There are times when I wonder if the world turned upside down while I was asleep. You know the times I’m talking about. You go to bed one night and when you wake up, it seems like common sense has flown out the window. But it’s more than that. It also seems as if all too many of our fellow humans have lost the ability to look at all sides of an issue and make up their own minds. That’s what I’ve felt about the publishing industry for the last few weeks. Well, to be honest, it seems as though there are more and more days and weeks when that happens over the last few years. But since the Hugo slate came out, those days are beginning to far outweigh the days when “normal” ruled.
No, I’m not going to rehash the Hugo debate. Others have done it better than I could. Nor am I going to into the Amazon-Hatchette contract negotiations. Dave did a great job of covering it yesterday.
I guess I’m in a place right now where I’m somewhere between absolutely furious about what is happening to this industry — and especially a genre — I love and heartsick. This past year has seen something new in publishing — the conservatives and libertarians are starting to push back against the liberals. Part of this stems from the increasing importance of indie publishing and small press publishing as the Big Five loose more and more of their control over the industry. Authors are starting to realize that they no longer have to fall into lockstep with whatever the cause du jour is for the editors in their ivory tower New York offices.
If you don’t think this is true, just go to Amazon or iTunes or BN.com and see how many more science fiction books are now available for download. Then see how well those books are selling. Talk to authors who are making a good living from writing and self-publishing their science fiction, authors who hadn’t been able to break into publishing under the legacy model. I’m confident you will find most of them write stories that don’t denigrate mankind, don’t make humanity the enemy that needs to be wiped out to save Mother Earth. Instead, they write stories with a plot and with characters we can identify with. Stories we want to read.
But this renewal of the genre is being denied — long and loud — by some in our industry. What makes this sad is that they are the ones who ought to be thrilled to know there is a broadening market for science fiction and fantasy. But they aren’t. They are terrified of it because indie authors aren’t being constrained by the cause du jour. So they go on the attack. But they don’t attack the indie authors — mainly because, as much as we scare them we are also still beneath their notice. Instead they attack authors like Larry Corriea who is traditionally published — now. Larry is also a champion of other authors and of gamers and of guns. Oh, and he’s male and proudly married and the father of his own clan.
In other words, he’s a scary man who must be evil. So they must silence him.
Sigh. Authors wanting to silence other authors.
The latest attack on Larry came from Damien Walter of the Guardian. This isn’t the first time he’s tried to shame and humiliate Larry for being wrong-think. It is clear dear Damien isn’t really bright. Either that or he likes being publicly flogged, not only by Larry, who does wonderful fisks of the Guardian articles, but also by Larry’s friends and fans. Because I don’t want to give Damien any more page hits than he already has — and because Larry quotes the entirety of the latest article — here are links to the two part fisking Larry has done:
Fisking the Guardian’s Village Idiot: Part 1
Fisking the Guardian’s Village Idiot: Part 2
Then there is this excellent — and most entertaining — piece by John C. Wright, The Evil League of Evil is Given Pious Advice.
I thank Larry and John for what they’ve said in their blogs and on Facebook. I may not always agree with what they say, but that isn’t the point. The point is no voice should be silenced and most certainly not by artificial social rules determined by a few vocal social justice warriors. There is a place for everyone in the industry. Don’t like what someone writes? Don’t buy it. That’s what readers have been doing for years. But, just as publishers didn’t trust readers to determine what they wanted to read, the SJWs don’t either. Whether it is a need to be relevant or the need to control, I don’t know and I don’t care.
What I would really like is for the SJWs to sit back and actually take a few moments to read what they’ve been saying in social media. Read it and think about it and then tell me how what they are calling for isn’t basically censorship — and don’t give me a lecture here that only governments can censor. When you have people actively calling for publishers to drop authors because those authors aren’t following right-think, when those same people force others out of their jobs because they didn’t follow-right think, that’s pretty darned close to censorship. Frankly, if I say much more, I’ll go into a political rant.
