Tuesday, November 19, 2019

My Life As A Writer: #20BooksTo50K 2019 Conference

Friend of the Retreat Jon del Arroz attended the #20BooksTo50K conference, and while he made the most of his time there the group itself didn't just have a stupid excuse to virtue signal and collude to cancel wrongthinkers; this isn't an OldPub group. This is NewPub, the folks living the return of the Pulp business model, and making a killing doing so in ways that OldPub authors--with few exceptions--wish they could match. These folks, especially the Mil-SF and Space Opera cliques (which heavily overlap), are whom I look up to and learn from- not OldPub.

And you can too. Below is the entire 2019 Conference playlist. Put the games and shows on the backburner and watch this instead if you want your writing to earn you more than some fun money in your change pocket. The Amazon data analysis panel alone is worth your time, regardless of what you write or how you approach it- and you OldPub guys getting the stick end should be paying attention because this is where you're going to go once OldPub pushes you out.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Narrative Warfare: Re-Recommending Richard Grove

It's been a while since I talked about the man, and there's been some gains in readership since, so it's time to revisit the man who inspired my coining of the term "Narrative Warfare": Richard Grove. He runs a project called "Tragedy & Hope", named after the book of the same name.

Richard got his start with 9/11, which might as well be ancient history in Internet reckoning, and began digging into the hidden history of events that lead up to it. The site aforementioned, its associated YouTube channel, and the podcasts he's done/is doing are all outgrowths of his years of investigation and auto-didactic education on these matters. There are few men alive who are better at Dialectic than Mr. Grove, in part because (a) he knows his limits and (b) he turns those limits into assets that he exploits to improve the effect of his efforts.

If you choose to get into his media works, be prepared to take notes. This is not something to throw on for background noise, and he doesn't play the Rhetoric game of clickbait outrage like the pop culture fan channels do. (They run on Rhetoric; what passes for Dialectic there isn't most of the time.) He makes references to other works on the regular, and to get the most out of his videos and podcasts you need to look up what he's referencing. You can, quite easily, get an informal Ph.D.-level education in the Classics as a by-product of following his work diligently.

Yes, he's clearly a man of the Enlightenment and all that entails, but he is also opposed to the invisible empire running (and ruining) the West. If he's aware of Moldbug and those who came after him, I haven't seen it evident in anything produced yet; he's therefore flawed in being mired in libertarian politics, ignoring the evidence for its failure, as he's still mired in CivNat thinking- as are many in his circles, such as James Corbett of the Corbett Report and James Evan Pilato of Media Monarchy.

But you're not going to find a more accessible source on the real, and verifiable, history of the West online, and for a lot of you looking for something to supplement other homeschooling resources you've got a goldmine here- especially for your adolescents, who are coming into their capacity for higher cognitive thought and the vast increase in their reasoning potential accordingly. Remember that this is the guy who got John Taylor Gatto's final and best interview on what schooling is and how it actually works; he's not a man to dismiss for merely being an idealistic CivNat. It's just that the Internet post-2012 zeitgeist didn't include him and his circles, which is why he seems out of sorts these days.

I wouldn't be talking about the man if I wasn't going to show you some of his stuff, and these are two of his recent videos regarding his Autonomy Project. If you're ready and able to put down the easy dopemine hits, and get into some deep history and analysis--real analysis, not woo--then Grove is your guy and you can kiss your binge watching of Pop Cult crap goodbye. At the very least, watch the Bernays video; he's the villain who co-created the media propaganda machine that the Death Cult now operates worldwide.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

My Life As A Gamer: When You Blow Your Cover Because You're A Moron

Today in "This is why you gatekeep your hobbies", this stupidity from Josh Campea.

Yeah, that's retarded. He got roasted good and hard, as he should, for saying this. The controls are stupid-easy to learn and reconfigure; the man couldn't be bothered to open up the Options menu and read World's Simplest Infographic. The most charitable light suggests that he is literally retarded and should be under supervision due to being unable to properly handle his own affairs. The most likely take is that he's a lazy shit who expected mindless game-plays-itself levels of (dis)engagement in his entertainment and got mad when his expectation got thwarted; the man should stick to movies and TV instead, where all he has to do is hit "Play".

In short, he's a fake- not a gamer.

And for the record, the game is a decent product; it plays a lot like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and it's playtime is short for my takes (about 15-20 hours, so a third of my preferred 1:1 ration of hours per US Dollar). If he had grokked the controls, he would've quit a few minutes later when he had to actually learn how to read someone trying to melee him to death instead of mindlessly mashing buttons. Games in the style of Demon Souls and Dark Souls are not forgiving or merciful.

He doesn't have patience. He has expectations, and those expectations are wholly misinformed due to his own willful ignorance. To quote Oliver Campbell, He did this to himself.

