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Monday, December 10, 2012

Help an author this Christmas

The heart, it bleeds.  I saw the sad plea on John Scalzi's site, a giant green banner that says "Fuck You. Pay Me."  It's tragic that after a short, but glorious career of prostituting himself in a literary manner, he's been forced to turn to literal prostitution in order to buy his family Christmas Holiday presents this year.

Won't you please buy a copy of one of his Heinlein derivatives, or his Piper derivative, or his Star Trek derivative?  If enough of us join together and help out, perhaps he'll not only be able to afford Christmas Holiday presents, but an original idea for a novel too!

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100 Comments:

Anonymous Tom O. December 10, 2012 5:05 PM  

Given that John Scalzi is an confessed rapist (who may or may not have raped and murdered a girl in 1990) I think the least we could do is impart the same experience.

Anonymous Difster December 10, 2012 5:11 PM  

His rant makes a good point but it's done in very childish and unprofessional manner.

I get asked to do free computer work all the time; even if it interrupts my actual paid work.

Anonymous Luscinia December 10, 2012 5:15 PM  

Why buy a Heinlein derivative when you can buy a Tolkien derivative?

Anonymous VD December 10, 2012 5:18 PM  

Why buy a Heinlein derivative when you can buy a Tolkien derivative?

Tolkien derivative? Seriously? I don't even have a McGuffin or a Bad Guy. Anyhow, I don't think you realize how utterly derivative his books are.

Anonymous Porky? December 10, 2012 5:22 PM  

Who?

Anonymous swiftfoxmark2 December 10, 2012 5:22 PM  

Fuck You, Pay Me

Sure, let me get my Visa gift card out and, oh wait, it doesn't support online transactions of any kind. Or most others for that matter.

Guess you'll have to make money the old fashioned way. What's that? We live in a post-industrial world despite the industry needed to maintain it all?

I guess you'll have to get a welfare check from the government. What's that? You mean to tell me that tax revenues have dropped to zero, despite raising taxes on the wealthy?

I guess you'll have to kill yourself now. What's that? Suicide is illegal?

Well, no one ever said life had a point to it...

Anonymous Daniel December 10, 2012 5:23 PM  

I want a McGuffin for Christmas.

Scalzi is getting imprecise with his language.

Doesn't he mean to say "Rape you. Pay me."?

Anonymous F December 10, 2012 5:25 PM  

Scalzi just isn't a very good writer, I say that having read several of his books from my local library. Is Vox better at fiction? I have no idea. But even if Vox were merely average he'd be outpacing Scalzi.

Anonymous Outlaw X December 10, 2012 5:27 PM  

No thanks.

Blogger tz December 10, 2012 5:28 PM  

He should eat his own cooking and put his blog - it is writing after all - behind a paywall.

Anonymous Edjamacator December 10, 2012 5:29 PM  

Can I just donate and throw the book away? Or donate the book to some illegal aliens? I'd like to punish them if I have to give money away.

I guess you'll have to kill yourself now. What's that? Suicide is illegal?

Don't know if it's illegal, but I hear it's painless.

Blogger Markku December 10, 2012 5:29 PM  

I hear it brings on many changes.

Anonymous Daniel December 10, 2012 5:32 PM  

I disagree, F. I think he's an acceptable writer. His massive problem is that he isn't an original writer. I never lost my place or misunderstood Old Man's War (or...gahhhh...Zoe's Tale or even that really boring dark novella whose name escapes me), it is just that they lacked ideas. When he rewrote H. Beam Piper, it was clear that he had very little literary flair, but I see nothing wrong with being the Hemingway of the Stars.

The problem is that obsessing about obsessing about Star Trek is no different than plain old obsessing about Star Trek. It's never going to break new ground or say anything different than "gee, wasn't old sci-fi cool, and aren't we cool to reject/accept it?"

The guy is to science fiction what the Antiques Roadshow is to archaeology.

Blogger tz December 10, 2012 5:34 PM  

Derivatives? He's gone far down the slippery slope.

Perhaps he could combine his two passions and somehow get paid to rape.

Of course he would have to pay for child support for 18 years.

Consider how he conceived his storylines, perhaps his brainchild should have been aborted.

Anonymous Daniel December 10, 2012 5:34 PM  

Oh, and I can take or leave it if I please.

Blogger JDC December 10, 2012 5:34 PM  

What's the point he is making? He uses a quote from a movie where the head mafia boss is milking a club owner out of his own club, and won't take excuses when payment is due - even when said benefactor is the one robbing from him.

Fine - rapey Mcnugget won't do any work for free. I respect his position, but to try and take the higher ground because of it? Most people who become accomplished in their vocation are asked to provide free services from time to time. I'm not going to place a spiritual value on this, or invoke a Christian ethic (which would be lost on date-rape McGuffey), but come on.

You can choose to help people in need or not - but to state that you won't and then take the moral high ground is beyond ridiculous. For f**** sakes - I have done three free funerals in the past 4 months (because I offered my services to one of the local funeral homes). Other pastors don't do this, and I would never criticize them for it...unless they either bragged or uplifted themselves as a paragon of virtue because of their stand on not giving free services. I am thankful when asked to provide free services - i don't always oblige, but am glad that someone thinks highly enough of me to bother.

