So I’m a Goodreads author now

Nova 2015 antologiaI’ve been an aspiring writer since forever. I’d like to write both fiction and nonfiction – and also, you know, be read and published too. I’ve been taking slow steps in that direction, and just now, the first book containing a short story of mine was published. It’s the anthology for the Nova 2015 nationwide Finnish speculative fiction short story contest, in which I came fourth with a horror story whose title translates as “The Devil’s Cellar”. Nova 2015 -antologia

That was really nice, first winning and then being published. What I hadn’t realised was that this would also get me listed as an author on Goodreads. I’m certainly going to take that opportunity. And so I have an author’s blog there now:

My main interests as a fiction writer are in speculative fiction. The next thing coming out from me should be a fantasy short story in another, English-language anthology, although the schedule is unclear at the moment.


Pride-kulkue ja yläaste

PrideKävin tänään osallistumassa Turku Pride -kulkueeseen, koska olin samaa mieltä sen idean kanssa ja se oli kiinnostava tapahtuma. Siellä ollessani mietin, mitä erilaiset ihmiset mahtavat miettiä tapahtumasta. Olen kuullut joidekuiden ihmettelevän, miksi seksuaali- tms. vähemmistöt pitävät ääntä itsestään ja yrittävät olla niin erikoisia. Tiedän kyllä, mikä vastaus tuohon on. Kyse ei ole siitä.

Yksi esimerkki siitä miten asiat oikeasti ovat tulee helposti mieleen jos vain ajattelee, millaista oli kun olin yläkoulussa (siihen aikaan “yläaste”). En tiedä, kuinka paljon asiat ovat muuttuneet niistä ajoista, mutta tiedän, etteivät täysin.

Ihan yksinkertaisesti sanottuna: Yläasteella pojat haukkuivat koko ajan toisiaan homoiksi. Kaikki tiesivät, mitä se tarkoitti (tai ainakin tiesivät sillä tavoin kuin monet aikuisetkin, jotka eivät tiedä eroa sukupuolineutraalin avioliiton ja anaaliseksin välillä), mutta se oli myös vain haukkumasana. Ja vaikka olisi ollut kuinka hetero, piti varoa, ettei vain tekisi tai sanoisi mitään sellaista, että joku voisi vääntää siitä homoussyytöksiä. Ties millaista sitten oikeasti homoseksuaalisilla pojilla oli.

Kerran yläasteellemme siirrettiin vähäksi aikaa eräs poika. Minulla ei ole aavistustakaan, mikä hänen seksuaalinen suuntautumisensa todella oli. Mutta hän joutui silmätikuksi “homomaisen” käyttäytymisensä takia. Hän oli itse asiassa todella mukava ja avoin ja uskalsi olla oma itsensä, mutta hänet kiusattiin ulos siitäkin koulusta ja siirrettiin muualle. Ilmeisesti sellainen käytös oli liian normista poikkeavaa ja siksi ihmiset eivät sietäneet sitä. (Tietenkään en tiedä kaikkea, mitä tapahtui, ja tämä on vain paras arvaukseni.)

Tällainen oli siis tilanne jo koulussa. Ei ollut todellakaan niin, että seksuaalivähemmistöjen edustajat marssivat ympäriinsä kuuluttaen suuntautumistaan suureen ääneen ja halusivat huomiota. Päinvastoin oli niin, että muut tekivät koko ajan numeroa siitä, miten ei olisi saanut olla homo tai jotain vastaavaa.

Luuletteko sitten, että tämä loppuisi kouluun? Ettei siellä oppisi mitään asenteita?

Joten ei tarvitse ihmetellä, miksi vähemmistöt vaativat oikeuksia ja pitävät itsestään meteliä. Tarvitsee vain muistaa, millaista koulussa oli; eivät he sitä aloittaneet. Jos päästään siihen pisteeseen, että saa olla minkälainen tahansa eikä kukaan muu tee siitä numeroa, no, se olisi todella hyvä, mutta siellä ei nyt olla.

Vegans and humans: How not to use words

I’ve written before about how you should know whether you’re talking about the meaning of words or something else. Just now, I found myself thinking about an annoying example of how someone didn’t… and since I feel like explaining why it’s wrong, I might as well do so here and use it as an example.

The example comes from an interview on the radio where someone was talking about what it was like to be vegan. She talked about how this also involved wanting to make ethical choices towards humans, not just non-human animals. She mentioned that someone had been surprised about this and asked why, and she’d said that humans are animals too. But that had been the end of the conversation because they other person’s opinion was that no, they’re not.

I don’t know what the situation was really like. (I might even remember the details as told in the interview incorrectly.) But let’s take it as an example, and at face value: that the other person would just insist that humans are not animals, period.

