Gulag diary, day 6

It’s cold here. Very cold. Commissar Chu laughed when he said he didn’t expect me to last the month. I still can’t rightly explain how I got to this place. I am writing these words with the stub of an old pencil I found in the back of the box car. The train from civilization was packed. Nose to nose. I think most of us can tell the same story. One instant, we were sitting in our homes safe and sound, browsing the internet. The next instant, our doors came down and the enforcers stormed in. I remember screaming. And a woman’s face — another of the endless number of commissars — as she watched me dragged out the door. She was visibly gleeful over the fact that the Peoples Republic of Science Fiction had discovered me. There would be no trial, she gloated. Merely punishment.

I’m actually seeing a lot of familiar faces here, assuming I can pry my eyelids open against the arctic wind. On the work gangs, they chain us together at the ankles and make us recite the lines from Andrea Dworkin and Derrick Bell. Those who fail to enunciate with force . . . are whipped savagely. Sometimes, when my back is bleeding from the numerous blows, I wonder what happened to my wife and daughter. You’d think a man’s life, honestly lived, would be enough to speak for his character?

But I have learned the hard truth: our commissars aren’t interested in proof. Only confessions.

You are guilty until proven . . . guilty.

Tomorrow they march us to the reservoir. An experienced man — barely more than a skeleton, after all this time in the gulag — thinks we’ll spend the morning burying the dead. He’s had to do it twice before. They will make us carve a pit in the earth with dull picks and blunted shovels. Then we will carry the free to their final, unmarked resting place. And pour the dirt back over them.

I almost envy those people. They have escaped the harangues and the marathon reeducation sessions, with commissars pacing the aisles and shouting “TOLERANCE!” at us through the speakers of their olive drab bullhorns. If you try to cover your ears, they kick you until you’re bruised.

The giant posters of progress are arrayed on every wall in every building in the Peoples Republic. Those posters are here with us now, in the pallet wood dormitories that lack heating and proper toilets. Only, tattered and smudged now. Made shabby by the wearing of time, and the disinterest of all us prisoners.

I think the soiled condition of the propaganda quite suitable.

The dream of the cultural revolution is dead. Long live the cultural revolution.

If my fingers are not too swollen, I may write again soon. And hope they don’t find these scraps of paper I have to hide in my shoes.


  1. Wow. That’s going to cause some conniption fits in certain quarters…

  2. OoH aah . . .i can hear heads exploding. That reminds me it’s Chinese grave cleaning season . . .theres usually a lot of fireworks.

  3. Brad, beautifully written but please don’t worry. SJW talk a big talk but usually are just bark. And you have been adopted by a group that will bite…hard.
    Idiots be warned.

  4. Crossposting my comment from KiA:

    No word of a lie, Were I Chu (I shudder at the thought), I’d be legit happy someone wrote this about me.

    Come on Brad, can Commissar Chu become a protagonist for your next book ? I want to read more.

  5. The shoes could’ve been made from tree bark or maybe rat skins (after the rats had been eaten).

  6. George says we in the Gulag have been sold, “a bill of goods.”

    That is pretty rich. Also says he can’t figure out why we have a problem with Scalzi, a man who has spent years denying that any campaigning going on when in fact there was. Something George himself admitted to in the previous post.

    After all, it is okay to sit on the veranda and sip mint juleps while your surrogates go out there and not campaign campaign for you but what you and Larry did is wrong.

    Oh, but go have a beer with him and clink a glass saying, “It was an honor to be nominated.”

    My sentiments are along the same lines as John Ringo’s concerning these awards.

  7. Considering the bile that the SJWs spew toward GoT/ASoIaF, Martin seems singularly clueless in this area.

    Google “Game of Thrones racist”, George. Then come back and tell us these people don’t exist.

  8. Announcement: Special Panel

    In consideration of the recent events involving the Science Fiction Achievement Awards, commonly referred to as the Hugos, it has been decided to hold a meeting at Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention.

    It is tentatively scheduled to begin at 10 AM on Friday, August 21, the third day of the convention, with location to be determined.

    Panel: Hugos Unacceptable Activities Committee (HUAC)

    The formal seated panel will consist of real fans, those who love SF, who attend and work on WorldCon and other conventions. The fan community, the ones the Hugos truly belong to.

    Those in attendance may be asked to participate/answer questions by the panel. To make their position clear, a suggested introduction would be to place their left hand on a copy of Queers Dig Time Lords, raise their right hand and clearly state “I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of, affiliated with, or advocated for the Sad Puppies campaign.”

    I truly hope to see a strong, involved turnout for this very important gathering, although attendance is, naturally, on a volunteer basis.

    Seriously, of course it is.

