We Are the Industry

Cyberfrog 500k

The gatekeepers of legacy print and comic book publishing have a habit of referring to themselves as "the Industry". Claiming that exclusive label may have been justified when the only alternatives were underground comics Xeroxed at the library or vanity presses. That claim started to sound disingenuous with the explosion of web comics and the launch of the Kindle. Even if indies only had a small share of the market, it was by definition more than nothing, which made them part of the industry.

Now that indie authors outnumber their tradpub counterparts, sell most of the eBooks, and earn most of the royalties, Tradpub calling itself "the Industry" to the exclusion of indie sounds about as sane as claiming to be Abraham Lincoln. Corresponding to reality isn't the point, though. The Marie Antoinette  act is about reassuring their fellow travelers that the Big Two and the Big Five are still in control.

To the SJW artists and editors in New York, everything is a power play. They can look down their noses at indies who out-earn them because from the gatekeepers' point of view, money is just one metric of social capital. They care more about wielding the power to influence what your kids think. Because they're cargo cultists, folks like Mark Waid and Teresa Nielsen Hayden believe that telling each other they're prestigious really gives them prestige.

What blue bloods generations removed from the grunt work of making a profit forget is the old truism that money talks. If your business is selling to readers, declining sales mean fewer people are listening to you. In a relatively free market, money corresponds directly to mindshare.

Consider the recently concluded crowd funding campaign former DC Comics artist Ethan Van Sciver held for his indie comic Cyberfrog. EVS is a Trump supporter who was harangued into leaving DC by SJW fanatics who crowed that he'd never work in the Industry again. He went out and raised over $500,000 from folks the Big Two had cast out as unclean. Thanks to those disaffected readers, a formerly obscure title from the 90s is playing at the same level as flagship books like Batman and X-Men.

What a coup like this should tell the smarter DC and Marvel aristocrats is that they rule over a shrinking gated fiefdom that's daily surrounded by more and more ex-customers who are seeking entertainment elsewhere. The comics SJWs aren't having conniptions over lost revenues. They're beside themselves with fear over lost influence.

Take the recent cannibal feeding frenzy among the SF SJWs at World Con. People with confidence in their control over an industry don't fall apart at the seams when someone publishers an author bio using correct English pronouns. The hard data show that guys like Jason Anspach and Nick Cole are gaining market and mind share at John Scalzi's expense. Nobody's heard of this year's Hugo nominees. Meanwhile, indie authors are winning Dragon Awards voted on by twice as many readers.

The comics and SFF publishing gatekeepers have been disintermediated, and the industries democratized. Amazon and Indiegogo are doing what the old guard haven't been able to do in a dog's age: take a new talent from the proverbial slush pile to the A list. The cultural implications are staggering. SJWs converged comics and SFF publishing. Now, for the first time, we've taken their ill-gotten spoils back from them.

Comics and science fiction are back where they belong: in the customers' hands.

Help up-and-coming creators put more fun stories in your hands. Support The Star Knight Saga: Reavers of the Void by author Bradford Walker today!


Combat Frame Data: XCF-08D-1

XCF-08D-1 Dead Drop

Technical Data

Model number: XCF-08D-1
Code name: N/A
Nickname: Dead Drop
Classification: custom energy weapon optimized high mobility combat frame
Manufacturer: Zane Dellister
Operator: Zane Dellister
First deployment: CY 1
Crew: 1 pilot in cockpit in chest
Height: 19 meters
Weight: 50 metric tons
Armor type: palladium glass microalloy/aeorgraphene/ceramic composite
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 2150 KW
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 4x 41,665 kg, 4x 20,835 kg; top speed 3672 kph; maneuvering thrusters: 16, 180° turn time 0.80 seconds; legs: top ground speed 200 kph
Sensors: radar, thermal, optical array; main binocular cameras mounted behind visor in head
Fixed armaments: 1.5 MW plasma cannon in retractable mount on left forearm, barrel detaches to form plasma sword, hand-carried in use

General Notes

The combat frame is said to have been invented when Tesla Browning bolted a Vulcan cannon to a bipedal work frame. The same basic combination of conventional technologies continued down the course of CF evolution to the military-grade units fielded by the Coalition Security Corps. Browning realized that his initial combat frame concept had evolved to a dead end with the versatile but staid CF-06 Grenzmark II, and he began a restless search for a breakthrough.

Inspiration struck out of the blue sky in early CY 1 when Coalition pilot Zane Dellister was apprehended in a Chicago warehouse after having been AWOL for months. Along with Dellister, CSC personnel found a black combat frame of unknown design. The prisoner was remanded to the Lakeshore Neurological Wellness Institute for treatment of numerous personality and neurotic disorders. Meanwhile, the confiscated combat frame was transferred to Browning’s lab at the nearby Seed Corporation factory.

Browning’s study of the strange black combat frame yielded shocking results. Based on structural analysis and Dellister’s own claims, it was determined that the patient had constructed the custom CF, which he referred to as Dead Drop, by himself using parts scavenged from Seed Corp’s factory, CSC equipment depots, and even destroyed enemy units. One of the latter appeared to have been another custom CF built for an officer of the Federated Mid-American States militia by the rival Zeklov Corporation.

The XCF-08D-1, as Browning designated Dead Drop, possessed startlingly advanced capabilities. Its main weaponry consisted of a miniaturized version of the plasma cannons theretofore restricted to capital ships, space stations, and colonies. No existing armor was capable of withstanding a direct hit with a plasma bolt, though Dead Drop’s black composite armor was insulated against the heat and electrical blowback associated with directed energy weapons. Due to its lightweight construction, high-output reactor, and large array of powerful thrusters, Dead Drop rivaled state-of-the-art fighter jets for speed and acceleration.

When CSC Director Sanzen Kaimora learned of Browning’s research into the unprecedented custom combat frame, he ordered Seed Corp to produce a next-generation CF based on advances gleaned from Dead Drop. The result was the CF-014 Ein Dolph, the first mass production energy weapon optimized combat frame. Zane’s escape, and his subsequent discovery of the Dolphs, whose existence he took as a personal insult, would have far-ranging repercussions for all concerned.

For more mecha action, support The Star Knight Saga: Reavers of the Void by author Bradford Walker!


Generational Astrology


If you frequent social media and dissident blogs, it's hard to escape the phenomenon of people getting woke to generational differences. Much is made of Strauss-Howe generational theory. Some claim they can predict where the country's heading based on the age of the people in charge cross-referenced with the general cultural mood when those leaders came of age.

Some folks take Strauss-Howe to an extreme, as if it were some kind of generational astrology. For my money, the most significant fruit of generational wokeness has been an increased awareness not of where we're going, but of how we got to the point we're at now.

