Wednesday, 29 February 2012


for the OdinsDay blog

Frequently Asked Questions for

Q: What is this blog about?
A: It is about genre, primarily the two genres of fantasy and science fiction (which have a lot in common), and it is about worldbuilding, about analysis and assessment (in terms of quality) of worlds, and sometimes classification of subgenres, or worlds. There is a distinct bias towards talking about and looking at literature written fiction, but I do try to acknowledge the existence of such things as audiovisual fictions (TV shows and movies) and interactive fictions (primarily in the form of roleplaying gaming - I find that computer-moderated gaming does not lend itself to the kind of analysis I am interested in).

The aim is to be interesting but even more so to be useful. To illuminate differences or aspects that are useful, or are interesting, or both.

Q: Why do you insist that blogs have to be about something?
A: I've tried reading blogs in the past, both blogs written by friends, and by famous people, but with at most one exception, I find that such blogs tend to degrade into "whatever happens to be on the blogger's mind at the time of writing - if they ever were intended to be anything more profound than that. That fails to hold my attention. It fails massively. I want to read stuff that takes the analytical stance, that tries to think deeper thoughts. I like the idea of blogs with themes, themes in the sense of exclusion, of being about this and that but then only about this and that and not about anything else.

I want to be read. There's a deliberate intent to communicate, with this blog. Not communicate with everybody, of course. I'm dismissive by inclination, and anti-inclusive. I dismiss a lot of people as being irrelevant. As having nothing that I want and obviously not being interested in any of that which I find interesting. This blog is about a subset of that which I find interesting, and it is for those who write or read fantasy or science fiction with their brains turned on. If very little of the content of this blog makes sense to you, then that's a clue to you that you are not in the target audience.

Anyway, this "themedness" is because I want to be read, I want to grab lots of readers. There are thousands, maybe even tens of thousands, of people out there who read fantasy and science fiction in a "brain turned on"-mode. By having a strong theme for my blog, I think more of these people are likely to become regular readers, relative to if I just write about whatever is on my mind. If I feel like blogging about another subject, then I'll almost certainly start a new blog for that purpose, either in parallel with this one, or writing on the new blog while temporarily or permanently abandoning this one, rather than allow (serious) "subject drift" here.

Q: How is this bi-weekly thing going? It seems that there has been extremely few posts in the last several years

A: Frankly, not well. Right now I'm somewhat occupied with important real life events, and have been unable to devote sufficient time and energy to blogging, especially in terms of making sure there's a backlog of almost-finished posts that just need some polishing before they can be posted.

I still think I have quite a number of posts in me, so it is no yet time to formally switch to an irregular schedule. It will be irregular for the time being, but I hope to at some later point in time achieve the freedom necessary to be able to write bi-weekly posts.

Q: Why OdinsDay?
A: What else? It seemed obvious to me from the get go that I should start out with a weekly schedule for my blog, since some kind of deadline rhythm would probably be a great motivator for me.

The weekdays are named after the gods of the Norse pantheon.

It is blatantly obvious to me, and presumably also to everyone else, that of the Norse gods (not just those few that got weekdays named after them), the one I have by far the greatest affinity for is the god of intelligence and knowledge (and also of magic and poetic inspired madness, a portfolio shared with the goddess Freja).

Q: What does SF mean?
A: It means Speculative Fiction, and is a collective term for fantasy and science fiction. These two genres have a lot in common, seeing as unlike any other genres these two take place in worlds, meaning that worldbuilding is required, with all that that involves. Since I (and many others) often talk or write about SF as a whole, instead of specifically about fantasy or specifically about science fiction, using SF is more convenient than the pondrous naming of two genres.

Q: Is there consensus about this?
A: Pretty much, yes. Jo Walton uses SF that way. Almost everyone on Usenet uses SF that way. I think Orson Scott Card does so in most places as well. Probably many of those few who still use SF as a shorthand for science fiction are biased against fantasy, because of the many works within that genre that are of inferior intellectual merit.

Q: I thought Speculative Fiction was some kind of artsy term for people who want to distance themselves from low-brow science fiction?
A: It may have been intended for that usage long ago, in the 60s or maybe the 70s, but by now, the "word" has changed in usage to simply be a convenient collective term for two genres that have much in common.

Q: What is sci-fi? Is it an acceptable shorthand for science fiction?
A: No. Sci-fi is an insulting term, appropriate to use as a dismissive weaponized word against low-brow media-type fiction, both audiovisual fiction and media tie-in written fiction, e.g Star Trek TV shows and movies, and Star Trek novels.

