I try to pay as little attention to the SFWA as possible on the theory that if I ignore it, it will go away. The same goes for the Nebulas, the Hugos, the backbiting pro blogs and the shrieking banshees of organized fandom who made something that used to be strange and wonderful into a humorless and joyless cancer that makes the pros look like amateurs and the amateurs sound like the Red Guard.
I have as much appetite for watching the Maoists and Randians fight it out over the SFWA Twitter feed as I do for moving to a real life version of Rapture, but every now and then enough of this crap shows up on my feed as the same blogs close ranks, declare an OUTRAGE in progress and links to each other’s denunciations of the Thoughtcrime establishing consensus and demanding an immediate penalty.
If they offenders try to defend themselves or excuse their offense, which consists entirely of offending some very entitled people who blog more than they write, that just compounds their sheer evil. And more essays will come by non-writing writers wondering whether the reason they can’t sell their books is because Science Fiction is Xist, X being the variable of the outrage.
After Racefail, the new outrage is Bikinifail.
The outrage du’jour is two writers, one born in 1939 and the other in 1942, who have also contributed more than their critics ever have or will to the field, using the SFWA newsletter to discuss past “Lady editors” and to remark how good looking they were.
Get back to me when any of the social justice crusaders have written anything half as good or as socially relevant as Mike Resnick’s For I Have Touched the Sky or Hothouse Flowers. For those just joining us after finishing a graduate thesis on Joss Whedon’s eleventh wave feminism, that was an award winning story about a girl who kills herself because her culture refuses to allow women to read.
For anyone joining us last week, Science Fiction used to be very hedonistic. A whole lot of people were sleeping with a whole lot of people around the time that Eisenhower was president. The old conventions came complete with public nudity. But today we have something much better. We have Bikinifail.
If you’re too delicate to handle some old guys talking about how hot some of the women they remember used to be, go do something else with your precious self-esteem. Resnick and Malzberg are tacky. Just as tacky as the bloggers going rageballs over this in between drooling over the male actors of Firefly… but that’s totally different because it’s them doing it.
The response is disproportionate to the offense. The only hostile environment is the one being created by the Bikinifailers.
What is Bikinifail really? It’s “OMG Science Fiction is such a hostile field because the pros I want to displace are saying things I don’t like.”
No? Yes. Here’s Jamie Wyman who has written nothing that anyone has ever heard of nailing herself to a cross shaped like a vagina.
“We still live in a world where women are treated as second-class citizens, where having a vagina makes a person somehow inferior.”
Jamie is confusing the difference between having a vagina and being a vagina. It’s like the difference between having a dick and being a dick.
“What it comes down to is this, Mr. Scalzi: I’m a writer. My stories have merit. I work hard at my craft. I love what I do. At no time does my gender have anything to do with the quality of my work.”
Has John Scalzi actually said that Jamie Wyman’s lame stories about dragons lack merit because of her gender? Have Mike Resnick or Barry Malzberg said any such thing? Who has nailed Jamie Wyman to a vagina cross (try to picture it, I dare you) except Jamie Wyman?
And Jamie Wyman has an answer. Just hire Jamie Wyman… because (according to her) she has a vagina.
“I need you to do better, Mr. Scalzi. When writing a story about women in the publishing industry, perhaps it should be told by other women.”
Like maybe Jamie Wyman. Kameron Hurley doesn’t stop with a vagina cross. Hurley, the author of a bunch of crap that I wouldn’t read on a drunken bet, adds racist and homophobic strawmen.
“So. I get it. The world used to agree with you. You used to be able to say things like, “I really like those lady writers in this industry, especially in swimsuits!” and your fellow writers, editors, agents, and other assorted colleagues would all wink and grin and agree with you, and Asimov would go around pinching women’s asses, and it was so cool! So cool that he could just sexually assault women all the time! You used to be able to say, “Black people are fine. As long as they are clean and don’t live in my neighborhood,” and your friends and colleagues would wink and grin and agree with you. You’d say, “Gay men are gay because they were abused, and all lesbians are really bisexual and just need the love of a good man,” and hey, it was Ok, because no one disagreed with you.”
Can Kameron Hurley quote where Mike Resnick or Barry Malzberg said racist or homophobic things? It’s not in her post which means she’s a libelous liar.
Give Kameron Hurley another month and she’ll accuse Resnick and Malzberg of kidnapping the Lindbergh baby.
“I get it. You like to molest old women on transatlantic flights. You once set fire to two orphanages over the weekend. You want to revive Hitler’s corpse and make him rule over the world. But we don’t do that anymore. I used to be a privileged white middle class homophobic racist, then I realized that with my mediocre writing, talking shit about more talented writers is my form of privilege.”
Katherine Kerry comes closest to making a valid point when she says that, “When is good taste censorship?” Good taste is the reason I stopped reading the one and only Katherine Kerry book I ever bought after fifteen pages.
That and boredom.
Now Science Fiction does have a sexism problem. This is what it looks like. Or this…
“Marie Hawkins nurses a personal grudge against Austin Bowe, captain of the rival Corinthian, who beat and raped her 25 years ago. Obsessed and vengeful, Marie intends to destroy Austin by proving that his ship trades illegally with pirates and smugglers. When both ships dock at the Mariner space station, she pounces. Concerned for her welfare, her son, Tom–Austin’s boy- -interferes with Marie’s plans and for his pains is shanghaied and confined aboard Corinthian by his half-brother, Christian. While the desperate Marie persuades Sprite’s captain to pursue the Corinthian, and a ship full of genuine bad guys draws ever nearer, Tom adapts to his new life aboard his father’s vessel–a life that is neither as dangerous nor as unpleasant as Marie had led him to expect.
Kirkus Reviews, C. J. Cherryh, Tripoint
“Consider: When all is said and done, we didn’t run the kind of diatribe that you hear from almost every top-selling rap star these days. We didn’t bring Henry Miller up to date. Or Rabelais. All we did was appear in a magazine with a warrior woman on the cover, and mention that a woman who edited a science fiction magazine 65 years ago was beautiful.”
I don’t like Resnick or Malzberg. The reminisces are typical of old pros babbling about how much more fun things were two hundred years ago. And worse, they’re probably right.
It’s not about the swimsuits, it’s a new cultural revolution every five minutes. Every petty offensive is magnified into a careerist assault on the evil “establishment” and “If you bring me on board, I’ll stop complaining.”
Honestly, I don’t care. Even though I just wrote a twenty page post on how much I don’t care. Science Fiction at the output and input level has become a wasteland dominated by exactly the sort of people trying to lynch Resnick and Malzberg while churning out crap ending in punk, goblins, dragons and vampires, novels about alternate worlds that look just like this one whose theme is recognizing your privilege and stuff that only sells because the writer has a popular blog.
Good Science Fiction has become impossible to come by. SF is being murdered and one day it will rise again when the industry as we know it dies the horrid death it deserves and the publishing companies stop shoving the same crap that no one is reading through the door and the readers get to decide for themselves what to read and then maybe we won’t have to hear about this crap anymore.
But that’s probably Science Fiction.