Monday, July 29, 2013

Hugo Nominations: Best Novel and Best Novella

So, given that voting for the Hugos closes this Tuesday, I should close up my thoughts on the major Awards.

Best Novel
  •     2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
  •     Blackout, Mira Grant (Orbit)
  •     Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
  •     Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas, John Scalzi (Tor)
  •     Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW)

All right: I only read two of these: Redshirts and Throne. I really wasn't interested in reading Book 15 of a series I've never read, so Captain Vorpatril was pretty much out.  To a lesser extent, that applied with Blackout, but also from reading Mira Grant/Seanan Maguire's other entries, I wasn't interested in carving out extra time to read something else.  And as for 2312... with all due respect to Mr. Robinson, but his books are not for me.  I muscled my way through Red Mars some time ago, and tried to do Green Mars, but I felt I was doing that entire out of a strange sense of obligation instead of enjoyment.

So, with only two books read, what comes out?  Well, frankly, I tore through Redshirts in about 24 hours, finding it a lot of fun.  I'll admit, I found the three codas to be a process of diminishing returns (Coda 1 was a good follow-up, Coda 2 was interesting, and Coda 3 felt extremely tangential), but the whole book was highly enjoyable.  Throne, on the other hand, was just fine.  A perfectly good book, but I honestly didn't quite get why this was the highly-nominated super-buzz book of 2012.  I didn't even think it was the best psuedo-Middle East fantasy of 2012

Best Novella
  •     After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications)
  •     The Emperor’s Soul, Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications)
  •     On a Red Station, Drifting, Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
  •     San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, Mira Grant (Orbit)
  •     “The Stars Do Not Lie”, Jay Lake (Asimov’s, Oct-Nov 2012)

Again, didn't get all of these read.  Didn't even start The Emperor's Soul, and only got a little of the way into On a Red Station.  It didn't hold my interest, but I won't include it in my voting plan.

"The Stars Do Not Lie" didn't hold my interest either, mostly because I felt it was heading towards an obvious revelation and shuffling its way to it, so I grew uninterested.  After, Before, During also made its way to an obvious climax, and the revelations of that climax were less that compelling.  But the writing itself, and the path there, were strong, so I enjoyed reading it, even if I felt somewhat dissatisfied with where it ended up.  Also, San Diego 2014 was enjoyable to read, but on the whole it wasn't satisfying.  Between those two, I'll give After the edge.

Voting closes in two days! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Perils of the Writer: Slow March to the Inevitable

So, consider this plot structure: two point-of-view threads of characters with no apparent connection, both engaged in their own events... but the tenuous tendrils of those events being connected are apparent to the reader.  You don't have to read very far to know where this is going to go: these characters will eventually meet.  It will probably be the climax of the story. 

Now, the question is: is the journey to that inevitable climax worth it?  Or is a boring slog where it seems the writer is just marking time, and everyone in the story comes off as horribly clueless?  Is the story stumbling around to finally settle on a "revelation" that was patently obvious to the reader a hundred pages back?

That isn't to say a foreshadowed or even inevitable climax is a bad thing.  A well-constructed story can move towards an ending that the audience is completely aware of without it being boring.  That's the nature of tragedy: the audience watching helplessly while the characters are hurling towards catastrophe.  The best efforts of the characters to save themselves can be engrossing, even if we know that they will fail.  My son recently commented to me about 127 Hours, how even though you know Aaron is eventually going to cut his arm off to escape, the construction of the scenes where he tries to move the rock are engaging and dynamic enough that you think just maybe he's going to escape.

But too often I've read thing where that inevitable conclusion is just obvious and uninteresting.  Where your foreshadowing (and use of tropes) just makes the reader feel smarter than the characters, and then they start to hate the characters and the story for not being smart.

I will admit, sometimes I will push my way through something that feels like it's slogging towards the obvious conclusion just on the hope that it will surprise me.  But more often then not, I'm further disappointed.  I will also admit that I quit reading one of the Hugo-nominated because it was constructed in exactly this way, and it didn't interest me to force my way through the obvious meeting of two characters to discover the obvious "surprise".   

Monday, July 22, 2013

Worldbuilding: Marriage and Other Rituals of Love and Joining

Today is my anniversary (13th!), so it seems appropriate to talk about the worldbuilding aspects of marriage and other rituals of joining.  Marriage customs are rarely the center of any worldbuild, but they do add a certain degree of flavor and color to the cultures you create.