It's good that he's getting roasted for this. Such willful displays of stupidity and ignorance should be mocked without pity or mercy; he did this to himself, and expected to be lauded for whining about it- much like the Devil Mouse itself these days. Yes, he should be; he's a grown man, well past any need for someone to hold his hand and baby him through this stuff. He should be capable of finding out what he needs to know on his own, to adapt to the situation as it is, to learn his way around and improvise a path, and then to overcome it- something that the MMA fighters he claims to enjoy make a matter of daily discipline if they want to master themselves and their sport.

Keep those gates against the fakes and phonies who want to destroy them and all that makes them valuable in the culture. No one's going to do it for you.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Narrative Warfare: The Intolerant Hold The High Ground

Between these two videos by Black Pigeon Speaks and The Quartering, I have sufficient material to substantiate a connection I've been pushing on Twitter for a little while now. First, the videos.

Here's the take-away: The Chinese Communist Party is actively opposing sexual degeneracy using anti-Western Rhetoric. The result is that it exercises this censorious policy on all media allowed in the People's Republic of China, both foreign and domestic, which is why you're seeing degenerate sexuality being scrubbed from Western corporate media properties that are allowed in China.

This is not just anti-homosexual censorship. This is also anti-miscengenation censorship, which is why the Finn/Rose romance (and, to be fair, any Rey/Finn potential) got nixed. Both are in accord with the Party's anti-degeneracy policies. The useful idiots in the trenches fighting for the Death Cult are just now starting to become aware of this fact, and they are confused in their reaction because the Hive Mind hasn't issued any updates on what to think yet.

Which leads to an inescapable conclusion: The canon of a corporate IP is dictated by the most intolerant party involved. This is entirely in line with David Stewart's video explaining corporate ownership of such properties; they want to maximize profits from these properties, so that means getting into China, and the Party knows this so they exert this control accordingly using gatekeeping as leverage.

This is why China had Blizzard purge Overwatch of the gay to get into the country; Tracer and Soldier 76 are actually Gay For Pay, meaning they're really straight as a board but do the gay for Western rubes--that's you, SJWs--because it's currently cheaper to do so than to not. (That time, by the way, is fast approaching its end; once the Blizzard beancounters see how toothless you are, they'll stop pretending to pander to you and everything else China doesn't like will also be purged.)

And we're seeing now on a global scope and scale what the observant have already seen in the United Kingdom with the Muslims: the intolerant hold the high ground. Good luck shaming the Chinese Communist Party into bending the knee to SJW Death Cult dogma; they may, ultimately, serve the same master but they won't be second-fiddle to a bunch of limp-wristed sissies and their loud-mouthed busybody fuckbuddies.

And I have but one recommendation for everyone not a ChiCom or Death Cult asset:

Friday, November 15, 2019

Razorfist Presents The Shadowcast 3: 'LINGO' and 'DEATH TO THE SHADOW'

It took a while, but here's episode 3. Have a good weekend, folks.

Here's a takeaway: Gibson writes a lot of these stories as crime stories where the bad guys win on the first draft. Then in the rewrite he inserts The Shadow to ruin their day at critical moments. Remember that he's writing two novels a month, so we're talking levels of Pulp Speed most people today can't even fathom to exist. It's a hell of a way to figure out how to structure your writing process for maximum efficiency; Gibson had a background covering real crime stories, in addition to his stage magician history, so using the mindset of the latter to inform the narrative work of the former had to come naturally.

This, folks, is "Write what you know" done right. He took what knew in terms of subject matter (crime) and acumen (magic), applied his technical skills (writing), and churned out one satisfying thriller after the next for years on end- two a month! And he did it on a manual typewriter, in a day when "doing research" meant hoofing it to wherever that information rested- libraries, archives, subjects, etc. when you couldn't get someone on an analog landline phonecall to do it for you.

Think on that, fellow writers. Think on that prepare-to-write structure, especially if you aspire to Pulp Speed.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

My Life As A Gamer: Kojima Is Fine. The Cult Of Kojima Is Not.

Razorfist has words about Hideo Kojima and Death Stranding.

In terms of his talk regarding media bullshitting their way around covering up contra-Narrative developments, he's accurate. They can, and do, employ all sorts of word-magic to baffle with bullshit those they're told to protect. They are doing this with Death Stranding. Reception, in the U.S., is not what some would like to see. That's all factual.

But I think he's jumped the gun. The game's not been out a week yet and only now are the serious players, those who blitzed it, finishing up full and complete playthroughs on anything harder than Babby's First Bideogame. As such, some of the criticisms are not warranted. Summarizing it as The Postman by way of Metal Gear does toss out some important details, naming that what you're set out to do isn't what's going on, and all the weirdness isn't the allegory he's after. The connections talked about are cast in interpersonal terms, but what's going on the larger cosmic connections and the rightful order they bring; when that's disrupted, the system falls apart and a hard reset is ordered. That's what the game is about.

