Jason Cordova takes on “Con or Bust” and more

My second post ever at Mad Genius Club was going to be a gentle, “Hey, cool. I’m part of the club now!” kind of post, until I was directed to something called “Con or Bust”. Sponsored by former SFWA president John Scalzi and grandmaster Mike Resnick (there are others, but those are the only two I recognized at a glance), “Con or Bust began as a response to RaceFail ’09, when people of color expressed the desire to help each other attend WisCon (a prominent feminist SFF convention).”

Their words, not mine. I quoted that for context.

I actually had to look up the RaceFail ’09 incident, which led me to attendees at WisCon getting butthurt about there being a lack of diversity in SF as a whole and wanted more programming dedicated to race topics. Not race in science fiction or fantasy, from how I’m reading this. Just race. Not sure how many people would attend this sort of panel, honestly. This is on top of the recent developments regarding unnamed patrons of the art demanding that we rid ourselves of the binary gender in all SF novels because it offends them, has cause my own personal landmines to be triggered.

Up until it was pointed out to me (again by John Scalzi) that being born white automatically entitles you to have a better start in life, I had been blissfully unawares that white people are so much better than everyone else. I’d been unaware that white people were better at sports, were smarter, worked harder, and generally succeeded at everything because of their skin tone. Nothing was hard and everything came easy.




Congratulations, you win at life.

Damn. I want to be that kind of white.

You can deride the previous paragraph all you want, but the message of diversity is one of preferential treatment. You can’t have “equality” with “diversity”, because diversity means creating equality through artificial means. It’s as simple as that. The moment you force people to identify as a color or race, you’ve lost equality, because preferential treatment is exhibited in order to create your self-perceived diversity.

Think about it for a moment. Don’t just skim this and draw a conclusion that fits your preconceptions. Actually sit down and think.

Okay, now that you’ve calmed down and had a chance to think, tell me: who are your favorite authors, and why?

You’ve probably named a few from the MGC off the top of your head, or perhaps another author somewhere else. Why is that author your favorite? Is it because of their tightly-woven plot structure, their fast-paced action, their compelling character development?

Or does your favorite author focus on diversity and race in their novel? Do they push the envelope with the GLBT theme? Is the primary focus of the story about society’s flaws in gender equality?

Odds are, you typically don’t go out of your way to find a novel about race and diversity. If it’s in the story, that’s fine, but you bought the book of the author because of the story. I recently read (okay, two years ago, but it was just that good of a book) a book written by Maurice Broaddus called “King Maker” which featured a cast of purely “people of color”. Did he beat me over the head with it? Not really, because his take on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in the urban fantasy element was so cool that I barely noticed. Should people buy it purely because it has “people of color” in it? Nope. They should buy it because it’s a good book, plain and simple.

Besides, when you get down to it, the book had a decided lack of diversity. It featured three Asian people, one old white guy, and the rest of the characters (including the main) being black. Did it matter? No, because again, I didn’t notice until I read the book a second time (for the review I was writing).

When I look at “diversity” in the SF/F arena, I see a bunch of faceless names. I have no idea who is what, or what their sex is, or what sex they prefer, or even if they enjoy being a sex (that’s a lot of sex in one sentence, by the way… awkward). I want a well-written, exciting book, not something being pushed because of the personal tragedies the writer was forced to endure as a nongendernormative individual in a world of gendernormative fascists (or something… I kinda lost my train of thought trying to type that word out), or the compelling struggle of some guy because his skin tone of .2 shades darker than mine.

That’s racism, by the way. Pure and simple, though it is thinly disguised as “equality”.

It is, really. Oh sure, you can quibble all you want about the actual definition of the word, but when you push someone’s race as the selling point of anything (instead of substance or quality of work), that’s racism.

Back to the “Con or Bust” people…

In the 1970’s, legend has it (I wasn’t born yet) that there were very few women actually attending SF cons. So cons, instead of implementing group-think and demanding equality through subversive means, decided to figure out a way to draw women to cons and have them spend their hard-earned dollars on… stuff (hey, I just buy t-shirts at cons. Some people buy swords and countries. It’s a free market and I don’t know what people buy at cons is what I’m trying to say). The problem fixed itself, and now it seems that women outnumber men at conventions.

