I had an epiphany today. Yes, I still have those, even at my ancient age of 36. No, senility has yet to strike.
Wait, what are we talking about?
Seriously, I was out mowing the lawn when I was struck by a thought. What if, an insidious voice whispered in my ear as everything else was drowned out by the roar of the 17.5 horsepower Honda engine, unsavory individuals are insulting Sarah, picking fights with Larry, and ostracizing a healthy chunk of science fiction fans and writers alike in order to cover the possibility that, if judged by an unbiased crowd, said unsavory individuals would be found wanting of talent and skill?
What a terrifying prospect indeed. The very possibility that individuals are preying upon people’s innate distrust of “outsiders” in order to cover their own failings, especially in such a manner in which to instigate, ostracize and shame writers who have tried to help newcomers to the field is a horrible thought. I’d normally be the first to slap such an evil and unbidden thought from mind if it weren’t for the admitted libel, constant and baseless attacks, and the general smear campaign which has blown up in the past six months (I could theoretically suggest the last ten years, but I’m not feeling that ambitious today) across the internet and in the “hallowed halls” of the SFWA itself.
But Jason… that insidious voice continues, unabated by my own doubts, what if? You cannot ignore the signs any longer, the open declarations of hate directed towards you and your friends, nor can you dismiss the blatant attacks upon innocent individuals. One cannot ignore a war that has been declared upon thee, no matter how much one does not wish to fight an opponent who uses fear, public intimidation and subversive tactics as their only method of battle.
My insidious voice is a bastard, for the record.
Of course, this same methodology being employed can be ascribed to terrorists. And, thinking about it a little more, the similarities are quite striking. Both use social media to spread hate, both use tactics that are typically frowned upon, both complain and scream out “No fair! They hit back!” when the tide of battle turns. They both enjoy anonymity, and the cover of unwitting accomplices of “their own kind” as protection to hide behind and use as shields. This “war”, so to speak, is treacherous, and much like the sea, is both merciless and unforgiving, cold, cruel, and remorseless.
Steady as she goes. This storm, too, shall pass.
You see, even now the backlash against their unsavory tactics has begun, their lies and misdeeds being brought to light for casual observers. The tide is changing, and while the waves are still high and choppy, smoother waters can be seen. This fight, this… struggle (yes, revolutionaries and socialists, I am totally hijacking your word) for the so-called soul of science fiction is being won as one side continues to show that they are willing to do anything, including lie, cheat, misinform and distort in order to stay in control.
Vladimir Lenin once said “A lie told often enough becomes truth.” This tactic, employed by such self-inflated individuals like Damian Walters and others, is backfiring. Liberals and conservatives alike are now looking at these individuals and wondering, jointly and independently, how people (some of whom haven’t written a book or read anything other than Wikipedia summations of novels that they mock) took the reins of the genre that we all have grown to love and cherish, and steered it onto a crash course with a deep, dark abyss of irrelevancy. They’ve taken to feasting on their supporters who dare suggest they may have gone over the line, and cast stones at those allies who they once supported due to transgressions they have half-imagined.
Steady as she goes, for this, too, shall pass (yeah, you see what I did there?). The tide changes, the pendulum swings, etc etc. Hope is not lost.
Keep reading, keep buying and supporting the authors who write what you love to read, be they left or right. Because while some might think that they can destroy this genre from without, strength comes from within.
Obligatory self-promotion time: Jason Cordova is a novelist who lives in Virginia. He writes everything from horror to science fiction, with a smattering of fantasy and space opera thrown in because, hey, it pays well. He is currently working on the second book of his “Murder World” series, Kaiju Dusk. He can be found at www.jasoncordova.com