I think the first thing one should do when crafting the marriage customs of another culture is clear your head of morality and expectation of what marriage "should" be.  I mean, yes, of course you can keep the marriage in a built culture exactly the same as you see it here in your own.  But there are some questions you should ask yourself when coming up with How Marriage Works there:
  • What kind of groups are marriages?
  • What are the legal expectations of a marriage?
  • What are the social expectations of a marriage?
  • Who is allowed to enter a marriage?
  • How is the decision to marry carried out?
  • At what age do people typically marry?
  • How can a marriage be dissolved?
At the core, there are four forms of marriage: monogamous, polygamous,  polygynous and polyandrous. The last two are subsets of polygamous, but it's important to make the distinction, though we often use the term "polygamy" (marriage of multiple people) when we really mean polygyny (a man with mulptiple wives).  Polygamy can take many forms beyond one person with multiple spouses.  It could be a group of people all married to each other (like the line marriages of Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) or one where each person has multiple spouses, but there isn't necessarily a bond between said spouses (like the Denobluans of Star Trek: Enterprise, where Phlox has three wives, and each of those wives has two additional husbands, and each of those husbands has two additional wives... and so on.)

Legal and social expectations get to the core of What Marriage Means for the culture.  For example, in my fantasy setting, the Xonacans are matriarchal polyandrists, and men are explicitly the property of their wives.  Similarl the questions about who is allowed to marry and how the decision is carried out informs a lot about the culture. Are certain social groups are barred from marriage?  Are marriages arranges?  Do the upper classes have arranged marriages?  Are same-sex marriages allowed?  Do people marry in their teens, their twenties?  As children?  Is fidelity expected? Are divorces common? Or is marriage binding until death?  Are marriages essentially business arrangements, or are they done for love?

Which then opens up another question: are there other rituals of love?  Or joining?  Adoption, for example, could be something that the culture ritualizes.  Another example from my setting: amongst the Ch'omikTaan, a feudal warrior culture, two men can bind their houses together by making themselves brothers-- a ritual similar, but not identical, to a marirage.

And beyond what marriage means, what does a wedding entail?  Is it a simple legal contract, or a seven-day ceremony?  These details can really help define the cultures of your world. 


 And on another note, I've achieved an authorial milestone: fan art from one of the early scenes in Thorn of Dentonhill.  
Hopefully this is a sign that a deal is right around the corner.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hugo Nominations: Stina Leicht for the Campbell

The Campbell goes to the best new writer whose first professional work of science fiction or fantasy was published within the two previous calendar years.    It is technically not a Hugo Award, but the voting for it is tied with the Hugo, and its presented at the Hugo Award, so I'm including it in my discussion here.  Plus, it's an award which I have a very strong opinion about this year.

The Campbell Award should go to Stina Leicht.

I'm not going to pretend I'm the slightest bit unbiased in this.  Stina Leicht is a friend.  And I mean no disrespect to Misters Cho, Gladstone or Wendig, nor Ms. Lafferty, but I don't know them.  Their people can pitch for them. 

So, why should you vote for Stina Leicht?

First of all, there's the writing itself.  If you haven't read Of Blood and Honey or And Blue Skies from Pain, you really ought to put them on your short list.  Near the top.  She blends historical fiction (70s Northern Ireland) with Urban Fantasy to create something unique.  If you have a preconceived notion of what "Urban Fantasy" is, these will shatter that. 

Based on these books alone, she would deserve it.

But let's look beyond just the writing.  Because Stina is a person who engages in the community, with her fellow writers, as well as paying it forward to the people behind her.  She's been the coordinator for the ArmadilloCon Writer's Workshop since 2008.  That's five years of work helping writers working to become professionals.  Introducing them to professionals.  Getting their work in front of editors when she can.  She could be putting all her energies into just her own work, but she believes in helping, she believes in teaching. 

She believes in treating those coming up behind as her peers.  And that is something special.  When you feel that your manuscript isn't good enough, that some plot twist is completely broken, when you're in a blind panic because you're about to pitch to an agent who sent you a rejection letter a few hours ago: she's someone who will give you an understanding ear and a few sage words. 