The problem can fix itself, if given the proper room to breathe. Forming a committee to help the “noble savage” see just how good the other side lives is not the way to do it.

I oftentimes wonder if people look in the mirror and say “It’s not okay that you’re white. You have friends who are not, and you even have gay friends as well. The fact that you’re born white is bad, and in order to change, you must hate all that is white, because white is racist.”

Dear white people: you’re forgiven.

I know you never owned a slave (unwilling, that is… see, I have friends in– wait, never mind). I know most of you never insisted that there be two types of fountains for whites and colored. I believe you when you say that you’d never commit a hate crime, and that you’d never treat anyone else different because of the color of their skin. I believe you when you say that race is not a factor in your admissions process in colleges

So why the guilt? Why the urge to sabotage everything that people have worked hard for in the name of diversity? Why not simply take their name, sex and race from their admissions papers, applications or anything else, and judge with what is left over? That would encourage equality, would it not? But if you argue that this wouldn’t promote diversity, then true equality isn’t your goal at all.

It’s okay if you want to admit it. Equality, in its pure form, is a stone-cold bitch.

 *     *     *

Jason is a fellow author and Barfly. For more information about his books, check out his website. Also check out Shiny Book Reviews where he and Barb Caffrey offer up fair and honest reviews of newly published books.


  1. Or does your favorite author focus on diversity and race in their novel? Do they push the envelope with the GLBT theme? Is the primary focus of the story about society’s flaws in gender equality?

    You know, when I see something that does this, I want to run – not walk, flat out sprint – the hell away.

    I read the link to RaceFail ’09, then went to the writer’s “About Me” page, where they describe their work as being plot-driven stories featuring gay and bisexual characters. Translation: their sexuality is going to be an issue in their “story”. Now, that’s not to say it can’t be handled well. It has been. However, who wants to be beaten over the head about “diversity”?

    Message fiction sucks. Fiction with a message doesn’t. It’s the difference between the two that some people just don’t understand.

  2. Actually what Scalzi says is that being born white, male and straight is playing the game of life on the “Easy” setting. Which is a not untrue way of looking at it. Not quite the same as what I interpret you to say.

    Except maybe if you are a young man – say 10 years old or younger – in today’s education system where the norm is changing and in some places being male is getting punished by ADHD drugs, zero tolerance gun stupidity and such.

    None of which changes the fact that, as a reader, story trumps message for me always.

    1. NOT just ten years old or younger. My kids are in late teen/twenty. My friends’ kids are older. This has been going on way longer than has been noticed. Also, if you’re male you’re guilty until proven innocent. ALSO every project is slanted to “a woman’s way of learning” — not mine, but I understand a lot of other girls’ — including the pretty counts more than the accurate, and everything is “group” and “sharing.” This is why males in college are becoming rare. We’re eating our seedcorn in the name of “diversity” and that the mavens of diversity keep yelling “more” tells nothing will be enough short of eliminating every white male.

    2. Ah, i would argue it’s “not untrue” only if you add some other factors like “middle class” and “in America” to that. Trust me, being poor is not playing the game on the easy setting, no matter what your skin color is. And once you’re outside the USA, this “white is the default easy setting” disappears really, really quickly.

      Scalzi’s problem is that he thinks “Whites like me” is the same as “All whites.” But then, that’s a racist for you; he thinks skin color trumps everything else in the world, because it trumps everything else in his world.

        1. For example, my home town, where this white boy is a minority. I’ve actually had people refuse to do business with me because they thought they should support businesses owned by “people of color” instead of a business that could actually help them out.

          But, if I were to do that, I’d have been labelled a racist…and for good reason.

          At least I’m playing on the “Easy” setting

        2. Like where I grew up, being the only swarthy guy in my class for years. Yes, I know about racism, I was on the receiving end more than once. Not just from guys of a more pasty skin tone.

          I don’t make a big deal about it. No reason to.

