Over the last couple of years a storm has gotten started in the literary Science Fiction community. This is a good thing. Over the last twenty years or so, and starting earlier I noticed something rather disturbing. As the old style visionaries were dying or leaving the scene they were not replaced. At first I thought it was just a product of the times. Then I sort of noticed that the kind of people I was were not particularly welcome in fandom. As time went on this discomfort grew. I felt surrounded by people of the kind that I went to cons to try to get away from.
If I wanted radical leftism all I had to do was go to Union Square in NY. There I could find all the leftism I wanted. Mobs of social justice warriors(SJW)s make home there every weekend. They are always there, in spades. Any cause, all causes, all mixed together. since Union Square is next door to Forbidden Planet and The Strand, I go there frequently. And often there were the Progressives with their copycat signs and multitude of pointless complaints, refusing to better their lives by actually doing anything.
As time went on this trend continued. As it wasn’t more than a couple of times a year at cons I didn’t really notice the changes. I did notice that it seemed like there were fewer books on the shelves that I wanted to buy. That wasn’t a problem because by that time I had Baen’s Bar as a community and I could keep buying the latest Baen books along with some others whose authors I had liked. Still it bothered me that I wasn’t seeing any new blood, except at Baen.
I also noticed other things. The science was disappearing from science fiction. The scientists seemed to have stopped coming to Lunacon and other cons I went to. More to the point, science fiction publishers and others stopped publishing those popular new technology books that I liked. And the old style hard SF that I used to buy just disappeared. What science was left got more and more political and not in a good way. Here’s a blog post from Kate Paulk on THE science panel form last year’s Lunacon. There was no Lunacon this year so I don’t know what it would have been like. I imagine that I would have been disappointed, yet again.
What I’ve started to realize is that this isn’t just some drift. It’s part and parcel of the destruction of the culture by the left that’s been going on for a long time now. We’ve seen this across just about everything. The constant attacks by seemingly reasonable people on such stupid stuff all the time. The idea that these people hate and want to destroy the culture seems ludicrous. Until you see what they say and write.
I don’t know why they started to hate and frankly, I don’t care why. But the hate has spread across science fiction fandom and it’s gotten worse. I think things started to come to a burn in 2013 after the haters managed to get two senior well known contributors to the Science Fiction Writers Association Bulletin and the editor canned over a description of a lady editor they had known as a “knockout.” Now I know from long term personal experience that “knockouts” are few and far between in the fan community and I can understand why the harpies and blobs that are in the fan community might get upset, but was it really worth the storm that arose.
No, not unless they were collecting scalps. Considering how many coincidently almost identical posts I found on blogs about this and how little blowback from anybody else they got what they wanted. Apparently this sort of thing had been going on for some time and I hadn’t even noticed. Probably because I only went to Lunacon regularly and I expected the people who worked for the traditional publishers to be more or less of one political persuasion. But I was never too concerned about that impact. After all my old favorites were still in print and Baen seemed to be doing fine, so I figured that the other publishers were publishing a diversity of stuff and I wasn’t picking up on it. That was a mistake.
You know that culture wars are bad when the crap is rubbed in your nose. And the stink in this one was huge. I hadn’t realized just how bad it was. Two events last year brought it to a focus. One was the forcing of the removal of “Uncle Tim” Bolgeo as fan guest of honor from Archon because of something that may have been in his newsletter “Revenge Of The Hump Day.” The other was the revelation of noted author Marion Zimmer Bradley’s pedophilia and that of her husband by Bradley’s daughter and the continued support of Bradley after the revelations were made public.
Now I have never met Tim Bolgeo, which is my loss and something I hope to rectify, but I haven’t found ONE person who DOES know him who can say ANYTHING bad about the man. Furthermore I have been reading his newsletter since the events last year and I have yet to see any pattern racism, sexism or anything else. Most of what I sin the newsletter is published in other places and is topical and irreverent. The general consensus by most of the writers I’ve seen is that Tim is a Totally wonderful person who has helped dozens of new authors get a voice. That may have been the problem. Here’s the sort of story you mostly see about Tim Bolgeo.