What was the culture like when your dad was coming of age? How much was college tuition when he went for his BA? What was the state of the economy when he applied for his first real job? The rising tendency of people to ask these questions is important because the memory hole is a central feature of the Left's ideology. When your worldview is based on the airy fantasy of progress, it pays to discourage people from thinking about the past, lest unflattering comparisons be made.

Another key windfall of our enhanced generational awareness has been the rediscovery of previously forgotten generations. For some reason nobody talks about, the mass media have a decades-long habit of tagging certain cohorts with ready-made labels, popularizing the term, and suddenly shoving it down the memory hole. Remember the MTV Generation? Sometimes previously unknown generational divisions are identified, as in the case of Generation Jones.

One such discarded generational label is Generation Y. Bear with me as I go into some depth on the subject, because it's the cohort I belong to, so it's the only one I can speak on authoritatively in detail.

"Generation Y" was to go-to label for the children of younger Baby Boomers and the younger siblings of older Gen Xers. I remember hearing the term frequently until the latter half of the 90s, when some Madison Avenue type came up with the buzzword "Millennial". Both tags existed side-by-side for a while, with Millennials understood as the children of older Xers and the younger siblings of Ys.

Then one day, the term "Generation Y" was stricken from the public record. The decision to sunset that label is especially odd considering that everybody calls the generation following the Millennials Gen Z. Then again, we live in a post-literate culture.

The label is gone, but the people it used to describe are still around. Media types don't know what to do with members of the former Gen Y, so they get lumped in with either Gen X or the Millennials depending on that day's coin toss results. The incoherence of this makeshift solution is obvious when you apply a modicum of scrutiny. There are millions of people born between 1979 and 1989 who are nothing like Xers or Millennials.

These differences come to the fore when you consider each generation's besetting vices. Everyone who takes an interest in generational trends knows the stereotypes. The Greats are diligent but emotionally distant. Boomers are inveterate narcissists. Xers are cynical to the point of paralysis. Millennials are developmentally stunted snowflakes.

For those members of Gen Y who are enjoying a chuckle right now, you're not getting off the hook. If my generation can be said to have a general vice, it has to be that we're collectively naive, approaching the point of obliviousness.

There's an explanation for everything. In Gen Y's case, we grew up largely unaware of what was going on because our elders subjected us to a ubiquitous and extended gaslighting campaign. Our childhoods mostly happened in the 80s, which were the eye of a cultural storm that started in the 60s and is now rending Western civilization stone from stone.

Generation Y came up in an era that still had something like a functioning economy. In terms of race relations, America was as close to colorblind as we've ever gotten and are ever likely to get. If you were in second grade ca. 1988, you didn't think anything of hanging out with the black kid in your group. He wasn't a POC or even necessarily an African-American. He was just Mike.

Millennials never had that experience of minorities. They were indoctrinated with intersectional race theory, which didn't really come in until Gen Y had left grade school. On the flip side of the coin, older Gen Xers remember the urban crime waves and riots of the 70s, even if they're politically on the Left.

While not as spoiled as Millennials, Ys were members of the first generation born after wages froze and mothers were universally ripped from their children to join the workforce. As a result, GenY's parents embraced the practice of bribing their kids to make up for not spending time with them. These payoffs usually came in the form of toys, and it's hard to complain because the best toys ever made were produced in the 80s.

That's not bragging. The mind-blowing quality and variety of playthings that Ys were constantly plied with goes a long way toward explaining why we've been wandering down the primrose path ever since. Getting a new NES cart or going to Chuck E. Cheese for no apparent reason really did make every day feel like Christmas. Gen Y got started on the hedonic treadmill early.

Last but not least, the internet had none of the accessibility or utility for countering the official narrative that it has today. You had your parents' and teachers' word, textbooks, and TV, and that was it. Everything was fine and would continue to be fine.

Surrounding a generation of kids with a false picture of the world produced a whole cohort of sheltered adolescents. We honestly thought things were OK and would keep being OK in perpetuity. The warning signs were hidden from us, ostensibly for our own good.

It's no wonder why Gen X turned out so cynical. They had the personal context to see that the relative peace and prosperity was fleeting, and that the 80s were a small island in an angry sea. They had the advantage of setting out into the real world while Gen Y was still in school, and they got intimately acquainted with reality.

In contrast, I liken the typical Gen Y experience of growing up in America to the harrowing experience of Michael Douglas' character in 1997's The Game. To Gen Y, America's decline felt as sudden as going to bed in a mansion in a gated community patrolled by armed guards and waking up in the trash-filled gutter of a third world shit hole. The transition has been disorienting to say the least, but like Gen X icon Tyler Durden before us, we're slowly realizing what's happened. And we're getting really pissed.

One hard lesson we've had to internalize is that politics is downstream from culture. Normal people are starting to wrest our cultural institutions back from the scum who've taken over the film, comics, and print fiction industries. Independent creators need your support to rebuild what the enemies of civilization have destroyed. Be sure to back indie author Bradford Walker's Star Knight Saga: Reavers of the Void today!

Star Knight Saga - Lord Roland


Star Knight Saga

Lord Roland

Visionary, scholar, and Man of the West Bradford Walker announces his campaign for The Star Knight Saga, Book One: Reavers of the Void!
No one's ever attempted a Space Opera like this. Real Robots, Super Robots, Knights with Laser Swords, Space Battleships fighting fleet actions by the thousands, heroes you can believe in, heroines that inspire you, villains most vile, a galactic civilization that isn't an empire or a republic- but instead a galaxy of kingdoms guided by a single Church, and the monsters that would undo it just to spite their creator. You have to play Super Robot Wars to get anything close to it.
Science fiction fans are hungry for real space opera packed with heroic adventure. The numbers prove it. The big New York publishers have spent decades driving off the core sci-fi readership with pink slime and dreary message fic. Thankfully, indie publishing has burst onto the scene to fill the void on avid SF readers' Kindles and bookshelves, and Star Knight is exactly the kind of story the fans crave but legacy pub would never dare give them.

Ireton Cruiser
House Ireton Heavy Cruiser - Just one of the Way Cool spaceships you'll encounter in the Star Knight Saga

I keep urging new authors dedicated to truth, beauty, and heroism to get off the bench and in the game. Even with the demise of the old gatekeepers, publishing a book still presents authors with significant challenges that only you, the fans, can help us overcome. This arrangement works out brilliantly, because you now have a direct channel to us, ensuring we'll give you the books you want.

Bradford Walker is taking the field because you guys have made yourselves heard. You're disgusted by Disney's mangling of Star Wars. You're yawning at yet another pastel Eva clone out of Japan. You're sick to death of being fed a shovelful of Postmodern nihilism with your entertainment.

