Editorial – Nov 2017: The royal ‘we’.

October 29, 2017 | By | 2 Replies More

 

Hello everyone

OK, before the editorial, you might have noticed that we’ve changed suffixes. Our previous server, for the third time, turned us off for using so much of their resources without telling us. Considering we’re still second only to the SyFi Channel for SF on the Net, in some respects this just confirms it.

Anyway, please adjust your Favourites list accordingly and, as you’ll notice already, no change to your newsletter. You’ll still get it as per usual.

Back to our scheduled programme.

The royal ‘we’ has nothing to do with how royalty dispense with their bodily waste but to do with media opinion.

I often wonder who the ‘we’ is on the main page news columns on the Internet. It’s been used a lot longer before the Internet and usually some pundits in the newspapers who think they represent their readers or papers’ opinions without necessarily asking them. Even so, all we see is the newspaper and not who is writing and assessing. When you consider so many people on the Net do identify themselves, this means we are accepting information where we don’t know the source.

I mean, if the item was from a poll, at least there would be some sort of statistics to back it up. Mind you, even statistics can be misleading because it will ignore other opinions and choices to make it appear a particular bias. In many respects, the ‘we’ was often seen to be seen as the national press.

The problem then becomes, for the Internet, is which nation, especially when it is looking at events across the world let alone which people. Certainly the likes of MSN, there are others so I’m not being bias. The ‘we’ then becomes even more anonymous. Opinion is being instigated for you to be either or against something, never any other choices, including where so-called ‘celebrity news’, am I bothered and why should I care? The last two are my preferred reactions. In many respects, this is intensifying the celebrity culture too much and is taking over other areas of news as well.

Am I of the wrong generation where news should be told rather than telling me what to think of as well. Just in case you don’t think there’s no Science Fiction bent in all of this. George Orwell’s novel’s ‘1984’s ‘newspeak’ rears its head again. How easy would it be, even on the Net, where the ‘we’ becomes a political edict simply because we don’t know where the source of the ‘we’ comes from. Worse, it could even come down from some power business magnet. Oh wait, there’s one of those at least out there. When you consider how so many people have are swayed by the herd instinct to follow certain trends without necessarily thinking about their decisions, how far off will it be when I raise my hand and show five fingers and say there are three fingers will people believe me?

If you thought the Internet was all about free choice, think again. When was the last time you were influenced by streaming adverts to look them up? With these you can’t even blame a human hand behind them but an algorithm examining what it thinks constitutes your tastes and thinks you might be interested in these as well. Actually, it also even offers the same item irrespective of whether you bought it because it’s not perfect yet.

Behind the pages of what you see on screen, there are all sorts of things that are on the main frame that can seep onto your computer. Anti-virus software keeps most of these out when it recognises them but such activity doesn’t necessarily have to be a virus. Even information carried by advertising can be potentially innocuous.

You might think our geek mentality would protect us but if any of the above sounds awfully familiar, then some of it seeps in without us realising it. We’ve always seen ourselves as thinking the Internet is full of honest people or at least out-numbers the least honest. However, with media tactics, these things can be put against us if only to sell a product.

It would be a lot easier if sources for material of this kind was immediately identified so we know who’s behind it. The algorithms do exist for that already. Passing your mouse, other pointing devices are available, over a link can reveal a safety check from anti-virus can also carry the source of the material as well. It wouldn’t take much for it to cover other info as well. It doesn’t necessarily even need to do a prejudgement on it although giving an option to show the honesty or confirmation of information being factual would be only a couple steps away from that. A further move of algorithms to being more like Artificial Intelligences would certainly way things up more as to whose information can you trust. This might still sound like a ‘Big Brother’ influence on the Net but at some point you would have to ask who would you trust more: human or AI or even the people who programmed the AI?

 

Thank you, take care, good night and count my fingers, are there three or five?

 

Geoff Willmetts

editor: SFCrowsnest.org.uk

 

A Zen thought: Brevity is better than insanity because you can’t laugh off madness.