Q: What's the deal with the ads and the Amazon referrals? Are you blogging to earn money?
A: I'm no blogging to earn money, but there is an element of score keeping to it. So far (2015) I have earned something like 15-25 Danish kroner, and can't get any payout ever until the point where I've earned a full 600 Danish kroner. I'm honestly not sure how the earning thing works, and I have a hunch that the indicated "so far" value is somewhat inaccurate for small amounts.

The Amazon referrals are both ther to "keep score" and as a service to readers who may want to be able to find the books I talk about easily.

Q: Why did you stop making Amazon referrals? And why only referrals to Amazon US? It seems plausible that a significant subset of your readers live in Europe, where Amason UK would be more relevant.
A: Because Blogger, the system that hosts my blog and which I use to write it, stopped having an easy-to-use thingue ("widget" I think it's called, but not sure) to make Amazon US lookups and generate links based on specific results of those lookups. That's also why when I did make those referrals, I only made them to Amazon US; I had no easy way of making them to Amazon UK.

When I made cover links (rarely) I tried to go for versions that actually had front cover images (uncommon for books published more than 10-15 years ago), and otherwise my first priority would be to go for paperback (since I personally dislike hardbacks) and subsequently for a normal-price (not extremely discounted) version (e.g. 1 cent or 1 penny) since I imagine the referral amount for a 1-cent book rounds to zero.

At some point I'll find an easy-enough-to-be-doable way of making such referrals, and from then on I'll begin adding referral links to both Amazon UK and Amazon US, in that order. And probably also start going back to old posts and updating the referrals, at a leisurely pace

Q: I have a product that's relevant to your blog? Will you promote it for me?
A: If it is directly relevant, I might yes. I turned down a request from Greg Porter (designer of CORPS and EABA), because his project was RPG design, and while that interests me a lot, it's off-topic for this blog (since it did not involve any form of worldbuilding, nor raise interesting questions about magic system design for fantasy RPG systems or fantasy worlds). I was not happy at all bout doing that, but I strive to stick to my blog's topic.

Also note that if I do any paid promotion, that'll be indicated in the post. This includes non-monetary payments, but not usually items donated to me for review purposes (although you really should contact me and ask, before giving me something, as I may very well feel disinclined to review it).

Q: Who can post comments on this blog?
A: Just about anybody. I do reseve the right to delete any comment that is less than 100% on topic, though, as there are some people who may mis-use the comments area to try to "tell" me things loudly and publically that they instead ougt to convey to me via those private communications means that are available to them, which is typically snail mail, since I go out of my way to make sure those specfic people don't have my phone number. Yes, there are real named people out there who are broken like that. Sadly. People who were once part of my life but then went morally rogue. Communications with them broke down, long ago, irreperably.

Comments can be written in English, Danish or Old Norwegian, or if necessary in Swedish or (as the very least resort!) New Norwegian. I'll reply in English, though, and I may paraphrase comments not in English comments for the benefit of all.

I also reserve the right to write entire blog entries as replies to comments, as I did with Sven's comment about the reading protocol. Even series of blog entries, if I see fit! Such blog entries may cause my old comment replies to be deleted, but not necessarily, and they will not result in the deletion of other people's comments.

To repeat: If you stray even 0.01% off topic, your comment may be deleted. I won't do this to anybody - don't worry. But there are a few people for whom I'll have an absolute zero-tolerance policy about what they talk about in their comments.

Q: How does moderation work?
A: I don't really know. So far the only comment has been from Sven and D10, and those seemed to get past without requiring me to okay it. I'm pretty relaxed as far as blog comments settings goes. I think maybe replies to older posts get on auto-moderation, but I'm not sure, and certainly everyone should feel free to comment on even very old posts. This is not a blog about cutting-edge events whose posts lose all let alone most relevance after a few years. If in 2022 you find yourself having something to say about an 8 year old post, feel free to say it. Don't worry at all about committing "necromancy".

Q: What about strong language?
A: Relax, we're all Europeans here, at least mentally. Don't use offensive terms for homo- or bisexuals, or for any racial type (I can tolerate use of the n-word in Quentin Tarantino films, but elsewhere it tends to bring up unpleasant mental images of burning religious symbols and men wearing white hoods), try to avoid using the worst and most abusive terms for religious delusions, don't try to deny grand wrongnesses of the past including but not limited to the Holocaust, and you'll do fine.

Peter Knutsen typed these letters

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