Here's a new author determined to bring you the fun and adventure that the failing media conglomerates have starved you of. But since he won't get Tor, Marvel, WotC, or Disney's help, he needs yours.

Hungering for fun, uplifting space opera like they used to make before the SJWs took over? Back The Star Knight Saga, Book One: Reavers of the Void now!


SFF Death Report Greatly Exaggerated

Longtime readers may remember when I posted this graph:

2016 Genre Fiction Sales

That image made the rounds and caused a bit of a stir in certain indie quarters a couple years back. Most of us sensed that the market for science fiction books had drastically shrunk since the good old days. A lot of us, including me, were shocked at just how much our genre had withered.

The prevailing wisdom was that post-1980 realism, romance packaged as SF, and SJW convergence had driven most of the traditionally male readership from the genre. This sobering realization filled many of us indie authors with grim resolution. We were determined to make SFF flourish again, but it wouldn't be quick or easy. We had a long row to hoe.

Then Author Earnings gave a slideshow to the pink-haired mutants of SFWA at May's Nebula Awards Conference. If you're new here, Author Earnings is a data research operation run by a techie friend of author Hugh Howey. AE was the first outfit to cut through the anecdotal evidence and survivorship bias being flung around early in the tradpub v indie debate and look at the actual numbers from Amazon.

Sure, Howey's politically deranged, but he had the chops to strike it rich back in Amazon's Wild West days. His Data Guy knows his stuff, too. One way you can tell AE is reliable is their habit of unflinchingly confronting the data. They've got an open indie bias, but they don't fudge the numbers or gloss over inconvenient facts if the data's not in their favor. If one of their predictions fails, they stop, take a look at the data, and do their best to figure out why.

Another feather in AE's cap is that they're always digging for more and better information. They put a lot of effort into coming up with new ways to plumb the murky depths of KDP and shed light on the digital dark matter.

That brings us to Author Earnings' report to the Nebula Conference. I won't reproduce the whole spiel; just the slides that are of greatest interest to my readers, who tend to favor science fiction.

First up, a couple of charts that seem to confirm the old graph above:

SFF print sales

SFF online print sales

I'm no data scientist, but my gut hunch on the cause of print SFF's post-2009 nosedive has to do with the Kindle taking off. Yes, that sounds counterintuitive since we're talking about print sales, but keep in mind that Amazon's marketing relies on product recommendations targeted by users' purchase histories. Consider also that Amazon is now the English-speaking world's biggest print book retailer, as well.

Anyway, that's the story on print SFF. Now take a look at what happened when AE factored in eBook sales.

SFF trad ebook sales

Then they threw in audio as the cherry on top. Audio sales appear in yellow.

SFF trad ebook & audio sales

To my untrained eye, it looks like the big drop in tradpub's print SFF sales coincided with the height of KDP's Wild West period. The Kindle's novelty was still a strong selling point, and indie authors with a little business know-how could pull down six figures without understanding Amazon's algorithm. The eBook boom dominated the market and grew it. Then audio cut into eBook sales but also grew the genre around 2016, which is when the first chart in this post was compiled. That could be our explanation.

AE went on to break down trad SFF sales by publisher. Ready for a laugh?

SFF sales The Handmaid's Tale

Remember what I said about post-80s "realism" and romance disguised as science fiction? Turns out Houghton Mifflin has surpassed Tor as the biggest kid on the trad SFF block, and most of their unprecedented sales are due to The Handmaid's Tale. That's a pattern we'll be seeing again.

AE's presentation may have been comforting to the denizens of SFWA thus far, but it turns out that rosy picture of tradpub's fortunes was just Lucy promising to hold the football so Charlie Wendig could kick it.

Chuck Wendig

Legacy pub SFF is only surviving because of eBooks supplemented with audio, yet newpub represents a clear majority of SFF eBook sales.

SFF sales by price

It's not hard to see why. Newpub authors are selling eBooks at reasonable prices while tradpub persists in gouging readers. Recall that the Big Five NY publishers' rationale for charging outrageous eBook prices was to prop up their failing print sales while quashing the rise of eBooks. Now it looks like they partially succeeded at the former while utterly failing at the latter.

After that, AE decided to throw SFWA a bone. The following chart shows that while indies outnumber their tradpub counterparts two to one, Amazon top 100 selling trad authors outnumber indies in the top 100 by the same ratio.

SFF top selling authors

Those figures would appear to reinforce the old canard casting indie pub as a crab basket where thousands of authors struggle in obscurity while tradpub gives its authors the visibility to break out from the pack. Once again, the data present a couple of inconvenient wrinkles.

SFF sales backlist vs frontlist

First, tradpub is mainly selling backlisted SFF titles like The Handmaid's Tale. Meanwhile, indies are mostly selling their newer releases. Those facts paint an ugly picture for new authors striving to break into tradpub.

Long story short, tradpub is good at exploiting the visibility of Boomer authors who built their brand recognition while the building was good. They're not so hot at raising new authors' profiles, as the total obscurity of this year's Hugo nominees attests.

That was just the appetizer. Here's the main course. Hint: it's crow.

SFF tradpub vs indie royalties

Gate Crashers vs. Galaxy's Edge

Patrick R. Tomlinson be like:

Patrick R. Tomlinson

Jason Anspach, Nick Cole, and Chris Fox are always right. Find your market. Give them what they want at a reasonable price, and give it to them fast. Then the publishing world will be your oyster.

If you want mind-bending space adventure that won't break your bank, check out my award-winning Soul Cycle today!

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier


#owngoals: World Con Edition

Worldcon Worldcon
Courtesy of author Yakov Merkin
Even before the Campaign to End Puppy-related Sadness was a glimmer in Larry Correia's eye, it was an open secret among normal SFF fans and authors that World Con had entered terminal decline. If you don't know what World Con is, you're not alone, and if you also read science fiction, you've probably joined the mass exodus from NY legacy publishing to the thriving newpub scene.

By now, the comical tragedy of World Con is a story too familiar to waste the reader's time retelling in detail. There once was a convention that gave out awards to the fandom's favorite works. Social justice warriors took over and started giving the once-prestigious award to whoever could write the most politically correct paean to the Revolution.

Normal authors pointed out that books people actually read were routinely snubbed. The SJWs in charge launched a hysterical smear campaign against those authors and their fans, even calling in accomplices in the press. Some old school web hooligans showed up and landed a couple body blows against the freak brigade, and internal conflicts with the moderates blew up the revolt. Meanwhile, normal fans went off and founded their own award with blackjack and hookers.

