranging them into order.

Chaos. If I am a champion of order, Melissa is an agent of chaos. If she were a cat, she’d be the sort that walks on the tables, knocking over glasses and anything left too close to the edge. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen Melissa reach over and disrupt whatever neat piles I may have assembled, because it’s too orderly and chaos must reign. She gives my minor O.C.D. quite a bit to contend with.

She just brought me a cup of hot, cinnamon apple spice herbal tea. Of the all the tea options, this is my favorite. It’s good enough that I question if it is really tea. This drink reminds me of the drink I first gave to Melissa while we both lived in dorm 518. She was sitting in the hall, complaining with her friend Smith about their hot chocolate being a bit chalky. We were in New Mexico, and it was cold, and I had a care package from my Mom which included some powdered bags of cinnamon apple cider. I ran some water through my coffee maker, took her a cup, and she loved it. That’s when we became friends.

Some time later, she found me practicing pool in the day room and asked if I had a car. I did. An ’87 Mustang GT I bought from someone else in dorm 518. One might look at the situation as her asking me out, but I figured she was just looking for a ride. We went to the Alamogordo theater and watched Dumb and Dumber. Smith accompanied us.

She borrowed my VCR once so she could watch some spicy movies. I remember swinging by her room after I’d gone to the commissary. I showed her this short sleave silk shirt I’d just picked up, and she borrowed that, too. I didn’t get the VCR back, nor the shirt, until after we were married.

I loved her before she loved me. I was devoted to her before she saw me the same way, but I had something going for me that no else did: I was honest with her. I wasn’t trying to use her. I called her out on her bullshit, which wasn’t hard because we were both young and absolutely full of it.

Twice during the time before we got married, she threw her hairbrush at me. Hard. Both times I caught it just a couple of inches in front of my face. I don’t think she ever meant to actually hurt me with those throws, and I also think that if I hadn’t caught it the way I did, we probably wouldn’t have wound up together.

I listen to her. She used to be angry with me, that I could listen as deeply as I did, sometimes without appearing to pay her any attention at all.

There’s a tiny version of her in my head. It’s basically all of the memories I have of her put together, creating a version of her in my mind that lets me figure out what she wants and needs. Sometimes, Melissa gets upset with the little version of her that lives in my head.

To know a person is to love them, or maybe it’s the other way around. When Melissa reminded me that I needed to write my post tonight, I asked her, “What should I write about?”

She jokingly said, “Me!”

There are lots of ways to describe someone, but I think my description of Melissa tonight can only be created through sturdy, unassuming love. The kind of love that looks weathered and beaten, but is strong enough to support a relationship for decades. The world will press against us, and I may despair from time to time, but I know Melissa, probably better than she knows herself. And this is my love language.


A Literal Stroll Down Memory Lane

Melissa and I just back from a trip to San Jose! This was a well spent Sunday.

Upcoming Events and Such

Boskone is coming up, and as long as I can find a place to record, we’ll be doing a Live From Boskone recording for the Small Publishing in a Big Universe Podcast. Additionally, I’ll have LOTS of copies of both The Repossessed Ghost and One for the Road available at the table.

Additionally, I’ll be attending the Sacramento Comic-Con on March 9th and 10th where I will also have books available. I’m sure I’ll talk more about that later.

The Topic: A Literal Stroll Down Memory Lane

Melissa and I went down to San Jose to meet up with Steven Radecki, managing editor of Paper Angel Press and its imprints, and his wife. I had the cash to hand over to him from some of the sales at Arisia, plus the signed release forms for the podcast we recorded. It was the first time I got to meet his wife, and she and Melissa had quite a bit in common. We had a really great time, and I’m sure we’ll meet more often.

After we parted, I drove us about 12 minutes away to the first neighborhood I can remember. It’s been over 40 years since I’ve seen those streets, and it was truly fascinating seeing that area as an adult.

We found the first house I can remember on Blake Street. It looks like an additional room has been built where once we had a closed off covered patio. As you might imagine, the place looked smaller than I remember, because my memories are from a 6 year old. The front yard is just the same, and I remember it feeling spacious when I played on it. As a 6ft tall adult, it looked more like a green postage stamp.