Oliver Campbell said it best in a recent livestream. Kojima is like George Lucas; he's a fantastic producer, a great idea man. Get him quality talent to execute those ideas, and exercise restraint over him, and you get some S-tier results. Let him run things, and you get something narratively dense with pacing problems but otherwise is a fine example of the form; most of Kojima's career since Metal Gear Solid has been the latter, which is why he gets knocked around like he does.

In short, the man needs an editor who knows how to say "No" to him and get him to write cleaner and leaner narratives with better pacing. His current famous associates are none of this, which is not surprising when looking at who is in this game and how they are used. His past associates were no such help either. This is a consistent pattern; the games he puts out are not nearly as difficult to comprehend as they're made out to be. They're just densely packed and poorly paced.

From what I watched, this game is worth playing, but not at $60. Wait for a price drop, buy used--should be a copy available soon--or get a good discount.

What does get me is that Kojima is both worshipped and shat upon in manners one might say were fannish in nature. He does have a tendency to be needlessly obfuscatory about his work, both in talking about it and in the playing of it. He is fixated upon Cold War era fears of annihilation and control by shadowy elites with manipulative practices, a thing that Death Stranding didn't change. That doesn't change that he consistently creates gameplay experiences that do approach the High Art ambitions he aspires to, and we still talk a lot more about the Metal Gear games than their competitors; he ain't Kurosawa, but denying that he's not a legit heavy weight in world culture, and has the output to back that claim up, especially as shit he talked about over a decade ago comes to pass here and now and the last proper game had a thread about language control thought straight out of 1984 with "parasites" as allegory for "cultish paradigm control".

In ludological terms, there's nothing unusual. Non-lethal play is given early and always an option, especially given the consequences for sloppy lethal violence here; damage done to the landscape is permanent regardless of when in the game it occurs, so it persists into the open world post-game state. The Asynchronus online play succeeds in creating the sense of others being present while you--in active play--are alone and have to handle things on your own; you can see others contributing to the infrastructure enabling play on the map, but you still have to do the hoofing it to link up regions to the network and bring them online- doing so phases you into the shared world state therein. You also have to do certain unlocks before you can make and use certain things, like ziplines (and you do want those; gets you around massive regions like mountains fast and easy).

While the narrative has the aforementioned issues, the gameplay is solid and truly What You See Is What You Get. The mechanics of things is explained in a far cleaner manner than the narrative itself, and by the time certain items are obtained or temporarily disabled you should have learned enough about other mechanics (e.g. enemy tells) to make the most of the gameplay changes. Sure, you can't Fulton an entire base of Russians and their gear back to Mother Base, but being able to 3d print a highway so you can speed across a plain is just as fantastic. The game is fine. The hype's the problem.

So lay off the hate, and the worship. He's just a man, flawed like all of us, but still a bright and observant man who's trying to use what he has to say what he's got.

He just needs a manager to rein in his excesses. If he can do that, count on the next game being a awe-inspiring masterpiece, and not a scuffed one like this game is.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Narrative Warfare: The Pop Cultist Gatekeepers

I'm going to talk about something akin to Not Invented Here Syndrome, which is this:

Not invented here (NIH) is the philosophical principle of not using third party solutions to a problem because of their external origins. False pride often drives an enterprise to use less-than-perfect invention in order to save face by ignoring, boycotting, or otherwise refusing to use or incorporate obviously superior solutions by others.

In trying to reach out to fan channels at YouTube who claim to be open to any science fiction, I run into something similar. These channels are focused on audio-visual media, often Big Brand media, and increasingly complaining about one or more Big Brands while doing nothing useful to solve the problems that they decry. The parallel is that "here" means "Big Brand media", and "not here" means what is outside of that.

Because of this media bias, they are often wholly unaware of what is going on in the wider field. They don't know about the book world in particular, so the disruption of the publishing world they are dimly aware of due to Big Brands leeching off generations-old classics such as Dune has escaped their notice; they still think OldPub is all that exists, when all they need to do is skim the Kindle Store on Amazon to see that everything they claim to want is there in abundance.

They claim to want it. They don't. They want the Brand. They are not fans of the genre; they are Fans of the Brand. They are true Pop Cultists, and getting them to go outside the brand is exactly the same as getting them to leave a cult like Scientology.

"Not Invented Here" in this content is not hard to see. If it isn't from the Brand--and thus in the media they see as high-status and legitimate, from the sources that validate their existence--they aren't interested and are dismissive if not hostile to everything outside that cultist context. This makes these channels good gatekeepers. By letting these channels complain about the Brand, yet shut out off-Brand alternatives, the Brand benefits by keeping people on the reservation and those people usually--reliably--end up playing the paypig because whatever resistance they may put up is easily worn down.

They are, in effect, playing the same game that Cuckservative Inc. does in the political realm. They just don't know it, and wouldn't grok it if confronted with it. Yet. But the result is the same, and so is the conclusion: they hold the gates to the wider audience. Those that are not hostile to us are wholly uninterested; it is better to route around them for now than to confront them. They have to face the collapse of their cult before they will be open to persuasion otherwise.