    I mean, it’s not like we can make anyone do anything, right? There’s no negative effect we can put against your status or career.

    Anyway, hope to see you there.


    S. J. Woreeahr
    President, Socialist Fiction Writers of America

  9. Given the anti-Puppy crowd’s love of painting an entire side based on what one person does, perhaps they’d like to acknowledge that time Arthur Chu insisted that a woman was a sockpuppet to defend the anti-#GamerGaters who harassed her because, despite being anti-#GamerGate, the woman wasn’t anti-#GamerGate enough.

  10. It’s the only way. Reason doesn’t work, the only useful tool is ridicule. It wouldn’t be nearly as effective if they didn’t all take themselves SO seriously.

  11. Brad: Ouch. Best Related Work, indeed.

    (I don’t think I’ve read anything else of yours, but now I know I will.)

    Miguel: It depends whether it’s something the SJWs can get legislation passed against. When they can, they become dangerous. People have lost businesses and homes as a result. I should know; I lost mine.

  12. With precognitive powers finely honed through years of caped and masked crime-fighting, I confidently predict that Chu’s rapier, Algonquin-esque response will be: “RAAAAACISS!!!”

    Chu… eats.

  13. I mean really, what’s Chu going to do? Throw a massive fit on Twitter and call you nasty names? Libel you and your family and friends?

  14. I’d like to see the commissars try to arrest someone like Mike or Larry. The may get them eventually, but you can bet those two at least would plug any broken doors with the bodies of fallen SJWs.

    Funny thing about Social Justice Warriors is outside of the internet, the Warrior part is strangely lacking…

  15. Just as a clarification, Brad, which Chu are you mocking, here in your flash fiction piece?

    Arthur Chu, Wesley Chu or someone else?

  16. Kent18 says:
    “Larry Correia takes GRRM to the woodshed, as only he can.”

    I didn’t read that as taking GRRM to the woodshed; I read it as a very even tempered, respectful, even deferential, defense. At no point did I think Correia talked down to GRRM or belittled Martin’s thoughts on the Sad Puppies. Yes, he was passionate about defending those who have stood by him, but I think even GRRM can see that he was doing so without being belligerent.

  17. So were you watching the South Park episode “Death Camp of Tolerance?” lol

  18. Which Chu? I would assume it’s Arthur Chu, the Jeopardy contestant turned Social Justice Warrior, who wrote:

    “Endless self-criticism about whether your values are in fact right or wrong guarantees that you will lose and someone else’s values will win anyway. …

    I’m not saying there’s no place for rational engagement ever. I am saying that there are lines in the sand and people beyond those pales are in fact enemies and should be treated as such…


    So yes, to momentarily borrow Yudkowsky fanboy terminology, I wear black robes. I am a practitioner of the Dark Arts. I rigorously manage my own thinking and purge myself of dangerous “unthinkable” thoughts — “mindkill” myself — on a regular basis.

    This is what you have to do to be a feminist anti-racist progressive, i.e. a social justice stormtrooper, You have to recognize that there is no neutral culture, neutrality is impossible, that culture is a cutthroat war of memes and that you have to commit to picking a side and setting yourself up as a neutral arbiter of memes is impossible and is a form of surrender.”

    This disfigured man Arthur Chu who has been blessed with great mental gifts promises explicitly not to be rational. He promises not to see both sides, not to seek understanding. He will not self-analyze, and has made the explicit choice not see where he might be wrong. When inconvenient thoughts come to him, he will “mindkill” himself, and he tells us he does this quite a lot. I am not sure exactly what this means, but I presume if one communicate to him a valid point that is contrary to his pre-existing notions, it will be “mindkilled.”

    At least he gave us a moment of honesty there. It fits the worst caricatures of social justice warriors unfortunately.

  19. “Scott Edelman ‏@scottedelman · 2h2 hours ago
    So unless we agree John C. Wright the greatest writer of 2014 and Castalia the greatest publisher, Brad Torgersen thinks we’re Kim Jong-un.”

    Can somebody please school Mr. Edelman about the difference between the Sad Puppy and Rabid Puppy slates? This is embarrassing.

  20. Rez, can’t find the FB post right away, but Ringo’s response was basically “[fornicate] the Hugos, they stiffed Jim Baen of a richly deserved editor award”, and that if nominated he would withdraw from the running.

  21. Thanks. I couldn’t find it either — only thing that came up on FB was 2 years old, and redirects to an ad site (and whois lists the owner as “Robert Monster”, wtf?)

  22. Ain’t crossposting wonderful? Let’s see if we can do it again. 🙂 Thanks — he certainly didn’t mince words. And I agree with him about Jim Baen — cripes, pick any five authors under the Baen label and the merit is obvious.

