Good morning, everyone! I had a post all planned for today and poof! it disappeared from my brain before I could write it. So I went traipsing through the internet, looking for inspiration and came across a handful of articles I thought I’d share. The first has me standing up and cheering because the literary bullies have failed–it took time but Amélie Wen Zhao has decided not to continue bending to the will of the vocal few. The result is that her debut novel, Blood Heir, will be published.
In an article from the New York Times, the history of the controversy surrounding the book is detailed. Basically, some folks objected to how she depicted slavery because it didn’t fit into their narrative. Hurt, stunned (I can only imagine what she felt when social media started blowing up against her), she told her publishers to pull the book. That was back in January. She received support–and criticism–for her decision. The one thing I will say is I give kudos to her publisher for sticking with her, even in the middle of all the name-calling, etc.
Zhao did more than just lick her wounds after making her decision. She took a hard look at her book to see if the critics were right.
She decided they were not, called her publisher and gave the green light to release the book. It is now set to go live in November.
Next up is Locus–and SFWA–doing the usual “slate” denial and condemnation thing all at once. In the process, SFWA manages to malign indie authors. After all, there weren’t any problems with the Nebulas until they let the unwashed, gatekeeper avoiding masses in.
SFWA began admitting “independent and small press writers,” including authors who self-publish, into the organization in 2013. “Since then, we’ve welcomed hundreds of new independent, traditional, and hybrid authors…. We also understand that with growth such as this, sometimes comes the pain of finding our way forward. The recent controversy is no exception, and we fully understand just how frustrating something like this can be.”
If you aren’t up-to-date on what this refers to, a so-called slate was put together by a member of a FB group of indie and small press authors. It was, in fact, meant to be a reading list, not a slate for voting. The person responsible has since apologized. But, oh no, the “damage” had been done and it was done by those evil Indies. How dare they try to manipulate the Nebs?
Sound familiar? Remind you of some of the arguments against the SPs?
Note also, how there is no condemnation for the person or persons who took information from a private social media group and made it public. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean folks aren’t out to get you.
Next up comes from MWA. It seems MWA is doing it’s best to prove it is as weak as all too many publishers and other ogranizations.
I’ll admit, the headline for the article linked below is what initially caught my eye. The perpetually butt-hurt will latch onto anything they can to keep a writer from getting recognition. It no longer matters if the writer is a fledgling just starting out or someone who has been writing for years. In this particular instance, it’s Linda Fairstein who has dozens of books in print. She is no indie or small press author but one who cut her publishing teeth in the traditional end of the business.
It seems there are some who think because she was once a prosecutor, her art is “sullied” and she shouldn’t be honored.
In a situation vaguely reminiscent of what happened to Zhao, Fairstein was named as one of two mystery writers to be honored by the MWA and named “Grand Master”. Two days later, MWA said it would not honor her.
The problem? She was one of the prosecutors in the Central Park Five case. The defendants were convicted and later exonerated through DNA evidence. Her role in the case, which included overseeing the police interviews of the suspects, is a matter of public record. So the MWA should have been aware of it.
This is where it starts sounding like the Zhao situation. When MWA announced she would be honored, the Twitterverse went wild, including attacks against Fairstein by last year’s Edgar winner, Attica Locke–who just so happens to be working on a project for Netflix on the Central Park Five (so no reason for Locke to try to stir up controversy at all, is there?). MWA, like publishers and other organizations, caved to the mob.
How are these Twitter-mad social justice (or perhaps I should say injustice) warriors going to respond when it is their backgrounds being dug into and used against them? How many writers out there had jobs before they started selling enough they could quit their day jobs? How many still have to work? And how many of them have had to do something in the course of their work or because they were simply stupid teens and early 20s who thought they couldn’t die that would be frowned on today?
They are so quick to dig and condemn, especially when it might benefit them. What happens when the shoe is on the other foot?