I don't think - f*** you pay me will work when i stand before my maker and account for the things I have done.

Anonymous Daniel December 10, 2012 5:41 PM  

Here's the difference: Before Sputnik launched H. Beam Piper could diagram the process of building and launching it on a paper napkin at a sci-fi convention. He thought a lot about engineering space travel, to the point that he abandoned near future writing after growing disappointed with his inability to perfectly predict the technology and history of tomorrow.

Scalzi takes the existing tropes built and fleshed out by his predecessors, and puts new characters through the motions. The guy has written, what, ten sci-fi books? Admittedly, I've only read four (okay, 3.5. Zoe's Tale knocked it out of me), but he didn't advance a new idea (although the concept of sending the aged to the war was great in theory, but loses its zip once the recruits get young bodies and vitality to do it. I liked OMW just fine - thought it was a promising start that missed a great opportunity with the concept)

Blogger Markku December 10, 2012 5:43 PM  

Pplz, try the Finnish book Quantum Thief for some hard sci-fi.

Anonymous Tad December 10, 2012 5:45 PM  

Won't you please buy a copy of one of his Heinlein derivatives, or his Piper derivative, or his Star Trek derivative? If enough of us join together and help out, perhaps he'll not only be able to afford Christmas Holiday presents, but an original idea for a novel too!

Wow...A plea for payment is one thing. But this comes off as extraordinarily petty, strewn with jealousy and envious of a far more successful writer.

Ugh!!!

Anonymous zen0 December 10, 2012 5:54 PM  

Ugh!!!

How was "lunch", weasel boy?

Anonymous Daniel December 10, 2012 5:56 PM  

Tad, you didn't even know that Spacebunny was Vox's wife. I don't think you are in a position to comprehend how the English language "comes off" or doesn't.

Anonymous Daniel December 10, 2012 6:02 PM  

By the way, Scalzi describes OMW series as derivatives of Heinlein (and Zoe's Tale is nothing more than a derivative of his derivative!), Fuzzy Nation is an open retelling of Piper, and what, exactly do you think "Redshirts" is based on?

So...is Scalzi petty for promoting his derivative work as such?

As they say in Boston, that's just reTadded.

Anonymous Tad December 10, 2012 6:10 PM  

@Daniel



Though I've witnessed many non sequiturs reading this blog and its comments, this is perhaps the most fabulous of them all. Well done, Daniel.

Anonymous Red Comet December 10, 2012 6:14 PM  

I think it was actually Harlan Ellison that came up with "Fuck you. Pay me."

Anonymous kh123 December 10, 2012 6:19 PM  

Beyond John's quoting-without-attribution of Henry Hill, saw the cover of one of his books on the side tab.

Foregoing the title and theme, it's got some technical artistic issues - the foreshortening of the guy's arm and choice of dark/light balance being all over the place. Some of the harsher highlights look alright, but it's thrown off by all the gratuitous airbrush or soft brush midtones all over the place.

Upshot is that it leads me to think that either there was an underbid for a digital artist - any artist - who was more than likely some freelance kid from Malaysia who posts regularly on Conceptart, or that the artistic taste of whoever chose said-artist is so mired Photoshop fan renderings of Twilight or Avatar that they thought a little touch of fuzzy with sci-fi on airbrush was a feat of auteur brilliance unseen in the history of fiction cover art.

Or more than likely both.

Anonymous Koanic December 10, 2012 6:37 PM  

"I don't even have a McGuffin or a Bad Guy."

I think that's a terrible missed opportunity. Your next book should be a novel of the dwarf seige told primarily through the point of view of the demon-possessed ogre king. Let the dark side rip and send all those relativist castrati squealing.

You'd take the Game world by storm. Finally a fantasy book relevant to modern social life. A trebuchet to the chest is my kind of fairy tale ending.

Face it, Vox, you write the bad guys too well. Tweenage dialogue is wasted on you.

Anonymous Salt December 10, 2012 6:38 PM  

Scalzi is such a goodfella.

(rolleyes)

Anonymous Roundtine December 10, 2012 6:42 PM  

Maybe someone has been watching Goodfellas.

Anonymous kh123 December 10, 2012 6:45 PM  

" Most people who become accomplished in their vocation are asked to provide free services from time to time."

To be fair, the entertainment industry's rife with executives, producers and directors - studios for that matter - that think a Ponzi Scheme was an episode from Happy Days; they make their living bleeding stones dry via Hollywood accounting.

Anonymous Feh December 10, 2012 6:51 PM  

Gee Scalzi, I'd like to help you out, except you have spent years vomiting on me as an eeeeeevil white male conservative, and I just don't see why I should give money to someone who despises me.

Anonymous Feh December 10, 2012 6:55 PM  

In fact, I'm kinda thinking I will respond to Scalzi's plea by buying something from Vox.

Vox gets money, I get something good to read, Scalzi gets the middle finger he deserves: WIN-WIN-WIN!

Anonymous Tad December 10, 2012 7:11 PM  

@Zeno
How was lunch?

Excellent. Thank you for asking. We both started with an Old Fashioned. The fact is, it's hard to find a bartender that knows how to make a real, honest Old Fashioned. This guy knows how. So we enjoyed that before lunch, which was poached Atlantic Salmon with grits and green beans for me, while Loren had the Bucatini dressed with butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Guanciale.