But no amount of good that somebody does can over come the imaginary “bad” that the SJW’s have in their heads. Now I’ve been reading the “Revenge Of The Hump Day” for over a year and I haven’t found it to be a racist tract. But then I don’t have micro or for that matter macro aggression over claims of racism. And I consider the source of the racism claim.
The fact is that MJCS found racism because he HAD to, in his own words to keep the obviously bad thought from the South from the holy precincts of Archon. What’s worse is that the con committee caved to the fat middle aged man in a Space Ghost costume. The scope and scale of the witch hunt he started was just amazing, as was the number of people, who not even knowing who Uncle Timmy was, came out and joined the mob.
The flip side is that if the new SFF won’t tolerate a middle aged more or less conservative nuclear engineer what will they tolerate? Well that was demonstrated by the attention or maybe no attention paid to the revelations of the children of Marion Zimmer Bradley. These revelations and the accusations could not have been more damning. Bradley and her husband apparently molested not only her children, but the children of others. The fact that most of these things happened in radical Berkley in the late Progressive 1960’s made it OK for the SFWA crowd. Certainly they didn’t condemn it and continued to praise MZB as an icon for LGBT.
Which, of course seems to be the important thing for all too much of the SFWA and trufan cliques. They seem to be more interested in pursuing their political ends than trying to support science fiction. The medium has become to be about them. It’s not enough that the story is bold, imaginative, mind blowing and well written, it has to have the correct political viewpoint or be written by the correct victim class. Here’s Vox Day’s blog on his adventures in and against this crowd.
Now I don’t like Vox Day very much. I agree with a lot of the things he says, but his attitude leaves me cold. I think that he goes out of his way to be abrasive and then can’t seem to understand that that might rub people the wrong way. That being said, I think that throwing just Vox out of the SFWA and not his antagonists was way beyond the call. Especially since, as Vox documents, they were breaking the rules far more than his little mistake on twitter did.
Now the SFWA types witch hunting can’t affect Vox at all. He doesn’t publish through the Traditional NY presses that are part of the mob. So he won’t suffer from having spit in the other’s eye. But others have suffered. Like wolves, the mob doesn’t hesitate attempt to destroy what they don’t. What they don’t realize is that what they are destroying is themselves.
The Progressive attacks on the America mythos has been part of their general attack on the things they hate. Hate seems to be a driving force with these people. It’s as if they have a need for their witch hunts. It’s a compulsion for them, a need for absolute control of everything and everybody in their environment. What happens when somebody even goes a little off their reservation is insane. This is the age where people lose their jobs over making ribald comments about “dongles” in a private conversation that some SJW overheard. This is the time where a top scientist is hounded to tears and his organization shamed because of his lucky shirt.
Of course while they are destroying themselves, they are also taking a hit at the culture. Now each culture has it’s defining myths and America is no different. We like to believe certain things, right or wrong. Like George Washington and the cherry tree. this idea that our politicians were honest and government competent, ha, ha.
Myths are important though. They help us to define who we are. We know that they aren’t real, but they help us imagine that we can be better than we are. That Buck Rodgers stuff is part of the American myth. Beyond being a great achievement “One small step for a man” is part of what makes us what we are. The Giant leap didn’t start with Apollo. It started with Robert Goddard and this putting a trip to the moon on the black board. It also stared with Hugo Gernsback and his pulp magazine filled imaginative and bold tales of mind blowing technologies. What it was not was deep meaningful pointless tales by deep authors about how depressing life was.
Considering that modern science fiction came of age in the turbulent 1930’s, when everything seemed to be coming apart, that was a good thing. Most people had enough depression in their lives already. They didn’t need dismal. Dismal was their life. What they, except for an elite set at the Algonquin table wanted, was escapism. They wanted to believe that the future was better than now and the editors of the pulp magazines where science fiction lived gave it to them.
Also the editors knew their stuff. Hugo Gernsback had a background in early radio. John W. Campbell had a physics degree and his father worked at Bell Labs. People don’t realize that up until recently science fiction was a small business on the fringes of society. You won’t find any science fiction in the New York Review Of Books in the 1930’s. Nor any science fiction books on the Times bestseller list.