The fact is, World Con had been in decline for years prior to Sad and Rabid Puppies. An unintended effect of the Puppy campaigns was to artificially inflate World Con participation. Last year's voting data back up this observation. World Con saw a 40% drop in Hugo nominating ballots in 2017 while Dragon Award participation doubled. After that blowout, the smart bet was that World Con would continue its plunge into terminal decline.

It didn't take the SJW lunatics running the World Con asylum long to confirm that prediction. The convention doesn't start until mid-August, and the Mos Eisley Cantina has already erupted in an Estradiol-fueled slap fight.
In the past 24 hours, there’s been a significant online blowup surrounding the programming for Worldcon 76 and the convention’s treatment of marginalised creators, including those who are Hugo nominees. These problems have unfolded from several quarters, and while at this time of writing the con is taking steps to try and redress the problems, the damage they’ve done – and how it came to happen in the first place – merits significant discussion.
The perpetual SocJus inquisition is a defining feature of these headcases' mental landscape. The hive prefers to swarm against external threats, but lacking outside enemies, they're compelled to act out against each other.

Keep in mind that the problem in question is a scheduling mix-up of the sort that normal people resolve via email or a couple of phone calls. To the broken casualties of Postmodernism who define themselves by their crusade against ideological windmills, every faux pas is grounds for a significant discussion.

A related symptom of SJW-ism is the habit of conjuring a pattern of heretical behavior from unrelated or only tangentially related events. Psychologists used to call that kind of thinking paranoia before their field was converged. You see it in the archived post wherein the SJW author tries to connect the dots between a set of mixed signals regarding the dress code, an email requesting information about which cons and panels where this year's guests had previously made appearances, and a transgression of SocJus pieties so on-the-nose that a hack satire writer would have rejected it.
Which leads us to what happened yesterday – or rather, to the many things that happened yesterday. Given the complicating factors of timezones, retweets and Twitter’s maddening decision to show tweets out of order, I can’t vouch for the exact chronology of events, but the order of each issue by bullet-point is an approximation how I saw the main events unfold, with the most salient responses to each issue included in its summary. So:
  • Hugo nominee Bogi Takács reported that Worldcon was using a bio for em that misspelled eir name and changed eir pronouns to he/him, which Bogi has never used. In response, div head of programming Christine Doyle rebuked Bogi for raising the issue publicly rather than in private and falsely claimed that Worldcon hadn’t changed the bio, saying instead that they’d Googled and found it that way. This is demonstrably a lie, as typing the exact wording of the bio as written by Worldcon into Google as a quote-search produces zero results. Bogi’s partner, Rose Lemberg, then reported receiving an email apologising to Bogi, but simultaneously expressing a wish that e hadn’t complained in public; in response, Rose resigned from programming. Several hours later, con chair Kevin Roche apologised to Bogi from the official Worldcon account, but made no reference either to the email received by Lemberg or to the actions of  Doyle.
Note to sane, confused readers: Those aren't typos in the first sentence after the bullet point. They're the sub-literate grunts by which the aggrieved author-thing wishes to be referred, the better to humiliate and dismay normal people.

Having compiled an index of errors against the hapless anesthesiologist in scheduling, the SF SJW inquisitor files the main charge.

  • Hugo nominee JY Yang reported that a fellow Worldcon attendee, who later identified herself as writer Nibedita Sen, had received an email from a member of the Worldcon programming team stating that:
"Finally – and this has come up a few times – there’s a generation of amazing Hugo finalists who represent a set of voices that is exciting to nominators, but completely unfamiliar to many folks who will be attending. I can give you a concrete example of this: we have no panel explaining what #ownvoices is, and I’ve had to field multiple questions essentially asking me, 'What is that?' I suspect that *everyone* at Wiscon is familiar with the hashtag and its significance. I would guess maybe 20% of Worldcon 76 members know what it means."
As this email was part of an ongoing correspondence between Sen and the programmer about the lack of #ownvoices panels and the predominance of straight white men in the programming – and as Yang had earlier reported being denied the panels they’d specifically requested and given a reading, which they’d asked not to have, instead – this was widely interpreted as an admission that the Worldcon programmers had actively denied or limited panel opportunities to marginalised writers, including some Hugo nominees, on the basis that they weren’t famous enough in the wider community. Two Hugo nominees who were initially thought to have been denied panelling were Vina Jie-Min Prasad and N.K. Jemisin; however, both clarified that they had specifically asked not to be on panels. Though Jemisin had been scheduled to give a two-hour workshop, she subsequently withdrew from programming and asked that the slot be used to showcase #ownvoices panels instead. Other writers also began to resign their programming in protest, including Charlie Jane Anders, JY Yang, Mary Robinette Kowal and Annalee Newitz.
  • Commensurate with this, I noticed that Christine Doyle, div head of programming, had assigned herself multiple programming items. Though several of these were feedback meetings directly related to her role in running the convention, others were regular panel appearances. Given that unfamiliarity to congoers was directly cited in the correspondence to Nibedita Sen as a reason for keeping new voices off the programming, this struck me as base hypocrisy: Doyle is an anaesthesiologist who also does convention administration, and while that might make her an interesting speaker, it does not make her a known, recognisable figure within the SFF community. That being so, if she was capable of acknowledging that lack of notoriety didn’t impact her own ability to contribute, she has no excuse for failing to extend the same courtesy to marginalised writers whose careers, unlike her own, could be greatly impacted by a Worldcon appearance.
  • Worldcon member Greg van Eekhout, who is a person of colour, reported that although his suggested panel description had been accepted and used verbatim, neither he nor any of his suggested panellists had been included as participants. It was similarly reported by Jaymee Goh that a panel originally proposed with a majority of POC as speakers had instead been given to speakers who were predominantly white.
  • Hugo nominee Grace P. Fong reported that Worldcon had taken her public bio, altered it for their official use, and then paired it with a photo taken from her private Facebook page, all without asking permission.

You used to only see that kind of incontinent rambling in crank letters to the editor of Reader's Digest. Now it's the province of Hugo nominees. Yet these oxygen thieves knot their pierced brows when it's mentioned that no one reads their work.

This "I demand to speak with your manager!" tantrum is a mere drop of the logorrhea splashed across social media over a BoomerLib's inability to keep up with ever-mutating intersectionalist dogma. Don't mourn the disappearance of Sad Puppies. Letting these Romero movie extras devour themselves is a far crueler and more amusing reprisal.