Stina is a rare gift in the sci-fi and fantasy world.  And from what I've read and heard of what she's got forthcoming, she is going to keep amazing her readers.  Mark my words: thirty years from now she's going to be one of the grand dames of the genre, a name spoken with hushed awe.

But don't take my word for it.  Go read.  And then vote.   

Monday, July 15, 2013

Orson Scott Card and Tolerating Intolerance

One of the things circulating the genre-fan news is how Orson Scott Card, author of Ender's Game and noted anti-gay crusader, has recently put out a plea for "tolerance" of his intolerant behavior, and that people shouldn't picket or boycott the upcoming Ender's Game movie on his account.

I'm not sure where I stand on all this yet, though I'm a believer in separating the art from the artist if that's possible, but I thought I'd hand the mike over to a friend--who wishes to remain anonymous-- who makes his stance on this quite eloquently:


I found this discussion particularly interesting since I am gay, and I grew up Mormon and my whole family is still Mormon. I was also a huge fan of Card growing up and Enders Game is one of the defining novels of my childhood. I won't be boycotting the movie, and I probably wouldn't boycott anything he's done actually.

I think my "tolerance" (bad word choice) comes from a place of understanding. My parents have said things just as bad, if not worse then the things Card has said in his press releases and comments. But I have not boycotted my parents. We actually get along really well and have a better relationship then we have in a long time. They know I am gay and I know they don't like it but we focus on what is good for both of us.

Now the situation between my parents and me is possible because, when I was Mormon, I believed all the things that they believed and I can remember what it is like to be a slave to those beliefs. You know you are being cruel, you know you are insulting people, but it seems like the right thing to do because you are standing up for truth. It's like the Steven Weinberg quote. "For good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

Orson Scott Card is not a monster. He's probably a good father and a great member of his community. I have friends who have met him and say he is very nice. I had one friend who met him and when he found out she wrote poetry he demanded that she read some for him and he gave her a lot of nice attention and feedback. It was an inconvenience for him that meant a lot to her and was very kind.

Now does that mean I agree with his views on homosexuality? Absolutely not. The guy's insane. But so are my parents and all of my extended family and so was I until the age of twenty four. And the process of changing my mind was the most depressing, disillusioning one of my entire life. I am glad to be on the other side of it, but it was not a fun journey.

I think I have a degree of sympathy for people like him, and I don't feel a need to boycott him, or harass him with letters or call him names because, for one thing, fighting fire with fire always seemed foolish to me. And second, the world is changing without them. They are being left behind and in some ways their hatred will be a self inflicted punishment as they are abandoned by more and more people as the crack pots they are. I don't believe in god, but I do believe in Karma.

So in conclusion, I will go see the movie. I'm a big fan of many of the people working on it and a movie is such a big family to punish. As for Card, I don't feel like I have to do anything. I am totally content to wait patiently and allow him the right to destroy himself. Or maybe, some day change his mind.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bad Movies I've Seen Many, Many Times: The Beastmaster

As a child of the 80s, I grew up with the long, lazy summers and a full cable package.   We had the whole boat: HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and The Movie Channel.  All four of these channels had the Big Movies that would be their major draws… but they still needed to fill out the rest of the 24/7 schedule with whatever they could get.  That means there were plenty of weak movies that were played, over and over again.  And a lot of the time, I watched those movies, over and over again.

Did I like those movies?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  A lot of the times they were just on, and so why not?  They were the cinematic equivalent of absently eating cold French fries just because they’re on a plate in front of you rather than actual hunger. 

 It seems like a lot of wasted time in my youth, no?  Well, nothing is ever truly wasted if you learned something, right?  And you do definitely learn something when you watch the same mediocre movie again and again.  Like how to bait your hooks to get someone to watch it.

There’s a joke out there that I like to repeat whenever I can, though I don’t claim originating it, and that’s there was that one summer when HBO stood for, “Hey, Beastmaster’s On.”  This joke is utterly, utterly true.  I think it was the summer of 1983.  Possibly 1984.  I’m not sure, but I’m sure I saw Beastmaster many, many times.  It, more than any other film, is key to my interest in fantasy as a genre.

For the seven people out there who haven’t seen it, Beastmaster is your basic sword-and-sorcery flick.  In fact, by the mid-80s it was one of the few, and possibly best, sword-and-sorcery flick that didn’t involve Conan in it.  Hell, I’ll say it’s better than Conan the Barbarian, a movie that will not be featured in this series because I actually find it a chore to sit through.   I’ll even go right ahead and say it’s probably the best sword-and-sorcery flick to be made between 1975 and 2000.  This is less a statement of its quality and more of the dire state of the genre. 

