Monday, May 25, 2015

Jeffro Johnson Hugo Nomination Fanwriter Sample

The last of the Fan Writer Hugo nominees.

I've never been a serious gamer, and these selections will work better for those who are. It's mainly about the interrelationships between gaming and major parts of our fantasy and science fiction heritage. I totally get the love letter to Jack Vance's Dying Earth. The enthusiasm for E.C. Tubb's Dumarest as "awesome" because, in one book, Derai, he dumps his girlfriend on page three, and then threatens a man who is dead broke to collect payment from him, is harder to understand. Johnson cheerily assures us that Mal Reynolds is far inferior, because he can't always manage to get paid. Another section looks at a much-treasured old favorite of mine, The High Crusade. Johnson's view of this seems to be that Anderson was making an early warning against the Social Justice Warriors, i.e., anyone even slightly to the left of Attila the Hun, whom Johnson believes are ruining modern society. It seems we were all far better off under feudal lords and, I gather, paternal authority, though I may be over-reading, there. At any rate, in Johnson's view, the alien empire represents everything that's wrong with 21st century Europe and America.

I don't find this convincing, at all. Some, of course, will find it more persuasive, and regardless of that, a greater interest in gaming will make the whole much more interesting. This might be the best of the Puppy Fan Writer nominees. At the very least, I can see real substance in it that doesn't work for me, but surely will for its intended audience.