Priceless gem from the comments:


Speaking of hapless BoomerLibs, World Con chair Kevin Roche responded by breaking hatemob survival rule #1.
In response to all these issues and the conversations surrounding them, Kevin Roche issued a public apology and had all programming for the convention taken down, with the intention that the entire program would be redone. Speaking on both Facebook and Twitter, Roche said:
"I directed the Program Division to take down the preliminary program information that was released yesterday evening. There were too many errors and problems in it to leave it up.
"I am sorry we slighted and angered so many of the people we are gathering to meet, honor, and celebrate. This was a mistake, our mistake. We were trying to build a program reflecting the diversity of fandom and respectful of intersectionality. I am heartbroken that we failed so completely.
"We are tearing the program apart and starting over. It was intended to be a reflection of the cultures, passions, and experiences of Worldcon membership, with room for both new voices and old. What we released yesterday failed to do that; we must do better.
"Many of you have offered to help us do a better job. Thank you. We cannot accept all those offers, but yes, we will be turning to some of you to help us do it better this time.
"We will continue to reach out to the Hugo Finalists we have missed connections with, to ensure any who wish to be on the program will have a place on it."
SJWs' predictability and lack of a conscience has taught us that they view an apology as an admission that one is a reactionary guilty of opposing the Revolution. Here's what Roche's groveling bought him:
Right now, my personal suspicion is that Worldcon 76 has been afflicted by a combination of bigotry – some likely subconscious, some very likely not – and poor coordination, with the latter significantly enabling the impact of the former. As much as I appreciate Kevin Roche stepping in to issue apologies and redo the programming, that these actions were necessary at all speaks, at absolute best, to an administrative setup wherein the right hand didn’t know what the left was doing, and at worst, to a gross case of insincere, post-facto ass-covering.
Speaking of predictability, Meadows devotes the remainder of the post to talking about herself. Masochists and the sleep-deprived are free to read the rest at the archived link above.

The World Con SJWs' superior effectiveness at destroying themselves has raised questions among normal SFF fans as to whether Sad Puppies was unnecessary or even detrimental. It's hard to write off the whole campaign as a loss when you see tweets like this:

Programming Committee
h/t Dan Wolfgang
Witness a third defining feature of SJWs: the total absence of any capacity for self-examination. Whether embracing SocJus makes an SJW unable to face the mirror, or vice versa, remains a chicken-or-the-egg dilemma.

Thanks in part to customer revolts like Sad and Rabid Puppies, GamerGate, and now ComicsGate, even normies are beginning to understand that SJWs are the enemies of Western civilization. We know the enemy, but they do not and cannot bring themselves to know us. They will continue self-destructing. It remains incumbent upon us to stand vigilant and limit the damage SJWs cause in their movement's death throes.

The defenders of the West are also making great strides in building new institutions to replace the zombified husks of SJW-converged organizations. Remember to participate in the Dragon Awards. For a prime example of the essential difference between dreary Hugo-winning message fic and fun, thrilling books recognized by the larger fandom of Dragon Con, read my Dragon Award-winning adventure-horror novel Souldancer.

Souldancer - Brian Niemeier

P.S. Perhaps the SF SJWs' suspicions of Puppy infiltrators in the highest echelons of World Con aren't as far-fetched as they seem.


Combat Frame Data: CF-06

CF-06 Grenzmark II


Technical Data

Model number: CF-06
Code name: Grenzmark II
Nickname: Grento
Classification: mass production flight-capable combat frame
Manufacturer: Seed Corporation
Operator: Systems Overterrestrial Coalition
First deployment: CY 1
Crew: 1 pilot in cockpit in chest
Height: 17.5 meters
Weight: dry weight 50.4 metric tons, full weight 68.0 metric tons
Armor type: carbon nanotube-infused ceramic/steel composite
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 922 KW
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 4x 37,800 kg thrust each, top speed 756 kph, 180° turn time 1.65 seconds; legs: top ground speed 190 kph
Sensors: Seed Corporation Halo radar/optical target acquisition and identification system mounted under grilled radome "head"
Optional Fixed armaments: x2 2-Tube missile launcher, mounted on legs
Hand armaments: 115mm machine gun, 40 rounds per magazine; heat axe, battery-powered, stored on skirt armor rack

General Notes

The Coalition Security Corps recognized the need for an updated combat frame to improve on the rather primitive Grenzmark I’s performance. While Seed Corp hurried the superior but provisional CF-05 Grenzmark C into production, Head CF Engineer Tesla Browning set to work producing the Grenzmark I’s true successor.

Browning developed the basic blueprint for the Grenzmark II in relatively short order. He used the occasion to implement a long-held personal goal: designing a mass-production combat frame featuring flight capability imported from his CF-01-1 prototype. When Browning submitted his design, the Seed Corp board pointed out the high cost inefficiency of turning over their entire manufacturing facility to the Grenzmark II and shipping the finished units to earth. Browning immediately unveiled a bold plan to build a new factory in the Coalition-controlled city of Chicago, which would save the company billions in the long term. The board granted unanimous approval.

The first production run of Grenzmark IIs saw deployment in mid-CY 1. Originally limited in number, the new CFs were initially assigned to sensitive SOC installations, elite combat units, and the commands of well-connected CSC officers. Grento pilots faced a steeper learning curve than the older Grenzie had required, including several hours of additional flight training, but the new Grento’s dramatically enhanced capabilities eventually won steadfast adherents.

Though visually almost identical to the Grenzmark C, the Grenzmark II’s resemblance to its predecessor proved strictly superficial. In addition to a standardized version of the experimental Halo sensor suite tested on the Grenzie, the Grento boasted a far more powerful propulsion system that not only granted improved air speed but enabled sustained atmospheric flight. The Grento’s dramatically increased mobility made it equally capable of launching ground assaults and providing close air support.

A firm adherent of the design maxim “More is more,” Browning beefed up the Grento’s offensive capability with an optional pair of outboard missile launchers and an improved handheld machine gun. A redesigned loading mechanism and double stack magazine allowed the weapon to fire 115mm rounds as opposed to the Grenzie rifle’s 110mm shells while still maintaining the same ammunition capacity.

Despite the Grenzmark II’s impressive performance, the Coalition’s new front line CF wasn’t without its detractors. Many cited an apparent reduction in durability as a major flaw. Some speculated that the Grento’s armor was thinned to improve its flight characteristics by reducing weight. Others of a more conspiratorial bent claimed that CSC Director Sanzen Kaimora ordered the Grento’s armor protection reduced to raise pilot casualty figures as a bargaining chip with the Coalition Secretariat.

Whatever its shortcomings, most saw the Grenzmark II as the maturation of the combat frame platform. Substantively improving on its design would require a paradigm shift in weapons technology.

To see the versatile Grenzmark II in action, check out the firstsecond, and third previews of Combat Frame XSeed, my new mecha/Mil-SF series, coming soon!