 

A Zen thought: Does a sound happen if no one is there to hear it can also be said to be akin to whether it will rain overnight when you’re asleep. Of course it does. Events happen not because you’re the observer.

 

What Qualities Does A Geek Have? Free will to choose a good deal.

 

Observation: As demonstrated but inaccurately in the first episode of season one’s ‘The Expanse’, sexual intercourse between consenting adults floating would be impossible to do so. It isn’t like you’re floating on an invisible bed but being subjected to Newton’s Laws of Motion. Assuming you can get a union without straps to keep you both together which would make you both look like you have a fetish, any movement will be subject to the third law of an equal and opposite reaction. Ergo, subject to the motion of the vehicle you are in which will have some gravitational pull, both of you are likely to slam into a bulkhead and not in a good way. Certainly, the earth nor space will move for either of you, just very sore heads.

 

Observation: A discussion with my reviewer Sue Davies about the original 1973 ‘Westworld’ film where her parents took her to see it when young thinking Yul Brynner was in a musical made me think. I mean, considering that Delos can be adapted to the versions that the tourists would want, surely a musical version would be available. It would also even more scary. The black-clad cowboy shoots someone and then stops to burst into song before coming after you. Now that would be scary.

 

Observation: Something that came up last month regarding comicbook eyes in masks becoming cross-eyed when they are shrunk from the original to comicbook size that you are familiar struck me. It all lies in the ratio of reduction that brings lines and even dots together. That almost unperceivable fraction of an inch moves the dots. Had the eye dots been applied after reduction, then it shouldn’t happen.

 

Feeling Stressed: Don’t you wish the atomic clock to Armageddon was a digital clock?

 

Missed Opportunity:

            If you aren’t seeing the types of book you would want to read, chances are that I don’t have any reviewers who do them. I’m stocking up on reviewers right now. The extended info is below but essentially, if you can write and breathe and make good observations, you stand a chance. If you make grammatical errors, then I have your back. Email me at: gfwillmetts at hotmail.com

NOTE: Although there are details below, please observe the bigger message elsewhere on site. I’m always recruiting reviewers and this is the time of year to recruit as the nights are shorter and so you might be sleeping less If you’re living in the UK, love books and feel a bit geeky then read the notes below. You have to love reading anyway. You might be what I’m looking for and I do train people up and it’s good for your writer’s CVs and books to feed your reading habit. As some of my team are discovering, they can also interview writers and write articles as well. You can do that without reviewing as well but reading and reviewing is a good discipline. We’re a good team to belong to.

Polls And Opinions: We did have them for a time but the new version was causing a mess in WordPress so until a new version that doesn’t cause conflicts comes around, we’ll have to do without them but please use the answer option at the end of any material to express comments because we do read them.

For the record: For the odd query I have about being linked to media contacts. I do not have either a personal twitter or facebook account. There’s enough of me here to not outstay my welcome. I’m also puzzled why some people see SFC as a blog site when we’re not. We were in this format long before blogs. It’s getting to the point that people can’t tell the difference between blog and butter.

Beware Of Virus Attacks: December 2012, even though I hadn’t left an active link to my email address, it got solidly attacked and then blocked from everyone, including myself. By necessity, having a form of open contact to me comes as part of the editor’s job. I’m still seeking reviewers and new material so follow the paths through the website and go where no spam-bot dares. I’ve yet to see them write anything. Humans and aliens can apply. Monsters need to prove they can read and write. We could do with some reviewers who like fantasy right now. Don’t be scared of the instructions, you’d be surprised how easy it is to learn. So, if you want to contact me, build these words into an email address: gfwillmetts at hotmail dot com I won’t bite, although that doesn’t preclude others. In fact, I’ll settle for any more willing reviewers who love to read. Did I say I was after reviewers?

