The Core of Science Fiction

Overnight, I find, there has been a controversy erupt on the internet. Well, this is hardly new. Ah, but you see, this has to do with SF. Oh, you say, the SFWA again? No, it’s the boy witless wonder once more. Now I see, you reply, and this is why you aren’t providing a link, because all he really is, is clickbait. Precisely.

I will, however, give you two other links. One is to Brad Torgerson’s blog, where that normally mild-mannered man loses his temper, just a little. “Unfortunately, ignorant snobbery of this sort is nothing new in the genre. You find out very quickly (once you begin publishing) which writers, editors, publishers, and artists enjoy the favor of the “society” people, and which writers, editors, publishers, and artists do not. My from-the-hip observation is that the “society” people want to see SF/F turned into a lightly speculative and fantastical carbon copy of the “prestigious literary” world. Replete with ambiguous covers that don’t really tell you anything about the story, but follow the general pattern of all things deemed “prestigious” and “literary.” If this year’s talked-about lit work features a somewhat fuzzy, off-focus photo of a pair of muddy Converse sneakers sitting on somebody’s front stoop, then by golly SF/F needs to follow suit with similar photos of similarly mundane, slightly off-focus objects which may or may not have anything to do with actual science fiction; as practiced traditionally by the greats.”

And also, because these people who consider themselves ‘literary’obviously can’t be bothered to read (perhaps this is the secret to literary fiction, after all: it is not mean to be actually read with comprehension). Here is a link to the original article by Toni Weisskopf, and a central paragraph, although I urge you if you have not read it all, to do so. “So the core of science fiction, its method, is still a valid way of creating the cultural artifacts we want. But is it necessary to engage those of differing political persuasions to get this method? I feel the answer is probably yes. You don’t get a conversation with only one opinion, you get a speech, lecture or soliloquy. All of which can be interesting, but not useful in the context of creating science fiction. But a conversation requires two way communication. If the person on the other side is not willing to a) listen and b) contribute to the greater whole, there is no point to the exercise.”

I’m awfully tired of all of this. I’d ask what he thinks he is accomplishing with his weasel words (weasels: kill upon detection of movement, keep killing until everything stops moving. This is why an animal who can’t possibly eat all of that will destroy an entire henhouse. For joy of slaughter) except I’m not sure even he knows. Analyzing the words and overall drift of his articles, it’s difficult to see a true motive intelligence behind them. Which means I avoid them.

The internet gives a lot of people who are borderline a safe outlet for their activities. People who couldn’t function in normal society, can have a social life and even employment, contributing to society in a positive way, through the internet. I’ve written at length about this. However, a small fraction of the people who are online interacting are so lost to ration and reason they are unreachable. Kate’s post earlier this week about a pair of people who went beyond the pale and just would not let matters drop is a good example. I’ve dealt with, and had to block, similar folks. There is no piercing of the veil of delusion. They aren’t going to listen, and arguing is only damaging your own blood pressure.

Sometimes, it’s best to just back away slowly, and avoid that landmine, now you know where it is. Others, like today, I chose to defend someone I like a lot, because she didn’t deserve this (does anyone?) and perhaps by making her words more broadly findable, people who thought the weasels were reasonable will see the truth.

We’ll never be free of weasels. But we don’t have to allow them to rule over us and cause us to live in fear.

On a lighter note, and because I think Toni would approve of my pointing out that “winning the George Washington awards (every royalty period) is all the recognition needed” here are links to a few books…

Some are mine, most are not. The Great Labor Day Book Sale forges onward, with cheap books (gasp!) accessible to all.

This book is mine, Pixie Noir, my urban fantasy, will be on sale for only a dollar starting today, then slowly increasing to it’s regular price over the weekend. Remember, it’s easy to give ebooks as gifts!

And I have a cute little children’s story that is free today. Meant to be read aloud with your favorite youngling, it is a story of a boy, and his baby sister.

39 Comments

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39 responses to “The Core of Science Fiction

  1. Pingback: Free Fiction and Cheap, too! | Cedar Writes

  2. I read the thing last night. Read the whole thing. Fumed about the idiocy for a little while.

    Ultimately, I think the “writer” needs to STFU. Seriously, he’s pontificating on SF and derides the people who actually contribute things to it. He accomplishes nothing except to raise the blood pressure of people. After all, he shows no signs of having actually read what Toni wrote. Instead, he is reacting to what his favored class has said about it.

    SF literature is splintered. At this point, I don’t know if it will ever be mended. At this point, I also find I don’t give a damn. If that means this turdnugget finds out just how many people don’t care about his politics being thrust down their throat.

