There are times when I wonder if the world turned upside down while I was asleep. You know the times I’m talking about. You go to bed one night and when you wake up, it seems like common sense has flown out the window. But it’s more than that. It also seems as if all too many of our fellow humans have lost the ability to look at all sides of an issue and make up their own minds. That’s what I’ve felt about the publishing industry for the last few weeks. Well, to be honest, it seems as though there are more and more days and weeks when that happens over the last few years. But since the Hugo slate came out, those days are beginning to far outweigh the days when “normal” ruled.
No, I’m not going to rehash the Hugo debate. Others have done it better than I could. Nor am I going to into the Amazon-Hatchette contract negotiations. Dave did a great job of covering it yesterday.
I guess I’m in a place right now where I’m somewhere between absolutely furious about what is happening to this industry — and especially a genre — I love and heartsick. This past year has seen something new in publishing — the conservatives and libertarians are starting to push back against the liberals. Part of this stems from the increasing importance of indie publishing and small press publishing as the Big Five loose more and more of their control over the industry. Authors are starting to realize that they no longer have to fall into lockstep with whatever the cause du jour is for the editors in their ivory tower New York offices.
If you don’t think this is true, just go to Amazon or iTunes or BN.com and see how many more science fiction books are now available for download. Then see how well those books are selling. Talk to authors who are making a good living from writing and self-publishing their science fiction, authors who hadn’t been able to break into publishing under the legacy model. I’m confident you will find most of them write stories that don’t denigrate mankind, don’t make humanity the enemy that needs to be wiped out to save Mother Earth. Instead, they write stories with a plot and with characters we can identify with. Stories we want to read.
But this renewal of the genre is being denied — long and loud — by some in our industry. What makes this sad is that they are the ones who ought to be thrilled to know there is a broadening market for science fiction and fantasy. But they aren’t. They are terrified of it because indie authors aren’t being constrained by the cause du jour. So they go on the attack. But they don’t attack the indie authors — mainly because, as much as we scare them we are also still beneath their notice. Instead they attack authors like Larry Corriea who is traditionally published — now. Larry is also a champion of other authors and of gamers and of guns. Oh, and he’s male and proudly married and the father of his own clan.
In other words, he’s a scary man who must be evil. So they must silence him.
Sigh. Authors wanting to silence other authors.
The latest attack on Larry came from Damien Walter of the Guardian. This isn’t the first time he’s tried to shame and humiliate Larry for being wrong-think. It is clear dear Damien isn’t really bright. Either that or he likes being publicly flogged, not only by Larry, who does wonderful fisks of the Guardian articles, but also by Larry’s friends and fans. Because I don’t want to give Damien any more page hits than he already has — and because Larry quotes the entirety of the latest article — here are links to the two part fisking Larry has done:
Then there is this excellent — and most entertaining — piece by John C. Wright, The Evil League of Evil is Given Pious Advice.
I thank Larry and John for what they’ve said in their blogs and on Facebook. I may not always agree with what they say, but that isn’t the point. The point is no voice should be silenced and most certainly not by artificial social rules determined by a few vocal social justice warriors. There is a place for everyone in the industry. Don’t like what someone writes? Don’t buy it. That’s what readers have been doing for years. But, just as publishers didn’t trust readers to determine what they wanted to read, the SJWs don’t either. Whether it is a need to be relevant or the need to control, I don’t know and I don’t care.
What I would really like is for the SJWs to sit back and actually take a few moments to read what they’ve been saying in social media. Read it and think about it and then tell me how what they are calling for isn’t basically censorship — and don’t give me a lecture here that only governments can censor. When you have people actively calling for publishers to drop authors because those authors aren’t following right-think, when those same people force others out of their jobs because they didn’t follow-right think, that’s pretty darned close to censorship. Frankly, if I say much more, I’ll go into a political rant.
I’m tired of being told how to think by the SJWs. Funny, no one else in the industry is telling me what sort of plots or characters I should be writing. No one else is condemning me — or any other author — if there aren’t enough main characters of whatever ilk in my work. Maybe instead of trying to convince the rest of us about how wrong we are, they ought to be focusing on their craft and not on their political agenda.
Oops, there I go, slipping into another rant.
Or maybe I’m just tired.
(I’ll be back later today to answer any comments but it will be later this afternoon or evening, after the final round of oral surgery. Whee – not.)
In the meantime, here’s a bit of self-promotion:
Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty) (written under the pen name Sam Schall) is the first in the Honor and Duty series.
Here’s the blurb:
First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.
Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.
But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.