Now I lost interest in Twitter back when I found out that besides being the crack cocaine of social media (and just as good for you) it was the worst rated for sales/reader conversion. Something like 1 sale per 1000 followers, IIRC.
I’ve got books to write, a life to live, a farm to finish developing. But one the fans brought this bit of twitter-snark about an anthology I was delighted to be included in. A CHRONICLE OF DAVIDS. A chance to be in the same collection as Dave Drake and Dave Weber doesn’t come my way every day.
So this is his priceless (as in you can have it for free) gem (as in one man’s turd is another man’s treasure, especially in North Korea).
And now, a list of short fiction writers published because of their names, and a list of short fiction writers who must never EVER complain about women- or POC-centered anthologies or just wanting “good stories”…
and Barry N. Malzberg for some reason. The N is for Not A David?
— Nick Ban Nazis Mamatas (@NMamatas) October 17, 2019
Fascinating. Now I honestly have no idea who the hell this ‘Ban Nazis’ fellow is. I assume some kind of dimwitted totalitarian, as they’re the ones who like to ban stuff and groups, usually because they can’t deal with them in any other way. ‘Nazis’ are a subset of those believing in totalitarian ideology (and were very fond of banning and silencing as a way of dealing with competition). So, logically, he’d like to ban himself.
‘Nazi’ is also used as a ‘magic word’ used by those who are too dumb to actually know what it means, but want to be offensive, and there it translates as: ‘Anyone I disagree with’. This is common usage by the sort of people who have no idea what Nazism was, and, based on their behavior, would almost certainly have been in support of it, if they’d been around at the time (as in they’d like to ban things and dictate behavior.)
You know, he does have one thing going for him: IMAX level projection. I’ve heard LOTS of attacks on Anthos for NOT having women, or whatever. The opposite, excluding men, or white males, or heterosexual males… abounds. There are hundreds of them CELEBRATING excluding a large part of the human race, often as their theme. I’m amused that Mamatas assumes the gender of Daves. I thought that was a deadly sin, punishable by a thousand hysterical twitter shrieks? And as for ‘POC’, that’s another assumption… as ‘David’ is a very common name in much of Africa.
I honestly don’t care. If you want to have a ‘POC’ Anthology, or a one-legged lesbians who identify as pork pies on alternate Thursdays Anthology – go right ahead. Of course that means that – if you were going to be fair, stopping endless whining about having women or POC or alphabet soup on every anthology’s ToC, unless they’re exclusive to the same people who now demand inclusion. But it’s different when they do it. Shrug. The sales will sort it out.
But I DO want good stories. Partly because I like to read them, and partly because good stories build an audience – which benefits everyone in the field. I’m mildly bemused by the sort of logic that concludes that having a very common first name (meaning the possible pool of authors (and readers) is way larger than most of the other ‘exclusive’ collections) and headlined by three legendary authors… cannot select ‘good stories’? Well, ‘ban Nazis’ I guess says it all. Logic was entered in the race, but died long before the start. A substantial number of the Davids in collection… make a living out of writing. That is rare in anthologies, and means some people think their work is good. I actually think the editor (David Afsharirad) did a pretty good job, cat herding, and getting full-time pros to contribute stories. They’re not money-makers at the pro end of the scale. I only did it because he seemed a genuinely nice guy, trying hard, and the bait of being in antho with some of my heroes was great.
To expand: most Anthos are rather like shopping malls. They have an anchor tenant (or two or three) –A well-known and large shop, and the other shops in the mall rely on the public wanting to come to those anchor tenants and seeing them on the way. It’s the same for any successful anthology – where having a known name’s story will sell the collection… and introduce readers to a selection of other authors. Basically a good thing, a bit of pay forward from better known, and it pay for itself, so therefore gets done. At the opposite end of the scale there are ‘thematic’ malls – where no-one knows much about any of the shops but they group a certain product – be it beauty products or D-I-Y or Organic food. That’s the typical ‘Special Interest’ fiction – whether it’s Lesbian fiction or Vampires or Tanks. The point is to… sell books to people with those special interests. They too benefit from an anchor author or three, and introduce readers with those special interests to writers who provide their kind of stories. If they’re not good stories, but chosen to fulfill some kind other criteria… they’ll hurt the authors in the collection, and the special interest, and the genre as a whole.
This isn’t rocket-science. It’s economics 101. And it’s good for the genre, and a rising tide floats all boats.
Anyway: I have to inform Nick Mamatas that no matter what he thinks I MUST do, I will do exactly as I think best, and likelihood of my paying any attention his commands are roughly on the scale of plausibility of a whiny little mayfly telling an elephant what it MUST do, and being listened to. And like the mayfly I’m sure he’ll get whole cloud of other little mayflies to try and be a nuisance. (shrug) Mayflies belong to the ephemeroptera. Their major impact on ecosystems is generally recycling detritus, by eating it. They can occasionally be annoying if you’re where they’re out in their breeding swarms, in their brief but otherwise pointless emergence. But those swarms really have no noticeable impact on our lives, or at least not one that a windscreen washers can’t deal with.
You see, what is Nick Mamatas going to do enforce his dictate? He won’t read my books? He already doesn’t. He’ll badmouth them to his little friends, who won’t read my books? Too late. He’ll tell all his little twitter-swarm not include me on their ToC or invite me as a guest to their cons? David Gerrold did that years ago. He’s going to –unread, make negative critical comments about my books on literary platforms? Damian Walter beat him to that back when CHANGELING’S ISLAND was a Dragon finalist. He’s going to call me by his various magic words regardless of accuracy: ‘Racist, Nazi homophobe. etc etc.? Irene Gallo did that already, yonks back. He’ll try to deplatform and silence me? And what else is new (and unsuccessful)? Or is he going to come along and try and stop me saying exactly what the hell I please by force? Yeah. As they say in the classics: ‘rotsa ruck with that, buddy’.
I suspect he’ll have the twitter equivalent of a toddler’s tantrum in the toy aisle at the supermarket, possibly with his little swarm. Not my kid (shrug). Ephemeroptera. Perhaps one of these days they’ll figure all they achieve is getting the elephant to drink 2/3 of the puddle (trad sf readers), and stomp the mud that is left into the point where it will evaporate ( where the woke trad publishers and B&N go bust – because they needed that income) before moving on.
That’s the problem the little wokescolds face: rather like the perpetually nagging woman who finds her husband just turns his hearing aid off. Or, as Sarah put it the other day: we’ve reached tired-of-this-nonsense o’clock – as we increasingly see the general public finally having had enough of it – from ‘extinction rebellion’ to attacking authors. It’s more likely to make people BUY the book just to piss him and his swarm off.
The zeitgeist has moved, and they haven’t. That’s fairly obvious in everything from Gamergate to Sad Puppies, from Brexit, to President Trump to the Hong Kong protests. They don’t all win – but they were unthinkable at all 10 years back. More is coming. Zeitgeist doesn’t, most of the time, move fast, but it’s like a heavy freight train on a downgrade. The only thing that will stop it is a long up-slope (economic in this case IMO, with lots more money.)
I’m not seeing one.