    • I have come to believe that it isn’t about beliefs. It’s about how many people he can get to click on his ravings. And he doesn’t care who or what he smears and destroys in his efforts to garner recognition. I refuse to link, and frankly, if it weren’t Toni, who is the nicest person ever, I would have just ignored it.

      • I’ll be honest. I haven’t met Toni. However, people I interact with regularly and count as friends (such as yourself and Sarah), appear to think very, very highly of her. That’s all I need until I get to meet her myself.

        And you’re probably right, it’s all about the clicks. And he knows taking a swipe at Toni will generate a lot of outrage.

        Seriously, WTF is wrong with this guy?

        • Jealousy is a bitter vine that hollows out its host, leaving only hatred of those who have.

          Righteous indignation, on the other hand, is clean and ends up with idiots getting eviscerated in fiction.

          • Yep. And I’ve already got his evisceration planned.

            And I don’t necessarily mean the term figuratively either.

          • Jealousy is what motivates scum like this ‘writer’ who has never put out a single novel, and the likes of Clamps. Their work is not given any attention or time, never mind the reality that nobody pays them. They cannot truly create, and thus do not fruitfully contribute to the things they complain about, so the only thing they can do is destroy.

            And snipe like bitter gossip girls, spreading rumor and slander with no backing of their claims.

            Well, in Clamps’ case he’s the Horrible Warning Example of “How not to write unless you want to be laughed at.”

            “George Washington awards”, definitely, are preferred.

            • jselvy

              I’m sorry but somehow Clamps is only throwing up one index card in my head. I seem to think it’s a women’s disease related to gestation, a pregnancy complication.
              Am I way off base?

              • I think you’re thinking of eclampsia, but Clamps comes from one of his many aliases, “Chlamydia.” Yes, he really uses that.

              • You’ll see him posting over in Brad’s blog under ‘luscinia’. The two most recent posts should be …enlightening. He tends to pick female sounding names and writes like a bitchy 14 year old girl on Ritalin, but he’s a male-gender…thing… (he doesn’t qualify as a man or even a boy) and is more commonly known online as Yamamanama or Yama The Space Fish.

                He’s been banned in a number of author’s blogs as well as several people’s personal blogs. When a target of his (such as myself, or …anyone here, really, or Larry) have conversations in places where he’s been banned, he’ll trawl through the various participating commenters’ blogs to find a place where he hasn’t been banned, and drag the convo he’s not able to participate in and comment about it there. And when he gets banned that blog owner goes on his shit list too. Oh and he stalks every single female commenter in every blog he goes to. At least that’s what he TRIED to do with ever single female-named participant on our old and current gaming clan forums, so it would not surprise me in the least if he tried that with the people here. And hoo boy if you land on his hate list he will follow you around RELENTLESSLY all over the internet like goldfish poop.

                Like the critter who thinks he’s a writer that is the topic of the main post, he imagines himself to be a far better writer or artist than anyone who actually has been published, and will on demand post a link to his deviantart where he has his long-running tale of incomprehensible dreck shamelessly ripping off Final Fantasy settings such as FF8 posted up. He has rendered many a worthy to gasping tears (Such as Tom Kratman, I believe) with gems of lines such as how his still nameless, faceless self-insert stand-in is paralysed by the supposed beauty of sunlight trapped in icicles… when only the paragraph before he established that it was pitch black dark and it was midnight. Or something drifting beautifully like fish semen. Such descriptions stand out because they are like islands of ridiculousness in an ocean of overly described scenery where everything is detailed down to the last crack in the wall, and his heroines traipse around war zones in richly detailed fashion plate clothes and fluttering glittery wispy fabrics and high heels. Where he establishes in one paragraph that everyone is starving, yet the heroes eat in a bountiful restaurant where the first of his strange harem of women-things is given sweets by the owner. Where man eating ghouls infest the city, but apparently are also in their turn cooked over the spit by the starving citizenry. Logic reigns not in this world, nor sensibility or cause, and it exists not so don’t bother trying to make sense of it, because he’s trying to outdo every writer out there with attempts to write ‘Hugo worthy’ sentences with no attempt at correct grammar or indeed, correct use of English.

                Armed with this as an example of what he considers exemplar writing, he will then embark on why people like Larry Correia write ‘shitty’ stories (exposing his jealousy that Larry earns his living through his writing while Yama can’t even get critique for free on his, only wholesale mockery) or snidely bitching out Kratman or Kate Paulk or our lovely hostess, for being unworthy of the title writer. And is enraged if we all laugh at him.

                • jselvy

                  Sounds like getting on his enemies list is a mark of distinction.
                  Even my toss off about kaiju Larry was more coherent than that drivel.