Anonymous jack December 10, 2012 7:14 PM  

I needed that belly laugh this posting just gave me.

Ha Ha Ha Ha, etc.

Wonderful!

Anonymous Res Ipsa December 10, 2012 7:32 PM  

When I have a choice, I only pay for things I like.

Anonymous Kickass December 10, 2012 7:36 PM  

"One result of that is that in my career I’ve moved through circles of people in which it is understood that when people work, they get paid for it."

BUT that is not what he thinks politically. Funny his take on charities is that they have budgets and can make room for him.

Interesting. So now that he has come out of the closet as an evil capitalist....

Blogger Bogey December 10, 2012 7:37 PM  

"Fuck You, Pay Me" reeks of an insecure writer who has few ideas. I enjoy these shit-on-Scalzi posts a little too much. I already paid Scalzi for inferior work. Maybe he should send something free my way to make me feel a little better about shelling out the clams for Redshirts, which in my mind was a mere Star Trek IV and Galaxy Quest derivative.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza December 10, 2012 7:39 PM  

Is Sca missing his self awareness here? I mean...this is a tad embarrassing and inappropriate maybe the better term is uncouth. I don't know, perhaps I just don't get it...

Anonymous Stilicho December 10, 2012 7:43 PM  

"Rape you. Pay me."

Isn't that a Lionel Ritchie song?

Anonymous Anonymaus December 10, 2012 7:46 PM  

You sure post about John Scalzi a lot.

Anonymous VD December 10, 2012 8:08 PM  

You sure post about John Scalzi a lot.

Naturally. He is one of the finest, most successful writers of my generation and the president of the SFWA. Why wouldn't anyone want to post about such an endlessly fascinating man.

In fact, my screensaver consists entirely of pictures of him that he has self-Photoshopped. He's so funny! My favorite is the one where he makes himself look like a crazy guy!

What's yours?

Anonymous jack December 10, 2012 8:26 PM  

Tad:

Darn, boy, that lunch sounds excellent. I would think, though, the old fashioned just before eating might detract from the enjoyment of the food. I mean, why numb out your palette prior to such an expensive sounding meal?
Anyway, glad you enjoyed it. I find myself wondering if you are going to read the new Vox book. I would look forward to the, no doubt, interesting review you might offer up.

Anonymous OCS December 10, 2012 8:34 PM  

Isn't he edgy. I highly urge him to keep cranking that dial higher and higher as he (or his hamster-chauffeur) drives himself more into his bubble.

Perhaps defecating on an image of his audience or taking a photo of himself sticking the middle finger. What's with the petty "let me insult you directly" reverse-psychology BS? Contra Tropic Thunder, I'd be delighted to see him go "full retard".

Do it Scalzi. I'm right behind you...like, far behind you.

Anonymous jack December 10, 2012 8:35 PM  

F December 10, 2012 5:25 PM

Scalzi just isn't a very good writer, I say that having read several of his books from my local library. Is Vox better at fiction? I have no idea. But even if Vox were merely average he'd be outpacing Scalzi.

Friend F. Don't know if your taste run to a delightful and extended romp through a Gothic world; if so, then Throne of Bones [the latest Vox book] will probably satisfy. The ebook can be had by clicking on the right margin over there under the book cover. If not you might find it might make Goth worlds one of your destinations. Its quite good.

Anonymous Orion December 10, 2012 8:42 PM  

" Roundtine December 10, 2012 6:42 PM

Maybe someone has been watching Goodfellas."


Actually, he may have been watching "Killing Them Softly". From the trailers I thought, "hey, maybe Pitt is going to do an interesting movie for a change". After ten minutes, my mother, sister and myself (I was visiting them) were all wondering if we should head for the door. After twenty minutes in my mother asked if Brad Pitt was in the movie (he appeared at 10 minute or so). Frankly, I'd rather sit through an office meeting of twice the length and am encouraged to take another run at watching Ishtar. It was just that bad.

Anonymous Orion December 10, 2012 8:45 PM  

Was reliving the pain of seeing the movie and forgot to mention the connection. I think Pitt said something similar for the last line of the movie. The Lord, in his mercy, has fortunately blotted out direct quotes.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) December 10, 2012 9:16 PM  

Vox, how about dropping your price on the hardcover book and I'll give you a little Christmas present.

Anonymous Stickwick December 10, 2012 9:28 PM  

I want a McGuffin for Christmas.

I want an Egg McGuffin for breakfast.

You know, the One Ring is often mischaracterized as a McGuffin, when it's really the single greatest literary allusion to unlimited power ever written. It was all of the derivative stuff that came after that went full McGuffin.

Here's a challenge for someone: write a sci-fi/fantasy novel that incorporates all 100 items in the Evil Overlord List. Regarding McGuffins:

#5 The artifact which is the source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box. The same applies to the object which is my one weakness.

Anonymous Anonymaus December 10, 2012 9:31 PM  

Naturally. He is one of the finest, most successful writers of my generation and the president of the SFWA. Why wouldn't anyone want to post about such an endlessly fascinating man.

I always forget that an alpha in one setting can become a gamma in another.

Anonymous kh123 December 10, 2012 9:35 PM  

Hard to tell if it's Will; sentence is too short to test for proper punctuation.