  23. Edelman conflated the posts. He doesn’t understand that Chu is anti-GamerGate and doesn’t get or understand the Hugos, really. Edelman saw the photo, and made an assumption. I am not surprised by this kind of stuff anymore.

  24. brilliant prose. There is an author I happen to know who hates you with a red hot passion, so I sent it to her. She’s a nice girl. She’s my sister but oh, after the dinner last night sitting with the best of the west who went on a loathing rethuglican binge, I can’t help myself.

    Thanks for making my day on a gloomy rainy day in MetroParkCentralis.

  25. Twitter hate:

    “Rose Lemberg ‏@RoseLemberg · 35m35 minutes ago
    I don’t want to look, but has Torgersen just used a Gulag metaphor to talk about the Hugos? Some people have no f—–g shame”

  26. Some people have no f—–g shame”

    Says the women who (betcha a dollar) had absolutely zip nil nada to say about the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man calling Brad “racist as f__k,” for no reason whatsoever.

    Tell her to go squat on a snow cone.

  27. GRRM made another post where he strongly disagrees with the anti-SP reaction

    my comment on the whole thing

    to paraphrase MLK “I have a dream of a time when a Hugo nominee is not judged by what people say about the Author, but rather the content of the work”

  28. You want to go tell a gulag survivor to squat on a snow cone, you can do it yourself.

    You all think that the fact that someone whose family went through this experience finds this shameless proves some great point?

    Let me tell you what the rest of the world sees: nothing at all like anything you’re describing has happened to you, or is in danger of happening to you. The more nonsense like this you post, the more clear it is that your paranoid fantasies of SJW cabals and commissars are completely out of touch with reality.

    Arthur Chu? He’s just some guy. Niche celebrity. The power he wields is the same as the power you wield: the internet gives him a platform and he fills it with words. The fact that people can’t even tell if you mean Arthur, or Wesley, or John without it being made explicit says everything about how well this works as satire.

  29. Let me tell you what the rest of the world see

    I find it amusing that you see yourself as “the rest of the world.”

    No… no, not “amusing”… what’s that other word…?

    Oh, yeah. Right.


    (Unless you’re Seanan McGuire, of course. In which case, you may just actually BE “the rest of the world.”)

  30. No, I don’t see myself as the rest of the world. I just give most of the people living in this world the credit to be able to tell the difference between “SOME PEOPLE DISAGREE WITH US!” and being shipped to a gulag.

  31. Let me tell you what the rest of the world see

    No, I don’t see myself as the rest of the world.

    Have you two met?

  32. You’ve quoted me saying two things that don’t contradict each other. Congratulations?

    If you can quote me saying that I’m the rest of the world, you’ll be halfway to a point. I’m not sure what the point would be since this is all hypothetical, but at least you’ll be there.

  33. You’ve quoted me saying two things that don’t contradict each other.

    You’re either being disingenuous, or else are simply slow.

    Either way: you’re not big enough to ride this particular ride.


  34. They don’t. I see where you’re trying to claim that the one contradicts the other, but you’d have a hard time proving it if you parsed it out word by word. You’re drawing an inference that is not only not there, it is explicitly refuted by the sentence that follows the second one you quoted.

    In short, you are either being disingenuous or slow.

    But look, this is very simple. I’ll make it even more simple. As I said, I think the average person–not the average person HERE, obviously, but the average person–can tell the difference between a thought police regime and the unfortunate state of being disagreed with by other people on the internet.

    Do you agree or disagree with that basic premise?

  35. @Mavericles at what point does “being disagreed with by other people on theInternet” become “thought police”?

    as far as I’m concerned, when they can get you fired from your job, deny your work being evaluated for an award it counts. Note this isn’t that they vote to give the award to someone else, it’s that they say that because you think the worng things, your work shouldn’t even be allowed to be nominated. This is vastly different from saying that you have read the work and think it doesn’t deserve an award. The first is an attack on the person because of what they think. The second is an evaluation of the quality of the work.

  36. Well what’s a gulag survivor doing seeking refuge here and then lighting up America as a gulag for women, gays and non-whites? Do you even read Lemberg? I do. She does not think much of America at ALL.

  37. Isn’t it awesome when they pass judgment on something they absolutely refuse to read?

    Oh, wait, it’s like last year’s Hugo Awards all over again.

  38. “Rose Lemberg @RoseLemberg · 8h 8 hours ago @KeleGrrl @firecatstef and, sadly, the Robert Jordan Memorial Award for Most Stereotypically Binary Gendered Magic #newHugocategories”

    How about the Biggest Victim Award?

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