          The whole “Easy” setting thing, I don’t agree with the basic assumptions on. Certainly hasn’t helped me avoid attention from the law. I used to get stopped randomly every singly time I came home from college, things like that, some more serious. There are no Affirmative Action helping hands for Persons of Swarthiness- I checked! Heck, when I was in Indiana once there was a lady snatched up her kid and basically ran away from me, on account of how I looked (I think- I didn’t chase her down to ask).

          I don’t mean to say that some folks don’t have it bad in life. Growing up without both parents sounds awful. Having lots of people tell you that you’re not good enough to earn yourself a place, you need a “helping” hand, that’s racism, to me. Having even more folks talking up how your skin tone has determined so many things and how everyone not like you is afraid of you can’t but be hard on a body, either. The media telling you that the law will never give you a fair share, that white folks just want an excuse to shoot you because you’re scary, that’s not cool either.

          I think the whole “conversation on race” has taken some very sick turns. The problems black folks have aren’t exclusive. They are problems *people* have. Maybe if we start treating them like adults instead of special needs cases, things will improve. I can’t but help thinking that applying an impersonal standard across the board would help. It sure would illuminate any remaining favoritism.

          1. Dan — I once crossed the street to avoid this swarthy guy with a five o’clock shadow, in a black jacket. Then the guy said “Moooooooooom?” And I realized it was my 13 year old. It was just street awareness, you know. Large, hulking, darkish guy… Poor kid.

          2. A friend of mine was out having dinner with his daughter. He’s white, she’s mixed, so the waitress thought he was abducting her. They got his license plate and reported it. A while after they arrived home, the police burst into his house and basically held him hostage while they questioned his daughter and her friend. I think what finally ended it was when his wife came home.

      1. “But then, that’s a racist for you; he thinks skin color trumps everything else in the world, because it trumps everything else in his world.”


        I remember discussing this in school. Forget exactly when. Junior High maybe? They taught us the operative definition of racist – someone who thinks race is the most important factor in judging another person.

        Frankly, when I look at the rhetoric of most diversity types (and certainly of groups like the NAACP, Rainbow Push, the Congressional Black Caucus – seriously?), they seem to match that definition completely.

        And yet somehow they’re the righteous ones. Seriously???

    3. See, though, saying his analogy is not untrue is a lazy way of looking at it. An exercise for the reader… how would you evaluate if Scalzi’s analogy makes sense? What real world statistics would you use to test the analogy? On easy mode in most video games, you play the game longer, so let’s look at life expectancy. What do we find? Females live longer than males; and (amongst Americans) Asians live longer than Whites. Pick your favorite general statistics (like, say, college admission rates or average annual salary) which would correspond to ‘Easy mode’, and you’ll find that the real world doesn’t often fit Scalzi’s analogy that ‘White Male is life’s Easy Difficulty’.

      And that picture leaves out many smaller pictures. Which ethnic group in California has the most difficulty getting in to the UC education system? The Vietnamese immigrants, despite (in fact, because) they are among the statistically favored Asian ethnic category. In the name of diversity, we have systemically hurt an ethnic group that has a serious and legitimate excuse for needing a hand.

    4. I’m almost 60 and am a white straight male. While I dislike whining, I’ll say that my life has been far from “easy”. Scalzi is an idiot.

      1. If life were easy, it would have no challenge and ultimately be boring.

        I can talk about boredom, but not that sort of boredom.

  3. Diversity ≠ Equality

    Webster dictionary definitions (You know white men patriarchal oppression via the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis)

    Diversity – Noun – the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.

    Equality – Noun – the quality or state of being equal : the quality or state of having the same rights, social status, etc.

    These are mutually exclusive qualities.

    That which is diverse is not the same. That which is equal is the same. You can not be both diverse and equal.

    Now equality before the law is a goal to strive for, but the pigs will always be more equal than everyone else.

    If you want absolute equality then we’re going into Harrison Bergerson territory.

    If you want absolute diversity then you are a world unto yourself.
    Just like everyone else.

  4. one minor point of order: Not only has no white person in the west alive today ever owned a slave, but tons of people of color all over the world have and in many places STILL DO. I’m so tired of the nonsense taught in American schools that all slaves were black and all masters white, ever. That’s not even a major portion of history. My favorite was hearing a Catholic priest discoursing on two martyrs with the same feast day. One was the mistress, the other the slave. He praised them for “ignoring race.” What do they teach of ancient history these days? The slave MIGHT have been blond and the mistress dark haired, but more likely is that they were both the Mediterranean subgroup of the Caucasian race. Sheesh.

