It’s not often that I do a split focus blog post like this, but the timing of things means I felt kind of obligated this time around.
For those of you looking for my usual lighter discussion and some talk about what I’m going to be doing for National Novel Writing Month, skip down to the bold part that says NaNoWriMo. For everyone else, fair warning that I’m going to be using some stronger language than is normal for this Web-13/16 site and if you don’t like that sort of thing… well understand that the targets of this post deserve worse words but they haven’t been invented.
Alright then. GamerGate. Ugh. I should have said something on this three or even six months ago when I was peripherally aware of the campaigns of harassment that eventually took up the false ‘ethical’ banner known as GamerGate. I didn’t for a number of reasons: working on Soul Battery, my family health issue, and committing to Cartoon Month to cheer myself up a bit after the latter and buy me more writing time for the former mostly. But I just can’t ignore this goddamn thing anymore. It’s too big and too toxic.
For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, the top mainstream news for the past few months when it comes to videogames hasn’t been the release of the utterly awesome Civ: Beyond Earth, or Destiny, or my digital drug of choice at the moment, the new version of Dwarf Fortress. No, it’s about a group of childish, dishonest assholes who have let their petty spat against a female games developer be manipulated into a right wing crusade against equity and understanding across races and genders.
It initially started with some guys on 4chan convincing the disgruntled ex-boyfriend of developer Zoe Quinn to post specious lies about her infidelities and their connection to a review that never actually existed by one of them. At the same time, a woman named Anita Sarkeesian (whose name is doomed to be eternally misspelled by dumbass bloggers like me—sorry, Anita) stared a Kickstarter campaign to fund a series of videos about gender tropes in video games. This was apparently such an affront to some pea-brained sociopaths that they started sending her death and rape threats (a theme that will be repeated) to try and stop her from… talking about things? I have no idea how these dangerous idiots think despite watching them like Jane Goodall and her apes for the past month.
Anyway, when Sarkeesian mentioned her own harassment in support of Quinn, the tow factions of lowlife fuckheads combined like some sort of putrid ooze monster made of highly gender-specific hate and started harassing other female videogame developers who spoke out about social issues in videogames.
Somewhere along the way, noted actor in awesome things and the president of the people I rapidly lost respect for after hearing them talking without a script, Adam Baldwin coined the hashtag #GamerGate while retweeting some videos harassing Quinn about all the lies they made up about her.
The point is, despite what they will tell you, GamerGate is a hate group. They aren’t about videogames. They aren’t about journalism. And they sure as hell aren’t about ethics beyond wiping their asses with them. When they tell you that ‘this is about ethic in games journalism’, if you ask them to specify, they won’t talk about actual corruption like the Shadow of Mordor thing—they could care less aobut that. They will tell you they’re trying to get ‘politics’ out of games journalism and by ‘politics’, they mean ‘all discussion of social issues, especially gender and race’. Specifically, they want to shut down voices looking to influence the industry to include more interesting portrayals of women and minorities.
That is what’s really going on. They don’t hate Zoe Quinn because of their made up ethical bullshit; they hate her because she made a game about Depression. They don’t hate Anita Sarkeesian because she ‘made a money grab’ (in fact, she made eleven times the amount she asked because they were such assholes to her, she got way more attention), they hate her because she criticizes beloved games from a feminist perspective. They are children who can’t accept that people make games they don’t want to play or say ‘mean’ things about stuff they like.
Now, I haven’t received death threats or rape threats. Judging by GameGate’s MO, my mighty penis will protect me from that when it comes form them. But I have gotten emails (which I’ve mocked in this space before) that are really mad for no reason that Pele is a main character who killed things with huge swords but also has the gall to have a vagina like some damn dirty female or something. They don’t actually say that, but they do go out of their way to talk about how ‘unrealistic’ such a thing is based on ‘history’ (You know, of the universe I made up).
So I know that, unfortunately, there are people with that attitude exist among a small group of people read my work and maybe even read this blog. That’s why I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I have to make my stand. I have to address them and this.
So I have something to say:
I am a gamer. In the late 80’s my cousin gave me an NES with Mario, Duck Hunt and Hogans Alley. My Godfather gave me Legend of Zelda and it changed my goddamn life. From LoZ, to Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, to Secret of Mana, Legend of Dragoon and all the ElderScrolls games, they have few my creativity and made everything I write today possible.
