I'm sorry, but I don't have anything to say about the story, because I didn't 'get' what it was saying.Sorry. I don't know what you were trying to do because whatever you were trying to do you didn't succeed in doing it to me.
I really like your long version, myself, but I'm already familiar with EA. :)
Also I want to do a completely separate post in response to one of your short comments:"What's wrong with the speaker's super-harsh utilitarianism?"My immediate response, just automatic on reflex without engaging my brain's slow mode, is "planning fallacy / arrogance / sin of pride." What's wrong is that he assumes he's in a sufficiently strong level of knowledge, self-discipline, and self-control that he actually can pull off his ubermensch act, instead of it all going horribly wrong and blowing up in his face. That's always what's wrong with characters d... (read more)
(For clarification: Step One is that the story has to work as a story, I agree with that completely, if I'm passing that over in my response, it isn't because I disagree, but because I agree too much to have anything interesting to say on it.)
The odd thing is, I would use HPMOR as a model of how to do it right. Its main failing is that it fails to make it clear that the protagonist isn't a perfect propaganda figure, and shouldn't be emulated - that the audience ends up thinking that the protagonist is making giant mistakes throughout the story because the author thinks those are the correct decisions, not because he's an eleven-year-old in over his head. But the author agrees with him enough that if you aren't paying careful attention, he comes off as an arrogant jerk the author endorses, inste... (read more)
I second everything Sophia said, but would like to raise a few other points to clarify:First, I also dislike works-that-fit-in-my-brain's-internal-category-labeled-propaganda. (As some evidence of this, I'll offer my comment on 'blue bird and black bird'.) Nonetheless I feel that there is an enormous range for stories in which "make people reading it think more kindly of X" is a clear goal that do not fit in my brain's internal category of propaganda. It's quite clear that Lois McMaster Bujold is opposed to eternal smouldering guerilla wars of resistance a... (read more)
This is a beautiful story, but I don't actually expect reading it to make people think more kindly of effective altruism. I could, of course, be wrong.
I am commenting purely to let you know that one of the thumbs-up on your post is mine.
Last I saw, "The Reset Button" was leading it by one vote.
I'm sorry, but I have the weirdest bit of commentary to give on this: There's several places where the comma is outside the quotes (if you do a search for ", you'll find them) and it's making me go all twitchy-eyed. I'm about 95% confident commas are supposed to go inside the quotes, the way other punctuation does, at least in English? Sorry about this.
I could be mistaken, but I feel as if that would completely change it into a different sort of thing. I admit it would be a thing that I-personally would probably like more, but I feel it would also remove all the power the story currently possesses. I feel as if this would be removing a thing from existence and replacing it with a new and different thing, instead of improving a thing - and this is clearly a popular thing, since it's the second-highest-rated submission to the contest, so far.
I have a question for you, and I think the answer might help make the story clearer.Under what context is your narrator giving this explanation? Why is he saying all this? What's the framing device for it? Because if he's trying to explain quick history to someone who doesn't know it (why doesn't the person know it? A small child? A foreigner? Just someone technologically ignorant?), he has no reason to bring up the analogue-vegetarians at all. Just "this is how cars work." If the listener then asks (possibly offpage) if this is wrong, he can explain ... (read more)
I mean, I see these as totally different things (preventing suffering in Nigeria - well, and other third-world countries - is why I'm here), but that's probably moving outside the question as posed. I wouldn't be willing to be a butcher, but that's squeamishness, not a moral decision; I wouldn't want to be a plumber, either.But... actually no I think I'm going to move my actual advice to the 'do you have recommendations' thread just above. See you there!
On my second reread, I figured out what was supposed to be going on in the events, if not the meaning of the story. But while I considered factory farming as one possibility for the thing it was supposed to be equivalent to, I felt the analogy whiff, and so decided it probably wasn't what you intended.The reason is, the story depends on your initial belief that animal suffering (specifically the suffering of chickens) is fundamentally important. But what it's trying to convince you of is that animal suffering is fundamentally important. So it's a closed lo... (read more)
I'm sorry, but I straightforwardly don't get the story. It definitely feels like it's trying to make a grand analogy but the analogy does not, for me, connect. I don't know what it's trying to say - there's about twenty potential things I could imagine it having been written to be analogous to, all of which seem to me no more than 40%-70% fitting - and so I got no emotional charge out of reading it, only vague curiosity as to what it was meant for.
Thank you! I've bookmarked it.
This is a good story and I'm glad you got published, I just don't see the relevance to the EA contest. I'm glad you submitted it because it meant I got to read it, and it was totally worth reading, it's just that I don't really read it as "EA". If that makes sense?
Well, this was absolutely terrifying. Thanks for writing it.
I actually read the protagonist as 'probably suffering from radiation poisoning, might be about to literally die from the next bomb or the building collapsing' as of the moment before they hit the reset, so I would see such planning as irrational rather than sensible - a little information might help, but not if it risks your life (which is what you're thinking about if you're selfish) or the fate of the world (which is what you're thinking about if you're selfless).
It makes some sense? The added thing makes everything more confusing, though.Reading what you say feels like I'm reading words that have been translated out of a foreign language and culture, or are writing in 17th-century English by a 17th-century author, or maybe you're a time traveler from the 22nd century and there's been linguistic drift since then? Or maybe you're a Zen monk and speak in koans? It isn't that I feel your culture is inconsistent or anything, it's just that you seem to be using words as if they had obvious secondary meanings and connotations that they don't have in my language.
I'm sorry, but, having read it, I don't know what your religion is.This is a serious statement: I don't actually know what you're trying to say, after having read it. I don't even know what you mean by writing-against or writing-towards.I think you may be slightly understating the extent to which the transparency illusion applies.