      1. What bothers me the most in the narrative TXRed posted the address to is that one ***** kept saying that the Constitution did not allow secession. What he and the ones arguing with him didn’t understand. The US Constitution is a ‘negative document.’ In other words, if the Constitution doesn’t forbid it, it is legal. That is where the little thing “What is not addressed is referred to the states.” Since secession was not listed, it was up to the states and some made the choice to leave. I don’t blame anyone for not knowing that, it is a new thought to me once too.

        1. My problem with any debate about “did the South have the right to secede” is that those who say that the South did have the right to secede ignore that the South attempted to leave in order to continue holding Slaves.

            1. Motive and process. The purpose was criminal. The lawful method, if one existed, would probably have been significantly more deliberative and slow than what was done. The means actually chosen; a faction got power, then escalated to violence because they knew their hold would not last if they sat around talking.

              This is ignoring how the actions of the descendant factions speak to how the Civil War era faction implemented the plan.

              It was also a stupid plan. If the other side of the political dispute could not be intimidated into agreement, why must they be so chestless to just roll over in the fight?

              That not being the case, the results, to restate Sherman, would have been balkanized with endemic bloodshed.

              1. The purpose was not criminal.
                Today, the purpose is horrible and criminal.
                Not then.

                Was it a good idea? Hindsight says no. And that’s even without considering the idea of enslavement.

                1. Not criminal? They were gaming congressional apportionment.

                  Slaves gave a state representation in the federal legislature that state politicians did not have to compete for internally, so long as they kept up the infrastructure for internal terror.

                  This gave the politicians from those states enough of an advantage that they had incentive to bring in more slaves and create tyrannical regimes, and the free states had incentive to either adopt the system and compete, or see the system destroyed.

                  ‘The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government’

                  When the political elites in question found out that they probably would not be allowed to create police states under their control, they decided to take their marbles and go home.

                  They’d already corrupted things to the point that they could use fraud to get their way internally over the short term, and then they started the killing so that their internal opposition wouldn’t counter them and pull out of succession over the long term.

                  They were criminal before the war. They were criminal after the war. They were criminal at least into living memory. Being tactful, they may well be being criminal today.

                  The Tiger does not change its stripes, nor the Leopard its spots.

          1. There was no federal law against slavery, only the fear of it becoming a law in the future. Therefore, they didn’t secede to keep slaves as a legal issue. Also there was the ‘Morrill Tariff’ which was law and objected to in much of the southern states. This issue is much deeper than “Freeing Slaves”

            1. Snort!

              If you study the documents written just prior to the succession and before they lost the war, you’ll find Slavery at the top of the list for their reasons for succession.

              The other issues may have been real but they were secondary to the “defense of Slavery”.

              IMO the only good thing about this “Slavery wasn’t the reason for succession” is that nobody buys into the idea that slavery was OK.

            2. Yeah, there are a lot of legitimating narratives.

              In my view, it simplifies down to ‘The Tiger doesn’t change its stripes.’

              The organization behaved then as it does today, except with more confidence and a greater sense of urgency. It thought it could get all the marbles by that method, and it thought the tide of the country was running against it.

    1. So long as society (i.e., people who feel guilt about… well, something I’m sure) continues to postulate that slavery was purely the fault of Europeans (and ignoring 4000 years of recorded human history showing otherwise; don’t argue with me, I’ve read the Hammurabi Code), then that’s what is going to be taught.

      I’m just waiting for the “well it was different then…” argument to rear its head so I can slay that part of the hydra as well.

          1. Sweety, in fourth grade, when we got to the “Spaniard kings” in history, my sweet old lady teacher ORDERED us to deface the portraits.
            Portugal is a small country, towing a ridiculously heavy under-water weight of history.
            And for those not familiar with Jason’s and my relationship, this is/has been our mutual joke. Yes, I left those tribal hatreds behind. Part of the joy of being American.

