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.