The plot goes basically like this: warrior with animal-talking powers deals out some sword (and tiger) fueled justice on an evil priest.  Sounds pretty simple, but there is a crazy amount of crazy going on here.

The movie starts a bronze-age city-state with an evil high-priest and a not-evil king. The high priest Maax (Rip Torn) learns via his prophetic butter-faced witches that the king’s unborn son will be his downfall.  So one of these witches, in a totally creepy sequence, sneaks into the royal bedchamber with a cow and magicks the baby out of the queen and into the cow.  She then takes the cow a fair distance away, gives it a quick Caesarean and gets ready for some ritualized baby-killing.  Unfortunately for her, she’s interrupted by a passing hunter/farmer/whoever who realizes that crazy witch-ladies killing babies is bad, and he kills her and raises the baby as his own son.

So, right there, we’ve got hooks with a classic trope-- a bad guy’s attempt to thwart his destiny sets the stage for his destiny to come into place. 

Dar (Marc Singer) grows up in this village with his adopted father, learns he can talk to animals, and then is the only survivor when his village is attacked by the Jun Horde.  After this, he spends some time wandering around shirtless, picking up animal friends and killing anyone he meets.  Seriously, this whole section of the movie plays like a D&D campaign where the GM is just winging it and throwing random encounters out there.  Most of note is the creepy, people-eating bat creatures that leave Dar alone because he has hawk and they worship birds. 

Eventually Dar meets a half-naked Tanya Roberts and he decides to follow after her, hooking up with John Amos and a twelve-year-old wearing a diaper.  The party having teamed up, they first rescue Tanya Roberts, and then go to rescue the captured king in the city-state.  The captured king is, of course, Dar’s actual father, but he doesn’t know this.  There’s also a bit where Dar rescues a kid from Maax’s daily sacrifice by having his pet hawk fly the kid away.  I have to commend Rip Torn in this bit, because he does the perfect turn on a dime of having a “What the hell just happened?” look on his face to spinning the whole thing to mean MORE sacrifices.

The sequence of rescuing the king from Maax’s temple is fantastic, but for all the wrong reasons.  There’s a bit where Tonya Roberts vanishes for a second and comes back in a slightly different outfit, though Dar reacts like she’s now totally decked out in something different.  I swear, a significant portion of my 12-year-old brainpower was spent trying to figure out what he’s so startled about.  Then there’s Maax’s S&M army: stooges who have their brains melted before encased in spiked leather.  There’s literally a whole bit where we’re shown, step-by-step, the S&M Stoogemaking process. This is important later.  No, sorry, I mean never. 

Anyway, they get out of town with the king, who is a total dick to Dar.  Despite this, they all go back to the city to take on Maax, which is kind of a fiasco.  Maax kills the king, but then gets killed in a kamikazi attack by one of Dar’s ferrets.  A ferret is dead, and it’s very sad.  But, hey, they won, all good, right?

Wrong, because the Jun Horde is coming.  Why are they coming?  I don’t recall it ever being made clear, but I’d like to believe Maax had some sort of Dead Man’s Switch deal with them—like, if he didn’t send up white smoke, they’re supposed to come get their horde on.  They do give enough advance notice for Dar to work up a plan.

The plan, I have to admit, is kind of brilliant.  The city is surrounded by a moat filled with oil and tar, so Dar and the rest of the town move the bridge back a few meters, cover the moat with dirt, and let the horde plow right into it.  This mostly just slows the horde down, but it’s also only Phase I.  Phase II?  Creepy, people-eating bat-creatures. 

It really is just like Anton Chekhov said: if you show people-eating bat-creatures in the first act, they must eat a horde of invaders in the third act. 

In the end, the twelve-year-old in the diaper is the new king, which Dar could claim since he’s got the king’s brand on his hand.  But he doesn’t want to be king.  Instead, Dar goes back off on his travels to nowhere in particular, since he’s a rebel, a loner.  But then Tanya Roberts follows him, showing up out of nowhere on the top of a mesa, and they make out.  She’s his cousin, but the movie glosses over that for the sake of romance.