Also, different comment that I'm kicking myself for not bringing up until now:The Submission Grinder is a website that tracks places where people who write SF&F can submit stories. If you can get listed with them, that ought to bring more attention to the contest. Here's the link: https://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com/
Ah, but are there a thousand hacking at the branches of evil for each one who thinks they are striking at the root?
I'm afraid my downvote wasn't articulate, but instinctive: It seemed like it wasn't actually saying anything, just being philosophical for the sake of being philosophical, or poetic for the sake of being poetic. I can't actually figure out how to translate it into what I think of as 'plain English'; I can't give a one-sentence summary of the themes, or of what you're trying to say, and it didn't reach the extraordinary (staggering) level of poetic beauty that would make me upvote it anyway, just because I enjoyed the words as music without knowing th... (read more)
See, the thing is, I can't find any improvements because the entire premise feels to me inherently propaganda-ish. I'm sorry, I can try to break it down into more detail, but I suspect that it will be unfixable for me.I'm going to try to rank the main bullet points of my discomfort in order of how important they are, most to least.• I feel very uncomfortable with the entire dynamic of a 'right way / wrong way' pair. Partly this is because of individual cases where people using it ticked me off, but fundamentally it is that the idea of the character 'who ex... (read more)
My specific worry is about people coming to the conclusion that it is "a problem with EA," or "a problem with consequentialism," instead of "a problem with organizations," and thereby making people who hadn't heard of EA becoming more negatively (instead of more positively) inclined towards it.
I am a writer (though not a published one) and I second his judgement. I felt brief disquiet at the line he commented on, but didn't analyze it until I read his post because the story as a whole had still worked very well for me. I think the change makes a good story better, and I thank both Steve for suggesting it and Joshua for implementing it.
Aaargh I completely did! facepalmSorry about that.
Welcome!I personally read it as part of Kipling's attempts to deliberately glorify those people who did socially necessary but low-status work, in exactly the same way as he did for soldiers and engineers. In this particular poem, he's anthropomorphizing the bell that does the needed, low-status work of warning ships away from the coast, contrasting it with the one in the church tower, that is considered high-status but isn't doing anything important.It therefore felt appropriate for the EA contest. :)
I am both glad and relieved that you are not greatly offended, as I admit I was worried you would be. If there's anything you can think of that I could say to contribute to the cause if improving the work, I would be happy to provide it. But so far the only things I've thought of, I've already said.Either way, good luck!
I'm sorry, but I really felt this was too preachy for me. I don't expect this will apply to everyone else, but my response was to flinch away from the work, rather than enjoy or embrace it. It felt... I don't know. Trying to examine my feelings, I think it was that it felt like propaganda, not art? I know the point of this is to persuade more than to entertain, but this work of art also felt as if it was more to persuade than to explain; it triggered defense reactions that neither the overt ("Inflation") nor the more narrative ("The Reset Button") hi... (read more)
The bridge is real. The story is almost certainly fictional.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahi_Bridge
That was really, really good.
Welcome! I'm happy to help.If you're looking for a compromise solution, stories submitted to the Grantville Gazette Universe Annex (Baen's magazine) are submitted by being posted on a password-protected forum (Baen's Bar) that anyone can get an account for, where readers can critique them, then a subset of those are purchased and professionally published in the magazine. Posting a story on Baen's Bar is generally (some people say explicitly, and it appears to be the consensus unless I'm making a horrible mistake) not considered publication, and stories pos... (read more)
I completely understand your goal, which is very reasonable!But most publishers consider 'was printed in an obscure magazine that sold ten copies and is now a collector's item, has never been printed since' to be 'printed'. Some people buying reprints are only interested in that kind of obscure thing, but even if it is 'already published obscurely', I still think you won't get much for the reprint.So although that's an understandable try at a solution, I don't think it succeeds.
Thanks for the further feedback. I'll think more on whether we should open some kind of private submission option, and we may end up doing so. It would be really sad if authors were forced to sacrifice future opportunities in order to participate.
I actually have another question. I submitted a Kipling poem as a recommendation for the contest. (It's my first post, so it's currently awaiting moderation.) If I find more EA-themed Kipling poems (which, given the poet, would not be surprising), should I add them to the first post, submit them in batches or make individual posts for each of them?
Also, completely separate question: should I try to err on the side of submitting or not submitting a marginal work, written either by me or by someone else? How do you want to weight the tradeoff between 'deluged by irrelevant nonsense' and 'people whose work you might be interested in don't submit?'
So, I have multiple comments.First, as an EA person, I want to thank you, because I think this is a great idea, and I very much approve. I think the amazing power of fiction to change people's minds has been an occasional but important force throughout history; the claim that Uncle Tom's Cabin got the abolitionist movement to the mainstream seems historically plausible enough to agree that this is, indeed, a useful thing for the EA movement to do, and one I highly approve of.But the second is as a SF&F author who tries to get his stories published.As f... (read more)
While I like the story, I wouldn't recommend it for the contest, for spoilery reasons. Putting them into ROT13:Vafgrnq bs bccbfvat Fhcrezna qverpgyl, Yrk Yhgube vasvygengrf gur znffvir RN nccnenghf ohvyg nebhaq hfvat Fhcrezna rssrpgviryl naq trgf n wbo nf Fhcrezna'f cflpuvngevfg, gurerol (nf orpbzrf pyrne va gur raq) nyybjvat uvz gb pbageby uvf jbefg rarzl gb qb uvf jvyy - n pevfvf gung jbhyqa'g unir rkvfgrq vs Fhcrezna unq fhpprffshyyl xrcg n frperg vqragvgl, be fgnlrq orybj gur enqne.
Vafbsne nf gur fgbel unf n zbeny, vg vf gung crbcyr jub qrfver cbjre jv... (read more)