The problems started in the late 1980’s. Some people say that Star Wars ruined by making science fiction popular . Certainly that may have brought science fiction a new audience, but the fact is that the stuff in the 1980’s was good. All of the old school authors were getting stuff published, in hardcover. And in paperback there was a vibrant collection of midlist authors and the old stuff from the golden age was brought into print. Editors like Donald A Wolheim, Judy Lynne Del Rey and Jim Baen kept the stuff flowing and built the careers of authors such as CJ Cherryh John Varley and Larry Niven. It was a great time to be a fan.
Suddenly it was over. The money got to be big and the big companies started to notice. Then Judy Lynne Del-Rey and Donald A Wolheim passed away, taking the independence they had with them. The editors that replaced them just didn’t have the touch. You could see it on the shelves. The fun stuff seemed to go away. Where, in the 1980’s there seemed to be a new author a week, there didn’t seem to be anything new. Much of was new was media tie ins for one property or another. It all was getting rather bland. It’s almost as if the new crop of editorial staff didn’t have a clue.
They didn’t. The new type editor was more likely to have degree in literature than engineering. And be well suited to the corporate and literary world in which they work. But having a clue about how technology works in a society, they just did not have the skills for that. At least they didn’t have a clue about science fiction. Nor did they understand the audience. They thought that as long as there was a space ship in the story we rubes wouldn’t know any better. The important thing was to have the right kind of narrative in the story, just like their liberal activist college professors told them. The problem was that we in their audience were the kind of people who could design a spacecraft that worked. Getting the rivets wrong and we will probably stop buying. There’s a reason Hard SF has disappeared from the shelves.
They’ve been able to get away with ignorance because they decided what got published and reviewed. They could use the push sales model to determine what got put on the shelves of the big two bookstores and
For a long time now the gatekeepers had everything their own way. From editorial positions and participation on con executive panels they could control what was awarded and pushed in to publication. They could rely on a few best sellers to pay the bills and print the stuff they liked without worrying too much if they made money. The old style midlist was left to fester. Midlist authors received rates so low that only part timers could afford to write anymore unless they were at the top of the heap.
This was great for the people at the top of the heap. They didn’t have to work reading all those manuscripts. They had their little clique of trufen that plied them with accolades at cons that their employers the companies that have taken over science fiction publishing paid them to go to. Life was good.
The thing the SF elites wanted though, was a seat at that table at the Algonquin. They wanted to make SFF “relevant” They wanted to publish the kinds of books that get accolades in The New York Review Of Books. They wanted to be part of the the big parties. They didn’t want to be sneered by their coworkers down the hall. They didn’t have any investment in the culture of science fiction anyway.
So the editors of the traditional publishers followed the path of the NYC glitterati. They read the NY Times every day and even get their titles reviewed in the book section. They pursued the culture and thoughts of the NY elite without thinking about it too much. They mouth all the right things and went to the right marches, getting street cred by attacking president Bush and so forth. It was all so much fun. Just join the mobs and yell the right slogans.
They were also highly successful in redirecting the focus of the books they published. At least they were successful in getting them published. They could put together books all about the latest social justice push or muck and the story didn’t matter so much. After all they could push whatever they wanted and the bookstore buyers, who by and large weren’t book people, would just look at the covers and the blurbs and say put five in each store. It all became just like selling groceries.
The problem was that they push all they wanted, but it wouldn’t necessarily sell. Frankly between the social progress, stuff the ignorance of the editorial staff, they writers they were choosing and the corporate environment the whole book selection became commoditized. As a comment in a SJW blog that I haven’t been able find, “Go down the SF section in a bookstore and you see the same authors and the same 20 stories.” Science fiction has become the bland because instead of big vision we have low politics.
Because the people in the “in” crowd of SF could block vote they could control who got the award. There was a reason the editors at Tor swapped the “Best Editors” Hugo year after year in the 2000’s and it had to do with the fact that Tor can pony up for about 100 or so memberships for Worldcon for their employees and authors who worked the con and guess who they voted for. You can see the pattern voting if you look. In fact the only time Tor did not win best novel was the year harry Potter got nominated.
Accountant and urban fantasy writer, Larry Corriea, being an accountant did an analysis of the Hugo Awards and noticed that the trend was heading toward titles based on the authors being in the victim class or adhering to the SJW line as well as a disconnect between the titles that were actually selling and those that were winning the Hugos. He also noticed that you could possibly game the system with remarkably few number of nominating votes and that Author John Scalzi were running campaigns and that Tor books tended to appear on the shortlist far more often than you might expect.