Anonymous Tad December 10, 2012 9:46 PM  

@jack
I would think, though, the old fashioned just before eating might detract from the enjoyment of the food. I mean, why numb out your palette prior to such an expensive sounding meal?

It wasn't that expensive really. And, a really well made Old Fashioned, like a well made Manhattan, won't dull the palate. It will invigorate it.

Anonymous Soga December 10, 2012 10:24 PM  

Weren't we talking about how Scalzi was one of the Rabbit People? This seems like a rather un-Rabbit-People-like thing to do.

Blogger IM2L844 December 10, 2012 11:02 PM  

I'm bored with Scalzi. Besides, "Scalzi" sounds like some kind of repulsive parasitical infestation of some sort.

Hey, Vox, maybe you could work something into your next book.

Old Wizard: "Sorry, lad, but it looks like you have a terrible case of the Scalzi. Now, burn off the hair from your nether regions with a stick of smoldering sage and apply this salve thrice daily for a fortnight and maybe, if you're lucky and we caught it in time, your man bits won't shrivel up an fall off."

Anonymous Holla December 10, 2012 11:45 PM  

"but an original idea for a novel too!"

Says the fellow whose call to artistic arms was to write a novel of approximately the same length as a hack fantasy writer.

I'm grow firmer in my belief that you, like Michael Savage, are simply trolling your audience.

Anonymous Josh December 10, 2012 11:52 PM  

It wasn't that expensive really. And, a really well made Old Fashioned, like a well made Manhattan, won't dull the palate. It will invigorate it.

Dammit, man!

Why must you have decent taste in cocktails?

Anonymous T14 December 11, 2012 12:05 AM  

Substituting rye for bourbon has greatly increased my enjoyment of Manhattans.

Throw is some aquavit and you have an Oslo.

Anonymous Loki of Asgard December 11, 2012 12:21 AM  

Says the fellow whose call to artistic arms was to write a novel of approximately the same length as a hack fantasy writer.

Now, now, Holla. Are you saying that size does matter?

Blogger "1951" December 11, 2012 12:25 AM  

Generally speaking, mixed drinks are for girls and homosexuals.

Anonymous zen0 December 11, 2012 12:42 AM  

Generally speaking, mixed drinks are for girls and homosexuals.

Dear 1951:

I generally agree. Maybe that is why one of Nate's blog post categories is "Vox is a homo".

Be that as it may, is it ok to mix unmixed drinks together, like Bombay Sapphire and dry cider, as long as it is only post-mixed in the downing, or should I seek therapy for my degenerate tastes?

Anonymous Jack Amok December 11, 2012 12:44 AM  

Scalzi just isn't a very good writer, I say that having read several of his books from my local library

I say the same having read the bleg post referenced above. Lots of run-on sentences, confusing constructs, and phrases that just don't flow. Perhaps he puts more effort into the writing that he gets paid for, but if his first drafts are as rough as his blog post, his editors are underpaid.


Weren't we talking about how Scalzi was one of the Rabbit People? This seems like a rather un-Rabbit-People-like thing to do.

Scalzi no doubt considers himself an alphabunny within his community, so bitching out the serfs for annoying him is a very lagomorph thing to do. Bunnies are only timid around wolves - they're willing to enforce their own pecking order quite ruthlessly.

Substituting rye for bourbon has greatly increased my enjoyment of Manhattans.

Pardon, but you mean ceasing to unwisely substitute bourbon for rye has increased your enjoyment of Manhattans.


Anonymous zen0 December 11, 2012 12:55 AM  

Pardon, but you mean ceasing to unwisely substitute bourbon for rye has increased your enjoyment of Manhattans.

Obviously a man of breeding. The Rebs will not fully understand the source of their oppression until they come to understand the depth of vileness of their precious bourbon, Frenchified swill that it is.

I think that they must have got the recipe from dregs of Marat's medicinal bath.

AFTER he was assassinated.

Blogger Doom December 11, 2012 2:24 AM  

Hmm, I'm with God on this one. God helps those who help themselves, and as I see it, this man has helped himself beyond my reach. All good. I love to watch the drowning... well... drown.

Blogger Duke of Earl December 11, 2012 2:27 AM  

Stickwick, I could write a story where the antagonist implements every rule in the 100 rules for being an evil overlord.

It's just that without the convenient outs of the lazy writer, evil would probably triumph.

Of course I could bypass the "inexperienced newbie" hero and just introduce a nigh immortal protagonist with a daemon possessed axe who solves the problem of evil by hacking the antagonist into itty bitty pieces. Along with his army, his secret lair, and his trusted lieutenants.

Anonymous VryeDenker December 11, 2012 3:02 AM  

I'd like to read a full on Judeo-Christian allegorical trilogy. Were I any good at writing anything (other than C#), that's what I would write.

Anonymous fred December 11, 2012 3:18 AM  

With all these Scalzi posts, you're beginning to sound less like some all-conquering alpha dude and more like a disgruntled little boy who didn't make the team for whatever reason and is reacting by telling anyone who will listen that you didn't want to be on the team anyway because it sucks so bad that only cissies and losers want to be on it.
Or maybe you're just trying to coat-tail on the success of Scalzi's blog and drum up a few hits and a few extra readers through the repeated links and references...

