Hi. This is Sarah. When Charlie asked me to write the intro tonight I told him I couldn’t, because I was too angry at a series of events unfolding in the science fiction “community,” a word that never made much sense, and which now is even more over-strained, but which is the only way to describe both fans and professionals. Both sets of science fiction “people” are involved in what made the week disturbing for me, at any rate. And I really am angry.
Charlie said “then write about that.” And then I thought perhaps I should.
Look, the science fiction “community”, from SFWA to the loose associations of fans who sacrifice years of their lives and points off their sanity to put on conventions that get together people interested in the field, was in large part what set science fiction and fantasy apart from other genres. It was a “we’re all weird together” sort of support, and it helped both writers and readers make contact and improve the genre. Little by little this community was copied by other genres, from mystery to romance.
I don’t know how the other fields are doing, but the science fiction community is sick onto death, and the infection it suffers from is an odd one.
One of the seminal books of my intellectual formation was Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, which I read in my early teens. I know there are some errors in the methodology and the set up, but his prediction that technology development would accelerate and in turn accelerate changes in how we live till people had trouble coping with it and developed “future shock” seems to have held on target, from everything I’ve seen.
And it explains to an extent everything I’m seeing in the “science fiction community.” At the same time that new technologies (no one saw the computer coming, for crying in bed!) are making the world completely different, science fiction authors decided they wanted to be the approved sort of intellectual and went careening into bankrupt past ideologies, monstrous children of the Marxist Leninism that has left more than 100 million dead around the world. They also decided that there was nothing exciting about technology anymore. Everything that was human or made by human hands was evil, poisonous, scary.
Abetted by a publishing establishment staffed entirely by those with “excellent” liberal arts educations of the sort one can get at eastern colleges infected with victimhood and hatred of the West, these writers have abjured all hope for the future, all joy in humanity, even all understanding that there is a common humanity beneath our forms, colors and cultures. They also abjured all understanding that not all cultures are alike and some are not conducive to free life. They have chosen to embrace cultures and religions in which women and gays are enslaved and killed, and the only culture they denounce is their own, of which they know nothing but the lies taught to them by their “Studies” programs, which study only little particles of society, groups divided by the poison of Marxist thought. (Why this long dead white male is the only one worthy of their respect, I don’t know, except perhaps it feeds their stunted egos and makes a virtue of envy, their predominant characteristic.)
This is how, this week, we were treated to the shabby and creepy spectacle of a bunch of grown women, a bunch of women supposed to be intellectual workers, for crying out loud, celebrating that all the Nebula awards were given to women. Note that nothing was said about how great the stories were or how important – the important thing was what was between the writers’ legs and their defeat of an imaginary “patriarchy.” (Imaginary patriarchies are very safe to defeat. REAL ones, the ones that stone you for going about with your face uncovered, those they approve of, because see, they aren’t western, and therefore they’re holy.)
Mind you, this is an award voted on by the same members of SFWA who recently went on a jihad against two men for using the word “ladies” to refer to women – so I was upset, but more on the visceral disgust level.
And then Archon, a science fiction convention which had invited Tim Bolgeo (known as Uncle Timmy to Southern fandom) as Fan Guest of Honor, got a complaint from an anonymous source about a fanzine Uncle Timmy publishes.
This fanzine is sort of a newsletter for everyone who attends the con Uncle Timmy founded – Liberty con – and it contains interesting articles (usually science, since Uncle Timmy was a nuclear scientist before retiring,) news about attendees and – always – jokes sent in by the readers. These jokes are labeled as being from the left and from the right, since Liberty con is politically diverse.
Are they always funny? No. Are they always tasteful? Hell no. Tasteful humor is sort of like low-fat cream and about as satisfying. Usually he puts a warning before the worse ones, and he nixes the worst ones, which never make it to the Revenge of the Hump Day.
Well, someone went through these fanzines and took out of context stories and fragments of jokes and went running to Archon concom complaining that Uncle Timmy was a racist. The concom took panic and uninvited him – within twenty four hours of an anonymous accusation -- after months of advertising and preparation. By doing this, they lent credence to the accusations.
If the spectacle of the Nebulas had made me queasy, this made me angry.
I met Uncle Timmy I guess ten years ago, when I first started writing for Baen. From the first, he treated me with kindness and consideration. When I was completely unknown, he treated me as though I were a star at the convention. At a particularly low point in my life and career, he supported my self-esteem and my morale so I could write again.
He hasn’t told me anything about other authors he’s helped that way, but I know a lot of them. I’ve seen him select for special attention someone who is going through a rough patch. I’ve heard from other people about how he supported older writers, sometimes financially.
Liberty con is probably one of the most diverse cons in the field in any way you want to slice it, race, gender, politics. Uncle Timmy is a great part of the reason all of us feel welcome there.
To watch his reputation being shredded and Archon choosing to commit an injustice rather than risk the mao-maoing by the politically correct brigade made me angry. Very angry.
I am still angry. And I will fight them in any way I can. I will fight them because it must stop here. If they can go after Uncle Timmy – presumably for the crime of being male, Southern and white – they can go after everyone and anyone. No one is safe from their rages and tantrums
Everything you say can be twisted to show that you’re not loyal enough to their ever-changing party line. In a world in which “lady” is an insult, ask yourself who is safe.
It is a form of future shock, of course. At the very same time that technology allows writers to escape the stifling restraints of editorial gatekeeping that enforced political correctness, these people are trying to bring back the past.
Unfortunately the past they want to bring back is stained with blood and reeks of opened mass graves. It is not so much the past as the future of the past. This is the future that thank heavens never was, the future with which they’d feel comfortable, the future in which a boot stomps on a human face forever, the future in which there is only one party and it determines everything you think. And in which they’re in charge.
They are the people George Orwell was talking about in, 1984:
Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.
Unfortunately for them, I do understand them very well. And I’ve had just about enough. And I don’t think I’m alone.
Let them huddle in the darkness of their blood-stained divisions and hatreds, their failed promise of Marxism. There is a real future out there. Perhaps they can’t perceive it. Perhaps they’re too besmirched by the evil ideology of the past to enter the promised land.
Wave to them as we walk by and ignore their tantrums, their insults and the mud they fling. They’re people of the past. We? We come from the hopeful future. We invent it and we live in it. And that’s where we’re headed.
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