After staring at my old house for a bit, hopefully without making the current occupants nervous, we turned and walked half a block to what used to be Luther Elementary. The heavy wooden sign that once said Luther Elementary is still in front, but the campus is now split between a Montessori school and a French American Academy.

Gates were open, and we walked through the hall connecting the different buildings. It was all just as I remembered it, save for a change in paint and everything seeming about 20% smaller. I was able to point out the rooms where I attended 1st and 2nd grade, and a bit further down the walkway, the yard where I played during kindergarten. Past that, we were able to wander around the field attached to the school. One of the old fitness trail signs from the 70s is still there.

We walked around the field, then hung a right and made it to Kellogg Way and the other house I lived on once we moved from Blake Street. The house on Kellogg looked much, much different than I remember. The tree with the long boughs I was yelled at for swinging on wasn’t there anymore. The lemon tree where my father’s cat was buried is no longer in the enclosed patio. I had a hard time reconciling the house to what I remember from when I was 7 and 8. Again, it’s been more than 40 years. Things were bound to change.

The feel of the neighborhood was the same, though. It looked like a place that would still make a good home.

Next, Melissa and I will have to wander over to Susanville and see what that old haunt feels like.


Echo and the MCU

It’s Saturday afternoon, and this is #27

Personal News

The cat has once again ceased her desperately horny yowling, and we enter another couple weeks of peace. I met up with my publisher and we debriefed for Arisia and talked about preparations for Boskone. I finished the work I needed to finish. Time to play, right?

The Topic: Echo and the MCU

I mentioned Echo yesterday. After finishing the post, Melissa and I watched the rest of the season. Did they stick the landing? I kind of think so!

What did I like about this show? It seemed more grounded and the stakes were personal. I liked that the answer the main character found for defeating the antagonist wasn’t just a fight. I liked the reconciliation of the family. It was nice, and I felt some emotions.

Is this my favorite thing in the whole wide world? Not really. I enjoyed it for what it was.

Apparently, I’m in the minority of actually liking Echo. It has the second lowest Rotten Tomatoes of any of the MCU series. I’m not sure why it was rated so poorly.

Hating on the MCU seems like the trendy thing to do. I’m not ready to jump on that bandwagon yet.

If the world wants me to give the MCU less of my attention, it needs to offer me something else to focus on. Something more interesting than just tickling my nostalgia.

Give me new SciFi. New genre fiction. Take a chance on new or recent stories and give me more to love.

Don’t expect me to hate, because something has to be really, really bad for me to hate it. Like Rise of Skywalker.

Happy Saturday, friends.


Some Good and Some Bad Entertainment

Today was a sleepy Friday, in that I woke up so exhausted, I wound up taking a nap at the back half of the day that went way longer than expected. If I’m going to hit #26 in a row, it’s now or never.

Personal News

Because the nap went longer than expected, I’m going to have to make up some lost Day Job time this weekend. It won’t be that bad. I got ahead of the game on Thursday night. The stuff I’m going to do is relatively straight forward and shouldn’t take too long. But it is another weekend where I’m going to be doing some work.

I think the nap that took me today was part of the inevitable crash I mentioned a few days ago. So since I’m working some this weekend, it seems the cycle will continue.

Upcoming Events and Such

Last night, I made hotel arrangements for Norwescon, reserved the hotel for Baycon, bought the plane tickets to Seattle for Norwescon, and confirmed that we’re all set for the rest. Boskone is going to be upon us before we’re ready. It’s going to be a busy year.

This weekend, I’m heading to San Jose area to meet up with Steven Radecki and his wife.

The Topic: Some Good and Some Bad Entertainment

Today, my work’s book club was supposed to meet, but because Teams was pretty much down for everyone, we rescheduled the meeting to another time. The book we were going to talk about is The Sisterhood by Liza Mundy, and this will represent the “bad” entertainment.

It’s not a bad book, per se, but it is definitely not for me. The main thrust of this book is that there existed women patriots that served the CIA, and they faced misogyny. None of this information is particularly new or interesting to me. There were a few stand out individuals described in the book, but the overall structure is wrapped in generalization, which just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe if my gender were different, I’d enjoy this more, but that seems shitty, too. The world is flooded with media that is all about my gender, but I don’t take comfort in it.

