April 15, 2015

Chasing Tale [April 15, 2015]: Fandom and Dumber

Chasing Tale is a recurring look at the books that have wound up on my to-be-read pile, as well as a rant on whatever is on my mind at the time.

Val McDermid wrote a piece for the Guardian a couple weeks back titled "Why crime fiction is liberal and thrillers are rightwing." It's interesting because whatever politics exist in thriller and crime fiction, the writers and the fans don't appear to be embroiled in any kind of artificial "culture war." I mean, when Stephen King (that detestable tree-hugging, tax dodging, gun hating liberal that he is) won the Thriller Award in 2012, right-wingers didn't lose their minds and accuse the awards of being overtaken by "libtard" cliques. But people in the science fiction & fantasy community for the last few years, and this year especially, have straight-up forgotten how to adult ... all because of the Hugo Awards.

If you haven't heard the hoopla, just Google the words "Hugo Awards" and "puppies," and have fun with the fustercluck  you find in the results. It has hit such ridiculous levels (from Alex Jones caliber conspiracy theories to alleged death threats) that the grandpa of all things nerdy, George R.R. Martin, had to take time away from not finishing his A Song of Ice and Fire series to offer a voice of reason to the juvenile pissing and moaning.

The whole thing smacks of paranoid bullshit. Or, heck, maybe all these malcontents are right and I'm the crazy one. Maybe there's an unholy left-wing army that has hijacked the SF/F community. Maybe it's some unholy right-wing army that did the hijacking. Or maybe--just maybe--these grown-ass authors need to stop throwing hissy fits, stop with the drama bombs, stop losing their shit over every slight both real and imagined, and stop fetishizing a goddamn paperweight that--let's be honest--kinda looks like a chrome dildo.

I do enjoy an author meltdown now and again, but the usual culprits only get their fur up over 1-star Amazon reviews, or maybe a snarkfest between a self-published author and a traditionall published author. But this lot is the who's who of sci-fi and fantasy. New York Times bestsellers bellowing at each other from their digital soap boxes in a manner that makes a brawl in the Ukrainian parliament look downright cordial. It's such a pathetic display and has been drawn out for so long, even my prurient popcorn munching is dampened by the idea that the Hugos aren't until August, which means we probably have yet to hit the high watermark for asinine embarrassments.

I don't expect much from the rabble on Twitter or comments sections on blogs, the fetid swamp where the bodies of civil discourse are dumped, but it would be nice if the figureheads of this fiasco could drop the righteous indignation and hyperbole, blogging incessantly about how hard done-by they all are, and get back to doing something productive. Ya know ... like writing a f**king book.

Speaking of books, a bunch more wound up on my bookshelves. Have a look and let me know what you've added to your TBR pile lately. But if you wanna comment on the literary illuminati, don't bother. You're just gonna put me to sleep.

The Crime of Our Lives by Lawrence Block - On top of all the fiction he's written, Lawrence Block has collected a slew of his nonfiction, as he reminisces about his time in the crime genre trenches. Should be great.

Desert Rising by Kelley Grant - This is a debut novel out through Harper Voyager Impulse. A fantasy novel with capricious deities and giant cats. Hmmm. Sounds like your average day on the internet to me.

Black Cat Mojo by Adam Howe -This one is a collection of novellas that combine crime and horror, and boasts some eye-catching titles like "Of Badgers and Porn Dwarfs." O_o If that's not doing it for ya, there's always "Jesus in a Dog's Ass."

From Hell by Tim Marquitz - The Demon Squad series just keeps rolling along, and I have some serious catching up to do. With the books I already have, I received a free copy of this novella.

Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire - A new series from McGuire, so I figured I'd try to get in on the ground floor with this one. The gal is prolific, and from what I've read of her work thus far, pretty damned talented to boot.

The Nobody by Tom Piccirilli - An amnesia-themed thriller novella by one of the most remarkable writers on this century thus far. Oh, you don't believe me? You obviously haven't read his work yet. Fix that.

"Suffer the Children" and "The Voivod" by Dominic Selwood - I received a couple of short stories that are a bit of an homage to M.R. James. I do enjoy a good ghost story, especially of the British persuasion.

Incarnate by Anton Strout - I've reviewed the first two novels in Anton's gargoyle series, so I may as well finish off the trilogy while I'm at it. The second book was a noticeable improvement over the first, so I'm curious how this third one fares.

Inhuman Interest by Eric Turowski - This one sounds little bit steampunky, little bit adventure thriller, little bit urban fantasy. Might be worth a look-see.

Scavenger: Evolution by Timothy C. Ward - Tim's third installment in his Scavenger series is out now. The guy is building up a head of steam the last year or two. Might wanna keep an eye on this guy.

Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells - Loved, loved, loved Jaye's Sabina Kane series, and now she has a new urban fantasy series, this one featuring a police force tackling supernatural powers. Neat-o.

Dark Screams: Volume Three by various authors - The third installment of the ongoing anthology comes out soon. Loved the first, liked the second, so I'm hoping the third rebounds back into great territory. With Ketchum and Straub in the ToC, there's a strong possibility of that.

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