October 21, 2010

INSIDE SCIENCE FICTION BASEBALL: Former Marine Elizabeth Moon, author of books like Oath of Fealty, The Deed of Paksennarion, and Marque and Reprisal, among others, is reportedly being “shunned” by some women in science fiction because of comments about the NYC Mosque. A reader emails:

I’m emailing you because I know you’re a SF fan, and I haven’t seen you cover this topic yet. (If you have, my apologies.)

Elizabeth Moon, award winning mil-sf author and former Marine, was invited to speak as guest of honor at the 2011 WISCON, a feminist SF con. However, ever since she posted comments on the NYC 9/11 Mosque (http://e-moon60.livejournal.com/335480.html) she has been branded a racist and there is an active movement afoot among some on-line sf feminists (male and female, mostly current and past WISCON attendees) to get her dis-invited to WISCON, and failing that, for her to be actively shunned during her speech. (Word has it that ‘fans of color’ and ‘non-Christian fans’ will feel “unsafe” attending the con if Ms. Moon is there.)

One of the posts covering the fan reaction:
http://worldsf.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/elizabeth-moon-on-islam/

Another reaction: http://nojojojo.livejournal.com/221241.html

A round-up of reaction: http://elf.dreamwidth.org/2010/09/16/?style=site

Battleswarm covered it here: http://www.battleswarmblog.com/?tag=elizabeth-moon

A note: A SF feminist of my acquaintance asks me to emphasize the NON-universality of these sentiments among SF fans, feminist, female, or otherwise. People can disagree without being disagreeable.

So we were once told. You can read Moon’s 9/11 post and see what you think. To me, it reads kind of like something Robert Heinlein might have written and I suspect it’s the first few paragraphs — which don’t discuss Islam at all — that really rankled, with Islam just being the excuse. Heinlein found that it was tolerable to be called a fascist by the ignorant, so long as people bought plenty of his books. I suspect that Ms. Moon will feel the same way. I should add that I’ve read quite of few of Moon’s books myself and found them very enjoyable.

And perhaps some Moon fans will attend WisCon so she doesn’t feel too alone.

UPDATE: Oops. Too late. She’s been booted. They told me if I voted for McCain, bitter theocrats would ban people who spoke ill of religion — and they were right! Moe Lane has a lesson.

And I went ahead and ordered Oath of Fealty in the Kindle edition. I haven’t read it yet, and I’m sure it’s good.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A science-fiction writer reader emails:

They should remember their Heinlein (if they weren’t so busy shunning him!):

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, ‘This you may not read, this you may not see, this you are forbidden to know,’ the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives.

Add to that “any group of professionals, particularly those supposed to be informed and open minded about the future.”

Well, that’s just the kind of thing those fascists say. You go around letting people read and say what they want, next you’ll be letting people do what they want. And that’s the very definition of fascism these days!

MORE: A reader emails: “For what its worth, I will give credibility to Mr. Heinlein’s book book buying theory by virtue of the fact that I just went on Amazon and ordered all three of the books you list.” Well, that’s the kind of support an author appreciates. Take it from me!

STILL MORE: Reader Christopher Fox writes:

I don’t expect I’m alone, but I just bought 8 of her books, some hardcover, some not. I clicked on book covers I liked and tried to make sure I bought all the books in a series, but really I’m just voting with my checkbook these days. I rarely make political contributions (except this year, where I’ve pumped out a couple hundred to some of the Senate campaigns) but I consider this to be a SOCIAL contribution. It works out, too, because Marvel comics is in the 8th month of my personal “no purchases for you!” penalty period that they earned with the Tea Party slur they threw into a Captain America comic back in February. My nerd budget is balancing out, along political lines, it seems, or perhaps just common sense/decency lines.

Well, I’m certainly happy to read authors whose politics I disagree with — Stross, MacLeod, or Scalzi, for example — but that’s a nice gesture. And to steal a bit from the Friedman quote below, “The way you solve things is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right things.” Or, you know, just profitable.

MORE STILL: Reader Rosslyn Smith really knows how to bring the pain: “Tell authors who inject politically correct politics into their works that you buy all their works from second hand bookstores. I do that with a handful or writers I otherwise like to deprive them of the royalty.” Ouch. “I bought it used” is surely one of the most dreaded phrases an author can hear . . . .

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