This might sound strange, but I don’t typically identify with most straight white CIS characters just because they’re straight, CIS, and/or white. I am a straight white dude, but the life experiences and personality on the page and on screen does misses me more often that it hits. Do you want to know which MCU character I most identify with? Sam Wilson. That might be a topic for a different post, though.

I started this with some criticism. Let’s move on to some praise.

Melissa and I just started watching Echo on Disney+ and I think it’s really, really good. I’m hoping all of the Choctaw content is good representation, but I don’t know. I like the main character. I’m very much into the family drama portion. It’s good! I’m not sure Disney/Marvel promoted this as much as the other stuff, and I’m guess that’s for two reasons.

  1. The perception of superhero fatigue and oversaturation of Marvel media on both the big and small screens
  2. This is following a deaf, Native American with a prosthetic leg, and the anti-representation, anti-“woke” crowd has been particularly noisy lately.

With regards to the first point… I love the superhero stuff, probably more than the next person, but I get it. Less is more sometimes, so backing off and leaving people wanting and anticipating is probably a good play.

As to the second point… I really hope I’m wrong about it. It’s important not to let ignorant people steer the ship. If Disney/Marvel is really concerned about being perceived as having a representation agenda, either lean into it or ignore it, because if it’s a good story, it will stand on its own.

That’s it! Pizza is on its way. Melissa and I will finish Echo tonight, and maybe I’ll mention tomorrow if I think they stuck the landing.


What Even Is Thursday?

Today felt like it should have been Friday most of the day, and I’m already exhausted thinking about getting up early tomorrow and finishing my work week. But, the show must go on! And so shall we.

Personal News

After the day I had yesterday, today was sublime. Sure, a cramp in my right calf woke me up, painful enough to make me wonder if I slipped a tendon and resulting in leg pain all day, but at least I wasn’t denied salty tacos from a fast food restaurant!

My card appears to be working and I was able to donate to the Writing Excuses Retreat scholarship program. If you’re a writer and you’re interested in going for free, you still have time to apply.

Upcoming Events and Such

We leave for Boskone exactly 2 weeks from today. I took care of the hotel for Baycon, so that’s all settled for July. I still need to take care of everything for Norwescon, which is in Seattle at the end of March. I put in my vacation requests for all these times. Progress has been made.

Also, I committed Melissa and I to going to the Writing Excuses Cruise later in the year. My wallet will hopefully stop sizzling sometime this weekend.

The Topic: What Even Is Thursday?

Today feels like a non-day, so I’ll go into some of the least favorite topics here at Brian C. E. Buhl dot com. That is, I have some thoughts about the blog itself and this full year challenge.

We’re 25 days into it, and I have no doubt that I can complete this challenge. Not all of the posts will be stellar, and I think that’s okay. Some days, it’s going to be challenging finding something to talk about. That’s also okay.

What I’m thinking about now is what the effect will be of me actually writing something every day this year. Maybe that’s… bad?

This is my main way of putting news and information out in the world. Posting my random daily thoughts does not support those efforts, in that unless I’m willing to repeat myself a lot, some of the things I want to talk about will get lost in the minutia. That’s not great. This is probably one of those cases where less is more.

I am subscribed to a couple of newsletters and when they get too chatty, I skim instead of read. I’m sure that will happen with my daily deluge, if it isn’t happening already. So again, I’m putting more out into the world, and less of it will be seen.

Who cares, though? I’m not making money on this site, and I’m not hurting anyone. This challenge is to keep me sane and keep me productive. If it’s for me, what does it matter if people are reading it or not? In fact, if I’m so concerned about it, why don’t I just make the bulk of these posts private?

The problem is that when it’s private, I lose interest in writing it. I lose the accountability of having this be a public exercise. This feels like something I should be doing out in the open.

I’ll keep going, anyway, as long as I can. I’ll go with my guts and not let the doubts cause me to stumble.

Also, I’m really looking forward to publicly writing a story. I think I want to start it after Boskone, when there’s a little bit of a gap in my schedule. I don’t know what the story will be yet. I’m just excited to get into it. Maybe it’ll help someone. Maybe it’ll help me.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking around. And, with great intention, I look forward to talking to you tomorrow.


