Thursday, April 24, 2014

Lots of 'orthodox' SF panties are getting wadded . . .

. . . over the nomination of Larry Correia's novel 'Warbound' and Vox Day's novelette 'Opera Vita Aeterna' for this year's Hugo Awards.  You see, both of those individuals are unabashedly conservative in their views, whereas the Guardians Of Science Fiction Purity And Truth are nowadays largely of the left-wing and politically correct persuasions.  They recently succeeded in banning Vox Day from Science Fiction Writers of America because he refused to 'toe the party line'.  (I'm told his sales promptly doubled, to their incandescent fury.)

The explosion of apoplectic vitriol over these nominations has produced some wonderfully entertaining (as well as thought-provoking) reading.  It may not be of general interest, but to those interested in how political correctness has come to dominate certain areas of society and how those who now consider themselves 'gatekeepers' react when challenged, this whole affair is a Godsend.

Vox Day has commented at some length over the ensuing fuss.  Try these blog posts:

Larry Correia (whom I'm proud and honored to call my friend) has his own response to the controversy, giving a lot of background and setting out his own perspective.

Brad Torgersen (also a Hugo nominee this year) had this to say:

After the 2014 Hugo award nominee short list was released by Loncon 3 (the World Science Fiction Convention, or “Worldcon”) there was a substantial amount of consternation — social media hue and cry, one might call it.

As has often been the case when I observe these kinds of things, I remain puzzled that the group which dubs itself “fandom” (in the parlance of the original Worldcons of yore) and which is always self-analyzing so as to determine how it can bring in more young fans, more diverse fans, and more energetic fans, could react so poorly to Larry Correia bringing Monster Hunter Nation to the Hugo nominations — as if the state of New York were aghast that the state of Texas showed up for a national party caucus during the run-up to a major election.

Isn’t bringing new people into old-school fandom part of the point of Worldcon?

. . .

You can’t have a healthy fandom unless you run a big tent. And by big tent, I mean a fandom that doesn’t impose litmus tests. Fandom (that very-small piece of the consumer pie that keeps Worldcon alive) represents an increasingly monocultural segment of the overall fan market. The so-called TruFans work to marginalize and exclude the NeoFans. “Show us your cred!” the guards cry at the entry points to the science fiction “ghetto” that fandom jealously occupies — though Larry Niven once famously argued it’s not a ghetto, it’s actually a country club. Those with insufficient or bad cred (“You only like movies and games!” or “Your politics make you stinky!” or “Your favorite author is too commercial!”) are discouraged in both obvious and subtle ways. Go back to what Brandon Sanderson said: if you invite people in, it’s rather strange of you to then try to kick them back out simply because they’re not matching your taste and preferences 1-for-1. So while I am somewhat sympathetic to the notion of, “Well we liked science fiction before science fiction was popular,” I also think this is the slogan of a dying culture. And that makes me sad. Because as someone who came of age reading Larry Niven’s wonderful anecdotes about Worldcon, the picture he painted was not that of a dying culture. Worldcon fandom can’t be healthy if it imposes hard filters and actively shews away “interlopers” who haven’t been properly anointed or baptized into the field, per traditions of old.

. . .

Perhaps Larry and Monster Hunter Nation wouldn’t be getting such a ration of grief if the authorial persona known as Vox Day had not had a story on Larry’s slate? But then, Larry didn’t put Vox on the Hugo ballot all by himself. Vox has a blog too. And it gets a ton of traffic. Vox ran his own slate. And the Vox fans came to the Hugos along with Monster Hunter Nation and Wheel of Time fans. Look, for the sake of the Vox Day critics, I get it. Vox (the persona) throws verbal bombs. He is challenging, opinionated, controversial, and makes no apologies. Even to the point of saying things and making statements that occasionally cause me to step back and say, “Whoa, man, that’s probably not called for!” But again, my refrain: why not? If fandom evicted every author or editor who ever shot his or her mouth off about politics or religion or some other thing, we’d be showing many dozens of authors — and more than a few editors — the door.

. . .

If science fiction truly loves the different, the strange, the alien, or the disturbing, as it always claims to love these things . . . well, here’s science fiction’s big chance to put its money where its mouth is: Vox Day, literary rogue. I, for one, look forward to reading his novelette. To paraphrase a Commander Riker line from Star Trek: The Next Generation, nobody ever said this field was safe. In fact, Harlan Ellison once famously branded the genre as the so-called dangerous genre. Is Worldcon fandom ready to get dangerous, or does worldcon fandom want to be safe?

We’ll see.

There's more at the link.

The whole affair is marvelously entertaining to minor authors such as myself and a host of science fiction readers who are thoroughly enjoying the mass slaughter of sacred cows.  I'll be watching further developments with interest.



Melody Byrne said...

I think a large part of this hue and cry is to serve as an example to others. "If you dare break into our industry this is what we'll do to you." Certainly stringing conservatives up had the intended effect of keeping many non-leftists from attempting to get published or forcing many authors into the closet.

However with traditional publishing dying that form of intimidation will no longer work. The leftists are up to their old tricks and are absolutely shocked to find what used to work doesn't anymore, so they get even more shrill.

Frankly, where a lot of authors used to be intimidated it's now becoming clear the leftists are a ridiculous caricature not to be taken seriously. Since they can't destroy the livelihoods of those who disagree with them anymore all they have left are the awards and they're being outsmarted out of those as well.

Coconut said...

They say you can know a man by his enemies.

Never really heard of Vox Day, but if that lot hate him, he must be a decent sort.

Anonymous said...

Vox has some strong opinions, but he backs them up well, and he's willing to listen to counter arguments as long as they go beyond "you hatey hater!" Since the odds of my stuff ever being Hugo nominated are longer than those of an an elephant winning the Ascot races, I'm just sitting back and enjoying the fireworks.

LittleRed1 aka Alma Boykin

Anonymous said...

This crap started with Harlan E. They got away with it and they keep pushing.