                  • It can be quite profitable too. Lots of people have credited him with being the sole reason they learned of Larry’s work and why they are enjoying Larry’s books today. Several other authors whose works he slanders report upticks in purchases, and I believe he was responsible for us being able to purchase a few computer components – a couple of harddrives, I believe.

  3. Christopher M. Chupik

    It was the attack on Toni that really got my dander up too. Not only does the Demented Guardian Writer spout a bunch of nonsense, he has the gall to parrot old crap about what Toni wrote, without providing a link. Someone in his comments section is asking for a link to the article. Think DGW will have the balls to provide one?

  4. Pat Patterson

    Manipulating text on the internet is easy, and I suppose it is, in a certain sense, ‘real world.’ However, it’s not as real world as a punch in the nose, or having currency deposited in your account. So, ignore the trolls. They are no more real than you let them be.

  5. Very soon, I suspect Mr. Walters will be writing clickbait for Upworthy or similar waste of oxygen.

    I do think he revels in the attention, as a PROFESSIONAL troll. . .

  6. The Washington Award is nice, but someday I aspire to the Franklin….

    (Although the Campbell would be nice, since that would mean somebody ELSE thought I wrote something publishable and a lot of people agreed.)

    And sales work. I’ve been avoiding buying TOO many books that I will feel guilty about not having time to read, but sales make great wallet crowbars (even when one has plenty of money thanks to egregious overtime requirements lately (and hence the no time to read business)). So you and Katie have managed to jump to the head of my “To Read” list.

    • There is only one award I want that means anything to me: I want to be invited to a Con as a guest. (Yes the Washington award does mean something as well – I won’t lie and say it doesn’t). But to have your fans take the time to vote for you to be invited to a con, with the expenses paid?
      That to me is probably the highest honor there is.

      For Toni (who I have never met) I suspect there are things that bring her a lot more joy than winning a rigged award. From the way the writers who have worked with her talk about her, I suspect she has most likely won the one thing that matters most to all of us: The praise and respect of those we work with and respect.

      Damien is a professional weasel. The worse thing you can do to him, is ignore him. Because it would cost him his job.

  7. robfornow

    I read the article linked on Vox Day. As I read the article, I noted the style and structure of the thing. His character descriptions of the writers and of the story lines reads like a copy of a Time or Newsweek article. He misses the fact that it is not Science Fiction at issue but Speculative Fiction, using the term Space Opera for everything. Clearly, he doesn’t understand the subject matter. I think in Damian’s case it is as Orwell quoted “There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.” Damian is no intellectual but, is attempting to look like one with predictable results.

    • There are no actual intellectuals among the cadres of self-proclaimed elites who believe themselves to be intellectuals and the fashion and thought leaders of society. To them, the fact that vast swaths of humanity don’t follow their lead is merely proof that the hoi polloi are below them.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Oh, I’d say Damien *is* an intellectual. That’s not a compliment.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      What meaning intellectual?

      One understanding is somebody who thinks all ills can be solved with words. In some cases to the point of magical thinking which precludes many forms of problem solving. Like when a person thinks their word magic, fiddling with definitions and statements, will get them victory.

      More positive senses involve background and the actual ability to think. If one can think, and has even the knowledge of an observant young adult, one will realize there are limits to all ways to solve problems.

  8. Pat Patterson

    Hmmm, Attention. Something about that word got me thinking about one of my long ago (20+ years) classes. Rudolph Dreikurs suggested that a child’s misbehavior was goal oriented, with the Four Goals being Attention, Power, Revenge, and Display of Inadequacy.
    Now, what REALLY got me going about this is that these are the goals of a CHILD, not an adult; and it certainly seems that the writer in question has shown more CHILDISH behavior that ADULT behavior.
    So, the proper response is to do one of two things: 1. Do some quick research on the Four Goals of Misbehavior, and tailor responses accordingly, with the desired outcome being productive interactions with the offender; or 2: Disregard the little shit, because he’s acting as if he’s a badly behaved child, and not a responsible adult.

  9. robfornow

    Hits imaginary “LIKE” button four times.

  10. jselvy

    I always get a laugh from people who tell me, with a straight face, that making money is bad. I just don’t understand. It does pop up in the strangest places including a jeweler in Edinburgh Scotland.

    • So one wonders, how does that jeweler live with his or her hypocrisy? Does it rip them apart inside? Do they cease to sell their wares and go live off the land?

      Of course they don’t.

      • jselvy

        I swear by the God’s this man was a dyed in the wool hardcore communist. I kid you not. The place is called Greenman Gallery at 73 s. Clerk Street.
        When he to me that profit was bad and that he was a communist, I did my best goldfish impression for a good ten minutes.

  11. Pingback: Space Opera and the Soul of Science Fiction | Joel’s Musings