The thing is like all the other arts this new culture is reaching down, not up. It’s reaching into the lowest perversions and impulses and saying that this is what we should be like. The people behind this are looking for shock value and destruction. That’s a real problem for science fiction. science fiction is about vision and looking forward. Instead it’s joined with academic leftism and started to devolve into perverted porn. With each iteration there’s less vision and more drek.
The problem is that porn has a limited attraction. And people don’t want to be preached to. And left wing Marxism doesn’t sell except to true believers. Hell, it doesn’t sell even when there’s nothing else. Even in Soviet Russia the lefty line didn’t sell unless people were forced to read it. The fact is that stuff doesn’t reach people. There’s no connection with real people doing real stuff. It’s all a perfect hate fest on the current Kulaks, whoever they may be or proud boasts of accomplishments that are pathetic.
Until fairly recently, the TruFen has been able to us their control of the gates to getting your books published to create a climate of fear and intimidation. With each passing year the threats get more dramatic, the contracts worse, the abuse in the halls at cons more nasty. The fear is especially palpable if you are, psst, a Conservative, or for that matter, of any political persuasion other than Feminist Maoist.
The problem is that fear based societies stifle creativity and create conformity. Everybody wears the right ribbon and puts the blue eagle in the window. People are too afraid not to. But they don’t invest anything other than the least amount of effort either. Pretty soon you stop participating if it isn’t mandatory.
The progress of this fear driven culture in SF and publishing is measured in what we are not seeing. We’re not seeing the bright young talent . We’re not seeing the engineers and scientists who dream big and write about it. All that’s left is bland stuff and message fiction that nobody wants to read.
The problem is that the people in charge of the gates in science fiction don’t realize what they are doing . Or if they do they want the hate. There seems to be a LOT of that. The rage over sad puppies is clear evidence of that. As far as they are concerned anybody not in complete agreement with the SJW theme of the moment needs not only to be silenced, but destroyed. What they don’t seem to understand is that they are destroying themselves.
I can understand why they are upset. They are losing their grip on SF. Especially since the readership has left them behind and new writers are going to Amazon and ebooks rather than fighting though a gate that they know that they will not pass. Stuff the SJW’s don’t like is getting published and it’s outselling them. And more and more the writers and fans are no longer afraid of them.
They are so caught up in their social activism that they don’t seem to realize something very important. They are fighting battle already won decades ago. In science fiction, the LGBT and race ship done sailed a long time ago. All that stuff was done to death in the 1970’s and the readership no longer cares. The SJW’s are beating a dead horse. That won’t stop them trying to change SF into some caricature of what its supposed to be, instead creating a social justice tract with rocketships stamped on. Is this what SF is supposed to be about. How can you love something if you feel compelled to change it to suit your prejudices.
Look, I don’t read science fiction to get yet more LGBT or whatever indoctrination treatment that’s the current narrative of this day. I can get that just by turning on a television set. I read science fiction to get away from the raging conformity that pervades a culture that is more and more drifting into broken rot.
Now that may be fine for people who don’t seem to want progress anyway. That’s not what Hugo Gernsback wanted. That’s not what John W. Campbell wanted. That’s certainly not what Jim Baen wanted. The Hugos should be awarded to works of great vision, not works of political conformity. Science fiction is about the far out, the bold visions, the mad ideas, not inspection of the antics of the bedroom or concern over the color of beige that the author’s skin is.
There was a time when the science fiction community was about being better than the mundane. The SF community had to be better because it was so small. We had to put limits on our fights because if we didn’t there wouldn’t be enough community left after words. Some of community have decided that if they cannot impose their views on get the rest of us and have all the pretty rocketships to themselves they are perfectly willing to burn down SF.
Diversity, real diversity, is about dealing with other cultures and ideas. It’s not about trolling somebody because they have white skin or creating imaginary patrimonies that don’t exist. This intolerance of anybody’s ideas should be anathema to the community. I shouldn’t be reading about how everybody who doesn’t agree with the SJW line is subjected to the worst sort of treatment from a mob. I shouldn’t be reading about how the likes of’ “Requires Hate” move to ruin authors and fan’s lives over trivial stuff. Grow up, people. The world doesn’t change to fit your prejudices and destroying somebody because they said something you didn’t like isn’t going to make you friends.
