Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

A Full-Throated Endorsement

Cirsova weighs in on the relatively obscure but nevertheless endlessly fascinating “Best Fan Writer” category of this year’s Hugo Awards.

What is this fan writing thing, anyway? What’s it all about? Is there a true meaning of great fan writing? On what basis should Hugo voters judge these things…?

For answers to all this and more, read on!

On the face of it, a Fan Writer is just that. A fan who writes. They are a fan of something in the realm of fantasy and science fiction, and they write about fantasy and science fiction from the perspective of someone who is a fan to an audience of fellow or potential fans. A good fanwriter is like an evangelical minister of fantasy and science fiction; they give sermons to the believers to help them better understand the texts they know and love and they take the good word to those who have not heard it. You’ve been missing something in your life, and you don’t quite know what it is, but I think I can help you; here’s this story by Lord Dunsany!

To me, Jeffro Johnson has provided a treasure trove of knowledge and insight into a wide range of games and fiction, some of which I have only had a passing familiarity with others which I knew and loved but still gained new insight into. First and foremost, Jeffro Johnson is a fan. Not an elitist hipster fan who only likes that band because no one has heard of them and those who have can’t stand them, but a true and loving fan who wants to share the joy he has found in games and fiction with others. “Look at this awesome thing! Share in its awesomeness with me!” Of course like any devout, Jeffro has his shares of quirks. Monopoly orthodoxy, for instance, is as passionate a subject for Jeffro as politics and religion for most. But that’s part of why we love him, right? He has passion for the things he enjoys! Plus, his Google feed is like Drudge Report for nerds.

Hilarious! As always, read the whole thing!™

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8 responses to “A Full-Throated Endorsement

  1. Cirsova May 5, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Wow, I made 770’s daily Puppy Roundup as one of the “less easily identified others”.

    Glad you enjoyed it. I’d been trying to come up with something for awhile, and reading some old stuff helped me piece my thoughts together. You nail down a final list of your primo-blog choices for the voter package yet?

    • jeffro May 5, 2015 at 8:18 am

      I think they said I was limited to four posts. I was leaning towards the retrospectives of course– the ones on Dying Earth, Three Hearts and Three Lions, Derai, and Amber. Though I know Chris Mata will object to my leaving out the one about Amish house rules!! Just trying to fit in….

      • Cirsova May 5, 2015 at 8:39 am

        Consider one on the High Crusade for your side-board. That was a good one.

        [Jeffro: Ah, that one might have to replace Derai. Anderson is my jam.]

    • jeffro May 5, 2015 at 8:26 am

      Oh, and these terms they come up with for people outside of their immediate circles are just precious. “Less easily identified others.” Oh wait… I get it now. He’s not hip to the fact that amateur bloggers might prefer to operate under a pseudonym. Like that’s a new thing! I guess if they reviewed Mark Twain and O. Henry, they’d dox them and then put their real name in italics in order to indicate the precise level of sneering and contempt at every mention! But maybe I’m reading too much into this…. (Or maybe I’m just, you know… teasing or something.)

      Edit: But wait! He used that person’s pseudonym. The one you can’t say, either. Okay I really don’t get it. That’s kind of a pointless snub there.

      • Cirsova May 5, 2015 at 8:38 am

        Yeah. I mean, it’s not like it would be super hard to find out who I was (the downside of having once wanted to be a famous music dude), and even if they did, I probably wouldn’t be all “oh, noes, Mike Glyer doxed me!”

        Luckily, unless rabid Mixon partisans start showing up (a non-rabid one did and agreed that she would’ve been better in the Related Work category), I don’t think I have much to worry about from that post.

        Also, man, what is up with that Martin Wisse guy? He can’t be a real person. He sounds too much like Godfrey Elfwick to be a real person.

        [Jeffro: Wisse is definitely a character. His posts are rife with a very particular tone. I find myself continually going back to his blog to experience it.]

  2. Cirsova May 5, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    OT, but maybe you can help me understand this Ron Edwards thing. Looking at the original post from a million internet years ago, I think he’s trying to say (somewhat poorly) that the narrative frameworks used and established in Role Playing Games often run so counter to what makes an effective story in most non-RPG mediums of story telling, that those who would try to rely entirely on their experience at the table in telling stories do so at a significant disadvantage. Hence why after the first Dragonlance book, the writers said “Let’s write the books first and then write/play the modules” and why Record of Lodoss War is so bizarre to watch (“Damn, the monsters ALWAYS make their saving throws every time Deidlit casts a spell!”).

    Your comment about BASIC makes a bit more sense now (maybe?). Your comments about Pundit seemed a bit harsh. Until I looked at Pundit’s google feed. His hatred is positively Shakespearean, and I can’t really figure out exactly what Ron Edwards has done wrong or has been perceived to have done wrong.

    So, uh… consider this a request: maybe you could do a post about Ron Edwards (or an interview) since some of us are only aware of his recent writing about comics and are absolutely baffled as to why Pundit insists on being Iago here..

    • jeffro May 5, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      Yes, the Pundit’s hatred of Ron Edwards is like something out of Moby Dick. Star Trek II, even. The pattern of his attacks against him is identical those used to disqualify and demonize… well… many famous creators lately. (I guess Joss Whedon is the latest casualty of this sort of thing?) The irony here is that RpgPundit was a target of similar tactics last year when it came out the he was a contributor to D&D 5.

      ANYWAY… Ron Edwards is a really interesting guy for all kinds of reasons. His capacity to capture and convey the nuances of seventies culture alone make him a valuable asset to the gaming and game design scene. I heartily recommend the interviews that are linked to on his site. The much maligned Forge “community” has among it a great many people that have a huge passion for vintage games. There are a lot of people that seem to be crusty wargamers or whatnot, but which nevertheless have gotten a great deal of enjoyment from these awful dangerous wrong “story games.” I am not one to generally play the “there are no sides” card, but really… the more I see of this, the harder time I have of finding the exact boundary between these two supposed camps that are supposedly in a state of war. If Pundit set aside his campaign against them, I’m not even sure what we’d have to argue about.

      • Cirsova May 6, 2015 at 8:20 am

        Oh, hey, cool, I missed that you’d already interviewed him over on the Castalia blog. I’ll start with that one.

        Yeah, of the “evil trio” of tabletop, Desborough kind of stands out (to me at least) from Urbanski and Zak S; I mean, sure he likes Gor, but I’ve never seen him transformed into some sort of roving internet rage beast. I kind of feel like one commenter on Urbanski’s site I recently saw, who posted something to the effect of “Are there two RPG Pundits? One who writes well thought out and researched articles on games and politics and another who writes shrieking attacks?” I don’t follow him (cuz blogspot, blech), but I’ve read him a few times and thought “Oh, hey, this guy has some cool stuff to say!” but then I see him yelling at folks on G+ and am all “wut?”

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