I’ve got a few things I want to talk about, but none of them are big or important enough to warrant individual posts, so here they are:
- Harassment and Its Redefinition: Looking through blogs and other bits of social media, one could be forgiven if one was to think that “harassment” lurked around every corner of every speculative fiction convention under the sun, and that it’s finally time someone Did Something About It. This may be the case; I haven’t been to a convention in decades. What concerns me is the definition of harassment, which is extremely plastic. What happened here was apparently a case of harassment, instead of a guy just being an a-hole. If everything’s harassment, then nothing is. So you con-goers out there, be on the lookout for that harassment, because it’s everywhere and it won’t stop until it’s reported as harassment and the harassers are harassed out of conventions across the globe. Your emotional safety is at risk. Demand those safe spaces and you’ll get them.
- Imajica and Its (anti-)Religiosity: After about two decades, I re-read Clive Barker’s Imajica. I remember liking it better in my twenties. Anyway, it’s still an extraordinary book, but now in my forties I’m struck by how anti-Christian the book is (not to mention anti-heterosexual male). In it, the protagonist Gentle is the bastard son of God (Hapexamendios), a dissolute, childish near-incompetent who does little other than forge paintings and sleep with any woman who would have him. In fact, he’s such a horndog that he messed up a great work of magic centuries ago because he had to have sex with an unconscious woman he was magically cloning for a rival so they could both screw her. His absentee father Hapexamendios, a terrible God who slew all the Goddesses and laid waste to beauty and truth across entire dimensions, has as His highest servants a cohort of appalling, humanoid monsters called Nullianacs, whose heads look like a pair of praying hands placed fingertip to fingertip with electricity arcing between the palms. Nullianacs live for destruction and the corruption of innocents; one of them raped and killed a child under Gentle’s protection, for example. It’s obvious that Nullianacs are intended to be Christian priests and Hapexamendios the God of the Bible. Were I a Christian myself I might be offended at the characterization, but as a Jew and a thinking man I just find that sort of thing tiresome.
- Civilization and Its Contents: One of my favorite computer games is Civilization 2: Test of Time, but I can’t play it any more because my version of Windows (8.1) won’t even allow me to install it from the CD, let alone play the thing. I’m still a fan of older computer games like XCOM 3: Apocalypse, Ultima 7, Baldur’s Gate 2, Fallout Tactics, and even the gold box AD&D games, mostly because I rarely had a machine that had the juice to play them when they first came out and always had to wait for years to play them. At any rate, my computer won’t let me play Civ 2, so I went more recent: Civilization V: Brave New World. After the moments of play I’ve been able to sneak in during evenings while my wife watches Quantico and weekends while my son’s taking his afternoon nap, I’ve decided that I’m going to have to stop writing altogether and just play Civ 5 for the rest of my days. So thanks for reading, and it was good knowing (some of) you. (Oh, you want to know what happens at the end of the Armageddon series? Okay: everyone goes through a bunch of stuff, but they die anyway and Hell wins. Then God gets mad and hits the Reset Button at the center of the universe, so it’s all good. The end!*)
*Well no, not quite. But holy poop, is Civ 5 a lot of fun. And the learning curve…it’s steep. But doable. If only I had more time to play it.