NB: We do get digital books and if you live abroad and not in the UK, then this avenue could be open to you. I’m not putting it in as a link to avoid spam. Just copy and paste into your emails to contact me with my address noted in the paragraph above. I’m always recruiting and details are through a link on the top of the SFC main page articles and stories as well. Just because it’s sunny, doesn’t mean you’re going to read any less. We could do with some more fantasy readers right now!

If you’ve on a budget, a book for a review is a good bargain and I can teach the nervous how to do it by seeing what you do when you present a sample. It’s a good deal. We get books in a variety of formats these days so all things are possible to those with the knack for putting words into sentences and saying what they think.

For potential book reviewers in the UK, it’s a good way to keep up your reading habit and show you can write. There are detail links scattered over the website and on the forum. If you don’t think you’re up to scratch, you’ll discover why I’m the dutch uncle. Repeating this several times is for those who only scan and who don’t want to wind back up the page.

Another real Zen thought but this time for potential writers: If you can express an opinion independently of others and aren’t likely to bend to the masses then you might show potential as a writer.

Zen for those who are scared by all the instructions below: Many of the instructions are things you should be doing automatically if you’re developing your writing skills. If you do them already then focus on the ones that you don’t get right. They are there to help you as much as me to get the best writing from you. If you think you’re 80% there then I’ll help you get the final 20%. Trust me, I’m an editor and I can get things right.

BOOK REVIEWS    – Don’t feel intimated by all the info below or linked to. If you’re any good as a writer, much of it should be second nature already.

Do you love books? Do you like curling up and reading a book in preference to socialising, even on the Net? You might not even want to curl up, that’s only an option. Do you have a preference for fantasy, SF or horror? We really could do with some fantasy readers!!! Do you find it the greatest pastime you have next to being on your computer?

Are you very vocal about what you like and don’t like in what you read?

Would you like to share your thoughts with others about books?

Would you like an endless supply of books to do this with?

Do you live in the UK?

Can you spare an hour every day to read?

Do you think you can write about what you’ve read?

Are you finding the recession is hitting your book buying habit?

If you’ve been nodding your head up to this point then link in below and see if you have what it takes to be a reviewer at SFCrowsnest. If you have that special knack to read and write or want to develop said skill then the only way you’re going to find out is to take the plunge yourself rather than wait for others to do it first. Reading a lot of books is a requisite for any writer. Being able to say what makes them good or bad hones your own skills. Even if you’re just happy with reading with a little writing on the side then this might be for you. It’s got to be better than waiting for the sun to come out in this weird summer and now cold winter. It’s also amazing how much you can read in an hour a day.

If you’ve survived this far in the editorial, let me reiterate something from the website newsletter and the above editorial. As you can see from the main page, we have one of the biggest SF/fantasy/horror monthly reviews columns on the Net. Our success has increased the number of books that comes in and our policy is to read everything and give it a roadtest before giving a review so you have some idea of what you’re letting yourself in for. You want the bottom line about what you’re going to choose to read. That means we need people actually willing to read the book and tell others they’re opinion in reviews. For that, we’re always on the outlook for more reviewers.

Do you think you have what it takes to review a book? It’s a skill that can be easily mastered and we need a few more. If you love fantasy, we have more than enough to keep you busy for instance.

Apart from the ability to put words into sentences, you also need to know how to précis, do a little research on associated subjects and can express opinions constructively about the good and bad points about the books you read. We even let you choose from our pile of received books rather than foster something on you that you wouldn’t normally read. You’ll even get a little editorial help in how to write good copy and that can always lead to other things. I’m not as scary as I sound editorially and it’s better to do the test review and see how you fare than not attempt to see how well you did. I did say you have to love books and willing to read beyond your favourite authors, didn’t I?

If you like reading books in the genre and can average two or maybe three a month, can really think and show you can write a decent review and, most importantly, live in the British Isles (sorry, expense, time and distance travelled mostly prohibits elsewhere), then use the link below and see our requirements. We can’t pay you but writing a review has to be cheaper than buying a book and a good incentive to see if you have what it takes to develop your writing skills.