Can't wait for XSeed? Indulge in brain-melting space action. Check out my award-winning Soul Cycle!

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier


Gunn Control

James Gunn - Guardians of the Galaxy

Leftists took vicious delight in ruining anyone who failed to celebrate their transformation of the West into NYC's 42nd St. circa 1974. And they could libel, deplatform, and disemploy with impunity while the controlled opposition of Conservative Inc. played the Washington Generals to the Left's Harlem Globetrotters.

But now that a new generation of dissident right-wingers has taken the field, SJWs are facing real opposition that plays by the Left's own rules, and their day is getting rocked.

Submitted for your approval: the case of one James Gunn.
James Gunn has been removed as director of the Guardians Of The Galaxy series after a batch of old social media dispatches were unearthed that touched on areas like pedophilia and rape. In the latest shocking #metoo development in the entertainment industry, Gunn was severed from the Marvel Comics Universe after a slew of social media posts he wrote before getting Guardians of the Galaxy surfaced. According to Fox News, they were posted because Gunn is an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and the effort was to knock him down a few pegs.
Mission accomplished. Gunn has long been a provocateur who has drawn ire in the past for his unusual humor. Among the tweets that forced Disney and Marvel’s hand were: “I like when little boys touch me in my silly place.”
I'll spare you examples of Gunn's other choice tweets. Suffice it to say they're orders of magnitude worse than the degenerate quote above. Even Deadline Hollywood had to drop their feeble attempt at "He's a quirky provocateur with an edgy sense of humor!" hand waving in the face of Gunn's filth.
Disney responded quickly and decisively: “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” said Alan Horn, Walt Disney Studios chairman, in a statement just released.
Lest you're tempted to feel sorry for this dirt bag, reserve judgment until you see what he tweeted just last month.

James Gunn - Trump

Gunn is probably just butthurt he doesn't have access to those photos.

It's unclear who's more contemptible: the Hollywood freaks themselves, or the ex-thought leaders of NRO conservatism who knew Hollywood was packed to the rafters with freaks yet allowed them to continue warping our culture unabated by scolding anyone who dared consider exposing them.

Not that it matters. The Buckleys, Wills, and McCains are done. Now guys like Cernovich and Posobiec are leveraging our enemies' well-known perversions to take scalps. The Left is finally facing the monster they created, and they're afraid.
This opens a new can of worms, and might well have Hollywood people trying to strike old missives. What studio looking to hire a director or cast for a major franchise or family friendly film won’t first look back into past social media posts, because this powderkeg was hiding in plain sight and Disney had to know about it because he was posting with regularity back then.
It reinforces yet again that social media is a fine place to wish people happy birthday and sell things, but the need to foist personal opinions that stick like napalm, is potentially a career ending decision. Gunn’s missives in particular were beyond the pale, and have no place in a family friendly environment that is the core of Disney values. It wasn’t like he was registering these opinions after his career changed dramatically with Guardians of the Galaxy. When he was directing films like Slither, nobody cared much what he thought. But his outspoken liberal opinions made him an easy target for anyone who keeps a record of such outrageous commentary, whether it was delivered sarcastically or not.
For those keeping score at home, with a simple Twitter search and help from a couple of amenable news outlets, the new Right has now made SJWs:
  • Rush to sanitize their online histories (Good luck. The internet is forever!)
  • Changed studio hiring practices to screen out potential ticking time bombs.
  • Made Leftists self-regulate their social media activity.
  • Forced SJWs to disavow one of their own.
  • Turned being outspokenly liberal into a potential career liability(!)
Dear feckless Buckleyite cowards: This is what winning looks like. I know you're unfamiliar with the concept since you're sexually attracted to losing. You could have stopped the conquest of our institutions at any time, but of course you didn't, because you were personally invested in failure. Instead, your entire legacy was just detonated by a couple of amateur journalist eBook merchants. *slow clap*

These upstarts just got a definite scumbag and likely pedophile fired in disgrace. That's a victory. No, we're not "too good" to win this way, and yes, this is "who we are": people who will do whatever it takes to wrest the freak parade from the levers of power.

We'll also create new works informed by truth and beauty to replace the nihilist dreck shoveled by our cultural usurpers.

Nethereal - Brian Niemeier


Fat Kafkatrap

Alpha Geek Daddy Warpig shares news of the latest SJW kafkatrap disguised as entertainment.

Netflix's trailer for its new series, Insatiable, is facing a backlash across social media for its apparent "fat-shaming" plot.
The series stars Debby Ryan as Patty, a high school teen who has been bullied because of her weight.
But some viewers have criticised for the way it appears to tackle the issue.
Ryan wears a fat suit for the role, while her classmates are seen calling her "fatty Patty" and making jokes about her in the trailer.
"Don't watch shows where people wear fat suits. Don't watch shows where they try to turn fat phobia and hatred into a joke," one viewer tweeted.
As I've written before, there is no way to please SJWs. They are tantrum-throwing toddlers in pasty, soyfat adult bodies in perpetual search of a father figure to finally tell them "no".

Schadenfreude bonus: B- list hollywood SJW Alyssa Milano draws the lardmob's ire for playing a bit role in the anathematized show.

Milano tweet

When there are no normies in blue checkmark Twitter, the Left will waddle the web. Every feminazi that is not bullycided gets up and shrills. The shitlibs it shrills get up and shrill.

And unlike Romero zombies, SJWs are more than eager to feed on each other. Don't bother taking their bait. Just sit back, take in the internecine struggle session sparked by a vapid TV show, and laugh.

Nethereal - Brian Niemeier


Eat the Universe Indeed

Bleeding Fool reports that failing legacy comic book publisher Marvel Comics is ostensibly reaching out to fans by offering a slate of sub-G4 tier programming, including a barely Marvel-themed cooking show.

Eat the Universe
The two on the right look like they just discovered Heather Antos' boiled bunny in that pot.
Ever since Marvel Senior Executive Sana Amanat proclaimed that Marvel was becoming a “lifestyle brand,” more and more evidence of what she was referring to is coming to light. The latest is the recent embarrassment in the form of a cooking show. That’s right. Marvel Comics is now streaming a cooking series that everyone can binge. It’s called “Eat the Universe” and it has nothing to do with Spider-Man, X-Men, or really comic books at all other than the occasional jokey reference to some long forgotten characters or merely naming the recipe after a character.
"Becoming a 'lifestyle brand'" is how once-successful corporations troll their remaining customers.
Marvel Entertainment is the Youtube channel, which has 7.9 million subscribers. The premiere episode of Eat the Universe posted April 7, 2018 and only has 54K views and 108 comments. The series was launched the same day that Marvel New Media announced an all-new schedule of digital series featuring a variety of programming for Marvel fans. These new digital series include relaunched versions of This Week in Marvel and Women of Marvel; and new series like Earth’s Mightiest Show, Marvel’s Voices, Marvel’s Eat the Universe and Marvel’s first-ever scripted podcast Wolverine: The Long Night for fans to enjoy (if they’re willing to pay the $4.99 monthly subscription fee to Stitcher.com). None of these seem to really be my cup of tea, but I will eat my hat if any of them turn out to be a hit.
I'm not sure BF's skepticism is warranted. Marvel's YouTube channel clearly has its finger on the pulse of comic fandom if it's playing a science fiction classic like Battlefield Earth.