I’m tired of being told how to think by the SJWs. Funny, no one else in the industry is telling me what sort of plots or characters I should be writing. No one else is condemning me — or any other author — if there aren’t enough main characters of whatever ilk in my work. Maybe instead of trying to convince the rest of us about how wrong we are, they ought to be focusing on their craft and not on their political agenda.
Oops, there I go, slipping into another rant.
Or maybe I’m just tired.
(I’ll be back later today to answer any comments but it will be later this afternoon or evening, after the final round of oral surgery. Whee – not.)
In the meantime, here’s a bit of self-promotion:
Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty) (written under the pen name Sam Schall) is the first in the Honor and Duty series.
Here’s the blurb:
First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.
Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.
But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.
It reminds me of a parallel development in the humanities, especially English but history as well. Students are fleeing English Departments in droves as the departments put more and more emphasis on “transgressive” works, Chicana/o literature, homosexuality and the Restoration, and so on, and politicize their classes. But students are flocking to programs like the Western Canon at Texas Tech, where you read the great works of Western literature and philosophy (See also the Teaching Company). History departments are not hiring diplomatic or military historians, the specialties that used to be the core of “history” (and were for pretty good reasons, I might add). But what books are popular historians, and academics who cross into popular history writing? Tales of heroic explorers, diplomatic history, military history, ancient Greece and Rome, you know, the “fun” stuff.
Someone could probably do a lot of good by setting up a “Subversive Studies” web site with all sorts of info and links about the stuff you can’t find easily in colleges anymore, and ditto “Subversive Sci-fi and Fantasy: Books THEY Don’t Want You Reading.”
I like that website idea. Especially because it seems that being pro-individual as oppose to pro-state, pro-freedom as opposed to pro-control, and pro-traditional Judeo-Christian values as opposed to pro-deconstructional post-modernism is about the most transgressive thing you can do/be right now.
You are, unfortunately, right, TXRed. When I saw the list of English and history courses my son had the option of taking, all I could do was shake my head. Too many of our schools have gone from institutes of education to institutes of indoctrination.
As for your Subversive Studies idea, I love it. When do we start?
Eh, let me do some thinking and I’ll get back to you.
Combine that with the Human Wave site (if it gets done at some point…)? At least lots of links, on both.
That kind of site would be a good resource for writers too.
I have considered writing a ‘guide to archive.org’ The public domain is full of the good stuff, and yet full of potholes, too. These modernist ideas are not new. They go all the way back to guys in the 17th century (think French– I’m on pain killers again so references will have to wait). You can find the subversive stuff at small Catholic institutions who aim at teaching the Classical Liberal Education. There are also scholars who are setting up their own institutions of learning, for things like scholasticism (thomism) and some of the later stuff that leads us into the modern era, but before the rug of being was tugged out from under us.
I must say that the last few paragraphs of Larry’s second fisk were truly epic.
He is a master of the fisk. I always stand in awe of him when he lets loose with one.
You know, perhaps there is a deep-rooted sexual need for more Walter to be publicly humiliated. Rule 36, remember?
Or he just gets paid by page hits.
Which is one of the reasons I didn’t link to his article.
I like my theory better. It fits the personality of our Mr. What’s-His-Face.
Ewwwwww, Jason. You had to go there. Next thing you know, someone will will do up a cartoon of Larry dealing with him.
Oh, wait, that might be fun to see. 😉
Maybe this will brighten your day at little.
copy of a cross post I did last night:
On Jun 2, 2014, at 10:11 PM, Kat Ross email@example.com [Shadowsinforce] wrote:
> Borrowing something from another list. When we’re seen or read something we like, we pass it along. So, here are two books I recently read by up that I enjoyed. These are talented up and coming writers working with small press publishers, so I want to help support them.