Anonymous kh123 December 11, 2012 4:12 AM  

Ah, there's Will, or a sycophant who follows suit with his excellent lack of punctuation to a tee. Must be the one hand typing.

Blogger Brad Andrews December 11, 2012 4:19 AM  

I just read his blog post. He only writes when he gets paid, except when he wants to write for free?

Can you take a deduction for writing you do for a charity? Can you do that if you get paid?

Who pays him to write his blog posts?

Anonymous VD December 11, 2012 4:55 AM  

<With all these Scalzi posts, you're beginning to sound less like some all-conquering alpha dude and more like a disgruntled little boy who didn't make the team for whatever reason and is reacting by telling anyone who will listen that you didn't want to be on the team anyway because it sucks so bad that only cissies and losers want to be on it. Or maybe you're just trying to coat-tail on the success of Scalzi's blog and drum up a few hits and a few extra readers through the repeated links and references...

Can't it be both? Couldn't it be that I'm embittered I didn't get the promised appointment to his SFWA cabinet and my cunning plan is to seek revenge by enraging his core audience of homosexuals, obese middle age feminists, tweener goths, and cross-dressing freaks into buying books of zero interest to them?

Anonymous Richard Wagner December 11, 2012 6:14 AM  

"You know, the One Ring is often mischaracterized as a McGuffin, when it's really the single greatest literary allusion to unlimited power ever written."

[**cough** **cough**]

Ahem.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 11, 2012 6:25 AM  

"when it's really the single greatest literary allusion to unlimited power ever written"

Oh I dunno... first of all, on the human plane, unlimited power doesn't exist. Second of all, since when does unlimited power allow itself to sit at the bottom of a river for centuries, then get locked in a cave by a deformed mutant, then won in a bet by a midget, then sit in the midget's filing cabinet for decades, then get carried around by another midget and then tossed in a furnace? Doesn't sound like much in the way of power to me.

Although the story was great and I liked the writing, I always thought it was a bad metaphor because power doesn't simply go away like that. Gondor and Rohan and the Elves and all the rest of them sat around on their asses for decades, growing weaker, allowing themselves to be outnumbered and outflanked through sheer laziness and stupidity, and then at the last second they think they're going to reverse this trend at a single stroke by having a midget throw a trinket into a fireplace? Un. Fucking. Likely.

Personal to Europe and America: sorry, you're screwed. Not only have the orcs surrounded the fort, you idiots let them into the fort and now you even pay them to replace you. Good luck finding the midget with the ring who will fix this for you. Even if he did exist, he'd be crazy to fight for your team, when you won't even fight for yourselves.



Anonymous scoobius dubious December 11, 2012 6:33 AM  

btw, how come at the Council of Elrond they didn't just give the Ring to one of the Eagles and tell them to fly over to Mordor and destroy it. Would have taken about 90 minutes. And besides, Randy Meisner looks like a trustworthy guy.

Or for that matter, at the Council, Elrond himself says, "Look guys, I'm the only person here who's ever been to Mordor and knows exactly where the Crack of Doom is located. But I'm not coming along. Instead we'll entrust the entire fate of Middle Earth to a midget who has no idea where he's going. Good luck everybody! Buh-bye!"

What the hell kind of a plan is that? Oh, right, it's the same high-quality plan as "If we let forty million illegal hyperfertile semi-literate unskilled Mixtec dishwashers into our country, that will turbo-charge our economy and save Social Security!" I think Bismarck's adage has run out of steam: from now on it'll only be drunks and lost children whom God protects; the US has presumed on its good fortune for far too long to go unpunished.

Blogger Markku December 11, 2012 6:38 AM  

btw, how come at the Council of Elrond they didn't just give the Ring to one of the Eagles and tell them to fly over to Mordor and destroy it. Would have taken about 90 minutes.

Someone ALWAYS asks this question.

Because that would have attracted Sauron's attention, and that of the winged ringwraiths, when the eagle was approaching Mordor's border.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 11, 2012 7:17 AM  

"Because that would have attracted Sauron's attention, and that of the winged ringwraiths"

I don't buy it. If you're saying Sauron could see everything, or at least everything pertaining to the Ring, then he could have seen the hobbits approaching, too; which he didn't. Therefore, cover of darkness, a proper stealth approach, and various clever diversions would have done the trick. Same thing for the ringwraiths. If they really thought it through, they'd send Gandalf along on a second eagle, to provide air cover by zapping any approaching ringwraiths with his magic powers. Once inside the borders of Mordor, the operation would have been executed within roughly 15 minutes -- too fast for Sauron to mobilize any defense.

Of course, a sensible and well-planned lightning strategy would have meant no further books and the loss of a great deal of melodrama; but in my analogy to the real world, I would have greatly preferred a sensible approach to US domestic and foreign policy post 1945, resulting in a sane, stable, eminently boring US landscape today, rather than the Exploding Plastic Inevitable zoo-slash-circus-slash-bordello-slash-moshpit we endure instead. It's all very entertaining, to be sure, but so were public executions back in the day.

Anonymous rho December 11, 2012 9:49 AM  

"Fuck you. Pay me." has been around a while.

