Steady As She Goes

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

 

40 comments

  1. Your epiphany is dead on, unfortunately. They tear down writers who are far more accomplished than they are, lashing out at everything they do because it doesn’t fit into their idea of what fiction should be.

    The irony is that much of what they say they want? It’s in these books. Sarah writes about a gay protagonist while Larry has characters of every sex and every race acting heroically, the very diversity they scream about in the genre. They can’t bother to read them before blasting them because Larry and Sarah and so many others won’t say the other things they demand.

    Heaven forbid people be free to disagree with them. Nope, they’ll “hate read” this blog and never realize that we’re on to them. Most of them simply can’t write any better, so they have to tear down those who do.

      1. Subscribing to comments can be awkward. While it’s not perfect, the WordPress Dashboard is pretty good about helping you keep up with what’s going on in threads.

  2. *shrug* Straight up Alinsky junk.

    They’re a strange form of termite that can only eat wood that’s in a strong, stable house– once that’s gone, they’re really screwed, because people won’t make the assumptions that make their tactics possible.

    Of course, it’ll really suck for everybody else, too….

        1. As a historian, I usually scoff at “50 years”. Historically, most social experiments last between 25-125 years. We’re in the midst of a particularly nasty one right now.

    1. Your comment made me remember when termites got into our library, through cracks made by the small earthquakes that happen daily in the Philippines. They ate books, including my dad’s old copies of The Story of Civilization, books from East Germany, and more.

      They did not go after the wooden shelves. They went after the books.

      1. My recent termite infestation fortunately was limited to the lowest shelf on my smallest bookcase, so I only lost about a dozen books, none of which were all that precious to me.

        Termites still ended up right next to mosquitoes on my “If I could press a button to exterminate this species, I’d do it in a heartbeat and not worry about any ecological consequences” list.

  3. I am discovering a downside of Indy Publishing. My really bright daughter is dyslexic and loves books. So we have an audible.com account and she listens to a lot of the books I read so we can discuss them.

    Indy and audio books is a problem. Bummer.

    1. Now that you mention it, it has our attention. We’ll work on it. If for no other reasons than that you mention there’s a need and Larry C. states that his audio books are top sellers. Which causes me to mention to the readers and writers who have theater aspirations that the field is wide open. Also, ghost writers that can translate could also work deals with indie writers who are selling well. This is a new field and we haven’t explored half of it yet. I can’t really speak Border Spanish and my voice is worse so, them with talent…

      1. I would love to turn my latest into an audio. The problem is that the cost seems rather high. At least for me at this time. Now if I knew of someone whom I could simply split the profits with, who did good work, I’d go with them.
        Better half a loaf, than no loaf, right?

        1. I have a couple connections (mostly weak, but worth looking into) to indi voice actors. I’ll see what I can dig up (no promises. I honestly don’t know how they’d look at such an idea. I only know them through a convention I volunteer at every november, but I can ask.) Is there a place to host such indi audio books?

            1. I’ll do a little digging. Again, no promises, but it seems to me that this should be doable. (I could be wrong but hey, it’s something to do while the computer does math for me.)

              1. I’m reading through for exact details, and it doesn’t seem as good a deal as amazon’s e-book stuff, but it would mean they would handle the paperwork of who gets what share. It looks like it would just be a matter of getting interested folk signed up in the right slots to get the work contracted.

                (It’s ACX dot com for anyone else who’s interested in looking.)

                1. Well wish me luck, I just signed up on ACX and am going to try my latest novel there. As sales have been very good I figured ‘why not?’ Now to see if anyone wants to produce/narrate it. I went with the 50/50 royalty split, so I’ll end up with only 20 percent royalties, but I figure that’s 20 percent more that I’m getting than if I didn’t do the audible at all, right?
                  It will be interesting to see how this process works. 🙂

                  1. Good luck. I’ll be pointing the voice actors I know at the site. I don’t know if any will bite, but the more eyes on, the better the odds right?

    2. You may want to investigate a text to speech software package. I know one is built into the Mac OS and am confident such also exists in the PC world.
      Obviously not of the same quality as an audio book done by a professional reader, but it’s a solution that some sight challenged friends of mine have found helpful.

        1. I tried the Windows Text to speech, and it was AWFUL. It was the audio equivalent of a kidnapper’s ransom note cut out of magazine headlines. The Kindle’s isn’t bad. It’s been a long time since I tried Apple’s, and the only handy example I’ve got is an old OS 8.6 machine.

      1. I have a fan who listens to my ebooks via CoolReader ( http://coolreader.org/e-index.htm ) It sometimes hiccups on DRM but according to her, mine have had no problems –indie might be better for these apps!

        Also, if La Sarah wants to do some “Greatest Hits” reruns on her blog I believe I did a post on ACX for the curious. (I’ve done both voice artist and self-recording. Executive summary, It will cost you time or money 😉

        1. Mantano Reader also links to the system’ text-to-speech engine, is a better reader, and can handle Adobe DRM. Much of the quality is more dependent on the TTS engine than on the e-reader app, though.

  4. Oh no! Say it ain’t So!!
    Yup, you’re right on the target with this one. Why I know of this one author who took a deceased author’s famous work and -rewrote it-!! Rather than try to come up with something of his own. And he’s hailed as a genius?
    These people can not rise to the top on their own, and if by some twist of fate if they do get their, they find they can not stay their on talents of their own. But they have found throughout life that by whining and whinging and cursing others that they can appeal to those others lacking in talent to at least feel like they’re at the top of their profession.
    Even if the physical results of their efforts (sales) are lacking.

    They are the drowning man pulling the others down so that they may rise to the top – who care about learning to swim?

    I have seen this in other places where I have struggled in the past to be successful, and I am by no means surprised to see it here. I’m also not surprised to see the number of people fooled by these charlatans. It is sadly, the way of the world. Envy really is a terrible thing and too many people are concerned over their neighbor’s success rather than simply focusing on their own and minding their own business.

  5. Nothing so sad as a group of gatekeepers who finally realize that while the gate they guard so jealously still stands the wall surrounding it has been torn down.
    This is of course the great power of the internet. It was designed to move information around blockages. Just when the SJW and GHH crowd thought they’d seized total control and turn written entertainment into their vision of socially responsible literature this indie thing came along and popped their sad little phantasy dream bubble.
    So sad, now slink away, cluster with others of your ilk, and feast upon each other in battles over nits within your pretentious dogma.
    In short, begone A-holes! The rest of us have better things to do that tolerate your crap a moment longer.
    Or to use a common southern term, ES&D, bless your hearts.

  6. Eh.. I suspected this from the beginning of hearing about the dust-ups for control. Those who can, do; those who can’t… talk about it. At length. Usually with bitter clinging to their dystopic ideas.
    When you see these things happen, then run my child, unto the hills… or at least, ignore the idjiots and (as Sarah says) build around ’em.

  7. It’s good that we’re fighting back. By doing so, we’re forcing the other side to expose themselves. Every time they lose their temper and tweet something intemperate, every time they launch into Hugo Rant #956, they show what hides behind their moderate masks.

    For example, just yesterday, John “Deep Tingles” Scalzi was ranting about “the right-wing SF/F frothosphere” on Twitter. I hope he continues on in this vein, I really do.

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