Do you think you’re up to writing a review? If you think you can, then you’re really going to think you’ve landed your hands in the biscuit tin. It won’t hurt to try and see if you have the right stuff by sending me a sample review to show me you can write. If you want an added incentive, it can also be good for your CV.

Look up the Review Guidelines by linking here: <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_reviews.php”></a> with a press of a mouse button.

SHORT STORIES

We always have an interest in running short stories which can be anything from one to thirty or so pages long. We’re always willing to give short story writers a chance to be seen if they can withstand my scrutiny even if we can’t pay for their efforts, your material will be seen by a lot of people if it’s shown on the SFCrownest website. If you can get a short story written well then it’ll make it easier to move up to novel-length.

Look up the Short Stories Link by linking here <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_bigfiction.php”></a> with your mouse.

FLASH OR ONE-PAGE FICTION

We’ve also a teaching ground of one page stories, so check out the rules elsewhere on the website. It’s a lot tougher than it looks and far too easy to just write and write and hope something good comes out of it. What writing a one page story does is test your ability to control your word count and still tell a story in a concise way. This doesn’t mean we don’t accept stories of different lengths – a short story can be anything up to 30-40 pages long after all – but opens up the means for really short stories from ideas that don’t need as much space.

Flash fiction stories by linking here: <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_flashfic.php”></a> with your mouse.

NOVEL-LENGTH SAMPLES

For those keeping track, I’m actually now caught up but don’t tell everyone as I’m undecided as to whether to keep looking at novel-length story samples, move over specifically to short stories – which we do anyway for the website – or get a couple of my own book projects completed. The latter, I still intend to do anyway and now actually working on but don’t let that put you off too much. If you want me to look over a sample, you can contact me through the links on this website.

Before you submit, study the next section below as it’s there to help you do some of the right things and reduce the number of times I’m repeating myself over silly grammatical errors and spelling mistakes that you shouldn’t be making if you’re serious about becoming a writer. It makes editing a lot easier if any editor has less work pointing out poor English which you should have been sorted out in the first place and more focused on other areas of your work that deal with plot and the other serious elements of storywriting. As a writer, it is your command of the English language and its grammar that will show how serious you are about writing.

There might not be much of a wait unless I get a deluge, however those sending in ebook samples, please read the Guidelines by linking here <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_bigfiction.php”></a> with your mouse here or through the bottom line menu on the opening page of the SFC website.

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT WRITING BUT AFRAID TO ASK

General advice for those who want to become writers of any sort: There’s an old editorial adage: If you can’t aim for perfection why should an editor nurse-maid you to that state? Nominally, my job is to catch minor glitches not total mishaps. If you’re a writer, then you should understand the words, sentences and grammar of the job you’re supposed to be writing or are you considering it as mundane and boring as any other job to get right? Fall in love with making every sentence the best you’re ever written, read up and understand the rules of grammar. Put the time in researching any subject you’re using in the story. Be prepared to put a story away for a few weeks and go back to it for a self-edit until it’s as good as you can make it. Even I do that. You look good. I make you look better but you have to start off with good.

A lot of the time, errors will just stare you in the face when you didn’t see them the first time round. Once you know where your weaknesses are, they can be sorted out and allow you to move a little higher up the ladder towards making your material look its best and more importantly, getting your material seen by readers.

The link here will show you the Common Problems Link page and what I see mostly <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_commonprobs.php”></a>

with your mouse. It’s the smart writer who doesn’t get caught out with these.

Good luck.

Geoff

Category: Scifi

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Comments (2)

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  1. avatar Julian White says:

    ‘Even information carried by advertising can be potentially innocuous.’ Did you really mean to say that?

    The answer to your final question is probably either one or two, depending on which side of the Atlantic the respondent is.

    j

    • avatar UncleGeoff says:

      Hello Julian
      It depends on whether you react to it or not. A lot of Net users ignore or even turn adverts off, so yes ‘potentially’.
      We do need better control to see who is providing information on the Net.

      Geoff

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