Beastmaster spawned a couple off well-after-the-fact direct-to-VHS sequels, as well as a syndicated TV series.  None of these are any good. 

Lesson I learned from Beastmaster: Practical storytelling applications of Greek drama: namely, the use of prophecy for inevitable fate, and the use of dues ex machina.  Deus ex machina, also, can be totally awesome if it takes the form of people-eating bat-creatures.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hugo Nominations: Best Dramatic Presentation

Confession: when I was younger, and not really noting what was going on in the SF/F literary world, all I would pay attention to among the Hugo nominees was the "Best Dramatic Presentation" award. I've always felt it was something of a problematic award, with things getting nominated that were... less than worthy.  This year's batch isn't as problematic as past years'-- there's nothing that pops out as a "Really?!?!" In fact, it's mostly good stuff.

So let's dive in.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
  •     The Avengers, Screenplay & Directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios, Disney, Paramount)
  •     The Cabin in the Woods, Screenplay by Drew Goddard & Joss Whedon; Directed by Drew Goddard (Mutant Enemy, Lionsgate)
  •     The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro, Directed by Peter Jackson (WingNut Films, New Line Cinema, MGM, Warner Bros)
  •     The Hunger Games, Screenplay by Gary Ross & Suzanne Collins, Directed by Gary Ross (Lionsgate, Color Force)
  •     Looper, Screenplay and Directed by Rian Johnson (FilmDistrict, EndGame Entertainment)
Of these five, the only one I've yet to see is Looper, so I really have no opinion on that one.  The other four are, essentially, what I expected to see nominated this year.  (I did also expect to see Looper on the list, based on what I had heard about it.)  So: no surprises or upsets, really.
Easily my favorite here is The Avengers.  I'm a big superhero fan, and with The Avengers, I got the big team superhero movie I had always wanted.  There's one shot that makes this movie for me: the one long tracking shot that follows from Hawkeye taking out flyers to Cap and Iron Man on the ground to Black Widow riding one of the cycles to Thor and Hullk on top of one of the behemoths. It's clear, bright, vibrant, and it doesn't have hand-held cameras or quick cuts.  It's the cinematic equivalent of a splash page. 
Cabin in the Woods is a close second.  Clever, fun, and with an explosive third act.
Hunger Games was a solid movie, very enjoyable, anchored by Jennifer Lawrence's strong performance.  And also a very solid adaptation of the book.  I've no problem ranking it third.
Hobbit was weaker than I wanted it to be.  There are great parts in it-- the Riddles in the Dark sequence stands out-- but it doesn't add up to a greater whole. 

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
  •     Doctor Who, “The Angels Take Manhattan”, Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)
  •     Doctor Who, “Asylum of the Daleks”, Written by Steven Moffat; Directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)
  •     Doctor Who, “The Snowmen”, written by Steven Moffat; directed by Saul Metzstein (BBC Wales)
  •     Fringe, “Letters of Transit”, Written by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Akiva Goldsman, J.H.Wyman, Jeff Pinkner. Directed by Joe Chappelle (Fox)
  •     Game of Thrones, “Blackwater”, Written by George R.R. Martin, Directed by Neil Marshall. Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (HBO)
I've never watched Fringe, so again, I have no opinion there.  
"Blackwater" was the high point of the second season of Game of Thrones, and it's my only nominee that made it to the list.  Game of Thrones is probably the most interesting genre show on right now, in that it's got so many balls in the air and manages to keep them up most of the time.  It's a show that's taking the through-line of what the medium can do that was started with Babylon 5 and continued with Lost, and made itself into the closest thing genre fans* have seen to being a novel-for-the-screen.  It might have been challenging to pick a single episode to stand out, given that, but "Blackwater", with its laser-like focus on one specific area of the plot, jumped out ahead of the rest.

I've made no secret that I'm not crazy this category has become the de facto Doctor Who category, as it's dominated the category every years since the series was relaunched.  In fact, 2009 is the only year Doctor Who did not take three of the five slots.   And I'm a big fan, but even still: really? It represents 60% of the best of the best of SF/F television and other short form?   So much so that shows like Walking Dead or Alphas or Arrow get snubbed?  I mean, "The Snowmen" was fine, but nothing extraordinary, with almost the whole episode held up by the charisma of Jenna-Louise Coleman.  The same could probably be said about "Asylum of the Daleks".  I'm a little more fond of "Angels Take Manhattan", even though it does damage to the Weeping Angels as neat threat, and it forces a major amount of suspension of disbelief along the lines of, "How can someone be lost forever to a man who travels through space and time?"  Still, it hits emotional resonances with Amy and Rory, and fits as a farewell for them.  So I'll rank it above the other two.  Of them, I'll give "Asylum" the edge. 