            1. I harbor some resentment towards Franco supporters (you kill off 90% of my family, that sort of happens) but yeah, it’s a long-standing joke between us. 🙂

            2. You mean the part of me that’s Irish isn’t supposed to hate the part of me that’s English?

              There goes all that internal conflict. Damn.

                  1. My Irish hates my English, who hates my French who hates my German, who I guess hates my Swedish.

                    1. Can’t hate the Jews, the only one I know in person is sweet as sugar. Not to mention totally hot.

    2. I would quibble. Borders are not absolute. It seems like ‘being alive, having owned a slave, in the west’ should be possible, however unlikely. Traveling between a place that de facto or de jure legalizes slavery and one that does not is not closed to any color of skin.

      I would expect that the actual number is nonzero, but still trivial, as the communist derived powers do not seem to treat slaves as the property of a single person. (Or at least it isn’t so common as to be the general rule.)

      If guilt were heritable, chattel slavery would be defensible on ‘ancestors did something’ grounds. Slavery being indefensible requires guilt not be heritable by blood.

      Everyone alive today had ancestors who did something.

    3. I’ve made a similar point. When decrying the history of White Western European Civilization vis a vis slavery, they don’t realize that the most significant thing is that WWEC is the only civilization that went to war to END it.

    4. The first slaves in the British colonies (including the American colonies) were Irish and Scottish. You own’t find that in many of the history texts, but it’s true.

        1. Yep. But sadly indentured servitude didn’t make up much of the transports until the African slave trade got rolling. Even then most indentured servants were Engish. The Irish in the New World were mostly just plain old slaves. Almost all Irish and Scots in the early English Caribbean colonies in particular arrived as chattel slaves.

  5. I sense some confusion here. To the left “Diversity” doesn’t mean diversity, it means an all (or mostly) female and minority setting. By the same token “environment of inclusion” means anyplace where there are no white males. The idea here is not to build a grand society where all are equal, the idea is for white males to be punished. Flat out. In a society such as the one the leftists in this country are pushing straight+white+male= good for nothing potential corpse. That’s basically what this is all about.

    Now, as far as your greater point, I agree. I don’t care if my MC is a straight white male or a transgendered minority. I don’t care if they’re male, female or some weird variant. I honestly don’t. What I do care about is how entertaining it is. I work two jobs to support myself and my kids. I’m not going to spend my hard earned cash on leftist message drivel if it’s not entertaining, nor will I spend my rare and precious spare time reading that crap if they give it to me for free. I don’t expect anyone else too either.

    1. The irony is, the loudest advocates of “diversity” want to create a field with the the intellectual diversity of the Borg Collective.

    2. “I sense some confusion here. To the left “Diversity” doesn’t mean diversity, it means an all (or mostly) female and minority setting.”

      That should be “…females and minorities who hold the correct political opinions.

      Express any Incorrect Thought and see how quickly you become hated at Centers of Tolerance and Diversity like Wiscon.

  6. There probably is something that our local convention could do to attract more racial minorities (though certainly “Hispanic” is not a minority here) to attend but not by changing anything about who we are or how we operate. Attracting kids is an ongoing concern and we try to do some children’s programming, but I don’t think “minority” programming would be appropriate in the same way. After all, kids *are* segregated and that’s okay. They’re kids.

    But we could seek out and invite authors who write in “speculative” genres who might not have ever had any contact with Con Culture before. (Be honest, we’re sort of terrifying). We could invite those authors to present a panel on their experience with mass-market genre expectations and how they feel their approach is the same or different. The *current* mass of humanity that attends the con would likely find that very interesting because finding a new, different, thing is always interesting. But just having input into current panels from a new point of view is good, too

    There *are* Hispanic authors who regularly attend, of course. But new authors means their families and supporters might show up and buy a day pass to attend the panel their friend or family member is on.

    Instead of prioritizing “diversity”, prioritize an untapped market….

      1. Our con has been going for 45 or 46 years (honest I’d have to check) and people who have lived in Albuquerque for their entire lives have never heard of it. I lived here for 5 years before I knew there was a local convention.

        Comic-con shows up and they max out the Convention center the first year. 50K range, I heard. Maybe 10K last time. I realize that media-con and sf-con aren’t the same thing at all, and we’re very heavily *books* compared to some…

        And then, a certain percentage of sf fans who know about conventions are afraid of fandom.