For you independent contractors and small business owners out there, Mike Monteiro of Mule Design has a talk about it.

http://vimeo.com/22053820

Anonymous RedJack December 11, 2012 9:54 AM  

Oh dear God.
We have stopped arguing about the Japanese invading the West Coast and moved on to Lord of the Rings.

Ok, I am in.

Tolkein wrote the books before there was a good cultural understanding of air power. And having the eagles drop the ring into the volcano wouldn't have been the story he wanted to tell.

Anonymous VryeDenker December 11, 2012 10:24 AM  

Also the witch king of Angmar would have been too strong for Gandalf the grey, meaning he wouldn't be able to just "zap Nazgul" at his leisure.

Anyone else pick up on the subtle influence of Eru in the string of seemingly random events that led to the ring being destroyed? Like with C.S. Lewis, once you think you've understood Tolkien, you are met with yet another layer of meaning you never noticed before.

Anonymous Stickwick December 11, 2012 11:09 AM  

Oh I dunno... first of all, on the human plane, unlimited power doesn't exist.

I meant to say "unlimited government power," which, however transient, is the only de facto unlimited power that exists in the human realm. It is every bit as desired, underestimated, misunderstood, and misused as the power of the One Ring. I don't know that Tolkien intended it as such, but it's perfectly apt. I mean, look at what's happening in the U.S. now. You've got the Democrats, who are basically Saruman, corrupted and twisted, yet thinking they're wise beyond mortal comprehension and can wield this power oh, yeah, no problem; you've got the Republicans who are Boromir, thinking true-hearted men will not be corrupted NOW GIVE ME THE RING OR I'LL THROTTLE YOU, and you've got people like Ron Paul who are Faramir/Gandalf, and eschew the power, because they understand that nobody is immune to its corruptions. This is one of the reasons for the lasting appeal of the LOTR -- people get this on some level.

btw, how come at the Council of Elrond they didn't just give the Ring to one of the Eagles and tell them to fly over to Mordor and destroy it. Would have taken about 90 minutes.

Yes, people often ask this question, and usually it's an indication that the asker can be safely ignored as a crashing bore. Tolkien addressed this, saying, IIRC, that the Eagles were not intended as a taxi service (except when they were), they had their own purposes or whatever, and that's why they wouldn't take the Ring to Mount Doom. The obvious answer to this question is that there wouldn't be a story.

For anyone who is actually curious as to why any of what takes place in the LOTR takes place, Ralph Wood's excellent book, The Gospel According to Tolkien, will answer many of your questions. The LOTR was not intended as allegory, but nevertheless it is deeply infused with Christian themes and symbolism -- the creation, the fall, good and evil, the nature of sin and virtue, etc. -- all the while borrowing from pagan themes for world-building and to create a rich sense of history. The deeply religious nature of the story is what gives the LOTR a great deal of its literary heft. From what I have seen, most derivatives copy the paganism, but not the Christian elements, and that's why they don't even come close to feeling as "real" or as compelling as the LOTR. As for its overall believability, like most beloved works of fiction, the LOTR is profoundly personal -- the various plot contrivances are there mostly to move things along -- and that's why it will disappoint those who are looking for overt parallels and consistency with our world, e.g. the logistics of a lone midget saving the world from evil by chucking a trinket into a volcano. If that's what a person gets out of the story, he's unfortunately missed the point.

Anonymous Daniel December 11, 2012 11:24 AM  

Because that would have attracted Sauron's attention, and that of the winged ringwraiths, when the eagle was approaching Mordor's border.

This primarily but also...Really? You are going to pin your hopes on giving a nuke with a trackable homing device on it to a giant carrier pigeon over a wasteland with a no-fly zone?

Anonymous Daniel December 11, 2012 11:28 AM  

fred

With all these Scalzi posts, you're beginning to sound less like some all-conquering alpha dude and more like a disgruntled little boy who didn't make the team for whatever reason and is reacting by telling anyone who will listen that you didn't want to be on the team anyway because it sucks so bad that only cissies and losers want to be on it.
Or maybe you're just trying to coat-tail on the success of Scalzi's blog and drum up a few hits and a few extra readers through the repeated links and references...


Remind me to pick you last in dodgeball fred. Scalzi is the one who didn't make the team. He's the one who constantly worries that he'll be identified as a fraud even while posting a laughably false confidence. VP is a more successful (by hits/readership, any measure) than Scalzi's. This is not difficult to see.

Do you also hide your eyes from the scoreboard when your team gets shellacked, and call it victory?

Anonymous Lamont Cranston December 11, 2012 11:53 AM  

Suggested Scalzi might be an assbag for his phrasing.

Comment still up.

Blogger Carl December 11, 2012 12:26 PM  

Scalzi is a decent writer. He's a whole step or two above most fan fiction. His books are quick reads that ask little of the reader and offer little in return. I enjoyed Redshirts as a quick diversion, at least until the intellectual wankery of the endless codas.

Anonymous Daniel December 11, 2012 12:55 PM  

Lamont, that critique isn't the sort that is going to catch any traction.

a) It is likely interpreted to be an attempt at hipster "irony."
b) It doesn't say anything substantial or confrontational.
c) It isn't one of Scalzi's triggers. Calling him a name is exactly where he likes to keep the debate.
d) Your comment is a little late to the party. He generally is most controlling on day one, except for epic topics, which he shuts down comment altogether.