I'd insert a Battlefield Earth quote, but I don't know any Battlefield Earth quotes.
Kidding aside, the premiere of Eat the Universe generated 54,000 views. Meanwhile, this charming colonial LARPer's amateur video about roasting a rabbit over a campfire garnered more than twice as many views in slightly less time.

“Marvel New Media is focused on nurturing a more intimate and approachable relationship with both our super fans and casual fans by embracing and refreshing Marvel’s fundamental brand attributes, and by redefining how those fans experience the Marvel Universe across all platforms,” said Dan Silver, vice president, head of platforms and content for Marvel New Media. “As we launch and expand these new digital series, we will be introducing fans to a whole new perspective of the brand to reflect the core values of Marvel, our heroes, and extending into the real-life Super Heroes that inspire us every day.”
The words of a man who knows he's babysitting a division of a subsidiary of a megacorp that's losing billions at the box office. He's painfully aware his job could be performed by a pecking bird toy positioned to click repeatedly on a corporate bullshit generator.

At this point it's impossible not to read "Eat the Universe" as a tacit admission that the inmates in charge of Marvel's asylum know they're devouring the brand's seed corn. The West's formerly vast treasury of twentieth Century cultural capital has been exhausted. Will we see new pop culture touchstones arise to take the thrones abdicated by the Big Two comics publishers, New York SFF publishing houses, and every Hollywood studio?

I doubt it. The sea-to-shining-sea social cohesion that engendered the dominance of American entertainment icons is unlikely to return within the lifetime of anyone reading this post.

New stories and new ways of telling them are definitely on the way, though. In fact, they're already here. If you prefer action, chills, and fun to "reflecting core values", pick up my complete Soul Cycle adventure series for Kindle.

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier


EU vs Google


ZeroHedge reports that the EU is doing the job America's DOJ won't do: bring antitrust actions against Google.
Shares of Google parent Alphabet are in the red on Wednesday morning as European Union antitrust regulators unveiled a record €4.3 billion ($5 billion) fine against the tech giant for allegedly anti-competitive practices related to Google's Android operating system. The wide-ranging probes into Alphabet have been a primary focus of Margrethe Vestager, the bloc's famously aggressive competition commissioner, since she was first appointed to the role in 2014.
Wednesday's fine follows a then-record 2.4 billion euro ($2.8 billion) levied by Vestager last year over allegations that Google's search feature unfairly benefited its comparative-shopping service.
When small-souled globalist technocrats fight each other, the world wins.

It's embarrassing, really. The worst Google is facing here in the US is James Damore's class action lawsuit. However, while Trump's obstinate bureaucracy can't be bothered to tackle the tech oligarchs that are strangling American public life, GEOTUS may have factored into the EU's decision-making process.
Of course, the size of the latest fine is certainly notable, and begs the question: Is the bloc using these fines to retaliate against the US tech industry and President Trump for his refusal to grant a permanent exemption to the EU from the US's tariffs on aluminum and steel imports? Like China, which is also employing similar "stealth" retaliatory measures, the bloc also has a massive trade surplus of roughly $150 billion with the US.
If the EU is slapping Google with a five billion dollar fine in retaliation for Trump's tariffs, it either means 5D chess is real, or the President's mere existence has whipped his enemies into such a frothing rage that they're turning on each other in their impotence.

And the EU is hitting hard.
While the fine is immense by most standards, it'll hardly dent Alphabet's profits. To wit, the company earned $5 billion every 16 days in 2017 based on its reported revenue of $110.9. But the size of the fine is a secondary concern for Google: What's worse is an accompanying order that will force Google to allow phone manufacturers to choose non-Google apps to be pre-installed on Android phones. For app developers, this could be a huge opportunity, considering that 80% of the world's smartphones run Android.
The Justice Department should strike now and force Google to fight on three fronts. They won't, but ZeroHedge hints at how Trump himself could turn up the heat on the tech giants that hate him.
While antitrust investigations of Alphabet in the EU date back at least eight years, the bloc launched its investigation of Android in 2015 following a complaint from a lobbying group. Seeing as this fine is nearly double the previous one, it begs the question: will Vestager go for broke and slap Alphabet with an even larger fine when the EU renders its judgment on its probe into Google's AdSense service, which the EU claims was used to block other rivals in online search advertising?
Perhaps that will depend on how Trump responds: whether he backs down on his aggressive EU trade policy - unlikely - or doubles down.
That's not even a false binary. Trump can goad his enemies into eating each other simply by doing nothing. And it will be beautiful. Stock up on popcorn.

P.S. Congressional Republicans' inaction against Big Tech, apart from a bit of kabuki theater for the plebs, is smoking gun proof they want to lose. The real electoral interference isn't Russian bots buying anti-Hillary Facebook ads. It's Facebook itself, plus Google, Twitter, et al. actively muzzling Republican voters.

Fat lot of good it'll do them when the Democrat Party pulls out all the stops in its metamorphosis into the anti-white, anti-law and order, anti-peace party. Leftist insanity will drag Republicans kicking and screaming across the finish line. Hopefully they wise up and start fighting back before insane Leftists drag them somewhere less pleasant.

Nethereal - Brian Niemeier


The SJW Turkey Shoot

Princess Tumblrina

You used to be able to take it for grated that when a studio announced a new TV show, they made the announcement assuming that the creators were dealing in good faith. Back in the 80s, a new Saturday morning cartoon being greenlighted meant the network execs were confident the show would appeal to its audience.

That audience consisted of two demographics: a) kids who would enjoy the story and characters and b) those kids' parents, whom the TV networks and the toy companies counted on to shell out money for actions figures based on the IP. Relevant to our purpose here, b) relied on the show seeming harmless enough to fly under parents' "bad influence" radar.

Since two-earner households became the norm in the 70s, parents have sought to compensate for neglecting their kids by bribing them with cheap plastic trinkets. There's a concurrent tendency to overcompensate by vetoing toy purchases that bear the slightest whiff of impropriety. I'm not complaining. These factors provide a reliable barometer for propaganda, as we'll soon see.