That's all for this batch.

*- Not genre, but I'd argue that Mad Men and Breaking Bad are also doing that.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day Writing Pledge

Today's post is quick, because for the holiday I'm going to be prepping in the kitchen, then off to an event, so opportunity to post will be minimal. 

However, I've been thinking about what I wrote on Monday and my future writing plans.  See, once I finish cleaning up Way of the Shield, I'll start working on Banshee in earnest.  The protagonist of Banshee is Lt. Samantha Kengle.

Right here, I'm going to make this pledge regarding the writing of Lt. Samantha Kengle:

  • At no point will she be called a "bitch" or a "whore".  Or cunt, strumpet, floozy, slut or quim.  
  • At no point will her competence or ability to do her job be called into question on account of her gender.
  • At no point will rape or sexual violence be visited upon her.  Nor will it play any role in her backstory or motivation.
  • At no point will the reader be subjected to lurid descriptions of her physicality.
  • Her uniform will be identical to every other officer's in the fleet. 
  • She will be a complex, vibrant and engaging protagonist.  Given that I don't screw up in writing her.  If I do screw up, reader, hold my feet to the fire.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Conventions and Harassment

If you've been paying to the SFF Writer/Fan blogosphere of late, you're aware that sexual harassment has become a topic of discussion.  Again

Because the people who pull this shit at conventions don't seem to ever get it.

Look, I rarely use profanity on this blog, so hopefully the impact I'm going for here will sink in: what the fuck is wrong with you people?!?!?

I mean, really, the number of times this has come up, and keeps coming up, and the people who harass their fellow con-goers seem to think, "Hey, that's just how Chad* is.  It's harmless."  Yeah, that's not harmless. 

And the defense of this behavior is appalling.  "Oh, but if you censor us like this, we can't talk to women!"  No, you don't know how to talk to women.  Let's take a quick quiz of Convention Behavior.

1. At a convention, you see an attractive fellow con-goer wearing a low-cut sundress that displays ample cleavage.  Do you:
   A. Say, "Wow, that's quite a rack you've got there."
   B. Say, "That's a great dress.  It would look better on my hotel room floor."
   C. Not say anything.  Just stare at it.
   D. Say, "Hi, my name's Chad.  What's yours?"

2. At a convention, you see an attractive fellow con-goer wearing a Doctor Who T-Shirt.  Do you:
   A. Say, "That's a great shirt.  What do you have under there?"
   B. Say, "Hey, do you wanna know what's bigger on the inside... OF MY PANTS?"
   C. Quiz her on her knowledge of Doctor Who minutiae to prove she's not a real fan.
   D. Say, "Cool shirt.  I love that show."

3. At a convention, you see an attractive fellow con-goer with long blue hair.  Do you:
   A. Walk up and smell her hair.
   B. Walk up and stroke her hair.
   C. Ask her, "Does your hair color have a sexual meaning?"
   D. Talk to her like you would any other human being anywhere ever.

4. At a convention, you see an attractive fellow con-goer in a Supergirl costume, with short skirt and bare midriff.  Do you:
   A. Say, "I think you should kneel before Zod.  And by 'Zod', I mean my penis."
   B. Put your arm around her waist so your buddy can get a picture of you with her.
   C. Quiz her on her knowledge of DC Comics minutiae to prove she's not a real fan.
   D. Say, "That's a great costume.  Would you mind if I took a picture?"

SCORING: For every "D" answer, give yourself one point.  For every other answer subtract five points and re-evaluate your role in society.

To put it bluntly: if you are going to a SF/F Convention with the primary goal of finding exciting new places to put your penis, you are doing it wrong.  There literally are conventions where that is the point, and perhaps you should consider attending one of those instead.**


*- Not to specifically disparage guys named Chad.  But our hypothetical harasser will be named Chad.
**- I am given to understand there is a degree of crossover amongst the crowd.  I understand that may generate some confusion.  Either way: learn to read the room.