Just Another Bad Day

It’s 7:30PM on a Wednesday. I’m about to play some video games with my friends. Can’t slouch on my daily duty, though.

I’ll forgo the “Personal News” and just jump into this, because this whole topic is personal news. Today was rough. Let me tell you about it.

As I mentioned recently, Pancakes is in heat again, so sleep is once again strained. It doesn’t seem quite as bad as before, but I still struggled to get up on time to make the drive to work.

Traffic this morning wasn’t as bad as it had been yesterday, but it still took a full hour to get to the office. As has been told to me by a tech writer I admire, “California drivers are powdered crazy. Just add water.” The drizzle of rain this morning was sufficient.

Thus far, things aren’t really that bad. I’m tired, cranky, irritated from the drive, but I’m healthy enough and I made it to work on time. My upset stomach put me in the bathroom earlier than I like, and of course the first stall I went into somehow had shit smeared on the back of the seat, but this isn’t that bad so far, I swear.

I get through some meetings, some of which were intense. One of the meetings goes long, bleeding into my lunch hour, but we accomplished some stuff. It’s fine. Everything is fine. I figure I’ll just go to Chipotle because I lack self-respect and figure that if I already have some stomach issues, how much worse can they be? I’ll get my greasy tacos, take them to my desk, and stuff my face while I catch up on some more work.

They make my tacos and I go to pay and… my card is declined.

“Do you want to use a different card?”

I don’t have a different card. I don’t carry cash anymore. I have plenty of money in the bank. My card should not be declined.

They put my bag of food behind the counter and let me step to the side and call my bank. The call is not quick. I’m on hold for over 20 minutes, with dueling robots interrupting each other to use too-loud voices to tell me things I do not want or need to hear. I heard it all before, the last time an overly sensitive fraud alert stranded me without money.

At least the last time this happened, I wasn’t alone or embarrassed in front of a Chipotle full of people. My stomach twists in knots, and I wait it out.

They’re able to help me. It wasn’t easy. There is some 24-hour pin that I was never actually told, and the account numbers changed, so I don’t have that to give. My social security number is enough to identify me, and the rest of the identification process of verifying personal information and giving numbers from a text message verify my identity.

It takes them 3 tries to unlock my card. Each time, they keep me on the line and I have to weave in through the paying customers to try my card. My face is hot. I’m tired of pressing my cell phone against the side of my head. Just let me get my unhealthy lunch and get back to work.

I get through it and return to my desk, and I have about 10 minutes to down my lunch before the big end-of-scrum meeting, in which I’m supposed to be one of the presenters. I haven’t had a chance to prepare.

That’s okay. My presentation is fine, and the meeting continues. But there’s still that one task I need to complete, so I start working on it during the meeting. It involves updating a row in the production database, in order to change the replication settings for one of our internal environments. No big deal. I’ve done this thousands of times.

Lack of sleep. Upset stomach. Flustered from the lunch experience. Oh, and I left my glasses at my desk, and I’m working on my tiny laptop screen.

I’m not sure which factor played the biggest part, but I screwed up. Instead of changing the replication settings for one of our environments, I changed it for all of the environments.

Oh no.

I didn’t panic. I did what I could to minimize the damage. But I screwed up, and there’s no easy undo to fix this.

I wound up having to stay late, waiting for a restore of a major database so that I can put the settings back. Then I wound my way through crappy traffic to come home, and the restore still isn’t done.

Anyway, how was your day?


Ethically Working as a Writer

It’s midafternoon and I’m between tasks at work. Now’s as good a time to at least start the post, even if I have to wait until I get home to finish it.

[Future Brian here… I wound up having to put it away and finish it in the evening. It wound up being a really long work day.]

Personal News

Remember a couple weeks ago when I couldn’t stop talking about how the cat in our house was in heat and none of us could get any sleep? Ha ha! Good times, good times.

Why am I bringing this up? No reason.

On a completely unrelated topic, do they make Midol for cats?

The Topic: Ethically Working as a Writer

I came in to the office today, and I’ll be coming in tomorrow as well. Coming to the office means I get to go to lunch with my coworkers. At least, the ones that also come in to the office. We went to lunch, and we introduced ourselves to our newest member. That gave me the opportunity to tell him that I’m a writer.