These days, to assume that any of the crumbling media giants would release a new offering in the hope of turning a profit, you'd have to be utterly ignorant of recent debacles in video gaming, trade science fiction, comics, and Hollywood. Attempts by social justice warriors to flay these industries and spread propaganda in their skins have led to prominent consumer revolts against the SJWs.

If you remain skeptical that multibillion-dollar corporations would voluntarily go kamikaze into mountainsides in the name of intersectional theory, take a look at this post's header image. The picture on the left is a promotional still from Netflix's new She-Ra series. If you don't remember She-Ra, it was a He-Man spinoff that flipped the main characters' sexes. The show never took off as big as its predecessor because its creators failed to acknowledge that girls have different coming-of-age fantasies than boys. It goes to show that even going back tot he 80s isn't going back far enough.

Even without the explanatory cartoon, the picture above is a dead giveaway that Netflix is remaking She-Ra for reasons other than a profit motive. They have the original 1980s series as an object lesson in what not to do, viz. projecting male power fantasies onto girls. A She-Ra reboot intended to be successful would have started by making the character design more feminine. Instead, they doubled down and gave the title character boyish features and a masculine head-to-shoulder width ratio.

Netflix She-Ra 1Netflix She-Ra 2

The picture on the left is how the She-Ra reboot was marketed starting last year. The picture on the right is actual artwork from the show. A normal person will immediately see why reactions have been overwhelmingly negative. The main character looks like a gender dysphoric Dennis the Menace.

There's no use trying to dismiss this kind of Charlie Foxtrot as a well-intended misstep, not with millions on the line. It's an open secret that Netflix has been in precarious financial straits for years. Not surprising when management knowingly turn their streaming service into a Ponzi scheme. The con works by leveraging your company to the hilt to buy up all the talent. In theory, you'll end up as the only game in town and can pay off your debts with the sweet monopoly profits.

An unwritten rule in Hollywood states that one studio in every generation tries the same grift. It nearly killed Sony in the aughts, and it did kill RKO. Netflix is doubly screwed because in addition to racking up debt like it's going out of style, they've been effectively cooking the books by depreciating their digital library much more slowly than anyone else in the business. The FTC and the IRS haven't figured out a way to close the loophole yet, but I wouldn't bet on them giving up and going home.

Netflix's only way out of the hole they've dug is to attract more subscribers. The fact that they're vomiting out a reboot of an unsuccessful 80s kids' show that appeals only to Sapphic cat ladies proves they've drunk deep of the SocJus spring and have entered a nosedive aimed straight at Normieville.

The formula--one might more aptly say ritual--is now well-established. An SJW converged entertainment company on the skids announces a new project based on an established franchise with some degree of American cultural cachet. They build up buzz as one might expect for an honest product launch, only to deliver a crude and twisted parody of the original.

What follows is crucial. In fact, it's the whole point. The converged corporation fans initial murmurs of normie dissatisfaction into a full-fledged backlash. Conveniently, the company will have hired a race hustler masquerading as a writer or a LOOK AT ME!!! LGBTQ+ mascot to headline the project. Those who complained have unwittingly stepped into a kafkatrap wherein the production's SJW fellow travelers in the media can snipe at normal people with their victims caught in a crossfire.

The memory hole is a defining feature of the social justice cult. Because the cult's ideology is totalitarian and progressive, it must constantly disavow its own past. Since the cult recognizes only two broad categories of people: "Us" and "not us", perpetual loyalty tests are deployed to separate the reprobate from the elect.

Companies like Marvel, Disney, and Netflix now exist only to broadcast these identity tests to the SJW hivemind. When you publicly oppose the latest assault on truth and beauty, you identify yourself to the collective as an outsider and therefore an enemy.

Much like Global Thermonuclear War, an SJW Turkey Shoot is a chump's game where defeat is guaranteed by virtue of agreeing to play by the stated rules. Don't waste your time trying to answer the SJWs' accusations. The only logical response when you find yourself in a crooked game is to flip the table.

Don't give money to people who hate you. Support independent creators working hard to bring you honest entertainment instead of smug civics lectures.

Nethereal, the first installment of my thrilling Soul Cycle space adventure series, is available now for just 99 cents. Check it out!

Nethereal - Brian Niemeier




Lately I've been getting questions about Kishōtenketsu, the four-part story structure of classical Chinese, Japanese, and Korean literature. My Twitter friends sent along a useful post explaining the concept.
Let’s start with the word itself. It’s made up of the names of the four different acts of the structure:
  • Ki : Introduction
  • Shō : Development
  • Ten : Twist (complication)
  • Ketsu : Conclusion (reconciliation)
The first act is self explanatory. It’s where we’re introduced to the story and we get to know the characters taking part and the world they live in.
Similarly, the second act also doesn’t require much explanation. This is where we get to know the characters a little better. We learn about their relation to each other and their place in the world. This is where we develop an emotional connection to the characters.
The third act however, the twist, is where things get a bit complicated. I’ve seen this act referred to as complication, and while I don’t think that’s technically correct, I feel it’s a better name. Calling it a twist brings with it associations to plot-twists as we know them from more traditional western narratives.
This isn’t necessarily the case here. It can be, but it doesn’t have to. However, it’s often something unexpected, and usually unrelated to what’s happened in the first two acts.
Finally, the fourth act is about the impact of the third act on the first two acts. This is why I like the term reconciliation. The third act will affect the situation presented in the first and second act, and in the fourth act the state of the world in first and second act is reconciled with the events of the the third.
You can see how cultural differences between East and West come through in each culture's preferred storytelling methods. Kishōtenketsu emphasizes developing a cast of characters over focusing on an individual protagonist. The Eastern approach is also more concerned with reconciling the story's events to the status quo ante.
I mentioned earlier that Kishōtenketsu is a story structure without conflict. This doesn’t mean there isn’t any conflict in stories told through this kind of story structure, only that it’s not built into the structure by default.
Let’s compare it with the three act structure:
In the first act, a conflict is introduced. In the second act the conflict is escalated, and in the third it is resolved. As we see, the conflict is an integral part of the structure as a whole. That’s not the case in Kishōtenketsu. In none of the four acts is a conflict a requirement.
This holds true even for the third act. The complication doesn’t have be something that the character struggles against – but it can be.
Properties like Star Wars grounded in conflict-driven Western storytelling conventions already face a major handicap in more conformist, social harmony-emphasizing Eastern markets. Disney isn't doing itself any favors by also making its products horrible.

Related: Some reviewers have said that the beginning of my first novel Nethereal uses a structure similar to Kishōtenketsu. It's only 99 cents right now, so give it a read and see for yourself.