Two points:

  • First, if we’re talking about the meaning of words, okay: There are basically two meanings of the word “animal”; one of them includes humans and the other doesn’t. Just because your linguistic intuition only recognises one doesn’t mean the other is invalid. And if the point is that you feel that there is some essential difference between humans and other animals, that’s at least not more accurate than to say that there is sameness, that they all belong to the same group. The definition that “animal” includes human is the more scientific one, after all. Humans are taxonomically in Animalia. (See also: The Mythical Animal.)
  • Second, why would this be a relevant point anyway? What would make humans not-animals in such a way that this would mean that humans could be treated less well morally? Of course people can base their morality on arbitrary boundaries, but why ask for that if someone isn’t doing it?

Words are just tools, but people like to use them like they’re something else — something more important than what they’re being used to talk about or that they’re otherwise doing. It’s not that word meanings shouldn’t sometimes be brought up. What you should do is to talk about what is relevant and understand what the words used are actually doing in that context.

Suppose you didn’t know about gravity…

Earth.jpgWe know things fall down because gravity pulls them down towards the centre of the Earth. Gravity is a force, or some kind of spacetime curvature that acts like it’s a force.

Suppose you’d never heard of this. And suppose, while you’re at it, that you didn’t know the world was round. Then, quite possibly, you would think it impossible that the world would be round — because the people at the bottom would fall off.

Now, since you know about gravity, you could ask, why would they? In fact, there’s no “down” in space, only somewhere like the surface of a planet, and then “down” is towards the centre. Knowing this, we can ask, why would someone fall off the “bottom” of the planet? Why assume that?

But if you never had heard of gravity and never thought about such things, it might seem obvious to you. Things at the bottom end of the planet would fall off. You’d imagine something being placed there and automatically imagine it falling off. It’d be obvious, not needing an explanation. If someone told you that wouldn’t happen without a reason, you would not, in this scenario, understand what it meant. You wouldn’t think it needed a force. You’d just think it was obvious.

Yet, of course, it wouldn’t be. Things wouldn’t just fall if there wasn’t a force.

We’re lucky to know about gravity, because it gives us such a good example. There are a lot of other questions where people consider something obvious and not needing an explanation, but really it does. There’s some extra premise, like gravity. For example, why do we often automatically assume that if someone does something bad, they deserve to be punished? That’s the kind of thing where people won’t even notice there’s a missing premiss. They’ll just jump from guilt to deserving punishment without asking why that leap should be made. Another example: how many people ask the question of why things farther away look smaller?

We don’t always need to question everything we take for granted. But sometimes we do. When that time comes… well, it’s hard to notice. But remember the example of things supposedly not needing a reason to fall down.

World of Warcraft notes: Pira- er, Combat Rogue changes in Legion

WoW Combat to Pirate 4

Image source: Me.

Today, we’ll take a look at the revamped Combat Rogue, now being changed to Outlaw. Combat Rogues didn’t really have a clear theme before, so we took the opportunity to give them a much clearer one. Which is, uh, some kind of swordmaster or brawler we guess. We definitely weren’t thinking of some other cliché when we made this.

  • Outlaw rogues are the unscrupulous scoundrels of Azeroth. Operating outside the law, they bend the rules and distort the truth to get what they need, and also they like to sail the seven seas with their outlaw maties plundering treasure and going “arrr” a lot, but don’t read too much into that. The archetype has been inspired by such classic works as the outlaw-themed book Treasure Island and the more recent Outlaws of the Caribbean movies.
  • To further emphasize the “swordmaster” theme we’re going for here, we’re giving Outlaws the ability Pistol Shot. They still don’t use guns as weapons, mind you, but every swordmaster has to be ready to pull out a hidden blunderbuss, right?
  • One of the new talents is Cannonball Barrage, which causes an invisible ghost ship crewed by invisible ghost outlaws to fire cannonballs at your enemies. This also totally goes with the swordmaster… um… yeah, anyways.
  • We looked for more p- outlaw related concepts and found “parley“, so that’s an ability now too.
  • The ability Blade Flurry is renamed “Dead Man’s Chest” for no particular reason. Its function remains the same, though its icon is changed to a Jolly Roger.
  • Outlaw Rogues get a permanent buff that affects their speech in a way similar to drunkenness, except that instead of going “hic” occasionally, they randomly spout “ARRRRR”. The buff cannot be dispelled, ever.
  • After the pre-patch launches, every Outlaw Rogue will immediately begin a new obligatory questline where they have been shanghaied by the outlaws of Booty Bay and wake up on an outlaw ship. Your organs have also been harvested, so you get a permanent appearance change as you now have a peg leg, an eye patch, and a hook in place of a hand (you get a choice of left or right). During the questline, you’ll also gain a cool and unique new pet: a talkative parrot that follows you constantly and cannot be dismissed.

…Well, maybe not quite all of that, but that’s about how it feels.

(See here for more accurate information about the Outlaw Rogue if you like.)