Games have been a huge part of my life. My first date was largely spent feeding quarters into a Tekken and Wild West COWboys of Moo Mesa cabinets after we decided it was more interesting than the movie we went to watch.
My best friends in college are all either people I met slinging dice or playing GTAIII, Madden 2001 and Final Fantasy X in the common room. I own a set of solid steel dice and a personally cast d20 with my red and black yin-yang symbol on the 20. This past week has been evenly split between earning my livelihood and having my dwarves build a curtain wall around my horrific lava-fortress.
So yeah, I am a gamer. But I have zero time for GamerGate’s bullshit. I want to see more character like me as heroes. I want to see female and minority indie creators churning out awesome and quirky games for me to enjoy or ignore as my tastes dictate, but ALWAYS push the medium in a new direction. I want to see my little cousins—mostly girls play games with characters like them, both female and black or mixed race. And I want to live in a world with an internet where it isn’t okay to threaten a woman with death or rape PERIOD, especially not over the threat-slinger suffering from little man syndrome. And if such a thing does happen, I don’t want to hear a fucking THING about the person who was threatened being called a ‘professional victim’ or dehumanized as ‘Literally Who’ and whatever shit these people say on their little ‘private’ forums.
And if you don’t want those things. If you’re okay with that stuff going on or still want to tell me it’s actually about ‘ethics in games journalism’… leave.
No, seriously. Leave this site. I don’t want my work being used to entertain you, or touch your emotions, or even fill time. I don’t even want to be that tangentially connected to you. Don’t read my stuff, don’t buy my stuff and don’t tell people about my stuff. I don’t want your money or your attention. It is tainted and will only be made clean when you grow up, get some bloody perspective and realize just how awful the things this ‘movement’ does and says above and beyond just the threats are.
To everyone else, sorry you have to read that in what’s usually a cavalcade of snark and jokes, but I’ve got to protect the people I love, a huge chunk of my readership, and the hobby that’s given me so much from the disease that’s been rotting it from the inside these past months.
On the bright side, now you know what the hell I was talking about on twitter this pas few weeks.
Anyway, on to…
It’s the most wonderful time of the year again; the time when a young man’s fancy turns to obsessively chasing wordcounts. I really hope some of you have signed up this year. Or could sing up, considering I haven’t been able to log in and set up my account for this year yet. I really want to hear from any of you taking part, either in the comments or the forum.
Those who are just here for fun reading material, never fear: I am of course taking the time to crank out more stuff!
What kind of stuff?
Soul Battery Book 1
Almost done, folks! I’m writing the epilogue now! Street team, prepare for incoming emails! And if you would like to be part of the Street Team, and get to read the book for free a month before anyone else, shoot me an email, I’m looking for a couple more, also to ST for Rise of Morganna and the 5th Descendants Collection.
Anyway, SB1 (Originally City of Bards, but I’m still looking for a better title) rejoins Pele, Ru and the Clan of the Winter Willow 18 months after Evil Unto Evil. The clan is headed to Haprsfell, but they’re taking an airship, triggering all sort of bad memories for Pele and her method of coping might be making things worse! Meanwhile, a new wrinkle forms in Pele’s tale in the form of a mysterious dragonsired named Vul Azan—who claims to be her brother!
How does Pele deal with Vul Azan’s claims while her own mind is becoming suspect? Find out and Soul Battery Book 1!
And if you can’t get enough of the World of Ere…
Winterscoming: A Rune Breaker Holiday Special
Set during Pele’s first winter in Harpsfell, just a few months after Immurai’s defeat, Pele, Ru, Kaiel and the halflings celebrate the Chordini holiday of Winterscoming. Well.. maybe not Ru. He mostly learns that the greatest gift of the Winterscoming season is showing up Kaiel out of spite.
What? Did you expect him to leanr peace on Earth and goodwill toward men? Remember who you’re talking about!
And then… by popular demand:
I’m going to be honest, I never thought these would be a thing readers would demand, but a month ago, I asked, and Descendants Character Bios were far and away what most people wanted. So this Nano, I’ll be putting nose to Grindstone to knock out Bios for all the team members as of the start of each Volume. Specifically, this run, I’m going to do Vols 1 and 2 and I’ll be re-releasing The Complete Volume 1 with the bios in it.
