I wasn’t going to post about Mike Resnik as unfortunately, I never had a chance to meet the man and apart from buying some of the anthologies he edited, never really read very much of what he wrote. The biggest reason that I remember him at all was the flap over a column in the SFWA bulletin, which I did not see. Unfortunately the lady responsible for the flap, Jaym Gates, could not let it go even after most of the participants had passed away or left the SFWA. From Bounding into comics.
Here is a short summary of what happened, albeit slanted.
Now, did the scandal lead to Sad Puppies? Directly, almost certainly not. Larry started the Sad Puppies after realizing that the Hugo awards had become a circular pass around by a limited clique in SF fandom and something that a lot of people probably saw, but didn’t pay much attention too, the fact that you could skew the nominations for the award with only a few supporting memberships. So Larry suggested that his fans buy some memberships and they did, Which was a good thing for the Worldcons involved, but for the clique, not so much. The creams of sexism and racism started before Sad Puppies and the pressure from certain people at cons started even before that. I think that it became fairly clear when the late Steve Bolgeo was disinvited as the fan Guest of Honor at ACON.
In any case not content to let the fight die with the death of the participants, Ms. Gates saw fit to bring the thing back to life and in an rather unpleasant fashion. I encourage you to read the thread yourself. It won’t be much fun.
Here is what Ms. Gates wrote in a facebook post that appeared on her twitter feed.
Adding some clarity: this was six years ago, and since a lot of folks seem to be missing a thing: we worked our asses off to make SFWA more inclusive, more open, more useful. I support the organization though I am unlikely to be a member again. Some of those scars run deep and I haven’t felt welcome or safe in SFF spaces since World Fantasy 2010, and specifically not after the last couple of storms I’ve had to muddle through.
Well, since this seems to be going around again. Bluntly, this was a fucking miserable year. The women of SFWA – most of us volunteer or barely paid – spent over a year trying desperately to right the ship that had been turned over by male tantrums, and the entire time, we were getting slammed by people from both sides who dismissed and erased us, repeatedly raising the men’s voices and their opinions and centering the discussion on the men.
The part of the story I didn’t share at the time is that I read the article in question and saw red for several days, and then I contacted several men who I knew would help me out. See, I learned from the WFC debacle: men wouldn’t listen to me, but they’d listen to my words from a man’s mouth. And I was young enough and female enough to know that it would end my career before it started if I went up against Resnick and company.
I pointed the article out to them and asked them to raise hell. They did. And we spent a year fixing that problem, and then a whole lot of other problems, too.
Resnick fought us every step of the way. So did Pournelle, and Beale, and a whole bunch of others. Those of us dealing with the situation were getting hammered from all sides, and we burned out pretty hard. And the whole time, I questioned why the actual fuck I’d set that fire.
In the end, I’m glad I did. It changed a lot. There was some much-needed growth. But christ, it left a bad taste in my mouth. I stopped writing during that time. I turtled up because I was told, literally, that I didn’t get to have a voice, I was only there to jump to the wishes of the grand masters of science fiction.
I am always sorry for people who have lost their loved ones. I am not sorry when another old white abuser leaves the field. I am not sorry when people talk about what they did because it is safe now.
Because what isn’t happening in this discourse is mention of the writers who were driven out by these men. The African writers who saw their stories stolen by white men. The women who walked away because Asimov groped them or Pournelle shouted them down. The queer folks who were silenced and driven out.
The losses this industry has suffered from our own lack of understanding and our inability to really open the doors wide to the voices we desperately need are incalculable. Our old masters are dying, and I am sorry for their families and friends, but I am glad. Glad that new stories are being told, that new voices are being raised, that old ways are dying.
And hey, Jerry? I’m editing Conan and Red Sonja works, honey, and I just wish you’d lived long enough for me to shove it back in your face.
At the time that Ms. Gates was complaining about the sexism at the SFWA, she was Communications Director at the SFWA and the “men” she complained about the rampant sexism too were the SF related press.
Starting with the Guardian, the results were obvious. The accusations of sexism were repeated and distributed until the storm got too big for the SFWA to handle.
Of course the drama only increased as time went on.
In the end, the screamers got what they wanted. Resnick and Malzberg were gone and there was a committee to “evaluate” the bulletin.
Of course, from the outside, the whole thing was a tempest in a b cup as Sarah Hoyt put it.
Fast forward through all that has happened since and Mike Resnick passes away. For the most part how he is remembered is a testament to the man.
Unfortunately unlike almost everybody else Ms Gates saw fit to dance on the man’s grave before he was even in it and then like all the other women of her ilk, claimed victimhood when people commented about her behavior while her supporter went around threatening people’s jobs based on their comments. She even accused Jon Del Arroz of wanting to profit from comment on her post when all Jon did was comment about her behavior and post the Gofundme campaign for Mike’s widow so that she could pay the bills for Mike’s cancer. Real classy, Ms. Gates. But class seems to be something lacking in her circles.
On the other hand Mike Resnick seemed to be a very classy individual indeed and I wish that perhaps I had been a bit more forward and met the man. Because, unlike Ms. Gates, I understand about being polite, here’s the GoFundMe page for Mike Resnick’s medical bills.