Silly for me to critique your experiment, but I am silly.

Next time, think of saying something like: "In light of your recent inflammatory admission that you have raped at least one woman in the past, don't you think it is insensitive for you to use such language? Why do you always have to make it about rape? Do you ever think about your victim as anything other than a target?"

See how long that one stays up, esp. if you stick around with follow-up questions.

He's happy if you stick with name-calling. That plus his Mallet of Loving Correction are his main tools of discourse. It is when you speak the uncorrectable, or expose his logic or solipsism that things get fun.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 11, 2012 1:09 PM  

"the Eagles were not intended as a taxi service (except when they were), they had their own purposes or whatever"

Sorry, but the Eagles flew directly towards, instead of away from, a violently exploding volcano, in order to rescue a pair of hapless midgets who, you are claiming, were not of the least value or concern to them. I don't buy it. I can't remember, but I think one of them rescued Gandalf too at some point, or at least gave him a taxi ride. They were, for all intents and purposes, onside, and it's peevish to simply insist that they weren't.

I think the main reason they didn't give the Ring to the Eagles is that Don Henley would have traded it for cocaine. And yes, of course I know it would have short-circuited the story -- but then again Tolkien was not obliged at gunpoint to include in his world magical intelligent eagles who could have solved the problem in the space of a few hours. That's on him, dude. Besides, I'm just poking the Tolkienistas with a stick. The moral of the story is, Be careful who you call a crashing bore -- the reputation you save may be your own.

As for LotR being infused with Christian yaddayadda, well, I had twelve years of the Franciscans and the Jesuits to do that for me, I don't really need a council of elves and a bunch of talking trees on top of it. I like those novels just fine, they're marvelous, but there's nobody whose plump, pink tomahto nose doesn't occasionally deserve a bit of a tweaking. Like some guy said, Even the president of the United States must sometimes have to stand naked.

Which is another reason to shudder in horror at the thought of Hillary or Michelle O making a run at the white house. Can we have President Emmanuelle Beart instead, please? Her campaign slogan could just be, "Yum."



Blogger Baloo December 11, 2012 1:19 PM  

Hm. I find that Scalzi writes some enjoyable stuff, but you're right that it's derivative — Not a bad thing in itself, but it certainly isn't the mark of a great writer. I thought Redshirts was clever to begin with but fell to pieces towards the end. Speaking of Redshirts:
http://balooscartoonblog.blogspot.com/2012/12/star-trek-cartoon.html
Please do keep needling him. Nobody deserves it more than a White liberal.

Anonymous NateM December 11, 2012 1:28 PM  

Fuck you, Pay Me" .. I think John is misunderstanding prostitution again..

"In fact, my screensaver consists entirely of pictures of him that he has self-Photoshopped. He's so funny! My favorite is the one where he makes himself look like a crazy guy!"

I hope you have this one in your collection: http://www.sff.net/people/jchines/Pics/Scalzi%20Night.jpg

Anonymous Anonymous December 11, 2012 1:30 PM  

"I hope you have this one in your collection: http://www.sff.net/people/jchines/Pics/Scalzi%20Night.jpg"

MY EYES!!!

Blogger Markku December 11, 2012 3:03 PM  

I don't buy it. If you're saying Sauron could see everything

Not everything, but he would have been much more likely to see a big flying thing than two small, sneaking things.

Anonymous NateM December 11, 2012 3:07 PM  

My understanding was he could see at any distance but only see a limited scope. Certainly not omniderigent...

Blogger Duke of Earl December 11, 2012 3:15 PM  

Scoobius, Emmanuelle would be a good candidate (if one had to have a female president) except for the whole, not being an American citizen thing.

Anonymous fred December 11, 2012 3:44 PM  

I'm not Will, and have never read his comments. My run-on sentences are all my own.
I struggle to understand the level of the animosity directed at Scalzi. He's just some guy going about his business in ways that don't impinge on you lot. Why do you care?

Anonymous Daniel December 11, 2012 4:01 PM  

Sorry, but the Eagles flew directly towards, instead of away from, a violently exploding volcano, in order to rescue a pair of hapless midgets who, you are claiming, were not of the least value or concern to them.

Scoobius, you are in the weeds. The eagles saved the Hobbits, as a desperate measure after the powerful ring was destroyed.

To expect a bird to serve as giant courier and target, with Sauron's symbiotic precious buried in its feathers is just horrible military strategy.

Just because airplanes bombed Berlin didn't mean that the Allies would have been wiser to eschew D-Day in favor of an air assault only.

Eagles didn't fly over Mordor as a migratory pattern after all. One eagle or a flock, prior to the establishment of ground troops in Gondor, would have been cut to ribbons by the Witch-King of Angmar and the others on their back-up steeds.

You might as well suggest that Gandalf himself would have been better suited for the task, a suggestion explicitly denied in the book.

Anonymous Stickwick December 11, 2012 4:01 PM  

I don't buy it. If you're saying Sauron could see everything

Not everything, but he would have been much more likely to see a big flying thing than two small, sneaking things.


Furthermore, as Gandalf explained, Sauron could not conceive of anyone wishing to destroy the Ring -- only covet it, as he did -- so he certainly wouldn't be looking for two small things sneaking into Mordor with the Ring with the purpose of returning it to the fire. It was his blind spot, if you will. Sauron had his eye perpetually turned to Gondor and Isengard, expecting a champion to emerge wielding the Ring.