The conversation during lunch went through various topics, at one point landing on what it takes to make it big as an author. I maintained that the quality of the writing is secondary to the luck factor, as there are scads of writers out there producing good work that will never be seen. We touched on gatekeeping and publishers and whatnot, and while talking about one independently published author that made it big, I said, “He got lucky, but there were some allegations that he created sock puppet accounts in order to boost his reviews.”

The person across the table from me said, “Everybody does that.”

The person to my right said, “I think it’s generally expected that to make it, you must inflate your own numbers.”

A third person said, “They’re just trying to reduce the amount of luck involved in making it.”

One of the first two people said, “It’s just like people buying views or followers on Instagram and YouTube.”

I shook my head and tried to tell them it was unethical, but the conversation moved on by then.

I will never buy reviews, trade reviews, or do anything unethical with my writing career. I’ll put in the hours. I’ll go to events. I’ll do whatever I can to be a successful author, except compromise my integrity. Even if it means I die in obscurity.

Am I being naive? I don’t care. Everyone should know what lines they will and will not cross.


More Thoughts on The Hugos

Some days it is challenging for me to think of something to talk about. I didn’t have that problem tonight. As soon as I saw the discourse, I knew what I was going to say.

Personal News

There’s this project I’ve been working on at work that is complicated and difficult to test. Worse, it’s something I don’t see us ever actually using, and the main reason I pushed forward on this thing was to give one of my fellows some training. Was this project successful in helping my guy? It’s difficult to say at this point. We’ll see.

In any event, it passes all the unit tests and it’s checked in. We’ll see what my contemporaries have to say about it.

Upcoming Events and Such

Nothing new to report over what I stated yesterday. Boskone is coming up quick. Norwescon is after that, and I still haven’t made all the arrangements. I still need to make decisions about a number of other events this year.

The Topic: More Thoughts on The Hugos

This last year, WorldCon took place in China. WorldCon is where The Hugos are given out each year, and I didn’t have a lot of exposure to any of it. I didn’t follow it. I didn’t vote. I was a bad fan.

In recent years, there has been a lot of drama around The Hugos. The Sad Puppies. The Rabid Puppies. George R. R. Martin completely bombing parts of the presentation. Drama.

Some rules were adjusted to deal with voting blocks and some of the shenanigans that went during the feral puppy era. The other sorts of drama that cropped up seemed minor in comparison, and ultimately forgettable. But this last year, we have a fresh new hell to contend with.

Stories that should have been eligible were ruled as ineligible. It looks like the head volunteer responsible for administrating the awards may have futzed with eligibility rules himself. Or maybe the Chinese government was involved. I haven’t looked that closely into the situation, and I sort of don’t want to. Yesterday, when I talked about getting away from Doomscrolling, this is what I meant. This is the sort of thing I’m trying to avoid.

I don’t know much about what went down, but it doesn’t pass the smell test. At least one of the stories ruled ineligible won the Nebula and Locus awards.

No one has stated this explicitly on any of my feeds, but it sounds like the stories ruled ineligible may have contained LGBTQ+ content. If this is the reason why they were left off the ballot, then this sucks all around.

A number of people more informed and more eloquent than me have talked about this online. I’ll leave it to them to go into the finer details. I do have one potentially different take, which I will share.

I really don’t see much difference between books containing LGBTQ+ content and books containing polyamory. I hope that statement isn’t going to get me in trouble. The reason I’m making it is because my guy, Robert Heinlein, winner of many Hugo awards, saturated many of his stories with polyamorous relationships. Stranger in a Strange Land, winner of the 1962 Hugo award, contained polyamorous content. If we could handle polyamory in 1962, we should be able to handle LGBTQ+ content in 2023 and beyond.

I feel like I’m being clumsy while trying to make the point that The Hugos historically have been capable of being progressive and challenging societal norms, and censoring these stories from the ballots today should not be tolerated.

In my heart, I still want to earn a Hugo. I want to have that connection to Robert Heinlein. In Stranger in a Strange Land, Heinlein told a story about the audacity and power of love, a theme that creeps into most of my own stories.

I guess that’s all I have to say about that.