        And that doesn’t begin to speak to people who are truly on the outside. They might find they like it very much.

        1. I’m thinking 46, but I’d have to look at the website and my ‘Net connection is having a migraine this AM. I’m thinking I might get to come this year, maybe (missed last year ‘cuz of school schedule).

      2. I still don’t, by and large. I attended 2 or 3 Star Trek Conventions in High School and one in College. Nothing since. It’s been, what, 20-ish years now since my last one. I guess I’m supposed to go again now that I’m playing that writing game, but man I’ve got a wife, 4 kids, a mortgage, a greater than full-time Navy job, and a limited budget.

        Maybe someday.

  7. Actually, I have owned a few slaves, but that was at a convention. For charity. 😉

    1. By that standard I have been a slave. I want reparations dammit! Wait a minute, I was a happy slave…she was cute

  8. Story first indeed.

    In just one example, some years back Janine Cross published the Dragon Temple Saga. The trilogy took on literally every topic on the hypothetical checklist, and to top it off it had monster erotica before it was popular.

    I loved it and I’ve re-read it twice. I loved it for its amazing story, unique, fantastic, yet believable setting, and for its heroic main character who just wouldn’t give up.

    Where does one get the idea that sci-fi/fantasy readers don’t want to explore the unfamiliar?

    1. Would people please quit mentioning neat-sounding books and writers? Especially series? You’re breaking my 2015 budget already! 😉

      1. Well, now that you mention it, I’ve just finished my first novel (available on Amazon!) and am well into my second, with plans for two more…

            1. If you can have it to me by Thursday, that would be great, but I put them together Friday night to (theoretically) go up on Saturday. Just shoot me a link to the page at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, etc. and I’ll take care of the rest. We’ve been doing the reader promo most weekends for a couple of months now. I’m sorry to hear you’ve missed it so far. You should go back and look at buy the stuff we’ve had in the past; there are some awesome books in there!

    1. Authenticity, as currently practiced, amounts to a political test. The politics tested for are on some levels very similar to those of certain late nineteenth century white supremacists.

      There is a certain degree of continuity.

      This might be explained by the phenomena where individual immigrants adsorbed into the host community sometimes pick up the culture of the host community.

    2. Hmm, from what I understand, ‘white privilege’ seems to refer to an artificial system of society giving advantages to whites (thus requiring an artificial counterbalance favoring other groups). It doesn’t mesh with believing whites to be inherently superior.

      In the sense that ‘white supremacy’ is considered another artificial system of privileging whites, then yeah, that would be the case.

      1. The problem with that definition is that the “artificial system” is invisible to the “receiver” of “white privilege” and to “society”.

        It’s not like “Jim Crow” laws where the laws were in the law books.

        Could anybody honestly look at my life (for example) and see where “white privilege” worked for me?

        There was a discussion on a user net forum where “white privilege” came up.

        By the time I left the so-called discussion, the “Liberals” were saying that anybody who saw problems with affirmative actions really wanted to hire only whites.

        Sorry, “white privilege” is only an idea that allows non-whites to hate whites and allows Liberals to “feel superior” to any whites who don’t believe in the idea.

        1. In my eyes, critical race theory becomes plausible only if one assumes that the likes of Farrakhan and Sharpton are the sources of the remaining white supremacist oppression.

          A smaller organization with more influence over the group is more plausible than a wider group which has large chunks with no particularly ability to do anything. Furthermore, this might explain why one segment of the population might observe what other segments do not.

          A group acting for purposes different from their emergent effects is more plausible than a group able to say one thing, and keep secret the knowledge that their true intent is something else.

          Surely one’s life would have been even more difficult if one had sought out districts where the likes of David Duke were in office, supported them politically, and let them philosophically influence one. Supposing that one’s problems are racially sourced is an excellent way to miss seeing one’s correctable personal flaws.

          In other words, so called ‘white privilege’ might be successfully avoiding people who are full of racist loser talk, and can’t or won’t shut up. This might still be said to exist these last five years, as not everyone drank the kool aid. Plus, there are officials elected by states and local areas who were not selected to be useless nuts fixated on certain topics.