Anonymous VD December 11, 2012 5:05 PM  

I struggle to understand the level of the animosity directed at Scalzi. He's just some guy going about his business in ways that don't impinge on you lot. Why do you care?

Nearly all of my comments about Scalzi have been in direct response to his attempt to attack me. This post is an exception, because someone happened to bring it to my attention in the comments to a previous post on the subject.

You don't seem to understand that from the start, Scalzi has been the one attacking me and my blog. Not the other way around. Our first run-in came about due to his response, along with some other members of the SFWA, to one of my WND columns. He was embarrassed and so keeps trying to take passive-aggressive shots that people bring to my attention. I then respond directly to them, and in a manner that some obviously find entertaining.

It's all good.

Anonymous kh123 December 11, 2012 5:13 PM  

"Sauron had his eye perpetually turned to Gondor and Isengard, expecting a champion to emerge wielding the Ring. "

Which is probably one of the best literary metaphors for how the expectations of mankind are at a loss for something like the humility of Christ - anticipating a ruthless conqueror to overthrow your kingdom, rather than a lamb, a sacrifice, to liberate. Or possibly the futility of Sauron's position, always keeping a waking watchful eye over the walls of his Jericho.

And I'm covering old ground here, but given the time Tolkien wrote this, is probably just as much an allusion to the power struggles in Europe during the first half of the 20th Century; mechanized warfare and/or (what von Mises identified as) the new political animal of Etatism - omniscient government - being what the Ring was supposed to encompass. And ultimately, victory by rejecting these temptations.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 11, 2012 5:18 PM  

"Emmanuelle would be a good candidate (if one had to have a female president) except for the whole, not being an American citizen thing."

Well we've already passed that hurdle now, haven't we? I propose that we change our national anthem from the Star-Spangled Banner to "Anything Goes."

"Scoobius, you are in the weeds. The eagles saved the Hobbits, as a desperate measure"

Desperate about what? If the Eagles really had their own independent agenda, like say touring with Linda Ronstadt, and were indifferent to the war going on beneath them, then why did they care? That was the claim, that they were aloof from the whole thing and didn't care. But instead they risked death to save a pair of worthless midgets whose mission was already accomplished, and so were no longer even an asset. Translation: they were clearly onside, and they cared.

If Sauron didn't expect anybody to try and destroy the Ring, then he wouldn't have suspected a bird of trying to do that either. Besides, you could always put the hobbit with the Ring in a saddle on the bird. As long as Sauron didn't have magic inner vision about it all (which, since he didn't detect the hobbits either, then he didn't), a well-planned night flight on a cloudy moonless night would have worked just fine. The Eagle would fly at far too high an altitude and at too high a speed to be hit by orcs with arrows or other old-timey missles, and by the time he got to Mount Doom, which would be a very short flight after entering Mordor air space, it would be too late for them to rally a defense. As to the dangers of the witch-king and the other wraiths, there are these things called diversions. They can't intercept an Eagle over Mordor if they're busy hunting something suspicious way up in Lothlorien, can they.

And you're telling me _I'm_ the lousy strategist. :)

No, instead, let's give the most important strategic object in the world to a pair of midgets who don't know where they're going, one of whom is fainting with exhaustion -- which, btw, they knew would happen to him. Besides, if the original plan had not been disrupted then the Fellowship would have stayed intact, and the orc patrols surely would have noticed a patrol of wizards and heavily armed elves and men and dwarves trying to sneak through the mountains -- visually, a much larger and slower target than the eagles. Sorry, Elrond was either an idiot or else criminally negligent.

Anonymous The CronoLink December 11, 2012 5:50 PM  

I was wondering where I had heard this tone before and I remembered. Dick to the Dawk. Remember: "but then, it has a certain amount to be arrogant about". This same conceit reeks in Scalzi.

Anonymous Stickwick December 11, 2012 5:55 PM  

Well said, kh123.

OpenID atomic-fungus December 11, 2012 6:49 PM  

"Heinlein derivatives"...?

I first learned of the existence of John Scalzi when I heard about his "reboot" of Little Fuzzy (LF), but as I haven't read any of his works I'm not familiar with the "Heinlein derivatives".

But let it be said that I'm not surprised.

Blogger Markku December 12, 2012 3:16 AM  

If Sauron didn't expect anybody to try and destroy the Ring, then he wouldn't have suspected a bird of trying to do that either.

No, but he would have suspected something after someone spotted the incoming bird. Say, reconnaissance. So, it would have been intercepted by the winged ringwraiths, and the ring would have been found.

Anonymous Gerd December 12, 2012 1:17 PM  

When you use the F-word or the N-word or all the other "cute"
attempts to receive attention, I pick up my rug, pack the caravan and move on. How sophomoric!

Anonymous Daniel December 12, 2012 4:50 PM  

fungus - the Old Man's War books are straight up, openly acknowledged Heinlein derivatives. Old Man's War is good (not great, I don't want to oversell it). The other two (of four or five now) that I've read weren't as good. So he switched to Piper and Star Trek.

The Piper one was not worth reading, and I've got no interest in a Star Trek parody, so I can't tell you anything about that one.

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