> Nocturnal Origins by Amanda S. Green. Amanda weaves a rich tapestry of imagery and emotions as she takes us on a ride, at near break neck speeds, through a few weeks in the life of Mackenzie Santos, a sergeant in the Dallas Police Department homicide division, as she investigates a brutal murder that looks like it was done by a wild animal. There are two sequels already, plus a couple of other books. If this is any example, I will be looking to get my hands on them as well.
> Lights in the Deep by Brad R. Torgersen. This is a short story collection and the stories originally saw print in Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine as well as Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show. Brad is a throwback to the older days of SF when it was less depressing and more about the exploration, the wonder, the dream. He has a novel coming out this fall, derived from two novella in this book (Chaplin’s Assistant and Chaplin’s Legacy) called Chaplin’s War.
> Both books are available in traditional paper books and e-book formats.
Thank you so much! That did make my day.
BTW, for anyone who hasn’t read Lights in the Deep, do so. It’s a great collection. I am so thrilled Brad’s Chaplin’s War will soon be coming out from Baen.
Regarding Damien: I posted over at Larry’s blog the observation that Damien must be a bigger masochist than every submissive in the “Fifty Shades” novels and Ringo’s “Paladin of Shadows” series combined, the way he keeps inviting people like Correia and John C. Wright to pound on him.
And it’s pretty pathetic that Damien didn’t actually try to do any research on Correia before writing his multiple hit pieces…and then put out a call to crowd-source his slander AFTER the fact. Gawd, what an incompetent little git.
Regarding “Vengance From Ashes:” Bought that one a couple of weeks ago after Sarah Hoyt mentioned it on her blog. Looks like the start of a good series. (And Honor Harrington thought SHE wasn’t appreciated by her star nation. Hah!)
In fairness, Damien may have used the exact same methods to appraise Larry that he used to settle every other matter in his life.
Well… In today’s world you get praise for every little thing you do. Until you don’t. Do you think Damien’s mommy goes with him on job interviews?
Wes, you are insulting all those subs by comparing Damien to them. 😉
The fact the little [redacted] is now trying to get others to do his work for him amuses me. What he, and those who are like him, don’t understand is that the time will come when Larry or another of their targets finally says “enough is enough” and really goes after them. Courts can be your friends and employers get antsy when you stat talking about suing them as well as their employee.
And I hope you like Vengeance. I had fun writing it and am in the middle of the next book in the series. Hopefully, it will be ready to release in another month or so.
Cool. Looking forward to it.
If you read John C. Wright’s piece, be sure to read the comments as well: ideas for kitten dipping sauces, who gets to be the janitor, cool acronyms and fast wit.
John’s awesome. I have been loving his take on what’s going on.
Yes. It was a thing of joy and beauty to see these two islands of sanity set up a benevolent (or is it a malevolent?) society. 🙂
Larry’s fisks were, as usual, hilarious and complete, but to my taste John C Wright’s dismantling of Mr. Walter was nearly perfect. Snide, elegant, an almost Victorian use of language– careful, Damien,lots of big words here -and a setting forth of the principles that a gentleman uses in his communication. He also dismisses, with disdain, the guilt by association argument that is used against anyone who does not participate in the public shunning of Vox Day. The style is refined and merciless, a rapier to Correia’s mace. The Evil League of Evil, indeed.(with a nod to Dr. Horribles Sing Along Blog FTW) This made my Tuesday.
Vox Day’s initial post on Damien’s excretions cracked me up for the description of his, John C. Wright’s and Larry Correia’s writing styles thusly: “Larry is a tetsubo, John is a rapier and I am the Ka-Bar combat knife; suitable for close-range gutting.”
There’s a reason that the Damiens of the world rarely choose to debate Vox directly. You’d think that eventually they’d also learn to quit messing with Correia and Mr. Wright. Wright, in particular, can do more damage with a fountain pen than most of us can manage with a chainsaw. 😛
This is why it pleases me to think of Wright as a “light rapier”. 🙂 “An elegant weapon, for a more… civilized age.”