Guest post by Jonathan LaForce
As anybody who knows me will tell you, I like reading. It’s been a life-long pleasure of mine. Someday I hope to have my own private library where I can sit and relax and write to my heart’s content. Something with a fireplace and a real leather chair, and an R2D2 mini fridge full of Dr. Pepper.
There will be books on art, history, various cultures, poetry, novels, literature, the romance novels I’ve written. Want to know what won’t be found there?
Anything by TOR. Period. Dot. End of story. Why? Simple really.
You see folks, in the last four years, Tor has shown increasingly that it doesn’t care for anything besides narrative. It doesn’t care for anything besides lying. Labeling fellow authors and close friends of mine “misogynistic homophobic neo-Nazis” simply because we prefer telling a good story to pushing political beliefs is wrong. Allowing your editorial staff to intentionally lie about such people, repeatedly misrepresent us, and trying to silence us, all the while calling us bullies? You must be stupid!
Where does this come from? A woman named Irene Gallo, whom advertises herself as the Creative Editor at Tor. She posted on facebook, quite publicly that all Puppies are “Extreme right-wing to Neo-Nazi groups, called the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies… they are unrepentantly racist, misogynist and homophobic. A noisy few but they’ve been able to gather some Gamergate folks around them and elect a slate of bad-to-reprehensible works on this year’s Hugo Ballot.”
The last time I got called any of those things, I was a senior in high school, circa 2005. It’s been a long minute since then. Frankly I find this more than a little amusing. You might want to ask my wife who gave up college to work 40 plus hours a week so she can finish earning her college degree this summer. You might want to ask my little boy Johnny how he feels about being the mix breed son of a half Cherokee half white woman and a quarter-Hawaiian quarter Tex-Mex, half central European? As for gays, I’ve never had a problem with any personally, and I generally haven’t given one iota of a damn what they do so long as they leave me alone.
Perhaps the most amusing part of all this is that when I asked Irene Gallo about her stance, I was greeted not with the intelligent, well thought out dialogue one expects from a supposedly capable editor. Instead I received the same trite impoliteness which I have come to expect from all of Tor’s editors. Not once did Gallo ever suggest or intimate that she not speaking for all of Tor when she made these statements. Which leaves me to wonder, is Tom Doherty still running Tor or did Tor undergo a process not that dissimilar to the government mentioned in Equilibrium? Has Doherty become a flesh puppet? One can only wonder if he will do as Eminem suggest so vocally, and please stand up.
Tor, let’s face facts: that you repeatedly allow straw man makers like John Scalzi to have a place in your stable, even as he vainly justifies his arrogant idiocy is absurd. To allow bigots like NK Jemisin bully pulpits without regard for fact or truth is wrong. To encourage people to put one-star reviews on Amazon, simply because you don’t like an author’s politics, rather than because you didn’t like the story is not only disgusting, it is a willful manipulation of the Amazon rating system.
Whereas I believe in the principles of the free market, I don’t want to see somebody create new laws over this. We already have government invading our bedrooms, our computers and our bank accounts daily. No, ladies and gentlemen, instead I ask you this:
Don’t buy anything made by TOR. Not pamphlets. Not novels, not audiobooks. Not even if it’s free. Let Tor know that they do not decide what we want as fans of science fiction and fantasy. Instead, I ask that those of you whom trust my opinion cease to buy their products ever again. Show them that in the end, the consumer drives the market. Why? Because nobody can make you buy anything. Not health care, not books, not movies. NOT A SINGLE DAMN THING.
In older times, a bard who couldn’t sing or orate well, much less properly play an instrument (in short, when the bard could not perform well, the crowd kicked him out. And he went hungry until he got better or he died from starvation. Or he found a new profession that he was actually good at.
Things are no different now. We can hate One Direction and Iggy Azalea all we want, but so long as the product they turn out is quality to a paying audience, people will buy it. Love ’em hate ’em, until people no longer buy their products, they’re here to stay. Elvis Presley has been dead since 16 August 1977. His music still sells. Publishers are the exact same way.
So now we turn our attention back to Tor.
When their sales drop like rocks in a planetary gravity well, when their authors do more abysmally than Hillary Clinton’s latest biographical snooze (that might have finally recouped the cost of the advance, maybe), when they understand that we are not peons to be preached at, but fans whom wish to hear quality stories and be entertained, we will have achieved something great.