For obvious reasons (I draw like a chicken with a pen shoved up its bum), there won’t be character protraits. If you can locate an artist willing to draw for free books and plaintive looks, send them my way, but I’m pretty sure I used up my ‘magical free artwork’ power when Clay Kronke punched up the first RB covers for me (If you wish to purchase artwork, please consider purchasing it from Clay. He is awesome in both ability and in ‘being a cool guy-ness).
Beyond that, well that’s up to you guys. I’m throwing the question of what else I tackle this month open to you the people who will ultimately consume it. Among your choices:
So I Married a Supervillain Part Deux
It’s been two years since I penned the tale of Link Moss, who discovered that his loving wife is his universe’s version of Doctor Doom and that her villainy is a lot more complex than people would expect.
I haven’t written more here largely because the world got too big and I found myself with too many elements I wanted to include. The SIMaS-verse is a much ‘sillier’ universe than Descendants, with Molemen (who practice Molemagic and have Moleman Terranautics as a SCIENCE!, don’t a know?), there’s an old timey dude with a magic pocket watch and cane-fu simply known as The Gentleman who fights ruffians (and also crime), there’s aliens. Like actual aliens from outer space! All-in-all, it’s the world where everything that doesn’t fit into the DU goes to live like you first dog went to live on that farm—except this stuff gets to live.
I know where this is going, but I was paralyzed by the ‘ooh shiny’ of it all. I’ll try and focus on sticking to Link’s tale if the comments section so demands.
But there are other choices like…
In case you don’t remember this, here’s the teaser.
People were very positive about the concept and the teaser.
Why haven’t I written more? Hehe… logistics. I sketched out this whole anime-esque deal about how the weapons of the Cowboy King were the core McGuffins of the story… and then I can’t come up with a badass enough shtick for the main character’s gun. My main idea would be that it creates a temporary slow time bubble, but I’ve been stuck on how that works and looks.
Also, I fell into a problem of this being a Western but not wanting some kind of fantasy/racist ‘indian’ analog. I played with the idea that the world being settled is actually uninhabited, but that’s somehow worse. They’re not even that important to the story, I could write it completely without ever mentioning it, but when it comes to genre… it feels like something’s missing if the frontier being settled is empty except for wild animals and non-sapient monsters.
I dunno, maybe the natives of this world just can’t live in the deserts, so they let the invaders have the useless things?
And third but not least, the one that will get me yelled at:
Issacor: Live By the Sword
I was pretty stunned by the emotion surrounding the character of Issacor and his relationship with Pele in Lighter Days, Darker Nights. After reading it again myself I do see where the shippy goodness comes from and I certainly played with it in Path of Destruction.
Buuut, I’m really hoping people also just plain liked Issacor and not just the ship because this short story (similar in nature to Rakne’s Tale: Hearing of Grievances) is not going to be focused on the ship. I might make a few references, but this story, taking place immediately following the final bonus scene from Evil Unto Evil, will focus on Issacor, his faith and a mission given to him by the Mother of Blade herself.
Minor spoiler here, skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want to see it: The Mother of Blades feels bad for letting him die and thus essentially cutting him off from not only Pele and her friends, but his family (resurrection isn’t common on Ere, but revenants ARE) and is in part setting him on this mission as a consolation ‘sorry I ruined your life’ prize.
I was always going to write this one (and a Cap’n Sangua one and possibly Percival’s Army) I just screwed around too much at the beginning of this year and ran out of time to do a second Short Tales From the World of Ere short. Plus, Rakne’s Tale isn’t doing so well, which is understandable for a first in series, is kind of demoralizing.
I am nothing if accommodating to you the readers (You know, provided you aren’t an active threat to people and things I care about as per the first half of this article), so I want to hear form you guys what you want more of.
Do you want more episodes of the DUTV stuff (Imago and Malady Place)? Do you want backstory on some minor character like one of the NYC supers, one of the villains, or Bryce the Jelly Pig [Bryce was born in a lab. The end. Oink.]? Do you want me to resurrect one of the old, old one-offs like Facepunch’s Academy for Young Warrior Women? Did you not even know that last one existed? Do tell! After all…