      2. It requires believing that whites are all one big monolithic happy family, and not competitive within their ranks. That an Italian treats a Frenchman like his paizano, and the war between Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants is not a thing. That a Harvard grad doesn’t care that his boss went to Yale, and that all Southerners are treated with the same respect as Yankees.

  9. “I believe you when you say that you’d never commit a hate crime”

    Seriously dude? *eyeroll*

    I reject the entire concept of a “hate crime”. There is no such thing. There is only crime. Or not crime. It matters not whether you mugged the guy because he was black/white/purple/green or whether you mugged him because you just wanted his money. He’s been mugged. Or assaulted. Or murdered. Or whatever. The damage done is the same regardless of why.

    Hate crime laws focus on (many times assumed) motives and thought over action, and establish that some are more equal than others in the eyes of the law. These laws are an abomination and should be done away with post haste.

    Please never mention their concept again.

    That is all.


  10. On the other hand, I’d argue that there might be some value in message fiction. Practical value in terms of sales: people of one ideological bent or another may well seek out an author who will reliably stoke their moral outrage to a fever pitch.

    As an additional, indirect benefit: to keep this going the author is required to continue to heat things up. One might even hold out hope that as the rhetoric builds and the stereotypes become more divorced from what readers actually see and hear around them, they might rethink their assumptions.

  11. Give me a good story and good characters. Don’t club me over the head with your dreadfully important and annoying message.

    Being one of those nascent writer types who is still struggling on completing that first novel, I did look at markets to possibly peddle short stories. One place online that was soliciting for stories I immediately knew I would never sell because they set out their world thusly as a Steampunk female Frankenstein with a requirement that lesbianism be treated positively. I went never mind because that was just agenda politics masquerading as fiction.

  12. My understanding is that women started attending sf conventions in large numbers when women started being Star Trek fans in large numbers, and conventions started offering Star Trek programming. And since there weren’t enough sf conventions to handle the influx and the new fans were enterprising folks, Trek conventions and media conventions came into being — just as anime conventions came about because sf cons couldn’t handle the anime influx fast enough, and the new fans were enterprising folks who invented their own convention style.

    Also, there are plenty of minorities in the Klingon groups. Where the heck are these ignorant people not seeing them?

    1. Also….how does one tell the “race” of those in the all covering Storm Trooper costumes…..they even wear gloves……

  13. Late to the party, I know . . . but I enjoyed your guest blog, Jason.

    I like diversity in my fiction, but I like it the same way you do. It has to have a story purpose. (Or as my first writing mentor told me, “You can make your character bisexual if you want, but you’d better have a damned good reason for it.” I came up with one, wrote the story, sold the story, people liked the story . . . now I have to get it back into print. But I digress.)

    The writer I think did the best with “diversity issues” was Octavia Butler. Her fiction _was_ diverse. It often was thought-provoking and even strange, and had all sorts of different ideas in there.

    And while I knew Ms. Butler was black from the liner photo, I had no idea she was lesbian or Libertarian or anything else she turned out to be in her extremely interesting and varied life — and I didn’t care, either, because the story stood for itself.

    Ultimately, the story has to stand for itself. That’s the bottom line. Tor has to know this, because they’re too smart _not_ to, but they had that one editor (can’t remember his name — Frenkel?) who was alleged to have done some dumb stuff and/or outright harassing stuff to women (and more than once, by the scuttlebutt). So because of that, they are now making it crystal clear they’re against such things and want more diversity — or at least to encourage more diversity.

    That’s not a bad thing. I’m for that, actually.

    But certainly *not* at the expense of the story, because that’s just stupid.

    1. There are also some very different ways of approaching putting elements in the story that are not essential to the story.

      One type may be obsessed with the element, and really want good stories with said element. So they set out to make good stories, and incorporate the element because they want to enough to put in the effort to make it work.

      Then there is the type that works to a definition of ‘good story’ that includes the element, but doesn’t really care about the element in of itself.

      As far as historical examples of stories that fit the Tor article, I entirely over looked Ranma fanfic. It has been a popular fanfic property for a while, so there are absolutely loads of it.

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