When you lose what made you great you lose a big piece of yourself. Pushing away what made you great for petty fights and stupid licentiousness is just plain stupid. Letting your community get run over by mobs who have no interest in your community is just ruinous. Yet that is what the powers that be in SF are doing. They seem to have forgotten, or never had the vision of what SF is supposed to be. They’ve dropped down into a sort of conformity with the PC status quo rather than telling the SJW’s to take a hike. Even worse, they take the part of the SJW, out of fear or because they agree with some, or all of what the SJW’s represent. In any case by dragging SF through the mud, they’ve forgotten that we reached for the stars.
Does the anti puppy side really have nothing more than smears of racism and misogyny? Did they really have to resort to libelous tactics?
Here’s the archived link. Watch how the article changes.
Apparently not and yes, they do.
And since when are awards for the “best” given on an “affirmative action” basis. Isaac Asimov had to wait for decades to win. I remember him commenting about that and how he felt that winning the first Grand Master Award was a little disappointing to him even though it was richly deserved. And the SJW’s want the Hugo awarded on an affirmative action basis. Can they debase the Hugos any further?
Larry tried to be nice and reasonable. It didn’t work.
My opinion on EW’s piece about sad puppies:
It sort of exploded and boy did it stink.
SJW attack liberal author and reported on. They will eat their own. I guess that ‘requires hate’ hated too much.
Larry gets Adam Baldwin involved on twitter.
Salon has a hit piece that drifts all over the place. At least they seem to have kept themselves out of the “racist racist” trap. Barely.
I wonder which blog this guy is getting his information from.
Jason Cordova takes the EW piece to task.
RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!!!!
Larry has an addendum to his post.
An Australian newspaper.
The Guardian, no surprise. Written by Damien, again, no surprise.
The Daily Dot.
The Atlantic again.
Arthur Chu again, this time in the Daily beast.
Though why I bother, it’s all the same crap.
Boston Globe again. They think that bad think should be “muzzled”
The New republic Is Late To The Pile On.
Wall St Journal.
The Daily Kos.
I guess that the narrative is that the Hugos were taken over by those nasty gamergaters. And that the Sad puppies are all racists homophobe meanie white males bigots.
All these sites are just repeating the same thing. Out of the blue. Are they ALL getting this stuff from the Hayden Nelsons? Or Scalzi, though I’m betting on the Hayden Nelsons using all their media contacts to spread this crap.
It’s the same lies, repeated over and over. The same smears and attempts at destruction. For what? An award that had lost most of it’s value, it’s diminished prestige an effect of the same thing that’s killing literature in general?
Chicks on the right supporting Sad Puppies.
IBD is on it.
Claiming that Sad Puppies knew ahead of time.
The Puppies didn’t know, but guessed from comments made by the other side. Since we see this spontaneous media campaign maybe the question should be; “what did the Nelson Haydens know, who told them and when?”
Nice piece in the Federalist.
The sense of entitlement here is just incredible.
Sorry, you aren’t entitled to awards, you have to earn them.
The National Review gets it.
Larry Corriea takes George RR Martin to task.
A long list of SJW activities going back further than I knew.
The American Spectator weighs in.
A good summary of what’s going on from this blog.
Ed Driscoll Weighs in.
Charlie Martin on PJmedia:
An admitted SJW and psychotherapist tries to “analyze” things to make them fit her reality.
NPR gets Arthur Chu to reiterate the narrative.
Liberty Island has a nice summary.
Two posts, among many from Vox.
Two things that the anti puppies should remember. 1. Vox is NOT a nice guy. 2. He can punch up, and win. 3. He doesn’t like you at all, just on general principles.
I’ve decided that one reason I don’t like Vox Day is that he insists on tearing my fast shredding illusions that the people that supposedly run SF are good people.
I keep hoping that the finding of child molesters and other sordid types and their supporters will end, yet these people never fail to reach lower and lower.
Know your SJW.
As Sasquan approaches the Spokesman in Spokane makes sure that everybody knows what bad people the puppies are.